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Posts Tagged ‘birthday pressure’

I’ve heard tell of buddy systems in place linking first time parents with more experienced parents. I kinda wish I’d been teamed up with a buddy when Mr Justice was first born, except I suspect my buddy would have said stuff like “Oh, quit your bitching. Your kid isn’t even eating meat yet. You have no freaking idea how bad poo can get!” or “You think one child waking up at night is bad? Try three taking turns waiting. With vomit and diarrhea. Then tell me you’re exhausted”. And yes, okay, that’s just what I would have told myself. Had I known. Had I known.

When Mr Justice was in his first year of school, he was given a buddy.

“What’s his name?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Mr Justice answered.

“What does he looks like?” I asked.

“Um, he was wearing a green hat…” Which, since it was part of the school uniform, only eliminated the teaching staff and the lollipop lady. Needless to say, we never heard of Mr Justice’s buddy again.

The Pixie, in stark contrast, has been working the school’s buddy system to her advantage.

Her “boyfriend” Master J (and yes, I had to put “boyfriend” in inverted commas just then to stop myself from immediately throwing her over my shoulder and running to the nearest convent. I mean, what kind of a five year old already has a boyfriend?) has been spreading his wings a bit in the playground and “playing with other kids”. It appears he thinks they have “that kind of relationship”.

According to The Pixie’s teacher, the Pixie was very upset one day during the class’s post-lunchtime “catch-up”.

“My…my… my boyfriend didn’t want to play with me at lunch time!” she apparently blurted out to the class. She was about to break down and sob uncontrollably but somehow managed to break through the Tear Barrier with her usual Polyanna-style optimism. “But… but.. I said ‘I don’t care! I’ll play with… with… MY BUDDY instead’!”

I was very proud of my little girl and just a bit envious that I’d never had access to personal resources such as hers – particularly when I was 25 and had been “seeing” a boy for six months when I realised his ex-girlfriend was actually still his current and, indeed, live-in girlfriend. Which, now I think about it, explained a lot of his strange behaviour such as having to leave my house at two o’clock in the morning because he had to go home “to do the dishes”. And yes, I really do think I sat for six months with my hands over my ears going “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!” to have missed all that.

ANYWAY, I asked The Pixie recently if she still played with her buddy. She said that her buddy’s friend [S] didn’t want The Pixie to play with them. She seemed surprisingly cheerful about it because, as it turns out, she’d already come up with a strategy.

“I’m going to invite My Buddy to one of my five birthday parties. And I’ll invite [S] too. I think, perhaps, she will really like Mr Justice,” she said, before adding with greater conviction: “Yes, she really will like Mr Justice. And she’ll want to play with him. And then I’ll be able to play with My Buddy!”

As impressed as I was with her strategy, I had to get her to rewind a little to find out about these so-called “five birthday parties”. I mean, who did she think she was? The Queen of England??

“Oh, I’m having one party for my family, one party for my class. Then one for my friends, one for mother’s group and then a special morning tea. That makes five!” was her chirpy reply.

It would seem I have a lot to learn from my little girl about love, relationships and the planning of birthday celebrations. Why, for my fortieth, I’m now thinking of having a party for my friends and family at home, a two-day opium den party in Shanghai, a three month cruise through the Bahamas and a party on the Moon by way of Sir Richard Branson’s planned Virgin Spaceship Airliner… Yes, that should about do it.

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The other night, as my husband was setting his alarm for the next morning, I casually quipped: “Be sure to set it for 11pm, 1am, 3am and 5am in case the children forget to wake us.” My, how we laughed.

Of course, Mr Justice then proceeded to vomit at 10:30pm, 12:30pm, 2pm, 4am and 4:45am, with a couple of crying interruptions in between by Tiddles McGee thrown in for good measure. And each time, after the sick bowl had been rinsed out and disinfected, the sheets and towels had been changed and fresh water had been administered to the little patient, I would crawl back into bed and pray that this time it would be the last time and that sleep would be my reward.

Ha!

Really, I should have known better than to make such an amusing quip about the alarm clock. After all, I had already jinxed us badly enough by confidently declaring our Gastro-Free status that very afternoon to a friend we were visiting, only to have Mr Justice coat the toilet with the contents of his stomach an hour later. So I had known that the night ahead was going to be a bad one. But I didn’t think for a moment it would be that bad. Perhaps if I had, I might have never gone to bed in the first place. I might have stayed up all night watching back-to-back Barbie’s Fairytopia movies whilst simultaneously sticking Bionicle armoury in my fleshy bits instead because, quite frankly, that might have proved more restful and relaxing.

I mean, let’s be honest here: sometimes broken sleep (or in this case, sleep which has been dropped from a great height and shattered into a thousand million pieces and then ground firmly underfoot by a thousand angry feet) is worse than no sleep at all. For one thing, there’s all that damn pressure to get back to sleep as quickly as possible and grab as many Zs as you can before being woken again and then there’s the bitter disappointment of being woken up far sooner than you’d hoped.  In the confusion of it all, I began to think of Mr Justice as a newborn baby and, at the first sound of a new vomiting episode, I’d look at the clock blearily and think “But he’s not due to vomit yet!”

Of course all the time I also had that extra pressure of knowing that the morning would bring two extra charges to feed and water, in the form of Master J and Cyclone Bella. And much worse still, that I couldn’t just declare the day a Doonah Day where we spent the whole day slothing about in front of the television in our pyjamas, eating food out of a tin. You see, the next day was The Pixie’s birthday and there were Big Expectations. She was already utterly devastated that I’d canceled her Fairy Morning Tea at the first sign of vomit and I was going to have to pull something pretty special out of the hat to make up for it – all whilst entertaining five children in quarantine conditions on next-to-no-sleep.

Now, I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get through the whole day with a smile on my face. Don’t ask me how: it’s all a pink-streamered blur. I don’t even think The Pixie noticed for a moment that her mother was a mere caffeinated-shadow of her former self. As I tucked her into bed that night, she said “Thank you for the bestest birthday ever”.

Of course, it wasn’t until the next day that I found myself shouting a lot and then sitting on my bed, in self-imposed Time Out, holding a wad of home-made green playdough in my hands and sobbing my little heart out. But that? That’s a story for another day.

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