25 December 2007

Christmas Chickie

I think my coughing fits might have irritated my brother-in-law as I was handed a dog lead. “But it’s dark” I whined, “and cold!”. A scarf and a plastic bag were provided before I was shoved outside. As the front door slammed behind us, a reluctant husky who had been happily chomping her 2ft Christmas bone on her leopard skin rug before befalling the same fate, looked up at me with sad eyes.

Venturing into the darkness, I waited for Toula to follow. When she didn’t, I looked back to find her stuck to the doorstep. “Come on Touski” I said encouragingly, patting my knees. Touski leaned backwards. As I dragged the four stone husky, a breed apparently renowned for its love of the great outdoors, around the unlit village streets, I pictured my family all snuggled on the sofa, stuffing their fat faces with Milk Tray. I knew they were enjoying my absence.

Admittedly, Chickie and I hadn’t proved to be the easiest of Christmas guests this year. Earlier in the day, the tree had been twinkling and the fire had cast a cosy glow over Christmas morning. The self appointed keeper of the presents sat guarding his treasure. I’d sat poised with the camera as Daddy had negotiated the release of the hostage parcels. The family had looked on, awaiting that warm fluffy feeling that only a toddler discovering Christmas can bring.
Chickie’s terms were straightforward. No one else was to touch the presents, no one else was to open the presents. Reading the gift tags proved tricky but, it didn’t really matter who they were for as Chickie was thoughtful enough to open everybody’s.

As the giving and receiving of gifts slowed down, a demonic voice that sounded much like Darth Vadar crossed with a Gremlin, rose up from under the tree. “MORE PRESENTS!”. I looked at Chickie’s menacing little face, half expecting his eyes to glow red and his head to rotate 360 degrees. “MORE PRESENTS” he shouted impatiently before snatching another from under the tree, frisbee-ing it at Grandad when it became clear it wasn’t on his list.

We don’t know at what point Chickie had crossed to the dark side but Mummy took evil Chickie aside to reiterate the Christmas message. He didn’t take it well, flinging himself to the floor and wailing for five minutes before continuing his reign of festive terror. Everyone was grateful when all the angst finally tired him out and the two foot terror was put away.

Then my cough really got going. Sympathy had been forthcoming initially, until my barking had drowned out Finding Nemo and Shrek II. Now banished to wandering the streets, I pulled Toula to the side of the road. At least I tried to. Peering through the middle of the collar where Toula’s neck was supposed to be, I wondered how my sister would take the news that, after finishing off her son’s pet hamster, her prize pooch was now stood smirking at me from her revised location; facing oncoming traffic, on a bend, in the dark.

As headlights approached, jumping up and down whilst waving my arms in the air seemed like the only logical thing to do. Thankfully, the mini saw the mad woman doing star jumps in the middle of the road. The mini then spent a further ten minutes crawling along after said mad woman as she chased her sister’s runaway dog all the way home.

My chocolate covered family barely looked up from their Bumper Selection Packs as I staggered through the door.

23 December 2007

Holidays Are Coming!

Chickie is officially 'cited'. Roughly translated, he's very excited. Although not fully grasping the deeper Christmas message of saviour, star and wise men, he has definitely got to grips with one part. Presents!

Each time another brightly wrapped parcel is delivered to Chez Chickie, he wets his nappy with joy. A brief penguin dance follows before he waddles over to carefully carry the cherished cargo and place it under the tree where it is precisely positioned. He then pokes it, prods it, resumes the penguin dance with accompanying squeals of sheer excitement and then recommences the poking.

He doesn't know what Christmas is, but he knows it's coming and he knows it's going to be good.

19 December 2007

Where's There's A Joint Account There's A Way

Lying in bed at 7pm last night, as an unexpected relapse replenished the mucous that was meant to be subsiding and breathed a barking cough into being, I did seriously wonder about secretly remortgaging and spending the money on a three week trip to Florida.

Three weeks in a hot place instead of a snot place. Three weeks with warm air circulating around my bronchial tubes. Three weeks to recuperate.

I imagined Chickie sat on the doorstep clutching a note. Accountant would find it when he got home. "Feed me and wipe my bum" it would read. "Lots of love Mummy xxx". "P.S I'm in Florida".

Yes, it was tempting. At the point, I was imagining myself sipping a Pina Colada, swinging on a hammock strung between two palm trees, breathing through both nostrils, a screaming Chickie was plonked onto my sick bed.

Accountant, unnerved by the bizarre gurling coming from Chickie's chest, wanted a second opinion. Whilst rubbing Chickie's back and sniffing his head, I ran my Florida dream past him.

"No chance" he said simply. I handed Chickie back to him before burrowing under the covers and pulling the duvet over my head.

I suppose he was right. Who would Chickie pass all his germs onto if I wasn't around?

13 December 2007

Whilst Shepherds Abandoned Their Sheep By Lunchtime

Glam-Nan, Snowy, Grandma, Grandpa and I sat on the edge of our pew, eagerly awaiting Chickie in his debut performance as a Shepherd in his pre-school nativity. We hoped he wouldn't be scared by all the people. What if he started to cry?

As the music began, Chickie the Shepherd made a cautious entrance. As the sweet little face encased in a golden teatowel caught sight of his fanclub, it lit up before starting to scream, "Nanna" whilst jigging on the spot and waggling his arms in delight.

With that, Glam-Nan, Snowy, Grandma, Grandpa and mummy spontaneously burst into tears, each of us overcome by the cutest little shepherd in the history of nativity and his fluffy sheep.

Chickie's performance, whilst restricted to lobbing his sheep across the stage and gnawing on his percussion instrument, was just fabulous. A shining example to all would be Shepherds!

10 December 2007

Like Father, Like Son

Chickie was booked in at Nanna and Grandad's for a sleepover and Accountant and I were booked in at Cafe Rouge at 8pm. I'd only allowed myself to get excited about the prospect of a night out because Chickie's vital signs were good with no suggeston of pending illness that usually turned our plans for a night out into a night chasing him round with a thermometer.

Watching Chickie totter excitedly into his Nanna's arms, pulling his little Thomas the Tank Engine overnight wheely case, I almost couldn't bear to leave him. Five minutes later as he frisbied jigsaw pieces around their lounge, almost decapitating Grandad, I found the strength.

Then the phone rang. It was Accountant, his bestest sick voice proclaiming that he was on his way home. He didn't feel well. His tummy hurt. "No" I wailed selfishly, as my dreams of release from my nightly prison went poof.

Ransacking the medicine cupboard, I took out all the drugs that caused drowsiness, hoping that I could dose Accountant into a state whereby he wouldn't notice me bundling him into the boot of the car, driving him to Brighton and tying him to the chair opposite mine in the restaurant.

As Accountant hobbled through the front door an hour later, his teeth chattering for added effect, I knew we weren't going anywhere. By 5pm, Accountant, wearing his suit, shoes and coat was tucked up in bed snoring.

At the time I should have been slurping my French Onion soup, followed by Croque Monsieur and chocolate crepes, I was sat alone at my dining room table, eating fishfingers in my pyjamas.

A nappy bag landing in the hall indicated that Accountant was conscious. I wandered into the hallway, intrigued as to its contents seeing as the filler of the nappies wasn't in residence. A pair of Accountant's boxer shorts lurked within the polythene.

I didn't ask, although I had a hunch. I trudged back to my fishfingers.

03 December 2007

Tis the Season to be Snotty... Tra La La La La La La

The big day had arrived. All my super efficient organising had led to this moment. 1 December - the day when being super excited about christmas becomes legal. And super excited I had been - pre-writing all my Christmas cards, sorting them into alphabetical order, stroking all my new christmas decorations stashed away in the airing cupboard. But instead of smugly posting my cards and hanging my beautiful fuzzy felt decorations on the tree, I was in bed with a tampon stuck up each nostril.

By 2 December and inspired by my beloved Coca Cola Holidays are Coming advert, I heaved my snot ravaged body out of its pit, determined to be filled with Christmas cheer, god damn it. Accountant was sent into the loft to retrieve the tree whilst Chickie and I stood at the bottom of the ladder, our watery eyes, filled with excitement. After nearly being crushed to death by the Christmas Tree falling from the hatch, we stepped back and remained excited from there.

Whilst Chickie emptied all the boxes onto the living room floor, giggling with delight, I began the hideous job of untangling the lights. Half an hour later, they were plugged in and, naturally, didn't work. Half an hour of bulb testing and we still didn't know why they didn't work. The spares were brought into play and Chickie stood and stared, appreciating for the first time, a twinkly, winkly Chwistmas Twee. More giggling and a lot of arm flapping showed he likey.

Accountant discovered another set of hanging star lights and enquired as to what I was going to do with them. Reminded of the year before when I'd spent every day in December licking and relicking the suckers, suckering and resuckering to them to the window, I advised him to put them back in the box and tape down the lid. Programmed to do the exact opposite of whatever I advise him, Accountant says, "I'll do it then" in a "I'll show you!" kind of way.

I continued hanging my gorgeous little baubles to a Festive soundtrack of coughs, splutters, hoiking and throat tickling. Muttered expletives added to the whole family christmas atmosphere as Accountant learnt what happens when you ignore your wife. Chickie began to sob as helping daddy wasn't that much fun and a falling star had just come unstuck and bopped him on the head. Daddy swore some more. Chickie cried some more.

More coughing. Some nose blowing. A decision that the lights would be better placed on the back window where Chickie couldn't eat them and then, more swearing.

To give Accountant his dues, he spent a further twenty minutes licking those little suckers, pressing them on the window pane and then watching them ping off, before he threw the whole lot on the floor and stomped into the lounge to watch the football.

Once mummy had sorted the twinkly lights with the patience of someone highly delighted at just being so right, so often, Chickie and I stood back and admired all the twinkling. Chickie did the little penguin dance he does whenever he gets too excited to hold it all in.

Yes, Christmas was off to a great start at Chez Chickie.