The Adventure of the Happy Birthday

Noah’s third birthday started at 5.30am. He has one of those clocks that tells him when he can get up. The clock has a sleeping bunny and an awake bunny. It has never really worked. If the bunny is not awake when he wakes up, he gives it a good telling off for still being asleep. Either that or he pulls the lead out so the whole thing goes off. Last week, I told him that if he gets out of bed or makes any sound at all before the bunny wakes up, he will not be able to watch anything on my phone for the whole day. It worked for a few nights but this morning we had to spend forty minutes listening to him talking to his dragon and bashing it against the cabinet beside his bed, then a further ten minutes listening to him calling out that he desperately needed a drink.

My husband went in to him. Noah decided he wanted to read his favourite book of the moment, a collection of fairy tales, in particular a story about the Swamp Monster. His thirst was forgotten.

“What day is it today?” my husband asked him.

“Ah yes!” Noah said. “But where are my happy birthday things?” He looked around his bedroom, frowning. “They are playing hide and seek!”

Noah’s happy birthday things were carefully arranged in the front room. He ploughed through them until he opened Buzz Lightyear. This brought the present-opening proceedings to a standstill. Naturally, Buzz had to fly around the room several times, land on various objects, then take off again shouting “To infinity and beyond!” Holding Buzz upside down and looking at his shoes, Noah asked whether ANDY could be inscribed under his own feet. I told him that if anything was being written on him, it would be Mummy, not Andy.

We had a nice day planned with swimming and then going to Toys R Us so Noah could choose himself a bike from my Mum and Dad. This didn’t make it any easier than usual to get him washed, dressed and out of the house. He was more than willing to brush his teeth for a change, thanks to his new Mickey Mouse electric toothbrush, but he still had to be coaxed out from under the coffee table with a chocolate finger biscuit before he would get dressed.

We all went to Oberlaa Therme Wien, a large swimming complex in Vienna. Noah thoroughly enjoyed the slide in the children’s pool for ten minutes, then spotted a big slide outside that he wanted to go on. It was raining. My husband took him on the slide. Five times. The pool he preferred, however, was the relaxation pool, which meant it was a little bit less relaxing for everyone else attempting to chill out. When I started to do Pop Goes the Weasel with him, I was given a firm rejection (some people might call it a shove) and he informed me he is not a baby anymore. So that was the end of that.

“Mummy, I love swimming pool water!” he declared as I lounged on one of the tile beds in the pool.

“I’m glad you’re enjoying your birthday treat,” I replied, fondly.

“Yes I am. Can we go home now?”

After his early start, the excitement over all his presents, the joy of now being in possession of his very own Buzz, as well as a morning spent doggy paddling around a heated pool, Noah was not in a very good mood by lunch time. For the past couple of months he has been asking for steak, like his daddy. My husband told him he could have steak when he was three. And so Noah was furious when a ham and cheese toastie was set before him in the café. “I want steak!” he roared. Even when his sandwich was swimming in a sea of ketchup, Noah could not be comforted. I put him on my lap and tried to feed him a piece. He took one bite then conked straight out with the hefty form of Buzz Lightyear tucked under his arm.

Happy Birthday, my Noah.

Noah's very own Buzz Lightyear
Noah’s very own Buzz Lightyear

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