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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

Day 21

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Merry Winter Solstice.
Today was a present.
On the subject of presents Iíve finished wrapping mumís presents but I still have a ton of decorating to do.
I saw some birds in the garden today. As Iíve been sleeping in again theyíve been quiet when Iím up. Today I saw something smaller than a great tit. Maybe a little smaller than a blue tit. It was a coal tit. Then I saw its partner. Then I saw both of the blue tits too along with a wood pigeon. I saw two rather round looking magpies in a neighbouring tree.
I still miss our Christmas tree. I hope beyond all hope that heíll sprout some shoots in the spring and start again
Mum brought home leftover pizza from work.

So. Letís get to something meatier now shall we. Iíve done this earlier for a reason. Soon my advent calendar will be finished and I have one thing left to write.

First some notes I forgot to mention before.
At Easter, when I saw the family, my cousin gave us an invitation to little Simonís first birthday party. It was a weekend so we were likely to make it. They told us they were planning to do a time capsule for him to go through when heís 18 and I spent the month running up to his birthday wracking my brain for what an 18 year old boy would want (aside from the obvious, which would be a bit weird since itíd be something given to him on his first birthday so best to keep things family friendly). I considered money but at that time weíd just started switching over to plastic notes and the new one pound coin so I was hyper aware that currency might be different in 18 yearsí time. In the end I settled for a letter.

Also at Easter I tried to entertain him with my laser pointer again. It ended up being noticed by my older little cousin who said ďwhatís that?Ē tried to step on it (the light, not the pointer) and then asked ďWhoís controlling it?Ē then he figured out it was me. It was just a sweet little moment.

Also. The baby, able to sit up but not yet stand, had reached the very excitably grabby stage. Now for a human to be on the receiving end of this is an annoyance at worst. But for an old, shuffling, little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel he is the devil incarnate.
At one point Rosie was sitting very calmly and he got excited and threw a toy at her face (because I told you before that heíd reached the throwing stage) she was alright but wary of him. After that I tried to be hyper aware of the two of them so I could protect Rosie a little. So I was very surprised when she decide to lay down and roll over at my feet, as I was sat right in front of the grabby baby.

Iíve never seen her lay in her back before. So I gave her a tummy rub. Then the baby decided to try and grab at her ears and face, so I shielded her face from him and tried to show him how to be gentle when stroking a doggy. He seemed a little calmer in his actions.

So. To the birthday.
We got him a few things in cute little bag. We got him some blocks, a bear because why not? And something a little risky.
When I went to the opticians, some time before, we browsed the shops and I decided I could do with some toothpaste. As we were heading to the health place that sells we spotted a Spurs shop. Now. The men in my family who follow football are all Spurs fans. So we decided to get a few things there. We were there for quite a while.
You may also remember one of my other cousins had recently became a father and heís a confirmed Spurs fan. So we got a little teddy bear for his baby girl while we were there. And for the birthday boy I think we got an outfit, a hat and either a bottle or cup, canít remember which. My thinking was that the items should at least be practical, since his father actually supports a rival team.

We arrived a little late but there were quite a few people who came after. There were a lot of people, most of whom I didnít know but I was familiar with a few faces from Facebook so it wasnít completely terrifying for me to be around so many strangers. They had music playing but it was too loud for my liking so I spent most of my time sat inside while most of the adults were either outside or in the kitchen. I only sat because it would look odd if I were stood inside alone, I felt sitting would make me look less odd around all these strangers, especially those with children.

I had considered making sausage rolls to take because I had the supplies and theyíd turned out okay the first time (a lazy twist with just skinless sausages wrapped in puff pastry) itís a good thing I didnít though because when I did make them for myself I ended up with food poisoning. Did I mention that? It feels like something Iíd have written about at the time. Long story short. I couldnít remember the last time Iíd actually vomited. The last time had been because I was trying to sleep with a bad period and kept getting up every half hour to go to the toilet and have a drink and I had a hot water bottle on my stomach. Eventually all this jostling of my stomach brought up a little liquid. It was just a little so I donít really count that as proper vomiting. So for me to actually vomit was extremely unusual, which is why I say it was food poisoning.

Enough of that. Back to the birthday party.
Quite a while after my other cousin, whoís now a father, and his little family arrived I presented them with the teddy bear for the baby. He seemed pleased but the baby was asleep so didnít notice. She was only a few months old.

There were some other children and babies there. Two are the niece and nephew of the father and it was the first time our families had been together. The kids were about the same ages so they instinctively got a long fine.
I made some flapping cranes (because Iíd put one in with my letter so Iíd recently looked up how to do it again) and gave them to the children if they showed interest. One little girl very sweetly lost hers twice and went to find it but she never asked for a replacement. The boys mainly played throwing games or hiding games.
The girls spent a little while playing with/collecting the balloons that were around the place (so did the boys but the girls are more prominent in this for reasons I shall reveal).

Now. As some children had paper cranes I worried about those without. But I didnít want to stop children from playing to say hereís a present for you. Especially since you shouldnít take things from strangers. So if they asked, then I gave them a crane but I wasnít going to force them onto them. So some didnít get cranes but didnít seem bothered.

My little boy cousin lost his at some point and didnít mind. Again he never asked for a new one and I think the forgot about it instantly. But my little girl cousin was a very different story. My overriding impression of her at the end of the whole thing was what a petulant brat.
I gave her a crane. She wanted a pink one but I didnít have pink so she happily chose purple and off she went happy as can be. Not problems at all. Then she came back and surprised me by asking for another. Not for her but for her mum. Now this surprised me and maybe there was a better way to deal with it but I wasnít prepared. First I considered agreeing. But I had the image of her showing off two cranes to the other children and then getting jealous. I didnít want that. But how to refuse her gently? I didnít want to openly say to her I think youíre lying because I didnít want to hurt her feelings. So I settled for ďif your mum wants one she can come and ask me herselfĒ. ďShe canít. Itís a surprise. Itís for my mum not for me.Ē
So her mum wants one but itís a surprise? Even more suspicious. I offered to show her how to make one but quickly realised that was a mistake. She wouldnít pay attention and the paper was to small for me to show her the folds clearly. It would probably frustrate her more and Iím not a patient teacher. She wasnít that interested in making one anyway.
Then she did that annoying thing that children do of clinging onto you and whining and begging and tugging and when that didnít work she decided to attack me with a balloon. Now this worried me because she hit the left side of my glasses and theyíd been feeling loose there but I didnít have the occasion to deal with it at the opticians as they were seeing another client and it wasnítí really a big deal. But I kept thinking that if my glasses broke there then I wouldnít be able to see and weíd have to go straight home. Asking her not to hit me didnít work and she roped another girl with a balloon into it.

I actually thought this brat needs to be disciplined.
Now I canít discipline her for three reasons. 1 she is not my child. What right do I have? This is something her mother should deal with. 2 Iím not confident, especially when things are unpredictable. Just because Iíve seen a bunch of Supernanny episodes, where she shows you correct discipline, doesnít mean I can actually do it. Especially with someone elseís child in someone elseís house in the middle of a party around a bunch of strangers, some of whom have their own children, and I donít know what kind of discipline she gets at home. The Supernanny method can take hours if itís the first go. 3 and this is a big one, my first instinct is to hit. That is because I was disciplined by a sharp smack or two but that will get you in a lot of trouble these days and, again, sheís not my child so itís even worse.
So I decided the best course of action was to remove myself from the situation. So I got up and went outside, though I wasnít comfortable with so many adults and noise so retreated inside when it was safe.

But this brat does not give up. She kept asking me to make another crane and whining. Why? Why? Because I said so. Children have to put up with that answer from adults all the time. We donít want to go into why. You just have to accept that you canít have everything you want. This is a lesson she needed to learn. And eventually she got into a sulk. She curled up on the sofa, ripped up the purple crane Iíd given her to begin with and said Iíd made her do it. My response? ďYouíre definitely not getting another one now.Ē And she stayed there sulking for maybe half an hour or so. If an adult passed and gave so much as an inquiring glance I explained and they just left it be, understanding the situation.
Then it was time for us to gather outside to take a massive group picture but she stubbornly refused to move and kept sulking.
While we were all milling about outside trying to get everyone together I socialised with my family and got to hold the little baby girl for the first time. I didnít hold her at Easter because I didnít see an opportunity and I was also focused on my period at the time and it was her first time meeting so many people at once.
This time at the party was a little different to the previous times Iíve held the babies because I was standing. Iíve always held them sitting so that my legs can provide additional support. But I was actually okay holding her standing. But id did make my arms ache. I donít really have much if any upper body strength.
We took the picture and it was a squeeze to fit everyone in.
After a while I retreated back inside. And a while later my bratty little cousin was at it again. She Ďd come to the conclusion that she was wearing me down because I kept walking away from her and she was going to surround me. ďSo you. A child. One person. Are going to surround ME?Ē It would be funny if her intentions werenít evil (I use the word evil jokingly). Eventually she was convinced to apologise for being mean to me, which I accepted, but she still wouldnít drop her initial request. Still not budging.
But it wasnít just me that she annoyed. She started annoying other adults too. Most notably the ball pool. There was a little kiddy pool with balls (just one bag, which wasnít enough to fully cover the bottom but the kids who used it didnít complain). Apparently (because I was inside at the time so heard this second hand) she kept throwing the balls out and asking the adults to put them back in and throwing them out again. The adults got bored with her. I kept wondering when is her mother going to deal with her.
One Christmas. Actually I think it was last Christmas and I forgot to mention it. She was acting up and her mother said to her own mother ďMum sort her out.Ē Which nearly made my jaw drop because, as her mother said, ďsheís your child.Ē
But I shouldnít judge. I only see maybe 2-3 days in a year so I donít know how she treats them at home and I wouldnít dare to speculate. It must get tiring being stuck with children day in and day out and on these rare occasions when there are so many other adults to watch them it must be a rare opportunity to step back and relax a little. So I canít say if her discipline is lacking or not because I honestly donít know and itís not my place to judge (unless I suspect something bad, which I do not).

While outside chatting with family I discovered the other half of the story.
Apparently, when I gave her the purple crane she went outside and showed it to her grandmother, claiming to have made it. Not believing her but not in the mood to say that directly she asked the girl to make her one too. So itís safe to assume that that is when she came to me asking for another one and started this whole thing.
Apparently she also said that another child had ruined her crane. I set that straight right away.
I felt less bad about the situation knowing that.

By the end of the day it seemed that someone (I assume her grandmother) had given her a good talking to. Because sheíd quietened down and as they were getting ready to leave her grandmother pointed me out and told her that Iíd made the birthday card that sheíd liked so much (I stuck plastic gems all over it because I knew she liked bright and shiny things) and she said thank you.

Donít think sheís a bad child. Sheís generally alright. I wonder if she was just getting to a difficult age. I find it interesting how she differs from the boy despite only being a year apart. Heís generally very sweet though he did have his own cheeky moment at the party.
At one point he said to me, out of the blue, ďYouíre lazyĒ because Iíd been sitting down most of the day. I didnít really have a response for that. He wouldnít understand if I explained, in detail, my anxieties culminating in it looking strange if I stood alone in someoneís house for no apparent reason. And, to be completely honest, I am lazy and I donít want the children to be lazy so I donít mind him objecting to laziness that much. Though it could be seen as disrespectful to say so to an adult which isnít so great. But never mind.

By the end of the evening everyone started clearing out when Simonís father decided to light his fire pit in the garden and ended up smoking everyone out, or in I should say. It was evening time anyway. Weíd been lucky to have very nice weather that day. By this time the birthday boy had been put down for a nap but his mum brought him out to say bye to everyone.

Once most had gone a few of us stayed to help clear up and chat/unwind. With the amount of people whoíd been coming in the front door had broken a little. I think it has slipped a bit because it wouldnít stay shut so Simonís dad set about fixing it.

We were invited to have a peek at the nursery, since we hadnít already seen it (I try to avoid the upstairs of other peopleís houses in case I get a little lost looking for the bathroom and end up accidentally snooping. I donít like the idea of catching a glimpse of other peopleís private rooms even by accident. It feels rude.) The baby was fast asleep in his cot. I took a brief glimpse at the dťcor Iíd heard about but didnít want to be there too long in case I disturbed him so I didnít notice half of the room. Apparently theyíve got the books on a little bookshelf and the birth record I gave them at Christmas is up there.

I think thatís about everything. Well everything thatís relevant. This has taken far too long.