Looking back on yesterday, I guess I was a bit stern on my middle trouble-maker.
We’d spent a day indoors on Monday doing CBeebies, drawing, dolls, tea-parties and cleaning up (wow – rock ‘n’ roll..!), so the prospect of doing the exact same yesterday was just appalling. Besides, all 3 girls were glugging milk* like it was going out of fashion, so needed some distraction so we didn’t run out entirely.
* Milk Aside: I buy 8 pints of the stuff every 3 days. I usually have one UHT carton for emergencies. On Saturday, the local supermarket had sold out of fresh stuff. By Sunday, it was out of UHT too (because The Boss bought 2 cartons), and was helpfully displaying the powdered stuff in the fridge to show that there was naught else milk-like available. So what are folk doing with all this stock-piled milk? I imagine them all, hoarding it till its Use By Date, then hurriedly turning it into a fridge full of blancmanges, semolina puddings, creamed rice, custards, etc. Thankfully The Boss managed to get some fresh milk last night, otherwise I’d have been attempting to express breast-milk into my morning coffee…
Anyway, back to the story. I steeled myself, got all the warm and waterproof clothing ready and prepped into 4 piles (one for each of us), took a deep breath and launched in. Baby Eskimo got 3 more warm layers and a cosytoes sleeping bag. By the time I was struggling to prise the second layer over her octopus limbs, Mini Eskimo was wandering off to find somewhere to stash her sodden nappy and Midi Eskimo was stropping about being given a spotty fleece hat instead of a stripy one (hey these things are crucial when you’re 4, dontcha know?!) Maxi Eskimo (me) was beginning to regret my original plan (let’s go have fun in the snow! We’ll get wet, but we’ll have fun! It can’t possibly be too cold!) Then we all had a row about wellies. Then mits. As for hats… oh, don’t ask. By now, Baby Eskimo was shouting about being strapped into a buggy and Mini was attempting to escape outside with one welly and a naked lower half. It had also started to snow again. Sigh. And it was cold. And windy.
Determined to enjoy our half hour in the Fresh Air, I tried to jolly them onto a sled each. Um. Where were the sleds? I could see the mole hill under the snow (the local fast-jets’ Terrain-Following Radar was picking up *that* thing!) but not the sleds. Till Midi tripped over one. Like the sun coming out in the middle of a rainstorm, she unexpectedly started to giggle and smile. My normally whingey child was transformed! Her infectious laugh was ear-salve. Pity her sister had been taking lessons from her in whining. She refused to wear her mits. She complained that she was cold. She didn’t want to go indoors. She didn’t want pulled on the sled. She didn’t want us to have fun with the snowman. <Fume> In Trout Hall, I have a rule: one singer, one song. In other words, if one child is crying or wailing or whingeing, no other child can; you have to wait your turn. The eldest 2 aren’t too bad with the rule, but the baby hasn’t really got the swing of it, yet, and joined the 2 year old in a wail fest.
I now realise that I need to *teach* the kids resilience, not woefully demand a refund because they arrived without having it pre-installed at birth. So I gave My Little Sunshine Miss one last pull on the sled across the garden, took some hurried photos of the baby at the end of my arm, “Look! Snow! You were in it!” and bundled them all indoors again. Incredible stress levels for us all, for 9 minutes of outside time.
We made cranberry muffins later to break the monotony of Mini tormenting both Midi and Baby. I feel bad at just giving them token jobs to do (You crack the egg and whisk it. You mix it in the flour. Right, the rest needs a grown-up to do (liar)), especially as it was the highlight of their day. Or seemed to be when they related it all to Daddy at bedtime. I need to lighten up – would the muffins have been a disaster if a few spoons of flour were spilled? Would the mess have been of Cat in the Hat proportions if I’d let them pour the ingredients in themselves? Would they have had a far better time?
Och don’t mind me – I’m just chewing over a trite little saying “Children will remember your presence long after they remember your presents” that is hitting me quite hard just now. I know the lack of sleep (all 5 of us in the bed last night. The 4 year old finally gave up, got her duvet and pillow and camped *beside* me on the floor instead) takes away what little tolerance and patience I have. Still, I need to stop fussing about tidiness and mess and being on time and just enjoy these kids. All 3 are actually a barrel of laughs and a delight – every day they do things that make me so proud to be their mummy. But they also know every single one of my buttons – never mind press them, they bash on them repeatedly or hold them down till they jam!