Today was another of the NCT babies' birthday parties. C was the latest to reach the ripe old age of one and I attended her bash representing the Derrick-Goddard contingent. Apart from C's dad, I was the only other man there. This will be the way of things from now on I think. I have entered a predominantly female environment, and one, which I am somewhat ashamed to say, I have not fully paid tribute to in the past.
Since taking over more of the childcare duties I have become humbled by the recognition of the work that Charlotte did before me. It's exhausting in a different way to work. I'm with Jamie all day, which is great, but it really is all encompassing. Unless he's asleep or tied into his high chair (not really tied, but harnessed...) you are really limited in what you can do. Charlotte nods sagely when I pronounce this revelation, like she didn't tell me a hundred times. It's another of those pieces of wisdom about 'having children' that sort of goes in one ear and out the other until you are struck by the reality of it. For example, everybody tells you that you won't get much sleep, and you think, "A bit less sleep. So what!" But it's not like having a few too many on a school night and having to soldier on the next day at work. When you have kids, that sleep is never coming back. There is no lie in at the end of the rainbow.
Anyway, back at the party, when I wasn't bonding with my newfound sisters, I was eating almost as much party food as Jamie. He has been insatiable today, and was thrilled to be offered pitta, fish balls, cake and jelly in quantity. Amazingly he is still having dinner this evening, despite a mammoth lunch today as well. I was running out of things to feed him.
C's parents' present to themselves is a night out, which I wish Charlotte and I could have done for Jamie's. I am slightly envious of their curry, even though they could be falling asleep in their starters after organising and running today's events. As always, the host has to appear as unflustered as possible and look like nothing was any trouble at all, when the reality is slightly different as we all know. I think I'd rather got to a party than hold one - even a children's one. Especially a children's one! C's gran said it gets even worse when they are old enough to need proper entertaining. At her son's fourth party she tells how her carefully planned games, activities and diversions were exhausted in about 20 minutes leaving an afternoon of unplanned mayhem ahead.
At least these days we have Cbeebies I suppose.