The Last First Birthday
I was really struggling to know how to write about Miss Olive’s first birthday without it descending into schmaltz or borderline depression. When it comes to celebrating The Last First Birthday in the family, it’s easy to swing between the two extremes.
Luckily my family saved me from that particular dilemma by providing some “light relief”. By the end of the weekend I was grateful that I will never have to live through another first birthday.
OK so that’s only partly true, I just happen to be at one end of the pendulum swing while I'm writing this.
Anyone who follows my Instagram will have seen that the birthday girl caught the family cold the day before her birthday. It being Miss Olive’s first ever cold she was understandably confused and also severely pissed. I know this because she alternated between hulk smashing my face and nursing through the entire night.
Come the morning of her birthday, the whole family was tired, full of snot, and short on patience.
My plan was to go for a pancake breakfast and then to a local splash pool for some quality family fun; but somewhere between intentions and actually getting off our arses, our disease ridden bodies ran out of steam.
We spent an hour talking to our families over Skype which in reality meant thirty seconds of watching Miss Olive bimble around the lounge and 59 minutes of Alfie shoving Lego creations into the camera and talking incessantly.
Because it’s all about you birthday girl!
Eventually my melodramatic pouting inspired Keith cooked up a batch of pancakes for us all to enjoy; which was fine until the children realised they were only going to get one (large) pancake each and started wailing.
Eat up Miss Olive, plenty more happy memories where they came from!
Then came the near herculean task of dressing the children and pulling together swimming outfits.
I couldn't find swimsuits for either of the girls, and the hand knitted jumper Miss Olive received from her Nana ended up on Esme. On the plus side, it’s going to get well used; on the down side it’s probably going to look a little second hand by the time Olive gets to wear it.
All part of being the youngest Miss Olive!
By the time we got to the swimming pool it was midday, which is lunchtime. Having walked past the cafe and told Alfie at least ten times that we were going swimming BEFORE LUNCH we then had to wait for an eternity until a family changing room became free. Don’t imagine for a moment that waiting for a changing room made Alfie forget about lunch.
I’ll be honest, the day felt like something of a bust by this point but I was determined that Miss Olive was going to get some fun.
Luckily the pool was awesome: The children only tried to drown themselves a handful of times, Miss Olive got to do splashings and we all forgot we were dying of the common cold.
Of course there are no photos of the occasion because you’re not allowed to take photos in public swimming pools these days.
You can’t protect a child too much apparently!
After a few hours we decided it was time to head for some food and, over compensating wildly for the lack of friends and family, I insisted we head to the waterfront for a feast at The Crab Shack.
I won’t lie, going there was about everyone except Miss Olive but she’s one, and she loves chips and pancakes. We could have gone anywhere and as long as she had one of those options she would have been in heaven. Throw ice cream into the mix and I'm going to go ahead and give myself a perfect parent high five.
In your face Pinterest guilt!
Come Sunday and we were all paying the price of doing too much so we mooched to the shops to buy Miss Olive some new sleep suits and some fixing brackets to hang her Mohr Polster swing.
My ace in the hole people!
What could you possibly get a girl who adores swings that would be better than her own personal swing that the weather can’t ruin?
Turns out older siblings can ruin it just fine though, and what I had unwittingly done is turn my third born into a living, breathing piñata.
Bathe in the sibling love Miss Olive!
I may have lost my ever loving shit with the children at this point. In my defence I felt like death and there was a very real danger that they were going to give Miss Olive whiplash.
In their defence they’re children so I felt suitably guilty when they slunk out to the garden to “dig up green shit and leave me the hell alone”.
Because sick me is all about the patience!
No I'm serious! I reckon I was pushing that swing for around an hour before Miss Olive decided she was finished.
That’s about 3,500 very patient pushes.
“She loves to swing”, I thought, “give her unlimited access to swinging”, I thought.
Idiot! Don’t do thinking again!
In the days since her birthday life has settled back into the usual ebb and flow of our routine. I look at Olive and it still feels impossible that she is a whole year old ... but then I have no idea how we came to have a four year old living in the house either.
Such is the witchcraft of children.
Mum, activist and parenting junkie. Passionate about empowering women and living a good life with my family. http://www.maybediaries.com/