Present opening

Christmas morning

6am – stirrings from all rooms, but the kids are on a strict 7am curfew

6.30am – intercepted on the way to the bathroom, I’m challenged as to whether the kids can open their stockings without L and me. I confiscate the stockings and take them with me back to bed. L sends me to the kitchen to find fruit, which had been missed out of the stockings.

7am – our room is invaded. We relocate to Eliza’s room and in 15 minutes Santa’s stocking – the present aperitif – has been gorged.

7.30am – breakfast is eaten at pace. Gabe, in particular, struggles with the nag interdiction. L and I finishing our tea and toast stands between the kids and the main meal: the presents under the tree.

8.15am – one-by-one, taking turns as if playing a board game, we open our presents, express delight and thanks. The living room floor is covered with torn wrapping. Eliza skids and wipes out trying to cross the floor.

The aftermath

Eliza changes straight into clothes she was given: spotty tights and a new top.

Robin changes into his Spanish football top and wears it and blue shorts for the next four days. He spends Christmas morning chasing Slithery, a remote control rattlesnake, around the house.

Gabe lingers in the living room, willing and chipping away at having set up the centrepiece of the 2010 Christmas – the Wii. In the five days since Christmas Day, the Wii has been Gabe’s default activity. It feeds, but not yet sates, his competitiveness. Eliza and Robin thrive on it too, but with lower intensity.

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