Tomorrow Ida is three.
I do get absurdly sentimental around their birthdays, it seems to highlight how fast time moves and quickly they change. Part of my open heart plans is embracing change. I suppose I fear losing something dear but surely love is never lost?
She is wildly excited but slightly confused about how time works. Last week, slightly worn by the “is it my birthday now?” question, I made a chart for her to cross off the day at bedtime - to help her count down to the big day. Of course she marched into the kitchen the next day with black marker pen all over her hands convinced she’d conquered time by crossing off ALL the boxes to move the schedule along a bit.
What touched me most was how powerful she must feel, to control her world so easily. I wish she could hold on to that but I suppose I’m one of the people squishing it out of her with all my rules and health and safety rules about knife juggling, stair surfing and road crossing.
Having tea with my friend this morning, Ida roared her disapproval over coat putting on time and N made me laugh by observing that life with a toddler is like living with a very small, ferocious T Rex.
I find it really unnerving seeing the less lovely sides of my everydayness parroted back to me. It’s true – I say; “Right now” and “I’m starting to feel CROSS..” and “This is not acceptable” all in those growling menacing tones through my teeth….
Yesterday Zeph asked what Jesus’s middle name was.
because apparently I say Jesus H Christ.
I didn’t even know I did.
Anyway back to the birthday prep. Today we shopped for Ida’s birthday tea which she is allowed, according to tradition, to choose. We may have to tinker with that one as she’s picked;
Olives, sausages on sticks, avocado, beetroot, mussels, anchovies, bread and vinegar to dip it in, iced gems, a pineapple and a tray of assorted samosas and pakoras.
Nothing wrong with the choices - just not sure it all hangs together.
We also bought things to decorate the cake with. This year it will be yellow with dolly mixtures, chocolate buttons and marshmallows on… and star candles. I may seem grossly indulgent but I am very charmed by her calm certainty and her clear vision.
I’ve sewn her a fairy skirt and silver butterfly wings and Zeph has dipped into his savings to buy her a drinking cup with a meerkat at the bottom and I just went out to Asda (always a fearful prospect late at night with all the lost wandering the aisles - blank eyed, hair buzzing with static under the fluorescent lights) and purchase two very shiny foil helium balloons which now hover, bursting with promise, over the table laid for breakfast. Walking home through the dark clutching them firmly I felt stuffed with joy and excitement myself.
Balloons, the birthday banner, a small but happy pile of presents, a tiny pink hyacinth by her plate and pain de chocolat for breakfast. I can’t wait to see her face all lit up and happy.