Christmas Carols: A parenting minefield

One of my favourite bits of the bedtime routine is singing to my children. I always sing at least one song to each of my sons before they go to sleep. My eldest usually chooses a song now that he knows my full repertoire, but during the festive season his only guideline is that I sing Christmas songs.

There aren’t a lot of Christmas songs that I know by heart, and even with those I’m probably getting the lyrics wrong. But either way, I find my inner monologue while singing these songs to my son ever so slightly troubling. I worry about what exactly do these lyrics mean and are they really sending appropriate messages to a 4 year old?

Okay, so it’s not a really serious worry. Certainly not big enough for me to stop singing them. But I thought it might be amusing to take a look at some of the weirdest Christmas song lyrics out there.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake

My son pegged this one the other day. “How does Santa Claus see me when I’m sleeping?” I told him it was “magic”. He seemed to accept it. But how creepy is that? No wonder my children look slightly worried in their Christmas photo, if they think they’re meeting the fat bearded man with odd dress sense who has been watching them all night long – ALL YEAR.

Family photo with Father Christmas.jpg

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Without quoting the lyrics directly, we all know the story of this song. All the mean bully reindeer laughed at poor Rudolph because he had a stupid big red nose. They wouldn’t let him join in their reindeer games (whatever those might be – maybe antler ring toss – Rudolph probs wasn’t missing much).

But then, when suddenly Rudolph gets some extra accolades from the big boss (Santa), and becomes the manager of the Sleigh Guidance Department, all the reindeer “loved” him. The bastard suck ups. I worry that this song is teaching my son that it’s okay to be a shallow arse-licker who bullies people until they want something from them.

Winter Wonderland

My son said the other day that this is his favourite Christmas song. I guess he just likes the tune. I worry about the old-fashioned sentiments.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say, “Are you married?”
We’ll say, “No man”
But you can do the job, when you’re in town

What? So this couple is walking around in the snow, they decide to build a snowman, and then they decide to pretend he’s a priest? How random is that? Is it actually both members of the couple, or just one of them trying to propose in an entirely creepy way? “Look, Parson Brown the religious snowman wants us to stop living in sin. What do you say, babes?”

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

I’m not actually worried about my son’s reaction to this one. We both know we’re talking about snow. But the whole time I’m singing this, I can’t help but think of racists. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. I mean, why don’t you still know white Christmases if you used to have them all the time? Did you move from Finland to Spain? Or are you just a member of the alt-right and speaking in thinly veiled innuendo? It just makes me think of some of the worrisome politics we are facing today, even though that’s obviously not what the song is about.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This one is pleasant enough, until it gets to the bit about figgy pudding. Bring us some figgy pudding. Please bring some right now! We won’t go until we get some. Bugger off, you spoiled brats. Where are your parents? Get your own figgy pudding.

Silent Night

This one is lovely and soothing. It is definitely one of my favourites. But I have to admit to cringing a bit at the round yon virgin bit. What if the boy asks me, “Mummy, what’s a virgin?” And what do I tell him? Maybe a young, unmarried woman? But that could backfire. He might go around calling people virgins. “My cousin is only 16. She’s a virgin.” But I can’t tell him what it actually means! It’s a minefield. I’ll just mumble the virgin part and hope he doesn’t notice. Round yon mm-mm-mm, mother and child!

What are your favourite Christmas carols? Do any of them have slightly dodgy lyrics?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Petite Pudding
Advertisements

Does your bedtime routine actually work?

The bedtime routine has taken on a sort of magical status in our house in that I dare not depart from it in fear that the kids would not go to sleep. However, I’m starting to wonder if it is as effective as I imagine. Herewith, a dramatisation of a typical evening in our house.

18:00 BST

Mum: It’s bathtime!

4yo: Nooooooo! You need to have a picnic with me and then I need to tidy the picnic away!

Mum: Fine. Drinks imaginary drinks and pretends to eat plastic food. Finished! Now it’s bathtime.

4yo: I just need to tidy up the picnic. Very carefully proceeds to put all the plastic food in the plastic picnic basket. Then very … slowly … folds the tiny picnic blanket in a tiny square shape.

Mum: Ok NOW it’s bathtime.

4yo: But but but…

Mum: I will remove pasta from your reward jar! 4yo begins running up the stairs. Hey you, 1yo, it’s bathtime.

1yo: In manner of Churchill Dog Oh no no no no.

Mum picks up 1yo old and carries up stairs as 1yo arches back and impersonates a piece of timber.

18:15 BST

Mum: 4yo, please sit on the toilet.

4yo: I’m too tired.

Mum: The sooner you go to the toilet, the sooner you can go to sleep. Pulls down 4yo pants and places him on toilet. Removes the rest of his clothes in anticipation of bathtime. Hey, 1yo, let’s get you ready for bathtime!

1yo: Oh no no no! 1yo runs away and hides in a corner. Mum picks him up and takes him to his changing mat while he once again impersonates a piece of wood. Removes clothes from 1yo and places him on his potty.

Mum: Hey, 4yo, are you done on the toilet?

4yo: singing whilst remaining on toilet Tomblibooooo Tombli Tombli boooooooo!

Mum: Runs bath. If you’re done on the toilet, you should get off the toilet!

1yo: cackles as he pushes toilet seat aggressively onto 4yo.

4yo: Oooow! Brother hurt my back!

Mum: THEN GET OFF THE TOILET. 4yo gets off the toilet. Now brush your teeth. 4yo brushes teeth and fed up mum wordlessly lifts him up and deposits him into the bath. Ok 1yo, now it’s your turn to brush your teeth.

1yo: Oh no no no no.

Mum picks up 1yo and places him on the stool by the sink. 4yo impersonates jelly and melts down onto the floor. Mum tries to pick up 1yo. 1yo returns to wood impersonation. Mum lays 1yo down on lap and forcibly brushes teeth, then places 1yo in the bath.

4yo: My brother is stealing all the bubbles! Aggressively moves all the bubbles to his side of the bath.

1yo: Screams because he has no f*cking bubbles

Mum: Pours water over both children’s heads. Washes hair and body whilst ignoring screams and protestations.

18:45 BST

Mum: Time to get out of the bath!

1yo: Oh no no no no!

Mum: forcibly removes wood-like toddler from bath, dresses him and leaves him in his bedroom. Ok 4yo, it’s time for you to get out too.

4yo: But I just need to finish making this volcano. Mum watches while 4yo fills a cup with water and then covers it with a flannel.

Mum: Ok, now let’s get out. I’m going to count to three. 1 … 2 …

4yo: In mortal fear of reaching three, opens the drain of the bath and gets out. Runs into bedroom with towel and hides underneath it. I need to be a pillow!

Mum: Pretends to use towel-wrapped 4yo as a pillow (like every night) Wow, this pillow is sooo comfy. Ok now put on your pajamas.

No response. Mum picks up 4yo and applies his pajamas while he ignores her and attempts to build a bus stop out of Duplo bricks.

Right, now play in your room while I get your brother to sleep.

19:00 BST

Mum reads stories to 1yo and actually enjoys this bit, with cuddles and giggles. Then she lets him drink a large quantity of water. Then she sings Twinkle Star and places him into bed with appropriate toys and dummy. Turns musical projection mobile on. Does secret prayer that this bedtime ritual will work tonight.

Mum: Night night, sleep tight, Mummy loves you, see you in the morning. Magical phrase must be repeated exactly the same each night.

19:10 BST

Mum reads no less than 4 stories with 4yo while he offers continual non-stop explanation of all the illustrations. 4yo gets in bed and mum turns the Gro Clock on (VERY IMPORTANT).

Mum: Would you like a song tonight?

4yo: Yes but it has to be a NEW song that you haven’t sung before.

Mum: But I have already sung you all the songs I’ve ever known.

4yo: Fine, then just sing “Summer of ’69” again.

Mum: I got my first real six-string, bought it at the five and dime, played it ’til my fingers bled, was the summer of ’69! Mum continues to do her best Bryan Adams impersonation while 1yo starts crying in the other room. Okay, big boy, time for sleep. Kisses 4yo.

4yo: 4yo kisses Mum precisely 5 times on the cheek in return and then shouts, Weird!!!

Mum: Night night, sleep tight, mummy loves you, see you when your sun comes up. Runs next door and puts 1yo back in bed.

19:30 BST

Mum goes downstairs, cleans up toys, does the washing up, puts a load of washing on, pours a drink and sits down to watch telly and/or blog. She hears a squeaking doorknob and crying. She runs upstairs and puts 1yo back in bed. Goes back downstairs, takes a drink.

19:40 BST

4yo: shouting from his bed I NEED A POO!!

Mum: Shouting back from downstairs THEN JUST GO!!

19:55 BST

4yo: Still on the toilet, singing Tomblibooo, tombli tombli boooooo!

1yo: Waaaaaa! Mummy mummy mummy!

Mum: runs upstairs. 4yo, please get off the toilet. Puts 1yo back in bed. 4yo is still on the toilet. Mum has to physically remove him from the toilet and assist with wiping and hand washing. Puts 4yo back into bed. Then puts 1yo back into bed again.

20:05 BST

Mum goes downstairs and gets in a solid 10 minutes of blogging. 

20:15 BST

CRASH BANG! Mum runs upstairs. Toddler has removed all the clothes from his wardrobe and wedged a toy lightsaber behind the radiator. Mum tidies up, puts toddler back in bed, and goes downstairs. 

20:30 BST

4yo:  Shouting from his bed again Mummmmyyyyy! My covers are all messed up.

Mum: runs upstairs, fixes 4yo’s slightly disarrayed covers. You know, you could fix these yourself.

4yo: I love you mummy.

Mum: I love you too now please please please go to sleep!

1yo: Waaaaaaa! Mum puts 1yo back into bed again.

21:00 BST

All is finally quiet. At last, mum can do some writing, maybe watch Bake Off. She finishes her glass of wine and falls asleep drooling on the sofa.

What’s bedtime like in your house?

bedtime-pinterest

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Petite Pudding
Two Tiny Hands

Blog Toast Tuesday: 16 August 2016

I was rather excited and flattered the other day when another blog featured me! I thought it was such a lovely idea that I am going to copy her (because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). I’m going to make up my own hashtag for it (why not, right?), and anyone who wants to copy me is perfectly welcome to.

So from now on, every Tuesday I’ll be featuring 3 blogs that I’ve enjoyed over the past week. I’m calling it #blogtoast. Because I’m toasting your efforts, get it? And I like wine.

cars&cooking – From the kitchen to the racetrack and back again

This is the lovely blog that featured me and gave me the idea. The blog does what it says on the tin – shares a great variety of recipes and some very good writing about motor racing. It’s not the typical “mum blog”, but she is a mum, and I think it’s great that she just focuses on what she loves. The recipes she shares are all the sorts of things I (with my limited cooking skills) would like to try, and they sound child-friendly too. First on my list is the Chicken with lemon and caper butter. I had a good chuckle about getting rid of my aggression by pounding the chicken flat.

Siena Says – Lifestyle, Family, Writing and Chocolate

I discovered this one just today whilst participating in this week’s Big Pink Link. Siena says she tried to make her blog like a magazine she would like to read, and she’s certainly made it like a magazine would like to read. She’s got a beautiful layout and a nice spread of topics, with her main menu headings being lifestyle, parenting and opinion. Her conversational writing style makes you want to be her mate and she throws in humour and brutal honesty in equal measure. One of my favourite bits of her linked post, ‘7 Things Primary School Mums Should Know‘ was the point that ‘all school administration staff are trained at the “Had an accident/Life Insurance/PPI Claim School of Texting”‘. That’s already been happening to me with my son’s preschool!

notaneffingfairytale – Because life is no fairytale. Let’s laugh at it together

This was also on the Big Pink Link but I had seen it before. I knew it would be just my sort of thing as soon as I saw her Twitter avatar featuring a drunken Snow White. To me that said ‘escapism’ and ‘drinking’, which are two of my favourite things. Her writing is absolutely hysterical because she is not afraid to ‘go there’. Her linked post was ‘The (embarrassingly) long list of men I would leave my husband for‘ in which it’s not all about looks but she comes up with a rather interesting way to silence David Beckham. I also deeply enjoyed (and related to) ‘Toilets I Have Fallen Down Around The World and Other Travel Injuries‘. It’s not a blog you should read if you’re easily shocked or prim and proper, but if that’s the case you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog either.

What are some of your favourite blogs that you’ve discovered this week? Drop me a comment or stick it up on Twitter, mentioning @themumreviews and #blogtoast, and I’ll RT.

Mummascribbles

Reasons my mum is crying

A child’s musing on those moments when mum loses her sh*t.

I’m sure pretty much everyone knows and loves the famous blog, ‘Reasons my son is crying‘. It pokes fun of the very many things a typical young child might have a bit of a tantrum over. An example from my own 4-year-old today:

4yo (observing as I begin to apply sunscreen to  his 1yo brother): The sunscreen says “kids” on it.

Me: That’s right. Good reading.

4yo: But my brother’s a toddler. Not a kid.

Me (continuing with sunscreen application): Not all kids are toddlers. But all toddlers are kids.

4yo (high-pitched; distressed): NOOOOOOO! My brother needs TODDLER SUNSCREEN! I’m the kid. The kids sunscreen is only for meeeeee!

So, yeah, that happens. And it’s pretty funny when viewed in hindsight. But what about when you’re right there in the moment? Sometimes, don’t you just feel like lying down on the floor, going stiff as a board and refusing to move, a la toddler? Or just having a good old cry? Well, I do. And it got me thinking of what my sons must think of me, when I’ve lost it and cried in front of them. Some examples from my own experiences:

Newborn baby be all like:

My mum keeps shoving her boobs in my face. They are all hard and huge. And she is DOING IT WRONG. I am not having any of that milk until she ups her game a bit.

Wait? Now she’s crying? WTF, I’m the one who’s starving here!

Six month old be all like:

Mum has been IGNORING me all day. She keeps going into the kitchen and turning on some machine that’s really noisy. Now, she puts me in this highchair and starts waving a spoon full of orange mush at me. I don’t think so! I’m going to wave my hands wildly and knock the spoon of mush down her shirt.

She’s crying again. She tried to poison me and SHE’S the one who’s crying!

Nine month old be all like:

I’m tired of this sleeping at nighttime stuff. It is so last month. I’m going to just rest for short 45 minute intervals and then wake up and scream for mum. She loves giving me cuddles in the middle of the night.

3 hours later…

I just had to scream for TEN WHOLE MINUTES before Mum came to cuddle me this time. She’s biting her lower lip and begging me to go to sleep, tears streaming down her face. I don’t know what her problem is. I thought we were having fun, seeing each other all night.

18-month-old be all like:

I’m finished eating and no longer require this plate in front of me, still half-full of food. I shall toss it across the room in the manner of a medieval king.

Hey, why is mum shouting just because there are some baked beans in her hair? I put baked beans in my hair all the time!

2-year-old be all like:

These playgroups are kind of cool. Hey, wait a minute! Some kid is trying to play with the same plastic kitchen as me! I’m going to hit him repeatedly with this small metal pan until he goes away. What? Now mum is trying to drag me away from this usurper. I will go stiff as a board so she can’t move me until I’m ready to go. Uh oh, woman is tearing up again. Maybe if I scream a little louder in this public place she will learn to respect my boundaries.

4-year-old be all like:

It’s getting late and I’m actually quite tired. I’m going to give Mummy a big cuddle and tell her that I love her before I go to sleep. Wait…is she crying again?

Is it just me or have you experienced these sorts of moments? What are the reasons your kids’ mum is crying?

The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum