Well, after a pretty long day, and a much longer Christmas Eve, we’re done and dusted with Isabelle’s first Christmas.
Overall, it was probably as good as I could’ve hoped it would go. But before I carry on, I will start all of this off by saying I don’t generally like Christmas all that much. I’m not some mean spirited Grinch type person, but a lot of my depression stems from something that happened very near to Christmas nine years ago.
I am thinking about doing a post about all that, well, some of it, all of it would require a lot more than a mere post. But I think it helped with the postnatal depression, so maybe it will help with the regular kind. Not that I’m bad these days, but it’s still a massive part of me and had a huge impact on my personality. Anyway, let’s start with Christmas Eve.
For some unknown reason, Isabelle was awake from 3:30am and then dragged us out of bed an hour later. No biggie for me, I’m usually up somewhere around 5am everyday as it is, so doing it on a day where I need to get some cooking done is fine by me.
And that’s what we spent quite a bit of the day doing. Since I don’t really like buying a lot of pre-made things, I then of course have to actually make it all. For Christmas dinner I went with a chestnut and mushroom pate for starter, Christmas dinner (obviously) with chicken and pork, I’m not that fussed on turkey, and then chocolate orange fondants for dessert. I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything too time consuming as Christmas isn’t about cooking, it’s about actually seeing your family.
We later opened our Christmas Eve boxes, of which I did a terrible job with Rachel this year. We agreed not to really buy each other anything, which we both stuck to, but I think I stuck to it a little more than Rachel did.
After around 6pm I didn’t really feel the best. If you really want me to be honest, then I’ll say that Christmas invokes quite a lot of guilt in me. And the fact that I was sat there in a nice house with my wife and this new life in Isabelle made it all the more worse. I think I’m always going to struggle with Christmas and the fact that a part of me feels like I don’t deserve this. I’m here with everything I have, and meanwhile there’s a family somewhere else being reminded of what they’ve lost as a indirect result of me and my stupidity. I’m not going into detail here, and I know the whole thing wasn’t technically my fault, but I was part of it, and it’s always going to be with me.
It also didn’t help that the other day, I’m not entirely sure why, we discussed Elsie dying a little too vividly. That dog means more than the world to me; and I have quite a lot of intrusive thoughts about her death and me eventually having to bury her. She’s my first daughter, of sorts, and it’s an unavoidable fact that she will die in the near future. I know she’s only four, but it’s still something that will happen. Well that’s really Christmassy, isn’t it?
Anyway, as you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, but I kind of liked this one. I’ll admit, that I managed to enjoy myself due to the fact that I kept myself busy for the majority of the time. I don’t really like giving myself too much down time over Christmas, so having to do dinner, open presents with Isabelle and then write in the night gave me something to do. And when it comes to something like this, I would much rather see other people enjoying themselves; and I’m more than happy to sacrifice my happiness for that of everyone else. I’m limited over this period, others are not, so there’s no need for me to prioritise myself. Here I am opening presents with Isabelle in the morning:
We didn’t go overboard with Isabelle for her first Christmas, and mostly got her a few things that she’s going to need more of going forward. If we set the bar low I’m hoping we can keep it up. Either that, or I’m just going to be telling her that Santa doesn’t like her that much so he didn’t get her a lot. I’m not a massive fan of spending loads of cash on unnecessary stuff, so I’m hoping I can translate that ethos to Isabelle, but I have my doubts.
Also, eight months is quite a difficult age as there’s not a lot that they really need, but since Isabelle is massively into standing at the moment, we got her an activity table and a walker as her ‘main presents’.
Going forward, I’m not sure if we’re going to stick with opening all the presents first thing, or stagger them throughout the day. I don’t really like the fact that it’s all pretty much done by 8am, so we might mix it up a little bit when she’s more aware of what’s going on. Also, on a side note, I don’t think we’re going to be telling Isabelle that it’s all from Santa. She’ll have the vast majority from us, and then a few from Santa. I have some ideas about hiding them and having Santa leave her some notes, but we’ll see.
I think if you make it so all the presents are off Santa, and then family members buy the kid presents, then what do they think the parents did? Everyone got them something apart from mum and dad. I’m not being beaten out by Santa. Excuse my tangent I just went down, let’s carry on with Christmas.
Later on, everyone started to turn up, and Isabelle probably got a little over stimulated by the fact she was surrounded by people and then of course new things for her to discover. It must be a weird feeling for a baby. Isabelle is used to exploring the house and finding new stuff, but not a bunch of different brightly lit toys all in one go.
I still don’t know where I fully stand on toys. I know they have their merits, and they can invoke a sense of discovery and help a child to learn through the interaction. But I also want Isabelle’s play time to consist more of creative play rather than distracted lights. I think they have their place, just probably in limited use. It’s the old thought of a child would rather a box and crayons than the present that came in the box.
After all that was done, we moved on to dinner, which was probably my favourite part of the day. I also like the fact that everyone sits in the living room and the kitchen is a little more off limits. Part of this comes down to the fact I don’t like people watching me plate up as it spoils the dish as it’s brought out, and the other part of me likes my own ‘safezone’. It’s also why I’d rather be the one cooking, at least then I don’t have to sit at the table for the next few hours. Not that I always mind, but there’s often too many people and I quickly start to ruminate and my brain doesn’t really want to engage too much.
I don’t handle large social situations very well, even if it is with family, and it does drain a lot of energy out of me. There’s a slight chance that I have some mild form of Asperger’s or autism that plays a part in all of this. There are plenty more traits of my personality that point towards it, most of which I keep under wraps, but I’m not getting into that in an already pointlessly lengthy blog post.
Once dinner was done, everyone started to leave, likely down to the fact that I was probably visibly drained, and the fact that people still have other stuff to do, and then the three of us did a whole lot of not very much for the rest of the night. We watched Moana, ate more bollocks that’s invariably going to make you feel worse, and somehow stayed up until gone 10, mainly due to the fact Eastenders was on late.
Well, that’s Isabelle’s first Christmas. If you managed to get through all of that then well done to you. It’s a little bit long, and probably void of interesting content, but welcome to Isablog. This post is probably more for me and Rachel, and eventually Isabelle, so we can look back at it when she’s older.