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It’s been that time of year again. Always a favourite of mine, I must confess. First, there’s the wonderful, exciting ‘yes, we’re nearly at the point where we can take the foot off the accelerator and eat mince pies until our stomachs erupt’ lead up to Christmas. Then, there’s the nice lead up to the New Year, though lord knows why I get so happy about this one, given that I’ve not been out for new years since 2008.

Then for me, there’s a nice little bonus, in that, five days after New Years, it’s my birthday.

Some people tend to moan and whine about having birthdays close to Christmas, bemoaning the inevitable receiving of joint Xmas/ birthday gifts and of people basically not being that arsed, as Chrimbo is generally far more fun.

Not me though. I like the smug feeling of having something extra to buoy my spirits after the festivities of the Xmas season have past and the hangovers have kicked in. I get a little thrill from having an extra little treat to look forward to.

How different that treat is though, since producing offspring.

Let’s review, shall we?

The WAKE UP

Old Days : wake up around 10am, probably after a nice night out the previous evening. Have a leisurely bath, and bask in the knowledge that I have a whole day devoted to me.

Now : get rudely snapped into some rudimentary state of consciousness by two small people leaping and clambering my person. At around 6am.

The BREAKFAST

Old Days : a relaxing breakfast in bed, with a magazine for company.

Now : Blearily decanting Shreddies into two bowls by the bucketload, whilst wondering if I have time to fit in a visit to the loo before the smalls want their toast. Answer? Probably not.

The PREPARATION

Old Days : spend several hours titivating, tweaking and plucking until looking fairly attractive. Perhaps dye hair or do something similarly fun.

Now : Attempt to have quick shower whilst stopping DB2 from chucking my presents (unwrapped by him) down the stairs. Fail miserably. Ends in horrific climax when he seizes my pot of posh Whittards Hot Chocolate, lobs it gleefully through the stair gate, and it explodes in a dense, sticky cloud of brown powder, all over the stairs, walls, hallway and bannisters. Give him a royal bollocking. He is unfazed, runs off tittering, then promptly lobs down another few things for good measure.

The DAYTIME OUTING

Old Days : Relaxing lunch somewhere, perhaps cinema, perhaps meet a friend…

Now : wrestle with two wriggly boys in a pub, whilst trying not to gawp at John Hannah ( yes, that guy from Four Weddings and a Funeral, yes, the gay one who wasn’t fat) and his family. That was pretty cool actually.

And so the differences go on. However, let’s not forget the cute sparkly card, made by DB1. And even going to the park, getting steadily more and more dampened by the steady drizzle, was fun. Birthdays with boys…hot chocolate mishap aside…definitely more fun!

PS- to the person who bought me the hot chocolate, I managed to scrape up most of it…it was not wasted!!

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