No matter what the shops say, no matter when the decorations are put up, the countdown to Christmas only really begins the night of the Late Late Toy Show.
Up until this year that has meant a Sunday afternoon viewing if the iconic television institution because our children have been too young to stay up and watch it.
This year however we have advanced to that stage of family life where us sitting down as a family, just as I did with my parents, to watch to Late Late Toy Show, is possible.
The excitement has been building all week, theirs as well as mine!
Finally the night arrived and there was great chat about how long after their usual bedtime that the programme actually started, there was much anticipation of the promised popcorn. There was even a rumour that a bag of Maltesers, bigger than their heads, had been purchased to accompany the popcorn!
Somehow in the usual chaos of Friday evenings, with piano lessons and bath times, the excitement even got to me and I thought a tapas style dinner for the grown ups would be a great idea. For future reference, tapas is actually Spanish for ‘a huge amount of work’.
From 7.30 on, as I frazzled in the kitchen, I got asked every 5 minutes was the Toy Show starting, sometimes for variety the asked every 2 1/2 minutes. No amount of colouring, game playing or regular TV could take the edge of…there was so much to look forward to, the treats and the programme, I actually thought they might spontaneously combust!
Nerves were getting a bit frayed and I silently cursed RTE for not putting thus show for children on at more child friendly time. The phrase ‘sit down and be quite’ was said at least 57 times.
Just before 9 o’clock the youngest admitted defeat and asked to go to bed, no problem, 1 down, 3 to go!
Finally the opening scenes…..absolute delight when they discovered that our favourite film of all times would be the theme running through it. Ours were up singing and dancing and all earlier narkiness was forgotten.
This is how I imagined it, this is what family night watching the Toy Show should be.
It wasn’t to last….long after the opening act finished, one little lady refused to stop singing….and dancing…..and getting in the way of the TV….and jumping off the couch….and landing on her sisters bowl of popcorn. It would seem that the wait had been to much, it had tipped her over the edge and we were now dealing with ‘off her head with tiredness’ syndrome and it was not good.
After much cajoling ( and by cajoling I mean patient request being followed by threats of dire consequences such as time out or ‘straight to bed’) we finally got her sitting back down and watching.
Thankfully the Toy Show was BRILLIANT, the magic it weaves did it’s trick and after an evening fraught with excitement and expectation, it was all worth it.
Next year I might just plan better, ditch the flipping Tapas idea, find something good to distract them until it starts and adjust my expectations of us all snuggled together, peacefully, quietly enjoying the Toy Show….I mean come on, we’re just not that kind of family!!