Good news! Even after Christmas, I fit into a 38" waist and weight a mere 104kg (down from about 117kg in the summer.) Bad news! I am pretty much broken after Christmas, with all its running around and New Year late nights and inevitable emotional turmoil.
To sum up my experience of Christmas with a small child (as opposed to last year's Christmas with a baby,) it's a rollercoaster. Take one small child, ply with (modest, but still unprecedented quantities of) sugar and surround with the Sisyphean dilemma of more cool stuff than she has hands.
Christmas at home was an almost unalloyed success, and I only say almost because Arya got bored of opening presents halfway through and we left the lights on and a bag of rubbish in the middle of kitchen when we left. My Christmas ham (with a honey-mustard glaze and a recipe from the Hairy Bikers) was a great success, and if I almost murdered my metamour over prep then the lesson not to try and partner up over something as time critical as eggs benedict was one well learned and there was no actual harm done.
A selection of top gifts include a beautiful tagine and a Moomin with a nerf gun. Okay, I got a Moomin and a nerf gun, but I insist on my right to arm Finnish troll creatures (to defend against the bears, yo.) Also a TARDIS cookie jar with light and sound (from Hanna's brother) which Arya absolutely loves.
Christmas Day at my parents' was also pretty good, and I think that Andrew overcame his nerves at spending time with my family in his abject wonder in the Mill. My parents live in a converted steam mill in the Norfolk countryside, and it's basically the foundation of Andrew's dream smallholding; veg garden, chickens, loads of space. We might need to buy out the neighbours to fit the pigs.
We then spent a couple of nights at Hanna's parents' place in Leeds. En route we saw maybe half a dozen large birds of prey, mostly buzzards but Hanna thought one might be an actual eagle. I dubbed this peculiar density of raptors 'Buzzapalooza', a phrase that Hanna insisted should be blogged.
For the record the next time I suggest sleeping on the sofa at Hanna's parents' house, I deserve to be kicked. It wasn't so much that it was cramped as the air freshener which periodically wheezed and rattled into life; not that that would have been so bad if I hadn't been listening to The Call of Cthulhu on my phone...
|My flat is now a den of vice.|
Then we had a few days back in Martlesham, including New Years Eve, which was marked by four games of Pandemic (Andrew's Christmas present from Hanna,) in which the world was consumed by plague each time. In game one we were three cures down when the deck ran out; in game four we timed out with half the plagues cured. Games two and three were more unfortunate and we witnessed catastrophic early-game outbreaks of the Red Death and North African Zombie Plague respectively (although Hanna insists we probably gave up too early on the latter having lost a cube and thus not actually emptied the box.)
In retrospect, I probably should have gone to bed early on the 1st, but I find it hard to regret sitting up with Hannah watching MASH (which gave us the vocabulary to be properly outraged when Andrew asked Arya to pass him his slippers the next day.)
On the 3rd I spent the day with Arya while Hanna and Andrew went off to sit in traffic (not the plan,) which was stressful, but good.
The 4th was my birthday and... In all honesty, it could have gone better. The brain weasels were out in force (in part because, having not opted for the early night on the 1st/2nd, being awake with Arya half the night on the 3rd left me completely trollied) and I ended up going to bed early because I felt completely isolated.
Note to self for future reference: When you feel isolated, cutting yourself off from the people you love and who love you is dumb. I spent almost an hour feeling sorry for myself before deciding to man up and go back out to spend time with Hanna while I could, and just a few minutes in her company had me smiling and feeling loved again (if a little guilty for letting her go through the trauma of a Call the Midwife Christmas special on her own.)