Birthday girl

Isaac helping Kara unwrap her presents

It was Kara’s second birthday yesterday. Although we didn’t roll out the bunting, marching band and a cast of thousands, I think she enjoyed it.

I always think that first birthdays are more about family and friends than the child themselves, as they don’t fully understand what’s going on other than the fact it involves lots of paper-tearing, some new toys and lots of over-excited clapping and cooing by grown-ups.

Second birthdays are different, though. Children are more aware that it’s a special day for them, they can sense the build-up to it and they interact more with everyone else on the day.

Our new cleaning lady
Our new cleaning lady

So watching Kara open her various presents throughout the day was fun, not least because you could see her excitement at being handed each parcel (accompanied by a “Yay!” and an impressive vertical leap) and the thorough examination of its contents once opened – she had a little play with each item before moving on to the next one. (This is in unlike the boys, for whom birthdays and Christmas morning resemble a Guinness world record attempt to open the largest number of presents in the shortest possible time.)

She seemed most pleased with her new baby doll and pram. Grandma had hand-made a quilt, and Kara made a big deal of carefully covering the baby up and feeding it a bottle. So cute.

My kind of baby - no nappies to change!
My kind of baby – no nappies to change!

Then there was the various Peppa Pig paraphernalia, a Duplo set, books, clothes, the usual sort of thing you would expect to give a two-year-old girl – except her six and four-year-old brothers seemed just as interested in playing with her presents as she did. Later in the day, I discovered they had secreted a load of her stuff up to their bedroom. Vultures, the pair of them.

To be honest, she was just as pleased to see Grandma, Grandpa and her uncle Peter as anything. She held court at the head of the table during her birthday party tea, lapping up all the attention, and went to sleep a tired but happy girl.

My favourite part of the day was a short 15-minute spell I spent with her in our back garden, where she insisted on pushing her Little Tikes car at top speed, repeatedly creating a gruesome accident in which her father was left in a blood-splattered heap by the side of the road. Over and over again. As you do. From the ever louder cackling which accompanied each incident, I’d say she quite enjoyed it. So did I. It was a little oasis of one-to-one time where Kara and I just got to have fun, with no strings attached.

Shortly before mowing daddy down in a tragic accident
Shortly before mowing daddy down in a tragic accident

I could make a comment here about women drivers but, well …

So, a quiet family affair but a fun day nonetheless. This means that Kara is now officially into her ‘terrible twos’. Which, given the stroppy and stubborn streak she has developed over the last couple of months – most likely response to anything: a firm “No!” accompanied by an angry pout – should make for an interesting year.

I still adore my little daddy’s girl, though – even when she is throwing the nearest accessible object at me with alarming power and accuracy to emphasise her latest point. She can be a right stroppy little madam sometimes – but she’s my stroppy little madam. Love you, K.