It was a completely rubbish night for meteor watching last night but at least the cloud cover kept the temperature above zero for the morning school run. If I'd had a car to defrost, we would not have made it for registration. As it was, Dylan had to sport the pyjamas and wellies look because time did not allow for actually getting him dressed.
If I thought that the morning after the school play was a struggle to get the children out of bed, today was even worse. It seems such a shame to disturb two perfectly peaceful slumbering angels to unleash the disgruntled monsters desperate to return to warm duvets and dreams of the innocent.
I do at least have one secret weapon to calm the raging beasts and get the day moving forward in the way that it needs to - the Advent Calendar.
On the first of December when terrible 2 year old Dylan threw a tantrum because he didn't understand the concept of 'one chocolate a day until Xmas' and wanted to open all his windows there and then, I never would have imagined what an asset the advent calendars would turn out to be.
He's a bright little thing, my Dylan. He worked out that it was a daily 'pre-breakfast confectionary' treat and played by the rules from day two. Both he and big sister Addy look forward to the ritual of finding the right numbered windows, poking at the perforations to open them, ripping at the foil to free the promised sweetness within and finally, with chocolate melting on warm tongues, reading the little messages printed inside the cardboard flaps. All this before the toast in the toaster has even thought about popping.
My little savages torn from sleep are transformed miraculously into compliant, co-operative darlings at the merest mention of the Advent Calendars - like a Supernanny instant makeover.
Until now, I have not been a fan of chocolate advent calendars. I have a fabric Xmas tree with 24 little pockets, each containing a hanging decoration. As the days of December pass, the bare tree becomes fully adorned with pretty ornaments. I like the idea that it builds into something beautiful as it counts the days until Christmas rather than the chocolate advent calendars that become increasingly tattered and unsightly.
Now I am fully converted to the chocolate side. I see beauty in the ragged windows. My morning ally. The best couple of pounds I've spent all year.