Today is my birthday. I don’t have particularly high expectations. It was always a difficult one being precisely two weeks before Christmas. Every year during my childhood, the second weekend before Christmas would herald a flurry of visiting relatives with presents for my brothers for Christmas, and a ‘joint Christmas and birthday present’ for me. The joint Christmas and Birthday present is an abomination which should not exist. I may have been a kid, but I wasn’t stupid. In the maths department, I was able to establish from a very early age that I was getting a pretty shitty presents deal.
The situation did not improve any when my first baby, due towards the end of January 2010, decided to make an impromptu arrival (requiring ambulance intervention) on the 18 December 2009, 1 week to the day before Christmas. In order to try and make his day less of a flop, it has sort of been moved to my birthday.
My work colleagues are a pretty fab bunch. We had a lunch, and I was given a very appropriate litre of Bombay Sapphire and a box of Thorntons. When they asked me what I was doing on my birthday, I replied, “drinking gin, eating Thorntons and firefighting my 4 offspring, 4 chickens and a cat until such time as my husband returns from his Xmas cocktail party.”
I wasn’t joking. The au pair has escaped to someone else’s house for supper. Husband has been ordered not to return without an Indian takeaway, but the timings are anyone’s guess. I am drinking my Bombay Sapphire and blogging.
The yummy mummy would never find herself in such a predicament. A December birthday would prove no hurdle to her. She would, undoubtedly, have got it together enough in advance to notice that husbands work do clashed, organised a sitter for another night, booked a romantic restaurant (or made appropriate suggestion to husband) and actually had a meal where conversation could pass between parents.
I did suggest rather last minute to husband (by email while he was at his work do) that we could have supper out tonight. Obviously forgot to check with the au pair who already had plans. Takeaway for one, whenever it may come, it is.
Meanwhile, I have put in place a couple of birthday parental exemptions/rules.
1. Unless there is bloodshed I will not intervene.
2. If you have “an accident” Daddy can clean it up when he comes home. After all, I wouldn’t want to disturb Purcy cat, who has finally braved the child zone and is sitting on my knee.
3. Yes, Benji has knocked your picture off your wall because I might accidentally have left all the doors in the house open, giving you free reign, therefore maximising my likely down time. Daddy can totally fix this when he gets home.
4. The 5 year old is being unusually helpful in meeting his siblings requests..this is being encouraged through the “poor mummy, nobody loves her” campaign.
5. Daddy has just messaged to say he will be home around 8pm. Bedtime tonight will be around 8pm!
Does it matter? No, it does not. Because while I have been firefighting, my eldest has just spent 20 minutes writing me this ‘phonetically plausible’ birthday card which I will treasure forever more. (Anyone not “Into” phonetics, this says “Happy Birthday Mum Love from Patrick”). I don’t need to go out. I am with my children whom I love, and who love me. My home is safe, my dinner will come at some point, I have a card of sorts, not to mention a litre of gin. So no matter how un-yummy mummy my birthday may be, it’s mine, and it’s special because I have work colleagues to buy me gin, a husband to bring me an Indian at some time or other, and 4 kids to drive me to distraction until my husband comes home.