Random Stuff on Christmas Eve

We were all sat at dinner last night, our usual chimps tea-party of a meal, food flying everywhere, cacophony and dodging spills. I detected an aroma most un-dinner-like. “Who’s done a poo?” I demanded, in jest, glaring at the baby. Mini Minx raised her little hand and impishly said, “Meeeeeeee!” Me and The Boss literally fell about laughing. I didn’t know she even understood what ‘me’ meant, never mind knew how to say it, or even indicate. Absolute genius!

Today, on a roll, I taught her how to say “Mmmmmm-pies!” but it comes out as a very cute un-Homer Simpson lisp of “mmMMMMmmmMMmm-pieth”. What a little love!

Midi Minx has been applying lipsalve like it’s gloss paint. We have suddenly run out of Pritt Stick. The 2 may well be unrelated, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Last night Midi and Maxi were playing at dress-up after bed time. “Mary!” yelled Midi. “Mary!!!” she yelled. “Get your baby up your tummy right now!” Then rolling her eyes at me, “I think Mary needs a smaller baby, actually”. Yep, they were doing their very own, unique nativity play and 3 year old Midi was the artistic director.

I had a seriously lovely Christmas treat today (Christmas Eve). Rather than fight the total gridlock that is Elgin on the day before Christmas (all 4 cars of it), I took Maxi out on a wee exped into town by bus. We browsed some sales, got everything on our list and more besides, then spent a happy half hour in the *empty* wool shop. Linda knows me well, so knows not to pressurise me even in the tiniest way: leave me to squash and squeeze and stroke and dither and ooh and aah for long enough and I’ll buy as big an armful as I can carry; make any suggestions at all and I get flustered, realise I’m a wool addict after all, and walk, empty-handed. My big 5 year old was a very willing learner in the art of classing wools into varying degrees of the classification “Ooooo Pretty!” So we bought sock wool, 1200g of Aran and some posh bamboo/pearl. I’d have bought loads more, but that’ll keep me busy till Spring.

We stopped for a coffee/milkshake at my favourite eatery in Elgin: Scribbles. I’ve loved it for years, because it’s properly baby- and child-friendly, as evidenced by the fact that it’s always heaving. I had a proper, drooling, dreaming addiction to their beef chilli melt whilst pregnant with both Mid and Mini. Today, Maxi had a strawberry milkshake and pink coconut ice slice, in a fit of girly-ness.

I also had an early and most welcome Christmas present: my work pension has been increased by about 10%, to be back-dated to last year. It’s incredibly timely because I calculated that I needed exactly that much more than we currently earn as a family in order for me to remain a stay-at-home mum for the next couple of years. This was why I started my little business, to try to make up the shortfall. (My latest calculations show that with the increase in the cost of living, I not only need the pension increase and to keep my little business running, I also need to earn more! But I’ll worry about that next week). Anyway, anyway, it’s not very much, but it was incredibly welcome. So Merry Christmas right back atcha.

Lastly, I just noticed that I have quite a few folk following this blog by email. Wow! So (a) sorry to clog your inbox with my drivel*, (b) but thank you very much, though, and (c) Merry Christmas and hope your 2012 is interesting, fun and one you’ll remember very fondly.

*Actually, I shouldn’t apologise for how I write – I can’t really change that. I don’t write because I want to, it’s because I need to. Otherwise it just clogs up my addled little head. I tend to sit down when I have 10 mins free and start writing wee comments about the things that happened that day. Usually I manage to join the comments and quips up a bit into something coherent, but not always. And 100% of the time I get carried away and the typing gets faster and faster and noisier and harder, till I’m battering away at the keyboard, in a flurry of fingers and froth, pouring everything out via my fingers (and that’s just the Polyanna posts – you should see me on the angry, ranty posts…). I rarely proof-read through lack of time and opportunity (eg right now Mini is helpfully (!) pressing the keys and wailing at me when I press delete on them – gotta go!) and tend to just bash ‘publish’.

So: Merry Christmas! And please do comment sometimes and just say hi. Even use a pseudonym. Gosh, DEFINITELY use a pseudonym – that could be loads of fun 🙂

Right, I’m off to work the minxes up into a frenzy of excitement and Christmas hysteria. Because I can. And because you’re young and innocent and are made ecstatically happy by tinsel and lights and chocolate and present anticipation for such a horribly short time.

Looooong Day of Germs and Glitter

I knew it was going to be a long day when I had 2 minxes wriggling in bed at 5am; I knew it had been a long day when I sneezed and produced more glitter than snot.

As you know, I’ve been struggling a bit with sleep deprivation, lately: Midi Minx has had a terrible cough that’s keeping her awake, Mini’s catching Midi’s germs and Maxi is over-excited about Santa. I thought I was coping ok, just on go-slow, until I felted a brand new expensive cashmere jumper. I had been unloading a wool wash, got distracted by Mini reaching for the oven/hob/grill/sharp knives, then completely forgot to finish unloading. And whanged on the next cotton wash. But it still had my lovely jumper in it. I nearly cried.

So yeah, that was a sign that the old Trout Brain was beginning to disintegrate. Time to step away from the keyboard, put sharpthings away, and hide the car keys. And get an early night.

That’s all well and good, but The Boss woke me up when he came up for a shower. Then again when he came to bed. But he couldn’t sleep, so he put on the telly. I think he dozed off around 1am. Then Midi was in at 5am because she couldn’t sleep or breathe with her cough (now chesty and wet sounding: oh-oh). At 5.10am Mini started yelling, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” so I cuddled her, changed her nappy, settled her. No chance! She was wide awake and not happy about it. I decided to take her into our bed…

After draining what little milk I have left totally dry, after poking her little fists in my windpipe and peeling my eyelids open, she started trying to play with her sister. They both wanted to lie on top of me, but having lost 2 stone since the summer, there’s only room for one. Toss, turn, toss, turn. Mini finally went back to bed at 6.30am. When the alarm went off at 7, I bounced out of bed and headed for the coffee and frying pan: fried potato scones, fried garlic and rosemary roast potatoes left over from the night before last, fried sausages and fried eggs. The minxes thought Christmas had come early.

The lucky fairy was smiling on me, because I got through to the doctor’s within an hour of trying (only 6 mins wait – a new record!) and even got 2 back-to-back appointments in the morning. So after a few wobbles getting everyone dressed (“Maxi, I couldn’t care less if your red socks look silly with your entirely purple ensemble – I can barely see”), we went on a Family Exped To The Docs.

The girls were ok in the 15 min wait, playing happily with the manky and grubby wooden toy maze thing in the waiting room (?? So, all these sick kids cough and drool their germs and viruses and rub their possibly unwashed poo-y hands all over this toy, which is never cleaned, because the grime is patently years old. All the other kids get to play with it and lick it and wipe their snot on it too, and share the existing germs while they’re at it. WTF?!)

The locum doctor called Midi in. Well, what a special little ray of sunshine she was! She looked at us flatly, then waddled off down the long corridor, stopping at intersections long enough to make sure I’d looked up to see her in the distance, before she disappeared along another piece of maze. We got to her consulting room. No need to lead us there – she could have told us just to follow the smell, as it enveloped us in a damp clatty ming about 4 rooms away. She must have been chainsmoking in there, because at only 9.30am that smell of fags sure doesn’t develop just from someone’s clothes and breath. Having said that, I guessed it had been around a month since her last hair wash, so it’s possible…

I suppose I expect everyone to be able to speak to small children, and I forget that it’s a learned skill. So I did inwardly giggle when she asked 3 year old Midi to ‘If you wouldn’t mind now removing your top or raising it somewhat higher..?’ I did translate, but poor Midi looked at me like she was speaking Swahili.

I treated Midi’s tickly cough all week with cough mix, 2 pillows and a wee piece of chocolate to coat and soothe her throat (shhhhh! Don’t tell her dentist!). But as I thought at about 6am, she now has a chest infection. So she’s on antibiotics. Mini was also marched in front of the doctor because she has a sore throat, is noisy when she breathes and her thick green snot occasionally has dribbles of blood in it. The doc professed her absolutely fine and clear of anything (I’ve not done 6 years at medical school, it’s true, but I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’ll maintain a very watchful eye). This was lucky, because Mini can have amoxicillin, but Midi is allergic to it. If 2 minxes are on antibiotics, as they usually are, I need to write their names in enormous black marker on the bottles to avoid mix-up. I’m so tired right now, I don’t think I could write their names large enough…

So. glitter. Well, I pretty much intended to just let the kids have an entire day of CBeebies (ooooooo shoot me! Tell Social Services! I don’t care!), but it stopped raining for an hour or so. So we nipped out to post Christmas cards to neighbours and drop off last night’s batch of mince pies as bribes to the poor neighbours we disturb most. I also got the opportunity to glower at the half-wit roofers repairing the ridge tiles of most of the street. Again. (Actually, can anyone tell me if dry-cutting is allowed on roof slates? I’ve a feeling it’s completely against HSE regs. I don’t really care (ok, yes I do) if one of the divvies goes and gives himself a terminal lung illness, but I care if it causes damage to mine or other children.)

Loved by kids; hated by trouts

I digress. Anyway, a long jaunt down into the village to pick up antibiotics (and emergency chocolate) left me feeling quite awake and euphoric. “Of course you can play with your craft stuff, darlings!” I trilled, foolishly and fondly imagining myself to be A Good Mother. I left them round the kitchen table while I made myself a coffee and typed on Facebook a true transcript of what they were saying as I typed:

Maxi: “Get off, that’s mine! I want that sticker! I want the same book as Beverley! Li-leeeeee! Drop it! Aieeeeeeee!!!! You pulled my hair!”

Midi: “No! It’s for Upsy Daisy. You’re not getting it; I got it first. Mine!”

Mini: “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Waaaaaaah!”

I left them to it while it was just bickering, but had to step in when Midi unleashed the felt tips…

After Mini went down for her nap (! 2 hrs late. And she’s skipped half of them this week – please God don’t let her be dropping her nap yet: I need her to sleep!) I let them play with glitter. What the hell? I’d just mopped the floor. The ominous “gish” sound on the floor and a muttered, “Oops” told me all I needed to know – Mini would be pooing green glitter for weeks. Like last time. I tried my normal deep-clean, barrier nursing, just-short-of-donning-a-spacesuit particle control methods. I hoovered, swept and remopped; I wet-wiped hands, faces and bare feet; I hoovered feet; I flung socks in the washing. All to no avail. My entire house is covered in a film of green sparkling glitter.

If germs spread like glitter we’d all be dead.

Crying at Nativities

Oh God, it's that time of year when the grown-ups make us wear crazy things then cry at us!

I sat through 2 nativity plays yesterday (Thurs 15th). Some would say I got off lightly, because I’d been planning on 3 nativities and 2 ballet shows. (But I got the day wrong on the ballet shows and The Boss went to the 6pm showing instead while I fed The Hungry Ones).

I managed Maxi Minx’s play with just a chin wobble because she was a very beautiful angel in the far background. I cracked a little when she and her P1 class went for an exuberant skip around the church pews to the last big number by the senior pupils, but pretty much held it together. Midi was also an angel in her nursery nativity and had to say, “Come and see the special baby in Bethlehem” hand in hand with another angel. That was fairly ok – well-practiced stiff upper lip firmly on display. But the sight of Midi innocently boogying down to “The angels… had a parrrrrrdee” (party) with her little tinsel halo on wonky made me dissolve. I cried and cried. Luckily Mini was sat on my lap and chose that moment to smile winsomely at me and rub her little nose on my wet, drippy one; I cried yet more but hid it on her.

At the morning nativity, one wee girl (maybe 10 or 11?) had a starring role, and went to do the first big solo. Her beautiful voice soared, pure and delicate, making all the parents gasp. I guess the pressure of ranks and row upon row of grown-ups from floor to ceiling all smiling at her was too much, and the poor wee thing had to walk off and have a big cry on her teacher. She rallied by the end of the play and did her solo again, absolutely perfectly. Well, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church, twice over!

Luckily I’d pre-warned the minxes that if Mummy cried at them, it was A Good Thing and meant they were doing just great. But what is it about nativities that makes us cry? I have a wee theory…

Now, I lost my first pregnancy, probably due to unwittingly (!) drinking incredible amounts of coffee one weekend in Paris, and as a result read far, far too much literature, opinion and conjecture in the hope of safeguarding subsequent pregnancies. (It worked in a sense – I have 3 lovely minxes, but reading all that earnest gumf – some true, some just scaremongering lazy reporting – scared me senseless along the way).

Anyway, one of the pamphlets I read whilst expecting Maxi explained that a woman’s brain’s hard-wiring changes due to those pesky pregnancy hormones. At the time I read it, I’d have believed anything if it had a reassuring photo of a midwife on the cover, so I can’t say now if it was actually from a credible source. Though I do recall sobbing my heart out in ASDA at 8 months pregnant because I’d found a baby towel in the most beautiful shade of yellow I’d ever seen. So maybe that’s true for pregnancy.

I looked round me at all the other sniffing mums in the church and later the classroom, and thought about us: in the 2 crowds were some tough ladies: ones who’d sacked people without getting in a fluster; ladies who’d suffered the most horrific births with nary more than a bit of gas and a paracetamol; ladies who’d run back-to-back marathons; ones who’d lost parents, ones who’d lost children; ladies who’d coped with all the physical and mental pain that life can generally throw at you and come out snarling and fighting. And we were all bubbling away like little girls. Were we crying because it’s socially allowed at nativities? Or was that theory about the brain hard-wiring change true? But if the latter, then that must mean it’s a permanent change…?

Oh crap, don’t invite me round for coffee if you’ve got a yellow towel hanging in your bathroom!!

Hellish Mornings

I'm practising to achieve cartoon-baddy evilness, obviously

I confess I’m not a morning person; I struggle to even slurp that first mug of strong coffee lovingly prepared by The Boss. Well, I assume it’s lovingly prepared – surely he wouldn’t be feeding me caffeine before he’s even fed himself because he’s afraid of the alternative?

Anyway, the mix of Night Owl with Chronic Lack of Sleep isn’t a good combination. Three nights ago we had all 3 minxes in bed with us at various times. Mini Minx was crying pitifully (teething) so I took her in for a comfort cuddle and cheeky wee breastfeed – there ain’t a whole lot left there, but it usually does the trick, as she goes to sleep sighing, “Yum, yum, yum”. Not that night – she drained me, then had some fun poking a finger up my nose (probably to stop me snoring), pulling my eyelids up and rubbing my (white-ish) hair. Eventually I woke up enough to get her back to her cot.

Not an hour later, Midi came in, complaining that she’d wet the bed. The Boss sorted the bed (well, he just inspected it, realised it was a night sweat, then went back to bed) and went straight back to sleep. I, meanwhile, spent a fitful hour with Midi tossing and thrashing and turning and complaining that my breath was too hot on her neck, that she was too hot then too cold, the bed was too lumpy, Daddy was too smelly, it was too dark, she was too bored… Eventually I woke up enough to turf her out of bed and gave her Tuck-Tucks in her own bed.

While I did this, Maxi sneaked into bed. Except being an uber-minx she sneaked into the foot of the bed where I didn’t notice, but it sure disturbed my sleep.

Actually, you know how fake gold is ‘goldique’ or ‘golde’? Well, Grumpy Old Trout’s sleep is henceforth to be known as ‘sleepique’.

That morning, I think I was downright high on lack of sleep. So for a change I barely nagged the kids. This had such an impact on Maxi that she busied herself for 5 mins with her stickers and tape and paper, then proudly hung up a sign on the door saying,’Mumy’ (sic): she’d made me a sticker chart. For not shouting. Oh, the shame! She beamed with pride as she awarded me 2 stickers for not yelling that morning, and praised me to the hilt. Normally I walk to school feeling guilty as sin for yelling at the girls; that morning I felt guiltier than ever.

The next morning (yesterday), the lack of sleep really hit me, so I had blue touchpaper about a millimeter thick. I swear I’d have lost 10 stickers from my chart had I earned that many. The girls weren’t worse than usual, just standard stuff. So here, to record how bloody normal they are, and how seriously grumpy I am, is our usual morning:

Start hauling everyone out of bed at 7.30hrs. Kids start bickering about cereals and who’s getting which pink bowl from about 7.31. I slurp coffee, get self dressed and grab an armful of minx clothes from 7.35 while The Boss makes his and Maxi’s packed lunch (unless he’s late, then it’s school dinner day), ignores all the milk puddles on the table and floor, then gets out the door to work by 7.45. I start chastising about milk puddles from 7.46. By 8 I’m really nagging them to Hurry Up and Eat. At 8.05 I sit down to eat some toast, and have 3/4 of it nicked by cheeky minxes. At 8.15 I start seriously grumping about there being more toast, cereal and milk on their floor than in tummies (yep, every single morning). At 8.20 I’m dressing minxes: I’ll do Mini first while Maxi and Midi run around knocking each other over, pulling hair, pestering the cat, whingeing. I start yelling louder to “Stop that! Do xyz right now! Now!” Mini done, I’ll start yelling at Maxi to hurry up and get her PJs off and get dressed, while I wrestle with Midi and argue that she *is* wearing trousers, and she *doesn’t* look like a boy. At 8.25 I release Midi, yell at Maxi to Get. Those. PJs. Off. This. Instant. and go retrieve Mini, who’s upended the contents of Maxi’s schoolbag. After re-stuffing the schoolbag, I haul Mini out the bathroom where she’s tasting the catfood* and really roar at Maxi to stop pulling Midi’s hair and get dressed in her uniform. At 8.30 I pour Maxi into her uniform and send them all upstairs to brush teeth. They fight over who gets which toothbrush and which toothpaste, and who gets to squeeze it out. I wrestle with brushes and facecloths and try to intercept the worst of the mess. At 8.35 they’re downstairs fighting over hats, mits, coats and shoes/wellies: Mini wants to wear Maxi’s wellies, Maxi’s upset because she wants to wear a thin coat in driving wind and sleet, and Midi wants to eat a banana. I throw coats at them and nip outside to the garage to get the double-buggy. In the 25 seconds that takes, I try to take a deep breath and calm down, ready for the final onslaught… Opening the front door, Mini’s upended Maxi’s schoolbag again, Maxi is lolling on the stairs, crushing the uniform I was up ironing at 23.30hrs that night, and Midi’s poking Mini in the head. I generally roar, “Get your shoes on! Get your shoes on! Get your shoes on! Get your…” etc, in a loop, in the same way that God-awful loud rock music on constant loop allegedly forced General Noriega out of hiding. At 8.45 I’m yelling at Midi to sit in the buggy so I can force a shrieking Mini in to the rear seat without it upending, and shouting to Maxi to keep the front door shut (I can’t afford to heat the whole village up from our front door). If I’m lucky, it’s not rained buckets in the 5 mins between parking it by the door and bending minx limbs into it. Sometimes I even make a cruel comment like, “I wish I could leave you lot at school just for one whole day!” which, I’m ashamed to say, leaves one or more minxes crying. At 8.47 I’m negotiating a double-buggy that weighs 6 stone combined weight (prob a few pounds more, now) with one hand through the pot-holes and kerb ramps along the hill, while dragging a sulky 5 year old with the other hand, at a quick march to get to school for 9. Usually I’m continuing the nag of, “If you do as I tell you first time, I wouldn’t need to shout, and we’d all feel better!” or I’m apologising for losing my temper and shouting. Bah. Bet our neighbours really love me…

*Aha! Maybe I need to give her catfood for breakfast! There’d be loads less mess…

**That was a joke, in case Social Services are reading this, gathering more evidence.

Yesterday was a pretty standard morning, which is why Maxi lost her dinner ticket – Mini had grabbed it, nibbled a corner, then stuffed it into the doll’s house window, which is where I found it last night. I made sure it was safely tucked next to today’s ticket about 10 times before leaving this morning.

Today was a very standard morning, except that Mini (with the terrible circulation) steadfastly refused to wear mits or anything on her feet, and shrieked full volume the whole way down the hill. I let her get cold, because we’ve run out of botch tape – when I get more, I’m taping those mits and boots on!

Thank God tomorrow is Saturday, and we can get a 2 day break from my morning nagging – it even makes me feel rubbish.

The Highway Code

…would giving it as a gift, with specific sections tabbed and highlighted, lose me friends?!

I know a nice couple in the village through our kids’ shared schooling. Apart from them being religious, we’ve got quite a lot in common. Till recently I thought we had a mutual wish to keep all children safe from harm. But sadly not.

Honestly, I really, really am pretty good at roughly assessing the speed of cars. A million years ago being good at that kind of thing was a fairly essential part of my job, so I’m not being big-headed. (Sanctimonious, yes probably). So when I say that the week before last she zoomed past me at over 50mph and still accelerating, in a 30mph zone, it’s safe to say she was breaking the speed limit. The pressure wave from her car damn near sucked Midi and Mini Minxes’ double-buggy into the road. Aye, the road with the speeding articulated lorries… I yelled and signalled her to slow down, same as I do to all speeding drivers (especially the postman – the only reason he still delivers my mail intact is because he thinks I’m a crazy old lady).

I didn’t say anything at the time because I assumed she was going to be executed if she was late for work again. I mean, why else would a mother speed past toddlers bimbling home from the morning school run like some kind of random Brownian Motion? Surely no-one drives carefully when laden with your own offspring and carelessly when free of them? And being active church-goers, I’m sure loving your fellow man extends to that fellow man’s children?

Today he was doing the school run. As it was nativity play day, the parking spaces within a 25m radius of the school were full; drivers had to park a little bit further afield today and walk for an extra 20 seconds. Like in the next street. I guess he must have a serious medical problem, poor thing, that stops him walking – he had to park on the yellow zig-zag lines outside the school. I’ve had an absolute belly-full of confrontation this month (I’ve not blogged about it yet – been far too angry), so instead of speaking my mind, I quipped, “Blimey, someone’s risking a big fine parking on the zigzags, with the police snooping around! I wonder who it was?” It seemed to work – the wall-loll changed to a fast nip out the school gates, kids abandoned.

I know I’ve no right to get on my high horse – I’m not the world’s best driver, am a mediocre parent on a good day, and hardly a shining light in my community. But I slow right down near schools, never park where it’s dangerous for other children to cross the road, and generally think ‘Kid, Kid, Kid!’ before I even ‘Think Bike’. It irks me to see other people flout the law, but it makes me spitting-feather-angry when people put *my* precious children at risk.

I wonder what Jesus would think?!

"Keep entrance clear of stationary vehicles, even if picking up or setting down children" This applies to all human drivers, even Special Ones like you!

More To Follow Later, But For Now…

Today’s comedy gold moment:

When a 60-something in wobble-control pants, with bright orange hair and grey roots, false eyelashes and wearing High Fashion comments about your bleached-white hair to your daughters, “I much prefer your Mummy with the natural look”. I laughed inwardly at the incongruity instead of committing murder.

That is all for now.

Mucky

…muddy, grubby, manky, filthy, dirty, soiled.

That’s been my day, that has. The end.

I really, really love snow. I love the snow on the hills behind the Cromarty Firth because they look golden and the cliffs shine pink in the early morning sun on the first school run of the day. But alas, the snow hides dog poo. And not all dog poo has been frozen. On one 15 minute walk I trod in both dog poo and cat sick. I’d been avoiding the 3 spatters of the latter for 2 days now, but my attention wandered to the rose garden that’s *still* flowering (aye, in nearly mid December!).  Thank God for hose-down wellies. But I’ll come back to this…

I’m fed up mopping down my floors with Flash. I think it should be renamed ‘Food Magnet’, then it would do exactly what it says on the label. I read somewhere that Flash is incredibly poisonous to cats. Well, if Daisy Cat drags in another half-eaten mouse over my newly de-muddy-pawprinted floor…

I’m getting really slick at getting Midi and Mini ready for the second school run of the day. Or so I thought. As I smugly whipped Mini upstairs for her post-lunch pre-walk poo change, I stopped to admire the snow-laden clouds in the sky for literally half a second. Silly mare! I should know better – Mini dunked the clean nappy I’d given her to keep her hands occupied *into* her caked nappy. The one with the barely-digested Brussels Sprouts. While I yelled “No, no, no, no!”, in one fell swoop she smeared the foetid contents over the change mat, up her sleeve, over her hand, over my hand, over my (new, posh, cashmere) jumper, and up to her lips. She’s now 20 months old. She cackled as she did it. Tell me she didn’t know exactly what she was doing..!

It’s Tuesday, so it’s swimming lessons. Sod reading the educational library books to the younger 2 while Maxi Minx swims – nowadays I kill 5 mins by letting Midi fill the vending machine with small change and another 5 letting them bicker over what tooth-rot we’re going to share. Today it was a Twix. So Midi devoured one finger and me and Mini shared the other. Right. ‘Shared’. I got a lick before Mini howled to the heavens in utter devastation. Old women tutted, the shop assistant reached for her Childline phone card, I went red, and Mini smirked. And ate the lot. 15 mins later and it was time to clear up the mess before collecting Maxi. Kidding myself on that I can multi-task, I attacked Mini in a pincer manoeuvre: I got her sticky brown cheeks with a wipe in distraction whilst I sucked her chocolatey fingers. That’ll teach me for being greedy – chocolate isn’t gritty. The only gritty thing I can think of near Mini today was the animal poo/sick that I’d trodden in this morning that I’d found on her wellies and washed off in the leisure centre sink not 10 mins previously. Oh God…

Me and 2 minxes baked these cranberry muffins today in between getting grubby.

I’m not a clean freak, but I spend so much time cleaning the toilets because 2/3 daughters still lick them; I get incandescent about dog poo because 2/3 chew their wellies; I like a nice clean kitchen floor because 1/3 likes to make pictures on it by licking big stripes if I don’t stop her.

This wasn’t the vision of stay-at-home motherhood I signed up to when I left my job. But I guess to keep the little blighters free from dysentery and worse long enough to go on *a* walk a week or bake at all, then I need to stay friends with Mr Bleach and Mrs Baby-Wipes. And my own immune system had better man-up, too…

Mop your floors with this and watch in amazement as it gathers all your kids' food and muck in its tractor beam and sucks it in!

Hormones!

In my last post I may have explained that Midi struggled to do the obligatory post-op wee before being discharged from hospital. She dribbled, she got let out. Bonus.

That night, Midi came into bed for a cuddle. I’m not made of stone – my baby had just had an op, so we snuggled in. Maybe an hour later I woke up having a night sweat. Blimey, proper hot flush time! I wiped at the sweat on my collar bone. Crikey, I really was drenched! Maybe I am going through an early menopause after all? Ha, that belligerent doctor can look down her nose at someone else when I report this! I’m right after all – like grandmother like mother like daughter, menopause at 40. Wow, I’m actually really hot. And soggy. Very soggy. In fact, the duvet’s soaking, my PJs are sopping… and … so’s Midi. And she’s recently drunk 2 pints of liquid and had a bag of saline… NOOO!!!!

Yep. She Achieved bladder control *after* drenching our bed. It even seeped through a waterproof undersheet. My bit of the mattress is wrecked.

Every night since then (28 Nov), I’ve managed to wake enough to frog-march her to the toilet every time she’s sneaked into bed. And now that she no longer snores, it’s harder to hear her. Minx!

It’s Oh So Quiet…

…because everyone’s sleeping! Except me. We’ve had a busy old week and today (28 Nov) was probably the climax.

This week Mini Minx cut 2 more molars and has been practising saving up her normal 3 poos a day into one mega nappy-busting plaster. She’s achieved 100% success with getting it to happen at the worst possible time every day this week. 10/10 for effort, 3/10 for artistic interpretation.

I’ve had 2 busy craft fairs. I made enough sales to keep Maxi and Midi in ballet lessons till Easter, and buy a pair of cheap ballet shoes each, so that’s perfect. Even better, I spent 2 whole days chatting with people about babies and knitting. I had the inspired (!) idea of displaying my eSocks on a bunch of bananas. I quickly had to add a sign explaining what they were – the horrified looks from many of the elderly knitters tutting at my wares made me realise The Boss was right, and they looked like willy warmers. Och well, it certainly gave me something to joke about and say something to browsers with. One woman had me in choking knots with her quips: we were imagining this one proudly, um, displayed on Christmas morning, with tinsel draped off the bobbles… Ah, me, what a weekend! [edited to add: my website’s down for a day or 2, moving to a shiny new server. If you can’t see the socks, try again tomorrow xxx]

But the biggie this week was my wee baby (OK big tall girl) Midi going into hospital to have a general anaesthetic to get grommets in and possibly adenoids out. I wasn’t worried about the routine procedure, it was more the GA that left me feeling a bit wobbly. I’ve had 8 in my time (I tested a couple at university – seemed like a good idea at the time, I had rent to pay, and it paid more than my usual shelf-stacking. Anyway…).

What a 3 year old packs for a hospital stay

We all chatted about it as a family over the last month, describing to the girls what was going to happen: first in really broad terms (“The doctor will fix your ears so you can hear properly”), progressively adding more detail as she asked for it, and as it came up in conversation. Last night I warned Midi and Maxi to get to bed as they’d a long day ahead of them. Midi nodded, “Yes. We need to get up early so I can eat breakfast an’ drink mlk (sic), so Special Medicine will work, anna Doctor gonna put a Big Special Needle *right through* my ear drum. And he’s gonna suck out all my ear bogeys! Then I can hear! Yeeeeeay!” She looked gleeful about it, whereas Maxi pouted, leaned over and stroked Midi’s arm and murmered, “I’m worried about you, Little One. I love you”. Little One? Little One?! Where did she get that from?! Nevertheless, the sight of the pair hugging each other in mutual comfort brought a tear to my eye. As did the fact that they’d been play-acting hospitals – Maxi had her little sister strapped into a pretend car seat (she’d knotted socks together into a rope and tied them round her bed-head to hold Midi in like a seat, and added extra ones like an aircraft infant safety belt for Midi’s dolly). Midi had already packed her toy wheelie suitcase with dolly, teddy, books, real stethoscope, toy train and some plastic doctor-implements. And her sister’s camera (!)

That first adult tooth, behind the seriously wobbly one

The girls were fine this morning: we woke them at 6 so they had time to eat before cut-off time at 7am, then out the door at 7.30 to get to hospital in time for 8. Back home, crazy tidy up, then off to school, drop Maxi off, back to hospital, and… wait. We then got to keep 2 little girls occupied in the play room till 1pm. They were actually really good. Had me and The Boss not been so dog-tired it would have been fun, just hanging out with the girls, playing tea-parties and colouring in and playing doctors. As it was, it was an exercise in staying awake. (Mix of teething children (plural – Maxi’s cut her first adult tooth), noisy storm keeping me awake, toddler bad dreams, stress over organising a craft fair with some unwelcome outside mixing… The usual rubbish!).

I couldn’t face seeing Midi put under a GA unless I had to (my acting skills are excellent, but being nonchalent about my baby going limp whilst open-eyed is a bit too evocative of death for me to comfortably cope with willingly), but luckily she’d always said she’d wanted her daddy with her, and he was happy to. I couldn’t even cry when she toddled off holding his hand in her cheerful hospital jammies because sleepy, needy Mini was with me.

I waited 45 looooong minutes, then had to drive back to pick up Maxi from school. Typically, when I got back, I couldn’t get a parking space. Anywhere. And the amount of selfish double-parking going on meant I struggled to *get* anywhere, either. The Boss had agreed to text me if I needed to know anything, even if it was terrible news. “So if I don’t hear from you, I know she’s *still* not out of recovery, or she’s fine. OK?” So when he texted me as I was futile-ly crawling up and down local roads (given up on the carparks), my heart nearly exploded. Silly sod had forgotten our agreement: when I pulled in and checked, with shaky hands and blurry eyes, it only said, “Midi’s fine, adenoids out, no grommets and itchy nose”.

When I got to the ward with Maxi and Mini, a very sleepy, woozy Midi croaked at me, waving her cannulated little hand in my general direction. Despite epic failures on a previous hospital visit, this time the anaesthetist got a cannula in first time, it hadn’t hurt her, she was fine, went to sleep with her eyes wide open. The surgeon hadn’t found any fluid behind her eardrums at all (?!) but enlarged adenoids and a ‘huge’ lump of earwax. So the earwax and adenoids got hoiked out and the eardrums left alone. So that’s good, I guess! And I have no idea what constitutes ‘huge’: pea sized? Golf ball? Planet?

The Boss took a video of Midi coming round: typically, our little minx managed to focus her eyes (mostly), look at The Boss, licked her parched lips, gazed into the eyes of her beloved Daddy and croaked her perpetual daily demand: “I hungry!”

So that was 3.30. The Boss drove the other 2 home at 3.45 when Mini upset Midi by hauling around her suitcase (“coo-case”) and Maxi wailed “I’m bored! I’m so bored! I’m really bored! No, really, really bored! In fact…”. I stayed at Midi’s request. Around 4 she’d drank a few sips of water and was mostly awake. The nurse agreed to get her some toast. I explained that she’d need more than that (Midi eats as much as most adults. She’s around 98th centile for height and 91st centile for weight. That growth needs a lot of fuel…), and nipped down the cafe literally 50 steps downstairs to grab a sarnie and half litre of milk for myself (2 coffees and a teacake all day make for a VERY Grumpy Old Trout). Midi ate the toast, and the calories gave her the energy to eat my 2 ham sandwiches, the rest of the water, the entire bottle of milk, 2 sausages, plate of beans and 2 potatoes. And a partridge in a pear tree. After that, she bounded out of bed and generally acted like a manic thing on drugs. Strong ones.

Meal 3 – she polished off the lot after she finished scratching her very itchy nose

She’s not reported any pain, but then she was given morphine and 400mg paracetamol (according to The Boss), which may explain why she had an incredibly itchy nose for a few hours. Like me after each Caesarean!

Before she ate the entire hospital kitchen, she got discharged after a bit of a sleepy cuddle in front of CBeebies and another sudden charge around the ward, thrusting her tiny oxygen mask and tube onto anything vaguely humanoid, demanding, “Right, breathe deeply for me, darling!”

So, she’s to go back to the professor for more hearing tests and a review. Not having spent 6+ years at medical school, I’m surprised that we had 4 consultant visits (plus one earlier at another hospital) that all recommended grommets, only for them not to be needed. I wonder why – is it that common for earwax to not be noticed and to cause such problems? Or maybe the glue ear finally spontaneously resolved itself just in the nick of time? Och well, I’m glad. I guess 7-Lunch-Lil will be happy to be able to swim after all, and she’ll love seeing Prof L again. (Or at least getting another silver sticker).