Eh? I Can’t Hear You!

Midi Minx’s hearing is duff.  But it’s getting better.

We had the follow-up appointment with the ENT consultant last Friday.  This time Midi was so good that she got to wear the headphones to have a more accurate test.  I hoped that this might show her hearing was actually ok and that she was just getting a bit distracted with the previous hearing test.  Even better, I had to leave the room because Mini Minx was playing up (hot, hungry, tired and wanted to play with the toys, too).  So I watched my big baby girl smiling and giggling behind comically huge headphones through a big one-way mirrored window.

It’s not often you get the opportunity to stand back and see your children a bit more objectively than usual.  When I ‘see’ Midi, I still see the enormous chubby baby with big curls and a bigger smile that she was.  Watching her from a distance, I was struck by how vulnerable she looked, with her little hands in her lap, shoulders shaking with glee and anticipation, her baby-shape entirely changed from toddler to wiry, skinny little girl.  She’s 3, but the height of a tall 5 year old.  Her smile is now 100% impish, and where did that cascade of beautiful, fine, white-yellow hair come from all of a sudden?!

Anyway, the physiologist who did Midi’s hearing test declared that the hearing in her right ear was “borderline normal”.  Oh.  Pants.  My poor girl.  “And the hearing in her left ear isn’t as good”.  Oh!  Double-pants.  But because her hearing is better than it was 3 months ago, the consultant wants to wait another 3 months to review her yet again before deciding on grommets / adenoid removal.  Suits me!  If it’s not causing her any more pain, I’d much rather just leave things alone.  Bonus!

We had our post-hearing test in The Big Smoke treat – big shopping blitz in H&M for a ton of little girl basics (and ballet stuff) – then a quick whizz round The Big Out Of The City Tesco.  Normally shopping with 2/3 girls is quite fun (and I detest shopping…).  But that day Mini just wanted to tug and pull Midi’s hair.  I kept explaining that she loved Midi and was just trying to stroke something beautiful.  I was lying – my youngest minx was wilfully yanking it to get a reaction from her favourite person in the whole world.  And to her eternal credit, poor Midi didn’t hit Mini back, just cried.  She’d been a fantastic Big Sister Helper to me all day and just hit the end of her tether.  A year ago, she’d have tried to eat Mini, so she’s made enormous progress.

New Shhhhhoes!

After she spent an hour trotting about the beach barefoot on Sunday, I realised that we really had to buy Mini Minx some shoes.

Maxi and Midi Minxes were H+ widths for their first shoes.  With high insteps too, finding shoes to fit has always been a challenge – poor Midi didn’t get to wear girly shoes till she was 2.  So I was a tad surprised to find that Mini was a dinky 3.5F.  The only shoes in the shop were a pair of pretty pink t-bars, with butterflies on the top and lovehearts on the sole.  I steeled myself for the inevitable stumble-around-like-you’re-wearing-snowshoes, but Mini was fine and nimble; she just hated having them strapped to her feet at all!  Her roars and tears were of the “OMG you’ve strapped rotting carcasses to my feet!  What the hell are these?!” kind.  She refused to look at the sales assistant for the obligatory ‘My First Shoes’ photo.

She soon got used to them.  By the afternoon she was working on her 4th ever word.  “Shhhhh!  Shhhhhh!” she smiled, stroking their extreme pinkness.  By Wednesday she managed, “Shhhh!  Oooooo!”

Given that Maxi Minx’s 2nd ever word was a very clearly articulated “shoes!”, I suspect I may have another girly-girl on my hands.  That, and the fact that Mini squeals and coos over her new shoes constantly, and loves to put them on and take them off, again and again.

Edited to add photo, and the fact that Mini managed to clearly hiss “Shoooooz!” on 21 June.  So I guess that counts as her first proper word.

Pink Baby Shoes

So Near and So Far

Aaargh!  One of the reasons why I hate being too busy to blog is (a) all the little stresses of life build up in me with no bloggy outlet, and (b) I forget to write down relevant bits.

I don’t know if you remember me moaning about Mini Minx being refused her MMR jag because she has an egg allergy?  Well, about a fortnight later, I got a phonecall from the GP’s surgery noting that she’d had the other 2 jags but not the MMR, and was there something she could reassure me about?  I explained patiently that the Health Visitor had refused to inject Mini with MMR despite my reassurances that I was happy it was safe.  The woman dropped the bombshell that the Health Visitor had not written anything about this in Mini’s notes, never mind written to the hospital to refer her to them.  I expressed my irritation and frustration as gently as I could.  So the woman and I got into cahoots and booked me and Mini onto the Practice Nurse’s clinic for the MMR.  My irritation grew to new levels when I discovered that it was impossible to speak with / get a message to the Nurse to find out if she was willing to give Mini the MMR (“Can’t you speak to her and call me back if she says no?  Can I write to her?  Can you leave her a message, even?”)  We agreed that if *she* refused, I’d book appointments with the GPs, one by one.  I privately also prepared to change GPs before they ousted me…

A few days after that, the Health Visitor called The Boss to tell him that one of the GPs had written to the local hospital asking for Mini to be referred for her MMR there.  He asked me why she’d sounded like a sulky teenager, and had I been noising her up.  I managed to look the picture of innocence.

I expected the hospital to either not get in touch for months (as the Health Visitor had said would happen), or to write to me telling me to get back to the GP’s surgery (as a friend told me happened at her hospital).  Imagine my surprise when last week the Children’s Ward (well, a member of staff from…) called to ask when it suited me to come over with Mini.  Wowsers.  So I cancelled the Practice Nurse clinic appointment, slotted the appointment into the busy House of Trout diary, and waited.

It was today.  Let me give you a tiny bit of an idea of the kind of day it fell in.

I drove 15 mins to drop Maxi and Midi at nursery at 9, then drove 30 mins to the hospital to drop The Boss off for an appointment.  I’d forgotten my purse, so couldn’t do the 3 things I wanted to whilst there.  As it turned out, Mini got up too late to have breakfast, so I fed her at the hospital.  Then 30 mins drive to the nursery to watch the girls at their sports day (my mum never went to any of mine, ever.  It hurt.  So I won’t miss my girls’).  Back to the house (15 mins) to get the stupid purse, then 15 mins to town.  Do the 3 things I meant to earlier, grab lunch, then hospital for MMR (more later), 30 mins drive to nursery, pick up girls, 30 mins drive back to let Maxi go to her swimming lesson, 15 mins drive back.  Dinner.

So it wasn’t the best of days, ok?

The nurse at the children’s ward took me through the paperwork and said, “Oh, did someone tell you that you’ll need to hang around for 2-4 hrs after the injection?” Noooooooo, and this could be a bit of a problem if I can’t be out in 2 hours to pick up Maxi and Midi.  She checked and decided that would be ok after all.  The doctor came, gave me a consent form to sign, explained what a possible vaccine reaction would be like, stated that the possible consequences of not vaccinating were worse, got my signature witnessed, then disappeared.  (I’m glad I do my own research…)  The nurse called us through to the treatment room* where the injection was waiting in a little dish.

*the same room where Midi had been held down by 4 adults to try and fail to get a cannula in her when she was dehydrated and admitted overnight.  And the same room where Mini had failed totally to get a decent blood sample for allergy testing.  The room gave me the shivers.

She noticed Mini had a runny nose.  I explained she was starting a cold, caught from her sister, but that she didn’t have a temperature (Maxi (5) and Midi (3) have had all their vaccinations despite being snotty nosed most of the time – the various Health Visitors over the years always said it would be fine so long as they didn’t have a fever.  So I thought that was gospel).  The nurse checked her temp – 37.1degC, so “warm” but not a fever.  She asked if the doctor had examined Mini.  Noooooo.  Her eyes widened.  No?  Had he even listened to her chest?  No, he hadn’t looked at her at all; should he have?  The other nurse fetched him.  He glanced at Mini gurgling and cooing on my knee then went to consult the consultant.

“I’m afraid that because she has a runny nose and a cough we cannot give her the injection today”, he said in his gentle way.  Both nurses ganged up on him immediately: “Cough?  Who said cough?  I didn’t say anything about a cough.  Did you?”  Um, no, she hasn’t got a cough. Oh crikey, don’t get me involved… <wince>

The long and short of it was, I was very happy to just make a new appointment.  The doctor apologised profusely, I accepted graciously and proffered my own apologies – had I known that any kind of illness was a contraindication for the MMR I’d have phoned to cancel the appointment yesterday and not wasted their very valuable time.  We all apologised politely all round and I was given an appointment next week.  I scuttled out, and prepped the nursery for a possible overrun in picking the minxes up next week if they hold me to 4hrs post wait post MMR.

So.  Now I’m almost spooked at how tricky it’s becoming to get poor unsuspecting little Mini her MMR.  With a bit of a measles outbreak in France and the SE of England, I’m really keen for her to have the vaccination.  But it’s beginning to feel fated that she’s not to have it!

Off-Road Scenic

OK, so I’ve moaned about my car just a few times.  But today I discovered that it’s not shabby at all at off-roading…

It was a typical morning in my little Zoo: Maxi and Midi Minxes were pushing boiled eggs about their plates sleepily, The Boss was pacing the floor waiting on his lift to work and I was chasing a gallon of strong coffee down with more strong coffee.  When it got to 0800hrs I suggested The Boss call his friend.

“Oh” he says, peering at his mobile like he doesn’t know which way up to hold it, “F’s left a message: she’s ill”

I paused long enough to sigh, then barked orders.  Maxi was to eat her egg, put her shoes on and wipe her face; Midi was to drink her milk, put her shoes on and stop poking the cat; The Boss was to wake Mini Minx and dress all 3; I’d pack a breakfast for Mini, find clothes for all 3 and myself and load the car.

I think we were all in the car ready to go within 14 minutes.  We’d have done it faster if Mini hadn’t had such a plaster of a nappy (a real 6-wipes-to-clean effort) and Midi hadn’t insisted on wearing red pants under a white stripey dress.

So, 40 mins of speedy-but-safe driving down back roads and rat runs later, and The Boss was safely in work, just half an hour late.  Now for the 50 min drive to nursery…

It was going absolutely fine until we got to the turn-off from the main road, about a mile to go.  I could see the police car and the car-wreck transporter truck blocking the road ahead.  I could also see that the only cars coming towards me were ones who’d 3-pted and turned around.  Hell.  Mini’s intermittent ‘I’m hungry and a beaker of milk just won’t cut it, Mother’ wails were getting steadier – I was on my final warning.  Double-hell.  So I pulled a neat wee 3 pt turn and nipped along to a rat-run I knew.

So did half the county.  No-one was bothering with passing places and were just belligerently driving on.  I decided to be a sheep and do what everyone else was doing, so became quickly acquainted with the Renault Grand Scenic’s remarkable and surprising ability to off-road on soggy verges without losing much speed (30mph…I’m not mental).  That was all fine, till I came to the half mile stretch with high, high verges and no passing places.  And came head-to-head with a big minibus.  I had 5 cars up my bum and he had a van and a car up his.  We tried to manouevre round, but both bottled it.  His lady passenger smiled at me but got angry and screechy and hand-flaily with him.  I guess the general gist of her argument to the driver was ‘We’re not reversing – she can!’  I pointed to the cars and the nearest turn off behind me 1/4 mile in the distance, whereas there was a house and driveway 50 yards behind him.  The passenger came out to talk to me, but soon backed off at the sound of 3 little girls wailing and crying.  Wimp!  She insisted the house behind them didn’t have a clear drive.  The cars behind me started to reverse first.  I smiled, gritted my teeth, hit reverse and managed a surprising 0.25 mile reverse at speed and neat turn into a little driveway with high walls.  (If only I’d managed fluke reverse skills like that in my first failed driving test…).  Minibus Man blew me kisses as he sped past, his passenger waved.  I nipped out and back along the road and cursed them both at the sight of the big empty driveway whose existence they’d denied…

On the bright side, the girls raced into nursery only an hour late shouting, “Mummy drove through the jungle!  She’s a proper explorer!” (well, the grass was quite long…) And Mini got fed with my stash of baby rusks and a banana the minute we stopped.

Quick Update

I hadn’t realised, but after 3 little girls born so close together, you get a bit blase about their achievements and milestones.  Or I apparently do, anyway.

On Monday I asked The Boss if he’d noticed Mini Minx (14 months old) posting her shapes in her letterbox before.  Nope – how long had this been going on?  I admitted I’d no idea.  Blimey!  She’d sat quite happily picking up her circle, triangle and square and pushing them into all the holes in turn till they hit the right hole, then chortled with the rattle of each shape finally being posted.  I gave her the toy again tonight (Thursday) and she merrily sorted her shapes.  Yikes, there’s maybe a bit of clever-ness hiding behind that fluffy little head.

Tuesday was a yucky old day, so I’d had high plans of baking with the girls.  They had other ideas – Maxi Minx drew most of the day, Midi Minx happily cut every piece of paper she could lay her hands on, into tiny little pieces.  Mini, meanwhile, made a few scrawls with her crayons, then had more fun wrapping the paper round the crayons and pretending to eat them.  So maybe not so smart after all…

Mini Minx cut her 6th tooth on Wednesday: her upper outer right incisor.  So her raggedy little mouth and her temper are both a bit more even, now. 

Remember me honking on (and on) about the wonderful beaches round here?  (most of the posts in the category ‘Out and About’).  Well, the lovely striped sandstone pebbles have been inspiring me for months, so I knuckled down and spent the last 8 weeks or so knitting a wee range of booties in traditional creams, browns and blue.   You can see more pics now on my Rainbow Knits Facebook page or from tomorrow on my website

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Nursery Sex Education

Over breakfast this morning, Maxi Minx calmly told me that she’d told everyone in nursery where babies come from.

When I stopped choking, I asked as nonchalently as I could, “Oh yes?  What did you say?”

She smiled coyly and whispered, “You’re my mummy; I feel shy”.

“Pshaw!” I protested. “You’ve drank my booby milk.  I’ve changed your nappies.  You’ve pooed on me.  I’ve cleaned up your sick.  You can’t be shy with me!”

Argument won, and her little sisters safely busy in the other room, Maxi told me all about it. “Well, Abigail O asked me where babies come from.  It was very noisy in the nursery so I shouted at the very, very, very top of my voice ‘OK, I’ll tell you where babies come from!’  And the amazing thing was, everyone suddenly stopped talking.  Just like that!”

I bet they did.  “Oh right.  What did you tell her, then?”

“Well!” Maxi said brightly, “I told her that we all have eggs in our bodies, right from when we’re born, and they’re right here,” she chatted, pointing vaguely in the general direction of her ovaries, “and they ripen when we’re older, and… Mummy?” she interrupted herself.  “When did your eggs ripen?”

“Um, when I was 15”, I said, hoping and wishing that today wouldn’t be the Chat About Periods.

“Why?” she asked. I managed an eloquent “Uh?”  “Why did they ripen then?”

“Because that’s when you turn from being a little girl to being a woman.”  See?  I only ever answer stuff a bit at a time.  And only answer what I have to.  It’s the Bad Mother’s way out, but it’ll do for now.

“Oh” she thought to herself.  “Well, anyway.  I told Abi that your eggs ripen, then a baby grows from one of the eggs, then it comes out your vagina!” she described the sum total of her sex education proudly and with gusto.  Hell.  Spit.  I’m obviously going to need to do some proper explaining.

“Riiiiiiiight.  What did your teachers say?”

“Nothing.  They weren’t there”.  Thank God for that – a slight reprieve.

“Uh-huh.  Right, do you want Ready Brek or Cheerios for breakfast?” I replied, which is my equivalent of ‘oh, the answer to that hard question is ..OH LOOK, BRIGHT SPARKLY SHINY THINGS!!’

I wonder how long it will be before one of the other parents complains?

Still Alive Here

I’m still alive!  I know I’m pants at updating, but I’ve been listing most of the household on eBay, painting the hall stairwell (hey, a bit of panic teetering on top of a wobbly step with a roller botch-taped to a stick over a long fall makes you feel alive…), knitting a special gift for a baby girl who’s due to be born a bit too soon, furious promoting Rainbow Knits on Folksy, Etsy, Facebook and my website.  And Mini is teething, Maxi is being a tweenager and Midi is, well, just being Midi.  So I have my hands full.

To misquote myself from Facebook, if Midi pees in her bed one more time I think it will dissolve.

There I was, all smug about how well Midi Minx has coped with potty training – she had 2 wet beds then seemed to cotton-on to night-time dryness.  After 3 or 4 weeks of being dry (ish.  I don’t remember when she actually stopped wearing nappies at night) I was a tad surprised at her wetting her bed 3 nights in a row.  She was dry last night, though.  Putting on my detective head, those 3 nights coincided with her Grandma staying over.  I guess she was peeing from excitement rather than trauma… (ETA: we seem to be alternating dry and wet nights now.  Tonight is sure to be wet)

Mini Minx is stretching her minx muscles and really ramping up her tantrums.  If anyone takes anything from her, or doesn’t hand a coveted item over fast enough, she throws her head back and shrieks and gnashes her 5 little teeth.  In fact, I saw her lunge at her biggest sister, Maxi Minx – she went to bite her cheek.  I scolded Mini and she burst into hot little tears.  Oh boy.  I suspect the next few years are going to be tough.

Mini is developing a real love of dance.  If she hears music of any sort, she gets a distant look in her eyes, squats slightly, bobs up and down, and does the doggy paddle with her little hands.  If she’s really excited, she’ll also chant, “Hur! Hur! Hur!”

Last Saturday night we ended up going to an Eat All You Can Stuff Into Your Fat Face Chinese Buffet, as a reward for all the tough DIY.  Yum, yum, yum!  Even the girls enjoyed it.  That’ll be the half-Glaswegian in them.  We stayed so long (90 mins) that towards the end we stopped stressing about the noise / mess and just had a great laugh as a family, all chatting and joking and joining in with the continual rounds of Happy Birthday being sung to other diners.  Maxi Minx had 3 mango jellies and a fruit salad for her puddings, Midi had about twice that much.  I carefully cleared up Mini’s under highchair mess before we left, because (a) no-one’s paid enough to deal with my kids’ mess, and (b) we might be back.

As luck would have it, we indeed went back again on Wednesday with Grandma.  The girls happily troughed and crunched and ate even more pudding.

Quote of the week from Maxi: (dramatic sigh) “No-one understands me or my art!” (She’s just turned 5).

Quote of the year from The Boss: “Midi!  Get your finger out your poo-hole at the table!”   Don’t ask.  Just don’t ask.