I Wrote To The Zoo

I am taking a brief break from my hard-core cleaning marathon. I never knew there were so many spiders in the world, let alone that they had been so unremittingly spinny in my house.

Tuesday sucked, as few other days have sucked. John is of the opinion that being formally diagnosed with a painful condition has psychosomatically affected me – which may or may not be true, but I’ve never been obliged to put myself on the cusp of painkiller not-quite-overdose-but-lots-too-many-nevertheless before. My uteri honestly felt like they were on fire; I kept having to crouch on the floor and groan, which I haven’t had to do since Harry made an appearance from one of them. I must see about getting some industrial-strength painkillers for next time, because Tuesday Was Not Fun.

I have been working like a navvy all week. We live in a large house, and we are both housework-averse, consequently the piles of crap have grown impressively high; you could write a reasonably long letter in the dust in any room of your choosing. John was keen to bulldozer it all into a Grandaddy heap in one room, which I vetoed on the grounds of A) public safety, B) it would depress me and C) we haven’t an unused room to actually hide it in.

I have had an agitated week regarding Harry’s birthday present. This

bouncing pony

turned up from Amazon looking vaguely like Chucky, with a grand total of 3 legs.

He was too scary. So I sent him back.

I then spent a fevered 3 hours DOUBLE-CHECKING the internet on the faint, remote off-chance that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE in the UK might stock a proper bouncing pony. Eventually, by the unorthodox and genius approach of actually Googling the bloody name of it… Glory Be! I found a SINGLE SOLITARY UK stockist. 

radio flyer springing horse

I sprained my wrist with my snake-like speed, reaching for my Visa card. It cost so much that I have been obliged to forgo A) the party helium balloons (my infertile baby-dreams of birthday parties always had lots of helium balloons in. Couldn’t afford a cylinder last year either. Sigh.) and B) replacing the coat that I left at the Royal Show. Yep, last year my handbag, this year my (only summer-weight one I own) coat.

I was nervous as hell that the website was wrong, that the horse was a mere electronic chimera. I watched my inbox like a particularly vigilant and conscientious hawk, emitting a tiny cheer when an order confirmation popped confidently up. I couldn’t contain my uneasiness, though, and rang the stockist to double check – he told me it would be with me tomorrow. And I still had a bad feeling about it all. 

Parcelforce – my much-feared weak link – appeared this morning, on cue. Another small cheer escaped me when I saw the picture on the box – it was the right one! I examined it anxiously for signs of previous opening, and drew a cautious breath of relief.  Harry, naturally, refused to nap until after lunch, when I fell upon the container eagerly.

I opened it up and pulled out the body section, chuckling in satisfaction at the padded saddle and the chirpy painted harness. I pulled out one…two… three… FOUR legs! We have a full complement of legs! Hurrah! I dived back in and pulled out more bits and bobs, and began to rummage around in the bottom. I did a double-take. I checked again. I recoiled in horror.

I thundered down the corridor into the kitchen like a bull elephant, trumpeting my rage in a not-The-Godfather type-way: ‘There’s no head! There’s NO FUCKING HEAD! THEY’VE SENT ME A HORSE WITH NO MOTHERFUCKING HEAD!’

I stood there, chest heaving, head spinning, gasping wild imprecations interspersed with frantic yammmerings about how this was probably THE ONLY ONE IN ENGLAND and WHAT THE FUCK DO WE DO whilst Hubby had a rummage around the contents. He picked up the main body of the horse. And, like a conjuror producing a size 10 rabbit from a size 2 hat, produced the head from where it had been inserted, head-first, into the animal’s own body.

I subsided into a shaking heap on the floor. I can’t hack this pony-purchasing business at all.

We proceeded to spend 30 busy minutes building Dobbin, as my obsession over missing parts would brook no delay, before he cantered backwards – a neat trick – up the hill to the Delightful Doctors


to live hidden from small eyes until Saturday week, when 23 children, give or take, ranging from 4 weeks to nearly 7 years, will be descending on our local village hall. I am, believe it or not, really, really looking forward to it. 

There will be Dobbin – an early present for Harry, who does not turn 2 until 2 days afterwards – a small ball-pool, a little bouncy-castle, lots of straw bales, a play-house, all Harry’s ride-on cars and tractors, pass-the-parcel, a bran wheat tub with lots of chocolate yummies for little hands to find, a bubble machine, lots of balloons (the non-floaty type, dammit) a huge birthday cake which I have been plotting and fretting over (in a good way) for months, and a slap-up party tea so chock-full of sugar that every single child will go home wired to the max. Heh.

And with any sort of luck, all this toddler-festival will go some way towards convincing me that our wonderful, beautiful, heart-stoppingly precious little boy really does exist, really does give me those cuddles and kisses that wring my heart with love, really does make us laugh until it hurts with his blatant mischievousness, and really does make us nearly burst with pride at his cleverness.

Because I’m still, still, shaking my head in disbelief that, in spite of everything, he’s here. He’s healthy, he’s mine, he’s ours, he’s entirely himself alone, and he’s here.

I find this awesome.

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