A Whole New Level of Sleep Deprivation: Sleepovers

Over 4 years ago, I got to know electronically a group of pregnant women whose babies were due in the same month as Midi Minx. Although I was a second-timer, I really enjoyed blethering about our pregnancies online, taking regular time to myself to think only of me and my unborn baby. I made a couple of very good friends who I still keep in touch with. One of them, S, even inspired me to start my own business after she did, leading by her example. I met S and her little girl, L, for the first time in real life 2 years ago, and again a few times since. The weekend of 4-6 August 2012, though, they came for a sleepover.

Real-life Merida Minx

L is a beautiful, bright, girly, bubbly little thing with the most stunning red, curly hair: a true Princess Merida Minx. My minxes were as excited about meeting her as they would have been with real royalty. They both arrived in time for tea on the Saturday. Although my minxes were on their best behaviour, they make a lot of noise and mess. No really, a LOT. Chimps tea parties are more civilised. Merida took it all in her stride, enjoyed Maxi and Midi fawning over her, and decided that she would indeed share a bedroom with them rather than take the spare room with her mummy.

I think around 2230hrs we gave up trying to get them to sleep. About 2330hrs they stopped talking. At 2345hrs Merida went to share a bed with her mummy: Midi’s snoring was keeping her awake.

The next day we went for a shamble around the beach and my girls bickered over who was having which pink fishing net. Foster Cat decided that we 3 adults obviously weren’t fit guardians over the 4 girls so he followed us all the way down. (Killer Cat doesn’t give 2 hoots). He eventually bottled it a few yards from the sand and found a nice van to curl up in. I think he balanced on the wishbone. And there he stayed for the next 90 mins till we came home again, where S demonstrated that she is also a skilled Cat Whisperer, and carried him home.

Baby langoustine?

Furbellows. Allegedly. Maybe.

The rockpooling was fun: we found 2 star-fish, a baby langoustine, more baby whelks (bigger and yellower, this time) and some beautiful frilly white seaweed. Well, I asked around on Facebook and Someone Who Knows About These Things suggested it might be bleached out Furbellows (Saccorhiza polyschides), a brown algae. That’s pretty cool, as that was my uneducated conclusion from studying Google images!

Anyway, as the tide was out I thought the girls would have a lovely long afternoon turning over rocks. But poor Merida Minx almost immediately slipped and tumbled bum-first into a rockpool. Luckily I’d brought a change of clothes, but it meant that the next girl to get wet would stay wet. So we didn’t hang around all that long.

Spot the ball

Back at the ranch, the girls got dressed-up as princesses (obviously) then had fun bounding around on the seesaw and blowing bubbles. Merida enjoyed picking peas, broad beans, lettuce and guddling for potatoes in the garden. Four is sometimes a tricky age to eat meal after meal of food that tastes or looks a bit different to what you’re used to – my home-made lemon drizzle cake, and a mountain of watermelon and cherries might sound nice to an adult, but aren’t to all children’s tastes – but Merida was a star, trying everything and enjoying most.

The next night, I think the girls gave up yapping a bit earlier – 2330hrs. None of them were happy bunnies on that Monday morning! They even sat and watched CBeebies. Unfortunately Maxi had a swimming lesson, so we had to hot-foot to the pool while Merida and her mummy went home, with lots of sleepy “Safe journey!” “Bye-bye” and “I love you” (from Mini) ringing in their ears. I hope it’s not long before we meet back up again.

Chop-chop, Busy-busy, Work-work, Bang-bang

Unidentified Fish

Fish to identify in the poll below ->

What a day!  The Boss is off work for the rest of the week, so after yesterday’s day of catch-up (tons of laundry, clean-up, shop-shop-shop) we were determined to be properly outside today.

Kelp fishing

Kelp fishing to the Max-i

All 3 minxes ate a big breakfast, so obviously all that lovely fresh air and exercise in Orkney has had a bit of a lasting good effect.  Quick scatter of a ton of dried-in mud from 4 pairs of wellies onto the clean hall floor <rolls eyes> and off for a 10 minute walk to our own little spot of beautiful windiness – rock-pooling just along from the local maltings.

Rock Pooling

Midi Shower

As usual I found the stripey stones and boulders there mesmerising, while the girls preferred to slither amongst the seaweed.  The Boss searched for sea glass (he’s a bit obsessed…), which Maxi helped him with.  But it was meeee who spotted the purple bit <preen>.  I also found a freshly-dead fish, but I’m not sure what it is – little mackerel?  Sprat?  Little herring?  Maxi beach-combed for shells, kelp and sea anemones, Midi dug industriously (for what I don’t know – a bigger, deeper hole?) and Mini settled in happily to our first proper back-carry in the wrap. 

Back Wrap

Bomb-proof (?!) back wrap cross carry

We tried a rucksack carry around the house last night, but I wanted something more reinforced for today.  It was so comfy for us both that she fell asleep and I kept honking on to The Boss about how brilliant it was, and how much more comfy it was than a front carry.  It was just so wonderful to be able to carry Mini but still have my arms free to play with my big girls.  The only not-so-wonderful thing was her rubbing her banana piece into my hair…

Scary Monster

Limpet Monster

We were only out maybe 90 mins or so, but by golly we needed the scooby snacks (kids – smarties and banana pieces) and hot coffee (grown-ups).  That wind was stronger than ‘gusting 30’ and it was bitter.  So we traipsed back, pondering over how bees are born, and watching a lorry fill up with malted barley at the maltings, ready for a distillery.

For once, my clean washing wasn’t bombed by seagulls (horrible vermin generally splatter on my washing at least once a week, and once got me and baby Mini when she was 4 weeks old – half-digested fish and ammonia, bleurgh), so in a fit of sunshine-induced vigour I decided to mow the front and back lawns.  Well to give you an idea of how much the grass had grown, I completely filled the (vast) compost bin and the big brown wheelie bin…  Quick zoom down to the village and back with Mini in the buggy to post some parcels (paid-for eBay sales – hooray!), then collapse on the living room floor – sooooooore back!

Mini is a happy wee sausage today.  She’s properly cruising along the furniture and can walk holding onto Midi’s toy keyboard stand on wheels.  Mini’s just discovered how to make Maxi’s harmonica work by sucking as well as blowing.  I’m not sure all the drool is helping the sound much, but when it burbles too much she just squeals and shrieks with delight anyway.  No-one can hear much for a minute or so after Mini squeals – too bloody loud.

Another Mini first – she can drink out of a normal cup with handles, no lid.  I just kept refilling it with a wee dribble of water in the bottom.  I’ve already warned The Boss that we need to let her feed herself completely now, even the sloppy stuff, because (a) she can, and (b) she gets furious when you ‘baby’ her.  Shields up!