Well, the cooker didn't turn up on Tuesday. There was a mix up and a lonely extractor fan was delivered but no cooker, and so this is the first time ever that I have not baked one of my children a cake on their birthday. Never mind, my fabulous mum stepped in brilliantly and baked a frankly enormous chocolate gingerbread cake and - our house still in complete chaos - hosted a little family party after school today. Angus chose not to have a big birthday party this year, opting instead to have a day out with his best friend Jasper over half term (we're thinking HMS Warrior then Pizza Express) and so with no cake to bake and no party to host I am finding this birthday very different to previous ones, and quite a lot less stressful too.
I do think that children's birthday lists (and Christmas lists for that matter) are a wonderful snap shot of what they liked and what they were like at a particular moment in time, and I wish I'd kept more of them over the years. I remember my niece's recent eighth birthday list; the front was the usual list of toys, dolls, books and various things, but the back said things like "get my ears pierced" "a puppy" and "a bigger bedroom". So funny. Angus's list this year contained books, "books about badgers", "fact books" and "small longbooks" which it turned out meant paperback fiction with chapters, rather than picture books. Other ideas included a globe, a really bright torch, an alarm clock, "a scooter like Bella's" and Star Wars Lego. Last weekend he informed me that he'd also quite like a microscope and some binoculars, thank you very much. Well, he didn't get everything he asked for but he did receive some wonderful, thoughtfully chosen presents which I know he loves and will read and play with and use for a long time. In a last minute panic that I hadn't made anything for his birthday, Angus received a little stitched embroidery hoop from me. I know a picture of a badger wearing a party hat wasn't technically on his birthday list but it made him laugh and it's hanging in his bedroom now, a little bit of handmade love for this bright, affectionate, serious, stubborn, book-loving, fact-collecting, badger-obsessed boy of mine.