Dear Father Hood: how do I stop baby pulling over the Christmas tree?
You’re in luck, because this question has been kicking around my cranium a lot over the past few weeks (primarily when my peace has been savagely breached by a loud bang, a guffawing baby and a bunch of baubles rolling past my feet). Initially, I decided the best solution involved keeping our teeny tree feller out of the living room, but that proved impossible. Then, I came up with the idea of dividing the space into tree and non-tree zones with a Berlin Wall-style barrier. This worked rather well, but only lasted a day or so as the vibe it gave off was more ‘oppression’ than ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.
My next attempt was based around the big man. That’s Father Chrimbo, obviously. It doesn’t take too many trips to Santa’s Grotto to work out that most under 2s are petrified of the obese bloke in the red suit. Thus surely a cleverly placed snap of the bearded legend would make our little angel think twice about messing with our festive centrepiece? It didn’t, but it did make him cry A LOT, so was swiftly banished to the ‘try again next year’ pile.
Reverse psychology was my fourth port of call. And by this I mean, sitting back and letting him topple our tree. What the? Isn’t that exactly what I’m supposed to be helping you get your kid not to do? It is, but hear me out. Having witnessed our son get bored of every toy he’s ever had in less than five minutes, I figured the same thing would happen if he got to play with the big green thing in the corner of the lounge. Wrong again. The tree kept tumbling and giggling kept getting louder.
Running out of patience, time and unbroken Christmas lights, I did what any father would do in the same circumstances. I threw a hissy fit, cancelled Christmas and set fire to the tree in the back garden. Just kidding. I mainlined a bag of Haribo, then resorted to the oldest parental trick in the book. Namely: distraction, distraction, distraction.
At the moment, our lounge currently contains an empty suitcase, a lampshade, multiple magazines, a golf travel bag and a bunch of Lucozade bottles. Not because we’ve resigned ourselves to living in a cesspit or given up trying. Because for some reason each of these things catches our baby’s eye and takes his mind off Mission Destroy Tree. Does it look messy? Yes. Is my mother angry with us? Absolutely. But is our tree still standing? You bet it is, and at this time of year that’s clearly all that matters.