Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A First Birthday

Oops. I’ve just noticed that it has been toooo many days since I last added a blog. And here it is, not that long ago, that I was patting myself on the back for being organised and writing regularly. I know it’s been a while by the number of people who’ve told me so, which is of course a good thing for me, it means that people find my writing interesting … or useful as my brother-in-law revealed when he told me he had had a read one night when he couldn’t sleep, so if you know any insomniacs, feel free to pass on the web address.

In any event, I haven’t been resting on laurels, I’ve been gathering idea, upon idea, upon idea and am now trying to work out if I’m to write and post random events or should I try to apply some organisation. I like the idea of being organised … I’m just not so good at applying it, but we’ll see. And apologies in advance, I think this will be another long one.

So … you last read about the day that Baby James arrived into this world, well, My Sweet and I celebrated his 1st birthday last Friday.

Like all first events, there was even umming and ahhhing about the correct way to approach this one too. It was sure to include all of our love and hopes for our son’s future, that of course was a given. So what decisions needed discussion. Well, in my childhood I think I had maybe two or three birthday parties … I can actually only really remember one. The norm for me was usually a smaller family affair, still involving cake and presents and for some reason I remember apple cider too. And that experience of course has framed my world view. The opposite experience seems to have been the case for My Sweet. Lucky for us we are both Catholics, not just because we can both confess our angry thoughts.

I’m not all “bah humbug” when it comes to celebrating events. I’m just more comfortable with the smaller rather than the larger scale. I’ve heard of 1st birthdays with a hundred or more guests that turn into a giant booze-up, if that’s what you want and that works for you, great. It just doesn’t work for me. Now, I wasn’t up against anything of that magnitude. In actual fact, My Sweet and I were able to agree on most things. I did, however, put the kibosh on a jumping castle and I think lolly bags too, but I might debate that point, I just think My Sweet forgot to make them up.

We decided to ask My Sweet’s parents if they would mind hosting Baby James’ party, a request with multi-faceted benefits. Mother-in-law and Father-in-law are hugely involved in My Sweet’s life and are great supporters of us (as are my parents too) and they are also doting Grandparents to their 1st grandson. So, benefit number one was that we were able to give them an opportunity to be actively involved in an event with a great deal of symbolism.

Such a location seemed best when considering travel and accommodation arrangements. As our agreed guest list was pared down to only include direct family, even if we only considered My Sweet’s side, as my siblings are scattered, there would still be seven people needing to travel the three hours to our house and they couldn’t be expected to drive home after, so we would be opening the storage cupboard under the stairs to find an extra room. So, here’s benefit number two, general travel would be cut down (and I wouldn’t have bucket loads of washing to do too). So the major part of the plan was in place and the finer details came together too.

Now, it seems that in modern times the concept of the Bucks Night has turned into a Bucks Weekend - well that’s become my experience – so too was Baby James turning his birthday into a weekend of festivities. He had started the day with birthday presents from us, wrapped in tissue paper and with a ready-made bow on top, it seemed that we had given him two presents in one as he laughed his way through the ripping process. My Sweet organised for a long weekend on the Friday and the four of us (we had been visited by My Sweet’s Nan) drove out to my in-laws. Upon arrival it was present giving part two, same experience as the morning, two presents in one with the box providing lots of entertainment.

The rest of the day was a usual routine for Baby James, but while he was having his afternoon sleep, together with My Sweet and her parents a bottle of French bubbles was enjoyed and Baby James was toasted at precisely 2.36pm or maybe it was 2.39pm as we couldn’t quite synchronise watches.

Skip forward to the Sunday which was party day (planned to enable my parents to make it more easily). Some fretting by My Sweet that not enough was happening to get ready for the arrival of our guests was soon alleviated by a) pretending to look busy, b) light hearted humourous jibes and c) actually doing as requested. We were soon ready, but Baby James wasn’t. He had woken from his morning nap with a temperature and as much as he tried to be his usual convivial self, he couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for those who had gathered in his honour. With the exception being his enjoyment for revealing the surprises wrapped within the colourful paper that he was being given. Seems we’ve found someone who enjoys a present.

He gave My Sweet some shy smiles in appreciation for her efforts at themeing an ‘In The Night Garden’ birthday but I don’t think he even tasted the cake his aunt had produced with Iggle Piggle emblazoned in the icing on top. The old adage of not working with animals and children eh? We enjoyed the BBQ and Baby James seemed to enjoy the singing of ‘Happy Birthday to him’ but for the most part he was uncharacteristically attaching himself to either myself or his mother in koala fashion.

As late afternoon arrived people began making a move to their usual lives and we organised ourselves for our trip home. People were thanked and the car was packed and we hit the road. Baby James fell promptly to sleep and My Sweet and I discussed the success of the day, family, friends, presents for a one year old, cake, singing, party hats, balloons and blow horn thingies. So in the words of Goldilocks (and me) James’ party wasn’t too big and it wasn’t too small, it was just right.

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