Today Theo turned 2.
After pulling out the big guns last year and throwing him a pirate-themed party in a hall, complete with treasure box party favours, a hired entertainer, and a rainbow birthday cake with seven different coloured layers (made by me in the midst of morning sickness), we decided to stick with a more low key affair this year. No big parties, just the four of us visiting the Aquarium.
I expected it to be a calm and pleasant experience but clearly I have learnt nothing in the last two years.
Things got a bit crazy before we even left the house. Daisy started showing signs of wanting a nap by about 10am (in other words, she started screaming her head off), prompting a mad dash to get everything and everyone ready so that she could sleep in the car. I frantically packed the changing bag, changed both children’s nappies, chucked picnic stuff into yet another bag, tidied away all the breakfast crap and loaded the car. I’m not really sure what Zac was doing whilst this was going on. I think he may have put Theo’s coat on.
Soon we were on our way. I was then subjected Zac’s questionable IPod playlist. After listening to the likes of Aqua, Britney Spears, the Joseph soundtrack, Savage Garden and Culture Club for the best part of an hour, I took the opportunity to ask Zac if he was trying to tell me something. He got all defensive which caused him to take the wrong turn off the motorway. He got a bit angry about this so I decided to stay quiet for the rest of the journey and tried my best to enjoy the dulcet tones of Right Said Fred (actually I don’t really mind Right Said Fred, it’s an improvement on Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’).
We eventually arrived and Zac and I agreed that the only way we could afford the car park was to re-mortgage our house (anyone remember when car parks were free on a Sunday?). Daisy decided to do an impressive sh*t of epic proportions so my first stop was the Aquarium loos. Luckily a change of clothes was not required on this occasion.
It soon became apparent that Theo hates fish. I’ve never seen anyone look so bored in my entire life.
Daisy was having a fabulous time, so Zac parked the pram next to a tank and sat with her whilst I went off with Theo in a desperate bid to try and find a more interesting tank.
What happened next was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I lost Theo. I had found a fish in the middle of doing a poo and turned to point it out to him as he loves a bit of toilet humour. He wasn’t there. I swore loudly and started legging it through the Aquarium looking for him, barging my way past everyone (I’m pretty sure I knocked over a teenage girl but I was too hysterical to turn back and look). After what felt like forever I found him with Zac and Daisy by the entrance. We decided he was so bored he had made a mad dash for freedom.
I, of course, started sobbing. By this point I just wanted to go home. Instead, Zac managed to calm me down enough to find a bench to have our hastily thrown together picnic. Then Theo fell off the bench and started crying too. We found a £1 ride by the entrance so put him on that. I think this was honestly the highlight of his day.
On the way home we got stuck in a bloody traffic jam. It was tipping it down with rain and I started to feel a bit sad that the day hadn’t gone at all as I had expected. I began to wish we had gone to dreaded soft play instead.
We got home and I served up my horrific looking, radioactive mould-imitation birthday cake. Luckily it wasn’t too bad if you closed your eyes and pretended it was a normal colour. Theo then spent the rest of the afternoon ignoring all his birthday presents and instead played with some sh*tty McDonalds HappyMeal toy. He also made me sit in his new playhouse (still in the middle of the living room) and screamed whenever I tried to leave, pushing me back inside and slamming the door in my face, making me feel very much like a victim of Josef Fritzl’s. Luckily I was briefly allowed out on parole to eat my dinner.
I started to mentally beat myself up about all the things that went wrong today. I compared everything against last year’s success, but then I stopped myself. Yes, he hated the aquarium and it wasn’t ideal losing him, but we weren’t to know this was going to happen. Ultimately, we did our absolute best to give him the best day possible.
We all know toddlers are unpredictable beings, and I have a feeling this year is going to be even more insane than the last. Happy 2nd Birthday Theo, you wonderfully weird boy. My life is more exciting than I ever thought it could be with you in it.