Mummy on the Edge
Angelina serves Mini-Me up a birthday of four quarters with extra cheese.
And so Mini-Me had a four-day birthday. Ever trying to compensate for what I have now coined OCAF (only-child-absent-father) syndrome, it came to pass that Mini-Me would enjoy four separate days of merriment to celebrate the day she arrived in my life to nourish it with the milk of her existence. I told her that even the Queen doesn’t have a four day birthday. Her actual birthday was a Saturday (Mini-Me, not the Queen) so the festivities commenced on Friday night when 3 teenage cousins (two 17 year old girls and one 13 year old boy) were subjected to a Bratz movie night with Mexican feast cooked by yours truly who was hobbling around the kitchen with one eye shut due to nuclear headache and tax return stress. “Oh Mummy! This is the best birthday ever!” And it hadn’t even begun.
Day 2, Saturday, was a family get together with home made cake with a Snickers model of Mini-Me on top baked by aforementioned 17 year old. Mr De Bellis, her Karate teacher came round personally to drop off her new Karate Suit, so that it would be with us in time for her birthday despite the fact that it was my own fault I’d ordered it late. “Oh Mummy! This really is the best birthday ever!!” So far, so simple.
Day 3, Sunday, I surprised her with a visit to Dinosaurs Unleashed, the new pop-up attraction in Oxford Street situated diagonally opposite Selfridges. Controversially, I will hereby admit that I am decidedly disinterested in dinosaurs and thankfully Mini-Me, while showing interest when prodded, has never been particularly obsessed with them. However, there is something fantastical and exciting (think Godzilla nightmare) about seeing a large dinosaur breathing, roaring, snoring – ostensibly living (subject to a degree of suspended reality) against the mundane and pedestrian backdrop of an office building. What’s nice about Dinosaurs Unleashed is that you can actually get close enough to look at their freakishly real eyelids, touch their skin, and watch the rise and fall of their “breath” which is a totally different experience to watching a show from a stationary seat. One dad even dangled his child’s head Michael Jackson stylee in the rubber jaws of the T-Rex (not recommended – talk about traumatised for life!) Apparently, we saw Diplodocus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, T-Rex, but I remember them as the Spice Saurus’: big saurus, horny saurus, spiky saurus, small saurus, scary saurus, and another saurus, and another saurus, and another saurus and another... “Oh Mummy! I’m so happy! Thank you! This is the best birthday ever! You should write about this in Families Magazine!!” And I did.
So, moving on to Day 4 of the epic birthday weekend. Monday, quarter past four. Instant message from Best Friend Fashion Buyer on my new BlackBerry: “Just got promoted!” My reply: “Congrats. I in Watford Pizza Hut on own with 14 midgets. About to top myself.” By now, suffering from serious OCAF Birthday Fatigue I was seriously regretting my promise of a party for her school pals where I would pay £7 a head for the privilege of them making their own dinner. They sat and fought over peppers, olives and onions. I hadn’t had the forethought to ask parents about food no-nos so I nixed the beef and pepperoni thinking it would be safer but forgot to nix the ham so there was a moment of mild panic when I telephoned a parent to ask if it really was okay that her Jewish daughter was building a structurally sound tower of pork on her pizza. Due to aforementioned OCAF BF the thought of buying a cake and having to cut it up into pieces and wrap each individual one and put it in a gift bag was actually making me heave. So I had the genius idea of buying two packets of iced fairy cakes from Tesco Local and piling them up artfully on cake-stand. I dredged a snowy layer of extra icing sugar on top and lodged some candles in here. No cutting or wrapping, I simply chucked one at each kid while they were queuing for the Ice Cream Factory. I managed to survive an hour and a half on my own in a restaurant with 14 adorable bratz whilst resisting the urge to run and lock myself in the toilet until it was all over. And Mini-Me was, of course ecstatic. Because it really was “The very best birthday EVER!!”
Angelina Melwani runs Sing and Sign baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey, Stanmore and Rickmansworth. More info at www.singandsign.com
Dinosaurs Unleashed, Parklife Oxford Street, 455 – 497 Oxford Street, London W1K 6DE. Nearest tube Marble Arch or Bond Street.
Open from 10am – 6pm until April 30th 2010.
Tickets available at the box office or in advance. Adults £16.50 Children £12 for a 90 – 120 minute session depending on time of visit.
More info and games and activities at www.dinosaursunleashed.co.uk
Pizza Hut offer make your own pizza parties for £6.99 a head. Mini-Me had hers at the Watford Dome Roundabout branch (telephone 01923 680 055). They last one and a half hours and generally take place on a weekend morning but each branch will have their own availability.