Janet Christie: My birthday night with the reservoir dogs

I'm not big on birthdays '“ I've had so many '“ but the kids have other ideas.

Janet Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“Right so, it’s your birthday, what are we doing to celebrate?” asks Youngest the day before.

“Eh, well, I could get some pizza delivered?” I say.

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“No, we’ll all take you out for a meal,” says Eldest Child.

What this actually means is I’ll take them out for a meal, but since I’ve been given such a negative time recently from the positive thinking police I decide not to share this thought. Instead I say, “Thank you! That’ll be lovely. Where shall we go?”

“Indian,” says Youngest. “That place that does the great korma that Eldest and I like.”

“Yeah, and it’s bring your own bottle too, so you can take something to drink, and we’ll all walk along together, no driving,” says Middle.

OK, it’s settled, so I spend a very pleasant day forgetting it’s my birthday as usual, until half an hour before we’re due to go out, when Youngest appears.

“Why aren’t you ready?” she asks.

“I am, I’ve brushed my teeth,” I say.

“So… em… what are you wearing?”

I point at my jeans and clean T-shirt. “This.”

“No, no, no, no, no. We’re all getting dressed up. I’m just going round to Other Parent’s to get a dress I’ve left there, so be ready when I get back.”


This is when the boys descend the stairs shoulder to shoulder, looking like two reservoir dogs. I’m stunned. They’re wearing proper shirts, suit-y type jackets, smart trousers and ties. Ties!

“I didn’t know you even had clothes like that,” I say.

“I don’t,” says Eldest. “He does,” he indicates his brother and knots a tie that’s not even a school one.

Damn it. I go back into my bedroom and haul out the black dress I keep for Halloween witch purposes. I leave my pointy hat on the shelf.

“Very good,” says Youngest, when she returns all done up, and scrutinises me with an expert eye. Rare praise.

And off we go, unrecognisable. Unbelievable. Maybe I should have a birthday more often.