Last weekend I had the joy of going to Kent to share in the second birthday party of my great-granddaughter, Louisa. her parents are house parents at Bethany School, where because of the credit crunch there are fewer boarders this term and none upstairs in their house. So my daughter-in-law brought pillows and duvets and I and my son and his wife were able to sleep there on Saturday night.
After breakfast, Louisa had great fun carrying all the things from the breakfast table to the kitchen one at a time - first, each jar of jam or marmalade, then the milk (which produced the word 'heavy'), etc. 'Heavy' seemed to be a new word and came out several times during the day. It was lovely to see how helpful she was, so that will be a great help to her mother in the next few months.
Then we had a session when she was showing me her books and I read one story and she identified colours in another book designed for that purpose. Then gradually the rest of the family started arriving until she had two grandmas and one great-grandma present. I told her that I was her Mummy's grandma, so after that I was sometimes, 'great-grandma' and sometimes 'Mummy's grandma'.
With each new arrival there were more presents, of course - to the delight of everyone! I took her a (foundation) train set that is complete in itself but can be added to ad infinitum. I also took two pretty tops for her to wear with her skirts or jeans. She was so delighted with these that she insisted on putting them both on one on top of the other, so that she wore three tops for the rest of the day. Someone else brought her some summer shoes and she had great delight in trying them on and taking them off all day. The most successful present was a toy birthday cake with candles that could be taken off and put on again. It was divided into 5 slices,which each had a small area of Velcro in the middle so that they stuck together and it had to be cut with the little knife supplied. Louisa quickly went for her toy plates and, on and off for most of the day, she was busy cutting slices of cake and handing them round on her little plates. Since there were more than 5 of us, it was interesting to watch her deciding who was to have the next slice. The other present that kept her busy for quite a time was a toy gardening set. She loved the gloves with pretty pictures on them, but invariably got them on the wrong hands and had to change them. Eventually, she decided to put them in her (new present) toy rucksack and she put that in her bedroom. So the next time she wanted to use her new watering can, she ran into her bedroom to get her new gloves from the rucksack! She spent much time watering everything with her new yellow watering can. In fact she spent so much time doing 'grown-up' things like serving cake and watering that, when it came to bedtime, she found that her doll Rosie had not been out of bed all day! She had given Quentin, her cuddly toy dog, a walk round in his push chair though.
There were too many of us to sit round the table in the dining room for lunch, so we all ate outdoors where the garden has several wooden table-cum-benches, so we were glad that the weather was fine, if a little on the chilly side. We were back inside for the birthday cake, which finished off a very successful second birthday party, enjoyed by all - until Louisa noticed that we were all preparing to go. Then she burst into tears, saying, 'People going. People going.'
With a new little brother or sister due in September, there'll be two birthday parties next year - but in Stourbridge, not in Kent. Something else to look forward to in 2010!