Dear Father Christmas

This post was inspired by A Safe Mooring’s beautiful post which is far more heartfelt and stylish than I can ever aspire to be – let’s face it, I wouldn’t know a lumberjack-meets-librarian if one punched me in the face).

December 2013

Dear Father Christmas,

This Christmas, I would really like the following things. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and grumpy at the best of times, and I know I haven’t been particularly tolerant this year, and I’ve emitted various inventive swear words, and this weekend I called an idea that my husband had moronic (when on reflection, it really wasn’t). I know all that.

The Chocolate for Hell exchange progamme

2013 has been unforgiveable to some people. I have friends (and friends of friends) who, this year, have gone through pretty much the worst that life could throw at them and are still going through hell, chin up, fighting. They know who they are and I admire every single one of them more than they will ever know.

I would really, really like them to have a Christmas free of worry, where their biggest concern is whether to finish that box of orange Matchmakers and how much is too much to loosen a belt.

A Good Morning Beautiful gown

Image from Good Morning Beautiful

I am interspersing the meaningful with the downright er…cosmetic. I’d really, really, like a Good Morning Beautiful gown, to make the Guantanamo-esque two hourly wakeup schedule for the next ten years (FINE, I’m a drama queen, but that’s what it feels like) that little bit more bearable. FC, I’ve dropped megatron hints on this one, but grateful if you could pick up should those megatron hints go unheeded. Ta.

(I now have an amazing vision of me by candlelight, wearing this gown, bending over a crib lovingly at 4am. In this vision, there is no vomit or screaming.  From me or the kid).

A bit of gratitude

I wrote in my last post about being grateful, and our readers responded with the most incredible comments. I go back to those comments whenever I’m having a down day, or whenever I forget how lucky I am. I’d really like to remember how lucky I am, this Christmas. I’d like to remember that Christmas is about more than being wedged in between angry shoppers in John Lewis, and getting annoyed when a parcel is delivered by courier and not Royal Mail (UGH, I have to make a PHONE CALL, and sort out RE-DELIVERY, UGH), and swearing at yet another cancelled train back to Bristol, and moaning about the temperature (it’s too cold, it’s not cold enough, it’s not snowing, it’s snowing, baaah). I’d also like to remember that Christmas is about more than mulled wine and decorating a tree and love-is-all-around (because for some people, it just isn’t). I don’t touch religion with a bargepole, but this time of year, to me, is about giving joy to other people, and stepping back and taking that deep breath that you mean to take all year round and never manage to do.  And remembering, and saying thank you, and doing what you can to make other people’s lives just a bit better.

Book recommendations

Penguin Clothbound Classics – Dickens boxed set

From my family, I have asked for this set of books by Dickens. (Because that’s going to be easy to read in the middle of the night, feeding).  I could really do with some reading recommendations to get me through the sleepless nights. I’m currently reading The Sea, The Sea as that’s what my mum read when she was pregnant with me. I don’t want any psychological thrillers – we live next to a forest and my imagination is well-developed. But any recommendations for books you read in 2013 in Lapland during the off-season that you think would sustain me through that baby workout schedule would be gratefully received. I’ll hit the library in the new year.

And FC? This mug would accompany said books beautifully.

Grammar Grumble mug from The Literary Gift Company

Is that it?

I sometimes have imaginary conversations with my four-year old kid.  The one that’s come up quite a lot recently is one where they finish unwrapping their Christmas presents and ask, is that it?  It’s a recurring nightmare.  In my head, I frogmarch them to the nearest Crisis at Christmas centre and have them serve food.  But really, why should I wait for that, FC?  Why isn’t that something I do every year?  Crisis at Christmas is incredible.  You can volunteer, be that by welcoming guests to centres, sorting bedding or serving food. Or you can reserve a place for a homeless person, and get them three hot meals including a Christmas dinner and a chance to shower, shave, and change clothes.  If I’m seriously considering blowing upwards of £30 on a work Christmas party, I can bloody well buy someone who’s out on the streets a hot meal and a shower.  Is that all, over my dead body.

For our readers to lose large chunks of their Christmas to this website, and feel better for it

I’d normally save this for a Weekend Wonderings, but Mandela pipped this to the post this week.  Have you seen Upworthy? It’s a “mission-driven media company” supplying inspirational, important snippets uploaded for your viewing pleasure.  In their own words, with Upworthy, there’s…

“no empty calories. No pageview-juking slideshows. No right-column sleaze. Just a steady stream of the most irresistibly shareable stuff you can click on without feeling bad about yourself afterwards…

…We’re not a newspaper — but we do have a point of view. We’re pro-gay-marriage, and we’re anti-child-poverty. We think the media is horrible to women, we think climate change is real, and we think the government has a lot to learn from the Internet about efficiency, disruption, and effectiveness.”

The videos are short,uplifting, and all of them will make you think.  They’ll make you want to share them with the people you love the most.  If this video makes you uncomfortable, then you make me uncomfortable. (best title for a video ever).   The double standards women face in the workplace.  The capturing of love and loss in a series of photographs.  Or if you ever want to be something bigger than yourself.

Go on, FC.  Lose yourself in these.  Especially the “Inspirational” page. But save it until Boxing Day.  You’ve a schedule to stick to.

Baby K and the final furlong

Mostly though, FC, perspective-changing videos and charity and dressing gowns aside, I’d really like Baby K to make it unscathed through these last few weeks. I’m really excited about meeting our kid. I have no idea what it is exactly I’m supposed to do with said kid other than love it, feed it, keep it warm, but you know, I’m sure we’ll figure it out. That’s what 2014’s for.

 

Categories: Written By Anna
27 interesting thoughts on this

27 Comments

  1. Posted December 11, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Love it, feed it, keep it warm….that’s about it for the first 3 months!

    If you don’t already have a kindle, now is the time – you won’t have two free hands for books during the night, and my kindle saved me from insanity during the relentless feeding. Although I admit I spent more time chuckling at some of the ridiculousness that is ‘Am I being unreasonable?’ on mumsnet than I did actually reading books….

    I’m hoping for those desperate to see the back if 2013 that ’14 is kinder to them and brings them their hearts desires – love to you all

    X

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I managed to read a paper copy of Middlemarch whilst feeding so it can be done but requires a strong hand and a lot of bloody-mindedness (my mum had told me I’d never read it once the baby came so I had a point to prove…incidentally her pregnancy book was War and Peace. I didn’t continue the tradition.)

      Px

      • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        I have both strong hands and bloody mindedness. Dickens it is. W&P would take me three pregnancies to get through!

        • Emma
          Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          I spent the early days/weeks reading the latest Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell novels – both hardbacks (and both excellent), which wasn’t too challenging once baby was on and feeding as she generally tended to stay that way for a while and it was just a case of propping the book in my lap/on her or just using one hand. Now that she’s crawling/grabbing/standing like crazy I feel a little nostalgic for those days when I could have a good long read in the middle of the day thanks to a long feeding session….only for the reading, that is…
          x

          • rachel JHD
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            I read Gone with the wind,I feed with pillows so they were a good prop for such a thick book. It will always stay with me because of when I read it & it being the first novel that described childbirth after I’d experienced it.

  2. rachel JHD
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Agree with Vivienne about Kindle, I’m reading all the free classic books, especially recommend children’s classics as can tap, shush sing whilst reading. Anne of Greengables gladdened my heart in the early hours.
    Have you read The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – wonderful.
    & my final book gift to you, & all other AOWers if you didn’t know about them – BabyLit. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_lbr_books_series_browse-bin%3ABaby%20Lit
    Yes there is an Anna Karenina.
    All the best to the imminent K family x

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Oops…..some may have fallen in to my Amazon basket!

      • Leni
        Posted December 11, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Rachel they are fab! Just ordered Alice in Wonderland for my Alice for Christmas. Thankyou.

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      There is also a Wuthering Heights! Be still, my beating heart!

    • Emily
      Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Oh I loved the Snow Child – beautiful! I think it’s definitely something the AOW book lovers will like.

  3. Leni
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Yes, a kindle! And very easy to read books. I am currently on the newest Marian Keyes. I was half way through The Great Gatsby when A was born…. Still half way through it. My brain is no where near that intelligent at 3am ( or possibly at all any more)! And beware the iPhone/iPad in the middle of the night. Until about 2 weeks ago (A is 12 weeks now) I continued to drive myself mad by googling ” 7 week old wake every hour” or “how to cure wind in newborns” or “making baby stay asleep”. Not helpful or healthy.
    Love the robe. I have asked for warm PJs for Christmas as we have sort of fallen into co-sleeping (why is there a made up word for everything baby? Why not just say ” sleeping with baby in bed?”) and my arms get really cold!

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Whereas late night googling helped me figure out that I wasn’t going crazy, my baby isn’t behaving normally and actually has a dairy intolerance. So different for everyone! I think it’s knowing where to draw the line…!

      Px

      • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        It saved me – even though I knew feeding hourly was indeed normal, it was reassuring to read it or speak to other awake mamas on Twitter!

      • Leni
        Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Yes Penny, you’re right, different for everyone. I think Dr Google is bad for me because, as you mentioned, A’s behaviour is ” normal”. It’s not easy but she is just being a still tiny little baby.I just need to trust my instincts and go with the flow. Reading how other people’s 12 week olds sleep through when mine never sleeps longer than 2.5 hours made me question what I was doing but I have now realised that every baby is different and that for every miracle sleeping baby out there, there is also one that is not sleeping well. And, bar the lack of sleep, A is happy and healthy so I should be grateful and thankful for that.

  4. Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Rachel wins all internetting for discovering the awesomeness that is BabyLit. I adore!

    I didn’t read during feeds. I twitter stalked for the first few weeks but once we’d cracked feeding lying down, I slept. Far more productive. Though now I feel I should have read Middlemarch.

    I was just about to ask Santa for a big fluffy dressing gown… But now feel that a GMB robe may be necessary. Certainly lighter, I don’t want to weigh down the sleigh, now.

    I’ve become slightly obsessed with donating to our local foodbank, in a similar vein to your ‘is that it?’ nightmares. Having S has really reinforced how f*cking lucky we are that we can afford nappies and fresh food – it hurts my heart to think of families, whether with kids or without, going hungry. So I go every week with a bag of bits. It never feels like it’s enough.

    Anna, I LOVE YOU. AND BABY K. AND MR K.

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      You absolute sap.

      Love you too, you megatron div.

      Great call on the foodbank. For anyone who wants to drop off bits and bobs to people who need it, you can find your local foodbank here: http://www.trusselltrust.org/map

      • Posted December 11, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        And if there’s not one near you on that list (there isn’t one easy for me to pop to) then try your local council – ours has a list and I found one just down the road that I dropped my first bag of bits off at this morning.

  5. Rach M
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Oh Anna K, I don’t half love your writing. I really enjoyed this. I can’t wait for Baby K’s arrival either! Hats off to Rachel for discovering Baby Lit, I’m having that in the bank of baby gift ideas.
    Am inspired to find my nearest food bank today x

    • rachel JHD
      Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I’d read about them & presumed they were only available in America & then saw them in this bookshop http://www.underthegreenwoodtree.co.uk/ . So it ‘s thanks to an independent bookshop. Hurrah

      • Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I came across them in our wonderful independent bookshop on campus and snapped them up! Perfect present for baby bookworms :)

  6. Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to meet Baby K, hope you and Mr K enjoy these last few weeks!! I happen to have a direct line to FC so, you know, you’re sorted chicken.

    So much love xxx

    PS Thank you :)

  7. Katielase
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Is it okay to buy BabyLit books when you don’t have a baby? Yes? We’ll call it forward planning or something.

    I’ve also become vaguely obsessed with donating to my local food bank, I can’t bear that people should be hungry. I also can’t bear how many people I know are ill and struggling this Christmas, and how many more there are across the world. All I really want is for people who are fighting illness, fighting treatments that hurt them as much as they save their lives, to have one moment in their day when they forget the constant pain and the fear and the ever-present nature of their disease. Just one second free from all that would be miraculous.

    Anna, you are truly wonderful and you deserve all the joy on the world. Baby K is so lucky, it cannot know how lucky. I’m going to email you a book recommendation list, and then I’ll lend you anything you want from it.

    Okay, I need to stop getting this emotional at 9am in the morning. I’m going to go stick my face in a jar of Nutella until I calm down.

    KL xx

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I had exactly the same reaction to the idea of Baby Lit…!

  8. Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I love this. Every year I am flabbergasted by the sheer scale of consumerism at Christmas (and at how easy it is to get caught up in it all). It’s lovely to be able to spoil friends and family (and ourselves), but so many people don’t have that luxury. Thanks for the Crisis link, I am jumping over there right now to reserve a spot for someone. After all, I wouldn’t think twice about spending that money on a box of posh chocolates to round off our Christmas lunch.

    And a big Yes Please to one of those stunning gowns. And that mug. Mostly so I can use it pointedly at work…

  9. Zan
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Lovely post Anna. And you’ve reminded me that I haven’t’ donated to charity yet this Christmas. I like to do it every year to ‘balance out’ the money spent on presents. So thanks for the prompt!

    Hoping you, Mr K and Baby K have a wonderful Christmas x

  10. Katherine
    Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Just to add to some of the other comments, I’d really recommend an e-reader, especially one with a light. They are great for night feeds and an impromptu torch..

  11. Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    A lumberjack-meets-librarian would never punch you in the face, dearest. She would chop down a tree for you, make it into a shelf and then fill it with books categorised by anything other than colour.

    I love this post (and thank you).

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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