‘Tis the Christmas season! I don’t know if you’ve noticed…?
In our house, we’ve managed to turn a blind eye to all the cards coming through the door, the constant festive adverts on the television and the fact that next-door’s wreath keeps blowing into the garden and being savaged by the dog.
We are not humbugs. We are not anti-Christmas. We are just parents of a baby that is now both mobile and curious.
Very, very mobile and very, very curious.
When there was just the two of us, we could put ten million decorations up in an afternoon. We had lights on the walls and the tree, streamers, garlands, tinsel and cards hanging everywhere.
Even the outside hutches had some sparkle added. The horses got festive spiced apples and the dogs got their own presents, carefully wrapped in such a way they could open them by themselves.
This year, they’ll be lucky to get breakfast.
It is now less than a week to Christmas Day. Last night, we put up the tree. It’s a very small tree, hardly noticeable. Unless you are a small person intent on having anything that you expressly shouldn’t.
So, the tree went up on the table. There aren’t any plug sockets nearby, so it has no lights, but we did manage to throw some tinsel on it, while the child was distracted by the dog’s reindeer antlers.
Once our little helper had gone to bed, I pulled out the string of wooden stars and wreaths that we always hang on the fireplace.
Shaking out the knots, I was actually starting to feel rather festive, until I realised the baby monitor was jumping around and flashing like a 70’s disco. Oops. Apparently the little balls in the middle of the wreaths are BELLS. Who knew?!
The little helper eventually returned to the Land of Nod, and we decided to wrap his presents. I foraged around all the secret places upstairs and began carrying everything down.
Halfway down the stairs, I had to move aside to let Daddy rush past and into the nursery. Apparently, the carrier bags full of boxes rustle REALLY LOUDLY. Who knew?!
When all was calm for the third time, I looked at the pile of presents and wrapping paper before me. I was unsure how to proceed. Does Sellotape make a noise when you rip it? Does the stuff in the boxes rattle when you turn it over? Oh, bother.
This was never an issue before. There was no child with extra-sensitive ears, and there was no need to be quiet about wrapping. Hell, we used to do it at 1.00am aided by several bottles of, er, lemonade… Ah, for the good old days…
Yeah, they were good, those old days.
There was a lot of stuff we could do that we can’t now. We can’t both go to the work Christmas feasts and get blotto and run around town pushing several friends in a Tesco trolley.
We can’t lie in until the turkey is black and then eat chips instead.
We can’t have three hour Boxing Day horse rides across the country to burn off the sprouts.
Oh, but what we CAN do!
I am literally more excited than I thought possible. Christmastime is AMAZING when you are a small child, but when you are an adult, with all an adult’s experience and responsibilities, seeing it through the small child’s eyes…
Dudes, it’s awesome.
We can leave our beautiful boy with grandparents for an hour and go shopping for excellent things we know he will love (at least for five minutes each).
We can go for walks along the canal and steal holly from people’s trees.
We can all wear snowsuits and onesies and eat expensive chocolate that only comes out at Christmas and say we’re only doing it for him.
We can run into the nursery at 4.00am and wake him up, in our excitement, and in preparatory revenge for the next few years…
There is so much new stuff we can do, and so much we don’t even know how much fun it is until we do it. We can fall for all the consumerist crap and buy ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ nonsense that is all entirely useless.
Because it’s not just baby’s first Christmas; it’s our first Christmas as parents. And if that doesn’t knock the socks off watching Sian’s trolley crash into the Derby Ram, I don’t know what will.
So ho ho ho, Happy Christmas, you guys. Whatever you do, wherever you are, whoever you’re with or thinking of; there are memories to be made.
Enjoy them, and in the darkest hours of the night remember this wisdom:
Yep, Sellotape is loud. Really loud.
Emily Howlett is a Contributing Editor to this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer, horsewoman and new mum. Emily used to be found all over the place, but motherhood has turned her into somewhat of a self-confessed homebody. She now has not one, but four grey eyebrow hairs. C’est la vie. She tweets as @ehowlett
Check out what our supporters provide:
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics.
- Ai-Live: Live captions and transcripts.
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support.
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services.
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials.
- STAGETEXT: theatre captioning.
- Krazy Kat: visual theatre with BSL.
- SignHealth: healthcare support for Deaf people.
- Deafinitely Theatre: theatre from a Deaf perspective.
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support.
- SDHH: Deaf television programmes online.
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning.
- Lexicon Signstream: BSL interpreting and communication services.
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting.
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children.
- RAD Deaf Law Centre: legal advice for Deaf people.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out the benefits of live captioning at university!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- BSL Zone: TV programmes in BSL for the Deaf community
- Stellar Communications: Speech-to-Text services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Helen Foulkes Translations: BSL translations
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Hearing Choices: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children