Saturday 11th August
It’s 10pm and I’ve spent the day prepping for Ivy’s birthday and christening tomorrow. I’m now in bed and can’t help but reflect on the past year. Ivy is blissfully unaware of the celebrations that are being planned for, and is fast asleep in her room; Andy is downstairs chilling out by shooting people in Division (computer game for those who are lucky enough not to know what it is). Food done, decorations ready, soft play shapes borrowed from my workplace and packed in the car, dress altered and fake tan applied.
How fast does time go? I’m sure every parent thinks that constantly, but I look at Ivy now and can’t believe how quickly she’s changing and developing. From being able to lie almost across my two hands, to running around the house chasing the cat, I don’t know where the time has gone. I look at Ivy as my guardian angel, the most perfect little girl who came along at my most desperate and scary time. I strongly believe there is a higher power in life – a higher power that tests us and looks after us and makes things happen for a reason. I feel so proud of Ivy when I see her learning new things and showing off her personality, being cheeky and giving people huge smiles, and it makes me emotional to think she’s oblivious to all the bad in the world and I want it to stay that way. A child’s naivety is so special and something that needs to be kept safe for as long as possible.
We decided to have the christening a little later than normal because of my recovery, and as her birthday fell on a Sunday it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine the two. We’ve got family and friends coming along and I can’t wait to celebrate – Monsignor McHugh at St George and St Teresa’s Catholic Church is officiating the christening, and as he married Andy and I almost 2 and a half years ago, it’s extra special. It’s just in time, actually, as Monsignor is retiring in September so I’m glad we are doing it now and he can be part of it. Monsignor is such a lovely man and I drove him mad in the weeks leading up the Christening… the last time I saw him he said, ‘as long as you turn up, it’ll be fine’. Other words, chill out Catherine.
As part of Ivy’s decorations, I ordered a banner which you stick a photo on for each month – a fab recommendation from my friend Heather. I spent a lot of time going through photos taken over the past year, trying to choose the best picture to get printed for each month. Looking through the photos was emotional; it’s amazing what you forget in such a short space of time. So many happy photos where I look a complete wreck, but my smile was totally real. Ivy has brought so much joy into my life that it’s completely overshadowed me being ill.
Tuesday 14th August
The last few days have gone by in a blur – a very happy, busy, laughter filled blur. Aside from singing Ivy happy birthday while she munched through her birthday toast, Sunday morning was hectic. We had to decorate the Cricket Club, ready for the guests after the Christening, and I think I underestimated how long it would take. It was fine in the end, and we got to the Church on time to have a chat and say hello to everyone arriving. Monsignor was very chilled and performed a lovely, informal Christening ceremony. Ivy laughed, blew raspberries and shouted her way through the Christening, leaning around my arm to entertain the crowd behind her! It’s probably easier to have a younger baby baptised than it is a 1 year old, but then we wouldn’t have had the laughs and quips from the priest who charismatically replied to some of Ivy’s noises! We chose my two sisters as Godmothers, and Andrew’s close friend Bruce, as Godfather, so I’m sure Ivy will be well looked after… however, I may have to remind Bruce which jokes are appropriate and which aren’t!
The celebrations continued at Moseley Cricket Club and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! I managed to forget candles for the cake but we sang Happy Birthday and Andrew thanked everyone for their kind gifts and for coming along. It was such a good afternoon with all our favourite people in one place, and the amount of cards and gifts Ivy had was overwhelming – THANK YOU to everyone who has spoilt Ivy rotten, she’s a very lucky girl. Ivy smiled all day and loved playing with her family and friends – the soft play was great and kept the kids entertained, as well as the balloons! I can’t remember how many children came up to me to ask if they could have balloons off the tables… so polite! I’d bought big silver balloons in IVY and wanted a pic outside – I dragged Andy and Ivy outside with my sister to take a picture but the ‘V’ managed to untie its string and fly away – there it was, sailing off into the sky. We had to settle with a ‘1’ photo instead. The kids loved sending the ‘I’ and ‘Y’ after it, and shortly after, from the window in the Cricket Club, I saw the ‘1’ flying away!
At this point I need to give a shoutout to my amazing cake-maker friend, Amani from Heronbrook Baking. Amani made the most perfect cake for Ivy – Lemon sponge on the bottom tier, and blackforest for the middle tier with lilac, white and silver decorations. It was AMAZING there was nothing left for us to take home! Check her cakes out on instagram: @amani5
The day went by in a blur. It’s hard work trying to talk to everyone, and I felt like I didn’t get to have proper conversations with anyone, so apologies for that. By the end of the afternoon, we were all shattered, and managed to drag ourselves home. Comfies on, Ivy out of her dress, and cuddles. Ivy did not want to go to sleep and I ended up having her in bed with me and going to sleep together. I never do that, but I literally didn’t have the energy to put her into the cot so it was a mission through the darkness at 2am putting her back into her own room.
Monday was painful – terrible sleep Sunday night, extremely tired and having to go back to the venue to clear up, and then helping with some family stuff. The day passed in a daze and by 5pm I was good for nothing! I managed a short trip around Morrisons as the cupboards were bare, and Ivy thought it was hilarious to pull things off the shelves when I wasn’t looking. I even saw someone look at me and give me a pitiful smile; one of those faces that says ‘ah, I feel sorry for you’. The fact I hadn’t had a shower, my hair was up on end like I’d been electrocuted and my child was causing havoc seemed to get me sympathy from various passers-by and I just wanted to crawl into a hole. What made me feel better was seeing Andy come in from work looking and feeling exactly the same. We decided to write the night off and lounge – I sent my apologies to netball training (which I felt terrible about because I don’t like to miss it) and literally lay on the sofa. Crawled into bed at 9ish and zonked out. I’d like to say that the early night sorted me out, but I still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck!! Another early night for me tonight and I WILL feel like a new woman tomorrow. I WILL!
On another note, my hair is growing back quicker than I thought! It pretty much looks like I’ve chosen to have this style which is good – it stops the questions or looks that people don’t even realise they give you when you’re minding your own business. I’m really trying to embrace the ‘do’ but I see myself on photos and I just don’t like it. I don’t think I will like it until I can actually do something with it. What’s really annoying, and it’s something I’ve never thought about, is that when you have long hair and don’t want to wash it, you just bung it full of dry shampoo or tie it up – ok, it may not look great but you get away with it. With short hair, I get up in the morning and it looks like some sort of hair monster has attacked me in the night and it’s standing up in all directions. I have to wash it every day otherwise I look like a loon! Who knew that short hair was more work than long hair?! And then there’s the ordeal with product – I’m currently using Andrew’s hair clay, but you need just the right amount… too little and my hair looks like a tennis ball, too much and it turns into a lego helmet. See, very tricky!
It’s my little sister’s hen do this weekend – she has no idea where she’s going and I think the control freak in her is going slightly mental (even though she wouldn’t admit it). It’s been fun winding her up. There’s a few things left to do this week in prep before the ferry/hovercraft/plane/helicopter to our chosen destination on Friday morning – last few bits to pack and then we’re off. CAN’T WAIT. You’re going down Red!
Get your drinking shoes on Elizabeth, you’ll be needing them!