Saturday, 2 January 2010

The little known joys of Letter writing...

“You are the horridest Mummy in the world and I hate you.”
At this stage in the game, I merely raise an eyebrow.
I have been called a lot worse in the space of the last half hour and although I desperately want to snap back: “Not half as much as I hate you!” I feel silence is probably the best option that and the fact that my husband has given me a sharp kick under the table and a meaningful glare across it.
It is that day of the year again: the day for writing the dreaded ‘Thank You’ letters. Now I love Christmas and I am a glutton when it comes to pressies but nothing in life is free and with gifts and the like comes the ‘Thank Yous’.
Most people still prefer a hand written form of ‘Thank You’ and I truly appreciate that but I am afraid I am not much better than my eldest when it comes to writing them. I don’t know why but my mind freezes and I can just about get out: “Thank you for my lovely present” before I completely atrophy and the life support machine of my creative thinking just goes blank.
There’s no point trying to jump start it, resurrect it or even try to enliven it; for the stuff that comes from my pen on to the card is lifeless. And it must sound it too. D. E.A.D. Without pulse. Basically lacking.
However, the letters must be written for they hang over you like vultures in the sky ever present and ominous. Which is why I find myself sitting at the kitchen table with both boys and husband trying very hard not to sigh too loudly again. I also try not to scream as for the umpteenth time The Boy asks me how to spell “Present”.
Me: It’s right there in front of you!”
Him: “Where?”
Me: “There!” as I point to the offending word, which is written out as part of a draft letter on a card in front of him so that all he has to do is copy it then draw a nice picture – would that someone could do that for me!
Him: “Can I not just write what the present is rather than say present?”
I give him a cold look.
Me: “You can write whatever you want just as long as you write it!”
Him: “But how do you spell it?”
Me: “It’s right there in front Boy. Just copy it for God’s sake.
Him: “No, not that. The present; how do you spell it
Me - a bit confused: “P.R.E.S.E.N.T.”
Him: “Is that what it’s called?”
By this time I am well and truly infuriated and I notice that he’s only got as far as writing the “T” in “Thank You”.
Dear Charlie can see I’m about to explode. I get a sharp thwack on my ankle.
Me: “Ow! That hurts!”
DC: “Would you like a cup of tea?”
I do love my husband. He is an expert at diffusing things. Especially letter writing as he knows I loathe it with a passion which I fear my eldest has inherited too.
There are dire threats as I leave the table to boil the kettle. No sweets, no TV and definitely no Nintendo until all the letters are written. I am distraught. Only five more to go…
Needless to say all the letters did get written, now I just have to get my arse into gear and pop them in the envelopes, buy the stamps and send them!


Ladybird World Mother said...

I. Know. This. Well.
Am damned jealous that you have them all written. I have horrible list of who gave what to who... now we have to Write The Bread And Butter Letters. Yuck.
However... I would say, as Experienced Present Receiver over the years... and as a mother to 4 little dears... that the computer has become our New Best Friend.
I write, they dictate (not after age 7 or so... they can write their own letters then) and Relations Love Them. We go on and on about how lovely the present is... in Child Speak, and Said Child signs at end and That Is That.
Lovely post. Thanks for bringing some humour to the gruesome subject. Off to write a bloody letter myself now. Yuck. xx

Expat mum said...

I do suympathise with kids though - it's a bit boring, especially when you can't even write very well. My little guy is learning to type and I'm sorely tempted to get some fancy paper and let him loose on the computer!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You can come and bully me next . I try to keep to my rule that I don't eat , drink or read from cover to cover any present till I've said/phoned/written Thankyou .
When the children were small , I usually tried to find some lovely new writing paper ( easier perhaps for little girls ) and sent off the resulting drawings of dancing princesses . It seemed to work .
Perhaps I could do a few myself this year ?

MuddynoSugar said...

I gave up and just got my seven year old to sign them... I know, bloomin' useless, does it count that when she huffed and puffed at just doing that; I said...'right, next year you're writing all of them' to which she replied...'what! even yours!' I stopped at this point as telling her 'well that's what I am doing right now' would have just been childish.. UGH... Love christmas, like you - hate the thank you's -has to be done though.

Preseli Mags said...

Today is letter writing day here too, so I really empathised with your post (particularly the kick under the table, the meaningful look and the no Nintendo until it's done!)

I make notes on the computer, personalise them in Child Speak and then H and R sign their autographs and add kisses. (Much like Ladybird World Mother does.)

It's still hell though!

Tattie Weasle said...

Ladybird World Mother - did try the computer once but embarrassingly I left in the wrong piece of info and sent it off only to realise that the person I sent it off to would immedialtely know that I had just cut and pasted...ooops!
Expat Mum - it's horrid for kids I do know. Try to make it better by letting them draw. Perhaps I'll just let them txt next year...?
SmitoniusAndSonata - I always start out with such good intentions like that but fail all the time. There's a wonderful saying: Eat the Frog I think it had better be yet another moto to live my life by: always do the horridest thing first!
Muddynosugar -I think thta's definitely the best way. I feel so mean making The Boy write at all. Maybe next year we'll write the letters before Christmas, one a day until they are all finished then just post them off on Boxing day. Job Done...hmmm I thionk I have a plan!!!
Preseli Mags - It's that prior planning thing. And lots of drawings adn frog cards...I'm off to the shops now!

rachel said...

I can remember sitting at the table writing just such a letter. It was torture, and seemed to take hours just to form the first few words, yet I, like so many children, could sit drawing happily for hours. Perhaps we should expect thank-you drawings from children instead of agonising letters!

Babies who brunch said...

I was wondering how old they have to be before they have to write their own thank yous..... i did the trick of ordering a photo card so i could put them off a bit longer on louis' behalf!

Pondside said...

I remember such a day, years and years ago when I was about eight years old. I remember my father tearing up a letter because I'd written "Dear Aunt Annie & Uncle Peter". My father said that if they could be bothered finding, wrapping and mailing a beautiful gift I could at least write out the word 'and'. That always stuck with me. Good for you for helping your child to write letters!

Anonymous said...

Thank you letters are a hated part of many a childhood - mine included! But now - don't you just love receiving them?

Go on you know you want to...


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