When you are nearly four, anticipation is palpable. Tangible.

It dominates your mealtimes. What will my cake look like? Will all my friends sing Happy Birthday? Can we have hot chocolate?

And your friendships. I am nearly four. Am I older than my other friends? Will my hair be longer than all my friends’ hair now? Will my feet be bigger than all my friends’?

Cleaning the house before your party, you don’t even mind hiding your toys to make room for the party games. You can put them away now, Mummy, I don’t mind. You help your mother decorate the house with the posters and banners and streamers and balloons you chose from Big W; mix up polymer snow-powder; smooth out tiny, handmade, paper snowflakes in your little almost-four hands.

Anticipation permeates your dreams. Quick! I have to get ready for my party! you yell, still fathoms-deep in sleep. (I will come to your party, your brother drowsily replies, before sinking back into his own dreams.)


I didn’t want to host yet another party in my house, but Scout begged me to do it. She didn’t want to celebrate her birthday anywhere else. It was a lot of work, as parties always are. But in the weeks and days beforehand, as the day grew near and nearer still, I came to understand the joy of anticipation through her eyes. Even the most mundane of tasks: tidying, vacuuming, grocery shopping; became acts of thrilling expectation, and gave her joy before the real joy of the party.

I guess we never stop learning from our children.


  • Petrina

    Wonderful story, I did not have time to read it – or so I thought. Your clever writing draws me in every time – I love it and making time to do as I like.
    It did remind me of my daughters surprise party. Everything was set up, just waiting for the ‘surprise’ guests to arrive. I told my little birthday girl to take a quick nap and I would come get her in 10 minutes. It all brought tears as she thought she would not need a nap on her birthday. As soon as all the guests we in, I went and got her from her nap room and it was clear to all she had been crying.
    Lesson learned – one should not have to take a nap on their birthday.
    Glad your party was a success.

    • Naomi Bulger

      Oh Petrina, that is so sweet and sad! I also am guilty of wanting everything to be perfect, rather than letting the people I care about “help” in these kinds of preparations. It was a good lesson for me on the weekend.

  • jenjo22

    And what a beautiful party it was-so special and wonderful memories created.Lovely. Lovely too was my postcard I received. A very old one with a beautiful quote. Thank you. You are so very inspiring and generous filled with goodness :)

  • Joanne

    So sweet! I miss those days!

Leave a Comment

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie