Chapter 32-94 Minute Party People

There was once a time when the measure of a good party was something like the amount of alcohol consumed, multiplied by friends and divided by the number of people still asleep on the floor the next morning.

As life moves on the measure now appears to be the number of balloons multiplied by cake eaten and divided by tantrums. Thankfully, when it came to meltdowns at Raffie’s birthday party the only near miss was from me. It’s not the first time that buttercream has nearly brought me to tears and I am sure it won’t be the last.

Turns out you can never have enough toadstools.

Turns out you can never have enough toadstools.

Fuelled by jelly, cake and some token grapes Raffie was too overwhelmed by numbers to care about sharing (or not) and raced happily around house and garden looking for balloons and playing with sand.

I spent many fretful days before the big event anguishing over the fact that the garden is not only too narrow for a bouncy castle but on an incline that would have seen the toddlers marooned in the corner. Raffie can’t sit down to eat a biscuit let alone watch a children’s entertainer so we went old school, with just food, cake and lots of running around and mercifully good weather.

So now Raffie is three. He managed to stay awake for an hour and a half (around 94 minutes in fact) for his party, asking to go to bed immediately after blowing out his candle. It’s not for the same reason I used to fall asleep at parties, but I do also appreciate the benefit of knowing when you’ve had enough.

And you can never have enough balloons.

And you can never have enough balloons.

Raffie’s birthday treat was a trip to London and the Science Museum. “Umm Mummy, I don’t think this is the museum,” he said earnestly as we queued at the station. But despite his disappointment at not being there yet he waved relentlessly at harried commuters on the escalators at Victoria.

“The lady in the yellow coat smiled at me!” “Making London smile one commuter at a time,” said Daddy proudly. And like Raffie falling asleep at his party, some good things never last too long, but I have a feeling we could do a lot worse than starting three with a smile.

Easy birthday rider.

Easy birthday rider.


Even when it isn’t his birthday sometimes just having one boy keeps me busy enough, but Frazzled Mum (AKA Kate) has five and still has time to write her lovely blog. I’ve been really enjoying it and her thoughtful musings on family life. You can find out more here or on Twitter @tricky_phase


Chapter 31-One Step Beyond

The big day is drawing near. After nearly 365 days with the terrible twos, the countdown to three has begun.

Hearing so much about this tender age and the havoc it can wreak led me to begin blogging. I was promptly told by my cousin, who knows about these things, “It’s much worse when they get to three-just wait!”

Currently I am pondering how to make a Tree Fu Tom cake which will vaguely resemble a tree stump and explain to Raffie that it won’t have all the characters on it. We have also had to let him know that Tom won’t be coming to his party, but have a card from him with his apologies.

And as I also explain that it might be a bit tricky to have a Wallace and Gromit party (which he asked for a day after the Tree Fu Tom paraphernalia arrived), three appears to be another step beyond entirely.

All smiles as we're nearly a birthday boy.

All smiles as we’re nearly a birthday boy.

I can only describe this year as an eclectic blend of the seven heavenly virtues and the seven deadly sins. For example:

Charity: “Sharing your toys is a lot more fun Raffie.” “No it isn’t Mummy.”
Kindness: “How’s Grandpa’s toe? And how is his boiler?”
Diligence: “It’s not Ben and Holly Mummy, it’s Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.”
Patience: “Are we there yet?”
Gluttony: “Can I have another Jaffa cake? Or a chocolate bourbon biscuit? Or angel cake? Purlease?”
Humility: “I’m not a very good dancer Mummy.”
Sloth: Er, no. Raffie hasn’t slept through the night for a year. And only six nights the year before that. And it’s a struggle for him to sit down at the best of times.

No toddler’s year would be complete without wrath, from throwing bricks across the room to petulantly folded arms, to tears. We’ve had battles over mealtimes, battles over trousers, battles over sitting still, and battles over shouting in people’s faces. Battles over holding hands, being careful, being polite and cleaning our teeth.

But I am happy to report that despite flaring tempers, wrath is yet to win the war. Although it was a close thing when I was faced with a front room wall decorated with ballpoint pen. “Come and see what I’ve done Mummy, I’ve done some lovely drawing,” Raffie said with an inky smile.

A moment of calm in the garden.

A moment of calm in the garden.

And starting a blog has led to the unexpected in its own right. I never expected to tweet, to set up a Facebook page, to learn to use WordPress-though am still not au fait with widgets. I never expected to discover all the wonderful people I would get to know, and the old friendships it would revive.

And I never expected anyone to follow it, and am very grateful to everyone who takes the time and trouble to read and comment on my blog.

So with Tree Fu Tom’s card, and his apologies in the post, we await the arrival of three, and for time to tell if it really is a magic number.

Oh and I might need to change the name of my blog!


As Raffie comes up to his third birthday, I have been feeling a tad nostalgic after reading Dad’s Diary, who’s little boy is turning one this week. It’s a lovely read, and happy birthday to the little man! You can read more here

Chapter 30-Living Doll

Imitation is apparently one of the finest forms of flattery. And from Harry Styles to Marie Osmond, many a mortal has been turned into a doll. However when it came to my moment to be immortalised in plastic, I didn’t even get the chance to gather dust in the corner, let alone take centre stage.

“I’d like to go the shop and buy a tiny Mummy,” Raffie beamed at me. “O really,” I replied. “Yes, I am going to put her in bag and bring her home, and then put her in the bin. Ha ha ha. That’s really funny. The bin. With all the rubbish. For the binmen.”

It’s harsh but fair. Two months ago, Raffie kindly shared not only his thoughts but his bugs with me. What was a brief albeit nasty cold for him ended up as pneumonia for me. Ten weeks, five courses of antibiotics, and two X-rays later, I am finally able to blog once more and do all the other things mummies are supposed to do, like go outside.

Not really feeling 100%.

Not really feeling 100%.

Raffie started his bug with a temperature and hacking cough, and we spent several days at home with both of us feeling sorry for ourselves. But one of the benefits of struggling through the days together was finding more time for each other.

There are times when tissues just aren’t enough. “Of course you can use my muslin Mummy,” Raffie cheerfully said as I tried to blow my nose surreptitiously for the millionth time. But although with Daddy’s help we were able to scale the laundry mountain, Raffie wasn’t so keen on the temporary suspension of toy clearing duties.
“What is all this mess Mummy?”

Mr Fox makes good company.

Mr Fox makes good company.

I confess, while I normally clear up I had lost the will to do just about anything let alone put away a scattering of wooden blocks and crayons. When everything aches, I’d just rather sit still. “Can you tidy it up please? Now?” “Yes of course,” I croaked, while searching for another fresh muslin and some more painkillers.

So while normally we would be out and about, we sat on the sofa, watched many DVDs and CBeebies, read books, and had fun with colouring. We tried to croak through a song, but having being told to “talk properly Mummy” I thought better of it.

I have come to realise that through the haze of incapacity, there is a fringe benefit to be being poorly. The brief time we were both ill together was most one-on-one time we’ve spent since I was on maternity leave, and thanks to neither of us having any energy we were also both more than ready for bed in the evening.

Raffie got better very quickly, and I am well on the road to recovery.

And who knows, having been thrown together more by circumstance, perhaps he’ll want to spend a bit more time with his Mummy doll before throwing her in the bin again.

Sitting up is a bit too much.

Sitting up is a bit too much.


Having been unable to do much I started to look around for new things to entertain Raffie at home, and stumbled upon this-loving the yoghurt and food colouring ideas!