Another year wiser

As a general unwritten rule, birthdays become far less important as you get older. The big milestones numbers still have meaning and are perhaps worthy of a party or even a commiseration drink but numbers such as 37 are almost meaningless.

I disagree with this rule. For those unaware, yesterday was my birthday and whatever anyone may say, it was a special occasion. Just not for me. My son, Robbie had been looking forward to it for a while and it was important not to disappoint the little narcissist!

Until Robbie took over our lives nearly four years I had spent every birthday since I was adult the same way, in the pub drinking too much. Oh how things have changed.

I haven’t given up all control of my life to Robbie just yet, though he does have the vast majority. My incredible wife Sarah gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted with the day too, so of course I decided to spend it in the pub go to the zoo with the family.

We are actually pretty lucky to have Colchester Zoo just a short drive from us. We were also blessed that it was exceptionally quiet as the kids are at school so we were able to get a good view of all the animals. Having visited before during the Summer holidays, we know that this is not always the case.

Robbie and Dad hiding in a bee hive at Colchester Zoo.
It’s great to bee here

Robbie loves the meerkats and penguins but is possibly more fascinated by the model tractors and kids play areas than any of the animals, which is rather frustrating. Each time we visit I hope that he will be more interested in seeing everything this great zoo has to offer… Maybe one day.

I did encounter a brand new enemy and now have another fear for life, parakeets. There is a great enclosure at Colchester Zoo where you are able to buy some nectar and then go in with the parakeets to feed them. Of course we loaded up my Son with nectar but I chose to just watch him rather than feed the birds myself.

Then it happened. One of the parakeets decided that my head looked like a lovely place for a sit down and made himself at home. He was soon joined by his friend and between them they started pecking vigorously at my head. Luckily for me my heroic wife was on hand to save me, but instead she chose to grab a camera and film the attack whilst laughing hysterically. Robbie couldn’t care less about his Dad’s safety either and just carried on happily feeding the friends he had made. After what seemed like hours, Sarah finally rescued me.

Dad with two parakeets on my head at Colchester Zoo

Having watched the traumatic video back many times, it seems the parakeets were actually just interested in my hair. Using my usual level of extensive research (Google) it appears that this may actually be that they liked me and were in fact preening me in much the same way they would to other birds. Maybe they just didn’t like the way my hair looked but whatever the reason, I will not be visiting them again.

Anyway, back to the subject. As much as he loved the zoo, Robbie was not finished with my birthday celebrations yet. I was again offered to chose anything I wanted for dinner and as much as I love Chinese and steaks… We all went for a Happy Meal!

I have to admit I do love McDonalds too so can’t blame Robbie entirely for this one. I’m convinced I may actually be addicted to their chips but don’t hold any evidence for this one.

By the time we were all fed and happy, we had made it to 7PM. This is usually a glorious time in our house as it means bedtime for Robbie and consequently, nap time for Dad! I really have to find a way out of this routine but Robbie refuses to sleep unless I am next to him with my eyes shut and I’m yet to discover a method of doing this without nodding off myself.

I had promised him a Birthday party though. So instead of getting some rest we set up his disco lights, put on his favourite youtube playlist and had a dance party in our front room. I must confess his music is not entirely to my taste either. I would never have considered getting up and dropping some horrible Dad moves to Justin Bieber and Little Mix in the past but this was Robbie’s party after all! This went on until I could no longer move, he was pretty exhausted too. Finally bedtime.

Now here is how I know my birthday was a success. Up in his bed Robbie told me what a great day he’d had and everything that he wanted to do for his birthday. He has been plotting away for months on what he wants to do, which friends will be there and what presents he wants. He had enjoyed my day so much that he had built up a whole new level of excitement for his own Birthday. Job done.

It wasn’t until he finally fell asleep that I remembered I had even got him a small gift for the day that I had planned to give him for coming to my party. We’d had such a fun yet busy day that time had got away from us. I guess he’ll have a nice surprise when he gets back from nursery this evening instead, though with balloons still up and cake still to be eaten we could end up having another party tonight. You’re only 37 once, you may as well celebrate!

Thanks for reading and for the birthday messages too. If you like to see me suffer, you can see the video of the parakeet attack on The Diary Of Dad Facebook page.

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