Pickle is four! This year she definitely wanted a proper party, which she hasn't had before. I hired the local hall and she carefully made invitations.
When the big day came, we were both slightly overexcited. I sang happy birthday at the exact minute she became four and she was very proud. Then the present-opening began.
Having failed to make a tape dispenser whistle,
Pickle had more success with her new 'binocliers'.
And then the party. In a frenzy of performance anxiety, I'd planned lots of games, but actually the children spent more time playing with balloons than anything else.
We played musical chairs (with joint winners who squeezed into the final chair together) and pass-the-parcel and then feasted. All food groups were represented: sugar, salt, jelly and fairy bread.
When they were quite stuffed, I brought out the cake. I can take no credit for this fantastic creation - it is the work of our good friend Davepops and his gang of helpers. If you're planning to be an astronaut, this is the kind of cake you want:
We sang and blew out the candles
...and then it was back to the balloons. There was a great turnout of dads, some of whom wisely lurked close to the food, some discussed dogma and humility in the context of science and religion (or something like that)...
while others took a serious beating.
Eventually we got everything cleared up, party bags distributed and friends sent smiling home. We locked the big old door with the very impressive key
and went home for more presents and a cup of tea.
I am so glad Pickle had a great birthday. Of course that's what she deserves - what all children deserve - but also I have today decided to have reconstructive surgery after my double mastectomy and that will entail some serious recovery time during which I won't be able to be with her like I normally am. A few days in hospital (still trying to cope with that idea); a couple of weeks of lifting nothing heavier than a kettle and mostly needing to rest; then many more weeks, until three months in, before I can start to live my normal life and lift my plumptious wondergirl into my arms again. Basically, a lot of sacrifice for Pickle and a lot of help needed from my family and community who I have already leaned heavily on over the last couple of years. But then hopefully I will have a body I'm happy with and can focus on creating Pickle and I a joyful future.