Mark Parenting 7 Comments

birthday pictureI’m thinking of changing the kids birthdays. It’s for the best.

I mean it’s not like they remember their date of birth yet. They still work off the ‘how many days until’ calendar.

It’s not like I remember their date of birth yet. I still work off the ‘ask Janet’ calendar.

A more memorable date would suit me all concerned.

For a start there’s the doctors. I have to announce our arrival by keying in their date-of-birth into a machine. It’s rare I’ll get it right on my first attempt. By my second guess there’s a queue forming behind me. There’s no need for that kind of pressure. What happens if I get it wrong three times in a row? I really don’t want to be going home to tell Janet the machine swallowed our child and I need to go back with my passport and two forms of paternal ID to get a new one.

Then there’s the summer holidays. Both their birthdays fall at the back-end of August, just before they go back to school. What kind of sick joke is that?

That’s six weeks of playing with old toys and their long-lost pieces. Forty Two days battling against the inevitable park fatigue. 1,008 hours trying to rebuild their LEGO police car that was written off in an accident on the stairs six months prior and whose missing pieces I know damn well rest in the reclamation yard that is the hoover.

And all this whilst knowing there’s a Narnia of new toys hidden at the back of the wardrobe, carefully wrapped in ribbons of my own sanity just waiting to be played with.

So I’m selflessly proposing they can have my birthday. Having turned forty it’s not like I’ll be needing it for another ten years anyway. So I hereby announce that their new birthday will be the *26th July.

(*subject to change once Janet reads this).

As it was they had a great birthday this year. Or so I thought.

Sat in the barbers Sonny was asked how his birthday was. There was a long pause. A long pause interrupted by Luca, who chipped in with,


Disappointing? DISAPPOINTING? What four-year old describes their birthday as disappointing?

Mine, that’s who!

For the record, it was anything but disappointing! No really it wasn’t, a lot of thought and effort had gone into this year.

Thanks to my August advert amnesty we knew well in advance what they wanted, and it was duly delivered. However to find the source of their disappointment you need to go back through their presents.

LEGO Marvel Superheroes for the Wii U – check.
Some board games – Monopoly Junior and Ker-plunk.
Chatter teeth – as requested.
Superhero Mashables – thanks granny.
Even more LEGO – no problem.
Birthday tea in McDonald’s – if we must.
Chocolate birthday cake – Marks and Spencer’s finest.
A new t-shirt – Ah.
A new hoodie – see, here’s the problem.
A read it yourself book from the 70’s – Oh c’mon Janet, what were you thinking?

You see as the stay-at-home parent I like to think I’ve taught them the virtue of gratitude. What I’ve failed to address however is the feigning thereof.

If previous birthdays have taught us anything (and clearly they’ve not) it’s that they don’t particularly appreciate clothes, but then as a four and five-year old why would you? Just how much fun is there to be had from a zip?

It also wasn’t helped by their expectations. For reasons known only to Sonny as he unwrapped what was clearly a squishy piece of clothing,

Sonny: “I hope this is a remote-control helicopter!”

Me: “Eh? You’ve never mentioned a heli….”

Sonny: “A jumper? This was NOT on my list!”

There was a list? OK, so I need to work on his appreciation of Monsoon.

The t-shirt was met with similar disdain.

And then,

Sonny: “I know what this is, it’s a DVD!”

Me: “Ah, possibly not. Is it mummy?”

Janet: “Open it and see!”

Sonny: “It is, I can tell by the shape!”

Me: “It might not be”

Sonny: “It’s a ………….”

It’s hard to describe the look of utter contempt on his face, other than to say it was similar to how I imagine he’d react if I took a shit on his cornflakes.

This was the offending item….

peter and the wolf penguin book

So I need to work on his appreciation of literary classics too. And on Janet’s last-minute “I was just passing a book shop and thought…”. And my own “what the hell is that?” face.

As it was they DID have a great birthday, and they even enjoyed reading Peter and the Wolf, even if the moral that Luca took from it wasn’t that Peter shouldn’t have lied, but rather he should have just bought himself a lion. Hard to argue with his logic.

We even extended their birthdays until the weekend so we could have a meal out in Manchester with all the family. More cake and yet more presents, all of which they were genuinely grateful for. And over those last few days before the new school term started, so was I!

Just for my own piece of mind I did ask them again how their birthdays were.

Luca: “GREAT!”

Sonny: “Brilliant … how many days is it until Christmas?”

Comments 7

  1. The trouble with birthdays nowadays is that instead of waiting all year and being pleased with a new drawing pad and pen set, things have become mass produced and cheap, so we get them that sort of things from tesco at the drop of a hat. Now birthday and Christmas has to be ‘big and expensive’ to be novel or exciting. #wewentwrongsomewhere

  2. Ha ha my girls bdays are 21 jan, 12 feb and 23rd feb and Ive reached that age where I am always jumbling them up! High Commands bday is on the 30th Dec which is truly shit given joint xmas bday presents and the fact noone wants to go out the night before nye. So to remedy we celebrate her bday on the 30th Jun 🙂

    1. Really, like Her Majesty? I like that idea!
      My two are three days apart (I think). Then again it’s the year that throws me, which should be the easy bit!

  3. PMSL!
    His birthday was “disappointing”?
    I think he needs Auntie Shambles to tell him about birthdays in the 70’s! I had ONE gift and was grateful or woe betide! Times were’ ard. *grumble grumble*

    1. He DEFINITELY needs a chat with Auntie Shambles!

      I tried telling him a similar tale of 70’s woe. Paid not a jot of attention, too busy shaking birthday cards to see if any cash fell out! (Or was that me in the 90’s?)

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