The best laid plans…


Seriously. Couldn’t you just have gone to M&S like the other Mums?!

“Don’t like it!”

Spiderman hit the floor at such velocity that even his spidey senses were unable to save him.

Today was Blake’s 2nd birthday. It didn’t quite go to plan.

A shaky start.
We intended to visit Coombe Martin Dinosaur Park to celebrate but we changed our minds at the last minute when Blake ran away terrified from a £3.99 model velociraptor in Home Bargains the day before. Turns out he only likes two dimensional dinosaurs.

Day trip thwarted, I was still determined to give him a picture-perfect day so like many Mums (and occasionally Dads!) there I was the night before:

  • Covered head-to-toe in sellotape, wrapping up various incarnations of plastic tat that I had carefully collected in the preceding weeks.
  • Writing out the card that I had lovingly created online featuring George pig, a dinosaur (two dimensional thank goodness) and the number 2 with thoughtful words that HE CAN’T READ.
  • Icing the paleo chocolate cupcakes with coconut sugar icing that clumped like crazy.
  • Blowing up 12 balloons. *Confession* Mitch blew up the balloons. But that was his ONLY birthday-related job and he needed me to tell him how many would be appropriate so it still counts.
  • Frantically scrolling the internet looking for replacement day trips.
  • Guestimating how to use the fancy camera that my brother got me for Christmas so I could capture all of the upcoming ‘joy’.

Faux birthdays are a thing. Apparently.
At the last minute, my Mum called to check that I’d got a present for Elysia so she didn’t feel left out. What the heck?! A faux birthday, is this a thing?! Apparently it is and everyone is doing it, even my Mum 30 odd years ago, though I have no recollection of it whatsoever. I raided my mystery present drawer and found a jigsaw puzzle that Mitch bought her for Christmas but we didn’t give to her because a) she already had too many puzzles and b) it was a map of Great Britain and I thought she’d hate it. Lacking other options to this problem that I didn’t even know existed 10 minutes earlier, I ran with it.

The big day.
Cut to this morning. B-day. Blake was up first (of course). It started well, with him giving me a giant, squeezy hug. Then it went downhill. We gave him his presents. He was frustrated because he couldn’t open them properly so his sister took over. Then he opened the cuddly spiderman, took an instant dislike to it and hurled it to the floor like one of the spoilt kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hmmm. Time for distraction.

I gave Elysia her present. Up until this point she’d been having a great time helping her brother. She seemed very surprised to have a gift of her own. Let’s just say we would have been better with no present than the map puzzle. The look of disappointment on her face was palpable. “I don’t want this!” she frowned. This was no Elsa doll, no Barbie, no Princess Sophia. It was a GB map puzzle. She sulked for a while.


Post-sulk with the offending puzzle!

The joy of sharing.
Spiderman and lame puzzle discarded, my children played nicely together with the other new toys for about 3.4 seconds. Then the crying began. Blake didn’t want to share any of his toys. Elysia wanted to put Blake’s new diecast police helicopter inside his new watering can. He vehemently objected. Distraction time again.

I started making some birthday banana pancakes, both children’s ultimate favourite breakfast. Blake cried. He wanted (gluten-free) cereal instead. Until I capitulated and got the box of cereal out. Then he wanted pancakes. And breathe…

Smile for the camera. Or not.
After breakfast, it was time to try and capture the happiness of the big day with the fancy pants camera. I was determined to get a lovely ‘Parenting Magazine-style’ photo of me and my son, 2 years to the day that I squeezed his melon head out of me after 17 hours of excruciating labour (“the second baby will be easier!” they said. Good one.) He wasn’t playing ball. Here’s the best attempt before we gave up:

And here’s the best attempt from the year before, on his 1st birthday:


Note the death grip and the manic grin

There’s a pattern emerging here.

We decided to just head to Crealy Great Adventure Park where we’re annual members. Although Mitch takes the children there every weekend so I can regain my sanity get the housework done, it was a novelty to have Mummy with them so it seemed birthday appropriate. It probably would have been but it was bloody freezing. And Blake stayed grumpy all day.

Don’t judge me, Jamie Oliver.
Theme park fun done, we headed to a restaurant for a birthday dinner. After carefully selecting a balanced children’s meal for my offspring, they both ate nothing other than chips and ice cream. *High five for the mother obsessed with nutrition*.


Extra cabbage juice tomorrow to make-up for it 🙂

We returned home in time for a quick episode of Topsy and Tim. I was hoping that their niceness would rub off on my two but it turned out to be one where they ignored their mother’s instructions, wouldn’t go to sleep and wore their school shoes to bed so cheers for the behavioural boost there, CBeebies.

One final battle over the new ‘Pirate Pete’ bath toy and the big day was over. When I say over, it was 7pm which means two sleeping children and a Mum questioning, once again, why she doesn’t drink alcohol.

Great expectations.
I think that the inherent pressure to make a single day perfect means that, in most cases, we’re never going to succeed. It’s the same with a wedding day – mine was marred by a crazy, drunken aunt, a missing arcade game and Dad’s wrong trousers. A great title for my autobiography…

The best days often come out of nowhere. A summer’s day just hanging out in the garden with friends. A snowy walk in a country park. I’m not going to beat myself up about not getting his 2nd birthday quite right. Because, hopefully there will be other (almost) perfect days that make up for it.

And, if not, I’ve got 364 days to make next year’s better…










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