I think my pre-birthday doldrums are setting in, even though its still 3 weeks away. Like Rose, since I left my teens I only get the occasional spot on my face - any occasion will do, Christmas, Easter, Hanukah – and my birthday one already arrived on my chin on Friday and settled in for the long haul. Pooey. I haven’t started on the nail-chewing yet though; every year all my finger nails mysteriously disappear at the start of February, it’s something of a tradition ever since my 30th. I am keeping away from the mirror until March now so I don’t have to see any of the grey hairs popping out. God I hate my birthdays.
And I know I am also suffering from post-birthday blues too – my Poppet was 8 on Saturday, do you believe it? and I am having a hard time working out where all the time went. How did my tiny, pink-swathed bundle become the tall, lanky Barbie-nut whose favourite phrase is ‘Oh, for goodness sake!’ and who can sing along to ‘The Time Warp’? I confess I may have an inkling where she heard the dubious language… it’s one of the many kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic quirks of having children that you hear your own adult words coming out of their little mouths, however quietly you say them and try to cover up afterwards. But I know it was *not* me who gave her the offending music. She hasn’t asked me what ‘pelvic thrusts’ are yet but I shall refer her to Auntie Ginga when that one comes up I think.
So as you can imagine I was reminiscing a little over the weekend as Poppet tore her way through a dozen pinky-shminky wrapped parcels in under a minute. We have come quite a long way since I boarded that ambulance and became intimately acquainted with the local maternity unit. I was only just getting used to my married name at the time as we’d only been spliced for just over a year, so I was scarcely prepared for hearing it used in a sentence flanked by the words ‘you can do it!’ and ‘Push!’. But hey, we all know childbirth is a wonderful thing and I am not going to labour the point (!). Nobby and I exchanged a few fond looks as Poppet asked us how the big day went and I knew he’d been remembering as well. Although I think his memories are rather different than mine. When she asked ‘So, was there any blood?’ I was stuck between not wanting to ruin her image of the miracle of birth and not wanting to lie. But then Nobby leapt heroically to the rescue with ‘Yes, there was some blood, but only on my hand where Mummy was digging her fingernails in.’
Poppet’s gift haul was as impressive as ever this year. One favourite was the Prince Charming ‘Ken’ doll who was swiftly married to one of the Barbies before we even cut the birthday cake. Then there was the Poppet-sized princess outfit which she didn’t take off all weekend. I hadn’t realised it came with an attitude adjustment hidden in the lining until her royal highness started giving her orders out with manners that would have put Kevin the Teenager to shame. But hey, it was her birthday, we humoured her for a bit and I can’t say I minded the decree that we should all have dinner out at TGI Fridays. At least she had a couple of new DVDs to park in front of when she tired of us plebs. My squister gave her the uber-hyped ‘High School Musical’ which I decided to watch with her after recalling the high school movie with chart-topping catchy tunes that came out when I was eight years old myself: a certain film called ‘Grease’. Back in the 70’s I wasn’t allowed to watch Grease and its portrayal of innocent teenage love, despite knowing all the words to ‘Summer Lovin’’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’. I think it was the bad language, suspected teenage pregnancy, gang rivalry, bitchy back-stabbing and illegal car racing that put my Mum off… (hey, thinking about it, either Grease was way ahead of its time or else modern America is using it as a training video… you be the judge…) But I needn’t have worried: High School Musical is a *Disney* film so naturally it is squeaky clean, the cast is precision balanced in terms of race and attractiveness (although there’s only one who’s ‘dimensionally challenged’), the bad guys smile and shrug resignedly when their dastardly plans are thwarted and there’s no kissing until the sequel (which appears to be set in Teletubby land, I swear I saw Tinky Winky dancing along in the background.) All-in-all the biggest pile of cheese this side of a Frenchman’s dinner party.
We had the birthday party at a play centre; I can highly recommend just taking the hit on the wallet and letting someone else provide all the entertainment, snacks, cake, drinks, mops, brooms and bin bags. I’m sure all her friends slept very well on Sunday night. Being a true ex-pat party we had ‘Happy Birthday’ sung in 5 different languages this year – English, French, Hungarian, Arabic and Azerbaijani. We would have had Portuguese too but Boy-Next-Door was too shy. He just chased all the little girls round the bouncy castles instead and had a plastic ball fight with Nobby (who also slept well Sunday night!)
So there we are for another year. I think I may quietly ignore mine and hope it goes away. Here’s a thought, if you don’t celebrate your birthday do you get to pick your age? That would seem fair. I already trained the children to answer ‘29’ when anyone asks how old Mummy is. Although the problem with having a maths genius in the household means that Pickle won’t buy that one any longer so I think I’m scuppered. I guess it’s time to brace myself and accept what’s coming. I’m off to get started on those fingernails.
1 day ago