The whole family is gathered outside a cafe for tea and cake. MsUrbanDaddy is fishing a teabag from her foampack cup. Grandma V busies herself marshalling errant bits of gift-wrap into a plastic bag. The high sun is in full conspiracy with our bistro table to near blind me with reflected light. Maybe that’s why it takes me so long to light the candles on our shop-bought Victoria sponge.
Our eldest reminds us that the cake has not even been cut, still less served; a state of affairs she clearly regards as criminal. I agree, but cake cutting duties have been given to our 2 year-old birthday girl and she just is not following our script, preferring instead to sit and quietly chew her plastic spoon.
Suddenly, MsUrbanDaddy stands up and starts hopping from foot to foot. Her hands flash between open palm and clenched fist, her breathing is deep and measured. Her eyes could start a blaze in the middle-distance over my shoulder. I say nothing.
Her tension subsides and she sits down. The children are completely oblivious to mummy’s strange behaviour. MsUrbanDaddy decides the time has come to get the party started.
“Shall I help you cut the cake, lovely?”
Birthday girl is suddenly ahead of us, cutting a tiny, mushed-up strip of sponge and giving it to her sister. Ha! You go, girl, I think to myself. This will likely be the last birthday cake she’ll have for herself. MsUrbanDaddy confirms my suspicions as I take Grandma V and the girls home. “Don’t be long. This is happening”.
Barely two hours later, daughter number 3 arrives, express. The midwife doesn’t even have time to put her gloves on, catching her instead with a towel. At four weeks pre-term, she’s caught more than our midwife on the hop. We need to pick up a few things – a bigger car, for starters. But the logistics can wait. I’m looking at my second birthday girl of the day and she’s beautiful.