Eleanor reflects on Christmas with Rosamund


Christmas!  Get up.  Quite dark.  Rosamund is sleeping; I can hear her snuffle, snuffle snore from the cot.  Tread carefully out of the room trying to contain the bubble of Christmas! Christmas! Christmas! in my chest before it bursts into loud shouting for joy and Daddy comes in and tells me off for waking up Rosamund.  Tip toe, tip toe, creaky door handle, pause – snuffle, snuffle, snore – tippy toes, tippy toes, and out of my bedroom and into the hall.  Made it.

Run to Mummy and Daddy’s room and open the door.  Dark.  I can see their lumps huddled under the duvet in their bed.  This happened last Christmas.  I don’t understand.  Last night I discussed with Daddy about how Santa would get into the house using magic, and where his reindeer would land, and if he would be able to eat all the food that all of the children around the world left out, and Daddy seemed very excited about it all and now he’s asleep.

I sneak to his side of the bed and start to prod at him.  There is some kind of movement from deep inside the duvet, and then he rises up all fuggy, and blind and confused like that bear we saw on TV that time and I said Daddy was hairy like a beary, and he thought I meant a berry, so then I sang a song called “Daddy is the hairest”, and he said “oh, a bear” and chased me around the house growling.

I pull Daddy down the hall to the living room where the Christmas tree is.  We come to the living room door and I almost can’t look.  What if Santa has forgotten us?  What if there are no presents?  I asked for a surprise.  Daddy said that the surprise might be that there are no presents. I thought he was joking, but maybe he was serious.  He said it right after I jumped on his stomach and fell on Rosamund and made her cry.  Please, please, please Santa, I’m a good girl.  Quite often.  It’s so hard to be good when I’m hungry.  Or tired.  Or excited, sad, happy, bored.  It’s hard.

Oh, relief!

There is a big pile of presents.  So big.  So many.  I stand and look at them for a long time.  This is SO exciting.  Daddy says something about breakfast but I wave him away.  I need to do some counting, weighing and shaking.  This will take some time.  I notice that the glass of milk and the Christmas mince pie that we left out are gone.  Time to assess the presents.


I have a lot to teach Rosamund about Christmas.  Here is my list of things to teach her.  I will need to get Daddy to write this down for me so that I can remember it for next year.

  1. Christmas morning is not a morning to sleep in.  Daddy tells me that 8.00am is not a sleep in, but he is wrong about this like he is about so many other things, and is frankly becoming more and more unreliable as a  source of information.  Next Christmas Rosamund will need to get up a lot earlier that 8.00am.
  2. Christmas morning is a morning to be excited about because there are presents to be opened.  Rosamund started well by bouncing up and down in her cot when we all pulled the curtains, and giving Mummy a cuddle, and chortling when I tickled the bottom of her foot, but then she went and had a nappy change, and then she had breakfast, and then she wanted to play on the floor with a bit if dust.  I had to step in and insist that we stop mucking about and get to the presents.
  3. Rosamund needs to be more focused on the presents and less focused on the boxes they come in, and the bits of paper, and the ribbons.  Boxes, paper and ribbons are nice, but presents are better.  I think she started to understand this because I showed her how to do it: (a) quickly rip through paper and throw to one side, (b) pause to look at the box which usually gives you a clue, (c) try to open box and packaging but this is usually too hard so hand to nearest parent, (d) parents often get distracted so keep pressure on by constantly jiggling their scissor hand, and tugging their T-shirt until they get the present out of its packaging, (e) play with gift, (f) pick up next present.
  4. When Rosamund gets her presents she needs to start thinking about the next one, and trying to open it, and not play with one toy for too long.  She got stuck playing with a little aeroplane, with a bear in it who sang the alphabet song for ages.  Every time it sang the song she would stop what she was doing and start dancing and looking around and smiling at everyone.  There is so much time to do this after you have opened all of your presents.  Daddy tells me that I need to “appreciate” my presents, but I think Rosamund is taking this too far.  To be honest I think they could have just given her one present and she would have been happy.  I’m going to have to talk to her about this.  I don’t want her planting any ideas in Mummy and Daddy’s heads.


I am waiting at the gate for Granny, and Gram and all the others to arrive.  They are coming for Christmas lunch.  Rosamund is in bed.  I have been helping Daddy get through all of his jobs.  Mummy had quite a long list of jobs for Daddy, and Mummy seemed to have a long list for herself in the kitchen.  I was going to help Mummy in the kitchen but when I accidentally bumped her arm while she was carrying something to the fridge I sensed from her expression that I should go and help Daddy in the garden.  Daddy seemed pleased to see me.  After a little bit of kicking the ball into the bushes and asking him to get it, he told me about my important job.  Apparently it’s very important on Christmas Day that all the guests are greeted at the front gate.  I didn’t know this, so I ran to the front gate and here I am.  The sky is blue, and the shadows are shrinking under the trees.  I can smell yummy food.  There is a car coming up the street now.  I had better go and say hello to our first guest.

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō