Sometimes Shit Days Happen (Alternative Title: Happy Birthday, Elfie!)



In my infinite wisdom I decided that Monday was going to be a big day for Elfie.

It was her 4th birthday so it was already huge. So huge that she padded into my bedroom at 4.55am to say “is it now, mummy? Am I four?”.

(My answer: “you are not four til 7 o’clock. Go back to bed”. She didn’t)

I don’t know if it was the fact I was knackered or that I was just giddy at the thought of an exciting day off work with my kids but at about 8am I decided that Monday would be the day Elfie gave up her dummy.

Now, before you get all Mumsnet at the fact that my three year old still has a dummy, let me say this: I KNOW. Its been the bane of my life for quite a while, but between the upset of a d-i-v-o-r-c-e, moving house and all that upheaval associated with it there was just never a right time. I tried to do it at Christmas but she was so distraught at the thought of a strange old man breaking into our house (Santa Claus… and when you think about it the coming down the chimney thing is fairly sinister) that I couldn’t do it then either.


And so I got the lightbulb on her birthday: DING! Surely this is the perfect time?! “Four year olds aren’t allowed dummies any more”.

I made up an intricate story, an amalgamation of all the ones I’ve read online, something about Father Christmas taking away the dummies to live with little babies who needed them more than she did. Which of course inevitably led to more questions about how he’d got into our house (didn’t I learn the first time?!).

Anyway, the upshot was that she spent the whole of her birthday a) crying and b) saying she no longer wanted to be four. The 5am start had a little to do with the whinging but the removal of the dummy was the bigger part. Nice going, mummy!

– I would like to point out that she had a brilliant morning at pre-school as her Papa baked a huuuge batch of cupcakes and all her friends sang to her. Thanks for being such a brilliant chef, Dad!

The highlight of the day was “I HATE THIS BIRTHDAY, I NEVER EVER WANT ANOTHER BIRTHDAY” which led to me weeping in the kitchen with a 4pm glass of wine. Happy Birthday indeed.

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The original birthday plan was to visit the LEGO shop (her request) in the afternoon, followed by a Pizza Express (again, her request) but really, with such bad behaviour all day I really couldn’t reward it with the whole treat thing. Tiredness and dummies aside… I just couldn’t do it. So we got a pizza from Waitrose and had a mini-party at home (the big one is happening in a couple of weeks with her friend Ralph) with promises that if her behaviour improved we’d get a pizza on Friday.

And you know what? She hasn’t fussed about her dummy since Tuesday. I win!


So I would like to say dear Elfie, that if you are reading this when you’re 21 I am truly sorry for ruining your 4th birthday. It certainly wasn’t intentional and I hope I redeemed myself with the fun train ride and IKEA photoshoot we went on today. And the Nandos. I hope if you remember your disappointing birthday that you also remember the really special make-friends time we had that evening, when I held you close and explained to you why sometimes it’s just not OK to be cross and mean, even if you’re feeling shitty yourself (calm down mumsnet, I didn’t use that word exactly). And when I told you what a very special little girl you are you grabbed my cheeks and told me I was very special little mummy. As much as 7th July 2014 was a bit of a parenting low for me that was most definitely a parenting high.

In other shit day news: I spent all day on Wednesday in bed with food poisoning, something that was super super shit because all I wanted to do was leap out of bed and go to work. I’M TOO BUSY TO BE ILL. And then it rained. What’s up, Universe? Send us some love over here!

Not really. Aside from being tired and whingy and a bit vommy, life is still pretty great. Just look at that fairy up there, am I right? Thanks, Universe.

PS: Elfie’s 1st Birthday / Hux Is One / An Elfie Update At TwoHux Turns Two / Elfie At Three Years Old

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  1. Margarita wrote:

    That is too sweet! I swear that big days like birthdays and Christmas and wedding parties can sometimes bring out ALL THE EMOTIONS in our children and create little drama monsters. Good luck with the dummy!

    Posted 7.10.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Oh gosh, definitely! And I think as parents we probably work them up to be these perfect events in our minds and then are crushed when our children are the monsters ;)

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  2. Richmond Mummy wrote:

    oh dear ha ha sorry to laugh, but I can totally imagine myself doing something like this! am sure she still had a brilliant birthday – that’s totally how she’ll remember it in years to come – and oh my goodness does she ever look the CUTEST in these photos?!? Happy Birthday little Elf and well done Alice on successfully getting to 4 years and counting, you rock mamma! xx

    Posted 7.10.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Yes – 4 years! How did that happen? And no sign of going crazy (yet). Mwah xx

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  3. Lizzi wrote:

    You’ve survived 4 years of this mothering malarkey! Any post that apologises to Mumsnet a minimum of twice is obviously going in the right direction in my books.
    I completely agree that the ‘big’ days often end up being the most shitty – even now, Christmas Day normally has a twinge of the divas and I am 32.
    Enjoy those precious, cheek-squishing cuddle moments…and just remember what happened on Hux’s first birthday?! At least no hospital trips this time! X

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Glad it’s not just me who has their Christmas Diva moments! I did congratulate my mum this year on Hux’s second birthday of going one whole year accident free! x

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  4. Fromfuntomum wrote:

    Happy birthday Elfie!!! I did laugh at your post, poor you! G was addicted to her dummy and I took it away at 6 months old – one day you can tell Elfie that some mums are much worse than hers at the being mean and taking things away part!

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ahh I wish I’d had the strength to do it at 6 months – before she could ask for it back! x

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  5. It takes a lot to make me actually laugh out loud, but that was very funny and as you say, in the end you did win! It will all be a funny memory to share when she is older! :-)

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Thanks Clare! I was thinking that looking back over all their birthday posts. I expect they’ll be cringing with embarrassment but I’m proud I can show them the hilarious records of their birthdays! x

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  6. Sophie wrote:

    As a child I also refused to give up my dummy and my parents took drastic measures. They took me to Disney World, and told me that Mickey Mouse didn’t let children who had dummies in. They put it in the ‘dummy bank’ (read, bin) so we could collect it on the way out. Needless to say it worked, and apparently I forgot all about it on the way out.

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      What a clever idea – wish I’d thought of this one… any excuse for a trip to Disney World ;)

      Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  7. I always think when you really want the day to be amazing and good they never turn out to be. Obviously with an elective C section I knew when LL was going to arrive so the Sunday before we decided to have ‘the best day ever’ for Mads. She chose what to do- painting in a pottery place, followed by lunch in her favourite place, and it was AWFUL. She screamed the whole time, was a little madam, I cried, I wondered how the hell I was going to cope with two…etc.etc. I am sure five will be a better birthday. ;) x

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  8. Alex wrote:

    I had a dummy til I was 5. I’m told I turned out okay. (And hey, my kid’s four next month and still resolutely refuses to do a poo on the loo, long after wee was sorted! You want fail? Come to my house. ;))

    You’re doing brilliantly. And Elfie is lucky to have a mum that cares so much about her and wants to make the big days special – even if it doesn’t work out to plan.

    Happy birthday Elfie! x

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  9. Oh BLESS her :( I can feel her pain, but I can feel your pain too. Giving up the dummy is SO HARD. We did it last year and I was dreading it. Well done for persevering. xx

    Posted 7.11.14 Reply
  10. Fritha wrote:

    aww Alice I read this and meant to comment straight away as I feel like this is so something I would do. We are yet to deal with the dummy thing and I tried to bribe him with care bears (his favourite) in return of giving it up…he’s now terrified the care bears are going to steal it out of his mouth as he sleeps! x

    Posted 7.14.14 Reply