Hallowe’en

The playground and Facebook are full of talk about Hallowe’en.  Even “Are the kids going out guising?” has replaced “Mingin’ weather, isn’t it?” as the usual morning greeting between neighbours.

Guising…  Yeah.  It’s what we’re doing instead of Trick or Treating.  Call me a rabid, old-fashioned, stick in the mud if you must, but this family isn’t going to take on an American tradition that has strong overtones of threats, violence, begging and social disorder (! We’ve got that down pat already, thanks…)  When I was a child, going round the neighbours’ houses on Hallowe’en night, dressed up, was called guising.  You knocked, you showed off your outfit and saw if the neighbour could see through your disguise.  Then you had to perform – a little song, dance or joke (everyone went for joke) – and in return you were given tangerines, peanuts, sometimes sweets and very occasionally some money.

One good import from the States, though, is that the lit pumpkin outside the door has become the Internationally Recognised Symbol of ‘this is a Hallowe’en-friendly house, feel free to knock’.  As the minxes have never been out guising before, we’re only going to knock on the doors of friends and neighbours who I’ve already cleared it with in advance, or people we know with lit pumpkins outside.  I suspect what will happen is that all the families will all be out at the same time and we’ll all just cross on the street.  Maybe I’ll take a sack of goodies with us, then…?

I understand that some Christians have an issue with children mimicking and dressing up as witches.  Actually, I do understand that point of view: it does follow-on logically that if you believe that there is an actual Devil, wreaking havoc in the world, then it’s not great to dress-up and pretend to be one of his followers.  I don’t hold that view, personally, but can see where folk are coming from.  At the school that’s not really an issue because rather than have Hallowe’en parties or dress-ups, they have one of the regular ‘Come As You Please’ days instead.  So yeah, the world and his dog is dressed for Hallowe’en, but the children who don’t want to be witches, devils, scary things, can come in jeans and tee-shirts or as fairies or whatever, and it’s not necessarily for Hallowe’en.

Maxi and Midi wanted to be Harry Potter and Hermione.  Eh?  Sheesh, in my day everyone wanted to be a punk.  That was easy.  How do you turn a girly-girl of 6 into a teenage boy?  The minxes have 2 boxes full of dress-up clothes, but the requirement was for home-made fancy dress.  It’s amazing how satisfied little kids are with some bin-bags, wrapping paper and an old pair of Daddy’s glasses, eh?  And when they’re old enough not to be, they can dress-up themselves.  One thing me and The Boss aren’t going to relinquish though – carving the pumpkin!

Ahhhh, Hallowe’en… the first milestone of fun on the run-up to Christmas.  I might be an old fart now, but I still feel the faint shadows of the excitement I felt as a child in fancy-dress.  Maybe I’ll get busy with the bin-bags, cling-film and face-paint myself later on?  Now that will properly frighten the kids!

What Should I Title This?

I’m going to write a long post about the letter I got from the girls’ school today in Maxi Minx’s homework folder because I feel very emotional about it.  I might even have a little rant.  I will quote some of the letter, only to make sure that there’s less chance of mis-construing what’s been said: eg I’ve not been told to stop blogging, I’ve just been asked to stop blogging about the school and its pupils.  Typing out the entire letter would feel underhand to me, so I’ve only reported the bits that I think are relevant.  Should I not wait until I’ve spoken to the Head first?  Probably!  But I need to get this stuff out of my own whirling head so that I can sleep tonight (I got an hour’s kip last night in between Midi and Mini kicking me.  Not being able to sleep now means I’m *really* upset!).  And perhaps the poor man’s waiting up, refreshing this screen all night, to see if I update my blog anyway 😉

After this post, I don’t intend to mention it again, really, because in the greater scheme of life this isn’t important.  As I was reminded by a friend whose home is facing devastation while he’s on another continent at his mother’s deathbed.  So here it is in a v-e-r-y long one-er!

Let me set the scene: I’ve spent all day aimlessly wandering around the local town and a garage waiting on my car being serviced.  The weather was cack.  I should have got a taxi home, but thought me and Mini would enjoy our adventure.  And I’m trying to tighten the purse strings so much that I’ve stopped dyeing my hair blue and purple (!).  We didn’t enjoy the adventure – she’s teething and grumpy, I’m sleep-deprived and uber-grumpy, I was cold and wet, and had to make the Call of Shame to an understanding friend (“Please can you mind my kids at pick-up time?  I’m going to be a little late”).  The car service finishes 5 mins before the bell goes, so I get there 5 mins late, and am stressed parking in a really anti-social spot, on the pavement down from the school, humiliatingly aware of my usual blog rants about inconsiderate parkers.  I am now a hypocrite.  Great.  We get home, I have a lot to do to get the girls ready for Hallowe’en parties tomorrow, get homework done, feed 2 cats who’ve been out, cold and wet and hungry all day and who are telling me how much they hate me, the house is a tip, and I’ve got a meeting tonight to get ready for.  There’s a letter in Maxi’s homework folder.  I open it while taking peanuts out of Mini’s hand, pushing a cat away and crunching through an upended box of cereal, yelling at Midi to come and do her homework Right.This.Minute.

I am writing because I have been made aware of your blog […] by concerned parents and staff“.  OMG, parents plural?  Staff, plural?  You mean that many people actually read this blog?  And they’re concerned?  About me?  Oh bless them!

Whilst I recognise the internet is a free forum for any opinion, I am asking that you avoid issues related to the school“.  So not that kind of concerned, then?  Oh-oh…  But I’m a stay-at-home mum; school takes up an awful lot of my energy and time.  I’d have nothing to blog about.  What’s up?

As was discussed at the induction meeting for the Parent Council every member has a role in promoting the school in a positive light and supporting the school.  As a member of the Parent Council it is expected that you engage in constructive dialogue with the school, raise issues on the agenda of meetings, or you can complain as a parent individually.  Other parents recognise that you are on the Parent Council and give additional weight to your opinions as they perceive that they represent the Parent Council or that you are privy to additional information“.  I didn’t say that I was on the Parent Council on this blog, because I didn’t think it was relevant – I volunteered, there was space, so I became a member.  I wasn’t elected or chosen.  Yes, we Parent Council newbies were told by the Local Authority (it wasn’t debated or discussed) to be positive about the school at all times and watch what we said in public and to other parents.  I didn’t feel entirely comfortable about that, but recognised that I *do* take all my big concerns straight to the school (crikey, I’ve done just that 3 times this year already!)  I honestly (perhaps naively?) thought that my feelings about the school were transparent.  In case they weren’t, here they are:  (Brace yourself).  The policies and staff are not perfect, but the entire teaching and support staff genuinely try hard and overall I’m extremely happy that my girls go to the school.  I’ve whole-heartedly recommended it to more than one person who wasn’t sure whether to send their children there or not.  But apparently at least 4 people (parents plural and staff plural) have seen this blog from a different perspective.  So I clearly have a simple decision: omit everything about the school and pupils and remain on the Parent Council, or maintain my right to spout my lily-livered, wishy-washy, handwringing, free speech and resign from the Parent Council.  I chose the latter, and resigned this evening at the start of the meeting.  And och, it’s not so bad – I’m still happy to help out at the school when and where I can, keep voicing my larger concerns in person, and maintain my right to voice my own, insignificant opinions on here.  I don’t believe my presence on the committee will be missed at all.  Win-win!  No-one loses!

I am particularly concerned that you are referring to children in school other than your own by initials.  […] is a small town and children are easily identified from initials“.  I felt a strange mix of horror, anger and disbelief, here – I’ve only ever used a single initial to identify anyone (and here’s a shocker, it’s not always been the correct initial…).  But you know what, it’s perhaps a fair point and maybe warning; from now on I’ll use x, y and z to refer to people and I shall edit any previous posts to reflect that.  So I’ll change S to X, and M to Y, etc.  That kind of thing.  Just to be on the safe side.

It is very upsetting for staff teaching and supporting your children to read negative comments about them on the internet.”  Ouch, ow, ouch.  Oh gosh, that stings!  I started to cry at this point, and shake.  “There will always be areas of school that you will not like or agree with but there are routes to give your opinions to school.  The identification of staff and opinions about them is not helpful to school and our image in the community“.  I didn’t take that lightly – I know that harsh words can leave some people feeling absolutely devastated.  Remember that I think the staff at the school are hardworking, caring human beings.  Who very occasionally do daft things.  Because they’re human (and God Almighty, this entire blog is a testament to lots of the stuff I do wrong, every single day).  So, to think that I’ve caused another person, or worse, people, who by definition I like and respect, any kind of hurt or misery makes me feel like a total shit.  Like a vindictive, horrible bully.  I feel very ashamed and miserable.  But I’ve got no-one to go and say sorry to!  I don’t know who’s pissed off!  Reflecting on my posts, I know I was very snipey about the actions of one fellow-parent around a year ago; I criticised a member of staff last term (the chocolate prizes – but the Head promised to have a word with the member of staff responsible, so my rant shouldn’t have been a surprise, nor should it identify them, because I had and have no idea who they are, either!); and a teacher and a pupil in a very recent post.  Let me deal with the last 2…

I expressed a very negative opinion about a pupil whose actions have made one of my daughters sad, hurt and perplexed for the past 2 months.  This pupil is only a little child him/herself, maybe 10 or 11?  So yeah, I did indeed say their actions were hurtful to my wee girl, and I didn’t say anything factually incorrect.  But in hindsight I should have qualified my rant with “but little 10 year old kids do these things to other little kids, especially ones who’re being a clingy pest hero-worshipping them – it’s normal and part of growing up”.

The teacher…  Oh God!  I do feel guilty.  Well, it’s one of 2.  I don’t know which one did the actions that ticked me off.  Both are very hard-working, kind, loving teachers.  I absolutely know I’ve said as much more than once on here, and to other mums – I’ve definitely sung their praises (quite rightly).  I sniped about their actions that unwittingly resulted in my little girl spending the afternoon sobbing in my arms.  Unless my recollections are wrong (could be – I’m permanently sleep-deprived and forgetful!), though, again I didn’t lie.  That’s what happened.  Do you know, last time my daughter had a planned absence, I got a phonecall from the school asking where she was even though I’d written the class teachers a letter in advance.  Someone had forgotten my letter.  So for this planned absence I wrote to the teachers AND the administrator, so it wouldn’t get missed.  But that can’t have hurt the teacher / teachers’ feelings, could it?  Could it?!  Oh dear, I think it might have, because I can’t think of anything else.  Don’t make me read this entire sodding blog to check, will you?  Please?  I’ll be good from now on…!  And do I go see both to say sorry if I hurt them?  Or wait for them to collar me?

This evening I feel hurt, angry, guilty and resentful.  I’m going to read some of this blog again to see if I owe anyone an apology.  If I do, it will be unreserved, wholehearted, and there may even be (more) tears from me.  And shaking.  I’m doing lots of shaking just now because I really, really don’t ‘do’ strong emotions.  Did I tell you that on some kind of level I’m perhaps more than a little bit autistic?  But I’ll leave that for another post – hey, this blog is supposed to be the rantings of a middle-aged, grumpy old git about her little cherubs, not about me!

So in summary: I didn’t commit libel or slander because I haven’t said anything untrue and haven’t named any person, school or town (and never will); it wasn’t so terrible that I was phoned or spoken to in person (just a wee letter in a homework folder).  But then again, it was so serious that it warranted the use of the colour printer!  Sheesh, that’s me told! 😉

Oh Dear…

I just got a letter home from the school smacking my wrist about this blog.  It seems I’ve really upset some staff and parents from what I’ve written on here.  Oh God… I’m in tears and am now deeply upset myself (and mortified).  I’m going to re-read my posts later on tonight and see who I need to apologise to – I know I do blow off some steam on here, but I innocently thought that despite my carping, that it was obvious that I think the staff at the girls’ school are amazing.  Human, but amazing.  Damn, damn, damn!

I’m not going to delete or change posts or take the blog off the internet, because although I may be a fool, I’m not a coward as well.  I will undoubtedly add apologies instead (which will be back-ups to any apologies I give in person).

And until I opened the envelope, there was me thinking that today’s entirely crappy day couldn’t get any worse…!

Bed Swap

I haven’t moaned for a long time about sleep-deprivation.  It’s not because it’s not happening – it’s because I’ve gotten fed-up of moaning about it.  Let me give you a little photo-montage to explain how it goes…

Foster Cat likes the top bunk and Maxi Minx’s stuffed toys very much.

In fact, each night he takes over more and more of Maxi’s pillow.  So she wakes up and pushes him aside.  Like Goldilocks he tries his luck in the bottom bunk.  Midi then wakes up and comes stumbling in to me, where she likes to spend the Silent Hours whirling into the covers like a caterpillar in a cocoon or head-butting me till I move over.

Mini, I think, taught Foster Cat his moves.  She’s always primed, ready for Nocturnal Parental Torment at any time.  The slightest noise will rouse her to come battering into our room, squealing at her big sister until she moves over, and commencing her kicking and punching of me until I move over and give her half the bed.  She usually throws in a few wails of “Nooooo, Daddy too ‘melly! Yuck!” so that he doesn’t get away scot-free.

I think this last photo sums up 2am in our household, though.  Need I say any more?!

Me? Smug?

The Shortest, Biggest Minx

Have you ever wondered if you’re a bad influence to your kids?  I don’t wonder; I know I am.  I have proof…

I know that I can be a bit attached to my laptop: I run my little business from it; I talk to my friends and family by email and Skype from it; I write my patterns and build photo albums on it; I blog and even sometimes actually write-write from it.  Poor Mini sometimes feels a bit neglected, even though she’s right beside or behind me.  We have an old PC on the table to the right of this one.  My youngest minx has learned that misbehaving generally means I’ll ignore her, but if she can make me laugh, well, she’s got my undivided attention for, ooooooh, 3 minutes at least!  So she’s taken to sneaking up to the old PC and bashing

Shhhh – I workin’, Mummy!

industriously on the keyboard.  When I ask her what she’s doing she says:”Shhhhhh! I workin’!”

If I bug her some more, she glares at me and hisses: “Shhh, Mummy! I p’tendin’ do workin’!” (I’m pretending to work)

Aye – she’s got my number, alright…

I watchin’ TV (and engaging my transverse abdominus. Ish)

Me, I like a hard chair.  I don’t like squashy sofas and prefer something more wooden stool-like.  But Mini’s preference for no seat at all has nothing to do with me.

I bonkers

Her latest speech upgrade has included some really useful phrases.  Well, they must be, because she now uses them all the time when she’s not biting us (that’s another story…), especially if she feels she’s not getting an equal share of the “hotcorns” (popcorn) The Boss has made the family:

“That’s not fair!”

“Daddy smelly!”

“Not like Mummy”

“My turn!”

When she’s not making me laugh, she likes to stand on her head.  Midi liked to spend as much time as she could on her head at this age.  I’m guessing it’s got something to do with newly-emerging back molars (bottom right is through, bottom left is just cutting).  I’ve no real idea why, though; I’m not bonkers.

Greengrocers

A wee draft from August that I found lurking, unpublished

A hundred years ago, pre-kids, I used to garden a lot.  With only a baby Maxi Minx to hinder me, I indulged in a lot of container fruit and veg growing.  The arrival of Midi and Mini seriously slowed me down (though we smugly weaned Mini on a home-grown carrot), and I didn’t think we’d done much this year until I actually reflected on how much we’d eaten from the garden.

Mini’s expression is due to her being photographed wearing odd crocs; nothing to do with only enough peas for 2 people

Over the years The Boss has built three 4 x 4 ft raised beds at the top end of the garden.  We’ve added a seat and some pebbles so that the minxes can clearly see that the small bit surrounded in stones is for ADULTS and the enormous green grassy bit is for KIDS.  Yet they still clamour after our bit of the garden…  We still have a lot of things in containers that I’ve never gotten around to planting in the garden.  So the blueberries, tayberries, strawberries and raspberries are pretty stunted.  Still, the latter 2 have broken through the base of their pots and have started growing wild where they are. They’re obviously happy there, so why tinker with it?

How many I found in the ‘cleared of potatoes’ bed!

We grew half a million potatoes last year, so I tried to grow a whole raised bed of them this year.  Well, the fact we got any at all was a miracle, thanks to Mini.  And although we got a heart-shaped pink potato, the yield was rubbish. T he garlic came up in tiny bulbs after 2 years of growing (though each miniature clove packs a wicked punch).  The phoenix rhubarb died off.  On the other hand, we’ve so far had 7 meals each (for 5 veggie-loving Trouts) from the 3 x 3ft of broad beans and the 1 x 1ft of peas.  Amazing!  The courgettes that finally went into toilet roll tubes before they withered, then were left to fend for themselves till 80% died have sprung into life, and are currently swelling into yellow and so-dark-green-they’re-nearly-black courgettes and big round melon-sized globe marrows.  Which are fantastic fried in butter with a big squeeze of lemon juice at the end – drool!  ETA: and in October, made 4 big jars of courgette chutney!   And it looks like this year’s crop of blueberries is going to be huuuuuge (it was!)

I got perplexed by the brassicas.  I’d tried to encourage Mini and Midi to sow the brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbages in nice, neat lines.  But they dumped all 3 packets in a big heap that I had to desperately salvage with a rake and spread as best I could.  As all 3 types were purple, it’s taken till now to really see what’s what and make sure I’m not thinning out all of one type.  Though it’s not thinning that’s the problem – it’s the caterpillars!  Confucious say: “Don’t plant brassicas in the shade of a buddleia bush, you blinking bozo”.  Wish I’d listened.  Every day I go out and pick ’em off by hand, and chuck the fat little things on the grass for the birds to pick off.  Well, after being away for a few days, there were over 40 of the green and stripey ones.  Then there were 30 or so the next day.  And so on, and so on.  Today there were only 5 (and a fair few clusters of butterfly eggs as usual).  I feel guilty whipping off the caterpillars, but they’re standing in the way of me feeding my children.  So the guilt only lasts long enough for me to chuck ’em, rather than squash them.  Well, the big ones, anyway.  My main thought, though, is how can so many hide away?  I expected one big blitz, then only find a few a day.  Not be counting in the hundreds!

Edited to add: after a week of this tomfoolery, I manned-up, went out with rubber gloves on every 2-3 days, and squished them so they couldn’t make their way back.  Even in October I’m still squashing 10-15 in each Caterpillar Cull.  I am going to Caterpillar Hell when I die. 

So why is growing your own veg such a big deal?  Well, it’s not really.  I just really enjoy getting the minxes home from school, telling them what meat we’re having for dinner, then getting them to go out and pick what veg they fancy going with it.  They’ve never been fussy eaters (take after their greedy mama), so it’s not that I need to persuade them to eat.  I guess it’s the same reason why the minxes, as toddlers, used to go to petting zoos and drool, “Yummy!” rather than think the animals cute – we’re trying to bring them up to know where food comes from, and properly prepare and enjoy it (as opposed to take everything out a cardboard or plastic box and just shovel it down any old way).

Grommets Aftermath

Tues 25 Sep

Last time I had a spare 5 minutes to blog (oh don’t… it really is mental just now; I dream about being able to pee on my own without a toddler or child clinging to me) I wrote about Midi Minx getting her grommets.  Originally I’d intended to keep her off school for a day or maybe 2, but she wanted to go back the next day, the surgeon said it was fine, and she’s smack-bang in the middle of learning a new phonic a day.  So I let her go.  Biiiiiig mistake…

I’d sent her in to school with reinforced instructions that if she felt too tired or had any pain, she was to tell her teacher to phone me.  She’d breezily brushed aside my warnings and skipped in to school.  I picked up a totally different child at 2.35pm.  As soon as she saw me, she burst into tears and limped over, into my arms.

Now, Midi is not a hysterical or overly-sensitive little soul.  She’s roughty-toughty, grab-the-world-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-laugh-at-it kind of person.  I’ve not seen her cry for a reason other than physical pain for many months.  I asked what was wrong, and it all came tumbling out:

“I felt so LONELY!” she sobbed.  “My buddy ignored me again.  No one wanted to play with me!”

What about your best friend, X?  “She wasn’t there!”

What about your friend, Y?  “He was asleep on his desk!” she wailed.

How about Z and A?  You like to play with them.  “They just stuck their tongues out at me and wouldn’t let me play too!”

B & C?  “They only wanted to play together and didn’t want to play with a girl!”

You were honestly lonely?  Absolutely no-one wanted to play with you?  “No.  And everyone was shouting and it was too loud!”

didymos indio cypress

She wanted to snuggle into my neck instead of rolling out pastry? She *definitely* wasn’t herself.

If I’d thought more, I could have anticipated that the terrible weather indicated an indoor playtime, which would be noisy as hell.  Yay, her ears are obviously working, but oh my God, the heartache when your gregarious, funny little girl cries over being left out and feeling lonely.

I figured it was as much to do with being tired and the after-effects of the anaesthetic as much as anything else.  Oh, and a big dose of the fact that her Buddy is bloody useless and has been all month – Midi worships her, but the older girl will only say hello if an adult is nearby, won’t play with Midi, and consistently isn’t there when Midi actually needs her.  I’ve told Midi that she’s a rubbish buddy and to play with other P1 kids.  But Midi loves her.

I think it also doesn’t help that her teacher “forgot” why Midi was off yesterday, claiming that she was about to report her absence before she remembered.  So me telling her about the op a month before verbally, and again in writing 10 days before, was useless.  And requesting in advance a bit of the work she’d miss, so we could work on it at home the weekend before the op, was totally pointless and a waste of my time.  As a result Midi had to catch up on 2 days’ work when she felt tired and emotional.  Great.  Just what I was trying to avoid.  Next time I’ll save myself the hour of writing multiple letters to teachers and administrator, save on paper and ink, and just not give a stuff, shall I?

Plated mince pie with rich shortcrust pastry… you can almost smell the thick, oniony gravy from here!

Luckily I’d taken the car to pick the girls up from school in case Midi was tired.  She cried quietly in the back the whole way home.  I had a private few tears myself.  When my attempts to jolly her out of her heart-ache failed, I did what I had to do: put her on my back in the sling and made us all some serious comfort food.  It did make everything a little brighter in that 4 year old world of hers.

Edited: I removed the initials D, S, M, another M, and another 2 single initial letters and replaced them with A, B, C, X, Y and Z.  I hope that makes it clearer…

Midi The Hungry Caterpillar

Monday 24 Sep

Still heart-wrenching to see my hungry little caterpillar skip off to hospital with her Daddy, like it’s a day out

…a day I’d been looking forward to and dreading in equal measure: Midi Minx’s 2nd attempt at getting grommets.  (Remember last time?  She went in for grommets but instead got adenoids out).  I’d gotten myself into a right tizz, convinced that the operation we’d been waiting on for 7 months would be delayed yet again because perhaps Midi would catch a cold, or the surgeon would refuse, or she would be bumped off the list, or we’d be late to the hospital, or… or… a million equally unlikely things.

I think I got so uptight because the last week I could really see how Midi’s dodgy hearing was affecting her.  The little P1s are learning phonics.  Now, I know Maxi was nearly a whole year older than Midi at this same stage in her schooling, so I shouldn’t compare.  But Midi can’t seem to ‘get’ any phonic in a word other than the first one.  She confuses final phonics and can’t seem to differentiate between ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘g’.  I’ve been making her look at my lips and really over-exaggerating the sounds when we do her homework.  And I’ve been trying really hard not to get exasperated with her when she can’t do it, because I’m not convinced that it’s her being a bit lazy or tired.  I do think her poor hearing is affecting her more than before, now.

About to go and be fixed. Hopefully.

So!  Monday was a big day.  Again Midi chose for her Daddy to come with her the whole time with me shuttling everyone else around to and from school and home.  I got back to the hospital around 9.30hrs with Mini, Maxi safely at school, to find Midi already changed into a hospital gown: she was 2nd on the list and was going down to theatre in a few minutes!  Blimey… not like last time when we didn’t know if she would be seen or not till after 2pm.

The porter who came to take her down was the lovely man who wheeled me down to theatre to have Mini, over 2 years ago.  It’s not that I have an amazing memory: I knew him from my/our previous jobs!  From departmental heads to a stay-at-home mum and hospital porter.  And I think we both look younger and happier nowadays, but there you go.

At 11 o’clock, she drank some juice and a smoothie, but she was *still* hungry…

After half an hour, Midi was wheeled back to the ward.  Obviously she was a little groggy at first, but I guess she hadn’t been given any morphine because she didn’t scratch her nose once.  She wanted a little Mummy-Cuddle while The Boss took Mini down to the cafe for something to eat and drink, but apart from that it

At 11.30, she ate a round of toast, butter, jam and more juice. But she was *still* hungry…

was business as usual – she raced around the ward with her friend’s little sister, who was coincidentally in the bed opposite to get tonsils and adenoids out.

Did my Hungry Little Caterpillar eat the hospital kitchen out of food again?  Well, she gave it a good go:

At 12 o’clock, she ate a round of sandwiches and a Tunnock’s teacake, but she was *still* hungry…

juice, smoothie, toast with butter and jam, then sandwiches, a Tunnocks teacake, more juice, milk and a full lunch.  They let her out mid afternoon, saying that she could go back to school the next day if she wanted to.  Against my better judgement, and swayed by her

That night, Foster Cat and Mini Minx kept watchful eyes on Midi

pleadings, I agreed to.  Obviously Foster Cat and Mini felt the need to keep a closer eye on Midi than usual that night.

Maxi’s New Hero

Sat 22 Sep

Me and Maxi Minx had a girls day out.  Did we go shopping?  (Dear God, no – do you know me at all?!)  Did we go out eating?  (Sadly no – too skint).  Did we go somewhere to have a heart-to-heart chat?  (No – though if we’d wanted to in the car, we’d have been drowned out by Maxi’s choice of loud ‘Girl Music’)  No… we went out to a nearby library to catch a talk by Maxi’s 2nd-favourite author, Debi Gliori.

By the end of the hour, though, I think Debi had become her favourite, over Mairi Hedderwick.  It was a mix of her being an author/illustrator (for 2 years now Maxi has insisted that she will be one when she grows up, ‘or maybe before that’; I believe her!), her wit, humour and warmth.  She absolutely captivated me, from the minute she started talking and made us all laugh until we walked out the door, newly-signed book safely clutched.  Maxi gazed at Debi’s artwork with eyes like dinner plates, and laughed like a drain.

When we went up afterwards to have Maxi’s book signed, my talkative little girl was struck dumb, so I told Debi about Maxi’s ambition.  The Great Lady was charming and lovely to Maxi, and little Maxi spoke of nothing else for the rest of the weekend.

I dropped by Tesco for milk afterwards and coincidentally found a bowl with Midi’s name on it (half price? Don’t mind if I do) and a daft wee toy for Mini, so they didn’t feel left out.  But Maxi knew that today was all about her.  It was such a treat to be able to spend a whole afternoon with her and no other distractions.  She’s growing up to be a funny, smart, thoughtful, heart-ful little girl

Beds

Today’s post is mostly about beds…

Cotbeds

We put Mini Minx into her Big Girl Bed on Sat 15 Sep.  Although she’d not

Midi helps tuck in Mini; we stopped her using Botch Tape and explained that tucks would be enough to keep her in bed (ha! Optimistic fools!)

been trying to escape from her cotbed, I reasoned that if she did, she would badly hurt herself.  Looking ahead a few weeks, I intend to start potty-training her soon.  If I recall correctly , potty-training is lots easier when the child can get up in the night and in the morning and go to the potty or toilet themselves (I’m still mentally scarred by Midi’s “nappy-art” adventures…).  So I decided to get Mini into a big bed, let her get used to it, then when she’d settled down from the new freedom, start potty-training her.Well, it’s now 12 Oct, and that little madam has been relishing the easy access a low bed has been giving her to Mummy’s bed, Midi’s bed, being able to refuse to stay in bed for naps and night-time…  It partly explains why it’s taking me so long to catch up with these posts: I spend any free time at night knitting and designing for my business, whereas day-time free-time is spent blogging.  And Mini’s not exactly been napping successfully.  <doom!>

Hammocks

Stop sniggering and go to sleep. Like the cat in *her* hammock, aka the sofa back

I think I mentioned that I saw a wrap in the most beautiful shade of green that I’ve ever seen, and I’m afraid that my PayPal finger slipped… O:-)  Luckily Mini loves it as much as me, and requests it most mornings on the school run (she’s always safely on my back, out of harm’s way.  Or people who think it’s ok to distract kids next to busy main roads.  Same thing, really.  And it means I can hold Maxi and Midi’s little hands, which I love).

Anyway, I was thinking about how I’d bought it in a size 6 so that I could start wrapping Mini in a Double Hammock, partly because she’s getting so heavy, and partly because although the Didymos Indio Cypress is a linen/cotton blend, it’s pretty thin.  For once, I felt I needed the extra support.  At the same time as I was musing all that, I was also fretting about Mini not napping, and me not sleeping much thanks to her kicking me in the head all night long (especially when Midi decides she needs a nocturnal Mummy-Cuddle too and takes up most of the space).  Somehow the 2 thoughts melded and I came up with this: an indoor hammock!  If only I could trust Mini enough to actually let her nap in it.

Vegetable Beds

That’s it, next year I’m covering the veg beds in fine net.  The cats used lots of seedlings to keep their bums warm and so we lost all our carrots.  The buddleia was a raging success with the local butterflies so much so that they laid eggs all over the cabbages, brussels sprouts and broccoli.  I know I’ve moaned about having to do a messy caterpillar cull every few days, but honestly, where are they all coming from?!  I got around 200 this week alone.  Are they indestructible?  Zombie caterpillars?  Immortal?  On the run from next-door’s garden?!  I really hate killing anything and feel so incredibly guilty squashing them.  If the nets don’t work keeping butterflies away from veg next year, I think I’ll have to bribe the minxes to kill the caterpillars.  Well, the younger 2: Maxi is far more guilt-laden and sensitive than me, poor kid.

Early Grave

Black Forest Belly-Bustin’ Gorgeousness

I don’t know what it is about the start of autumn that makes me feel melancholy and desperate to trough chocolate.  The Boss understands.  So he made this artery-buster of a cake for me: 4 layers of chocolate cake soaked in morello cherry juice and kirsch, whipped cream, morello cherries and grated chocolate.  Does it look nice?  It tasted even better than it looked!  Did it make me feel better?  Oh, I’m not sure – I’ll have to try again.  For scientific comparison purposes, of course…