Confucius say: empty bladder before teaching your kids to pogo and scissor-kick to Muse. And wear rubber gloves more often.
Maxi Minx’s school had 2 in-service training days, so we 4 had an extra-long weekend. On the Thursday we mostly mooched around the house; whilst I’m happy going out in the pouring rain, I prefer not to when it’s also icy cold, with a driving wind, and Mini’s coming down with something. Or cutting molars. Certainly, The Boss had poured Calpol down her little neck at 3am. And Maxi had had a nightmare so woke me around 6am as she snuggled her icy feet into me. And both cats thought it was funny to play “Rip Carpet And Run Away” from around 5am. We were all grumpy as hell with lack of sleep, so I think it was a fair decision to make Thursday an indoor craft and DVD day.
Friday was much the same weather-wise, but we all felt better because we’d actually gotten some sleep. The girls were on fine form:
Maxi, talking about going guysing (UK version of trick or treating) with me at Hallowe’en this year: “Mummy, you could go as a clown. All you’d need is a red nose”
Me: “Oh? Is that all? What about a wig? Funny clothes?”
Maxi, wrinkling her nose: “Nah… you don’t need them”. Keep digging, little daughter…
For lunch I made their Ultimate Treat: Fake McDonald’s. Just strawberry milk in a cup with a straw, an expensive beef-burger in a roll with melted Red Leicester on top and the tomato ketchup underneath. The ketchup has to be squeezed in the shape of a loveheart. And I wrap the rolls in grease-proof paper. The minxes squealed with delight. Awwwww! If only they could stay so easily pleased!
Maxi likes to make badges, pictures to commemorate every occasion, collages and models. So she honestly wasn’t being cheeky when she said: “Ooooo Mummy, would you like me to make you a badge with a star and a big ‘M’ on it, while you make the hamburgers?”
Poor Mini’s skin is as dry as Maxi’s. I changed her nappy and her little legs rasped when I stroked them. For once, we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything, so I fetched the Simple Derma (mega-moisturising cream that is worth every penny because it actually works) and asked Mini if she wanted Lovely Strokes. Lovely Strokes was what Maxi described Baby Massage when she saw me do it to a tiny Midi, and the term stuck. Mini wasn’t too sure about slowing down for a few minutes to submit to a massage, but it was lovely. After a minute of stroking her little cheeks and nose (oh my word she’s freckly! They’re very, very pale, but that little dusting on the bridge of her delicate wee nose is so beautiful!) she happily lay back on the toilet and let me rub her arms, legs, back, tummy. Just like Midi used to do, she sighed with delight when I stroked her back and giggled when I waggled her wee legs by the toes.
As my little 2 year old beamed up at me, the sun suddenly came out literally as well. So after Mini happily went down for her nap, I got the other 2 girls into their wellies and thick down jackets (yes – middle of May, and they still need hats and mits to go out to play) and let them race around the garden ‘unsupervised’.
I kept a secret, beady eye on them from the other side of the window, but I’m trying not to hover over them as much and give them more space. While Maxi busied herself collecting beetles and rescuing worms, making hospital nests for them out of grass and dried leaves, Midi grabbed clods of mud and smeared them all over the windows. Shudder… Now, had I been in the garden, I’d have stopped that. But she had so much fun exploring the noise and texture of the mud, chuckling away to herself and singing, that I left her to it. Besides, her down jacket would wash up well in the machine, wouldn’t it…? Em yes, if I’d used soap flakes. Not Delicates Wash. So it got far cleaner than normal, but the down all clumped together. I swear it took over 2 hours of bashing around in the tumbler with 3 tumble-balls to get the down raised.
I decided I’d make some playdough as well. I found a good recipe online and let the girls all help: Mini measured the oil into the water, Midi measured and sifted the salt, cream of tartar and flour, and Maxi stirred it all on the hob. It took maybe 10 minutes total, and I needed to finish the stirring as it formed into a stiff dough, but it actually worked! We agreed it needed to be coloured, so I raided the baking cupboard for all my food-colouring: yellow, pink, red, green, blue and black.
Well, we discovered that ASDA pink food colouring gives a fantastic salmon-pink flesh colour to playdough. And that the playdough is indeed super-silky and lovely to play with. But that Supercook out of date blue and black food colouring are messy. And stain. And can’t be removed with exfoliating wipes, waterproof eye-makeup remover (also long out of date), soap, moisturiser or sugar-scrub. Ooops… Next time (and there definitely will be a next time) I’ll wear rubber gloves.
Oh, and top tip about making playdough using some random low-sodium salt I found lurking at the back of the cupboard (well, I’m not going to eat the crazy stuff, am I?) – when the playdough model dries, it forms long needle crystals. Very cool, but they make your perfectionist 6 year old howl because they’ve ruined the texture of her Santa Claus model.
As the minxes happily squeezed playdough through every garlic press we own, I made lasagne – their all-time favourite dinner – and put some music on. I love Fridays, I love homemade lasagne, I love it when the girls are happy, I love music. So when Mini toddled up wanting to dance with me, I wasn’t going to refuse. The random shuffler moved the song from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Muse’s Plug-in Baby. So Mini’s sisters joined in the family dance. They wanted it played again. And again. So we copied each other pogo-ing, playing air guitar, that kind of silly thing. I taught them how to do scissor-kicks. We tried simultaneous air-guitar with kick and pogo. Only I managed it, but oh boy, carrying 3 big heavy daughters has made my undercarriage muscles a bit weak. I managed not to make a puddle, but only just.
God, we haven’t laughed like that in ages!