• Nathalie Curtis

Another year older. Another year wiser?

Do your birthdays ever find you feeling philosophical? Why are we here? What's it all about? Where's the wine?

This is also the standard response to work emails about cake.

Now that Bailey has owned me for a year, and I find myself free falling down the rabbit hole towards my 39th birthday, I find myself in a fairly uncharacteristic reflective kinda mood.  I am musing many intellectual dilemmas including:- how have I become nearly 39?  Why did America elect a Honey Badger as their president?  Will I have stopped 'sleeping' on Freddie's floor before he himself is 39? And this is a real brain twister - why in the name of holy shittingdom would you drink a Nettle and Peppermint Tea when you can buy a Latte from McDonalds for £1.49? I saw this in my office today and I swear to God, it literally stopped me dead in my tracks! People pay for this shit?!? If you want nettle tea, don't you just become an eccentric old person and go out and pick it and boil it over a camp fire? I guarantee I'll see it, all lonely and abandoned in the tea point within a week, an optimistic dog-eared post it note peeling off the carton, pleading with you 'help yourself, I'm free!'  Not a fucking chance, mate. And I like weird teas, but I don't want one that sounds like it could inflict ABH given half the chance.

I also wonder whether my birthday this year will be better than last? Last year I was so strung out by the dual stresses of puppy plus a two year old at the height of the, (I have affectionately christened it) Zombie Stage, that I was in the lowest of moods when poor Andy came home with pressies, and wine & steak. I'm ashamed to say I cried, and was not a very nice person to be around. I was exhausted & just wanted to go to bed. I did not want to party like it's 1999.  Bailey was only 9 weeks old, and was nipping at my feet every time I moved. He was also jumping up and play biting Freddie, and Freddie was constantly winding the dog up. Freddie would change his mind every five seconds about whether or not he liked the dog's affections, but as both resulted in Freddie making loud noises & flapping his hands, the net result was the same. A play bite, or clumsy scratch.  I literally grew new wrinkles where before obviously I had none :) The guilt I felt at seeing something that I brought into the house inflicting physical damage on my baby was visceral.  I bitterly regretted my decision at bringing Bailey home as we lathered Bio Oil into the numerous welts. I'm telling you, you could almost see the cats furtively looking at each other, mewing quietly, 'We may've shat on the bathroom floor, & shredded the new leather chairs, but luckily we are too cowardly to even go near the boy, so that fluffy Cockwomble's days are numbered'. 

Bailey was also still messing indoors, not yet quite toilet trained. I suspect that Andy was considering lodging for divorce. Although I don't think that sentiment has changed much in the last 12 months to be fair. Especially not when Bailey woke us up barking, seemingly at NOTHING AT ALL at 12.40 & 3.40 the night before a three hour drive to Somerset recently. Freddie also joined in at 11.30 and 14.00.  That was a ropy drive, buoyed up by only Jelly Babies. It was nice when we got there though. Well, I think it was, I spent most of my time trying to wrench Freddie alternatively from 1)) an apparently hypnotic tap in the Ladies, and 2) a courtesy dis-mobile parked outside M&S. When we got home, Bailey had also more or less digested the £45 bed that Andy had bought him in the hope of keeping him off the sofa.  Andy peeled himself off the ceiling and began googling the definition of 'unreasonable behaviour'.  I think I probably cried again.  Days later Bailey pulled up the brand new stair runner & ate some of the laminate floor. Suffice to say, I've often thought that Bailey would prove to be the Ground Zero of our relationship. Tattered bits of reinforced concrete & buckled girders slumped and broken where our marriage once stood, gleaming in the sun.

But hang on, what's that? Have I heard the winds of change whistling in my ears during those cold, winter walks? Things must be getting better.  I haven't (seriously) threatened to re home any of the animals in about 2 weeks.  We have sat, on our sofa, with Bailey snoozing, his little head on my ankle, and all three cats with us too. The dog is fully toilet trained, and is even starting to poo less than approximately 82 times a day.  We can take Freddie to bed, and read bedtime stories, and the dog just snuggles at the foot of the stairs.  3 months ago he was still wailing and yelping as if Crüella De Ville had shut him in her boot and was on the phone to her tailor.  I can't remember the last time Stitch messed upstairs and Bailey and Freddie can be in the same room without me feeling as though I may need to call in the Military and a water cannon to split them up. I still however, am completely unable to take a good picture of them. Except this one. This one is cute.

A rare moment they are both sat still :-)

But tomorrow is my birthday. 371 days since we brought Bailey home. If I make it to the end of the day and haven't cried, it'll be up on last years. I'm hoping it'll be even better, and I'll be able to post a piccie of us both with new hair. Bailey has been to the hairdressers 5 times in the last year, I have been once for a trim. Tomorrow, after having the worst hair in the world for 18 months I finally have an appointment for it to be coloured. I'm booked in at 4, Bailey at 11.30. Hopefully our new images will signal a new chapter in our lives together. The magical journey towards when Bailey turns 2, which is apparently when he'll start to stop being a knobhead.  Only 306 days and counting...

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