"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Day....

Xmas eve was a much later night than anticipated! Emily went to bed with Al at 10.30 and I stayed up, going in a bath at 11.45.Before I got in the bath I checked she was asleep.The snoring I heard led me to believe she was :-) I got in the bath and was surprised when she strolled in to go to the loo! Alan was right behind her as he had heard her get up and wanted to see where she was going.

 She went back to bed and I left it another hour before going up myself,having set things out that I needed to;-)
She was still awake!! I snuggled in with her and she started to cry,she was so scared that Santa wouldn't come because she was awake :-( Her anxiety in the build up to Christmas is, in part, about whether she will get the presents she has wanted. It seems from the conversations we had that a larger part of her worry is that he just won't come at all.This has been the worst year for her in terms of her anxiety/excitement levels.
We have had some conversations about how she still believes Santa is real, even though she has heard some people questioning that.I have a post I want to do on that,and how we might have done things differently from the start, but that will have to wait, as Emily does still read here at times.
We have never told her that Santa wouldn't come if she wasn't good ,she has obviously heard it in many films and from other people and in her mind was playing over the things that might be construed as naughty :-(

 It took quite some time for her to doze off ( I saw 2.30 and she was still awake) and both Alan and I found it difficult to settle.I am sure we both managed to doze of at times.I know I woke at one point when Emily sat up to look over our bed at the clock to see the time(3.30) and then I held her hand til she went off again.the next thing I remember was her waking Alan (he sleeps near the door) excited because there was a stocking on the landing.It was 5.30 and our day began :-)

After the presents were opened and breakfast was had, they took Beauty out.Alan then retired for a couple of hours :-) Emily and I read about the frost dragon she had received and she wrote in her notebook from the wolf conservation trust and read the documents about the wolf adoption we had got her.There was a definite wolf theme to this years gifts.Santa had brought the necklace she had coveted of a wolf howling at the moon,Millie(teenage best friend) had decorated a notebook covering it front and back using images of all the things Emily likes (including wolves,Twilight and New moon images,Percy Jackson,Fairies and lots more) and wrote some inspirational quotes inside the cover and a personal message. She has also drawn a fab picture of a wolf and put it in a lovely frame,and A her cousin had drawn a wolf head and had it transferred onto a T'shirt.
We rang round family members and Emily spoke to A who had rang to thank Emily for her pressies.Getting a phone call from A(best friend) was a lovely surprise and made her very happy.We are normally the ones phoning and making arrangements and Milly feels it is a very one sided friendship and that A is moving away from her :-(

We lit some candles and watched a little TV.

Alan got up and I took my book up and read for a while before having a snooze for an hour.Then back down for a light lunch and after more calls to Alan's side of the family we set off for a walk to Crummock water.Stunning views along the way.

I am having a few probs with my hips at the mo so I opted for the flat path down to the lake and they went of on the more rugged approach.
Milly then climbed her favourite tree :-)

Finds along the way included an icicle and a couple of hearts that Milly spotted!

I thought the last one also looked like an angel,can you see the circles that look like a head and hair?

We were walking for an hour or so and got back home around 4.30 after a stop off at my sisters house for a cuppa.
I made our tea and it was eaten by candle light.
Dr who and a little more TV before Emily and I headed off to bed at 8.00.

I am so glad we have made the change to our day to allow Emily to be who she is. Some of us like to delay gratification and get enjoyment from the wait,some of us really just want to get all our gifts open and then enjoy playing with them slowly.The day goes much smoother now,she is happier and more able to enjoy her gifts.In the past we would always keep some back to open with relatives and knowing she had more to open kept the excitement levels high and constant questions as to when she would be able to open them.This lead to stress all round.

Having opened them all at once last year we talked about what she wanted to do this year and she decided that she would open most of her presents on Xmas morning but would be happy to have our family take their presents for her to my sisters on Boxing day.It worked really well. There was a little excitement about the presents she still had to open but she was calm and able to enjoy the anticipation rather than it taking over.

Last year when we had talked about things she did say that we should keep some back to surprise her in the afternoon of Xmas day, but then having thought about it, she said it wouldn't work because she would know they were there and she would probably keep asking to open them anyway.

We had to question why we were making her wait.I have got past the idea that children need to be taught to delay gratification or the thought that delaying gratification is in any way superior to the sheer joy of opening all your presents and then savouring them afterwards.

I give a present for the recipient to enjoy, I also get some enjoyment from seeing their reaction to opening it, but then that becomes more about my needs rather than the recipients.To my mind, the recipients joy is not reliant on my reaction to seeing the present opened.The present is for them,it should be given without attempts to influence the process and possibly spoil the moment for them.

Alan and I have grown in confidence and are more able to do what we feel is right for us as a family.

Milly knows what works best for her and she no longer needs to feel she is wrong in wanting to open all her gifts at once.

I don't believe she is going to grow up to be a selfish,greedy person.She is just like any other child ,some of the presents were not what she had hoped for,and some of them she didn't like.When she was younger she was (embarrassingly, for me) very vocal and dismissive of the things that held no interest for her.Over the years we have talked about people having the best intentions when buying gifts, but they may not always get it right,and how to be tactful (not lying or being been overly false) so as not to hurt peoples feelings.

She enjoys giving gifts as well as receiving and has picked out some really thoughtful gifts for the people she loves.We do make a point of thanking people for their gifts and do try to follow up with thank you cards.I believe that age will mellow that anticipatory excitement and she will not get quite so wound up.
Most importantly,I hope she will grow with the knowledge that we understood her.She will not grow up feeling bad because she couldn't wait as patiently as some.
I have been writing this on and off over two days ( Saturday and Sunday) Milly has been working her way through her gifts playing with/writing in/watching them.We were watching I Robot this afternoon and she had a folder with paper,envelopes,stickers in and was writing a letter to Amy that she wants to post tomorrow morning when they walk Beauty.She then became rather secretive and didn't want me to look.Then she asked to use a stamp.Shortly after, she went out to the hall and informed us there had been post :-)

Dear Mum and Dad thank you for this wondiful xmas I really love you both verry verry verry much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Think we are doing something right for her :-)


Heart Rockin Mama said...

Drue and I are amazed as we read this... it sounds like she and Milly had the same experience Christmas Eve. Drue, too, was crying when she couldn't go to sleep. She said she was afraid Santa wouldn't come if she couldn't sleep.
These girls of ours sound a lot alike!

Glad you all had a nice Christmas!

Hannah said...

We have had similar issues in the past and, given my time again, I think I would approach the issue of Santa rather differently too.

It's great that you've found ways to make it work better for you all. We have changed the way we do things at Christmas and this year was so calm that I can hardly believe it happened!

MilliiMorgue said...

Thats really sweet :)

I'm glad you liked the notebook.. i was originally going to turn it into a blank comic template, but my glue broke after i did the cover :( (N) ah well :)

Thank you so much for the present, btw ... you guys always get me amazing gifts! :L

And the card was amazing too ;)


Jules said...

I enjoyed reading that :) Thanks for sharing it with us, the letter at the end was just the perfect ending :)
Wishing you all a very happy new year, and hoping that 2010 is prosperous for you, full of good health and blessings.