Thursday, 12 June 2008

Birds, bees and birthdays

Mac arrived home from nursery on Tuesday with the dreaded bright yellow envelope. This is Nursery Communication with Parents at its very best – these special envelopes convey all kinds of messages, some good (your son has been selected as water monitor), some bad (your son has nits). Mostly they’re used to torture parents. The last bright yellow envelope I received informed me that, not only was I expected to attend the forthcoming Parents Day, I was to be given the responsibility of supplying all the mummies/daddies/guardians with the usual nursery fayre at times like this: polystyrene cups of warmish tea and stale biscuits.

This latest message was to advise all parents/guardians that Mac’s class would be participating in a “special” talk entitled “Where did I come from?” on Friday afternoon. Of course they’ve arranged this for a Friday afternoon – that way they don’t get all the questions and worried looks that follow things like this. It would be “tastefully done” and all worries and concerns would be addressed in “an open and adult way”. The children are just four. I was nine before I learnt that I didn’t just appear in a babygro in my mum’s arms and eleven before I found out the gruesome details. When Bea told me after her first biology lesson at secondary school I didn’t believe her and ran away yelling “eurgh, that’s horrible”. The letter went on to advise me that “all those unanswered questions about where babies come from will be dealt with”. Great. I really don’t fancy Mac sidling up to Lydia and saying “I know what you’ve been doing”.

Sex. It seems everyone’s at it. Or at least talking about it. I had the extreme misfortune of spending yesterday morning with Marjorie Stewart because she caught me as I was leaving for Bromley. “Where are you going?” she trilled, dressed from head to toe in cerise. “Shopping” I mumbled and put on my “boring old Sainsbury’s, nothing exciting” expression. She saw straight through me, I can’t lie. “Oh yes? Where?” “Bromley” I muttered, already opening up the passenger door for her.

I was determined to start my “Card and Present Box” buying in a good mood and tuned out her chatter about how Frank and his Viagra are doing well and that he’s packed enough for the weekend and how she’s packed all of her sexy underwear – “We don’t plan on seeing anything of the Isle of Wight at all!” – she giggled. While I was having a sneaky peek in Marks and Spencers Food Court and wondering if I could get away with just bulk buying their heavenly sandwiches and having a picnic tea Charlie rang to tell me that James the Gorgeous Cardiothoracic Surgeon With Audi and No Wedding Ring has invited her away to his “weekend place in the country” this very weekend and what did I think was a priority: seduce him into bed or seduce him into wanting to spend the rest of his life with her. I told her to play the long game and that leaping into bed with someone on what will be only their third date is a little promiscuous. She thought about it for a nano-second and said “Ah yes, but one romp with me and he’ll want to spend the rest of his life with me”. Sometimes I think my friends only ask me for my opinion so that they can convince themselves that they’re right.

I got home to find Lydia on the doorstep in a state of disarray. She fell into the house and headed straight for the biscuit tin. “I’ve just seen Mike” she mumbled through a chocolate hob nob. Lydia’s Nearly Ex Husband took it upon himself to congratulate her on her pregnancy by expressing amazement that she “could actually get up the duff at her age”. Lydia hit back with an ill-judged “well, it was obviously you that was faulty wasn’t it?” just as Susan came out of the house carrying Mike’s son. She shoved another hob nob into her mouth miserably. Although she’s not really showing that much (at the moment it looks like she’s just eaten a lot) but she’s taken to waddling like a duck and clutching her back. And refusing to lift anything heavier than a tea cup. After I’d lugged everything in from the car she helped me put everything neatly in the large wicker box I’d bought, going all gooey over the stuffed bears.

Feeling everso slightly smug I picked up the invitations that Mac has received. Nothing suitable for the birthday boys and girl in my brand spanking new Birthday Card and Present Box. Nothing, nada.

Best Friend Ben, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday with a barbecue in his spacious and newly landscaped garden, deserves more than what I’ve bought for the generic-just-stick-a-hand-in-and-grab-a-present Box. Miriam from Nursery is an organic, vegan, tie dyed little girl whose mummy doesn’t believe in “non educational toys”. I have nothing educational in this Box. Similarly for Jack, whose birthday is on the third of July but who is having his party on the last Saturday in June (which makes me shudder, I am extremely superstitious about celebrating birthdays before the actual day), is a real Boys Boy in that if he’s not dissecting a frog with his scientist father, he’s learning how rain is made or how electricity works or Higher Maths or Latin with his former University Professor Mother.

I don’t think he’s going to be happy with a Monster Trucks Top Trumps set do you?


aims said...

Stinking Billy just told us about a birthday party he attended for a 10 yr old (I think) where it was all themed right down to every parent being in on it. Pirates of the Caribbean no less with rooms decorated and every yargh-ing here and there. I can't believe the nonsense people will go to these days for children that young!

I remember it was a big thing if you got a penny in your piece of cake. And my mom never wrapped them either....urgh....

Je ne regrette rien said...

call me a prude (or worse) but I'm of the opinion that at 4 years of age, most kids aren't exactly hammering us for the nitty gritty details of procreation. I think kindergarteners should be able to reman just that ... and the birthday box is a very nice idea!

Anonymous said...

God, life's tough when you're a kid! Amy has asked me a few times now where she came from. I switch the telly on and hope to find Sponge Bob and Patrick trying to catch jellyfish.

Great blog, very well written and a very enjoyable read. As always.

CJ xx

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Aims - the only birthday I remember was my seventh. I was wearing a hideous pseudo-bridesmaid dress in pistachio green and my 12 year old cousin stole my thunder by turning up with her new perm. We sat on a large blanket on the lawn and had a picnic and I got stung by a bee!

JNRR - he's home and is showing no signs of trauma. I asked him how his special talk went and he just looked at me blankly and asked me for a biscuit. I'll be keeping an eye on him though!

CJ - how would explain it though? Thank you for the compliments, coming from you its a real honour!

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.