Today is the beloved’s birthday, a day of presents, food, family, friends and being able to choose her own cake, no-matter how disinteresting (she has an odd preference for things with no icing). Invariably, today is also the day she rains on my present-giving parade. For the past six years I have made countless attempts to surprise her with a gift. I have succeeded precisely twice. Only one of those times was the surprise welcome. Every year I hedge my bets and try two tactics. A – Try and come up with thrilling, creative, affordable, manageable gift ideas. B – The basic “What do you want for your birthday?”. Helpfully, the answer is always a version of “I don’t know. There’s nothing I need. Don’t we have everything?” So noble. So selfless. So bloody irritating. Then, as her birthday draws nearer, she’ll occasionally make suggestions like “I do need socks for work”. Super.
Now, I do realise that all of this is sounding a little, um, how shall I put this…self-involved? It is, after all, her birthday. If she wants plain black, mid-length socks, size 5-8, who am I to try and foist excitement upon her? I could go on and on about how birthdays aren’t just about the birthday-person, but are about celebrating as a family and blah blah blah blah blah. But basically, it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. It’s not that the beloved is dreadfully hard to choose presents for. She likes stuff. She just has an overwhelming urge to guess what her presents will be. For weeks in advance. And when they’re right in front of her. And not in a happy, squeally ‘Wow, it’s a pony!!!!’ type-way.
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Early October 2008 – Achieved major coup: after several covert trips to golf store, successfully hid present of new golf bag and buggy in the house for weeks in advance.
October 26, 2008 – Bounce into living room like Tigger on speed. She’s going to be surprised!! Boing! The beloved takes one look at the box (yes, box, not constructed, just a regular, box-shaped box) and says ‘Oh. You got me a new buggy.’
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October 25, 2009 – Pick up present at absolute last minute. Leave it in the car. Have carefully not mentioned it or anything connected to it.
October 26, 2009 – Bring wrapped presents to the breakfast table. Beloved takes one look at the box. ‘I guess it’s a Wii Fit’, she sighs. Sigh indeed.
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October 19, 2010 – Discuss present options with the Nanna.
October 20, 2010 – The Nanna discusses same options with the beloved.
October 21, 2010 – Discard all present ideas.
October 22, 2010 – Go shopping with vague mental list of potential gifts.
October 25, 2010 – Put wrapped gift boxes on dining table last thing at night. The beloved sees them. I shout angry instructions to not touch, not speak, not even think of the presents. She immediately pokes one. ‘You got me shoes’.
October 26, 2010 – Magnanimously abandon birthday-related aspirations. The beloved, small and I have hours of fun with her musical card. Can anyone ever tire of the Mexican Hat Dance?