Sunny Spring Evening

Half past 9 at night, and all 3 minxes are snoring – I think we got today right!

(Well, ok, me and The Boss didn’t have that much to do with it – it was just the lovely weather: sunny, cloudless sky except for a bit of evening lenticularis, tiny breeze, warm, warm, warm!)

For the first time since the girls’ first week at their new school, they all got up, got ready, and off to school without me being driven to yelling and/or screeching. I put it down to the sunny morning, beckoning the girls outside with its promise of warmth and interesting nature-things to explore.

Mini and I couldn’t hang about spotting bumble-bees, though: once her sisters were safely in school, we had to zoom back to unearth swimming stuff for Mini’s swimming lessons. She’s just started Big Girl Lessons, where she can swim with an instructor instead of being accompanied by her Horrible Mother forcing her do terribly scary things like jump in, go for a shower or actually swim. I’ve blogged loads of times about how traumatic other pool-users find going swimming with Mini. I pre-warned her teacher: she hated water on her head, in her eyes, her ears, in fact anywhere on her face; she hated jumping in; she absolutely would not put her head underwater; she’s refused to swim on her back for 4 solid years… The swimming instructor listened to me reeling off my dire warnings, her eyes getting rounder and rounder (the poor soul also has the ‘pleasure’ of teaching Midi and Maxi swimming). I handed Mini over for her taster session, sat back and… Mini made a total liar out of me, ducking and splashing and jumping and blowing bubbles underwater. And swimming on her back with a noodle. Afterwards, as I showered a child who absolutely was not sounding like she was being flayed alive, I asked what had changed.

“I a big gell now”, she grinned winningly.

Well, blow me down.

So, her first ever actual non-mummy-accompanied lesson was last week. The Boss had had a mandatory day off work, so he and me sat in the gallery, studiously saving £3.78 by not having coffees, and watched Mini. Both totally agog. This week, I ignored all the little lazy voices in my head (“You’re too tired; you’re too unfit; everyone will laugh at you in your bulging swimming costume; having a coffee in the cafe would be much, much cheaper than a swim”) and went for a splash about while Mini swam. I’m glad I’d already paid for the swim before I unexpectedly bumped into my friend and her beautiful little newborn – it was a real struggle to drag myself away from them and go do something vaguely resembling swimming. I may not have drowned, but I’m typing this with my elbows tight in to my waist, and I may struggle to dress myself in the morning. Or move my arms and shoulders at all. Maxi had given me lots of advice about how to swim, and was very complimentary about my half-length of crawl, 2 lengths of backstroke and 20 minutes of flailing breast-stroke. It’s strange being patronised by a serious little 8 year-old… But I must admit I do feel good. This is the perfect little regular chunk of the week when I can exercise regularly without having the additional expense of a creche or stop everyone else doing something fun while I disappear to go to the gym or the pool.

It took ages to get out the leisure centre and it was a 30 minute drive home, so when we finally got there with only 20 minutes to go before we had to be heading back out again I decided we should play hooky from nursery. OK, so that now gave us 25 minutes before we had to be at the *next* appointment – dentist. With Mini helping by grating and eating half a block of cheese, we made the quickest omelettes in the world, glugged some water, spent more time brushing teeth than eating lunch, and back off in the car.

It’s taken me 3 years of being on different waiting lists to get to the top of the queue and get an NHS dentist – one waiting list was a sham one that didn’t actually exist (it’s a long story…) – but apparently all I need is a scale. Bonus! I think the dentist was in a bit of a rush because he caught the inside of my cheek with his sharp pointy stick thing (youch! Blood!) but with Mini sitting in the chair I normally sit in, watching me intently, I couldn’t flinch too much. She asked if she could have my sticker for being brave, then threw a mini-strop because she had to settle for Tinkerbell. Well, I mean, what’s the NHS coming to, not having princess stickers?! Actually, in hindsight, maybe he was getting me back for unleashing the minxes on him last month.

Quick mooch round the local supermarket, planning dinner based on the contents of the half-price fridge (homemade stovies with goats cheese and beetroot chutney pizza. Em, maybe yum?) and back home, to finally have a coffee and a proper lunch. Mini was very subdued and quiet for an hour, not quite napping, but not totally paying attention to CBeebies. Good decision to avoid nursery this afternoon, then – she’s really tired after swimming and gymnastics. Must feed her more lard…

After school and making sure Midi’s new glasses were put away safely (my wee baby! Looks 6 going on 11 with her lovely dark pink glasses on), I pretended to be an indulgent mummy and gave the girls a cornet with a scoop of ice-cream pressed into a bowl of sprinkles, with a dot of strawberry sauce on top. I say pretend: it was *me* who wanted the ice-cream! The elder 2 played a bit outside then settled for zonking in front of the TV. When it looked like the stovies weren’t actually going to burn through metal and spontaneously combust (my stovies are a wee bit hit and miss…), I dragged the minxes out to play and had a cup of tea on the garden bench and watched them scoot and cycle up and down the cul-de-sac.

I love the garden bench! We managed to sell the dishwasher and spent the cash on a really sturdy wooden bench. I’ve had some purple, pale- and mid-pink wood stain lurking in the garage for 3 years, so painted the bench purple, with the 2 sets of slats in all 3 shades. I think it looks really pretty. I’ll add a photo over the next week and you can tell me how much of an eyesore it truly is.

After dinner, we went for a wee explore past the end of the street, where the builders have levelled the earth mountain and put down a sharp sand track through the fresh loads of topsoil. The first track took us down the edge of the estate to the shallow burn. What a pretty spot! The minxes spotted rabbits while I eyed up an awesomely fun-looking rope-swing. Definitely worth coming down tomorrow in wellies with Mini after nursery. The Boss and I strolled down the other track (dead-end), watching our shrieking, skipping girls, with the Grampian Mountain foothills as a backdrop.

“Not too shabby a view”, exclaimed The Boss.

I waved back at one of our neighbours, and ambled back to the bench, drinking decaf beside The Boss in the evening sunshine while the girls scooted and cycled and taught new friends how to skip. D’you know, I don’t think evenings get much better than this?

Happy, happy, happy.

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