Less than three weeks after Amélie celebrated her seventh birthday our eldest celebrated her ninth! Yes, nine! Éowyn has now entered the realms of ‘middle childhood’. Not as dramatic as it could sound and certainly not as dramatic as the stages to come. Middle childhood is that flux state betwixt child and young adult, before puberty and teenage hormones take over and that is most defnitely an apt description of our eldest at the moment.
This was demonstrated beautifully when Nanny Fran asked Éowyn what she would like for her birthday. Nanny Fran gave her some options, as Nanny Fran rightly pointed out Éowyn (and the other Baguettes) have more than enough toys and therefore she didn’t want to buy them another toy for the collection. Éowyn, asked to spend the weekend (on her own) with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz and have a special day out, just her and her Nanny and Auntie. A very grown-up choice, and one that made Nanny and Auntie Liz very happy.
Thus, with half-term looming and a birthday party booked for the weekend before her party, Éowyn cashed in her birthday present a full ten days before her birthday! We arranged that I would drive Éowyn to Oxford services on the M40 and meet Nanny Fran there, thus saving Nanny Fran the nightmare journey of a 250 mile round trip through Friday evening rush hour traffic and especially what that usually entails for the M25.
As a consequence, I left work on Friday evening, came home and Éowyn was there with her suitcase packed, (our daughter doesn’t know the meaning of travelling light) ready to go. I quickly ate my tea (dinner for you Southerners) and we jumped in the car. My trusty free satellite navigation app, Waze, took me the back roads through Windsor to avoid the unsurprisingly congested M25, and we were soon heading up the M40 to where Nanny Fran would be waiting. Mommy had packed Éowyn a little packed lunch for her to eat on the way to Nanny’s but I think she had managed to eat it all before we had even weaved our ways through Windsor. The journey up the M40 was quick and uneventful and as we pulled into the car park we saw Nanny Fran with her car door open protecting an adjacent parking space ready for us to pull in next to her. A quick comfort break, a sneaky chocolate bar to raise the sugar levels and I was waving good-bye to them as they disappeared north.
You would naturally think that the noise levels in Bagnall manor would drop, and they did. Indeed, they were going to drop a little further the next night. Saturdays are usually busy in Bagnall manor, especially for Amélie. Friday after school, Amélie has a performing arts class; then she goes to Rainbows. Saturday morning, both of the girls have swimming lessons, then Saturday afternoon Amélie has a street dance lesson. When I am at work, Lucinda does all of this running around, dragging poor Ezra with them. This, the first weekend in October, I was off, however, there was to be no sharing of duties. Lucinda had a mosaic introduction course booked and thus would be leaving early on Saturday morning and returning Saturday afternoon. Therefore, it was my turn for the running round.
With Éowyn away, Amélie asked if she could have a sleepover at her friend’s. Her friend’s mum had said that it wouldn’t be a problem and so after street dance, we had one more stop to drop Amélie off at Sophia’s. We were down two Baguettes. It was just the boys, so we played superheroes while listening to the football. Mommy returned Saturday afternoon and we decided that we would take Ezra for a treat and go to Pizza Express for tea (dinner).
The house felt very empty and very big with neither of the girls at home, but we were not going to enjoy it for very long. Amélie came home mid-Sunday-morning, and then Amélie and I left to make the journey to West Bromwich to pick Éowyn up. Ezra and Mommy stayed behind, as Ezra had his best friend’s birthday party to attend on Sunday afternoon, his turn for something to do. Never a dull moment in Bagnall manor!
Amélie and I arrived at Nanny’s just after noon, about ten minutes before Auntie Mary arrived, and shortly afterwards were all sitting down to a Nanny Fran Sunday Roast. Éowyn then told us of her weekend with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.
Saturday morning had seen them start the day with Great Uncle Michael and Great Auntie Yvonne joining them at the Little Dessert Shop, in West Bromwich. Éowyn had ordered a chocolate crêpe and, because Nanny Fran had told them that it was Éowyn’s birthday, when the staff brought it out they had placed a sparkler in it and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.
The afternoon saw them head west to Dudley (doesn’t quite have an exotic air to it) and a trip to Dudley Zoo and Castle – it was Éowyn’s choice, it was her birthday after all!). Éowyn hijacked Auntie Liz’s camera and spent the afternoon doing a rather good impression of her father. You can see some of the fruits of her labour on our Flickr site. She then spent the evening curled up on the sofa with a big bucket of popcorn watching the movie themed week of Strictly Coming Dancing. Not a bad weekend and no doubt, the start of a tradition.
There was then a hiatus in the birthday celebrations until the following weekend. Having your birthday mid-week means that you can extend your birthday celebrations to the closest weekend. For Éowyn this was the weekend before her birthday and the main event was a birthday party. Jump Giants (the local trampoline park) was her choice, so Saturday afternoon saw the Bagnalls and ten of Éowyn’s friends don the luminous green socks and spend an hour exercising under the guise of having fun bouncing on trampolines.
The noise in the converted warehouse that houses the trampoline park was deafening. According to my noise meter app on my phone the peak noise level was 97dB, the equivalent of a newspaper press and a level of sound of which 8 hours exposure is enough to cause permanent damage. No wonder my ears were still ringing the next morning! I have been to quieter gigs! Nevertheless fun was had by all and Éowyn especially liked her Jammy Dodger birthday cake.
Her actual birthday was on Tuesday, a school day. We were expecting her to get up really early to open her presents, but it must be another sign of getting older that she slept in until after 0700 (that is a lie in, in this family!). She got ready in a jiffy, ate her breakfast and managed to open her presents and cards all before school. She was very pleased with her haul and when to school proudly wearing one of her birthday presents: a smiggle rucksack – don’t ask, if you don’t know what they are google them, there are the ‘in’ thing apparently.
I was at work and Lucinda had childminding wards so there was no special birthday tea for Éowyn, like Amélie’s Toby request, but we have promised her a trip to a Chinese restaurant (her choice) in the next week or so – she is really stretching this birthday out.
I will leave you now with a few photos from Éowyn’s birthday weekend (there are more on Flickr).
Happy Birthday Éowyn
Love from Mommy and Daddy