Good evening all. I’m pleased to report that birthday season is over. We have returned to splendid mundanity and all future birthdays shall be banned. Hooray!
So, what did we get up to with little boy 3? Well, it went a bit like this… (brace yourself for a thousand pics)
Presents! And what a lovely set of presents it was. Microbe was genuinely delighted with everything (and of course we shall be contacting all of you kind givers personally). G and I were fairly restrained in expenditure this year, favouring a day out to the zoo over pointlessly expensive presents.
Afterwards we packed him off to nursery to celebrate with his homies, sporting the dullest “nut free” cake ever mass-produced by machine. Half of it was sent back home with him that evening and, even after I’d pimped it with smarties and candles, it somehow remained steadfastly beige…
My own day involved cutting up 8 billion crudités and stuffing party bags with animal-themed tat. But the big excitement of the evening (and the entire weekend) was the arrival of Helena, Benjamin and Natalie. Few things make the Jimlet happier than proximity to Helena.
These days they share a bedroom, with Helena’s inflatable Disney Princess bed placed alongside James’s. It might actually be time to get another inflatable bed for the Benbot. Meanwhile nothing gets the microbe skipping to the bathroom more readily than the promise of a communal dunking…
Oh, the horror. Saturday was party day… and G and I have remembered why we never throw parties.
Despite weeks of planning, and getting up at 6am, I somehow managed to take too long to prepare the food and stuff all of the kids’ lunch boxes. Then we had parking issues and arrived at the venue heinously late, with hardly any time to set up the room before little people started arriving.
Suffice to say, the first 20 mins were an omnishambles, saved by the kindness of friends who rampaged around the room with me, throwing decorations at the walls (sod the no blu-tac rule), laying out the buffet and inflating balloon animals while G got on with the essential business of mixing and doling out Pimms – not to mention returning home to collect the cake and everything else that we’d forgotten to bring.
Having said all of that – from the point of view of the kids, I think it probably went rather swingingly, not least because the entertainer was worth her weight in gold, taking charge of the horde and holding them transfixed while the rest of us were having minor meltdowns around the edges of the room.
Two hours later, after party games, parachute, lunch and a confused biblical scene in which 17 microbes crowded around the Noah’s Ark cake with outstretched hands as if it were the feeding of the five thousand (god bless the dad who took charge of the cake serving business), they each trotted off home with a party bag and a balloon on a stick. Never underestimate the appeal of a party bag to a 3 year old.
I’m afraid I was too distracted and frazzled to take any decent quality pics – but here are the least blurry of my shots…
That night, lying in bed, G and I had the following little convo…
“You know how you don’t like parties very much?”
“And how I don’t like parties very much either?”
“Well… given that James is our son, do you think it’s possible that he didn’t entirely *love* his party?”
“Umm, yes. I wondered the same thing.”
“Maybe we won’t bother next year”
“What were we thinking?”
Zoo Day! This was the day that I’d most looked forward to. The blessed relief of hopping on a train and going somewhere fun. Before we left, we played with some leftover party props…
Then we went up town and hit the zoo, via a glorious walk through Regents Park. I think the kidlets had a great day – at least I certainly hope so, considering the eye-watering entry fee.
Some of the animals seemed to have more space than I remembered from my last visit many moons ago. A possible side effect of the fact that they haven’t got any elephants or rhinos any more? We managed to distract Jimmy from the lack of elephants by pointing out the Warthogs (a pair of Pumbaas!) and the Meerkats (a whole army of Timons!).
The day included only minor squabbles over who got to ride the scooter and at least one illicit free ride on a carousel.
Afterwards, having starved them for most of the day, we lugged them back to Richmond for dinner in Giraffe where Nat’s incredibly patient other half had been waiting for ages. Here Helena and James indulged their shared passion for fish and chips and Ben got an enormous pile of sausages.
To round off the weekend, two little helpers came with me to water my mini-allotment. I gave them a watering can each and found myself thinking, fondly, that this might be the nicest and most spontaneously fun activity of our entire weekend. Never mind parties and zoos – what’s better than running around with watering cans on a sunny evening?
Now I think that it is high time to put the microbe on a ‘treat diet’ before he turns into an over-entitled little monster. (I refer you to this diagram). Simple pleasures only for a while… games of snap, jigsaws, trips to the allotment and sojourns in the cupboard-under-the-stairs. (We shall not mention the fact that the next few weeks happen to include two weekends away with family…followed by our holiday!)
Well that felt like an update and a half. Now I’d better go away and have some dinner.