Burgeoning Sense of Humour

This evening a man representing NatCen came to interview us for the Family Resources Survey. Basically it’s for the Department for Work and Pensions and they ask all kinds of questions about your income, benefits, how easy you find it to manage financially, get doctors appointments, that kind of thing. So I spent an hour mostly blushing.

Well, was it the questions, or our youngest daughter that was making me blush?!

Mini Minx has resumed requesting the potty when she feels a poo coming. As she loves getting applause (born performer, that one) she’s quite obsessed about her potty, her nappy and their contents. She also loves a new audience. The combination of her excitement at feeling an imminent poo and a new person in the house was devastating.

“Poo! Poo! In my tum-tum! Bye-bye, in-a potty. Poo! Stink! Yuck! Hehehehehe!!!” she babbled. The nice man looked a little perplexed.

“Potty! My potty! Poo’s coming!” Mini yelled. The man looked from me to The Boss and back again. We smiled vacantly at him.

“Pooooooooo! Yuck, yuck, stink”, she ventured. The man began to perspire slightly. He didn’t know that she was now actually empty and currently wearing a nappy. She also can’t yet get present and past tenses right.

“Poo. Bogeys. Fart. Nappy. Potty. Pee”. Now she was just showing off, so The Boss took her back upstairs to bed.

She kissed me goodnight, waved bye-bye to the man, and as an encore let rip with the loudest, longest, smelliest fart. It scorched my ears *and* nostrils. I’ve been a mummy for 6 years now and it takes a lot to make me flustered. That fart did it. I swear she did it on purpose. Minx!

Mini Surprise

Happy Feet! She’s got those Happy Feet!
(especially in her big sister’s shoes…)

Full of surprises, is my youngest baby.

This morning I’d shepherded Maxi and Midi Minxes safely down to school, with Mini in the buggy (she and Midi usually swap places for the hike back up the hill). For some reason Mini was clutching a little toy handbag in the crook of her elbow, like the Queen. Anyway, I stood in the playground and commenced my usual scan, making sure I could see all 3 daughters at least once every 20 seconds. Mini copied my 1000-yard stare for a bit, then reached into her handbag, withdrew a harmonica, and started to blow it. I had to check I was awake: this was about the last thing I expected her to pull out her handbag…

That afternoon I had to drop Midi at a local soft-play area for her nursery school trip, so me and Mini whizzed round the supermarket. She had her favourite butterfly back-pack on, so this time I checked what was inside before she pulled anything else out and caused consternation. So… what *does* a 2 year old take with her in her treasure backpack? Well, a toy pink mobile phone, old leather purse of mine and a little pencil case full of her eldest sister’s favourite bangles. Hmmmmmm, I think I preferred the harmonica!

I hate shopping. Detest it. Would rather clean my minging house than shop for anything. But actually we had a hoot zipping around the aisles. Mini gabbled away and seemed as amused by my “Wheeeeee!”s as I leaned on the trolley-handles, feet in the air as I was by her jokes. I gave her my shopping list. She pretended to wear it like a hat. “Is that your hat, R?” I asked. “No Mama”, she replied, coquettishly, “Shoppin’ list!” and cackled. I had no idea she could say 3 syllables together!

In the car, she’s obviously been listening to her sisters. I loaded her in, parked sunglasses on her freckly nose, loaded the shopping, did the palaver to get the car started (you have to lock the doors, unlock, open the driver door and start it within about 10 milliseconds), put my seat-belt on and checked my mirrors and rear-view. “Han’b’ake!” Mini helpfully yelled. (I’ve gotten Midi and Maxi to remind me constantly to use the manual handbrake as I’m used to driving a car with an automatic handbrake). I could barely drive for laughing.

Family of Mr Men

It’s a rainy Sunday here in Troutsville and I want to keep Midi Minx’s poisoned finger out of mud, compost, dirt, and the general filth that 4 year olds find so easily. So we decided to have a long lie in and let the minxes pile into our bed to watch kids tv in our bedroom.

The Mr Men came on. While Midi pointed out her hero, Mr Bump, Maxi mused: “I wonder which Mr Man Daddy would be?”

Quick as a flash, Midi cackled: “Mr Messy! Hehehehehe!”

Me? They all agreed that I’d be Mr Tickle, of course. It’s something I do more to the minxes than grump. I bet you’d never have guessed that 😉

High as a Kite on Calpol

Alas the shades hide her madly whirling eyeballs

Yesterday Mini Minx looked like she was coming down with the virus that’s been plaguing Midi – yellow bogeys, runny eyes, scratchy throat, off her food and generally out of sorts. So of course I fed her a little Calpol. While we waited for it to kick in she cuddled into my tummy and complained, “Mummy, got sore head! Sore head! Ouch!” and cried pitifully. Poor little mite.

After 10 minutes of me and The Boss reassuring her that she’d soon feel better, she quietened down and looked like she was going to fall asleep. She burrowed her little curly head into my collarbone and wiped her snot on my tee-shirt. After a further 10 minutes… well, it was like a zombie suddenly awakening from the dead! She jerked upright and started giggling.

Being parents of 3 and being very well acquainted with Calpol, me and The Boss exchanged knowing looks – ah yes, the 20 minute kick-in. But we weren’t really prepared for the next half hour. Mini bounced on my knee, then her Daddy’s, yelling: “Boing! Boing! Me bounce! Higher!” When she got too excited to express herself in words, she just blew razzberries. Lots of them. Using up all her breath to make the longest, loudest razzberry. Ever. Then she tried blowing razzberries with a rolled up tongue. Giggling maniacally, she started to sing bits of her favourite theme tunes: Grandpa in My Pocket (“Sunny sands! Sunny sands! Sunny sands!” etc), Channel 5 (“Me, me, me, me, me, shake!” [ma-ma-ma-ma-me-me-me-me-moooo-milkshake]) and her favourite nursery rhyme (“Ringa, ringa, ring-ah!” Ring-a-roses)

She chattered and cackled, babbled and bubbled, drooled and bounced. We gave her some water to try to calm her down a little, and wondered why we’d forgotten that Calpol and Calprofen seem to send Mini completely loopy.

I wonder what the colours were like in her dreams last night?!

Midi Finger

I asked my friends on Facebook to guess which of the minxes had infected her finger. I gave little hints along the way like:

  • she claims to have hurt it originally “when I was licking the wall. Prob’ly. Or when I nibbled it” (she’s talking about the outside wall. Of the house).
  • as to when: “Last year. When I was a teenager”.

I think everyone correctly guessed that it was, indeed, Midi Minx. A friend commiserated: “You don’t have children. You have creature like disasters, part twilight zone part black lagoon. With pretty blonde hair :o)” It’s nice to know that my suspicions are shared!

Not looking too happy at having to be pinned down for longer than 10 seconds at a time

Midi isn’t a complainer. Well, there weren’t any ‘Whinge’ genes leftover after Maxi used them all up when she was created! Even so, I didn’t pay a lot of attention when Midi said that her finger was sore. She was certainly off-colour that morning, but weren’t we all?! She’d been in my bed at 2.30, 3.30 and 5am, so not much was making sense in my little world. She’d been running a low-grade fever for a while, had a 3 week long on-off tummy-ache and sore throat. For once she’d insisted on dropping Maxi off at school in the buggy, and although she’d had fun at the swing park afterwards, wasn’t her usual boisterous self. So, no, I didn’t pay any attention when she complained about her ouchy finger halfway through lunch, after an hour of guddling around wrist-deep in a mix of mud, gardening compost and probable cat poo. Until she shoved it under my nose. And I nearly lost my lunch.

The entire fingertip was swollen and red. There was something black poking out between the base of her forefinger nail and the skin. The skin at the base of the nail was one horseshoe of yellow, pus-sy blister that had swollen out over the nail. It was hot to the touch, and there was an ominous red streak down the inside of her finger.

I phoned the local surgery and got an appointment for 3 hours hence. I sat down and imagined the effects of blood poisoning on my little girl. Obviously paranoia acts even faster. So I gathered her and Mini in the car and drove over to the parent-surgery, to see if she could be seen sooner.

The nurse-practitioner agreed that the gruesome finger needed antibiotics, a Mummy-made comedy-cartoon-sized dressing and soaking in salty water a few times a day, but no tetanus.

This morning, after another litre of soaking water was spilled over the floor (can you hear me sighing in exasperation? Aye, maybe the first time; not the second. Or third), I inspected said finger. The pus blister had doubled in size and was now green (the same shade of the allegedly ‘pale-yellow’ paint I’d haplessly put on our bedroom walls. Grrrr! But that’s another story). So back to the GP again.

We discussed whether lancing it would be a good idea or not, weighing up the need for constant dressing until th ecut healed against easing some of the pain immediately. And he had no local anaesthetic he could use for the injury. Midi listened to us with eyes like a Powerpuff Girl cartoon. I leaned over conspiratorially:

“Me and the doctor are talking about what to do with your finger”, I explained.

“Yep”, she replied seriously.

“The doctor can get a big sharp knife and stick it in your finger, right in the really, really sore bit”, I said deadpan.

“Yep”, she said levelly, as the doc winced.

“It’ll give you a huge, big, massive ouch, but then your finger will start to feel better. But it’ll really, really hurt. Is that ok?”

“Yep”, she agreed.

So she lay on the little couch and didn’t even flinch or say ouch when the doctor lanced the finger. He had to cut a little letterbox shape in the skin to keep the flap from closing over and stopping the gunk from oozing out. By the 5th cut she was starting to frown a little.

“I think you must be the bravest little girl I have ever met!” exclaimed the relieved doctor afterwards. I just sat there, looking green, giving my best goldfish face, quite astounded by Midi’s bravery (she admitted later that it had stung a lot).

She’s now happily showing off her massive dressing to anyone or anything with eyes. A simple plaster would be enough, but what the hell? She’s only 4. And everyone knows that bigger is better at that age.

Growing Up

children scrambling bouldering rocks

Mini / Orville: “I wish I could fly… right up to where my sisters can climb, but I can’t: I’ve got silly wellies on”

Mini collecting strawberriesMinx is really beginning to spread her virtual wings and grow up a little.

Everything is “I do i-self! Me do!” which 8 times out of 10 are Mini’s last words before being engulfed by a furious tantrum, or having a toddler-prang – she chipped one of her perfect little front teeth on Tuesday because she slipped whilst simultaneously teetering on her potty and spitting toothpaste in the sink in the longest spurt that she could. Or when she came barrelling into the house, the proud bearer of 5 big green strawberries: “I do i-self! Stobbees! I pick. Tum-tum, yum-yum!” So I guess we’re not having any strawberries this year – those 2 red ones were our lot.

Talking of potties, our battle over potty-training continues. I put her in pants briefly (boom-boom) over the weekend, but she made such a mess *and didn’t notice* that it was straight back into nappies. Then tonight she lifted her bum off the highchair at dinner-time, wailing that she’d done a poo. There was nothing there when I checked, so I plopped her on the potty, where she delighted in producing something that she declared “super-stinky”. Then she threw a tantrum because I wouldn’t put Big Girl Pants on her. Wow, roll-on school summer holidays so that I don’t have to be chasing my tail everywhere and everywhen, and can just concentrate on getting her in pants.

And talking of chipping teeth, she did make me smile when she copied me reminding The Boss to get the lawn mowed. “Daddy! You go chop a grass; NOW! Peese”.

Olympic Torch Relay

9 June 2012

I know, I know, the Olympic Torch relay is a load of old hooey, right? Right? Actually: no.

I’d been toying with the idea of taking the minxes to see the relay for ages. It would be an excuse to go somewhere different for a change. It would be a fun thing to show Maxi, as we’d been talking a lot recently about Ancient Greece*. Who knows, as adults they might feel that they missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime event just because lazy Mummy & Daddy hadn’t bothered taking them to see it. Whilst that’s unlikely, you never know! So I checked out the published route. Now, I know I don’t live in a heaving metropolis, but I kind of expected it to get a little closer than an hour’s drive away. On a school day. Or just before Minx Bed-time on a Saturday. Hmmmmm…

*Ancient Greece: Maxi was troubled that the original Olympians hadn’t allowed girls to compete. So I told her about Sparta, and how the women there were so cool, tough and able that all the Greek men were terrified of them. This perked her up and brought more Maxi-balance to her young perspective. Just wait till I tell her about the Amazons…

The Saturday dawned cold and drizzly. We spent the morning at the local school fete being taken very good care of at the tea & cake tables, buying books (18 – well, I only bought so few because I only had £1.80 left in cash!), being facepainted, bouncy-castling, and munching hot dogs. So by mid afternoon we had 3 tired girls on our hands, probably too tired to walk back into town to watch a member of the Royal Family open one of the shops. So what did we do instead? Pack them all up in the car with a picnic lunch and get in to Inverness.

We decided to stop here, in Bank Street, in front of the dramatically swaying suspension bridge. If you’ve never been on it, beware! It swings like a ship at sea. That’s fine during calm weather, but you can feel distinctly seasick when it’s blowing a gale and the rain’s coming at you horizontally. Anyway, we thought we might be the only muppets sad enough to go wave at a person holding a brandy snap cornet with a gas flame out the top. Indeed, when we arrived with half an hour to go, there was only one other family loitering around.

From maybe 15 minutes to go, the police started to arrive. Midi had never seen so many flashing blue lights and her little eyes turned into saucers. The police motorcyclists were a happy, jolly bunch who were all riding slowly along the edges of the rapidly-swelling crowd, giving everyone high 5’s at waist level (“slip me some skin!”) One of the last cars to go past before the road shut slowed to let out 2 men with waist money pouches and an armful of little plastic flags each. Yep, they nipped down each side of the road, selling flags. As a proper Spoilsport Mother, I refused to shell out for flags that would be waved for 10 seconds then discarded#

#At 2 minutes to go, some outrider runners raced past, handing out free flags to the crowds. Obviously to make sure there was enough atmosphere! And funnily enough, the same kind of flags the wide boys at 15 mins to go were selling. Hmmmmm… recycling discarded flags from one town to the next for cash, I wonder…?

Maxi was just too tired to get excited. Whilst her sister Midi whooped, hollered and waved at anything that moved, Maxi just looked sullenly on. She’s gotten into a habit of emulating Marvin the Paranoid Android, or Dobby from Harry Potter: silly stuff like, “Ooh, I’ll just go to sleep in the most freezing cold cupboard I can find then. Oooo, I’m so miserable. Ooooooh, I deserve to have no dinner tonight. In fact, I deserve to eat slugs for dinner. Actually, I’ll eat slugs that have eaten sharp, spiny thorns. Ooooooh woe!” So we got a right earful of that while we waited. Cheerful stuff.

We could see over both road bridges left and right of us, so watched the little convoy of sponsor buses get closer. It was hard not to inwardly snigger at the young, hip things in the sponsor buses trying hard to look cool. In shades. With fake, orange tans. And big hair. On a blowy, wet, freezing cold evening. In Inverness. Ach well, they were probably wondering who the old crone with the purple hair and rainbow wrap was, and whether I weaved my own yogurt out of flax.

A troupe of bendy and acrobatic people sped past: hopping on bikes, flick-flacking down the road, generally adding a bit of “Oooooooooo!!” to the procession. All 3 minxes perked up and started cheering, clapping and waving. From studying my Dad’s excellent photos from the Liverpool relay leg, I knew the runner would be between the yellow and white horsebox and the BMW. Sure enough, we could just make out a little runner in white. I abandoned all pretence at nonchalance and waved and ‘hooray!’d like a loon. For a brief few minutes, no-one cared what they looked like to anyone else; no-one wondered whether the cost of the Olympics would or could ever be justified; no-one considered why we were cheering a woman in white, flanked by serious-looking runners in grey – we just joined in the communal happiness at being part of something a little bit different and out of the ordinary of normal life.

As soon as the runner was out of sight, the crowd bomb-burst: half across the suspension bridge to catch another glimpse, half to McDonalds. Guess where we went…?

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Bugs: Incoming!

D’you know, I’m fine with it being cold. It’s ok when it’s wet. I can even cope with freezing wind, but not all 3 together! In June. Normally the sun cheers me up out of my sleep-deprived haze, but not this month. In fact, can someone send me a photo of what the sun looks like? I’ve forgotten (memory failing too…)

Midi and Mini Minx are still concerted in their efforts to ensure I don’t get a whole night’s sleep. Last night (Thursday 14 June) it was Midi sneaking into my bed, then head-butting and kicking me in the back till I sleepily gave up all rights to my half of the bed. I swear she’s training me to be able to sleep on a washing line.

I think Mini’s sickening for something. At the optician’s this morning (just a regular biennial eye-check) she sobbed when the very nice and child-sensitive man gently suggested that she sit on the floor for a second while he looked at Mummy’s eyes. This isn’t like her. Mini could charm the birds from the trees, sweeties from the clutches of babies, and has a strange routine that seems to charm Daddies (she stands stock-still, cocks her head coquettishly, points and yells, “Man!” It’s mostly fine, especially when she gets the gender right…). But this morning she was having none of it, and just wanted to sit on my lap. Yesterday she wanted to huddle in the sling in a front carry. At around 14kg, this isn’t the easiest of things to pull off with a size 3 wrap! Kind of a backwards ruck-tied-under-bum with a cross behind my back). But the cuddles were admittedly lovely.

After the eye check (right eye still robotically perfect; left eye beginning to accept that it’s part of an old fart’s body and starting to weaken), we went for a milkshake / coffee and Empire biscuit/scone while I chatted with a fellow grown-up. We do this once a month on average, and the girls know my friends. Normally they’re happy to quietly stuff themselves silly with Evil Sugary Treats, but not this morning: Mini just wanted to sit on my lap. After 40 minutes I still hadn’t had any caffeine or scone, and oh boy, did it show! I could barely string 2 words coherently together.

Maxi is hoarse; Midi’s 9-day-long sore throat (red tonsils + blisters) and 10-day-long tummy ache both got better just as I finally made an appointment with the GP. Well, it felt like they finally went away in the waiting room the second before we were called in. I do feel foolish taking an obviously perfectly well child to skip and dance around the surgery. Again! But hey-ho, I bet I’m not the only one. The GP (who I’m a little wary of because she’s told me some blatant untruths as Utter Fact) was absolutely brilliant with Midi: she established an immediate, easy, excellent rapport with her, had Midi giggling and purring within seconds, and checked her out most thoroughly. I tell you, I spent 5 minutes watching her tame my little whirlwind and was taking notes myself! So I’ve definitely thawed my inner feelings towards her – anyone who’s that good and genuine with 4 year olds is a very sound person indeed.

So: what germs are the girls incubating? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Joker Minx

Mini Minx has had another speech upgrade.

She could say over 80 words before she learned to say ‘yes’. Even then, it was pronounced ‘le’ as in leg, for months. Last month she moved to ‘yeah’. This week she has learned how to say ‘yessssssss’, and now loves to say it so much that she’ll frequently say “Yesssss!!! No” in reply to anything. Just for the hell of it.

Mini thinks that “any more” is a physical thing, like chocolate or milk. I caught her looking for it after I asked her if she wanted any more. I tried to explain what I’d meant. She just wailed, “I want any more! Wo want any more NOW!”

(‘Wo’ is how she pronounces her own actual name. Well, you don’t think we really named her Mini, do you? Do you?!)

She is obsessed with “Mickee Mou” (Mickey Mouse without the s) and the colour pink. Even when it’s not actually pink.

Today was also a very momentous day, though: at 26 months she made up her first joke. We were in the car waiting on Midi and The Boss returning from the toilet. I could hear Mini chatting away to herself behind me, chuckling: “Hairband…glass! Hairband…glass!” I turned around to see her flip her hairband over her eyes and shout “glass!” (glasses) as she peeped through the 2 holes. It’s a more sophisticated level of humour than Midi’s current jokes, endearing as they are (Knock, knock. Who’s there? My mummy and my daddy. My mummy and my daddy who? I love you both more ‘n anything inna whole wide world)

I’ll end with 2 Facebook entries that sum up my week with Mini, though:

7 June 2012: Our youngest baby: face of a princess, voice of an angel, grace of a ballerina… farts like a builder. We just had 8 loud ones: squeaky, trumpetty, rumbly, 2-tone, the lot. She’s just stopped giggling and started sniffing them. She disnae get it fae me!!

4 June 2012: R is mystified why I’ve put a nappy back on her. The 2 carpet puddles and the dinner-plate-sized smear of poo on the floor within *one hour* are a hint, littlest daughter, that you are NOT ready for potty training. No matter how much you protest, no matter how much you squeal, no matter how much you pout. Love, Mama xxx

Babywearing Daddy

The Boss will probably kill me for this. Ha! So you’d better not tell him.

This week he’s been off work on leave and I had ‘A Little List’. You know, the massive list of things I really wanted and needed him to attend to, like sort out the car; mow the lawn; decorate the bedroom with the wallpaper and paint lurking, ready, under the bed; that kind of thing. The sort of stuff I am physically able do myself, but actually can’t when I have 3 ankle-biters needing constant attention. Or they’ll eat each other. Or the cats. Did he do any of it? Did he hell… To be fair, most of our plans got sabotaged because of:

  • 3 minxes being unwell on and off all week (bad throats and tummy-aches, not sleeping at night, teething, bed-wetting, needing Mummy Cuddles for nightmares. It all equals about 16 hours sleep total for the entire week, which isn’t exactly conducive to doing anything other than drooling vacantly)
  • a sudden, unexpected hospital appointment (Midi Minx follow-up appointment for hearing; it’s still bad; she’s to get grommets after all; whilst relieved at action being taken, I shall be investigating the grommets-that-never-were last November further…).
  • school meetings (seeing the head; new P1 Parents Induction Meeting*)
  • him doing most of the cooking – yum!

Blah, blah, blah. One big achievement, though, is that with all the walking back and forth to the school, I slyly ‘enabled’ him: I was wittering on about how babywearing daddy father carmin rosecomfy my lovely Didymos Carmin Fish sling was, how flexible and practical it was, how it was worth every single penny, and that Mini Minx loved it. Why not try it for yourself? So he did…

It’s not every man who’s confident enough in his own skin to wear his little girl in a bright pink wrap in public, but I’m very proud to say that The Boss is. Mini snuggled into the back of his neck and had a snooze as he marched up the hill. I don’t know which of the 3 of us enjoyed the experience more!

*I’m delighted at the news that Midi will have the same excellent teachers for her first year that Maxi had this year. Talk in the playground is that Maxi’s teacher next year, whilst newly-appointed, is a much-loved brilliant teacher who was here a few years ago. What a relief!