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Yay the MissMuss tree

December 30, 2013

Christmas Day

The first question came when she’d finished her morning milky, “MissMuss eating the carrit?” She wriggled out of bed and scuttled to the top of the stairs. Holding my finger we went down counting steps and she ran into the kitchen … “OH WOW MissMuss eat the carrit, carrit all gone, MissMuss drink water OH WOW”. Then when she realised MissMuss had left a present by her plate she was beside herself glee, “Up and down, Up and down Mummi, OPEN IT” … MissMuss had left her a page of stickers (horse stickers to be precise) and a plastic horse (not a my little pony pink plastic one but one that looked much like Red Rum). When you press the little tummy button on the horse it makes a gallopy noise and then neighs …

“MissMuss, Hopey HORSEY … wow oh wow”, and then she started on again about the carrot.

It was a very happy little soul that noshed her bowl of porridge and jam and then remembered there was a roomful of tree to explore. She demanded to be lifted up and put down and dashed off along the hallway to the sitting room. Silence. Then the thundering pitter pat of very small feet hurtling back toward the kitchen, “mummi mummi mummi YAY the MissMuss tree”. She was so so happy just pottering between the kitchen and the treefilled sitting room, sitting playing with her horse (now called Shadow after the one she rode on in the States … her idea), and standing gazing up at the tree and the lights.

She wasn’t best pleased when I took her upstairs to change her into her Christmas dress, dark green made from fine corduroy with a kind of ruffle at the bottom (not flouncy as it sounds), and a new (for the first time ever) red cardigan and matching red tights, but I kept on singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing and that distracted her and it wasn’t long before my festive little soul was going down the stairs, holding my finger asking to see the remains of the carrot again and singing Away in a Manger.

Hope carried on singing all the way to church, we were a little late and tried to slip in at the back but the only seat left was in the front row next to the vicar. We sidled in and then Hope, who had bought Shadow along for the adventure, decided to press the ‘gallopy’ button on the horses tummy, just as a moment of prayer started. It was very funny as well as being deeply embarrassing. My response to the situation was to snort, an out loud snort, I’d been trying to stifle a giggle and it went horribly wrong. Hope pressed the button again and started to sing Horsey Horsey. I took the horse, she started to cry. The prayers continued and I wanted the hand of God to reach down and rescue me by removing the horse but it didn’t happen. We went across to the play area and she then started to throw crayons everywhere, they clattered to the floor and then she lifted the entire pot and emptied it loudly onto the wooden floor. I dived over to try to stop her, as soon as I got close she went bonkers, the entire congregation were looking over. I think many of them had also found the horsey incident amusing, but the crayon throwing really was a bit too disruptive. The vicar very kindly made a comment relating to the noise Baby Jesus would have been making in the stable and related it to the reality of children’s noises while she looked across at the small red and green menace who by now was loudly dragging the small plastic chairs laid out for children around the room.

and so it continued …

she’s never misbehaved in church before, normally services are in the beautiful old church, but the heating has malfunctioned so during the cold times we’re in the hall, maybe it seemed less formal, who knows … but by the time the service was over half the hall was covered in crayons and I was pouring sweat while she ran up and down at the side.

She did quieten down at the last and joined in with Hark the Herald and then demanded “presents” very loudly. She was given a lovely hand knitted purple jumper and a book and some chocolate (which I hid). We waved our goodbyes and headed round to my neighbours to wish them a happy Christmas.

They are two wonderful friends who adore Hope, and she them. They have 3 large toy monkeys in their front room which Hope plays with every time she is there. She walked in and demanded them immediately and was slightly disgruntled when she was given a bag (bigger than her) with a picture of MissMuss on the front (which she kissed) full of presents. They gave her a huge stuffed horse that folds out into a pillow, and a long sleeved shirt with a horse on the front … a theme appeared to be emerging!! She then demanded the monkeys again. I wish I could articulate the way she says monkey, somehow she manages to make it sound like milky … but not … more mulky combined with munkey, it is very sweet, and also confusing as often I lean forward and start lifting my top thinking she wants milky, she looks at me in her, “oh mother” kind of way and repeats herself!!

Laden with horse related gifts we headed round to the graveyard to visit my father, he had a splosh of whisky on his grave and I put a small plant next to the rose bush I planted when I had a miscarriage. Hope slept in the car and I enjoyed a little peace and calm in the clear air before hurrying home to put the turkey on (it had been sitting in the car all night as the fridge was too small), and sort out veg, presents, table and so on. Then we managed to escape down to the swings so she could have some fresh air and a run about (“run and run and run”) before her father appeared in his Christmas finest laden with even more presents.

The rest of the day passed in a non stop blur of business, friends came for dinner, we pulled crackers, wore hats and told jokes. Hope, as ever, stole the show and ate a huge chunk of turkey and particularly enjoyed the sausage meat stuffing. She watched with amazement as I set fire to the Christmas Pudding, “Hot mummi hot” and then insisted on trying some with a dollop of brandy butter.

Then came the present opening. Now, call me old fashioned, but I like to open presents in a relatively sedate fashion at Christmas, taking it in turns so you can see who has been given what and taking time to enjoy what you’ve been given. I know it’s not what many people do but it’s always been something I’ve felt important. So, we started the unwrapping, and Hope pottered between present recipients handing them out. She seemed to enjoy that almost more than opening them. A wonderful lady from church changed all that though, Hope opened (tiny piece of paper by tiny piece of paper) a lovely story book, sat down and said very loudly, “Oh wow” and turned the pages (saying “page” as she turned them) and looking at the pictures. Then she heard her father say something about Peppa Pig and abandoned the book and opened a little lunch pot with the porker on the lid, she then spent ages putting a bit of ribbon in the box, putting the lid on and taking it off, pulling it out and so on.

We missed all the Christmas TV specials and in the end were defeated by the sheer mountain of presents (people have been so very kind), and headed to bed. Before we left the sitting room, Hope had to run over and pick up Shadow the horse, make it gallop and then she lent forward and kissed the Christmas tree. I asked if she’d like to open a final present, she shook her head and then shouted gleefully, “MissMuss eted the carrit” and headed up the stairs to bed.

For me there was alot of hard work, the heating had literally over boiled, melting (yes melting) the boiler, on Christmas Eve so we had no heat other than a few oil powered radiators which very kind friends lent us, and only luke warm water … but we were lucky compared to many without power, gas or water so I shouldn’t grumble. Sometimes looking after a short person, keeping an eye on someone in their late 80s and cooking, cleaning, wrapping and getting everything done by yourself is tough, but as I say all worth it to hear her excitement and to watch her utter joy when standing watching the Christmas tree lights twinkling.

My Christmas present from my mother was getting the piano tuned so we can look forward to a musical year ahead which I’m very excited about, and her father gave Granby and I tickets to go and see a show in London … but, for me it wasn’t about presents, the kindness of friends, and just seeing Hope have such fun made me very happy indeed, and I will never forget the look on her face when she realised the carrot had been eaten.


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