Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

How birthdays are like sandwiches

on December 18, 2013

Birthdays are difficult in a single-parent family.  Well, for me, anyway. Without a rational, reasonable adult to show some appreciation for all the hard work put into a birthday, and commiserate over the less than lovely bits, it can feel a bit pointless.  Today, Big Girl’s fourth birthday, started quite badly.  Despite having lots of lovely presents which she was really pleased with, new birthday pyjamas and a birthday helium balloon, she spend quite a lot of the morning crying, complaining and refusing to choose which breakfast cereal she wanted.  I was trying desperately to get us all ready to leave in time to get to Eureka! for her  birthday trip, preferably without shouting, and she hid under the kitchen table and said she didn’t want to go.

It’s hard for her as well.  She’s already had one birthday at Daddy’s house and there’s only so much excitement she can take.  She’s already tired because – well, all children seem to be tired in the run-up to Christmas – and the heightened excitement and expectation of her birthday seems to also increase the unhappiness she has about living in two homes.   And if it’s hard for Big Girl, pity poor Small Girl.  *Two* days of it Not Being Her Birthday, of presents she can’t open and cake which isn’t for her.  It’s almost unbearable.

Today has been like a sandwich.  Getting up was pretty horrible, and we had the sort of bedtime you get when a two-year-old sleeps for an hour-and-a-half on the way home at 5pm.  But the middle, the filling, was pretty lovely.  We went to Eureka! with two of Big Girl’s friends and their parents, who are also friends.  (A small piece of advice, single parents with more than one child: cultivate friends with only children.  It improves your adult-to-child ratio on trips out no end).  We had a train journey, and we explored the museum, played at cooking and garages and delivering post and found out about our bodies and made interesting sounds.  The museum was fairly empty so we got to play with most things as much as we wanted.

And while it has been difficult, I’m no longer thinking back four years and wondering how it all went so wrong.  It is sad not having another adult to share this with, someone else who loves Big Girl as much as I do.  But I had a fun day with two good friends.  And I think back over the day, all the different things we’ve done, everything which has made Big Girl happy, and I have a sense of accomplishment.  *I* did this.  All by myself. It’s quite an achievement.

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