So far being 34 has not been a great success.
As predicted, the big day itself was a bit of a wash out. K couldn't quite bring himself/didn't realise he had to wake early enough for any indulgences like breakfast in bed so celebrations were downsized to a brief presentation period downstairs at 7.45am. Although this made me quite on edge, as there really isn't a lot of time in the morning for any shenanigans - it really is get dressed, get fed, get out and I get very nervous around the 8am time as there is only half an hour left..... However, I enjoyed a lovely few minutes where I was presented with a beautiful group of prettily wrapped presents and pictures from the children before Ted tried to open my gifts for me which made K quite cross as he had clearly spent time making them look pretty, so the beauty of the moment was slightly marred by K's angry shouting at Ted and Ted's particularly angry shouting back. Nevertheless it was a nice way to start the day. I was also lucky enough to be bombarded with texts, cards and Facebook messages from incredibly early on in the morning, so I felt very loved. I had secretly hoped that K might have booked the morning or the afternoon or maybe the entire day off work so that he could do the school runs or help me for the day, but there was no such surprise in store and in fact he left half an hour earlier than usual - after enquiring whether I had anything planned - 'no' - 'so who are you spending the day with?' - 'Ted' - 'Good luck. Bye!'. So I did the school runs and on the way home I got an invitation for lunch from a friend who had no idea it was my birthday, but it was a very happy coincidence as it gave the day purpose. Other than that it was entirely uneventful. K got home in time to help with bath and bed and then I was allowed a Take Away supper of my choice. Miserably, I went for a delicious Indian. I say miserably as I subsequently came down with the horrid winter tummy bug.
It was HORRID. I spent the night not sleeping - Bea came in to join me quite early on and so K had to sleep across the foot of the bed due to all the female members of his family taking up the head end. Every time he coughed or moved, I woke up or C woke up which meant I had to wake up. Bea is quite a mover in her sleep so she also woke me and C up and the gurgling tummy feeling started in the early hours so I basically didn't sleep. K wasn't really aware how ill I was, so didn't jump up to help in the morning but mercifully Bea did and was a total legend. She really is an excellent co-parent when you really need her. G had been complaining of his ear aching for a few days and he decided this was the particular morning he would bring his complaints to a head so I had to wait by the phone to call the doctors and book an emergency appointment before they were all taken at 7am. Then I realised my phone had been cut off due to the now regular non payment of bill. I managed to rouse K and get him to find his phone and put in his code and therefore was able to get an appointment for G. So, to cut a long and sorrowful story short I took a very well-appearing G to the Docs after dropping two others at school, waited for half an hour to be seen, only to discover that although well, G did indeed have a nasty ear infection. He pounced on the news and insisted on staying at home so I spent the day being very ill and nursing G who wasn't ill and looking after everyone else and doing school runs as usual. I couldn't eat anything all day but still had to breastfeed the monster baby so by 5pm I was on my knees with tiredness and hunger and was a bit of a heap on the sofa. Mercifully K knocked off early and arrived Knight-like through the door to relieve me and I crawled in to bed. K then got the bug, spent all night having to get up with it, so cancelled his morning appointments, stayed in bed til 11, before making it in to work and then came home that evening and got straight back in to bed. And therein lies the fundamental difference between our lives. As he freely admits, he could not possibly have looked after the children and been ill but as I am keen to point out - I didn't have a flipping choice. AND to compound my now certain belief that my 34th year is cursed (I have seen SO MANY single magpies it is ridiculous - I mean on average around 4 a day - that is an omen not a coincidence) the Sky box decided not to record my Real Housewives on my birthday. It was eerie - it suddenly decided to delete the command to record every programme. I am totally freaked out. I may never know what happened in those two vital episodes that marked the start of the third season. Sniff. So, as you can tell, the big day and the day after were a tad pants, and a marked contrast to my last birthday - (I won't go on as I wrote about it last year) - where I had a fabulous weekend extravaganza with lots of amazing things and best of all, my new baby. (She was 3 months and 4 days on my bday this year.....). Actually, it was in total contrast to the preceding week as well, as that was totally lovely.
I have no idea why but a whole person seems to have evaded attention. I shall immediately correct that wrong by telling you about Posh Putney friend. (I must quickly say that she isn't actually any more or less posh than any of my other school friends, but her real name begins with P as well and I am a big fan of alliteration so that is stuck in my head). On the Thursday before my bday, back in the good old days of non-cursed 33, Ted and I took a break from our usual playgroup date and took a trip over to Putney. On the way I have to go through Clapham, Northcote Road, Wandsworth etc and I have to admit to finding these areas a bit of a 'downer'. Largely because I spend my time driving through them, musing over what life would be like for me if I had not been so hasty to have a baby and instead spent more time getting rich first. Stupidly I gaze at the skinny women pushing their smart bugaboos with expensive baby bags in their boden coats and leather boots and wonder what life would be like if I were one of them. We would have gone on proper holidays. We would have a 'finished' house. I would have a personal trainer at my swanky gym. We would definitely have gone out more. My wardrobe would definitely have far less Tu and George and far more Zara and ASOS. (Cue a really cutesy sentence where I say 'but then I look in the rear view mirror and see all the car seats and I realise how lucky I am...' Obviously that is so not me and I did not feel lucky as I can't afford the car and the children who fit the car seats plus I had an awake Ted who was asking me for the millionth time where we were going and I could also see all the mess and detritus and leftover birthday balloons so it just compounded my sorry-for-myself feelings). Anyhoo, I then got to posh Putney and saw my lovely friend and I felt a lot better. Ooh not because she lives in a shit hole or anything but just because I was so happy to finally meet up with her and meet her new baby. PP and I had spent so much time exchanging emails, texts and scrabble app messages (she is the only person who has continued to play with me) in the lead up to the births of our babies (a week apart) that it seemed so extremely odd that we hadn't met up before the babies were 3 months. The big boys - who were also born within 6 weeks of each other - played beautifully together for hours and the young ones slept over lunch so we got a lot of time to talk which is just so nice. PP was my first school friend to have a baby and by that time I was on my third so it was my first experience of going through the pregnancy and birth thing with a peer and it really does make a difference. It is comforting to know that finally someone is going through the same things as me for a start. However more importantly I realised that even in Posh Putney things are very similar to Slummy SE23 (no offence, I am going on the alliteration theme and slummy sounds better than shitty) - children are still children and although hers will go to very nice private schools and on lovely foreign holidays, they still keep her up at night and make her pull her hair out at times. I love that about babies and children in general - they are great levellers. Irrespective of who you are or how much money or how little money you have, having a baby still makes you feel the same feelings. That makes me happy. She also made me have an epiphany about my 'clapham' dreams - I realised that even if we did live off the Northcote Road with a cellar full of wine and a pristine Bugaboo I would want a bigger house, garden and cellar that I couldn't afford and I'd want to send my children to the same schools as my neighbours which would mean I'd have to work full time and I'd still only be able to send two, which would mean I couldn't have my four children so I'd be moaning about lack of money in my 'alternative' world as well. Although arguably in nicer clothes. SO, I realised that I've 'never had it so good' as Macmillan once said and I should stop moaning. I therefore promise to try not to. It is highly likely I will fail but I will definitely try to stop thinking about 'what could have been' and deal better with what 'is'.
Especially because I move on to Friday and another friend I really should have mentioned before now. My Birthday Twin (who shares my birthday in case you didn't get the name) has recently moved from SE23 to leafy Kent, and Friday was the SE23 part of her birthday celebrations. She couldn't make our usual joint celebrations with the local mummies this Friday (AGAIN I cannot believe I haven't gone in to more depth about my local posse - I shall rectify this in my very next post) and so she booked a table at the Tapas restaurant at the end of my road and a big group of us went there for a particularly lovely birthday lunch. It was another fabulous event with a lot of brilliant women who I very much enjoy spending time with, as well as great and plentiful food. Birthday Twin looked particularly well and happy and Ted and the other boys were bizarrely well behaved for two hours - C even slept for an hour as well - so it was slightly magical. Sadly, the reason BT can't make our joint birthday celebration this year is because it is on the day that she starts her second course of Chemotherapy as she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in August. Her two children are the same ages as my big two and G and her younger daughter formed a very firm friendship over their mutual love of Dinosaurs. I met her when our eldest girls were still toddlers at a local playgroup and we have been friends ever since so it is very odd not having them around the place anymore and even odder to know that whilst life still carries on as per usual for us, she is busy dealing with the aftermath of a really bastard buggering bollocks of a disease. She writes a very excellent blog so we are kept regularly up to date of what is going on with her and the girls, which makes it feel like she isn't that far away, but obviously seeing her in the flesh doesn't happen that often which made the event particularly special. (http://seaofattention12.blogspot.co.uk is the link to her blog if you are interested - which you should be as it is well worth your time.)
So, with a lovely Thursday, Friday and Enlightening Epiphany behind me I went merrily into the weekend and a date with the hairdressers (YAYYY) and then we had a jolly visit from The Body Godmother on Saturday (G was particularly thrilled) and The Godmother (of Magician fame) on Sunday. So, I think the problem with my bday was that it came off the back of four very lovely days spent catching up with friends and having a high old time. Even then, as birthdays go it really wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything special. My mother often tells me that 'being a mother doesn't stop' so I shouldn't have expected K to do the school run and she reminded me once again, that she woke up on one of her birthdays on holiday, in a tiny, cold caravan on the Suffolk coast with me peeing on her leg. And my birthday twin woke up on our birthday to discover that her hair had finally given in under the force of the Chemo drugs and started to fall out in clumps. So. Without wishing to sound obvious, I am careful to count my blessings. No one pissed on me and my hair stayed put. As I said, this is as good as it gets.