Phew. My youngest child had his 11th birthday yesterday and I think he had a good day. I worry more about their birthdays since I have been divorced for obvious reasons. It is hard to get it right. To know whether to attempt to all get together or work out a way for him to see both parents separately without feeling anxious. Last year the five of us went out for a meal, this year, I’m not sure we would have managed that.
Apart from anything else, both his older siblings are away on holiday so it was just him and me in the morning and I was really worried he would be upset. His missing brother and sister had gone to great lengths to make him feel special and I was impressed. The 18 year old had actually bought him a card and a present. He’d apologised for being away and offered him 2 x tennis lessons and 2 x personal training sessions in addition which was very sweet. My daughter texted him throughout the day. He’d had his party the week before when we were all together and my mother was here – a movie party with the surprise arrival of the inordinately popular ice cream van, complete with that wonderfully evocative plinky plonky music that immediately makes me salivate. It even brought out neighbours on my street to buy ice creams. As somebody who has managed to get through a lot of children’s parties (43 and counting) I would HIGHLY recommend the Movie Party. All you need is a good DVD, individual bags of popcorn and sweets and somebody to keep popping into the room to calm them down. Then, for the most part you can sit about in another room with your friends and family being smug that you don’t have to do much (apart from hoover up much popcorn at the end). After the film you give them all a hot dog and a piece of cake and send them on their way. Job done. They all loved it.
So. His birthday list went something like this:-
Boxing lesson (private)
He didn’t get a gun. His uncle bought him a fab water gun and he did get his phone. He also got a boxing lesson and a few surprises – I bought him a pack of Arsenal playing cards, although, much to his disgust it turned out to be Liverpool so I must go and sort some glasses out for myself soon.
We went out for breakfast to Giraffe which is a brilliant restaurant with kids for breakfast. We always have the pancakes. Then we went and bought his new phone and after that we had the fishy feet experience he had requested. A pedicure given by loads of tiny little fish. SO WEIRD. The first 30 seconds were slightly horrific. Tickly and unusual. I wasn’t sure, but got used to it. What would happen, I wonder, if you accidentally fell asleep with your feet in the water and woke up the next morning. Would they have carried on eating all your dead skin until you were left with skeleton feet? I was, I have to say slightly worried that they would all float to the top having gorged on all my dead skin, but they seemed to cope admirably. Not sure I liked the idea of another person having to put their feet in that water. Yuk. It worked though. My feet feel very smooth. My son enjoyed it hugely, just for the experience so that was good.
I actually can’t show you a picture of my feet taken from above because they are so revolting, so here is a shot taken of a friend’s feet instead:-
After that we went home and set up his phone. His father arrived to collect him at 4pm and off he went to spend the evening with his new family. I think it all worked well for him. He’s come a long way this year. After a dodgy start at his new school it all fell into place and I think he’s feeling pretty happy with life at the moment. He’s managed to lose a lot of weight too. Sheer willpower and some positive reinforcements have helped. He was ready to make it happen, which is half the battle.
Last weekend I had 10 EXTRA people staying overnight – it was a massively busy weekend. But in about an hour his father is going to pick him up for the weekend and I’m going to be on my own. From one extreme to the other. I know which one I prefer, however, I’m exhausted so I might just sleep all weekend.