Aimee Horton

When they turn three


The Beast is now officially three. That’s right.  My baby is one year older, he’s a big boy, growing up and all that crap.  Most importantly – he is now eligible for FREE nursery hours – thank goodness.  The first thing he said on his birthday morning – after looking rather startled to be woken up by a grinning mummy and daddy singing “Happy Birthdayy too youuu” – was “I have my birthday cake now”.  Which is good considering I managed to produce the perfect birthday cake.  One that I’d put my heart and soul into…and then because it was shit went scouring 3 supermarkets until I found the Toy Story one.

Present opening was some what of a scientific experiment, we discovered that a three year old boy will always go for the present wrapped in Buzz Lightyear paper (replace with appropriate fad of the moment) even if it’s small and not exciting looking rather then going for the massive box (containing hot wheels kit with lots of cars) that’s wrapped in boring red paper.  Note for Christmas: wrap current toys in bright paper = cheap win.  Yes?!

Unlike most toddler birthday parties, the build up to the event had been fairly relaxed, that’s the good thing about going for a picnic in the park and assigning food to Mr. Sainsburys or family – in fact – I’d been quite enjoying the bribery opportunity it gave me.  All week the battle between myself and the beast was “eat your dinner please” “no” “oh ok, I’ll have to cancel your party then”… It did however reach its peak (or all time low whichever way you chose look at it), and on Saturday morning I made four fake phone calls, all to “Jake-ums” mummy.  Two were from a supermarket car park while the beast lay on the floor sobbing because I wouldn’t give him any chocolate, I called her to cancel the party, and then because he came round to my way of thinking I had to “call” her back to say it was back on.   It may* have gone something along the lines of:

“Hello Jacobs Mummy – yes, I’m sorry Theo is being a very naughty boy and can’t have his party at all.  Yes, I know he’s meant to be a big boy but he clearly isn’t yet…just a baby, bye bye”


“Sorry darling, big boys don’t lie on the floor of car parks crying”

<cue screaming and passers by looking at me>

“Tell you what…if you’re a good boy, get up, climb into your car seat and let me blow your nose, I’ll call her back and see if Jacob can still come to the party, how does that sound”


This was repeated at the traffic lights near Next when he tried to make a quick escape out of his car seat to pick up a biscuit he’d spotted on the floor.

*definitely  – it definitely  went like that.

We decided to get to the park early to set everything up and we draw attention to ourselves by lugging across a bag containing a gazebo, massive Toy Story balloon, and picnic tables.  Then just before 2pm the butterflies started, I’d nipped behind a tree and checked my make-up in a mini mirror (thank GOD I’d gone for the full work day application), I know what you’re thinking – this is a 3 year olds birthday party.  But it isn’t really is it? EVERYBODY KNOWS this is a social status situation.  This isn’t just about your friends and family any more.  This isn’t about your children having fun – they will anyway, there’s cake, crisps and enough space to run around and cause havoc.  This is about how the parents perceive you.  Nursery birthday parties are the first chance to form your relationships with other parents, work out who their friends are and ultimately what “class” you are.

At 2:03pm I’m regretting the breezy “from 2pm” timeslot on the card.  Luckily I see a figure in the distance pushing a stroller and carrying what looks like a present…and then another, and another – it’s begun.   I yank my jeggings up over my fat, suck my stomach in, wipe the snot off  Theo’s cheek, the sick off Larry’s top and begin to “circulate”.  As I work the picnic blanket like a pro I’m anxiously checking that the current friends are happy (secretly wishing I am part of the “beautiful” family as my mum referred to them when chatting the next day – I need to talk to K about getting fat please), whilst making small talk with all of The Beasts friends parents – they all seem lovely.  I have to nip off to for a wee in the trees (the child not me!) and pay some attention to my other son (Fatso is breaking peoples backs and loving the attention, before going for a walk in the pram to try and sleep).

After two hours the sky clouds over and we’re close to rain – I make them all sing happy birthday under the gazebo (we aren’t chavs ok.) and hand out the party bags whilst assigning one of my sisters the task of swiftly insert cake.  The loot is collected and stashed in the boot and we head home.

Unwrapping the presents before bedtime was probably not the best idea, but there’s no way out of it.  I’m SHATTERED.  We manage to get them all unwrapped – I make a list of what belongs to who, before starting the bedtime routine.  The fat one has a brief melt down between getting out of the bath and having his bottle, and an over tired, over sugared up beast stays hyper until about 8.30pm.  I’m EXHAUSTED.  We tidy up downstairs and think “thank god they’ll sleep well at night”.  Except they didn’t the beast woke up between 3am – 5am and wanted to play with all his toys. Fail.  He’s started his fourth year as he started his first – causing me to have very little sleep.

When it’s birthday party time…


SO.  One thing that crossed my mind when I left my job is that I can at least organise a birthday bash for The Beast.  HOW exciting.  He’s big enough to understand birthdays now – well to a fashion, it’s been his birthday for the last week, and it’s been daddy’s birthday every day since Sunday (when it was actually Daddy’s birthday!).

Therefore this week was mission birthday party.  I MAY have put a teeensyweeenssyy bit of pressure on myself.  Just a tad.  This birthday we haven’t just invited friends and family, we’ve gone that one step further and invited friends from “school”.  I asked Nursery to provide me with a list of Theo’s top 5 friends and from that I sent out invitations.  All the mummies appear lovely, however I have this little bit that I NEED TO BE THE BEST.  Especially as I look a bit wobbly and slummy since I’ve been back at home.

We’re having a picnic at the local park “near the swings”, it’s very exciting, all the kids are excited and the parents seem up for it.  Although I’m slightly worried about one thing.  This year is a year when I can’t oversee the gifts.  Usually without fail, the outlaws cause me pain.  They go off and use their “initiative” and buy gifts that go against what I want in my house.  Last year, when I was highly strung, hormonal and pregnant, they thought it was a good idea to buy some “surprises” .  One of those surprises happened to be a Xylophone.  I’ve specifically said all along that I don’t want musical instruments in the house – not being mean (much) but he plays with them at nursery and I like him to have different toys (that wont result in me getting violent).  This fell into the same selective hearing option that most things I say to Theo and Matt go.  The xylophone hasn’t been used as a musical instrument since the day they demonstrated it to the boy, it was used as a skate board, and often as a “booby trap” by this I mean he would skate and then get bored, leave it behind me for me to trip over.  In fat pregnant rage about a month after his birthday I stood on the “skateboard” and skidded across the kitchen catching my arm on the breakfast bar, that was the end of that, I picked it up, and stuffed it with perhaps more force then necessary under the sofa in the day room (I think I may have then spent about 5 minutes swearing as I tried to stand up again), it remained there until February this year when Matt and his Mum found it when they were wallpapering.  Oops.

ANYWAY, I digress (sorry Ju – I was a bit pregnant, BUT IT WASN’T ON THE LIST!!), so I’m scared about what we will get this year.  The parents have all actually asked, but in trying to be “breezy” I want them to think I take everything in my stride, so I’ve chosen the “oohhh no, just don’t go to any trouble!” approach.  This is causing me sleepless nights – I will update you.

The party bags have been packed, the picnic has been planned the most AMAZING Buzz Lightyear balloon has been purchased (it cost a fortune but Matt things it cost £2.50) and I had the cake all planned. Every year I make the cake, and every year I fail.  This year was going to be DIFFERENT.

I’m typing this as I sit in our kitchen/dayroom, netbook at the dining table, and I’m surrounded by multiple colours of ready to roll icing.  I went to a special shop (recommended by twitter) to get the perfect purple, greens and blues.  I baked the perfect cake (and it does taste good), and I designed everything.  Things went wrong with the actual decoration, I took a photo (I wont be showing you) called my mum at home and had a flap then called Matt at work.  No amount of reassurance has calmed me down.  It looked SHIT.  I mean.  There’s shit, and then there’s “oh did you let Theo decorate it himself what a clever idea!” shit.  I may have not helped matters by in a tantrum when another bit of icing fell apart I pulled all the icing off and make the cake fell apart.

So now I’m on panic stations.  Do I go to Sainsbogs and buy a cake and have a go at faffing it around so I can pretend it’s mine?  Do I bake well into the night and end up with something I will inevitably not be happy with?  Who knows.  Oh – and I wont be telling you as when you see photos of the party I want you to think it’s my art work and I was over exaggerating 😉