Sunday, July 05, 2009

one and a half

This weekend we have celebrated our little boy's half-birthday. The reason we have decided he's a special as the Queen, and deserves two birthdays, is that he was born on Christmas eve. Which was lovely and magical and everything, but it makes for crappy childhood birthdays. You'd think I'd know better than to get up the duff in March, as my birthday is just a week before his (not a cheap month for HID, with wedding anniversary too) and even that was crap as birthday's go. Last year, for his 6 m birthday, we did wrap him up some toys, but he got so much for his real birthday and Christmas last year (we spent almost 2 weeks unwrapping) we decided he didn't need presents, and just did nice things and cake (pictured above, before I added his name & the icing dried) instead.

So on Friday night I baked a cake while HID rode his bike to the coast to watch the sunset. After an unexpected lie-in til 8am on Saturday, (giving husband and wife some much needed early morning nookie time) I was treated to some "alone time" (which I spent icing said cake, and returning books to the library, and sleeping) while Daddy and Boy bonded at the zoo. I missed out on his first go on the zoo's train :-( and first look at the new penguin enclosure. We have season tickets, so we do go quite a lot. It's great actually, no stress to cram everything in in one day, if baby gets tired, we leave and come back next week. That evening, we went to a friend's for tea, and our little angels enjoyed playing in a puddle-strewn garden, and we shared out birthday cake. It was surprisingly lovely to be out of the confines of our own four walls in the evening time, chatting to grown-ups that were not HID. Even though we were home by 8.30, it felt like a night out, and really put my social-o-meter back to full. (Well, as full as it will be with a young family). HID and I even ended up watching a film on a whim, which was immensely enjoyable, just to put chores aside and be together.

Boy's morning nap on Sunday lasted til midday, which gave us a chance to pack a bag to go swimming when he woke, and on the way we looked for somewhere to eat lunch. We planned to go to a local-ish pub called the Wheatsheaf, but were dismayed to find the carpark overflowing (meaning a very long wait, if we found a table at all). We did see their new specials board outside though: which now had each meal's "food miles" noted next to it! I knew they sourced local, fresh produce, but this eco-pub was amazing. I plan to return (having booked a table) with some like-minded mummy friends soon, for a special occasion that hasn't yet occurred to me, as mine is the next birthday in the group (December). We did return to a trusty, more local to home pub (The Plough), that makes gorgeous meals from scratch, so I love taking Boy there and have no qualms about what nasties might be in his meal. There is so much choice! It must be the only pub in the North West with over 10 vegan items on the menu, and an exotic mixed grill including wilderbeast and kangaroo (or fish mixed grill with shark etc). Although I can't imagine these particular dishes have low-food-miles.

We decided to eat outside, and after being bamboozled by the regular menu on the chalk board (which must contain in excess of 100 dishes, excluding deserts and specials), I decided to browse only the light bites lunch menu, and discovered, delightedly, that there is no "children's menu" as such, but a selection of "smaller appetite/younger diners" dishes, that included small portions of normal adult meals (precisely what Boy would eat at home), such as steak (!) and a small pasta menu! We ordered bacon & pesto pasta for Boy, and relaxed in the baking sunshine, slathered in cream, while Boy chased around other small children and generally begged food and tried to escape the beer garden. I was pleasantly surprised to see smokers stayed well away from playing children. Our meals were well worth the long wait, and we all enjoyed the birthday lunch. (Local bloggers/readers please email me for pub locations if you like the sound of them).

Then off to the swimming baths, one Boy and I hadn't frequented before. He walked from the car to the door beautifully, holding my hand all the way, even when distracted by bigger children. I made a real meal of praising this lovely behavior, as it has not yet occurred consistently. I think he may have been a bit tired for the actual swimming bit of the visit, or unsure of the new surroundings, but he didn't enjoy it as much as he usually would a trip to our local pool. However, he was much calmer about getting changed afterwards, which is not the usual drill, let me tell you! So I was quite pleased about that.

I got Boy dressed while I was wrapped in a towel and HID got himself dressed, then the boys disappeared off to the Halfords next door to look at boy things that don't interest me, so I could get changed in peace. Unfortunately leaving me to carry the heavy bag, packed for the three of us, to the car (obviously parked as far away from the door as we could manage). After a full on day, my SPD pain was leaving me with quite a pronounced limp (and probably an attractive grimace to match) , which prompted a young mum to hold open the door for me, and unwise move, as it was taking me forever to cross the small room. I called to her and explained, ("save yourself, I'm not worth it!") but she insisted. Into the foyer I hobbled, touching my swollen tummy and proclaiming "the joys of pregnancy, eh?!" as I thanked her, in the hope that she didn't think me a clumsy fat girl who had hurt her leg. I managed to maneuver the final set of doors solo, and I was out into the carpark.

The little scene in the foyer prompted a very worried looking pool manager to rush out after me, inquiring of my welfare. The poor bloke was obviously panicking that I'd been hurt on his premises and would be suing within the week, what a wonderful culture we live in. I explained I usually use crutches due to my pregnancy condition, but there were more hassle than help in places such as swimming pools. He was so delighted that my condition was not down to negligence on his part, that we offered to carry my huge sports bag to my car for me, even when I pointed out it's location. I think this may be my first act of pregnancy-chivalry performed by a stranger, and I was beaming by the time I had hobbled to the car!

A wonderful weekend was had by all, and Boy is currently napping in his cot, and HID sleeping it off on the sofa. I'm not sure he realises I do this all day every day....ha ha, bless him.

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At 11:23 am , Blogger The Dotterel said...

I like the idea of two birthdays, especially in the circumstances. Reminds me of Sally asking, years ago, why the Queen had to have an artificial birthday as well as a real one!

At 9:22 pm , Blogger SandyCalico said...

Happy one and a half birthday Boy!!
Great idea about the zoo season ticket.
Are you sure you're not doing too much 'in your condition'?! x

At 9:25 pm , Blogger SandyCalico said...

I can't find your email address, mine is sandycalico at ymail dot com, please can you let me know where the pubs are and which zoo too? Thanks x

At 11:08 am , Blogger allgrownup said...

Sandy: you are probably right,I do need to slo down! But my todlder is so full on, it's harder work entertaining him in the confines of our house, believe me! Ha ha. My email is:, I though I'd put it on my blog somewhere, not very good at all that! Emailed you anyway.
The Dotterel: Artificial! You must have died! Ha ha ha ha ha!

At 4:31 pm , Blogger Iota said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

I wonder if you'll keep up the half-birthday as the years go by. I have a nephew whose birthday is Jan 11th, and for the first year or two, we all did a half-birthday, but then it lapsed (and, let's face it, Jan 11th isn't exactly Christmas Day or Christmas Eve).

I've just read and enjoyed your post on the best and worst of baby products. It's such an industry - and how on earth can you know what you need in advance? Advice like that will be invaluable for expectant mums. I had my first baby 12 years ago, and I thought it was bad then, but the market has just exploded with new items and gadgets. It must be very bewildering for new mums and dads now.

At 1:07 pm , Blogger clareybabble said...

That's such a good idea for Christmas babies. I wonder if I could get W to do the same for me? Although my birthday is in June, I could do with another one around September tim ;) x


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