It's only 9 months... but it feels like Maternity...

Now Known As Postnatal Oppression

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Well, would you believe it - Spawn made it to his first birthday! You have to hand it to him for overcoming what would appear to be insurmountable obstacles (namely, the parents he's got).

We didn't have a party for him - how ridiculous. He's one - he'll never remember anything about his first birthday. I saw it as my job to make it look like he had a fantastic time, take photos as evidence, but not to actually put myself through anything resembling that amount of hard work.
Therefore, we invited no guests but assumed that an assortment of grandparents would call in at various points to bring cards, and a gift would be nice but hey, no pressure.

Spawn woke up on his birthday with not the slightest inkling, at his normal time, and happily began his day as normal. We gave him a birthday card to open from us, and hurriedly removed it when he tried to chew a corner off and rip it in half. He had Weetabix for breakfast as normal, tolerated me taking some pictures of him, a quick pitstop while me and the Husband had a check-up at the dentist, had a nice nap, and we went off to Eureka. When everyone there sang Happy Birthday to him, he raised one eyebrow and glanced around at everyone with an "O.... K...." expression on his face. So far, his birthday was going extremely well.

We got back home, had lunch, and within half an hour we were full to bursting with grandparents. Spawn happily greeted them all. Then the Husband's niece called to say she was coming over to bring a card, but she'd locked herself out and had no car keys, and no-one was around to let her back in. I drove over and picked her, and her 2-year old son, up, saying she was welcome to wait at ours until her mum got back from work. We got back to our house, and it was time for Spawn to have presents. The 2 year old (Spawn's second cousin) pounced - he was ripping paper off before Spawn had the faintest idea what was going on. When he'd got the paper off, he snatched the toys away and began playing with them. Spawn saw most of his presents whiz past him without realising they were actually for him. Whenever we did manage to sneak a present to him, his cousin would stop playing with whatever he'd got, run over and snatch the new one off Spawn. When he tired of that, he decided to chase our cats , who jumped up out of his way. So he climbed up after them - onto windowsills, the sofa, then onto the arm of the sofa, then onto the back of the sofa - at which point I told him NO, grabbed him and put him back on the floor. He decided to push our clock off the fireplace, at which point the Husband told him NO, grabbed him and put him back on the floor. He then grabbed as much food as he could off the table and began stuffing it into his face, and running around the living room spraying the floor and furniture with crumbs (Spawn only eats at the table, in his highchair, so we've never had to contend with this level of mess). He snatched away Spawn's birthday balloon, and even managed to fit in a smack on Spawn's head when Spawn held onto an In The Night Garden book that his Nanny had just given him.

His mother, b-l-e-s-s her, might as well have not been there, for all the control she had over him and the notice he took of her. When they finally left, she walked out of the house without even saying goodbye. I called after her "Bye then," and she waved without even turning her head "Oh yeah, bye" and carried on walking out to the car. Easy to see where her son got his charming manners from.

My head was thumping, I was pissed off and feeling guilty that I hadn't been a welcoming enough hostess and hugely upset that this day was meant to have been Spawn's day, which is why we'd invited no other children, and it had ended up all about 2 Year Old. The Husband tried to cheer me up by saying that on the video he'd taken, he'd managed to avoid filming 2 Year Old as much as possible, and when he played it back to show me, we found that there was something wrong with the tape and the footage of Spawn's birthday cake with everyone singing Happy Birthday to him was all distorted and liney and virtually unwatchable.

Perfect - because for a moment there I'd been hoping that even after everything, his very first birthday, which you only get once and is special for that reason, the one which brought back so clearly all those memories and emotions of that incredible day for me, hadn't actually been ruined. But no - thanks very much Gods/Fate/Karma, just putting me straight there were you, in case I might actually have salvaged a smidge of happiness from it all? I do beg your pardon. What on earth was I thinking?

What do I take away from this though? Well, Spawn was perfectly happy for the best part of the day. He didn't know that his presents (and his day) were being monopolised by a badly-behaved grubby, spoilt toddler. He finished his birthday as he finishes every day, with an episode of In The Night Garden, a bath and a bottle, and went to sleep at his normal time in his normal sound manner, having had, in his opinion, a lovely day thank you very much. The Husband's niece is the one who gave us generous amounts of clothes when her son outgrew them all, and so I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a bad day for her. 2 Year Old is 2 years old, and knows no better if he's not told any differently, and Spawn may well be behaving the exact same way this time next year.

Yeah right. Over my dead body he will.

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