I'm signing off this year with one more blog and one last gasp of effort after a long, ailment-afflicted month. The list is too long and tedious to re-live, so I thought I'd skip to the good bit - Christmas. Yes, the usual whirlwind of panic purchases has gathered strength but so too have the festive flashbacks.
Missing this year's Playgroup Christmas Party due to illness was probably a good thing as I don't think it'll ever live up to the legend that is PCP, 2007. This was pre-Diva and Batboy's first nativity. I'll never forget it.
The playgroup is held weekly at the local church by The Ladies, who are happy for the focus of its sessions (save the odd service schedule thrust into indifferent hands) to be eating play dough and scrapping in the sand pit.
At Christmas, however, The Ladies feel they have to make a stand and remind the biscuit-munching heathens (and their tea-soaked parents) of “the bigger picture”.
The event was, quite aptly, pregnant with promise. We were led into the church and lo and behold it was picture-perfect. The children ran gleefully down the aisles towards the Christmas tree on the ‘stage’, which was surrounded by nativity dress up gear and even a baby Jesus swaddled in a manger.
The vicar had taken up position and was bracing himself with his guitar against the tide of toddlers. I too was carried along the swell of parental pride as our children donned their costumes, especially as Batboy was the only Joseph volunteer. Alas, the title turned out to be a bit of a poisoned chalice as he was landed with two Marys.
The vicar then bravely launched into the story of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, her subsequent labour and the birth of Jesus. This was followed by a rousing rendition of Away in a Manger led by The Ladies.
It was clear, however, that the vicar’s wavering voice and earnest bible teachings were too little too late. The church now resembled a scene from a pre-school Lord of the Flies.
Batboy for one had ditched the tea towel, wearing the headband Rambo-style, and was running up and down the aisles shouting. No way for a new father to behave, but to be fair, a polygamous marriage is no picnic and it’s not strictly his kid anyway.
Meanwhile, back at the manger the baby blues had kicked in and the two Mary’s started shouting. One had Jesus roughly by the head and the other by the feet as they started pulling and shouting; “I WANT JESUS”, “NO, ITS MINE”. His blanket slipped and fell on the floor leaving, the poor plasticated Jesus exposed to the fury of the two-year-old tantrum.
Cranking up another gear, it reached its dramatic conclusion as Mary One grabbed a fistful of Mary Two’s cheek and twisted it with her podgy hand in a last bid to free “her Jesus”. It was wrath on a biblical scale, which left the audience spellbound.
Then the screams finally pierced the celestial picture for the vicar who, horrified, leapt on stage to separate and calm the Marys, explaining for the zillionth time the art of sharing; “Jesus isn’t yours, he’s everyone’s Son of God” etc.
The party was steadily broken up with the kids herded back into the playroom in a cloud of shame, while the parents all chattered about “what a nice idea” it was. We then steered ourselves towards the service hatch/holy grail for all parents with shredded nerves, where we were blessed with tea and mince pies and true Christmas cheer.