Gadzooks what a week. Halloween, Birthday, two nights out and a birthday party. For me that is epic.
I can't believe I totally forgot to tell you about Halloween last time. How very remiss of me and how very worried you all must have been wondering if my children trick or treated or not. They did. Even though Monday had begun at 4am included a WW meeting and the final preparations for G's Birthday the next day, I diligently carried out my Halloween duties on All Hallows' Eve.
The elderly neighbours returned home from their weekend away after we got home from school on Monday and brought with them three more pumpkins which we duly carved on the kitchen table and then added them to the two already out the front of the house. Bea had seen my sister do a vomiting pumpkin over half term so we did the same - she drew a puking face on to the pumpkin, I carved and then we emptied the insides and used them to spill out of the mouth - we put it on our front wall with the 'sick' spilling down on to the pavement and it was particularly effective even if I do say so myself. We had people stopping and taking pictures of it which I saw as a ringing endorsement. As there was going to be no one at home to answer the door to other trick or treaters we left a bowl on our doorstep with cold pasta and macaroni all mixed in with the treats and Bea knocked up a sign which said 'Grab one if you dare' which we put over the top to conceal the cold carbs underneath - combined with the numerous glowing pumpkins the whole effect was very pleasing. Unfortunately all this preparation meant that the children were ridiculously over excited by the time we got to leave in full costume and I was already dreading Ted's first Trick or Treat experience as they ran screaming with excitement onto the pavement. Ted refused to go in the buggy which meant he was loose on the streets dressed as part spider, part spiderman and high on sugar and the thrill of being out at night. However, my fears were unfounded as it turns out that we have inadvertently discovered Ted's calling in life - he was made for trick or treating. He looks so cute and cuddly on the outside - particularly dressed as a spider - and yet he has a heart of darkness and fearlessness which is required for roaming the cold, dark streets of London and eliciting sweets from strangers. It was genius. The bigger two were often too afraid to approach a dark doorway for fear of people jumping out at them (for the last two years I have mistakenly taken them to some very over enthusiastic places where people had rigged microphones and falling spiders and people jumping out from behind dustbins etc so it's not that they are particular scaredy cats but just wary) - whereas Ted, who by now had got the gist of what was happening, would run straight up to the door and bang particularly loudly and if they didn't open quickly enough would then shout 'ayoooooooooooo' (hello) to see if he could hurry them along. When they did open the door he would dutifully hand over the sweet/chocolate he was in the middle of eating from the last house to the poor homeowner or me and then dive in with whatever was on offer at the present house. Or, if they had a pet or something particularly interesting inside, he would push past the homeowner and have a good walk around their hall or kitchen to see what was going on. He was also very polite saying goodbye and thank you to each house we visited and was declared by nearly all of them to be 'adorable' - an evil genius in the making. He never once got tired on the walk around which must have been at least an hour and a half ,whereas G had to go in the buggy after an hour and by the time we got home and in the bath, Bea was in tears with tiredness. I wanted to cry too but as soon as they were in bed K and I got on the case with preparing for G's birthday and setting up the kitchen. I'm not sure what other people do for Bdays but in our house I take a fanfare approach so there are always helium balloons, a number helium balloon, some sort of cake, bunting and a table full of presents and cards. I also like the kitchen to be clean for the photos so that in future years I might look back and think - hmmmm I wasn't as slovenly as I thought - or the children might look back and say - I don't remember the kitchen ever looking like that. Either way, it's how I like it done and now we've started we can't just stop so we are going to have to do birthdays like this until they are 18 or something. It all seemed such a good idea when Bea was 3 and G was 1 - I didn't realise what I was starting.
I told you about G's bday already so I'll move on to my two nights out. I know TWO in a row. I am soooo cool. Wednesday night I was out 'in town' - I made it to Bond Street in very quick time (40 mins in case you were wondering) and was utterly thrilled to realise that 'in town' clothes shops stay open ridiculously late. H & M looked particularly shiny so I ran in there and told the friend I was meeting to come and find me. 7.30 pm and I was out and shopping. The rush was pretty heady. I grabbed armfuls of clothes, totally ignored the friend I hadn't seen in three years and went to the changing rooms before they closed. I think the mirrors in their changing rooms are doctored as I looked good in everything which never happens and having seen a picture of the dress I bought and then wore to G's party yesterday, I definitely do not look as good as I had hoped. Anyway, I didn't know that at the time and assumed I looked amazing so I dutifully queued up at the till with my chosen items. I was particularly scared about my card being refused and as we inched forward I practised what I would say on being told my card had been declined and desperately tried to remember what might be left in my account. But miracle of miracle the £70 purchase went through and the clothes were mine! Such elation - I don't think anyone who has never had to worry about their card being declined can ever imagine the unbridled joy you feel when the till clicks open and the card machine says, take your card. It makes the purchase even more special. However in the thrill of the chase of new clothing I had tactfully avoided thinking about how I was going to pay for the meal out I was about to enjoy with this poor friend I had so far ignored and forced to sit outside a changing room for fifteen minutes. Mercifully I had battery in my phone and had recently paid the bill so I was able to text K who immediately resolved the situation and transferred funds - the joy of modern technology and a recent payday. Then I went on to enjoy a grown up Italian meal with a bottle of wine and a lovely friend. It is hard to imagine a better Wednesday night all in all.
Thursday was harder work than usual though, as I didn't get in til 11.30pm which, as you know, is way past my bedtime and Ted was still adjusting to the clock change so I was awake again at 5am. The fun did not stop there though - Thursday evening was curry and quiz night at the school. I know, I know. try to contain your jealousy. It was BYO so I stole the bottle of Cava K had been given by a client and toddled back down to the school again. (The journey home from school that afternoon had been slightly fraught with a scootering accident, buggy crash and packed lunch bag dropped in a squitty animal poo on the pavement and me losing all kinds of patience trying to push an injured 7 yr old one handed in a recalcitrant buggy whilst pulling a crying 5 yr old on a scooter beside me and holding out the squitty poo lunch bag which I was very tempted to just bin but couldn't quite bring myself to go through with it as I didn't want to have to go to Sainsbury's specifically to replace it. Plus they cost almost £10 so I clung on with gritted teeth and anger in my heart until we got home where once again the dettol came in desperately handy.) With all that in mind, I was particularly joyous to be out of the house and on my way to drink alcohol and eat curry leaving K in charge of tired children and the remainder of the bedtime routine. The quiz part was incidental. I had already made my position clear - I was on the team to sit there and look pretty and answer any questions on Girls Aloud and all geography questions with 'Kazakhstan' (none of the geography questions required that answer which was a shame as I would have looked very clever if it had). I was secretly hoping for some Celebrity pictures so I could be of some use, however aside from the celebrity baby pictures where you had to match the celeb with their baby picture - I correctly identified Brad Pitt due to his likeness to daughter Shiloh, but they ignored me and wrote the incorrect answer which cost us the quiz (we came joint first but lost at tie break) - the only other celebrity question was on our local resident and everyone knows that - it's Timothy Spall of whom all SE23 are justifiably proud so I was totally useless to our team and took to drinking to accompany my sitting and looking pretty. It turns out that I am incapable of drinking sensibly out of a plastic tumbler whilst sitting slightly uncomfortably on a child's chair at a child's school table and I was incredibly merry incredibly quickly. Even though I couldn't answer any questions and I wasn't that keen on the curry, overall the evening was ridiculously good fun (although I think it got more fun the more I drank and I am really hoping I didn't make too big a tit out of myself). I do know that by the time I got home and collapsed into my bed with contact lenses in and make up still very much on, the world was spinning scarily and I yelled for K to hold my hand as I was scared. I was actually scared I was going to be sick but I didn't want to tell him that in case he left my side and stopped reassuring me.
Friday was naturally a disaster of a day but I had nothing on so I spent it at home with Ted who, it turns out, is much easier to look after on his own, at home. I am going to do it more often. It is only when he is mixed with other children or outside of our home that he becomes a true liability. I would say I almost enjoyed our time together, even with a raging hangover.
Saturday was the party day, and due to the hangover of Friday and lack of Tesco delivery slots, I had to get to The Big Shop pretty early to prepare for the 2pm kick off. I won't go in to too much boring detail but the party was fabulous - The Magician who I set up with the Godmother came to entertain and was particularly brilliant. The superhero cake I ordered from the extra child's mother was AWESOME in extreme although rather stupidly I had asked for it to have spiderman on which meant that for almost the entire two hour party Ted was determined to have the spiderman from the cake and would not take no for an answer - there was a lot of annoying screaming from Ted and sighing from K (can't remember if I mentioned Teds total obsession with Spidey and spiders - it is overwhelming and all consuming). (look i have added a picture! Exciting)
I am particularly jubilant as that now makes three for three on the birthdays and parties front. Yippeee! Just mine to go now. It's going to be an amazing birthday to make up for the last seven years where all money and effort has gone into the children's birthdays, or where I have been 11 days postpartum and still in agony when I sat down thanks to G's enormous head. I am rightfully hoping to be very spoilt. There is money in the bank and on the gas card and K is promising to sort out all the scary bills for me after my dazzling display of girly silliness at being too scared to speak to any of them in case they tell me off. If I could just lose this extra half a stone I have rather stupidly agreed to carry around then things would actually be perfect. But then I'd worry that everything was too perfect and something bad was going to happen so it's lucky there is something wrong.
I feel this particularly keenly after I saw the pictures of that horrific motorway pile up in Somerset. It is unlike me to be too serious, but suffice to say that when I see things like that it puts money and weight worries rightfully into perspective and makes me ridiculously grateful that my children are safe and well and asleep in their beds. So, as Sunday draws to a close, as does Downton Abbey, I can safely announce that M&O is happy, warm and loving her new clothes - except the dress which makes me look huge - and I am not even that tired as I was in bed until 11am this morning. It is a whole new world people. It's hard to imagine but things may even get better as my birthday celebrations begin in earnest. I don't want to tempt fate but at this precise moment in time I am happy. But still not smug. If you ever feel me veering that way do let me know. It is a hideous thing.
Must dash, X Factor is on and I still need to write my talk for tomorrow morning's meeting. I shall leave you reeling with my declaration of happiness and prepare the tissues for Downton. Spanish Flu is on its way.....