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!)
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!!)