My birthday came, my birthday went. With considerably less ceremony than in years previous. Though it had its moments.
I woke early, savouring for a small second the only day of the year when I find it easy to cut myself some slack, give in to my every whim and generally count myself as someone pretty special. Easy, that is, until this year.
Daddy? calls out Anna-mouse from her cot. Hmm. Here we go.
No, Daddy's gone to work, darling. He'll be back this afternoon. But Anna - do you remember? - it's Mummy's birthday!
When will the party be? she asks, cutting to the chase.
Later on today, I say vaguely, since we actually had the party - complete with birthday cups and plates and those ever so frightening popping streamer things that sound like someone's being shot - yesterday, when the Bim's sister was still here, on the last day of her visit.
I can't quite believe that I'm expecting her to march into the bedroom with a rosette for me saying 'Birthday Girl' on it - but some small, really not very grown-up part of me has to admit that I do.
Actually, I've already started my birthday, I call out brightly, hopefully, from my bed to hers.
Well I haven't, she grumps back.
Things don't improve during the present-opening ceremony, which in time-honoured style I like to savour sitting up in bed with a cup of tea.
It's MY present, Mummy! shrieks child, tightening tiny hands round the best-looking parcel in a surprisingly vice-like grip.
Actually, darling, I think you'll find that it's MINE AND I WANT TO OPEN IT!
Funny what punches our buttons. Without being able to stop myself, I - celebrating as-near to-mid-life-as-dammit kind of birthday - enter into an unholy tug-of-war with not-yet-three-year old daughter over the right to tear the pretty paper off one of the presents I've so carefully horded all week. Recovering slightly, I realise this might not be the best way to demonstrate the tricky concept of SHARING on which we've been working so hard.
Okay! I concede. Okay, you can open that one, while I open this one, I say.
All the presents, and all the cards, are divided accordingly and we each get to work, Anna-m feigning ignorance of the fact that I am keeping a weather eye on her pile and am really rather cross.
Oh, thankyou Mummy! she says with enormous magnanimity each time she pulls one of my presents from its wrapping. I grit my teeth and smile.
(God bless Dee, who foresaw this problem, and sent me a bouquet with a Happy Birthday balloon attached to satisfy the little one, while I indulged in a spot of rather smug flower-arranging).