Start of the Christmas Holidays – Yippee!

The Christmas holidays started the minute The Boss got home from work on Friday.  On a whim I’d booked us a table at a local cafe for pizza – an enormous treat for us all.  The minxes stayed in their party dresses from the last day of school and I even changed out of my sopping-wet jeans into a dry pair.  Woo!

We arrived at opening time to an empty, pristine cafe.  The minxes saw candles and Christmas crackers laid out at our table and shifted from ‘hyper’ into ‘20,000ft and climbing’.  I spent the first 10 minutes trying to calm them down and press 3 little bums into 3 seats.  Any seats.  I don’t care.  No, she doesn’t smell.  No, she’s not my Favourite.  Yes, you can have a cracker.  Just.Sit.Down.NOW!!  The waitress came over to collect our drinks order and tactfully suggested ‘a large one?’ when I asked for a glass of house red.  How could I refuse?!  The Boss was driving – payback for me being Nominated Driver throughout 3 loooong pregnancies over party season.

When we only had 1 or 2 minxes and my income we ate out a fair bit (we’re greedy and love our food).  With 3 minxes and The Boss’s income, it’s a rare treat.  But look on the bright side – trips to McDonalds and Burger King become a very big deal.  (Actually, I’m not sure that’s a good thing, either).  Anyway, 2 adults and 3 tearaways isn’t really conducive to savouring great food, atmosphere or alcohol.  So we’re not really sure how much food to order.  I mean, if you’re going to spend most of your night ferrying minx after minx to the toilet, you start choosing your restaurants by the cleanliness and availability of their loos rather than their standard of food.  We settled on 4 pizzas between 5: a marguerita (Maxi), a deluxe marguerita (me – still addicted to basil), a spicy pepperoni (Midi – I think she was hoping it was really chorizo (she’d loved the paella I’d made on a stupid whim. She was the only one who ate it)) and a seafood (The Boss).

Well, what delicious pizza!  I was very impressed.  And the Bakewell tart for pudding was equally delicious.  The minxes got a kick out of drinking fizzy water and Sprite (fizzy pop is a birthdays-and-Christmas treat) and eating pizza whilst wearing a black plastic moustache from the cracker (always my favourite as a kid, until I couldn’t bear the pain in my septum anymore).  Midi ate her enormous bowl of ice-cream as well as Maxi’s, who started to fade around 7pm.

Midi got restless again towards the end and found all the gift items for sale dotted around the table irresistible.  My hands were full keeping her little sticky fingers away.  As I turned to pay Maxi a little attention, Midi’s elbow caught her glass and dumped water on the windowsill.  I attacked it with some napkins, chastising her soundly.  “But Mummy!” she wailed, “My little elbows haven’t got eyes in them, you know!”  I even laughed.

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Bugs: Incoming!

D’you know, I’m fine with it being cold. It’s ok when it’s wet. I can even cope with freezing wind, but not all 3 together! In June. Normally the sun cheers me up out of my sleep-deprived haze, but not this month. In fact, can someone send me a photo of what the sun looks like? I’ve forgotten (memory failing too…)

Midi and Mini Minx are still concerted in their efforts to ensure I don’t get a whole night’s sleep. Last night (Thursday 14 June) it was Midi sneaking into my bed, then head-butting and kicking me in the back till I sleepily gave up all rights to my half of the bed. I swear she’s training me to be able to sleep on a washing line.

I think Mini’s sickening for something. At the optician’s this morning (just a regular biennial eye-check) she sobbed when the very nice and child-sensitive man gently suggested that she sit on the floor for a second while he looked at Mummy’s eyes. This isn’t like her. Mini could charm the birds from the trees, sweeties from the clutches of babies, and has a strange routine that seems to charm Daddies (she stands stock-still, cocks her head coquettishly, points and yells, “Man!” It’s mostly fine, especially when she gets the gender right…). But this morning she was having none of it, and just wanted to sit on my lap. Yesterday she wanted to huddle in the sling in a front carry. At around 14kg, this isn’t the easiest of things to pull off with a size 3 wrap! Kind of a backwards ruck-tied-under-bum with a cross behind my back). But the cuddles were admittedly lovely.

After the eye check (right eye still robotically perfect; left eye beginning to accept that it’s part of an old fart’s body and starting to weaken), we went for a milkshake / coffee and Empire biscuit/scone while I chatted with a fellow grown-up. We do this once a month on average, and the girls know my friends. Normally they’re happy to quietly stuff themselves silly with Evil Sugary Treats, but not this morning: Mini just wanted to sit on my lap. After 40 minutes I still hadn’t had any caffeine or scone, and oh boy, did it show! I could barely string 2 words coherently together.

Maxi is hoarse; Midi’s 9-day-long sore throat (red tonsils + blisters) and 10-day-long tummy ache both got better just as I finally made an appointment with the GP. Well, it felt like they finally went away in the waiting room the second before we were called in. I do feel foolish taking an obviously perfectly well child to skip and dance around the surgery. Again! But hey-ho, I bet I’m not the only one. The GP (who I’m a little wary of because she’s told me some blatant untruths as Utter Fact) was absolutely brilliant with Midi: she established an immediate, easy, excellent rapport with her, had Midi giggling and purring within seconds, and checked her out most thoroughly. I tell you, I spent 5 minutes watching her tame my little whirlwind and was taking notes myself! So I’ve definitely thawed my inner feelings towards her – anyone who’s that good and genuine with 4 year olds is a very sound person indeed.

So: what germs are the girls incubating? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Very Grumpy Tired Old Trout

Oh boy, today would have been rough enough without doing it on so little sleep: I ousted Midi Minx from the bed 3 times last night, then Maxi Minx came bounding in at silly o’clock and whacked my forehead HARD with the back of her head.  The c-r-a-c-k woke up The Boss.  Yep, it really hurt.

So, with the weather forecast of Scottish Standard (drizzle with a spot of rain for a change), I decided that if we didn’t get outside straight after breakfast, we’d be facing another indoor day of stir-craziness.

You’d have thought I was trying to drag the kids out to sell them off or something, not go out to do something fun.  As it was, it took a full hour to get organised and out.  Sheesh.  And all of that time was nagging Maxi Minx to eat ‘something. Anything. Just put a single Shreddie in your mouth and chew it!’  I was aware that my little brain had stopped working as I trecked back and forth, picking up things to take with us in the rucksack and forgetting other things (note to self: yes, using Bonjela as emergency minor injury anaesthetic is very clever, but you’re probably more likely to need at least one nappy in a size 4…)

Finally we got off, all 3 minxes howling, mutinous, grumpier than their mother.  Four pouts in a car – not healthy.  I didn’t like the look of the low cloud and just couldn’t face the inevitable trudge through dog poo on the lovely forest walks behind the caravan park, so kept driving (‘flexibility is the key to parenthood’.  I’ll keep saying it till you remember it).  On a whim I decided to head to the next town’s main park and show Maxi Minx the tree that I thought she’d killed herself on, aged only 2 (her little sled slammed into it and she flew into the tree.  I wasn’t the only one who thought she’d totalled.  I swear I aged 50 years and became an overprotective mother instantly).

We walked along a dead avenue and for 7 minutes I did the simpering, teaching, oh-wow Earth Mummy I always thought I’d like to be: pointing out buds, tree rings, moss, larches, firs, pines, blah, blah, blah.  I’d even let Maxi take her camera along, so she and Midi took turns dutifully photographing everything I pointed out.  I’m ashamed: I even got them to feel the sawn-off trunk rings.  Fool.  They would have had more fun chucking stones and mud at each other.

“I’m all wobbilaaaaaay!” whimpered Wobbly Midi.  Code for: “I’m bored.  This is your first warning”.

“I’m cold!” whined Maxi.  I was too engrossed in looking for the 2-year-old sled mark in The Tree to notice that it really was bloomin’ cold.

“I need a wee-wee!” howled Midi.  Code for: “You had your chance.  You Will Now Obey”.

So, we did a bit of juggling with double buggy, 3 cold girls, a huge raincover, 2 cameras, a rucksack (and a partridge in a pear tree).  Why is it that if you have a double buggy and you have the baby in it, you have to put them in the front.  But when the toddler gets tired and needs to get in, you need to take the baby out, replace with toddler, then put the baby in the back?  I need to find me a trusty heavy boulder to weight the buggy down and keep the baby in the back full-time.  Grrr, no wonder I prefer slings!

I have no idea what came over me, but I thought it might be fun to take the girls to Costa Coffee for a hot chocolate.  Alone.  Just me riding herd on them.  The cold must have addled my head.

We got there at 1050hrs and left as quickly as we could, at 1220hrs, with the kids as mutinous as when we set off, my blood pressure at Extreme and the staff no doubt putting in a call to Social Services…

(photo deleted) At first the kids sat beautifully and even drank their hot chocolates tidily.  Then they got bored sharing a croissant and mini cupcakes.  One wanted to wee.  One wanted to poo.  The other exploded out her nappy (and I’d left the change bag in the car – with the downpour outside it might as well have been the Far Side of the Moon).  The helpful waitress kept trying to take away my coffee and our food (“No, I’m not done with it, I’m keeping hot stuff out of reach of the kids…No, still not done with it…I’ll let you know when I’m finished…DROP IT!”).

We visited every toilet in that supermarket (the Costa was in place of the supermarket cafe), and by God there are some manky sods out there!  Flush the toilet, you creeps!  If it doesn’t all go away – flush again!!  If it escapes, wipe it up (or hit it with a stick).

I thought I couldn’t get more stressed till I decided to grab some milk and bread.  The minxes were like The Red Arrows: Minx 1 on left, Minx 2 on right, grab double handful and disperse on my mark… BREAK!  We made it to the checkout and foolishly I thought a self-service till would interest them for long enough for me to pay.  “Unexpected item in the baggage area…unexpected item in the baggage area…Unexpected…”  I hissed, I threatened and finally shouted at Maxi and Midi to Get Off The Silver Thing Right This Minute Or You Are For It!!!  A helper took pity on me and scanned stuff while I hauled the girls back (Thank you, whoever you are.  You saved all our lives, but your disdainful look still stings me to the core.  I was provoked: I’m not normally that much of a harridan).

Sigh.  Home.  Usual quadruple trip of empty car boot, frog-march Maxi to the house, carry sleepy Midi on walking strike, carry sleeping Mini to cot.  I thought it might be nice to have a coffee.  Nope, Midi’s curled off a real Elvis-killer in the potty.  And when I get rid of it, it splashes back.  Sheesh.  Today’s getting better and better.

So is it any wonder I nearly choked when the dentist’s receptionist phoned to remind me of The Boss’s check-up tomorrow?  I’d only taken a long and grumpy call a few weeks ago to get him seen at the same time as the kids, even if it was at the end of April, and had real trouble making myself understood that I didn’t want 2 separate appointments regardless of the day.  No, not even on a Wednesday (aaaaargh!)

But at least Mini Minx is showing some real intriguing brain power: she found both her socks from opposite ends of the living room and scurried off as fast as her little knees and hands could piston.  I asked her if she wanted them on and she screeched and cackled hysterically.  Eh?!

Latest Software Upgrade

I guess all the night crying and restlessness from the Miniest Minx the past 2 nights has been in response to her latest brain software upgrade.

We all had another rough night last night, with all 3 girls fighting to get Mummy AND Daddy cuddles.  Maxi felt that her bed was too cold, Midi felt that her cold was too bad, and Mini just wanted milk.  Accepting that today would be a washout without a functioning brain, I decided to goof off.  After dropping the eldest 2 at nursery (though right up till the very end I though Midi would want to stay with me: “I not feeling very well” she parrotted from somewhere.  I say ‘parrot’ because she’s repeating an entire sentence she’s heard, her speech isn’t that complex, yet), me and the baby went and had coffee.

I’d promised us it on Monday but it never happened (we went swimming then boring, boring, boring shopping instead).  It was quite a swish place on the High Street.  They could obviously see that my eyeballs were rattling in circles of different rotational speeds because the Americano I was served could have kept an army awake.  Luckily I’d tucked away a pot of dried porridge powder away in the change bag, so Mini got some of her favourite breakfast while I enjoyed a fantastic roll and sausage.  Well, it was that or the chocolate cake, but even my prodigious tolerance of caffeine would have cracked under the strain.

It was lovely just to sit and ‘be’ for 20 minutes.  I met and chatted with a fellow nursery-user; I said hello to 2 guys who used to work for me; I stared into space and enjoyed the silence for a minute or 2.  Best of all, I blethered with baby R.  She is a real people watcher and enjoys sitting quietly and observing humans with her enormous, unblinking eyes.  We both indulged in that, and occasionally shared a quiet ‘Nananah!’ or a ‘Ba.  Ba’.  She’s quite the conversationalist.

The rest of the day was the standard whirl of tidy-up, clean up after kids (why oh why oh why don’t we turn the dining bit of the room into a wet-room thing that we can hose down?!  It would be so much less hassle.  And way more hygienic), degunge Midi’s bed of snot, prep and make a comfort dinner (roast pork, roast potatoes, roast veg – carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, apple crumble and cream).  Then shepherd kids, wellies, drawings, junk modelling and bags (and bags and bags) of urine-soaked clothes home from nursery, juggling them in and out of the car and jostled away from the speeding cars by the side of the road.  Standard.

Brain software upgrade?  Well, my favourite part of the day this week is when me and The Boss sit down with Mini Minx in the evening, after she’s woken from her 3rd nap of the day and her sisters are snoring.  Tonight she demonstrated her mastery of rotating to sitting regardless of the attitude she found herself in.  She has a dancing tower activity centre thing that she loves.  The Boss put it to its full height (for the hell of it, I suspect) at the weekend.  R practiced pulling up on it.  Had she unfurled her legs from their lotus position (!), she’d have done it.  I don’t think it’ll be long: she just has to combine her pulling up with her favourite Downward Facing Dog pose.  She also spent a happy 20 minutes slowly and carefully crawling *forwards* and sideways, chasing after her biggest sister’s ball.  It took me a while to realise she was swatting it away on purpose: I thought she was struggling to catch hold of it.

So, tomorrow…oops, today, damn…is Wreckaroom Day, as the girls’ best friend is coming round for lunch.  Wee girls being wee girls, it’s The Law that they take out every single toy and dressing up item owned for Weekly Close Inspection.  Oh boy.  Just wait till Mini is crawling fast enough to join in the carnage!