As the year starts to move into this strange phase of simultaneously winding down but also gearing up to reach the crescendo of celebrations, we’re all just hanging on to make it to the end as unscathed as possible. Additional events are added into the usually systematic calendar, routines are disrupted and the kids seem to want more attention than usual. Everyone is wired with a sense of excitement and exhaustion and it’s making me feel as on edge as I was for the final online release of Grimms wooden toys before Christmas. I know I need to be flexible in the chaos but picking my timing is important. See below, case in point.
On one particular night as the warm spring air descended upon us, my five year old, Baker, was playing on the lounge room floor with a big cardboard box that my husband gets his diabetes medication in. I was preparing dinner while my littlest, Jones, was getting more stable on his feet and pulling the contents out of every kitchen cupboard he could access. It was the standard 5pm mayhem that every parent with smalls knows well. Baker decided he wanted to make a boat out of the box and of course wanted me to help. He asked me three or four times before I thought to myself, be bamboo, Courtney. We can eat dinner a little late tonight. It’s no big deal. “Okay” I say, his face lighting up like a fire cracker on New Year’s Eve.
Before I knew it the dinner table was covered with the contents of our craft box and we’d gathered every recyclable product hiding under the sink for this masterpiece creation. The boat was taking shape, a steering wheel and sail for the mast being cut. At this point my husband walked in the door to find dinner abandoned for a scene Mister Maker would be proud of. He glanced at the clock, which had ticked past six without me realising, and looked at me bemused. “He wanted to make a boat”, I utter. Panic set in and I picked up the pace, sticky taping things like my life depended on it. Baker was suggesting all great additions to the boat, most of which I had zero time to complete but I complied with his request for a fishhook like Maui because being self sufficient is important on the seas. As the boat was nearing completion after installing a seat, I turned to find Jones with a giant permanent blue marker that he’s manage to snaffle from the table in his mouth. It was like as scene from the exorcist. We were frantically reading warning labels about poisoning while cleaning his mouth, Baker obliviously sailing the high seas and making film references from Moana. I turn around to find the kitchen bench covered in what is meant to be dinner, the lounge room trashed and it was 6:45pm, our usual bath time. My well intentioned bamboo moment had created a ripple effect greater than I’d anticipated. I let out a giant deflated sigh.
So this holiday season, roll with the chaos when it’s unavoidable but let me me give you the hot tip, save being bamboo for Boxing Day. Or slow Sunday mornings. Or those breezy summer afternoons where fish and chips are the perfect night cap. Witching hour is specifically your time to be hardwood. Case closed.