It’s pretty common for kids to run a little riot in the days after Christmas. All the excitement, the new toys and the sugar – they’re bound to be a little hyper. What happened in my house this year though, shocked me.
The sheer volume of presents that my daughter got this year meant that some of them had to be put in her room just so that we had space to move. With family staying over and a puppy in the mix, it was a mad rush just to regain a little structure. I didn’t vet what had gone into her room, because most of it was still packaged; we had been so busy and the things she had played with the most were still all over the living room, so I assumed the packaged toys were safe in her room – I mean, have you seen how hard it is to open toy packaging??
Apparently it’s not that hard for a determined five year old, who has woken up at 5.30am and wants to occupy herself until the rest of the house wakes up.
When my daughter followed me into the kitchen that morning I had to stop her mid-sentence to ask her why she had glitter all over her eyes. Yes, GLITTER all over her EYES. A shifty look and a mumbled, “I don’t know,” told me straight away that she knew she shouldn’t have put whatever the sparkly substance was on her face, and a further two minutes of interrogation revealed that it was in fact glitter glue, which she had procured from one of the sealed boxes in her room.
Let me repeat that, for emphasis: my almost-six-year-old daughter put GLITTER GLUE all over her EYES. It took two hours of washing and wiping to get it all off, and I am still fuming about it now. Needless to say, the glitter glue promptly left the building.
The behaviour though, did not stop there. Two days later I woke up with what was undeniably the worst case of flu I have ever experienced. I could barely move. I was dizzy, feverish, my head felt as though it had hit pavement, I was coughing so hard I vomited. I was obviously very sick, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, since The Boyfriend had suffered the same ailment just before me.
Instead of offering a little cooperation or sympathy, or just taking advantage of the extra TV time, my daughter saw this as the perfect opportunity to run rings around me. In the space of two days she raided cupboards, the fridge, she made herself six cups of juice just to pour them on things (the table, the carpet, the kitchen surface), she climbed on furniture and windowsills, she opened windows (is this not every parent’s worst nightmare??), and she broke the brand new tablet that she was bought for Christmas.
Instead of suffering quietly through my hellish virus, I spent the entire time fighting to stay awake, and to raise my voice loud enough to tell her to stop. I became paranoid about what dangerous thing she might do next, and even now that I am almost over the flu, I’m still terrified of what might happen if she wakes up an hour before I do. Is this normal behaviour? Probably. If kids see a weak spot, they usually take advantage. Though I feel most kids might have settled for sneaking some chocolate, rather than opening windows…
So that is my account of our Christmas aftermath, for you, tired, stir-crazy parents, who are wondering if your kids are the only ones who end up a little feral after the festivities. You are not alone.