Roll On Gluhwein O’Clock

I’m an extremely grumpy old trout this morning, and it’s only 10am.

It’s Friday and I always wake up happy on Fridays. It’s the promise of the weekend to come! Unlike during the other 11 months of the year, all 3 children woke up and happily padded downstairs to see what elf-shenanigans Edward and Edwinn had got up to overnight. Satisfied that they’d had a suitably messy time, the girls helped tidy up (although Midi mostly tidied the dusty and hairy marshmallows straight into her gob rather than the rubbish bin). After that, it kind of went downhill fast.

Midi is very fussy about her school cardigans: she’ll only wear one of the 2, complaining that the M&S grey one is annoying on her skin. Unfortunately, she is also a mucky pup who goes through a change of uniform every single day. It’s been too cold recently to have a window open while I tumble-dry a washing, so I didn’t get her blue cardigan washed. It’s too dirty to spot wash. It’s too cold for her to go without. So I got her a long-sleeved soft top to go under her polo shirt, partly to keep warm and partly so that the grey cardigan wouldn’t touch her skin anywhere. She refused to put the hated cardigan on. I refused to let her go to school without it.

At the same time, Mini refused to wear some new warm socks because “I can feel them on my feet! They’re touching my little ankles! Waaaaaah!” At the moment she just wants to wear clothes that feel invisible, and are a specific shade of purple or pink. I threatened to throw said socks in the bin, in a petulant rage (I’ve been stocking up on new clothes for the kids in the recent sales and am now more than a bit fed-up with the level of “It’s not the right shade of purple”; “It’s too loose”; “It’s not the right shape”; “It’s not the exact, precise same as my old leggings”; “It’s new! I therefore hate it” fussiness. And there’s no way we’re all spending a day going to the shops together to buy clothes, especially at this busy time of year). Mini has a small meltdown. Then I put on her new thick purple cardigan. It’s the right shade (hallelujah!), but the sleeves were too long. When I asked HOW MUCH too long, she held her thumb and forefinger apart by 3mm. She refused to have them rolled up. She refused to push them up her wrists a little. She tugged them long and gorilla-like, and set off her siren-whine.

I’m now getting very agitated because it’s much later than I’d like to set off so that I can drive slowly and carefully – I need to make 2 right-hand turns on a 70mph busy dual carriageway from a standing start to get to school and the roads are very icy.

I threaten. I cajole. I shout. Midi escalates the stand-off by balling up her clean cardigan and tempestuously throwing it on the dusty fireplace hearth. I really lose my temper and shriek that she can’t go to school without it. And if she doesn’t go to school, then the police will take her away and make her live with another family who WILL make her go to school, and she’ll never see her real family ever again. Cruel bitch, yes? Yes. Very. Trust me, I’d completely lost it and was throwing a verbal tantrum myself. Those vicious words to my little 5 year old are now paying back in a mega dose of guilt right now.

A crying Midi breaks the stand-off and puts her cardigan on. I melt, kiss away her tears, apologise for being bad-tempered, explain yet again why I need her to wear a cardigan and how I’d made sure that it wouldn’t touch her skin. Hug her and tell her I love her. Reassure her that she’s going nowhere and will have to stay with her grumpy, horrible mummy till she’s a grown-up. That raises a smile, which makes the rising guilt in me sting all the more.

I turn round to see Mini furiously hauling off her latest pair of socks and cardigan, and petulantly throw her hat and mitts on the muddiest shoes she can find. The Red Rage washes over the Mummy Guilt for a second and I yank on a hat, scarf, cardi on backwards, cram her into a jacket, and frogmarch her to the car. I strap her in the carseat, strap her sisters in safely, then race back to the house to get away from the jet-engine tantrum roar. Few deep breaths. Few deeper breaths. Survey the carnage of the kitchen. Assess that the pile of played-with toast and full beaker of milk mean that in the 45 mins that she sat at the breakfast table, she ate a grand sum of one tangerine.

Out to the car. Open the door. Hit with a wall of noise. Grab a sherbet lemon to disguise my dead-animal-mixed-with-coffee halitosis and provide a shot of sugar. Start the engine. Engage reverse. Let the clutch out a millimetre. Car goes sideways. Engage brake. Brake fails to work. Pump harder. Brake fails to work. Disengage reverse. Pump brake. Brake fails to work. Friction starts to operate. Car halts. Expletive leaves lips. Minxes immediate silence selves. Midi looks gleeful. Turn steering wheel. Engage first gear. Let out clutch a millimetre. Apply brake. Success! Let out clutch 2 mm. Apply brake. Success! Shout YIPPEE! Cows in the barn look amused. Slowly crawl to junction with now thankfully very quiet dual carriageway. Thank kids for silence while I wrestled with the car. Three sniggers/giggles.

The 2 right-hand turns go without incident because I’m able to drive very slowly over to and past the icy reservation and not actually stop. Bonus! I spend the rest of the journey apologising for being so angry, and explain why I lost my temper. Tell the kids I love them. They tell me they love me too. Feel even more guilty. Lots and lots of hugs and high 5s at the school, back on the dual carriageway to drive to the next town, drop off a now-very-late Mini at nursery. Warn the staff she’s now better after a huge tantrum, but that any mention of sleeves might trigger it again.

Back home, ready to relax with a coffee, only to discover a puddle of smelly cat pee on the carpet. Use up the last of the kitchen roll on it, and decide to chance using Zorb on non-colour-fast carpet. Scowl at cat, who’s now sleeping like a dreamy kitten.

Go to make coffee. Phone rings. It’s the estate agent telling me that the house we think we’d actually really love to buy has had an offer put in. We need to go and have a second viewing tomorrow and put in a pronto counter-offer in the blind or we’ll lose it. I’m not sure that we can afford to go any higher than the asking price. Rats.

And now the ‘k’ button on my keyboard is playing up! (took 8 presses to make it appear there. And 3 on the-word-between-to-and-it-in-this-sentence…).

I’m going to go make a coffee. I may be some time…

(and the title? It’s because me and The Boss have gotten into a habit of making a glass each of gluhwein every night. So yum! Kicks wine o’clock into a cocked hat).

She’d Like a Rainbow

Mini Minx was enjoying a large breakfast this morning: Shreddies, toast, toast, toast and more toast. (To quote The Boss, paraphrasing a supermarket advert, paraphrasing something else: “Toast monsters: if you butter it, they will come”). The Boss offered her some milk.

“Mik!” she agreed. “Inna cupppp! No lid”

The Boss pulled her usual mug out the cupboard. “No! No!” she yelled, as he started to bring it over. Sigh.

“This one?”

“No!”

“This one?!”

“No!!”

“Well, this one, then?”

“NOOO! I want pink!”

He offered her every pink beaker, pink mug, pink cup in the cupboard. With 3 little girls, we own quite a few pink things. It took some time… Eventually, he lifted our toddler up, who was sobbing with frustration (“Pink! I want piiiink!”), and asked her to point to the one she wanted.

“Hehehee, THIS one! Pink!” she said, picking up the bright orange beaker.

Kids…

Still Alive Here

I’m still alive!  I know I’m pants at updating, but I’ve been listing most of the household on eBay, painting the hall stairwell (hey, a bit of panic teetering on top of a wobbly step with a roller botch-taped to a stick over a long fall makes you feel alive…), knitting a special gift for a baby girl who’s due to be born a bit too soon, furious promoting Rainbow Knits on Folksy, Etsy, Facebook and my website.  And Mini is teething, Maxi is being a tweenager and Midi is, well, just being Midi.  So I have my hands full.

To misquote myself from Facebook, if Midi pees in her bed one more time I think it will dissolve.

There I was, all smug about how well Midi Minx has coped with potty training – she had 2 wet beds then seemed to cotton-on to night-time dryness.  After 3 or 4 weeks of being dry (ish.  I don’t remember when she actually stopped wearing nappies at night) I was a tad surprised at her wetting her bed 3 nights in a row.  She was dry last night, though.  Putting on my detective head, those 3 nights coincided with her Grandma staying over.  I guess she was peeing from excitement rather than trauma… (ETA: we seem to be alternating dry and wet nights now.  Tonight is sure to be wet)

Mini Minx is stretching her minx muscles and really ramping up her tantrums.  If anyone takes anything from her, or doesn’t hand a coveted item over fast enough, she throws her head back and shrieks and gnashes her 5 little teeth.  In fact, I saw her lunge at her biggest sister, Maxi Minx – she went to bite her cheek.  I scolded Mini and she burst into hot little tears.  Oh boy.  I suspect the next few years are going to be tough.

Mini is developing a real love of dance.  If she hears music of any sort, she gets a distant look in her eyes, squats slightly, bobs up and down, and does the doggy paddle with her little hands.  If she’s really excited, she’ll also chant, “Hur! Hur! Hur!”

Last Saturday night we ended up going to an Eat All You Can Stuff Into Your Fat Face Chinese Buffet, as a reward for all the tough DIY.  Yum, yum, yum!  Even the girls enjoyed it.  That’ll be the half-Glaswegian in them.  We stayed so long (90 mins) that towards the end we stopped stressing about the noise / mess and just had a great laugh as a family, all chatting and joking and joining in with the continual rounds of Happy Birthday being sung to other diners.  Maxi Minx had 3 mango jellies and a fruit salad for her puddings, Midi had about twice that much.  I carefully cleared up Mini’s under highchair mess before we left, because (a) no-one’s paid enough to deal with my kids’ mess, and (b) we might be back.

As luck would have it, we indeed went back again on Wednesday with Grandma.  The girls happily troughed and crunched and ate even more pudding.

Quote of the week from Maxi: (dramatic sigh) “No-one understands me or my art!” (She’s just turned 5).

Quote of the year from The Boss: “Midi!  Get your finger out your poo-hole at the table!”   Don’t ask.  Just don’t ask.

How Did Sharing a Room Go?

The first night with Noisy and Shouty sharing a bedroom went… as badly as we expected it would.  After shaking loose of Midi’s wet, limpet-cling cuddle this morning, I found a path of open books, clothes and cushions leading from their room to mine.  Following it as nervously as Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, I was right to be scared: they’d upturned every single toy that they own, emptied every drawer and box, hauled their (500+) books out the bookcase, and generally caused havoc.  They spent a good part of the day tidying it up again…

Maxi was miffed that I called her path a path.  “It was a slide for Barbie”, she pouted.

Midi was equally grumpy.  She threw an enormous tantrum because The Boss had poured a teaspoon of milk into her Rice Krispies.  “Aaaaarghhh!” she screamed, “They’re all wet!” when she could roar vaguely coherently.  Yep, as well as shrieks we had full-on upside-down smile, shaking with rage and streams of ectoplasm dripping on her chest (her cold is still quite bad).

They kicked off about their teddies, too.  Between them, they own 2 full toy-boxes of teddies and soft toys (40? 45?  More?  Anyone want some?!  Or should I keep them as handy crashmats when they jump around the sofa again?)  Yet Midi insisted that “Poppy got 4, I only got 1!  Waaaaaa!”  Showing her the evidence to the contrary didn’t help.

So faced with that, what’s a Mummy to do but pack off Daddy to B&Q for paint, photo shelves and a curtain pole?  I locked myself away for an hour and painted one of the middle box-room’s walls light green.  I got some really brilliant masking tape rolls from Lidl a week ago: they’re thin masking tape attached to very thin plastic that folds right out, so you have a kind of dust sheet attached to your masking tape.  Perfect!  If I wasn’t so ham-fisted at laying down the tape.  I got it in my hair, on my nose, curled round my fingers, stuck to the wardrobe (too lazy to move it more than a foot away from the wall).  Bah!

I’m going to work on the little room all week, a wall at a time, till I can move in Mini Minx (I’ll miss my noisy little room-mates darling snuffles at night; I sure won’t miss the farts.  Much.  Well, maybe a bit.  I love the way she wrinkles her little nose in her sleep in response to her noise/smell).  By then, the shared room should have settled down and beds, boxes, books and bits should be in their final places.  Then I’ll paint their room and attach mini mirrors, etc.  I showed the girls the paint for Mini’s new room (pale green, pale pink, and a very light cream).  They blinked thoughtfully when I asked them what colour of paint they fancied for their room.  “Dark pink” Maxi predictably asked for; “Black!!” declared her equally-predictable younger sister.  So that’ll be very light cream and pale pink for them, too, then.

http://www.dulux.co.uk/products/info/endurance_silk.jsp Using Timeless, Sweet Pink and Willow Tree.  I think Wellbeing would have been a nicer, brighter green, but The Boss chose.  And I’d have dithered for 3 hours and left the shop empty-handed in a fit of undecided pique had I gone to get the paint…

My back’s been fine today – I guess all the physio and exercises I’ve been doing on my flabby old stomach have taken the strain away from my back at last.  Bonus!

Maxi decided that my lot as a Mummy has been quite tough, lately, so she made me a present.  She wrapped her echo microphone in one of her toy napkins.  “This is for you, my old cake-y Mummy”, she smiled.  “It’s a microphone.  But whenever you get bored, you can rest your chin in the cup at the top of it, like this, or your elbow.  Or you can sing in it.  Please don’t sing in it, though.  I-love-you-very-much, bye-bye!”

I love you, too, Princess xxx

10 Month Baby Milestones

Baby R will be 10 months old tomorrow.  She’s sitting beside me on her Daddy’s knee, desperately trying to get my attention: blowing me garlicky kisses, hissing, clapping her little hands, shouting, “Mim-mim!” and “Ath bith!”  I’m ignoring her, so now she’s trying to pull The Boss’s glasses off.  Subtle.  Nice.

She’s had a week of one milestone after another, so I thought I’d log them all, starting with today’s biggie: her second tooth.  It’s her lower left incisor and it’s been giving her grief for days.  I think she’s only happy now because we’ve given her some Nurofen.  Well, it’s either eased the pain in her gum or eased the taste of the roast garlic she had for dinner.  Either way, she’s much happier.

This morning she threw an almighty tantrum.  I forget what about, probably because she wasn’t allowed to feed herself baby slop with a spoon.  Instead of shaking with rage, this time she clapped her hands in fury.  I laughed, which wasn’t really the reaction she was after.  She learned to clap and say “Ba ba” last week at the same time, maybe Day 3 of the holiday.

The last day of the holiday, she had another double milestone within the same 5 minutes: she learned to sit up from lying down all by herself and actually crawled *forwards*.  I think she was so shocked that she’s forgotten how to do either again.

The Boss just reminded me of the milestone he’s most proud of: her third word, uttered yesterday, was “Dada”.  Awwwww!

Driving me bonkers

It’s just as well that Trouts don’t eat their own young, or Middle Trout would have been devoured raw and whole.  I think she just moved from one tantrum to the next all of yesterday.  It wasn’t anything exceptional, just a typical 2 year old minx being a 2 year old minx.  But on limited sleep it’s hard to take (all 3 girls were hot-bedding beside me all that night – at one point they were all wailing to be the one getting Mummy-cuddles, while The Boss slept blissfully on, too exhausted to wake).

In the morning Minx 2: poked and prodded Baby Trout in the face every 45 seconds; experimented with what happens when you stuff a bib in a baby’s mouth (those trusting little eyes, once full of admiration for a beloved big sister, fill with hurt tears); peed on the sofa, 3 cushions, the carpet and a blanket despite reminders every 10 minutes to “Sit on your potty!”; timed how long it takes Mummy to notice you surreptitiously pouring yours and your big sister’s beakers of milk on the floor (answer: too bloody long); and pulled her big sister’s hair and yanked her toys apart.

In the afternoon she: woke her baby sister in terror by uttering a frustrated war cry that would have pierced a wall of butter (she wanted let out the car first despite being botch-taped strapped to the middle car seat); peed on the floor and crowed about it; furtively peed on the highchair and sniggered about it; fell asleep in her dinner (yes, in.  As in: chicken risotto squishing round that petulant little mouth); screamed to escape Mummy’s evil clutches on the way up the stairs; hissed like a cat being hosed down whilst being… well, hosed down; screeched whilst being changed for bed; roared for Mummy-cuddles the very instant I left her to feel Baby Trout; and… on and on and on.  You get the picture.  She screamed herself literally hoarse after 37 minutes of ranting (I timed it – can you tell?).  A dark side of me was impressed with her tenacity and depth of rage at the injustice of her not being able to have her own way.  Still, I’m glad The Boss dealt with that one. 

This morning she was a very subdued little Minx and did (mostly) what she was told.

It being a nursery day, I’m now reflecting on the positive side of yesterday:  Minx 1 interpreted the signs of Mummy-meltdown approaching (muttered thick Glaswegian curses) so was as good as gold and only whinged twice all day.  And at least Minx 2 didn’t bite anyone.  Only a few months ago her nursery teacher encouragingly told me: “Ooo, we had a really good day today!  L only bit 3 children, one member of staff and tried to stab another teacher with a pencil.  She’s getting better!”  I still don’t know how we got through that stage without them expelling her or insisting on a muzzle.  But I do know why our Naughty Step is almost worn through.

"Don't make me angry... you wouldn't like me when I'm angry"