How Toddlers See Christmas.

It's Christmas time and it appears that my four year old has no clue what the hell is going on. 

Most days, he looks at me like I have ten heads.

But why? I don't get it as I think I've explained Christmas pretty well.

I've told him all about the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the stable, the little donkey and the three wise men.

I've told him about the magical overweight pensioner that can see him sneaking his cold broccoli florets into the bin all the way from the North Pole (I may not be watching but Santa can see everything!)

He knows that he has to be good. He knows that if he forces down the broccoli, the mysterious pensioner may well squeeze down our non-existent chimney on Christmas eve and deliver him a Play Doh set and an alphabet puzzle (I know, weird kid but that's what he wants).

It all makes perfect sense doesn't it?

I thought that I had explained it well and that he had understood me quite clearly.

And then he pulled a bag of Babybels out of the fridge in Asda and said;'Look Mummy, its the Baby Cheeses'.

'No honey, it's Jesus...JJJJesus Not Cheeses!.'...

Sigh.

So, no. He has no idea what's going on.

And then I realised that it's no wonder the kid doesn't get it. The reason that he is looking at me like I'm totally insane is not only because he thinks Christmas is a massive party to celebrate the Babybel cheeses, but also because we have been giving so many mixed messages lately.

In truth, every house rule that he has ever known has been broken these last few weeks.

Because it's Christmas.

The following household rules that usually apply now don't apply at all. Perhaps this is why the poor little fella is all mixed up :

1. NO SWEETS UNTIL AFTER YOU'VE EATEN YOUR DINNER

On a normal day: He says 'Mummy, can I have a chocolate?'

I reply: 'Yes sweetheart, but only after you've eaten every single piece of cauliflower*, 3 spoons of your kidney beans** and that slab of delicious aubergine*** from your plate. Then, and only then, can you have a chocolate'. 

(*fishfinger  **frozen peas ***potato waffle)

But now it's Christmas:

I exclaim: 'Yes son. YES!!! Let's get up at 6am every single day for 24 straight days and tear open little numbered doors to get a tiny chocolate in the shape of a bell!

'Let's eat chocolate BEFORE breakfast! Before kidney beans and aubergines!! Lets!!!'

And it doesn't stop there because now that I have given him chocolate before breakfast, he expects it before every single meal.

'Mummy, mummy , MUMMY!!!! Can I have chocolate???'

'Yes!! Yes!!! Do it! Eat them ALL! It's Christmas!!!', I sing as I scrape the congealed kidney beans into the bin and throw handfuls of Celebrations up in the air like Willy Wonka on speed.

'It's Christmas!!!!!'

DON'T WATCH TOO MUCH TV!

On a normal day:

I say: 'Go outside and play. Why are you indoors when it's so nice outside? Let's turn off the TV. Go and play ball!' 

'Go and throw the ball. Kick!! Yes!'

But now that it's Christmas:

I yell: 'Get your hands off those balls!! They are NOT to be played with!! They are to be looked at! They are Mummy's special Christmas balls. Hands off....GO AND WATCH TV!!!'

'Don't throw my balls!!. DON'T kick! No!!

'And definitely don't EAT them!!!''

GET DRESSED FOR School:

On a normal day

I say: 'Right, get your pants on. Here's your trousers. Get those jammies off. We have to leave in 5 minutes!'

'What will Mrs Jolly say if you turn up to school in your pyjamas? You don't want everyone to see you in your jim-jams do you?', I say every single morning at 8.25am as I wipe the sweat from my brow and consider the possibility of home schooling to avoid this daily ordeal.

But now that it's Christmas:

I say: 'Right Bob, here's your dressing gown and your jammies. We musn't forget to take them into school. What will Mrs Jolly say if you turn up WITHOUT your pyjamas?? You DO want everyone to see you in your jim-jams don't you?!!'

STAY AWAY FROM STRANGERS

On a normal day:

I say: 'Never ever talk to strangers. Even if they offer you sweets or toys. You must never EVER talk to anyone that you don't know!'

Now that it's Christmas:

I say: ' Go on son, go and sit on that strange man's knee...you know, the one that is masquerading as a kind, pot- bellied pensioner. If you're a really good boy then he may give you a sweet or a toy!! Go on'

So I realise that Christmas to a four year old appears to be a massive month-long celebration of cheese where you can eat chocolate and watch tv all day, wear your pyjamas in public and receive toys from strange old men with fake woolley beards...but only if you're prepared to sit on their knee and tell them that you're good.

Oh, and eating cold broccoli will get you a alphabet puzzle.

Actually, that sounds about right.