So somehow I have a 4 year old daughter. I know that it's slightly nauseating when mums do the whole "I can't believe my baby is (insert number with appropriate disbelieving wistfulness)" and the reason I know this is because loads of people have done it to me and they've always made me feel slightly queasy. And yet ... I mean, 4 whole years? 4 years ago I was...? My little baby girl is...? Well, you know what I'm thinking.
Needless to say, a party of Princess-worthy proportions was in order and, unsurprisingly, The Princess requested a cake in the shape of a castle. That wasn't so bad; I quite like doing themed cakes and have a slew of Australian Women's Weekly cake books to help me on my spatula-wielding way. Actually, this year it was these slightly scary women who provided the know-how, most significantly introducing me to the joys of the crumb-coat. Oh my god! All of my frosting nightmares are now a thing of the past.
No, the hardest thing was keeping in check the amount of pink, princess-y stuff that The Princess seemed to see as not only desirable, but necessary to her enjoyment of the day. I have pretty much zero tolerance for the simpering idiocy of Disney Princesses - although I was curious enough to see how much a Snow White cake topper might go for on eBay. You what?? Bloody hell. I bought a unicorn. Master C, only 16 months behind his big sister, is accustomed to being included in everything she does, so her control over all things birthdayish was a little hard for him to understand - hence the inclusion of a blue pond, with three frogs placed upon it by his own chubby, brown little hand.
Anyway. The party was a big success, as was the cake, the packed lunches eaten on blankets in the garden, and the treasure hunt, which involved clues leading from fairy tattoos, to apples that had fallen from our tree (a curt nod to Snow White), to a treasure chest where gold coins marked with a 4 could be traded in for a party bag. Thanks for coming ... and fare thee well.
With so much to do (and not a whole lot of input from The Bearded One - see photo, taken when he was 'keeping the kids out of my hair so that I could get on with stuff') I didn't get a chance to put much thought into a party outfit, and trotted out an old Leona Edmiston halter dress. No matter - it looked okay and, besides, I was basking in the glow of the future love and adoration The Princess will feel for me when she looks back on how much effort her mother put in to making sure her birthdays were special and memorable.
Or so I thought. Next day, as we sat in the garden, me playing horsey with the Bub and Master C busy with his Handy Manny sticker book, The Princess appeared with the Rainbow Magic Keepsake Secrets Diary I'd given her as a token of things pink, sparkly and a bit too girly to sit well with me. She dutifully filled out sections devoted to her name, her age, her favourite colour, details about her siblings and parents. Then it got personal. What's the worst thing about you? "I can't reach really high things." Um, okay. What's the best thing about your mother?
The Princess looks at me, thoughtfully. Flashbacks to castle cakes, crumb coats and clue couplets dance through my mind.
"Um, you know those purple and kind of orange shoes you have? Those."
One of my pairs of Bloch ballet pumps. Right, missy. It's off to Asda for your birthday cake next year. If only I'd known it was that simple. I mean, shoes!! Upstairs, they're spilling out of my wardrobe and across the floor. My beautiful 4 year old girl will still adore me when she's 90.