Fourth and second

Nobody likes dad jokes. Except the teller, of course.

We woke today stressed and exhausted, because La Serpiente had crawled into our bed at stupid o’clock and been thrashing and pushing us around ever since, and because we had to get ready for the birthday party today. We’d done things last night like stick pieces of fruit on skewers and make up party bags and try to amass enough juice boxes and cans of beer for the whole population of Singapore, but you never feel you’ve done enough. Especially when it’s now two birthdays, handling both the fourth and second journeys around the sun. I hope they don’t feel shortchanged that we didn’t over-order booze for two different occasions, rather than one.

Frustrated by my slow motion this morning (or to quote EMF, “you say I don’t talk enough but when I do I’m a fool”) my wife sent me out to get coffee. At 8:30 in the morning. On a Sunday. When it’s impossible to buy a cup of coffee. The only place with an open sign in the door was actually shut until 9, which meant I stood like Banquo’s ghost at the counter until they finally noticed me and almost jumped out of their skins. Well, that will teach them not to serve coffee early enough.

Eventually I found coffee, but by then the sun was up and I got back to the flat bearing two lattes and soaked to the skin with sweat. Back out to the supermarket I went to buy ice and toothpicks, almost got a cold from the overzealous air conditioning, and then rushed back in time to put everything into a taxi and then head over to Tickle Tickle, the somewhat sinister sounding play gym where we were having the party.

We had last year’s party (spoiler alert: when La Serpiente covered me in vomit) at the same venue, and that time round I’m pretty sure the taxi driver dropped us right outside, rather than a 300 yard yomp where I was carrying several hundredweight of stuff and almost fainted in the heat. When we’d hauled the assorted cans of beer, wine, Coke, the bags of ice, the crockery, the bunting, and everything else in, I just sat and shook uncontrollably in one corner of the playgym, until well after guests began to arrive. Still, this year nobody threw up over me, and the kids were remarkably calm and nice to one another for the tow hours of the party. Apart from trying to pour a litre of fruit juice into my suitcase.

We got the kids home, they slept quickly, without complaint, and then instead of napping ourselves, like sensible people should have, we tried to tidy up and I processed all the photos from yesterday’s visit to Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at the National Gallery, and from the party. Then when the kids woke up we took them to the shops, to finally replace the evil, possessed Havianas that gave La Serpiente a bloodied face back in March. We stayed in the mall for hours, frittering our time away, ending up dropping a hundred dollars on a Sunday roast. I also bought my wife’s main something-to-wear present, and a tyrannosauraus rex hand puppet, which reduced both my children to shivering fear. There’s been a lot of shaking going on today, but now I have some kind of thing to threaten them with if they don’t behave. Although strangely, they’re not petrified of dinosaur train. So inconsistent.

I’d like to say the kids went down easily tonight. They didn’t, though I suppose Destroyer only screamed at me for half an hour, so that’s progress. On to the next birthday, then…

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