Father Christmas and the Big Girl Knickers.

Mrs Playmo sporting her Big Girl Bustier with her pal BF, aka Badass Fairy, who flies in her Big Girl Knickers because flying ain't for sissies and skirts get wrapped round your ankles.

Mrs Playmo sporting her Big Girl Bustier with her pal BF, aka Badass Fairy, who flies in her Big Girl Knickers (because flying ain’t for sissies and skirts get wrapped round your ankles).

Dear Father Christmas,

I haven’t been to sit on your knee yet this year. I hope that you have been weight training regularly, because even if I’m a mere slip of a girl at my corrected aged of 12 (4+7), I’m still a tad heavier than all the other little girls who sit on your knee in your wooden chalet.

When I saw my eight-year-old student last week, I informed her that I knew where you lived, and that I was going to sit on your lap again before Christmas and tell you what I would like to find under the Christmas tree. Her eyebrows plummeted downwards, and she looked at me with an embarrassed smile. “Uh… but you know, Father Christmas doesn’t exist. It’s the mummies and daddies who give the presents, you know,” she said, stroking my arm to soften the inevitable blow of disappointment.

Of course, I stuck up for you. If J.M. Barry’s theory for fairies had held true for Santa, you would have been a goner a long time ago, despite MM’s desperate clapping. I heard on the radio this week that children now stop believing in you earlier and earlier, and that the average seven-year-old has already acquired a soberingly grown-up attitude towards Christmas. The irony of this is that it’s all your own fault – by coughing up the goods requested on the letters you’ve been sent, you’ve signed your own death warrant. It’s cruel to say, but it’s the mean team in the fruit bowl – Apple, Orange and Blackberry – who give our little ones access to the dark side. Internet makes them grow up much faster than their parents did. It makes their adult life so much longer, and their memories of the magic of Christmas so much more short lived.

I have been a very good girl this year. So what would float MM’s boat for Christmas? Forget the technology – unless Playmobil bring out a mobile phone. Nor do I want any Febreze Fairy paraphernalia – I’m still trying to convince my family that they too can use my magic wand, aka the toilet brush. So please feel free to give the vacuum cleaners, food mixers and sundry other “time-savers” to those men who mistakenly believe that their wives will feel loved when they unwrap the latest in Cinderella technology.

MM with her magic bog brush wand, drawn by Rugby-boy.

MM with her magic bog brush wand, drawn by Rugby-boy.

I remember that I asked you for a Bugatti last year, and you grinned and said that you would see what you could do. Then you quietly opened my emotional underwear drawer behind my back, and put in an old classic of lucid lingerie. A special pair of kecks I refer to as my Big Girl Knickers.

We are all very different when we strip down to our emotional underwear. My usual everyday emotional undergarment is the no-nonsense cotton Marks & Sparks tanga – ideal for a bit of banter, discussing recent events and watching the news. But this year was going to demand a much more elaborate model, and you knew it.

When the shit hits the fan and MM has to strip down to her emotional underwear, the G-string is generally her default programme. The emotional G-string category is designed for those with all the resistance of a chocolate radiator when faced with the merest whiff of stress or sadness, whose emotional undies immediately shrink and get painfully stuck in the most intimate part of their anatomy. A baby squirrel forgetting its lines at the school play is enough to set off the immediate crumpling of MM’s face, making her look like the bonnet of a 2CV after a head-on crash with an articulated truck as she desperately seeks a tissue in her pocket and ends up blowing her nose on a crumpled supermarket receipt.

I have always admired those who adopt the full-length Edwardian corset in emotional situations. They slip it on, lace it up and appear in dignified form to the world, their feelings carefully tarpaulined under a satin sheen, giving a sleekly elegant cover to the ugly fight occurring beneath. Then there are the camouflage boxer-wearers – the no-nonsense undies that say things the way they are, without excessive frills or nonsense. These are the people who remain stoic, and wipe away the occasional rogue tear behind dark sunglasses.

Germaine amazed her friends by the fact that she never cried in public. Little did they know that below her dress, she sported the ultimate in emotional constraint underwear technology.

Germaine amazed her friends by the fact that she never cried in public. Little did they know that below her dress, she sported the ultimate in emotional constraint underwear technology.

And then, at the back of the emotional underwear drawer, there is the Pandora’s box that I always hated to open. I heard its occupant coughing sternly in there sometimes, and reacted by hastily burying it under a thick layer of Marks & Sparks faithfuls and closing the drawer. Meet MM’s Big Girl Knickers, to be pulled on in all GUE’s (Grown Up Emergencies). Those emergencies when crying is not an option, because I will set off a chain reaction with lots of other emotional G-stringers just like me. We are the emotional equivalent of Pringles, because once we pop, we can’t stop.

This year, my new Big Girl Knickers meant new Big Girl Attitude. Taking myself on first, to be able to take on the rest. I pulled them on and wore them to try out Dry January, then to take up running. Then I kind of got to like them, so I took to wearing them more regularly rather than hiding them away.

Wearing my Big Girl Knickers over my running tights is the closest I’ve ever got to being Wonder Woman. To those who could swear that they saw tears on MM’s face this year, the official version is that it was because of my Big Girl Knickers – I pulled those buggers up so high at times that the resulting emotional wedgies brought tears to my eyes.

But the result is there. Those Big Girl Knickers are here to stay. Along with the changes they have brought. So bring on the next pair, Father Christmas.

A very happy Christmas to you all from MM and Mrs Playmo. Thanks to you all for helping to keep us sane and smiling this year.  

From slingshots to parachutes.

Untimely reminders that I am ageing sometimes appear in the most unexpected situations. A perfect example was the experience that hit me in the teeth last summer. On my way up the stairs with the laundry basket, a chuckling Bigfoot overtook me at high speed. He and his brother were pelting round the house commando-style, hiding behind walls and hunting each other down like elite army snipers.

English: Wooden slingshot with rubber made in ...

I was happy to see them playing together. As they fired pellets of paper at each other, I smiled and found it reassuring that they still knew how to play together. Really play. You know, games that don’t involve a T.V or a computer. They were still capable of using their imaginations to create their own game. As I took my laundry basket into the bedroom and started putting away the clean clothing, I wondered when I had bought them the slingshots they appeared to be using. They didn’t seem to be overly efficient, with the paper pellets dropping to the ground close to my aspiring soldiers.  Strangely enough, I didn’t remember having purchased any.  I shrugged my shoulders. Turning to put away the last dregs of the basket, I was surprised to discover my underwear drawer open and hanging askew, its innards spewing out into the open in a colourful cascade of cotton, silk, and lace.  I didn’t remember having left it in such a sorry state that morning…..

I stopped dead in my tracks, clutching P.F’s boxer shorts. The neurones fired up, the synapses connected. I peered around the door frame with a tightening stomach and was greeted by Rugby-boy bombing down the corridor. Number two son screeched to a breathless halt in front of me. His eyes sparkled mischievously, and he sported a huge grin from ear to ear. “Mum, these make brilliant slingshots! Can I keep it, please?”

I gaped at the high precision weapon he had been using for lethal combat all afternoon: a bog-standard Marks & Sparks  G-string. No frills, no fuss.  It suddenly gave a whole new meaning to “make love, not war”.

A ball of school paper flew through the doorway, and Bigfoot lumbered in. He was ready to launch the next missile, jammed in the gusset of a formerly favourite pair of undies whilst the remaining elastic creaked dangerously.  “Come on, Mum, you’re too old for that kind of underwear now, and it’s not as if it fits you any more”, he jibed before firing at me and chasing his brother back down the corridor.

He was right. Trying to wear them now would be like attempting to fit a newborn’s hair-band around a rhino’s behind, and would entail running the risk of looking like the saucisson on sale at the local market, bulging out of tightly-knotted string as it dangles over the counter.  I sadly acquiesced that I am now more parachute than slingshot, and that comfort had finally taken over from the temptation to be a hot-to-trot domestic goddess. But shorties are feminine too, son of mine. So there.