The end of June and beginning of July was already a busy time for birthdays in our family and then last year we added the most important celebration of them all to our somewhat crowded calendar (sorry husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and niece!). On July 1st 2014 our big, beautiful baby boy arrived – all 9-and-a-half pounds of him!
And now our darling, loving, funny, cheeky Little Mister is one. In many ways it feels like he’s been here forever but, thinking back now, it also feels like time has flown too. I know everybody says that but it’s true.
This time last year we were in the midst of a heatwave and had taken to sleeping downstairs in the lounge with our precious new arrival as we felt our bedroom was just too hot for a newborn.
This year, again, the weather has been pretty warm lately and Little Mister’s birthday was one of the hottest days of the year so far. With the good weather, time off work and several different events and outings during birthday week, it felt like we stretched out the celebrations and the party atmosphere.
It started with a picnic in the park with family and a few close friends the weekend before the big day.
Everyone loves a picnic and the sun shone brightly for ours. We found the perfect spot under a shady tree, hung up the birthday bunting and a super-shiny foil balloon (baby treasure!) and spent a lovely, relaxed afternoon.
The older kids were able to run around and play, while the littlest ones crawled around on blankets. Mummy even managed to have a stubby beer!
Little Mister held court in his prince charming bib sat on our highchair booster seat, unintentionally like a little throne – we used it to keep the little monkey in one place while we ate!
Of course, birthdays mean cake. Little Mister has always loved his food. And he definitely loves cake. He hadn’t really had it much before now but he’s quickly got the hang of it. These days he likes to point at things he wants and the appearance of cake heralds a lot of serious pointing. For his picnic Daddy made two (show off!). One baby-friendly banana-based one with strawberries and cream cheese icing, and a sticky chocolate one.
Little Mister loved the cake – didn’t take his eyes off it until a piece arrived in front of him. But even sweeter was his reaction to people singing to him. He loves music and especially loved being sung to. So, so cute. Cake and singing is definitely a winning combination for this little boy!
His actual birthday was on a Wednesday but I took the Tuesday off work as well (meaning I did a one-day week!) and we had a day together on our own while Little Miss was at nursery. We rarely get to hang out just the two of us now I’m back at work so it was nice to just relax and enjoy the little man’s company.
By the time the big day finally arrived, he had become very accustomed to opening presents – it must have been the third or fourth day in a row that gifts had miraculously appeared in front of him! As you can see, he had an incredibly keen present-opening assistant in the form of his big sister. I imagine by this time next year he won’t be quite so obliging about having her help. And, yes, he is sitting on the present in the first picture!
His main gift from us was a new set of wheels – a Little Tykes 4-in-one trike. We’ve taken him out on it a few times now and he seems to enjoy it. At the moment we use it with him strapped in (the seat belt takes this mummy a good few minutes to fathom as it’s a pretty secure five-point one) and the parent handle is nice and easy to push and steer. I always try to buy things that are going to last as long as possible so I love the fact that this can be adapted to grow with him over the next couple of years. Right now, it’s been lovely to be able to go out all together pushing him on the trike and his sister on the bike she had for her birthday.
He also had two fab Duplo sets – Combine and Create Cars and a construction site one – an ELC Light and Sounds Emergency Centre and a Light and Sounds Police Car. Quite a strong car theme emerging – and I try not to gender stereotype – but he really does seem to enjoy them and has been pushing anything car-like along the floor for a while now. My mum got him a tent and tunnel set (that his sister can’t wait to play with!) and he also got some great new shirts – including an incredibly funky purple dinosaur one by Tu. Can’t wait to wear that on holiday (it’s a bit big at the moment). In short, he was nicely spoiled.
Cards, presents and breakfast sorted, we headed out for a day at Fisher’s Farm Park, just down the road from us here in West Sussex. I’ve been wanting to go for a while now and we had the perfect day for it. Midweek prices are that little bit lower and the attractions a bit less busy. And the weather was lovely, meaning we got to make use of the little splash park there – worth bringing the swimming cozies for – and enjoy another birthday picnic!
Fisher’s probably deserves a whole post to itself, so I’ll add that to my blog to-do list, but in short we had a lovely day there. There was plenty to keep both a one and a three year old entertained and I can see us spending many fun-filled days here as they grow up (there are lots of more adventurous attractions for older kids too). We all enjoyed cooling off in the Splash Attack water zone. It did seem calmer and more toddler-friendly in the morning before the bigger kids took over en mass later on (it’s not huge and there were quite a few school groups there that day). We went on a tractor/trailer ride around the farm, past the animals, and Little Miss loved the pedal cars, two small fairground rides and the bumpy Barrel Bugs ride. We also had fun on the outdoor trampolines and then later on in the indoor soft play. We quickly ran out of time to do and see everything – I know Little Miss would have loved to see The Enchanted Woods (had she known about them!). And we barely looked at, let alone touch, the actual farm animals! There is an Animal Encounters Barn and shows and sessions throughout the day. So we will have to go back soon.
Once home we enjoyed a ‘birthday burgers’ tea and another cake to round off the day. We also had our shower, for want of a better description, explode just as we came to the end of our meal! We heard a loud pop upstairs followed by water gushing out of the wall! So while our tired little ones slept, Mummy and Daddy spent the rest of the evening speaking to a plumber, filling up jugs as the mains supply had to go off for the night, cleaning up the mess and hoping our damp and leaking living room ceiling didn’t fall down! It didn’t and it all got sorted but I sure could have done with a shower at the end of such a hot, busy day! Lucky I was still in a buoyant mood.
So now he’s into his second year and before I go, here are a few things about him now that I don’t want to forget.
Little Mister at one…
Food (we’ve yet to find anything he really dislikes! He especially loves tomatoes, yoghurt and bananas), eating loudly to show his appreciation, climbing (even though he’s not quite walking), forbidden areas (stairs, the kitchen when the oven’s on, open doors, plug sockets), mobile phones and the remote control, bath time and splashing, cuddles, music, biting (hopefully it’s just a stage!), music, snatching people’s glasses, saying ‘yeah’, waving, clapping, dancing, pressing buttons (especially on noisy books and doorbells!.
Nappy changes, the word ‘no’, unfamiliar men (especially ones with beards!).