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Saturday 10th February 2024

Not sure which of us has changed the most in that time.
It was Phoebe's ninth birthday, which seems impossible, but then so does everything when you think about it. So it probably isn't happening.
More importantly that means I have been a parent for nine years, but no one was celebrating that landmark. I didn't get a single present. All I got was woken up early so I could continue to feel terrible all day.
As every parent knows it's insane to think that that baby you met (or pushed out of you) yesterday is now x years old, but it is insane. She's nine. We've got her halfway to the point where we can kick her out of the house and never see her again. She's remarkable and sassy and bold (I told her she was bold today and she thought I was insulting her, but assume she thought I meant bald, which she definitely isn't) and funny and sometimes I forget she's a child, until I thrash her at Uno and she cries. Though that happens if I lose at Uno too. I feel she's got to where she is in spite of us, but I am very proud of her.
I have been a parent for around about a tenth of my life now and I even like the other kid, even though he's a massive tool like his dad, and I have to say it's the best thing that's happened to me in my life and these have been the best years. I am glad I got 47 years of being a selfish dick in first though!

Phoebe had a laser tag party at lunchtime, but we decided that I was too poorly to go along, which was a shame, mainly because I'd liked to have thrashed a dozen eight and nine year olds at laser tag, but I think it was for the best. I rested up, failed to sleep, didn't feel any better. I felt bad about missing her, but when I asked her she said she didn't care if I didn't come and also she didn't mind if I didn't come to the meal later either. She is doing a great job of keeping up the pretence that she doesn't like me. She's managed 9 years so far, but she'll crack at some point before she leaves home I am sure.
So I did go to Wagamamas in Stevenage for a family meal and as with last night, it was all pretty much fine when I was sitting down, though the drive there was a bit less pleasant (Catie drove obvs). As I was feeling poorly and it was a special occasion I decided I wasn't even going to worry about Zoe and had the biggest meal I've had in 5 months (including Christmas) and some birthday cake. Maybe it was weakness from eating pulses that had made me ill, so I had some steak and some chilli squid. Did it make me feel better? I thought so, but I was still queasy when I stood up.
The theory that this is all just exhaustion (and I've had bad sleep all week) seemed compounded by how readily and deeply I slept tonight.

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