Tadpole’s second birthday was a bittersweet celebration for Mr Frog and me.
I fetched him some lemsip, early this morning, as he was suffering with from a slightly sore throat (and was consequently at death’s door, as most men generally are when they catch a common cold). He had met a friend for dinner last night, so I enquired cautiously as to how that had gone.
I find myself permanently on edge when he goes out, paranoid that some well meaning soul will say something that will turn Mr Frog against me, shattering our cosy, friendly little bubble with a few harsh home truths. It hasn’t happened yet, probably because I am not being portrayed as the villain of the piece, and my extra-non-marital affair (if you can even call it that) is not common knowledge among his friends. He chooses not to mention it. It’s probably a matter of male pride, but whatever, the happy end result is that my good name is not tarnished as a result.
In fact, the friend was suitably floored by how calm and rational Mr Frog was – on the surface, at least – and remarked that hearing our story was like watching a slow-paced, intellectual French film. Like “La Séparation”, which Mr Frog watched on cable earlier this week. I didn’t. I couldn’t. The little I did half overhear, while in earshot of the television, was far too close to the bone. Thankfully, as Mr Frog is wont to do, he fell asleep on the sofa long before the final credits rolled. I was rather relieved, because the film mirrored our own situation a little too closely for comfort, and I really, really did not want to be told that it had all ended with the couple being tearfully reunited and admitting that the whole thing had been a mistake.
Back to this morning. We went to Tadpole’s bedroom to wake her. I stroked her cheek with the back of my finger (I wish I had skin like that) and started to sing Happy Birthday.
“Happy birthday to you”
Tadpole screwed up her face, pursed her lips and rolled over to hide her face against the bedroom wall. I noticed the beginnings of a smile playing on her lips. She was teasing.
“Happy birthday to you”
“Non!” She said, emphatically, “[Tadpole] sleeping!”
“Happy birthday dear [Tadpole], happy birthday to you”
As if by magic, she sat bolt upright and said: “Birthday presents?”
I shouldn’t be suprised, after all, this is the second of her four birthday celebrations, and she is getting used to the drill.
The living room was filled with coloured balloons, just like on her first birthday, and a blanket covered her main present, a tricycle. Later, when Mr Frog and I get home, there will be Noddy cake, candles to be blown out, wishes to be wished, and probably much enthusiastic popping of balloons.
It was lovely. But it was also Tadpole’s last birthday with mummy and daddy living under the same roof.
She has no idea. But I haven’t been able to lose that thought all day.