Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Birthday time and sleep deprivation

Our second daughter was seven yesterday. We had a party for her at home on Sunday and she got presents and a little bit of special attention yesterday and has since declared it the best birthday ever, and us the best parents anyone could ever imagine (she got a DS game boy machine thing, which she was not expecting at all) - children are so easily bought!

In time-honoured fashion, the preparations for our party had been well thought out, but then thwarted by a combination of things which conspired to make us not prepared in time, and the result was, as usual, we were running around like blue-arsed flies on Sunday morning getting ready. First of all, Saturday morning was speech day at school, so we all had to traipse in and listen to the head master and chairman of governors burbling on. None of the kids picked up any silverware or even paper certificates, so we headed out soon afterwards and went for lunch in our favourite Uzbek restaurant in town, Alasha. This is a great restaurant, all done out in Uzbek style and owned by three oligarchs who pretty much own everything in Kazakhstan, with turrets and little private rooms, embroidered dressing gowns to wear when it is chilly and you are sitting outside. They do a brilliant central asian dance show at night which is fantastic for taking visitors to (last night of mother-in-law's visit saw us there, with my husband buying her novelty vodka shots and both of them getting wellied) The food is good too. It was shut in preparation for a banquet. We went and tried out the competition, a restaurant called Samarkand which is also built in the Uzbek-style, and is owned by one of President Nazarbayev's son-in-laws. This place, I have to admit, does a pretty good shashlik as well, and the staff and service were also pretty good. But by the time we had had lunch, we were already running late.

On the way home we had to pick up some plastic tables and chairs from a friend's house. In the heat of the day and a generally rather tired mood, it took us an unbelievably long time to load these items into the back of our large car. Considering that neither of us had a hangover that day, to anyone watching us try to get these silly tables to fit in, it must have looked as though we had left our brains at home.

Popped home to pick up present for Number 3 daughter (aka the toddler) to take to her best friend's 3rd birthday party (we had forgotten it). At this point, I was supposed to be spending an hour and a half between 'lunch-after-speech-day' and 'going-to-the-party' making salads while toddler daughter had a nap and everyone else chilled out. But we had already used this time with the fecking tables and fannying around finding an open restaurant.

Straight out to the party which was much more fun than we expected and we stayed for longer than we should have done given the vast amount of prep work we still had to do. Thank GOD I had packed the party bags the day I went to the market and bought all the loot. As we drove to the party,  Number 3 daughter, who was the reason we were attending the party in the first place, got a high temperature and passed out in the car. She had to be carried in and be given calpol before falling asleep on a rather cool asian day bed covered in carpets and tapestries from all over the place.

So we got home at 7.30pm and had to get the three kids to bed, baby fed and we hadn't even started decorating the cake (I had baked the cakes at breakfast time, so at least one thing had been done!). Husband went out to buy last minute things, like ice and tooth picks. I settled down to making the cake. Since I had asked her what cake she wanted, rather than planting the seed of an easy idea in her head, she decided that she wanted a model of our house - quite a challenge, but not as bad as last year when she requested a cake of Big Almaty Lake and I found out on the morning of the party that we had no food dye.

11.30pm, cake was finished:

We both fell into bed exhausted, but toddler was ill and woke up every two or three hours crying and needing to be settled. Baby woke to be fed twice.

Party day arrived and we were exhausted. Tidied up the garden:

Put up some bunting:
Worked like nutters to get the place ready for our honoured guests who all turned up at 12.30. They left at 6pm, husband then received a business friend for two hours chatting and drinking tea and we put the kids to bed and tidied up again. Got to bed at 23.30 after wrapping birthday present for Number 2 daughter. The toddler (who had been properly sick all day long, but had soldiered on with the party in sore-throated silence) was only slightly asleep. Woke at 2.45 as a warm slick of sick hit me on the side of the face/hair line/into left ear. Changed bed sheets and settled toddler between us, baby woke up for feed, husband settled toddler. Altogether probably about 4 hours sleep in total.

Monday morning. Woo hoo! Birthday Day. This was a coffee-fuelled survival day. Birthday girl had a blast playing with her new toys. The rest of us staggered around taking down bunting and getting the house back to normal, which takes a while after 20 kids have rampaged around it for 6 hours!


  1. I'm tired just to read you!!! ;-)

  2. I just had a similar experience last Saturday. It was my eldest daughter's birthday and I had set aside the Friday to bake, clean, put up bunting, wrap pressies, but I hadn't factored in the last day of term was on the Friday, which included my middle daughters sports day, a tour around all the new classrooms next year at midday and then the school summer fair all afternoon.All that left me very short of hours suddenly. Still, pulled it out of the bag and she too said it was her best birthday ever.

  3. Jane Asher has nothing on BBB cakes! Yum.

  4. OMG in ALL of that YOU BAKED A CAKE.
    You win all prizes my friend.Hope you now get a very very well earned rest.
    Happy birthday to your DD.