Better Day

Wednesday 22 Feb

Well, after lying awake most of the night feeling guilty for being such a shouty, intolerant, unfeeling mother, you’d have thought the next day wouldn’t have been a barrel of laughs. Luckily no. I felt so bad for yelling at Midi and Mini Minxes the day before that I was determined to give them some happy times the next day. And as luck would have it, neither child woke bearing a grudge. So I spent most of the day playing dolly tea-party with my little girls, reading stories and having some fun, shock-horror! The sheer volume of giggling from that pair mended my heart.

I spy with my little eye, something ending with 'minx'

It could have been a bit tricky, too, because I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital about my gallstones. In a fit of inspiration, I got the girls to pack a little rucksack with a snack each, a book each, and a little toy. We sat in the waiting room for 35 minutes, reading, chatting and playing a very long game of I Spy (Midi is just graduating from I Spy With My Little Eye, something that is…[colour] to ‘something beginning with… [initial sound] – clever girl!) I could see the other patients understandably looking anxious at being in close quarters with 2 boisterous toddlers on the run-up to lunchtime, but the girls were so well-behaved. I was bursting with pride at how quiet and happy and calm they stayed. So I told them so. Many times! Midi wriggled with delight at being praised for her behaviour. Awwwww!

The appointment itself went fine – within 4 minutes we agreed I wouldn’t have an operation that I felt I didn’t need (hey, I’ve forgotten what the pain was like, having not suffered in a whole year) but could phone his secretary directly to book an appointment to see him if I ever changed my mind. Bonus! So I legged it out of there as quickly as I could, and announced that because the girls had been so quiet and had done exactly as I’d told them, we could have lunch out. Woohoo!

I know it’s not everyone’s idea of a treat-lunch out, but the WRVS cafe at Dr Gray’s hospital is really good, in my opinion. I could get the girls a carton of milk to share with some straws, a big coffee for me, and a good selection of sandwiches that weren’t full of rubbish. And when the packet said ‘simply ham’, it was literally that: brown bread and some ham. Nothing else. Cool! So we happily sat, sharing our goodies 3 ways, chatting over our food. You’d never have thought that we normally resemble a disfunctional, noisy, crabby family from hell. On a euphoric roll, I even bought a little pack of 3 Jaffa cakes so we could have one each. I let Midi choose them, and decide if her little sister had eaten enough lunch to deserve one too (“You’ve been a lovely little minx this lunchtime – here you are, Cheeky Monkey!” is pretty much what Midi said to her sister, verbatim)

Super Brucey Bonus – the girls ate their lunch so quickly we unexpectedly had enough time to nip back to get Midi to nursery in time after all. She was absolutely delighted with this, thankfully!

However, legging it back meant I didn’t have time to get diesel. And we were on fumes. So I had to stop and get some before I picked up The Boss from work. Which meant that I’d either have to feed the minxes their dinner immediately we got home at 3.30pm or they’d have to wait till6pm. Given 2/3 are generally falling asleep in their food at normal tea-time of 5.30, I decided to go for Option 3: Evil McDonalds right after collecting their Daddy. Well, the kids didn’t seem too upset by that and bumped into a much-loved old nursery teacher, too, which just made their day. So on the drive home I had 3 contented, sighing, cheerful little girls, happily giggling with each other and playing I-Spy.

I slept ok that night 🙂

Crappy Shouty Day

Tuesday 21 Feb

Well, the day started so well – my parents-in-law had been staying for a few days over The Boss’s and Midi Minx’s birthdays and we’d had a really pleasant morning playing with the girls. They left for home just before lunch. Midi and Mini Minxes seemed fine, waving goodbye and happily ate lunch. Just before we left for nursery, Midi started to act up. “I’m tired. I don’t want to go. I want to stay at home”. Midi *loves* nursery. On any other day I’d maybe have taken what she said more seriously, but I felt she was just sad because her doting grandparents had gone but she couldn’t articulate that. So we walked to nursery regardless – I wanted her to move immediately into her normal routine and because I also needed Mini to get some exercise and fresh air.

Mini loved her walk so much that I let her walk to the school again at pick-up-for-home-time, play in the playground between Maxi and Midi pick-ups, and then the plan was to walk home again, all 4 of us, no buggy or sling. But first, I took the girls to the book fair at the school that day.

OMG, it was like unleashing wild animals! Being the daughters of book-y people, who in turn are the children of book-y people, we own more children’s books than your average library. Seriously. But you’d think they’d never set eyes on a book before: racing over, thumbing the pages of as many as they could physically touch, pulling out 4 at once, messing up displays, folding back covers. I know this is standard 4 and 5 year old behaviour, but I was mortified. My plan had been to nip in, choose 2 of the free books, nip out and get home. I didn’t expect the free ones to be totally hidden. Or to have the girls fall in love with every book, actually agree to choose just one each, which I then couldn’t find the prices of, only to find I hadn’t brought enough money. Cue inevitable 4 year old meltdown. Well, Midi couldn’t understand why one minute she could have any book she wanted, then she had to pick only one. But she did. And I then rejected it. So she picked another. Then I said she couldn’t have any (she still doesn’t understand the concept of money). Hell, when you put it like that, I’m surprised she didn’t kick the place down! It was really unfair of me, from her perspective. The very kind staff-member running the stall agreed to lay the 2 chosen (expensive) books away for me to buy another day. (Though when I returned to buy / reject them, they weren’t to be found. Oh well! Fate stepping in agreeing that it needed to be the free ones or nothing. Though I still couldn’t find those, but that’s another rant.)

So. I’ve got a bored Maxi, tired out from a day of school, PE, and not eating enough for lunch; an over-excited Mini who wants to run in any direction so long as it’s away from me; and an upset, hurt little Midi. I pulled myself together, grabbed all 3 heavy school bags and tried to shepherd the minxes gamely up the hill. They bomb-bursted in 3 directions. I grabbed the 2 heading to the most dangerous spots. They legged it again. I tried persuading Midi to hold a sister’s hand, any sister’s hand. She refused. Mini wanted to hold Maxi’s hand. Maxi refused. Midi agreed to hold Mini’s hand. Mini refused. Maxi tried to hold Midi’s hand. Midi yanked her hand away, hurting Maxi’s feelings. Midi sat on the ground in a petulant huff. Mini took that opportunity to spin round and race back down the hill with a giggle of ‘Freedom!’ Well, it sounded like that to me. I exploded. “I just want to get home tonight! Do you think you could manage that?! Gnnnggggah!!” Took a deep breath, got control. Whipped out a sling, stuffed a protesting Mini into it. She thrashed for a minute, pulling my hair. Then she relaxed, perched on my hip and contented herself with bashing the bags on my other shoulder. With my free-ish hand I grabbed some minx hands and wheedled Midi and Maxi into being pulled up the hill (hey, you should see my biceps!)

Grumpy Old Trout calmly tells her kids to play nicely

We got home 40 minutes later (it normally takes 15 minutes). Midi immediately starting hitting at Mini. Mini hit Midi back. Midi gave Mini a cuddle and said ‘sorry’, then used it as an opportunity to sneakily topple her to the floor and roll on top of her like a wrestler. I grabbed them both and angrily separated them. Mini bared her teeth at Midi, hissed, growled and chattered like an angry monkey. Then lunged at her sister’s hair and yanked it hard. Midi burst into hurt tears and flounced onto the sofa. I scolded Mini soundly, leaving her in tears. Maxi bugged everyone. (standing in front of CBeebies, moaning at Midi on the sofa, whingeing at Mini playing noisy musical instruments). Leaving them with dark threats of what would happen with any more misbehaving, I stomped into the kitchen to make dinner. Big Mistake. In hindsight I should have sat on the floor and played with them till they were happier and more co-operative. But no, I was on a mission to make A Good Nutritious Dinner. Silly fool…

Mini filled her nappy and wailed POOOOOO just as I was juggling pots and couldn’t put them down. I yelled to her, reassuring her I’d change it in just one second. OK, maybe a minute. Let me just turn the heat down and move the pot out of Midi’s reach. Actually, let me whip out a cover to keep it warm at least: we could be some time. Feeling totally ignored, Midi then pushed past her sister and promptly peed herself in the middle of the floor. I exploded. Roared. Shouted so loudly my voice cracked. I remonstrated at her for wetting herself. She’d ruined dinner. She was selfish and horrible because now I couldn’t sort out the poo-laden Mini, I had to mop up the puddle the cat was having a tentative lick at. Midi wailed. And wailed. The poor little girl just needed a cuddle and a bit of reassurance, but instead got shouted at. I scolded her for far too long, right until I’d finished hosing her down in the shower and drying her. We had a quick cuddle as I dressed her, but it was too little too late.

Of course, I don’t believe she wet herself on purpose. She was tired, out of sorts, upset at her grandparents leaving, probably a bit flat from it being the day after her birthday. Poor Midi! What a witch of a mother! The guilt set in as soon as I’d calmed down, while I was towelling her down. I felt so guilty at how I’d treated her that I lay awake most of that night, vowing to make it up to my funny, normally-robust little girl the next day.

(And yeah, leaving dinner alone to find the mop, mop up pee, chase out the cat, chuck stinky sodden clothes from the carpet to the floor by the washing machine, retrieve a baby, change a baby nappy, hose down a toddler, dry a toddler, find dry clothes, cuddle a toddler, cuddle a baby, chase another girl into dinner, meant that that dinner was dry and somewhat unappetising… I should have gone for frozen fish fingers and chips!!)

Maxi-mum Diva

My baby Maxi Minx is only 5, but she can be articulate beyond her years.

I patted her on the bum to urge her up the stairs faster. She turned on me and haughtily said, “Mummy, stop beating on my buttocks like they’re bongos”, as she tutted and rolled her eyes. My God, I have glimpsed the Future Teenage Maxi and, boy, was I withered!

The other day she caught me swearing at the computer. “Mummy, are you using Internet Exploder?” Yep, it sometimes feels that way, darling.

She cut her second adult tooth a week ago, too, and is furious wobbling the baby tooth it is slowly replacing. I guess I the Tooth Fairy had better have a shiny gold coin handy… [edited to add: she yanked it out over lunch on Friday 24th – yesterday – and was delighted at the shiny brasso’d chocolate-and-comics token she received from the Tooth Fairy last night]

The Saturday before last I watched her for 2 hours at a party at the local soft play centre. No other parents stayed, and I asked her if she wanted me to stay or go. “Stay”, she repeatedly asserted. I knew The Boss would be having fun dining in town with Midi and Mini alone, like I had the day before. So stay I happily did. It was actually really lovely to just unobtrusively sit and observe my little girl. You don’t get much of a chance to do that in the daily whirl of keeping the little blighters safe, amused and out of harm, so lots took me by surprise.

I sometimes worry that she gravitates towards 11 and 12 year olds and appears to shun playing with kids her own age. So I was relieved that she was obviously friends with all the other kids at the party, playing noisily and happily with them. I watched her strong and lithe little body with new eyes, actually seeing how swimming is growing her some good leg muscles. I was proud as she was naturally very polite when served the birthday tea, saying please and thank you and making eye contact whenever she was spoken to. But the bit that made my heart swell was watching her happy smile re-emerge. The one that’s pure sunshine, lighting up those gold-flecked aqua eyes. She was a giggly, happy, smiley baby from when she was 3 days old, but she seemed to turn solemn and serious once she hit about 3. I worried about *her* fretfulness. But that Saturday I realised that it actually doesn’t take much to scratch below her stern surface to reach the Real Maxi underneath.

It was like a little bit of me reawakened as well, the bit that likes to make her children laugh just for the hell of it. So since then I’ve been making a conscious effort to make all 3 girls laugh every day. Some are easier to make laugh than others, eg Midi sniggers in her sleep. Looking back, on some days we seemed to spend most of the time giggling, other days we only managed once or twice (and that was when I tickled them). But the point was that I made a serious effort. I think we’ve all got stuck in a bit of a rut of it’s-4.30-so-Mummy-disappears-to-the-kitchen-to-cook, swear, shout-until-5.30-then-nags-us-till-we-eat-then-bed kind of life. So it’s been really lovely to sometimes just kick back and remember why I stopped work. It wasn’t to keep a spotless house or cook brilliantly – it was to give my daughters a better growing-up time than they’d maybe spend in a nursery. Don’t tell anyone, but this week I’ve even let them play with glitter and leave ripped up paper* all over the floor…

*They’re obsessed with ripped-up paper pieces. They’ll rip up any card or paper they can get their hands on. It’s confetti, money, entry-tickets, water, rain, dust to be hoovered, cake sprinkles, etc. etc. God help the innocent parent who unthinkingly hoovers it up…!

Potty-training Looms…

Saturday 25 Feb

Just a quick update before I finish and publish some long-drafted posts (it’ll be confusing, so I’ll put the dates they’re from at the top). Mini Minx used the potty properly twice again tonight. My resolve not to potty train her before the age of 2 is beginning to crumble. I may well compromise and let her cut about in Big Girl Pants from before dinner until bedtime. Then any accidents will be over a moppable floor and highchair. Oh, how I wish our kitchen could be hosed down and squidgee’d clean… And I don’t know whether they make girls’ pants small enough to fit her wee bum.

In other similar baby milestones, while I’m updating about Mini beginning to potty-train herself, she’s slowly self-weaning too. I’ve said loads of times that she’s held on to her night-time breast-feed for over a year, despite weaning herself off the other feeds. Some weeks she doesn’t have any Mummy-milk, other weeks she wants it every night. Last night she wanted a lick of each side, then stomped off upstairs to take herself to bed, satisfied that I was still her milk slave, but obviously not wanting any actual milk. At post lunchtime naptime she regularly asks for “Milk. Inna cup. Inna lid. Hot, hot, hot” whilst signing ‘milk’ and ‘hot’. She’ll drink it in her cot, sometimes while reading a book (Twinkle, Twinkle or What The Animals Say are her new favourites) or waving goodnight to everything out her bedroom window (sea, birdies, flowers, bushes, trees, cats, dogs, etc. etc), then she’ll tuck herself up under her duvet (singing ‘tuck, tuck!’ to herself) and go to sleep. I think she’s starting to do this at night, now, too. Sometimes.

 

You ARE to potty-train me, Mother

Both battleground and spoils of war

Thursday 23 Feb.

Mini Minx upped the ante in our running Battle of the Potty.

While getting the minxes ready for bed, either me or The Boss (usually him) takes off her nappy and lets her play with Maxi and Midi’s old pink potty whilst brushing 3 sets of toddler teeth, washing hands, faces, botties, etc.

Tonight she insistently asserted, “Poo! Poo!”

No chance, my little love, you’ve filled 3 big stinky reeking nappies today. So I took my eyes off her for a few mins to sort out brushing her sisters’ teeth.

“Poo!”

“Yeah, clever girl.”

“Poo!”

“Uh-huh, Mummy with you in a minute.”

“POOO!”

“Yep, good girl.”

“Mama! Poo!!” So I looked round from carefully scrubbing around Maxi’s latest loose tooth.

“Holy crap!” I exclaimed (yes, that was a pun, and yes, I am a potty-mouth myself), as Mini leapt into the air, startled. “You’ve done a poo! In the potty! Wow!” so me and Mini’s sisters erupted in some mental, loud, over-exuberant applause. Oh right, I noted to myself, and you’ve also pooed on the floor. And have now stepped in it and are dragging it all round the bathroom and over the entire pile of clothes – yaaaargh! Then she proceeded to proudly stick her finger into her vulva and pee on the floor, spraying it everywhere. Maxi and Midi giggled, I whipped her onto the potty, reassuring her she was the cleverest girl in the world, whilst inwardly wailing at the mess. She kept saying, “Wee-wee! Wee-wee!” so I shouldn’t have been surprised when she then peed in the potty as an encore.

Guess who’s a smug toddler? 23 months old today. It’s my move, now. I am afraid. Very afraid.

Flying Funny

Evening! Just a flying visit because I need to get an early night or I will die.

However, thought you might like this funny. I sometimes like to look at what search terms people use to arrive on this blog, because it shows me that chances are most readers are fellow gallstone sufferers, crochet addicts or folk after a knitting pattern. Not so this week. One special wee soul arrived on this blog by searching for ‘Miss Hoolie naked’. Can you imagine how that misguided CBeebies fan must have felt, browsing here?!

Sleep Deprivation is Brilliant Because…

Sleep deprivation is brilliant because… well, you finish the sentence, because I’m not sure I can!

Nah, it’s not so bad. I’m saying this having had a 7hr undisturbed sleep last night (7 Feb), so I’m positively euphoric, but Monday wasn’t much fun – Mini Minx was up from 2 till 3am with 4 canines cutting through at once, Midi was wriggling about in my bed from 1 till 6am, kicking me in the eye and elbowing me in the windpipe, and Maxi was in fighting with her sister for more room and covers from around 5am. I was too exhausted from a bad month of sleep to kick them out or even go get a nightie – I was freezing all night. So yesterday was a day of coffee and muchos snarling and yelling and tears (theirs). I taught them all about what tolerance means and what affects it: they all looked at me seriously as I explained that life would be much more fun and quiet if they stopped coming in my bed, so I could sleep more, so I could have more tolerance, and so I could laugh more.

I thought they would laugh or scoff. Instead I must have hit a chord. Or they finally got sick of me roaring at them for silly stuff, because they all stayed in their beds, and we all slept well last night. The Boss got up early to cook us all sausages (*just* out of date, so bin-bound if he hadn’t). I think the leisurely cooked breakfast on top a good night’s kip set everyone up for a good day. I even made jam buns with Midi and Mini today and didn’t stress toooo much about the explosive flour devastation that they left behind… Midi showed Mini how to measure out flour and sugar, then Midi rubbed in the butter while I taught Mini how to beat eggs. Midi shaped the buns, Mini gleefully jabbed her finger in them all, and Midi filled them carefully (! I was seriously impressed! Neater job than I can do!) with jam. They both brushed the buns with egg and gobbled up the baked finished items. I’ve not made them in decades, but they were so yummy and quick that they’re about to become a Minx-Trout family regular.

Speaking of which, Mini was particularly minxy and testing yesterday. She knew fine I was having a nightmare with dinner (home-made fishcakes – cook, ya buggers ye, cook! It’s half an hour past dinner time! Will youse no’ go brown or something?), and I could tell because she giggled as she meddled. Her sisters sat in front of CBeebies, cowed from an afternoon of me being grumpy with them at the swimming pool. Mini kept moving her high chair to the opposite side of the cooker and climbing up to grab utensils that she could prod dinner or me with. Every time I lifted her down and into the living room, she just raced back, moved the highchair over and started swatting at me again. And again. And again. Or the smoke alarm went off. Again. Finally tiring of wooden spoon waving, she decided to scuttle off and mess about with the washing machine. When I finally put that on ‘lock’, she decided to eat manky stuff off the floor. All the time, dinner is burning / cooking too fast / not cooking at all (depending on whether it was the carrots, peas, rice or the fishcakes). And the cat is buzzing around my ankles, tripping me up every time I moved. I was beyond irritable and into really, REALLY furious by the time The Boss arrived home (20 mins late – when you’ve been clock-watching for a little reprieve, that’s A Lot Of Time). Luckily he took one look at my swirling, red, only-just-got-a-grip-and-no-more eyes, and said the magic words: “Let me pour you a glass of wine, you sit down and eat, and I’ll take over here”. A very wise move on his part – I was purring within a minute. Bless him, he even praised the fishcakes as he crunched through them, ‘appreciating’ the hot and cold spots… What a man!

Anyway, so that’s how I get when I’m chronically sleep deprived. So back to the title: what’s good about it?

  • It feels a lot like having had a botch-job lobotomy, I suppose. You lose the ability to think in a straight line. But eventually, after enough sleep loss, you stop railing at not being able to make decisions, or follow a logical thought sequence to its conclusion, stop caring and just relax into your fluff-headedness. Example. “It’s 5.20pm and I normally start dinner at 4.30pm. So dinner’s going to be late. So I need to do something about it. Fast. So I’ll… oh hang on, I need to put on a washing; I’ll just go do that now… oh look, that plant’s dried-up. I’m going to stop what I’m doing mid-load and go water the plant. Then what was it I was just going to do? Something to do with the washing machine? Oh never mind, I’ll just check on the minxes…” and so on. Could be worse – I could be getting distracted by pink sparkles and glitter.
  • When you *do* get some decent kip, you feel incredible: rested, energetic, clever, euphoric.
  • Coffee has an effect again.

Got any to add?

 

Jam Bun Recipe (From the Glasgow Cookery Book. Scone-y type texture, with a sweet, crunchy exterior and a hot jammy middle. At their best when hot, hot, hot out the oven)

Ingredients

Jam Bun

Jam bun - crunchy outside, sweet softness inside

200g self-raising flour
50g butter
75g sugar
pinch salt
2 beaten eggs
jam (strawberry. Got to be.)
 

Method

1. Put the oven on to hot (220degC)

2. Sift the flour and salt then rub the butter into it.

3. Mix in the sugar, then mix in enough beaten egg (about 3/4? Little bit more?) to bind it to quite a stiff dough.

4. Break into pieces (8 – 10) and form into round buns.

5. Stick your thumb into each, then fill the holes with jam.

6. Reform the buns to cover up the jam. Brush with the remnants of the beaten egg.

7. Bake for 15 mins.

 

Ear we go again…

Midi Minx had her follow-up appointment with the Ear, Nose, Throat professor on Friday just past. Sheesh, give me strength…

Background (skip if you remember all this): She’s been seeing the consultant for over a year, since I started kicking up a fuss at the GPs (8 ear infections in 8 months; some GPs wanted to treat with antibiotics, some refused, no-one really put it all together and figure that this little 2 year old might be in some pain with so many infections and perforated eardrums…). They established that the hearing in her left ear was borderline normal and ‘significantly worse’ in her right ear. After a lot of watching and waiting, we all agreed that she needed grommets to cure her permanent glue ear. So she went for the op at the end of November. The surgeon, though, didn’t perform the op as apparently Midi *didn’t* have glue ear, but did have a big ball of wax. So she had her adenoids removed and a middle ear suction.

I’d cancelled the original follow-up appointment a month ago when the kids came down with chicken pox. So a month later, and 2 months after the op, you’d think the medical notes would have been delivered… Nope. So the professor wasn’t impressed when I relayed to him what the surgeon had said. “Well, she definitely has glue ear right now”, he asserted. Hmmm, so apparently Midi’s had glue ear since she was 2 or younger, still has it, has had it every single time a doctor has looked in her ears, but *didn’t* have it suddenly on 27 November? Midi’s hearing is just the same as it was all the previous hearing tests. The professor rationalised that with chicken pox perhaps still having an effect on her, and it taking a while for the adenoidectomy to make a difference.

Upshot? She’s to go back in May/June. This time I think I’ll be Very Grumpy Mummy. We’ve waited plenty. All I want to know is what can be done to improve Midi’s hearing. And bloody do it! The only reason why I wasn’t stamping around on Friday was because Midi’s not had an ear infection in months, and is in no pain or discomfort. And her hearing isn’t affecting her at nursery too badly. But school? That could be another matter…

Actually, I’m saying she’s not had an ear infection. But she has had a bit of a cough. Last week she had me and The Boss in giggles as she dramatically flung her hands in the air, declaring, “Nuffin’ makes my cough better: not going to sleep, not waking up, not breakfast, not lunch, not eatin’ my dinner, not medicine, not nuffin'”.

child's ears

A cross-section of Midi Minx's little head

Back to Friday, though. Looking on the bright side, we had a fun day out in Inverness, just me, Midi and Mini. I had a long shopping list of bits and bobs to pick up that I couldn’t source locally, so had packed the Big Green Double Buggy-mobile. The day started great: we had an easy drive, all sang along to the radio, it was sunny, I swung straight into a brilliant parent & baby space. We had a wobble when I opened the boot to discover one of the tyres on the buggy was burst and Mini (unusually for her) steadfastly refused to go in the sling. It went back on an ‘up’, though, when both girls happily held hands and trotted along with me. I cut my shopping list down from 3 pages to 3 lines long (ie essentials only) and hit the shops.

Well, of course the kids acted like they’d been set free into the wild, scuttling off in opposite directions, chuckling their heads off. I was on a tight timescale, so wasn’t going to waste time asking old ladies and fat people blocking the aisles to ‘excuse me please’. Oh no! If 2 minxes are escaping, I know I’ve around 3 seconds grace before they’re tearing a stand apart. So that rude, harassed-looking, blue-haired haridan yelling, ‘Mind!’ and ‘Coming through!’ was me. Sorry.

School uniform, plimsolls and woolly dresses acquired, we headed to the hospital for morning snack before the appointment. I did notice the roomful of oldies shrinking away from us as we sat down – I guess when you’re 100 years older than God you know just how messy a 1 and 3 year old can be. I divvied up a sticky apple turnover and a banana 3 ways, poured milk and coffee, and we all tucked in, like a pack of lions devouring an iced gazelle filled with jam. I guess the oldies noticed that the kids liked their food too much to drop even a crumb, so relaxed a bit. Two even chuckled indulgently at Mini throwing a tantrum when it was time to stuff little thrashing arms back into her coat while she ‘mysteriously’ lost the ability to stand or even sit up…

On the way out, I marvelled again at how Midi can spot our car in a whole car park. I asked her how she knew it was ours.

“Easy!” she said, “I look at the numbers here”, pointing to the numberplate.

“But what bit?” I asked, knowing full well that she can’t read yet, although she does know her numbers.

“This!” she said, pointing to the second letter, X, “See? X marks the spot”.

That Gigglebiz Pirate has a lot to answer for…

Scarred for Life. Again.

I took the minxes on a playdate yesterday. I’m still mortified…

Maxi Minx stripped off within a millisecond of arriving and poured herself into princess dressing up clothes. Midi and she then launched into a raucous game of hide and seek with some quiet, immaculately behaved children while me and Mini talked babies with 2 little squishies, one of their mums, and the playdate hostess. I knocked back coffee (3 hrs broken sleep. Again) to make my eyeballs speed up enough to maintain a watchful eye on my 3 tearaways.

“Mummeeeee! I need a wee-wee!” howled Midi, bursting through the door, accompanied by hand-clutching, leg-crossing and bending over, just in case I couldn’t hear. I strode over, swooped her up to the toilet, helped her wipe, flush, checked for splashes, struggled all the clothes back up and into place, handwashed, and released her back into the wild into the game of Hide and Seek.

I swear my bum only got to hover above the sofa when she came thundering back in. “Mama! Pooooo! I need a huge, mega poo!” Knowing Midi and her incredible intestines, I swooped back into action, but this time stood outside respectfully till she stopped grunting.

I opened the door and the green fog got me. Retching, blinded by the smell-induced tears, I managed to stop my half-naked little savage legging it and leaving a trail of poo everywhere. The … THING… lurking in the bowl, snarling at me, would take quite a few flushes. After 2, I decided to beat it with a stick. Maybe it would finally flush away if I broke it into pieces with the toilet brush? Two more flushes, lots of scrubbing, and what the hell am I going to do with the now-minging toilet brush? I released a wriggling and reasonably cleaned-up Midi, gasping some fresh air as I let her go. Back to work. Scrub. Flush. Scrub. Flush. Retch, retch. The bathroom was a mini one under the stairs, so no window, and the door wouldn’t stay ajar.

In the interests of not half-killing an unsuspecting innocent, I warned my friend and her friend not to go in the bathroom for a bit; although my friend is a babyminder, no one should be subjected to the stench Midi created. As I heard myself blaming the awful smell on Midi, I realised it sounded like I was trying to cover up. I’d spent a LONG time cleaning up after her, after all. Did they suspect me of creating it? The more I explained without going into too much detail, the more pathetic I sounded. I gave up. Drank my coffee. Blushed scarlet. Made my excuses, gathered up the kids and left for home.

Midi needs to eat a LOT less fibre…