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What do you dream of doing on your birthday? Is it waking up to a soggy half-bowl of Cheerios and having coffee spilled over your bedsheets at 6am? It is, isn’t it? Knew it.
Okay, so it might not be entirely the way I dreamed of turning 39, but I found my initial resentment at not getting a proper lie-in eased substantially by the beaming faces of my two young children, whose dastardly plan it was to, “Wake Mummy up with breakfast in bed!”
And when I was dragged downstairs – all of 11 minutes after hurriedly choking down my luxurious breakfast, I found the door to the living room barred shut and a sign on it which read, “Party Time – 39 Today!”
This was the idea, you see: to let my kids plan out my birthday, start to finish. Because in lockdown, frankly, I wasn’t going to be doing anything else. And it gave them such pleasure to have ‘grown-up responsibility’ that I couldn’t resist. I was also very curious to see what they’d come up with – what they figured out, independently, I’d enjoy.
Anyway, it went a bit like this...
When I opened the door to ‘the party zone’ (the living room), Spotify was blaring out Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’ song – courtesy of Google Home, who my children (aged three and eight) seem to have wrapped around their little fingers.
They know how to stealthily add things (sweets, chocolate, ingredients for slime) to the shopping list, how to check the weather, and how to entice our automated helper to give them the answers to Year 3 English homework, such as, “What is a fronted adverbial?” (A good job, too; for I haven’t a clue).
In preparation for my big day, my kids had been hard at work. In...