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.

Settling In

March 11

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.

*************************************************************************************************

Stovies

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.

Midweek Visit Home

Last week Midi Minx had an appointment with the ENT consultant to see how her hearing is. She was first referred 3 years ago after near-constant ear infections, and after lots and lots of messing around, watchful waiting, and multiple eardrum perforations, she got grommets last year. The difference was immediate and amazing. This check-up was to see if the grommets were still there and how Midi’s hearing was.

As we’d been waiting 6 months for this appointment rather than the 3 months it was supposed to be, I decided to take Midi out of school for the entire day and drive 100 miles each way, rather than ask to be referred to a colleague a little closer to home and go back into the interminable waiting pool yet again. I refused to feel guilty about it. It was one day. Hopefully it would be our last visit. And poor owl-mad Midi would be missing a visit to the school by some owls and their handler. And if we were going almost all the way back to our old house, we might as well nip back, carry out a bit of garden maintenance, and give it a quick air and a clean. I thought Midi would be distraught, but no, she was beside herself with glee – a whole day out with Mummy! All by herself! I was enormously flattered, and secretly pretty gleeful myself – Midi is a very funny wee girl and fantastic company. The Boss took a day off work to shuttle the other minxes to and from school and nursery, and had the grace to pale when he saw the day’s schedule that I’d written down for him. I think he still fondly remembers the days when he was the stay at home parent to a 3 and 1 year old who both took naps in the middle of the day, and didn’t need to be driven anywhere for any specific time.

The morning of the day trip, all the minxes had dentist check-ups first, though. I think the lovely dentist was on his first day in the job, judging by snippets I overheard the dental nurse say. He started off by asking about their oral hygiene. I explained that the girls drink milk and water; they rarely drink fruit juice or diluting juice, and they get fizzy pop on special occasions only. Their snacks are usually fruit, sometimes vegetables. Biscuits, sweets and cake are special treats only, and tend to be with meals. They never eat or drink after brushing their teeth at night. They brush twice a day, supervised. They use fluoride toothpaste.

The dentist blinked. Then he repeated everything I’d said back to me, phrased as advice.

I blinked at him. Then smiled just a leeeetle too widely and said, “Then it sounds like we’re doing just perfectly, then. Great!”

He blinked again. He looked confused and a little uncomfortable. I think the poor man was nervous.

Say 'ahhhh', Midi. And don't eat the nice dentist

Say ‘ahhhh’, Midi. And don’t eat the nice dentist

We chatted about Midi’s ground-down teeth. Contrary to popular opinion, her teeth haven’t worn away from biting other kids… With a clean bill of health, me and my girl zoomed off to hit the long road north-west, while The Boss took the other 2 girls in.

Apparently Maxi has 2 tiny cavities but no decay, and Mini was a model dental patient (BIG change from her first few dentist visits, then!) The Boss said that he had to interrupt and insist *3 times* that he didn’t want Mini’s teeth to have fluoride varnish painted on them. He said the dentist was merrily preparing it, without listening to him at all, and he looked very perplexed when he realised what The Boss was saying. The Boss challenged him gently to convince him on any additional benefit the varnish would give Mini when she already had excellent teeth and a great diet. The poor dentist didn’t answer. So that was that.

Midi patiently sat in the back of the car, singing along to Alanis Morissette (her choice) or chattering about the whichness of what for the 2.5 hours it took to get to the hospital. This was lovely for me, just listening to the crazed meanderings of the mind of my 5 year old. Normally she’s drowned out by Maxi’s bletherings.

The wee soul concentrated so hard during her hearing test that she held her breath and caught up with great big occasional gulping sighs. Her hearing was nearly perfect. Hooray! The consultant said her grommets are still in, but definitely on their way out. He wants to check on her hearing a few months after they fall out, so in 6 more months. Hmmm… in that case, could we could see a colleague of his nearer home instead, which he agreed to. Both me and Midi thanked him for everything he’d done over the past few years, and that was that! Midi had privately said that he was her “favourite doctor ever. Ever!”, but we didn’t tell him that; we’d already terrified one medical professional that day.

Straight after, we nipped into town for a swift zip round M&S Food to use up some vouchers on total rubbish: biscuits, coffee and Percy Pig sweets! Big treats! The irony of buying them after a dentist check-up wasn’t lost on me. The mum of one of Maxi’s friends saw us and said hello. I had a big pang of homesickness. Then we went to our favourite Elgin restaurant, Scribbles, for lunch and a lovely long catch-up with one of my friends. I was dying for the beef chilli melt but it wasn’t as good as in my memory (it was one of my cravings throughout my pregnancies with Midi and Mini).

Back to the old house, gulping back a lump in my throat throughout. I spent 3 hours mowing the lawn, weeding the front garden, pruning the bushes and generally tidying up, then filling the boot with warm clothes and bits and bobs that we needed. Meanwhile, Midi lay on the sofa gorging her eyes on real, live TV.

applesOne of our lovely neighbours nabbed me while I was mowing and came over with a huge bag of apples from her garden that she’d picked that morning. She’s been giving us tomatoes, plums and apples from her garden in autumn for years (can you see why I’m so sad to be leaving with such lovely friends and neighbours?!) so it was wonderful to take home one last bag.

Finally finished at 5pm, we set off for Midi’s biggest treat of the day – dinner at the all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. She set off like a Queen, all tucked up in fleece blankets in the back seat with her toys artfully gathered around.

At the restaurant we ate enough for 7 people. Well, Midi is the daughter who most inherited my prodigious appetite for fried food. Actually, make that ‘any food’. Me, I just enjoyed chatting with her and eating lots of yummy stuff, whereas she got a real buzz out of being allowed a glass of lemonade, being allowed to fill her own plate and carry it to the table, not being told to hurry up. “It’s so great not having to talk over Maxi!” she giggled to me. “I can talk to you when I like and not save it all up”. After insisting that I sat beside rather than opposite her, she spent most of the meal hugging my arm to her chest, kissing me and telling me how much she loved me. I tell you, you can keep your candle-lit fancy dinners and fine wines – life doesn’t get much better than a good uncomplicated scoff and a giggle with your adoring daughter!

Sighing with a belly full of pleasure, I granted her ‘last, last, last, final’ wish of a lolly at the end and we waddled back to the car for the 2.5 hr drive back home through the dark, rain and fog. I thought Midi would have slept, but instead she chattered incessantly (most unlike her!) and kept me awake and free-ish from road rage.

Oh don’t even start me off – what is it with some people who drive aggressively because you’re driving under the speed limit when the road is wet and slippy? Don’t they realise that I don’t have a teleport device, so actually have to consider boring old-fashioned things like stopping distance…? I got home at 9pm, truly frazzled, especially when a weaving lorry must have thought my flashing indicator and brake lights were me just teasing him, and nearly shunted me on the right turn off the dual carriageway to the farmhouse. I hate that road…

Mundane Pleasantness

By crikey, the girls are growing up!  I can actually do things with all 3 of them, on my own, now.

Yesterday (Thursday 26th) was busy, busy, busy.  Chase over to a strange health centre to wait for 10 mins in a line to pick up some registration forms, scuttle round to the dentist who promises the girls will be at the top of the waiting list for NHS patients by August, then zoom off to the old  dentist.  All in the pouring rain.  Across 7 or 8 roads and in and out of the car.  Trying to enforce decent road-crossing drills in Midi and Maxi (Midi does the comical fast head-shaking thing, too, as she crosses.  I don’t think she really listened when I explained what she was looking out for).

Dentist – well, I explained to the man that I wanted Maxi’s brown spot on her tooth checked.  It took him a while to locate it.  I got a tad impatient, because her teeth are so white that the dark brown spot (2mm across) kinda stands out a lot…  I showed him where it was, and he looked and had a think.  A long think.  I was worried that he’d so some unnecessary treatment just to get me off his back.  He asked the dental nurse for fissure sealant.  Fair enough, I thought, then nearly yelped as we went to start treating Maxi with no warning.  Just in time to save himself from having his head ripped off, he remembered himself, and started to explain (rather well) what he was going to do.  Thank goodness!  Maxi Minx was a very good girl and didn’t move a muscle (though her big blue eyes were spinning and searching all over the place).

At the end of her treatment, the dentist turned round and started writing on a bit of paper; the dental nurse stood and smiled at me.  I was too tired and too obstinate and too fed-up of feeling awkard, so instead of asking, “Can we go now? Is that it? Do you want me to wait or just go?” I just stood and smiled back at her.  Lucky – apparently I had to take the piece of paper to reception.  After handing over the precious piece of paper, I loitered expecting to get a bill.  The receptionist stood and smiled at me.  I just smiled back.  (God, they must think I’m a half-wit. Nope – I’m just not a mindreader and do, in fact, need some direction sometimes).  “Would you like to make an appointment?” she asked.  “No thank you”, I replied.  There was an embarrassed silence, with us both smiling at each other.  This time I gave in first, and did ask, “Can I go now?” “Oh!  Yes!” she grinned.  So I guess the treatment was free.  And by golly, I hope it was actually what Maxi needed.

As the girls had been so well-behaved, I decided to do a very quick supermarket shop.  Yeah: at lunchtime.  With 3 hungry little girls.  On my own.  With the school-kids filling the shop.  Without a shopping list.  Mad.  Actually, we had a bit of fun.  Maxi was the ‘Mummy Helper’, Midi helped by keeping Mini happy, and Mini grinned gummily at her big sister the whole time.  She loved the individual attention.  As the girls were so good, I got braver and braver and started filling the trolley higher and higher.  I got a bit delirious at some of the reductions on the fruit & veg (perfect strawberries reduced to a few pence just because they came wrapped in loose clingfilm rather than shrink-wrapped, and 2 heads of broccoli for 26p) so ventured further and further from the door.  Before I knew it, we’d been in 45 mins, the trolley was full to the brim, I’d done a weekly shop (saving time the rest of the week), and we were the far end of the store with just the bread to get.

Suddenly, Midi announces in a panic, “I need a wee!  Right now!”  Oh crap.  I zoomed down the massive shop as fast as I could, yelling, “Hold it in!  Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze!  Nearly at the toilet!” the whole way at the top of my voice.  Not for Midi’s benefit, but to warn other shoppers specifically why I was coming through and why I would not be stopped, even if I ran over their toes.  I reached the security guard at the front, yelled: “I’ll be back (for this trolley)!” over my shoulder as I dead-armed Midi and Mini to the toilet, with Maxi wailing, “I need a wee now, tooooo!” behind us.  Phew!  Both got there just in time.

Back in time for lunch before zooming out again to take my baby elephants to their ballet class.  While the eldest 2 danced, Mini staggered round the hall, making everyone laugh with her shriek-laughing and big raggedy smile.

It was a simple zausage and tomato sauce pasta for dinner, so no need to race back home at 1000 miles an hour: we could take our time and all 4 of us screech and drum along in the car to the kids’ CD (their favourite is Track 7 on the Bookstart CD, ‘The Meeting’: drums and bagpipes).  Mini won because her shrieks are louder than any other noise known to mankind.

Yesterday was a great day!

This post has been brought to you by ‘Fighting’

Today was another nursery day.  As usual Maxi scampered off to grab a seat at the art table the instant I let her go, and as usual Midi insisted on: “One more kiss, Mummy.  OK, another one.  Last one.  One more”, as well as “I love you, Mummy. Please don’ go”.  For once I wasn’t in a tearing rush, so held her little hand and got her to help me put her packed lunch away, got her to show me which of her friends was her best friend today, that kind of thing. 
 
As I’d planned, she spotted her very best friend and raced off, Mummy completely forgotten.  I paused just out he door to peep through the window at how she was getting on.  I guess her best friend S is incredibly popular, because another little girl got unhappy with Midi muscling in on them.  She pushed Midi away and got physically between Midi and S.  And kept shoving Midi away.  This girl is 2 years older than Midi, but Midi is bigger.  Still, instead of retaliating, Midi’s little face crumpled, she let out a sob and wailed, “Mummeeeeeee!”
 
I’m glad I waited.  I nipped in, gave her a huge cuddle, wiped her tears and tried to engage her in some other activity.  I tried not to glare at the pushing kid.  I mean, I know it’s what 5 year olds do, and Midi needs to learn how to handle it, but I thought some very bad thoughts at that fat, petulant little face.  Obviously I hate seeing some little brat make my precious little darling cry (the irony is very intentional – only a year ago it was Midi who was trying to eat/bite anyone that moved).  One of the new staff members came over and skilfully won Midi over, then gently led her away.  As I left, Midi was happily chatting away and blew me a big kiss.
 
I guess I’ll need to keep an eye out on this sudden meekness from Midi.  Although it’s less antisocial than her biting, it’s not a good trait to have.  Poor kid.  I think she’s finding it really tough being the youngest in a very large and boisterous group.  I think I’ll have a chat with the manager of the centre and get her opinion: should Midi keep going?  Stay home with me?  I’ve already given notice that from the end of term they’re finishing up there and staying home with me till August, when Maxi starts Primary School and Midi starts at the same primary’s pre-school class.  The nursery isn’t even local – it was just the one right next to my work, and I let them stay there when I went on maternity leave and then stopped working so that they could keep that continuity and routine, in a place they were happy in.
 
In other news:
 
I was a very brave little soldier and phoned the dentist’s practice up yesterday about Maxi.  I’m rubbish at phone calls and get my knickers in a right twist when I have to complain about anything.  I may have mentioned last month that the dentist gave the girls the most cursory inspection ever, charged us tons, then raced out the door?  Well, I decided to have a good look at her teeth myself.  Normally The Boss supervises teeth brushing, and should ‘finish off’ for them.  I wasn’t very impressed to see that Maxi’s teeth didn’t look too clean at all.  Worse, there was a little brown spot on the side of one of her molars, in the little groove.  It wouldn’t brush off.  Damn!  Cavity?  Well, I had to do something, because if it was a cavity, it wouldn’t get better all by itself.
 
I thought about going to another dentist, and if it *was* a cavity, insisting on a refund from the original dentist.  Silly idea.  Then I got to thinking how ridiculous it was paying so much to get your 5 year old’s teeth checked anyway and surely to goodness there had to be an NHS dentist in the county somewhere?  So I sat down with Yellow Pages and prepared for a very long phone round.  Nope.  Got one the very first (and nearest) place I tried.  Bonus!  Apparently the appointment won’t be through till August even if I register now, so I’ll do that this week.
 
Still, I had to do something about the (in-my-opinion) poor service from the dentist.  So I called, explained why I felt my little girl’s teeth hadn’t been check properly, and asked for another dentist to see her.  No way, only the dentist she was registered with could see her.  Oh pants.  I explained that I was incredibly embarrassed asking him to check again, as it was obvious I was second-guessing his professional opinion.  “Oh no, he’s sooooo lovely!” sighed the receptionist.  That’s as maybe and I believe you, I thought, but I still think he’s absolutely rubbish with kids.  Anyway, then we had some toings and froings about whether I’d be charged for him checking that single tooth.  The receptionist said I wouldn’t.  But today’s receptionist, who phoned to remind me of the appointment, seemed to think I would.  I suspect tomorrow might see the resurrection of Angry, Pompous, Old Trout.  Besides, I hope, hope, hope that Maxi just has a brown stain on her tooth and doesn’t need a filling.  Poor wee thing.
 
Last news: I sold 2 pairs of booties last night, so have been a tad busy desperately taking photos of them so that my lovely customer could inspect them over the net today and check they were what she wanted.  They were the first and so far only 2 of my first limited edition collection (Pebbles) that I knitted because I got all inspired looking at the beautiful stripey sandstone pebbles on Cummingston beach.  I’m going to have to get busy knitting more to replace them and get all the pebble inspiration out my system, because I’ve seen some 1ply that I just plain old lust after and need want to buy.  So I guess my posts here are going to get more sporadic and random because I’m struggling with finding time to do everything I need to do, never mind want to do.  Och well!  Think yourself lucky that I don’t spam my blog with photos of my knitting and constant plugs of my website 🙂

Dentist

orange fake funny teeth

Shouldn't have dodged that last dentist appointment...

So it was time for the kids’ regular dental inspection.

Maxi was registered with a dentist from the month her first tooth popped through, and I’ve tried to keep to a regular-ish dentist trip every 6 months ever since.  When we brush the minxes’ teeth at night, we call it ‘Mummy/Daddy being Dentist’.  All in a bid that the girls grow up used to calmly going to dentists, that they see it as a routine maintenance check.

Since our 3rd-last house move, I’ve not been able to get the girls or The Boss with an NHS dentist (one of the very bad things about moving so regularly).  However, I’ve reasoned that you can’t budget for your health, so I find the money each time and usually manage a smile as I part with my cash.  Yesterday’s visit, though, had me silently fuming.

I tried making a check-up appointment a while ago (when Midi Minx was still 2, so at least her check-up would be free), but seemingly they had none where I could fit all the girls and The Boss in consecutive appointments last thing in the day.  Apparently each appointment takes 15 minutes.  Fine, so I had to wait a few months.  The kids were looking forward to it for days and were quite excited because I’d done a real marketing job on it.  We arrived in plenty of time, to an empty surgery.  We waited 7 minutes, then were all shown in at once.

The dentist had an absolutely appalling patient manner: quiet to the point of being surly, disinterested, and almost afraid of the girls.  No surprise then that they reacted in kind, and refused to sit in his chair and be poked at.  I worked my own magic and persuaded them to come out from behind me after maybe 4 minutes.  He put a mirror in their mouth and counted their teeth.  That visual inspection took 20 seconds (max).  I’m sure he would have seen if there was anything amiss with their teeth, but even so… that quick squizz cost me £54.

He was back in civvies and jumping into his fancy car before the surgery door closed behind us.

Call me a rabid old communist if you must, but I think preventative health care should be free.  Fixing it should be chargeable (as to whether flat rate, all the market can take, or means tested, I’ve no special preference), but check-ups should surely cost nothing?

One last thing: one toy in the waiting room and a reel of stickers does not make a dentist or dental surgery ‘child-friendly’!  I’ll be taking my perfectly-toothed kids elsewhere in future.