Four. It sounds big doesn’t it? Still a pre-schooler but definitely not a toddler. A big boy when it suits him, my little baby when it doesn’t. He’s articulate and headstrong, with a very strong sense of injustice, and a new found love of blue cutlery only. Incidentally I was trying to phase out the plastic cutlery and dishes when he decided he was suddenly very attached. See; headstrong. And the injustice? Just about everything is unjust, especially everything that his big brother does or says ever.
I call him ‘honey’ sometimes, so he puts on my husbands glasses and says “I’m daddy, where’s my honey?”. He sees kittens and says they’re our cat’s “honeys”. He gives 8,342 hugs and kisses when I need to leave in the morning and wants to be carried upside down up the stairs to bed. (I can’t physically do that.) If daddy is about to read his bedtime stories then suddenly only mama will do and vice versa. One of us needs to lie down with him while he falls asleep. We really need to nip that one in the bud, but honestly, lying down beside his sleepy face after a long day in work and the absolute trauma of getting his teeth brushed and pyjamas on is actually a balm for the soul and the tired body.
But he is growing up; no doubt about that. He might not be particularly empathetic or logical but he’s well able to have a conversation and explain exactly what he wants. “No, the middle cupboard! The tings that look like squares and are chocolatey”
Dammit. I thought he discovered the mini Daim bars from our last Ikea trip. But no, he meant these; score! I bought them as a cinema snack when I was trying to be good but I’d given up trying to fool him with them.
And we are a nappy-free house completely for the last month. After a year of a night time pull-up on Ted, we took the plunge when I realised it was more for our comfort than his that we were insisting on him wearing one. Middle of the night bed changes are not my favourite thing. He had begun to question its’ presence, and would sometimes insist on putting underwear over it. He continues to wander around at 11pm croaking “water…water” like he’s just been rescued from the desert and drains whatever glasses and bottles he finds and yet somehow, he holds it all in until morning. This was not our experience on the elder kid, so allow me my jubilation.
So to the birthday. As the littler kid he’s had his beady eye on the social engagements of older kids this last couple of years – playdates and party bags glitter temptingly in his future. After his chicken pox filled third birthday I decided we would have a little party with the help of playschool this year. Genius. I did the baking, packed a few party bags and outsourced the hosting. Hello? Playschool have a birthday throne. We do not.
Paw Patrol is still up there as one of the favourites and inspired by a friends theme for her daughter’s recent party I made these super simple chocolate fairycakes. Any basic bun recipe with some cocoa instead of some of the flour will do the job. The reason for my poor piping job with the icing is because it’s made with melted marshmallows. There’s lots of recipes out there for marshmallow fluff based icing but I hadn’t time to source that. So I found one that allowed me melt mini marshmallows over a bain marie and then whisk them in with the butter and icing sugar. Time was not on my side though, it went stiff reasonably quickly as the marshmallow cooled so it was difficult to work with for this novice.
After making fancy cakes for each of their birthdays so far, I felt bad about this apparent downgrade for Ted (why oh why this needless mum-guilt?) so I also spent a couple of hours dying and painting icing then cutting out Chase Pup Badges to complement the marshmallow paws. Luckily I had still had edible silver food paint left over from BB8.
We also went on the Viking Splash tour and called it a birthday trip but Ted fell asleep from the motion of the bus and wasn’t that happy at being woken to put a life jacket on. (Big bro of course reaped the rewards and declared the whole thing brilliant.)
Four. My big little boy.