So this week I have gone Christmas shopping with both the other half and my mum. Not at the same time I might add, that would possibly be hell on earth, probably more stressful than taking the boys food shopping.
Now there are merits in both these adventures into the foray of Christmas present buying. For instance going with the other half was lovely, we don't get a chance to do much together alone and we were out early enough that we were able to sit down and have a cooked breakfast together. Never mind the fact it was only a Tescos cafe one, it was simply the fact we were doing something normal, together and without being constantly pulled every which way by the kids wanting our attention. After our relaxed breakfast we set about the task of purchasing presents, we probably should have had a plan. But as usual with us it was all a bit spontaneous and impromptu. We hit Boots the chemist first (does anybody else think that, Boots is a strange name for a place that dispenses medicine ??) and was able to in one foul swoop present buy for 8 nephews, 2 nieces and 2 sisters without breaking a sweat. Good job you might think 12 presents in under 20 minutes. But Boots wasn't the reason we'd gone to this place of wonder called a shopping centre, no, we had vouchers for Tescos...
After our first success we headed over to the "big" store and quickly ascertained that there was a machine were by a few presses on the screen we would be able to effectively double our vouchers. A no brainer you may think, well it was up to the point where we had to decide which department we were going to choose to receive our hard earned cash. Now I don't know about your family but for us it seemed that with every department we chose what we would actually want from that department was, of course, excluded from the double up deal. Toys and Games, no dvds, no pc games, no game station games, bugger. Clothing, no pj's, no accessories, no shoes..Tescos are you trying to drive us mad, Health and Beauty, no make up, no skin products, no perfume or gift sets, hey Chairman of Tescos you do know its Christmas don't you ??
Having now spent 10 minutes randomly pressing different parts of the screen we decided that before we could even vaguely think about which department would we get the most value from, that we had to go see for ourselves what each one offered. So off we went and headed for Toys and Games first. I would never want to argue that one of us knows the kids better than the other because that would just be a foolish statement. But as we walked around the aisle looking bewilderingly at the amount of plastic that was on sale in one moulded form or another. I came to realise that we know our kids in slightly different ways. What I mean by this is. It has become apparent that if daddy and I were to make the same statement to the kids, but at different times, and not when we're together, I have a very strong suspicion that the kids would react in very different ways to both of us.
I don't know why this hasn't occurred to me sooner, but its something I must be aware of I think when I am making a judgement call, say when an incident at school has happened or a problem has arisen. I think if they came from school one day and said they'd got in to trouble for not doing as they were told, I am pretty sure they'd spin the story of events according to which ever parent they were speaking to. What I mean is, with me I think it would be more slanted on their emotional upset, but with daddy I think the emotional upset would still be there but also a sense of bravado would also be implied. I don't know whether this is just a male thing or whether it is the same for a girl. Its hard to tell now as the 16 year old is all bravado all the time with both of us, though actually thinking about it, it is less so with daddy.
Ultimately this whole epiphany of thought came to light because we had differing opinions on what the boys would like as their Christmas presents which surprised me somewhat as we discussing the same kids. Happily we compromised on most of it and eventually got through the whole voucher processing and then subsequent queueing and paying for the goods without to much hassle and hopefully we have struck a good balance of parental influence and child personality with each kid's gifts.
Well we'll find out Christmas morning, won't we :-)