Last week at swimming, I was bone-tired. Fed up of 3 wild animals for children who couldn’t walk from the car to the swimming pool reception desk without screaming, escaping in 3 different directions (hmph! Different dimensions, it feels like!) and heading for the wheels of the nearest speeding car. Tired of the same old nagging session of ‘Hurry up and get in the cubicle’ and ‘Hurry up and get your clothes off’, ‘Hurry up and get to the showers’, ‘Hurry up and get out the showers’, ‘Hurry up and get dried / dressed / out the cubicle / to the car”… (I’m sure you get the picture). I was tired of new reception staff who blinked in horror at me barking the minxes’ names and classes at them, whilst holding as many of the 3 by their collar as I could, before they escaped. Then who gaped vacantly as I growled at them, “Open the gate now, please! The kids have nipped under the barrier without me… Open it! NOW!!” The doors of the swimming pool are broken. I darkly suspect it’s in no small part due to my 3 bashing hell out that massively inviting metal ‘push’ button for wheelchair users.
So, last week I’d explained to the girls that I really hate moaning, nagging and shouting at them. They looked sceptical. Well, fair-play – how can you claim to hate doing something that you do all day long, every day?! I explained that it would be so much easier for us all if they did everything quickly, when I asked them. Then I could have more fun with them. I think my smile must have looked like a grimace, because all 3 recoiled in horror. On a roll, I flippantly said, “And if you roll all your clothes together, you can be even faster getting ready when you get out the pool!”
Well, I hadn’t realised that Midi Minx was actually listening! Today, she and Maxi went into a cubicle to get ready for swimming. Literally 2 minutes later, Midi emerged, beaming: “Look, Mummy! A roll of clothes!” I looked as dumb-struck as the new reception staff. After the swimming lesson, Midi had a swoosh under the shower then was out waiting patiently for me, whereas I had to haul Maxi out the shower. Then Midi was dried, dressed and smiling up at me before Maxi had even peeled off her swimsuit – she just stood staring into space.
Talking of Dolly-Daydream, Maxi nearly got flattened today. Normally she and Midi are released from school and come racing vaguely towards me with big smiles unless they get distracted halfway. Today, Maxi took one look at me, scowled, and slunk off sideways, to go and footer about by the bike sheds. Not being one to put up with sulks, I gathered the other 2 (who’d typically bomb-burst in different directions) and shepherded them all out the school gate. I had a hold of the younger 2 and could see Maxi right behind them. “OK, safe to cross: go, go, go!” I yelled, and they all scampered across the road. Once on the pavement, I did my usual safety-check. One minx, two minxes, three… oh. I looked up, Maxi was still on the other side of the road, looking vacant. She saw me, and went to dash across the road. Right in front of a white car. I roared, “STOP!!!!” so loudly that it silenced the playground. I’m sure the other Mums were thinking, “Oh Christ, there she goes again, screeching at her kids…”. But on the plus side, it worked: Maxi stood stock still till I told her to cross. Silly girl…
On the one hand, my eldest is acting like a wistful, daydreaming, tortured artist-baby. But on the other hand, she’ll suddenly act like a responsible, mature child. Example, we got in through the door at 1710hrs. I got caught up in a big tangle of faff-ness. She noticed that Foster Cat needed fed. Not only did she go off, find a bowl, choose a pouch, empty it carefully and feed him, but she supervised little Mini in doing it (Mini’s favourite ‘job’). What a star! They’ve never fed him unsupervised before!
(What was I doing? Calling back Currys, fighting with my flaky PC, wrestling with the dilemma of ‘Sort out a business query now and provide good customer service or leave it till later and feed my grumpy kids?’. I chose the former. Mistake – a 20 second job took 20 minutes because all computers HATE ME! Fact.)
So when The Boss arrived home at 1740hrs with dinner not even started, never mind on the plate, he did what marks him out from other men: he just asked if I needed a glass of wine, and how he could best help. What a star! I just needed to take 10 seconds to grab some antibiotics without constantly being interrupted and thereby forgetting. Again…
Mini was a very tired little bear today: despite complaining, “No! No! I three! I not a baby!” she sat in our ring sling while her sisters swam. It might have had a lot to do with me pointing out that from her high vantage point, she could put the coins in the vending machine herself to get her beloved ‘cisp-cisps’ (crisps). She happily snuggled in to my shoulder for half an hour, munching and slurping sleepily and happily, feeding me the odd tasty crunch. She even asked me to bring that sling with us when we go on holiday to Orkney.
She’s being pretty clingy just now, and needing lots of cuddles, and telling me repeatedly how much she loves me. This is so out of character that I think she’s coming down with (yet another) bug. It’s very sweet, though. This morning, she woke up between me and The Boss. I pretended to still be asleep. Well, only half-pretended – she was on one shoulder, Midi on the other, so I was pinned down, with both arms pins-and-needles-y and useless. Mini yawned like a cute little cartoon baby, kissed me, stroked my cheek, kissed her Daddy, stroked his cheek, said quietly , “Love you!” then clambered out and scampered off to see her Grandma (visiting for her 3rd birthday). Awwwwww!!!! I need to record that kind of child adulation, because it’s already worn off with our 6-year-old would-be teenager.