I’m known for my planning. For getting everything sorted out and everything on track. All at the same time. Shall I explain? Don and Lorna arrive in London on the evening of 1 March which just happens to be the day of Mac’s fourth birthday. I know this for a fact because I was there for the inaugural one. Mac is fully expecting that I top, surpass and generally out-do the wonderful birthday outing he had last year and he is so certain of this, he’s not giving me any clues as to what he’d like to do. Whatever he does, he wants to do it with the full complement of friends and family. I’ve taken to throwing questions at him in the hope that I get a clue. On our way to nursery yesterday morning I said “Look darling, look at the road menders! Do you like mending roads?” in the hope that if he said yes I could book a bulk ticket to DiggerLand and be done with it. He answered in the negative and shuddered enough to suggest that he will be a white collar worker when he’s older.
The lack of birthday party inspiration is not in itself a real problem – something will pop up eventually. The problem lies in the fact that I’ve got to be up and ready to take our Canadian visitors to their first port of call bright and early on Sunday morning - we’re off on a trip up the Thames – and so any birthday activity the previous day should leave me bright eyed and bushy tailed enough to do so. All previous birthday parties have left me in a heap for two days – even his first party managed to render me exhausted for a day afterwards. He slept all the way through it, I overdosed on jelly and ice cream. “Tell him that the boat trip is his birthday present” Charlie suggested when she called me earlier. Nice idea but it wouldn’t work. Besides, Bea is essential at any family gathering and she doesn’t “do” boats and “certainly not on the Thames darling”.
“Why don’t we just have something here?” David asked as I had a mild panic at the kitchen table last night. Hm, somehow I think that that would fall fairly short of his expectations. “It’s ridiculous, the way parents are forced to be more and more inventive and extravagant with their children’s birthday parties” he grumbled, secure in the knowledge that any Birthday Party Failure would not be deemed as his fault. “Matt used to be happy with a couple of sandwiches and a game of Blind Man’s Buff” he went on gloomily as he wiped down my surfaces. How things change, my sort-of-step-son spent his last birthday party face down in a chow mein after drinking enough vodka shots to disable the most hardiest of Russians.
Don and Lorna’s visit means that I’ve had to arrange to have Mac collected from nursery every afternoon and have at least a couple of events that he can join in on after nursery. A trip on the London Eye is one and the other is a schlep over to the Natural History Museum – David’s quite excited about that himself. I hope to God the Canadians like what I’m arranging – I got an email response to my tentative schedule and Don said they were both “really excited about the treats in store”. I hope so, they’re paying for it. They’re currently in Edinburgh “soaking up all the culture”.
Lydia was brisk and to the point this morning. “You can’t tell me that with all of this….” here she gestured at the teering pile of leaflets and brochures and travel guides strewn across the kitchen table “…that you can’t find something to amuse a four year old child, assorted friends and a handful of adults!”. She’s right of course, she generally is. She’s also a bit down at the moment because Thomas Samuel Michael Robinson-Hoult is being christened this Sunday. Understandably she’s boycotting the event. Even though she received an invitation.
Yes, for her soon-to-be-ex-husband Mike and his bit on the side Susan (soon to be the new Mrs Robinson as soon as the divorce comes through apparently) invited the woman he cheated on and dumped to the christening of their love-child. It fair boggles the mind. We were invited too, as were Jane Opposite, Ruby Over the Road and Jill With The Purple Door – the latter is the only one going and has promised to report back. No doubt Marjorie is putting it on the agenda for the next TANA meeting....must actually go to that one.
“Matthew is taking me out for the day” Lydia said gloomily, picking off her nail varnish. “That’s nice!” I over enthused but with the sickening knowledge that Matt’s idea of a nice day out is a pie and pint in a pub followed by a round of golf. “Hm, the London Aquarium” she snorted “presumably so I can imagine Mike swimming with the fishes”.
They say that inspiration hits you when you least expect it, don’t they?