Temper Tantrums

I’ve not been writing and it’s sending me mad. Well, either not writing, or trying to handle keeping a big house clean and tidy and ready for viewers / nosy people looking through the windows, and keeping 3 hyperactive, emotional little girls busy and occupied. Tonight I’m leaving the kitchen a scene of devastation and am writing instead of mopping that floor for the 3rd time today… (boiled egg remnants this morning, spilled hot chocolate this afternoon, spilled chicken curry and spat out chicken curry this evening).

I’ll fill you in on the days in between later, but it’s enough to say that it’s been a stream of depressing parenting fails: lots of shouting, tantrums and boundary-pushing behaviour. And the kids have been being little brats, too (ba-doom-tish!) Today, though, was going to be different.

We went to the nearest town to pick up some bits and bobs. First was 6 ballgowns I’d tried to sell through a shop. Nope. Not one. Maybe I’ll try eBay, or the 50p-a-kilo man. Anyway, I’d gone in steeling myself to be yelled at: the woman who runs it seems to keep a special voice for me – top volume and v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y, which I find irritating beyond measure. Today, though, not only was the volume painless, but she even filled a bag of hair bobbles and headbands for the girls, for free. They were gleeful; I was cut-up that my de-cluttered house was about to refill, but very touched at her generosity. Next was a wee trip to B&Q for a sprinkler… Look, we don’t have hosepipe bans up here. Don’t remember the last one. Stop gasping and looking horrified, ok? It doesn’t make me a bad person! And then, fulfilling a long-standing bribe, I took the girls to Evul MaccyDs.

No matter how much they cry, beg or plead, NEVER feed them chocolate or other caffeinated products after midday!

No matter how much they cry, beg or plead, NEVER feed the minxes chocolate or other caffeinated products after midday!

We made a right entrance: Midi and Mini Minxes fought to hit the button on the automatic door first, then fell in (splat). I plonked all 3 down at the nearest empty table and told them to sit and stay. Mutiny. Pouts. Midi leapt off her seat.

“Fine!” I huffed. “If I can’t trust you to sit here while I get the food, then that’s it – home! We’re going home now. Move!”

The people at the surrounding tables looked horrified. The minxes looked sceptical. I turned for the door. The minxes looked crest-fallen. Midi helpfully apologised. I came over, took a suddenly-compliant Mini’s hand*, sat the other 2 down, and went for food.

*This was a big deal! Mini and I are currently waging an “I’m not holding Mummy’s hand in public” war. When we’re anywhere near cars or potential danger, if she won’t hold my hand then I grip her by the arm. It’s not negotiable. Being a tenacious little madam, she’s still riling against this Absolute Rule of Safety nearly a year after it was first explained carefully to her.

We then spent a really happy 40 minutes troughing, chatting, laughing and even sharing a poke of chips and single pot of ketchup. And the ultimate in sisterly love: Maxi gave Mini her last grape from the fruit bag!! They were brilliant about going to the toilet and cleaning up, covering each others ears while the third sister used the rocket-powered hand-drier. I think it helped giving them Secret Missions. Example: “Midi, your Secret Mission is to go get 5 napkins; one for each of us and one for Mini’s nose. I’m not telling you where they are; you have to go find them” and “Mini, your mission is to eat a cheeseburger right now without getting out of your seat. How will you manage to get hold of one?” then feigning surprise at her whipping one out from her little cardboard box. The oldies are the besties.

We had to go via the GPs – one of my back moles was cut out, and the other is being frozen off. Today was session 2. The girls were ok about sitting on the floor in a busy, hot waiting room, cuddling toys or me. Mini suddenly piped up: “Mummy got die-a-rear!” I cringed. I don’t have diarrhoea. I hoped no-one understood Mini’s baby lisping. “Mummy got die-a-eah! Out her bottips!” she crowed (‘bottips’ = buttocks in Mini-ese). I shushed her. “And blood when she wee-wees!” I laughed aloud in shock. The mum opposite me sniggered and flashed me a I’ve-Been-There-I-Feel-Your-Pain smile. Then Maxi started up with: “Did you know that when Mummy eats peanut butter, she does the most amazingly…”. I cut her off with a sharp Enough! God, thank goodness I’m not an axe-murderer: those kids would tell everyone where I’d hidden the bodies!

On the drive home, suddenly out of the blue, little Mini’s bottom lip pouted, her chin wobbled and she cried piteously. “I miss my Daddy!” she wailed. Poor little mite! Maxi and Midi both leaned over their car seats to hug her. They’ve talked to The Boss every night and we’ve talked about him often each day. Of course we all miss him. But this was the first time, in 4 days, that any of them had actually articulated that or cried.

Brave Midi attacks the sprinkler selection dial

Brave Midi attacks the sprinkler selection dial

When we got home, I got out the hosepipe and attached the £6.95 cheap plastic 8 pattern sprinkler. Fantastic! Normally I’d never bother watering lawns. But I guess a patch of brown, dead grass isn’t too enticing to potential buyers. So I watered the lawns and the kids at the same time. An entire afternoon’s cheap entertainment, with ice-pops at half-time. Just like when I chased them with the hose a few days ago**, Midi was the mental, exuberant one, unafraid of attacking the water, while her sisters squealed and skittered at the edges. Midi was the one turning the dial to test all the jets. Midi was the one trialling how it felt to stand or sit on each jet, or wash her hair in it. The girls had an excellent time. The cats caught in the crossfire somewhat less so…

**The kids were really pressing all my buttons on Tuesday. I gave myself a 10 min time-out before I murdered one, and went to water the wilted flowers out the front while they played in the back garden. The little devils followed me so that they had an audience for their 3 day-long whinge. I may or may not have accidentally changed the nozzle from ‘gentle plant soak’ to ‘mega jet-propelled ouchy-whoosh’. I may or may not have cackled a little too maniacally as I drenched them…

Eek, it's water! I'm melting! Melting!

Eek, it’s water! I’m melting! Melting!

After a quick hot shower (I say ‘shower’… actually I stuck them all in the bath and hosed them down in one long industrial line), I saw that Mini’s lips were purple-black and even my hot-blooded Midi was looking a bit blue. And that’s when I made my big mistake: I made them each a big mug of hot chocolate with floaty marshmallows. Doh! So much chocolate and sugar at 4pm on top of a junk food lunch just sent them loopy. I could see it starting to affect them about half an hour later, when we were at the library (no, I wasn’t being a good, educational mum – I was looking for the audio books of How To Train Your Dragon narrated by David Tennant. A treat for the whole family! 😉 ) By the time I had dinner made, they were being little devils. Again.

So for the 3rd night in a row I found myself on the phone to The Boss, yelling and snarling at them, going incandescent at Mini spitting on the floor and Midi racing through a puddle of curry in her new white socks and trailing it up the stair carpet as she squealed in glee. I think The Boss is worried about how many daughters he’ll have left when he gets home tomorrow. He already knows what language I’m using (Mini can now use 4 or 5 adjectives to go in front of Hell).

Our Neighbours Love Us Lots and Lots. Honest.

They didn’t learn to bath ‘babies’ like that from ME!!

Apart from the adventures of Foster Cat, what else has been going on with us today? Mostly annoying our neighbours 😀

After dropping off Foster Cat at the vets, we got home, had enforced pee breaks, then set off on the 30 minute walk to the hairdressers. The minxes were bribed to sit still for an hour and they received their reward of a ChuppaChups Lolly right afterwards. For a change, it wasn’t pouring with rain or howling with wind, so we detoured to the swing park.

“Mumma, help me onto the swing!” yelled Maxi.

“Mummy, heeeeeeeeelp!” cried Midi as she got her legs stuck in a baby swing.

Mini, meanwhile, said nothing at all but got on with trying to kill herself on the chute. Those minxes like to keep me on my toes, attention split 3 ways…

On the loooooong dawdle back up the hill, poor Mini was helping push Midi in the buggy, tripped over my feet, and made a perfect prat-fall. The wee soul grazed her little knees right through her leggings and dress. Midi felt so sorry for her that she let Mini sit in the buggy for a whole 20 yards before turfing her out, again. Unlike her sisters at 2, Mini’s a bit short of spare flesh and padding, so the bash on her knees must have really hurt. I plastered it in germolene for the local anaesthetic and put a suitably enormous graze plaster over it, but she still limped every time she remembered to.

After lunch, with Mini safely napping, Maxi and Midi were shaping up to having yet another grouchy, yell-y, crotchety day. So I decided it was time to role-play Snow White, Cinderella and their Wicked Stepmothers, and set them to do some terrible chores. The Boss is trying to sell our old car, so I started them with some little buckets of water, a splash of Fairy liquid, 2 brooms and the plastic boot liner of the car. After 20 minutes, even I was impressed with the job they’d done. I’d even added to the atmosphere by urging them to brush harder or they’d not get any gruel and dust for dinner. I think Midi thought that sounded more tempting than the reality (Butter Turkey Curry). On a cleaning high, they then set to work scrubbing other big plastic furniture things that sit mouldering in our garden.

The sun popped out; it got hot. I decided that it was time to have some fun, and we bathed some dollies. Midi got overexcited and tried to immerse herself in the basin. My own inner minx is never far below the surface, and so I fetched some towels, dry dresses, dry underwear, and stashed them somewhere safe in the corner. Then I got a big watering can of freezing cold water, decanted a little into a bucket, and got the girls to act as moving targets. They quickly stripped to their pants and screamed their little heads off.

Now, I should tell you that I have a good aim. I win prizes at carnival shooting galleries. I’m not at all bad at instinctively assessing the trajectory of a wriggling minx and throwing a nice wide arc of water to meet said minx. However, when it catches her right smack in the chest at the perfect sweet spot of the water-arc, it even caught me by surprise. Maxi cried hot tears of indignation, Midi hooted at the sight of her sister being drenched, and I couldn’t breathe from being doubled over laughing. Poor wee soul! She was cross because I’d caught her unawares. So we spent a happy half-hour of them racing back and forth and me emptying the watering can cup by cup. The neighbours weren’t impressed at the shrieks and squeals: one loudly shut her window in disgruntlement, and another lurked loomingly at the window. Till Midi whipped her soaking knickers off and raced around nude, yelling, “Yippitty-yay! Yippitty-yay!”. He vanished pretty instantly. Well, I guess attack is the best defence, and all that.

We watered the entire veg patch, picked some barely ripe peas, talked to the bees and just had a really fun afternoon – not too much angry yelling, lots of nice sisters-helping-each-other. I think tomorrow I’d better give the neighbours a wee break and take the girls further afield. I’ll save breaking out the paddling pool, BBQ, bubble-machine and boogie box till the next day, eh?

Sunny Saturday

The bluebells are out!  Hooray!  See ‘May’ on my ‘A Year on the Moray Firth’ page.  But here’s another photo, because I can’t resist:


Today dawned sunny and gorgeous and I woke up in a very satisfied mood because I finally whipped my new website into submission, through a mix of sheer bloody-mindedness, dropping my standards of how I wanted it to look and perform, and just not including the stuff that I miserably failed to get working.  Like some payment gateways… ahem.  Anyway, it’s www.rainbowknits.co.uk if you like vibrant baby knits.

So, we all ate a huge breakfast (even Miss Fusspot Maxi Minx), I hung out a washing (don’t I always?  I canny sneeze without hanging out a washing first), we packed half the car boot (3 little kids need a lot of changes of clothes, food, nappies and mini first aid kit) and off we went to Elgin Oak Wood.

We weren’t disappointed!  I printed out some hunt sheets of things for the kids to spot in the woods from the Nature Detectives website.  So, a sheet of different leaves; a sheet of woodland flowers; 2 sheets of creatures and flowers and trees of things you find in the woods.  I thought the kids might still be a bit young for it, but not at all, they loved really looking at things and were elated at spotting a ‘find’.  And it helped that we spotted virtually everything on the sheets (except for an owl).

The last ‘spot’ was a spider.  Midi the Previously-Fearless suddenly announced that she didn’t like spiders and she was scared of them.  Eh?  Who’s she been listening to?  I used to let spiders run about in my hair to freak out my little sister (I was a horrible child), and even Maxi has learned to quite like them because ‘they eat dirty flies’.  Though she’s still a bit nervous about cobwebs.  Anyway, I found one in a web, eating a fly just as big as itself.  The Boss decided to gross out the girls by explaining how spiders eat their prey.  Maxi was obviously paying attention because she decided to plop her straw into a tomato that she had in her picnic lunch later and suck out the insides.  And it worked!  As I giggled, amazed, she proudly announced: “This is my Straw-amatic Juicer Sucker-Upper!”  Yeeeeeeeessss…maybe need to work on the catchy titles before you make a fortune selling your inventions, darling.

The walk through the woods was great fun because Mini snuggled in to the back of my neck and fell asleep, and Maxi and Midi were actually nice to each other, sharing Smarties and seemed like they enjoyed the nature…well, ‘lesson’, really!  Maxi even rummaged in her mini Smartie packet for a pink one especially to replace the pink one Midi dropped.  Awwwww!  Though she’d be mortified if she thought anyone had noticed.  The only downer was The Boss trying to track down why a bad smell seemed to be getting closer and closer (yet I couldn’t smell it), only to discover that it was dog poo smeared from Midi’s sandals onto his rucksack strap, right under his nose.  And his teeshirt.  Yuck.  Bloody irresponsible dog owners.  I guess he’ll never let Midi ride on his shoulders without checking her again.

We let the girls chase round a swingpark to properly tire them out.  It worked – while Midi snored in an afternoon nap, me and Maxi did a bit of mother-daughter brainwashingbonding in the garden: hanging out (yet more) washings, lots of weeding, tons of sowing (peas, beetroot, flowers) and watering.  I liked the watering best: while I had a hosepipe in my hand (it’s ok, I’m in the very N of Scotland, we don’t get hosepipe bans here), I decided to hose off some seagull poo off the car.  (Seagull poo?  Holy schamoley, I’d hate to see the size of seagull that sprayed the half-alive fish over the side of the car – more like a bloody pteradactyl).  Then because I was hosing the car and the water was bouncing off in a spray, I decided to arc some off to show Maxi and Midi a rainbow.  Then because they were giggling so much, I decided to ‘accidentally’ splash them with a bit of water.  Then a lot of water.  Then I was running after 2 shrieking, drenched little girls, who retaliated with wet, soggy cuddles and splashes (attagirls – never give up, even when you have no apparent weaponry!)

Seeds: we finally got the beetroot in the bed with the potatoes and garlic, and got a row of peas in.  And marigolds in between the broad beans, just for the hell of it (if it works, the colours will be lovely).  Then I found the seeds I collected from the weeds growing in the garden of our last house and let Maxi and Midi sprinkle them at will everywhere.  Although the flowers are pretty (and I don’t know their name and can’t find a link on t’interweb), they’re nothing special.  They just remind me of a very happy home and a generally joyful 2 years.