Monday 14 October, Day 1 of the Tattie Holidays
It’s bucketing down with rain, so there’s no way we’re getting outdoors. Still, I have a cunning plan – shell out for all 3 minxes to go to the local soft play area. Well, I say local, but actually I have to drive for 20 minutes. Still, they get to chase around for 2 hours and have a packed lunch with lots of trashy treats in it while I get to knit my first Christmas present (scarf in ruffle yarn – hate the bloody stuff. Never again!) and watch them with beady eyes.
D’you think they might be tired out by that? D’you think Midi Minx might be exhausted after throwing herself about, tearing after 3 thugs who were terrorising the little kids? (all 3 were male, needed a wash, a haircut, and to be told ‘no’ a little more often. In my judgy-pants opinion). Nope. Not one little bit. Doh. OK, Plan B…
I’m in town anyway, so let’s try food shopping. It starts off a fun exercise in counting how many times I have to tell Midi to stop clinging to the side of the shopping trolley because it sends it wonky and makes me steer the bloody thing into the path or legs of fragile little old ladies. I really start to get tetchy when the count reaches 20, and I’ve not made it out the meat aisle yet. The checkout assistant asks if I need help packing. “No, just help keeping these 3 safe, alive and preferably out of trouble, haha”, I grimace. I’ll definitely tell that joke again next time, because suddenly her colleague descends and keeps the girls amused while I ram shopping into bags as fast as I can. Fantastic! She even gives them colouring-in sheets to take home and bicker about all afternoon (“She scribbled over my drawing!” “She ripped my page!” “She won’t let me have the emerald green crayon!”).
By now I’m getting a little desperate to keep these kids amused, and am beginning to seriously think about how long their jackets would stay wet in this not-very-dry house for if I send them out to burn off some steam. So I pull out the big guns as Plan C: an Alvin and the Chipmunks DVD I picked up for £3. The kids pounce on it gleefully and take their places in front of the tv and dvd player politely, between my bed and my sewing machine. I pull out a sewing pattern and contentedly prepare to spend a pleasant hour or 2 relaxing beside the kids. I switch on the TV like a trilling Julie Andrews. Nothing. Oh God in Heaven, don’t do this to me! The TV’s broken. No…. No! You’re kidding… I turn it on and off again. I turn it on and off again at the wall. I hit the remote control buttons a bit harder. I try footering with the SCART cable. I know deep down that when you switch on a CRT-type tv and you get a bright flash in one line in the middle of the screen that nothing is going to resurrect this baby. But I try like a rabid optimist for nearly 20 minutes.
Admitting defeat finally, I slink downstairs to hide from the noise of the kids beating each other up and screaming. One of the cats has left a black poo on the carpet and the other one has left a dead mouse on the step.
The Boss takes one look at my dark, silent face when he walks through the door and wordlessly pours me a big glass of wine, gestures to the Secret Snack cupboard and stands aside. Good man!