I’ve not been writing and it’s sending me mad. Well, either not writing, or trying to handle keeping a big house clean and tidy and ready for viewers / nosy people looking through the windows, and keeping 3 hyperactive, emotional little girls busy and occupied. Tonight I’m leaving the kitchen a scene of devastation and am writing instead of mopping that floor for the 3rd time today… (boiled egg remnants this morning, spilled hot chocolate this afternoon, spilled chicken curry and spat out chicken curry this evening).
I’ll fill you in on the days in between later, but it’s enough to say that it’s been a stream of depressing parenting fails: lots of shouting, tantrums and boundary-pushing behaviour. And the kids have been being little brats, too (ba-doom-tish!) Today, though, was going to be different.
We went to the nearest town to pick up some bits and bobs. First was 6 ballgowns I’d tried to sell through a shop. Nope. Not one. Maybe I’ll try eBay, or the 50p-a-kilo man. Anyway, I’d gone in steeling myself to be yelled at: the woman who runs it seems to keep a special voice for me – top volume and v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, which I find irritating beyond measure. Today, though, not only was the volume painless, but she even filled a bag of hair bobbles and headbands for the girls, for free. They were gleeful; I was cut-up that my de-cluttered house was about to refill, but very touched at her generosity. Next was a wee trip to B&Q for a sprinkler… Look, we don’t have hosepipe bans up here. Don’t remember the last one. Stop gasping and looking horrified, ok? It doesn’t make me a bad person! And then, fulfilling a long-standing bribe, I took the girls to Evul MaccyDs.
We made a right entrance: Midi and Mini Minxes fought to hit the button on the automatic door first, then fell in (splat). I plonked all 3 down at the nearest empty table and told them to sit and stay. Mutiny. Pouts. Midi leapt off her seat.
“Fine!” I huffed. “If I can’t trust you to sit here while I get the food, then that’s it – home! We’re going home now. Move!”
The people at the surrounding tables looked horrified. The minxes looked sceptical. I turned for the door. The minxes looked crest-fallen. Midi helpfully apologised. I came over, took a suddenly-compliant Mini’s hand*, sat the other 2 down, and went for food.
*This was a big deal! Mini and I are currently waging an “I’m not holding Mummy’s hand in public” war. When we’re anywhere near cars or potential danger, if she won’t hold my hand then I grip her by the arm. It’s not negotiable. Being a tenacious little madam, she’s still riling against this Absolute Rule of Safety nearly a year after it was first explained carefully to her.
We then spent a really happy 40 minutes troughing, chatting, laughing and even sharing a poke of chips and single pot of ketchup. And the ultimate in sisterly love: Maxi gave Mini her last grape from the fruit bag!! They were brilliant about going to the toilet and cleaning up, covering each others ears while the third sister used the rocket-powered hand-drier. I think it helped giving them Secret Missions. Example: “Midi, your Secret Mission is to go get 5 napkins; one for each of us and one for Mini’s nose. I’m not telling you where they are; you have to go find them” and “Mini, your mission is to eat a cheeseburger right now without getting out of your seat. How will you manage to get hold of one?” then feigning surprise at her whipping one out from her little cardboard box. The oldies are the besties.
We had to go via the GPs – one of my back moles was cut out, and the other is being frozen off. Today was session 2. The girls were ok about sitting on the floor in a busy, hot waiting room, cuddling toys or me. Mini suddenly piped up: “Mummy got die-a-rear!” I cringed. I don’t have diarrhoea. I hoped no-one understood Mini’s baby lisping. “Mummy got die-a-eah! Out her bottips!” she crowed (‘bottips’ = buttocks in Mini-ese). I shushed her. “And blood when she wee-wees!” I laughed aloud in shock. The mum opposite me sniggered and flashed me a I’ve-Been-There-I-Feel-Your-Pain smile. Then Maxi started up with: “Did you know that when Mummy eats peanut butter, she does the most amazingly…”. I cut her off with a sharp Enough! God, thank goodness I’m not an axe-murderer: those kids would tell everyone where I’d hidden the bodies!
On the drive home, suddenly out of the blue, little Mini’s bottom lip pouted, her chin wobbled and she cried piteously. “I miss my Daddy!” she wailed. Poor little mite! Maxi and Midi both leaned over their car seats to hug her. They’ve talked to The Boss every night and we’ve talked about him often each day. Of course we all miss him. But this was the first time, in 4 days, that any of them had actually articulated that or cried.
When we got home, I got out the hosepipe and attached the £6.95 cheap plastic 8 pattern sprinkler. Fantastic! Normally I’d never bother watering lawns. But I guess a patch of brown, dead grass isn’t too enticing to potential buyers. So I watered the lawns and the kids at the same time. An entire afternoon’s cheap entertainment, with ice-pops at half-time. Just like when I chased them with the hose a few days ago**, Midi was the mental, exuberant one, unafraid of attacking the water, while her sisters squealed and skittered at the edges. Midi was the one turning the dial to test all the jets. Midi was the one trialling how it felt to stand or sit on each jet, or wash her hair in it. The girls had an excellent time. The cats caught in the crossfire somewhat less so…
**The kids were really pressing all my buttons on Tuesday. I gave myself a 10 min time-out before I murdered one, and went to water the wilted flowers out the front while they played in the back garden. The little devils followed me so that they had an audience for their 3 day-long whinge. I may or may not have accidentally changed the nozzle from ‘gentle plant soak’ to ‘mega jet-propelled ouchy-whoosh’. I may or may not have cackled a little too maniacally as I drenched them…
After a quick hot shower (I say ‘shower’… actually I stuck them all in the bath and hosed them down in one long industrial line), I saw that Mini’s lips were purple-black and even my hot-blooded Midi was looking a bit blue. And that’s when I made my big mistake: I made them each a big mug of hot chocolate with floaty marshmallows. Doh! So much chocolate and sugar at 4pm on top of a junk food lunch just sent them loopy. I could see it starting to affect them about half an hour later, when we were at the library (no, I wasn’t being a good, educational mum – I was looking for the audio books of How To Train Your Dragon narrated by David Tennant. A treat for the whole family! 😉 ) By the time I had dinner made, they were being little devils. Again.
So for the 3rd night in a row I found myself on the phone to The Boss, yelling and snarling at them, going incandescent at Mini spitting on the floor and Midi racing through a puddle of curry in her new white socks and trailing it up the stair carpet as she squealed in glee. I think The Boss is worried about how many daughters he’ll have left when he gets home tomorrow. He already knows what language I’m using (Mini can now use 4 or 5 adjectives to go in front of Hell).