This morning the minxes had their biannual dental check. Back in September, I remember that the lovely new dentist had seemed quite intimidated by the Family Trout descending noisily on him at 0845hrs. And immediately afterwards, Midi and I had had to rush back to Elgin for a hearing test (she’s since been signed off the ENT department – hooray!). Gosh, only 6 months ago… Feels like a lifetime!
Today, the girls bickered about who was going to go first in the dentist’s chair. Mini shrieked loudest, and proudly strutted to the big chair, climbed up, laid back, closed her little eyes tight and opened her mouth trustingly, as wide as she could. Model patient. Like her sisters, there were no issues, no decay, no plaque. Easy-peasy. And like last time, I acknowledged that I had no part in their clean teeth so couldn’t claim any credit or glory – The Boss does the bed-time routine after work while I tidy up. And faff around on Facebook.
The socialising of Maxi continues. I had to teach her, as gently as I could, that talking about the dentist loudly, rather than to him, when he was in the same room, was rude. She got upset, even though I’d taken pains to make sure she knew she wasn’t being scolded, just taught. This is the approach me and The Boss are starting to take with her when she does or says something really awkward. It’s part of the dawning realisation that she genuinely struggles with understanding and taking in all the little social niceties that her sisters happily absorb, but she doesn’t. We’ve noticed repeatedly over the last 24 months that Maxi does take everything literally, and that she’s not trying to be cheeky.
Example, last week after an overly-boisterous and grizzly afternoon I ended up yelling, “Just eat your dinner and keep your mouths shut! Tight! No noise!” After a few minutes, I chided Maxi for not eating her dinner. Instead of arguing, she started to cry big fat teardrops. I asked her what was wrong now. She stared at me mutely, her lips pressed together. Lightbulb. “It’s ok, you can speak”, I told her. It all came tumbling out: how could she possibly eat with her mouth closed? And even if she was allowed to eat, how could she eat and make no noise? I took a big deep breath and tried to explain that I’d been too cross to speak literally and had used a kind of shorthand. Satisfied with that, she happily ate her dinner without grumbling too much. I remember The Boss raising an eyebrow at me, and us comparing notes: she really, really does take everything literally. Oh boy…
The dentist (still lovely, and great at explaining things to the kids this time) was very fast, so all 3 were safely tucked away in nursery and school by 9.40am. What to do, what to do…? It was still gloriously sunny, so I took off for a wee swift 2 mile circular walk round the village, ending up retracing the end of the walk me and Mini had done yesterday. It was mostly on big estate tracks or on woodland tracks, and it was just heavenly. Oh, the bliss of being able to walk at my own pace! To be able to walk in a straight line without detouring to check out every single pebble! To be able to march and stomp about and swing my arms and feel *energetic* once more! Ah, if I’d not worn tight jeans I think I’d have jogged round, I felt so euphoric! I spotted a field of snowdrops and an enormous clump of daffodils that should be out in a week or so – lots of reasons to repeat the fun.
I had time to shower and blow-dry my dumb-ass stooooopid hair (love the colour; hate the length!) before picking up Mini from nursery. Just as well – instead of running towards me shrieking “Mummeeeeeee!”, Mini waddled towards me, looking uncomfortable, plucking at her bum, trailing a fog of green smoke. She’d poo-ed herself. Lovely. When I told the staff I was going to be in the toilets for a while, not to lock me in, the lovely ladies offered to clean Mini up for me. Nooooo! (Though I did think about it for 5 whole, tempting seconds).
Still, we got back home in time to put some potatoes on to boil before picking Mini’s sisters up from school. This was their second ever home-lunch, and turned out to be just as successful as the last one: the girls raced home, were overjoyed at there being peas and cake (lunch was just last night’s dinner’s leftovers – we’re on a biiiiiig economy drive), ate everything enthusiastically like they were half-starved, declared that they loved stovies* (recipe below) more than anything (even lasagne), and got back to school in time for a 15 minute play. Perfect!
When we got back from the lunchtime school run, Mini looked like she was going to fall asleep, so she had a quiet afternoon in front of CBeebies while I ironed *yawwwwwn*, then played with me at taking selfies with the camera.
It’s not everyone’s idea of a heavenly day, but it’s pretty close to mine.
It seems there are a million different recipes for stovies. The best one I ever heard of was via my friend I. He quoted: “Peel some potatoes and boil them tae fuck”. That’s probably about right. I’ve tried lots of different variants, and this was today’s version that the kids seemed to enjoy – they licked their plates and begged to be allowed to scrape the pot clean.
- peel about 1.5 potatoes per person
- slice them thickly and put in a thick-bottomed pan
- poke them around with half a sliced onion and some lard over a medium heat for a few minutes.
- dollop in leftover gravy and roast beef from the weekend. The gravy was dark and thick and strong; I diced the roast beef up.
- add enough boiling water so the liquid reaches halfway up the potatoes.
- bring to the boil, put the lid on, lower to a simmer, leave alone for 2 hours.
- don’t let it boil dry. Season at the end if it really needs it.
- just before serving, throw in a double handful of frozen peas.