New Years Eve is a quiet affair when you have a baby.
At least, that's what folklore and commonsense led me to believe.
After spending the Christmas break road tripping nearly 3000 kilometres across three states in just nine days, my husband and I didn't have enough festive frivolity left for a big night of New Years Eve social shenanigans.
Aware of our relatively recent transition from vibrant-twenty-something-land to quiet-suburban-parent-ville, we tried to muster some mild enthusiasm for the upcoming annual event, but there was nothing: zip, zilch, nada, not even a single sparkler of enthusiasm.
We were broken - from the highway, the overflowing roadside toilets, the prepackaged sandwiches, the crowded petrol stations, the brewing MasterCard statement, and the latest epic pooplosion installment in the unfortunate ongoing series.
The baby was broken from nine days of ridiculously stimulating Christmas wrapping paper and exotic portable cot locations, and even the dog was broken after an unexpected spot of painful festive season ear surgery and a bucket-head collar to stop her scratching the wounds.
As the final afternoon of the year gave way to evening, there was nothing left on our silly season list but to fetch our trackies and set up camp in the lounge room with our old friends Vodka and Christmas Chocolate, while Bucket-head lamented in the kitchen.
Several vodkas in, with some mindless comedy on the telly and the baby well and truly ensconced in her nightly REM party for one, it became apparent that perhaps we had JUST enough energy to bring in the New Year with, ahem, a bit of romantic bang.
A few more vodkas, a few more minutes on the clock, a few less pairs of tracksuit pants on legs, and we were getting ready to bring in the New Year ... when Melbourne unexpectedly lifted and exploded under us like one giant communal cracker.
All hell broke loose. The sky above our house switched on with the impressive illuminating powers of the official Melbourne fireworks displays, while our inner-outer-inner suburb nearly lifted off the ground with the force of several thousand consecutively sparked illegal fireworks.
The kids down the road (whose parents had presumably consumed far more vodka than ourselves and were missing in action), set up an alarmingly impressive arsenal of fireworks in the middle of the road and tried to literally bring the neighbourhood into the new year in a blaze of illegal glory.
An entire city of police car sirens went off in almost-perfect unison, whizzing around the cracker-filled streets like a super-sized nest of really angry bees, with far too many targets for far too few stings.
Call and response style, all the cars on the main drag started honking their horns in an obnoxious salute to the new year, setting off a Mexican wave of discordant honks and beeps across the suburb: an orchestra being strangled in tediously slow motion.
Bucket-head went ballistic, breaking through the doggy-kid-drunk adult safety gate and bolting across the lounge room for the apparent safety of the front hallway, nearly decapitating herself with her own bucket several times on the way through and taking a pair of discarded trackies and a cushion with her.
The baby, having slept through the start of the end of the earth, woke to the dog tearing down the hallway and proceeded to sing and squeal her way into the New Year, her less-than-dulcet baby tones amplified through the baby monitor for good measure.
Seven minutes and a whole lot of noise into the new year, we relinquished the final dregs of our unexpected romantic mood and called it a night, determined to find our trackies and the inside of our eyelids as quickly as possible.
Shoving the last chocolate in my mouth and searching for my trackies in the hallway, I pondered how I could possibly have forgotten about the New Years Eve fireworks: after all, the two go hand in hand, much like ravers with glow sticks, tea with bikkies, and parents with sleep deprivation and tracksuit pant romance.
Ahh well. At least we got a New Years bang of sorts.
Did your New Years Eve live up to expectations?