Saturday, 17 November 2007

Happy 1st Birthday Ollie Dumpie!

I am sure I'm not the first mother to bring this point up, but why oh why is a mother not lauded as Queen and Goddess every year when her offspring have birthdays? Shouldn't it be WE who receive presents and get spoiled within an inch of our lives? I mean, the child has done absolutely nothing but be born, yet guaranteed a mother went to hell and back delivering that child and has the scars/stretchmarks/post-traumatic syndrome to prove it.

I think these thoughts whilst surveying the remnants from Ollie Dumpie's 1st birthday party last night. There is dried vanilla frosting absolutely everywhere – ground into the carpets, on furniture and even a smidgeon plastered to the side of Dumpie's head behind his ear. Since the little man is still, well little, I decided to bake him a dozen vanilla cupcakes – the better to demolish them with his round little mouth and grabby fingers. I wasn't wrong. He clambered off the sofa when Egg and Auntie Mo came in bearing a huge plate of lit cupcakes, singing Happy Birthday and trying not to ignite egg's silky pageboy hair.

Dumps was especially fascinated by the giant number 1 sparker (thanks Grandma for that – for all birthday paraphenelia come to think of it!) and made quick work of pulling out all the candles (once Egg had spat – I mean blown – out the candles for his wee brother) and handing them to his devoted admirers. Grandpa got the first one, Auntie Kenz got not one but two, and the next few were tossed over his shoulder as he decided to get busy on the more interesting business of demolishing a dozen giant frosted cupcakes. He did not disappoint.

If you wonder where his father was in all this, well uncharacteristically (for Jay is never one to miss a party…and is often to be found in the hosts kitchen whittering away happily over a glass of scotch whilst his host makes obvious yawning sounds and stretches and comments how it's going to be light soon) he was absent. Poor Dada was lying immobile upstairs in bed, greyish tinted and moaning about being unwell, while half-heartedly watching telly from underneath two duvets.

It has to be said that 'Mama' was not terribly pleased with the situation given that 'Dada' had been unwell that morning and she had advised that he stay home and take it easy instead of going into work and maintaining his pristine work attendance record. (Apparently his colleagues are always taking days off when unwell but not my man – he goes in sick no matter what. He even went into work the day after a knee operation last year when he could barely walk. Any potential employers take note – my man is there for the taking if you value old-fashioned work ethics.)

Anyway, somehow I've gone off-topic here, but the point is that Ollie Dumpie had a lovely little family birthday, with his beloved Grandpa in attendance (who he shows more and more resemblance to as the days go by), two adoring Aunties who spoiled him rotten, a big brother who looked lovingly on during the proceedings and insisted on giving him two presents (two of his own toys), and an exhausted but happy Mama.

I still say though, that I should have been ensconced on the most comfortable seat in the room, being fed peeled seedless grapes, having a neck massage and draped in newly purchased cashmere. I am the one who a year ago wished for death rather than continue in labour. I am the one who moaned and screamed so loudly from our little first floor bathroom (where the illustrious 'Dumps' first made his appearance on this earth) that I put the fear of God in our nasty downstairs bachelor neighbour in the middle of the night, and I am the one who surveyed her newly mutilated body the next morning while shaking my head slowly thinking of the thousands of sit-ups which would be required to put my tummy to rights.

Think about it. You know I'm right.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A Masterclass In Parenting

This morning Jay left the flat at some ungodly hour to catch a plane to Paris. Somehow Dumpie ended up in bed with me, and at around 7:30 am before the alarm went off, i was awoken by heavy breathing (Dumps has a very bad cold and is severely congested) about two inches from my face. A pajama-clad dumpling was all smiles, crusty-faced and had let himself out of bed, walked around to my side and was standing there gurgling and holding out a box of matches to me. Nice.

From downstairs I could hear faint clattering sounds and I shouted down to what I hoped was Egg (as opposed to say a giant rat rooting through our foodstuffs) only to hear,

"I'm eating chocolate cake Mama!"

Of course he was. If I were three, had a mother passed out in bed, absent father and a delectable piece of chocolate cake sitting on the counter, there is no question that I would have followed suit. (Although I have to say that I was never such a confessional child as Egg is...rather I honed my craft of twisting the truth at a young age so as to minimise punishment. Egg on the other hand delights in coming clean, and often looks surprised when i fail to share his excitement about having managed to sneak candies or flood the bathroom.)

Today I was so anxious about getting Egg to school in time that we ended up standing outside the locked gates a good ten minutes before they opened - shivering and feeling like an idiot. I had my 'debauched-rock-star-mom' look on this morning (oversized shades, faux fur jacket, tight pin-striped trousers and messy bed-head hair...) and I'm sure that the other parents would be surprised to find that the most excitement I shall have today will involve a session on my lateral thigh trainer (which by the way makes you feel like a tit but is apparently supposed to give you thighs of steel) and perhaps a cappucino at Nero's if I really push the boat out!

At any rate, I'm going to make this short and sweet and sign off now. Little Dumps is currently 'goo-ing' up my trousers with mucus and whining for a cuddle, my father (who just arrived yesterday for a week) is next door hankering for a walk to go and do some errands, and I've got to figure out how to gatecrash the local clinic and get the kiddies immunised for India even though i've left it too late and now they're probably going to contract some hideous disease and blame us for the rest of their lives. Ah well, this parenting lark is hard work, bad hours and disgustingly paid. No wonder God made babies so cute - otherwise they'd be placed outside anonymous doors in baskets and blankets after the novelty wore off. On that sick note....adieu

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Trying To Hold On

Dumpie has just caught sight of the wee piece of chocolate birthday cake I'm trying to surreptitiously squeeze into my mouth...and he is having none of it. Slapping my legs as I type he demands at least a tiny bite and I realise the advent of 'do as i say and not as i do' is again upon me for child numero 2. I didn't intend to start the day with divine dark chocolate homemade cake but i figure if i don't I shall bitterly regret it - and my morning cappucino looks positively lame without it.

Yesterday was jay's birthday, and aside from scoring a multitude of fashion, literary and booze related birthday gifts, he was treated to top price seats at 'The Old Vic' theatre to see a production of 'All About My Mother', followed by a deftly secured table for two at 'The Ivy' - London's notorious Restaurant. He didn't complain. (Although after a bottle of champagne, a bottle of Sancerre, and a slap up meal he wasn't likely to!).

Newly bankrupt, I try not to think of all the lovely shoes, skinny jeans and cappucino's the funds might have bought, and instead i meditate on the smooth dark chocolate taste (with just a hint of almond) of the cake i'm currently savouring....yummm.

I haven't written for ages simply due to the logistics of currently being ensconsed in HELL. True, most of it has been brought on by ourselves (I mean really, a centrally located 2 bedroom flat stuffed to the brim with personal possessions and two lively babies should surely suffice?...why the need to relocate?!), but it doesn't help that our solicitor hates us (or rather, me) and the sellers are stark raving mad.

I've lost count of how many times the sale has been 'on' then 'off' then 'hanging in the balance'...things really came to a nasty head last week when the sellers turned off their mobile phone, refused to communicate except by email, and informed us that they were going to take the property off the market the next morning. Whatever it was that we 'did', a non-standard deposit of £5000 transferred the next day, bought us a few days grace period. And here we wait, hoping that our solicitor will stay true to his word and close the deal by tomorrow...or we'll be £5000 poorer and infinitely pissed off!

Ah well, duty calls and Egg needs to be picked up from his nursery school now. Yesterday I was the second last mother to pick up their child and i don't dare ever be the last. Hopefully we'll make it home today without the customary request to pull over and pee on the side of a tree on a major London street. Egg's gone all 'al fresco' on me lately and loves nothing more than watering various urban trees with his baby wee...lucky me...