Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You break it, you keep it

It was our son Mate’s second birthday this week. A very joyous, but lets be honest, boring age to celebrate. The first birthday is all exciting because it’s their first, and everyone takes an interest. The third birthday is always good for a laugh, as by then the kid knows the score and is really into his pressies, cake, and the whole day in general, but the second is a bit of a non-event, and what the hell can you buy a 2 year old anyway.

I remarked upon this to my wife as we were wrapping his present (just the one, what’s the point wasting money if he hasn’t got a clue, it will be the last ever time we can get away with it), and she strongly disagreed with me. I pointed out, that if this was not true, then how come we were wrapping his present with newspaper. Her curt reply included the phrase “because you forgot to buy any”, and some other, in my opinion, harsh, questions doubting my parentage. She was also not blown away by my “well it is the Sunday Times which technically costs more than wrapping paper!” defence either.

We started the morning with a glass of Cava for me and the good Wife. This was a tradition that had started the morning after I had been on a huge bender with the boys. The hangover was horrific, but heeding my Dad’s advice of “hair of the dog”, I had poured myself a beer to help everything along. The Wife came downstairs at 8am to see me drinking said beer, and was understandably disturbed. I informed her it was (imaginary) Uncle Pete’s birthday and it was a tradition in my family to offer a toast for a good day. I have had to continue the tradition ever since. This is also why Katy celebrates “Odd sock Friday”, much to her teacher’s confusion.

The rest of the morning came and went, he really did not have a clue but enjoyed playing with the newspaper. His Mum sang Happy Birthday every 10 minutes, just to drum into him the importance of the day, but in my humble opinion he looked just as non-plussed the 8th time as he did the 1st.

The next highlight of the day for him was going for a walk (well, being walked in his buggy) with his Oma. Oma is my wife’s Mum, and Oma is German for Grandmother (I think?). She’s not from Germany, but she feels that being called Granny makes her sound old, and so if you translate that to German, Oma doesn’t sound as old. Now I’m 38 next month, and the German for that is “Achtunddreiβig nächsten Monat” which makes me feel loads older and slightly scared, truth be told, so I can’t say I’m in total agreement with the theory.

Anyway, his other Nan and Grandad (call me anything, just call me darling), came over for lunch, and they gave him a toy that my Grandad (we called him MOG which was Nasty Child speak for miserable old git), had made me when I was 2. We had a nice lunch and a few beers, and that was pretty much it for the rest of the day.

Much later, after the kids had gone to bed, after the wife had gone up and resettled them, and after I had gone up again and resettled them, it was time to relax and reflect upon this most historic of days. My wife offered up the toast “Congratulations, we made it.” I obviously looked confused, for she continued “we made it to his 2nd birthday without breaking him, or our relationship!”

This was the most sage-like thing I had ever heard my wife say, and I must admit to being quite impressed. I was less impressed when, judging by the empty bottle I found, I realised she had been toasting herself out in the kitchen a fair few times already. Minor gripes (or grapes), aside, it did get me thinking on how far we had come with him. It also made me think about all the things we had broken in those 2 years.

In that time we have broken 3 car wing mirrors, 2 were knocked off whilst our car was parked outside our house, and 1, according to my wife, just fell off? I can just imagine bringing Mate home from the park with 9 fingers, and getting away with saying “one just fell off”, but don’t get me started. I have killed my entire crop of leeks, and potatoes, although in fairness they would have been killed at some time, but obviously being roasted to death would have tasted better. Two really nice houseplants have bit the dust, and one of them was a bonsai tree, whom I named Le Fi Guy. I miss that wee fella.

The children have not been without their mishaps too. We had the shampoo drinking episode with Mate. The “look no hands”, trampoline incident with Katy. Dawn is off breaking hearts somewhere, but until hers gets broken, I am adopting a head in the sand kind of attitude. There was an incident at London Zoo, but as the Wife does not know about that, it will remain between me, my sister, and an on-looking Lion.

So I guess my Wife was right to raise a toast, because with our track record, it is an absolute miracle he is still in one piece, kind of. So I raise a toast to all parents out there, especially those with a 2 year old. Well done for not breaking them.


Russ said...

damn, you get both the umlauts and the double "s" contraction!

In less than a month I'll be the old fuenfunddreissig. Good old German, making words much longer than they need to be.

goonerjamie said...

@Russ Got my daughter to translate it for me, for all I know it really says "Dad you suck".

Anonymous said...

my friends think this is hilarious and that you should find a publisher. However, they have also asked if it is true and one actually said your articles made her feel that she had made the right decision in being the one a home and not her husband!! I think it's great. Well done you.
Earth mum!!!