Over 4 years ago, I got to know electronically a group of pregnant women whose babies were due in the same month as Midi Minx. Although I was a second-timer, I really enjoyed blethering about our pregnancies online, taking regular time to myself to think only of me and my unborn baby. I made a couple of very good friends who I still keep in touch with. One of them, S, even inspired me to start my own business after she did, leading by her example. I met S and her little girl, L, for the first time in real life 2 years ago, and again a few times since. The weekend of 4-6 August 2012, though, they came for a sleepover.
L is a beautiful, bright, girly, bubbly little thing with the most stunning red, curly hair: a true Princess Merida Minx. My minxes were as excited about meeting her as they would have been with real royalty. They both arrived in time for tea on the Saturday. Although my minxes were on their best behaviour, they make a lot of noise and mess. No really, a LOT. Chimps tea parties are more civilised. Merida took it all in her stride, enjoyed Maxi and Midi fawning over her, and decided that she would indeed share a bedroom with them rather than take the spare room with her mummy.
I think around 2230hrs we gave up trying to get them to sleep. About 2330hrs they stopped talking. At 2345hrs Merida went to share a bed with her mummy: Midi’s snoring was keeping her awake.
The next day we went for a shamble around the beach and my girls bickered over who was having which pink fishing net. Foster Cat decided that we 3 adults obviously weren’t fit guardians over the 4 girls so he followed us all the way down. (Killer Cat doesn’t give 2 hoots). He eventually bottled it a few yards from the sand and found a nice van to curl up in. I think he balanced on the wishbone. And there he stayed for the next 90 mins till we came home again, where S demonstrated that she is also a skilled Cat Whisperer, and carried him home.
The rockpooling was fun: we found 2 star-fish, a baby langoustine, more baby whelks (bigger and yellower, this time) and some beautiful frilly white seaweed. Well, I asked around on Facebook and Someone Who Knows About These Things suggested it might be bleached out Furbellows (Saccorhiza polyschides), a brown algae. That’s pretty cool, as that was my uneducated conclusion from studying Google images!
Anyway, as the tide was out I thought the girls would have a lovely long afternoon turning over rocks. But poor Merida Minx almost immediately slipped and tumbled bum-first into a rockpool. Luckily I’d brought a change of clothes, but it meant that the next girl to get wet would stay wet. So we didn’t hang around all that long.
Back at the ranch, the girls got dressed-up as princesses (obviously) then had fun bounding around on the seesaw and blowing bubbles. Merida enjoyed picking peas, broad beans, lettuce and guddling for potatoes in the garden. Four is sometimes a tricky age to eat meal after meal of food that tastes or looks a bit different to what you’re used to – my home-made lemon drizzle cake, and a mountain of watermelon and cherries might sound nice to an adult, but aren’t to all children’s tastes – but Merida was a star, trying everything and enjoying most.
The next night, I think the girls gave up yapping a bit earlier – 2330hrs. None of them were happy bunnies on that Monday morning! They even sat and watched CBeebies. Unfortunately Maxi had a swimming lesson, so we had to hot-foot to the pool while Merida and her mummy went home, with lots of sleepy “Safe journey!” “Bye-bye” and “I love you” (from Mini) ringing in their ears. I hope it’s not long before we meet back up again.