I Love Wundaweb

Pyjama cut-outs

Before: pointing out the 2 holes on each thigh

Remember I posted about Maxi Minx and her over-enthusiastic cutting-out?  Well, here’s evidence of what she did, the little minx.
I consulted some friends on how to repair, because I’m rubbish with a sewing machine and figured that hand-sewing would be beyond me. They suggested wundaweb, the iron-on hemming stuff.  I gave it a try…  
After – pointing out the repairs

What an amazing thing! Just a wee patch of it between the pair of ‘leaves’ cut from each leg and a 30 second iron, and you can barely see it.  Hooray! Boy, am I feeling smug tonight :o)

Granny Stripe Blanket Gorgeousness

granny stripe crochet hearts

Close up of the corner with the soft pink hearts

 I’ve been a knitter for 35 years, but last week due to this and this, I felt a deep urge to do a Granny Stripe blanket.

The only thing I’ve ever crocheted to completion before was some little lookalike baby rainbow converse boots, so I had to relearn. I suspect I’m still doing it wrong, but who cares? It’s fun! I’m really enjoying my break from knitting, and I’ve been loving knitting my baby something that she can use.
granny stripe blanket side

Half the blanket - flash on to see some colours better

I just used some double-knitting wool I had knocking around my personal stash (as opposed to Rainbow Knits wool – that’s all held entirely separate), so I was limited to what wools I had, rather than what I thought would look nice together. Anyway, I found myself reminiscing as I added each stripe…
Granny Stripe blanket
The whole blanket – to fit a car seat

From bottom to top, for the record for my girls:

  1. The rich purple (that looks navy here because my camera can’t cope with purple) of the bottom stripe and outer border was part of the very first bright rainbow things (carseat blanket, hat and leggings) that I knitted Mini Minx the week before she was born

The gorgeously soft lilacy-purple (it’s far pinker irl) was the leftovers from a soft beanie I knitted Maxi Minx, when she was 3

The pale blueish turquoise was a really lovely jumper I knitted Midi Minx when she was just 18 months old; it had beads in the hem and lace around the neck and it made her peachy skin glow. The matching jumper I knitted a 3-year-old Maxi was in dark rose pink: the leftovers formed the top pink heart.

I started using the pale green wool before I was a mother, pregnant with my longed-for Maxi.  It was the wool I used to Swiss darn seashell motifs on her first baby blanket – I left 2 squares blank to finish the day after she was born with her name and date of birth. She uses it for her dollies, now.

The (genuinely) bluish purple was a cardi for me that I knitted on my first visit to the Falkland Islands and wore constantly on my second.

The true turquoise 7 stripes up from bottom was a beautiful pramset I knitted Mini: footed trousers with cables and a swing jacket. When she was born a girl (!), I embroidered some pink roses onto one lapel.

The denim-pink was from another cardi I knitted myself – loooooong and reminds me of nav training.

The single brown stripe in the middle is actually a rich chocolate shade. It was a pair of gloves and a beanie I knitted The Boss a few years ago in the most beautiful, soft wool I could find. Leftovers from another beanie I knitted him made the reddish heart motif and the very thin red border.

The blueish-lilac (that also forms the double inner border) was from simple baby booties I knitted each minx.

The pale pink of one heart motif and the stripe 6 from top was a cashmere ‘sea urchin’ beret and booties I knitted Maxi Minx as a 9 month old, and a soft cosy beret I knitted my mum at the same time – the last thing I made for her before she died. 

I enjoyed talking to Maxi and Midi about what I’d made for my family with each stripe’s wool. Mini doesn’t give a monkey’s about the wool’s provenance, she just likes the different textures (cashmere, merino, silk, acrylic, all in varying proportions and mixes), and she already loves to rub the hearts.


baby blowing trampoline

Blown away by Mini Minx

Today wasn’t raining (hooray!) so we decided to get outdoors.

As The Boss has never got to Wester Hardmuir yet, we went there to see if we could pick nice vegetables. Yes, it’s more expensive than the supermarket, but as I said before, the extra pays for entertaining the kids.

All 3 girls enjoyed picking strawberries from hanging baskets this time. Maxi and Midi Minx even managed to (mostly) pick ripe, red ones. It was Mini who insisted on grabbing or sitting on the greyest, mankiest ones… I stuck her back in the big Peruvian Pan-Piper sling (my beautiful Girasol No. 26) and shamelessly fed her strawberry after strawberry. What the hell – none of the girls had eaten any last time or this time.

In a bid to tire out the little blighters, we let them loose on the playpark again. This time, with The Boss here, I could have a go on the trampolines, too. What a hoot! Who needs a gym?! The girls’ favourite game was to lie down and let me bounce them in the air. It definitely made a huge impression on Midi, who declared how much she loved me for hours afterwards.

We treated ourselves to Eating Lunch Out (McKenzie & Cruikshanks), but with The Boss barely able to hold his eyes open, he took a snoozing Mini home and I ran the other 2 ragged at the local swing-park. They’re all dozing now.


Trampoline or hover-plate?

Casting a Flying Spell

Day Out With Maxi

Well, I finally went to bed around 2am this morning after hitting the ‘scholarly articles’ on ticks, Lyme disease and other nasties. I slept ok, given that I had some nightmares about one very graphically described study, checking the likelihood of passing Lyme on to mice compared to how long ticks were attached. Still, the study left me feeling very reassured that the chances of Maxi catching anything from a 7hr-attached adult female tick (female, cos the ugly brute was huuuuuuge, but not engorged) were just tiny. She’s far more at risk from all the dog-poo on teh paths round here.

Anyway, I remember checking the clock at 0230hrs. Then again at 0500hrs: Midi Minx stood wailing at the side of my bed. After a few weeks of being dry at night again, she’d wet the bed. The Boss sorted out her bed while I hosed her down, got her in dry clothes and settled her down. As Midi continued to wail, Mini Minx set up a big howl. I thought she was just jealous of me cuddling Midi – she’s going through a phase of screeching and hauling at her sisters if they dare to come to me for a hug (Mummy’s lap is MINE ALONE, she roars). I couldn’t settle her, so The Boss suggested I check her nappy (yeah, despite 3 kids, lack of sleep stops you thinking). Sure enough, she’d pooed so much she’d leaked all round her nappy legs, nappy back, nappy top, through PJs and sleeping bag. I can’t shake off this virus, hence why I couldn’t smell it.  Bleeeeeeee! Alas, the lukewarm water left over from Midi’s shower was gone, so Mini got cleaned down with cold water. I reckon you could hear her screams down at the harbour. After The Boss cleaned her up, she came to me for a cuddle and wouldn’t let go, like a little tick (hehehehehe!). So I let her sleep with us. While she thrashed around trying to get comfy, Midi came in for a cuddle and was distraught at my arms being full of baby. So she snuggled into The Boss and they quickly fell asleep. Around 0800hrs I finally fell asleep for an hour.

Although I looked somewhat more haggard than usual, I’d been promising Maxi a mother-daughter visit to town this past week, so tanked up on coffee and attacked the shops. She was a brilliant shop-friend, finding nice clothes in my size (! I detest clothes shopping, but I’ve recently dropped 2 clothes sizes, so needs-must) and cooing how beautiful I was. I mean, how could that not be fun?! We had a good blether, bought hairbands and bobbles for her and her sisters, then went swimming.

As we’d started late, it was just after 1300hrs, so we had a chocolate donut and an apple juice each (“So we don’t fight over it”, Maxi commented) before we hit the water. We spent an hour in the kids pool with Maxi relearning how to swim. Her right arm seems disconnected from the rest of her: she can remember how to do back-stroke and front crawl with each individual limb, and up to 3 going at once, but move her right arm with anything else and she stops and sinks. Doh! She wasn’t impressed at me refusing to let her go into the big pool until I was happy she could swim herself, but hey-ho. So we played with the cutes and the big floats and generally had a laugh.

After an hour, we hit the showers, when she laughed so hard she nearly peed herself, and I showed how tired I really was: I used rich, heavy body moisturiser instead of shower gel. I rubbed in a good double handful, mildly mystified as to why it wasn’t lathering. I think my new cozzie is now dead forever…

As a special treat, we went to Scribbles for lunch (! It was 15oohrs!) afterwards. Maxi chose calzone and a huge chocolate milkshake (pizza-pie) and I had my standard beef chilli melt, the meal that I think baby Mini was built on. Idly chatting, Maxi suddenly broke off with a very teenage, “Oh my God! Listen! It’s my favourite song! By Katie Perry! It’s… it’s… “Baby You’re a Firework!” I did snigger a bit.

Maxi got a piggy-back back to the car as a special treat, quick blitz at Tescos (failed utterly to find a replacement Vileda broom-head, and it feels stupid to buy an entirely new broom), then home in time for tea (Maxi’s favourite – sausages!) and to eat the biscuits The Boss had baked with Midi.

The bit had that me laughing for the rest of the evening, though, was at the Tesco check-out. Maxi was waggling around her shopping list, blethering on to the cashier about how she wanted a paper hat made out of it. He admitted to making paper aeroplanes for his kids, but couldn’t do anything else. We looked down adn Maxi had made a perfect paper hat out my crumpled list and cheekily perched it on her head. I was speechless, the cashier’s jaw dropped. “I’d no idea you could make paper hats – who taught you?” I asked. Maxi shrugged. Minx!

Maxi Ticks Scissors

Adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis.

Image via Wikipedia: not the one that bit Maxi (that's still writhing in a plastic pot)

Yesterday was quite a day for my baby Maxi Minx.

She’d been up chattering and giggling with me as she crafted with pens and scissors as usual (she likes to make collages using shapes and their negative spaces(!)) and I cooed over a newly-arrived parcel of wool. As I was stroking the fibre, she asked shyly if I wanted to see the holes in her pyjamas.

Pyjamas: what, the ones you’re wearing? The really expensive, embroidered ones from Monsoon that I bought you when you were only a year old and tucked away, because they were so beautiful? What bloody holes? Oh, those huge actual-sized leaf-shaped holes you’ve cut out of each thigh at the front…

I didn’t shout. I didn’t scream. I just explained how sad I felt because they’d cost a lot of money, she’d worn them twice and now were ruined forever; she’d never be able to wear them again and Midi and Mini would never get to wear them at all. I thanked her for saying sorry (she went quite hysterical) and fairly successfully stayed calm. Well, I could see that my crappy sewing skills weren’t going to resurrect them, so what else could I do? Besides, my little Chicken-Licken* brain was whirling over the fact that if her ‘child’ scissors could cut through a double layer of material that easily, they could have made a mess of her 5 year old baby skin just as easily.  (Guess what’s been confiscated?) Also, she was utterly distraught at me banning her from any form of crafting for the rest of the day.

*Chicken-Licken: fairytale about the chicken who feels an acorn fall on his bonce and assumes the sky is falling down; goes into a total flap about something innocuous. That’s generally me, that is.

In a bid to not stay in the house all day, and seeing that the weather forecast was wrong (hooray!), I sent the kids out to race round the garden. Wee Mini happily staggered around in her lovely purple Tevas strapped over her babygrow – no point dressing her up for a stay at home day. All 3 girls played at basketball (chuck the little ball through a hula hoop held by a sister, and try hard not to chuck said ball at sister’s face…). On a whim, I put Mini in a waterproof all-in-one and put long sleeves and leggings on Maxi and Midi and headed off to the local woods at the bottom of the street.

Now, recently we’ve have little home-made cards posted through the letterbox warning us of Lyme disease in the ticks in the local area. I had Lyme disease back in 2005, caught whilst climbing at Fontainebleau outside Paris, and although I got completely well 2 months later, I really struggled to get sufficient treatment. As a result, I wrote a few articles, such as this one, and have a bit of a horror of the ugly things. My kids routinely wear long sleeves and trousers when out and about and are taught not to go wading through the bracken. Me and The Boss also routinely do tick checks of ourselves and the girls if we’ve been out in typically tick-y areas. But we don’t stress about it, don’t indoctrinate the kids and indeed this year have pulled one off the front of my armpit, one from Midi’s armpit, a few from The Boss, and found a few big buggers in the house (thanks to the cat). Oh, and one crawling over Maxi’s clothes last week in the car. She’d been moaning that she was the only one in the family who’d never been bitten.

Anyway, Maxi noticed new signs put up at the entrance to the wood to match the posted ones about Lyme disease and asked what they were. I explained a little about Lyme disease, really down-played it, and explained that I made them wear leggings and fleeces to help stop so many ticks getting to us. I mean, who wants to be an insect’s lunch? She chatted away, skipping around, plucking dandelion clocks and chasing speckled wood butterflies. Mini snoozed in the sling on my back, and Midi held my hand tightly saying how tired she was (till I suggested we hit the swings instead…).

Actually the swings were a hoot – Maxi and Midi both tried the long zip wire solo, holding the seat tight with their little hands, knees held aloft, zooming down the bark landing field, scraping it into their shoes and pants. Midi only tried it after seeing her big sister zip along so fast. I applauded each effort, and couldn’t help laughing – they looked so exhilerated! Midi seriously impressed me by only falling off once, when the seat boinked off the end of the ride, the first time only.


Well, at the end of what turned out to be a very nice day after a dodgy start, The Boss was getting the girls into their bath. And Maxi had the biggest tick I have ever seen stuck neck-deep in her precious skin, in the fleshy bit in front of her armpit (where my last one was).  Yuck! I can’t convey the sense of dread and disgust I felt. I’m not sure how successfully I covered it up and explained as nonchalently as I could to Maxi that Daddy was going to hook it out with a special hook, we’d put Germolene on it, and watch for any rash coming up for a few weeks, but it was no big deal (she has a real tendency to Chicken-Licken hysteria. Like me).


I resisted the temptation to go off the deep-end and race her to A&E (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know/knew a lot about Lyme, but this is my baby girl we’re talking about, here!). So I spent the evening Googling about Lyme prophylaxis treatment in children and getting my old knowledge up to date (like, when did they rename ehrlichiosis?!). I’m now very happy (!) to just observe her for a few weeks, and if she does develop Lyme symptoms (or HGA), then I know the most credible and recent articles to quote when I request specific treatment for her.

Funnily enough, over dinner I was telling The Boss that if I had more time, I’d like to add my own sign under the Lyme warning ones adorning the woods, saying “Lyme won’t blind your children – leaving your dog’s poo on the path might. Get rid of the mess!” That path was downright disgusting. I hate lazy dog-owners more than I hate ticks!

I Hate Shopping. Honest.

After a tough morning with the minxes, I decided to divide and conquer – when Mini Minx had her nap, I left Maxi Minx playing with new watercolour pencils and my old easel at home with The Boss, and took Midi Minx shopping with me.

Well, it wasn’t so much that I needed to go to the shops, more that I wanted to get away from The Boss before I literally brained him one. He was stretching his passive-aggressive mong muscles to a new degree, and I don’t have the energy or sympathy for that kind of behaviour when there’s children to be looked after instead. So off I went to hit the Next sale.

I hate shopping as a rule, but it’s always more fun with a daughter or 2 (but not with 3 – that’s just hellish). Midi was in a fun mood and decided to come over all girly, picking out clips and a very cute headband in the M&Co sale (attagirl…). She charmed the tailor who was taking up some trousers I’d gotten el-cheapo because they were over-long (even with the tailoring charge, they’d still be cheaper than buying my actual size). In fact, she charmed the tailor so much that we got his life story. Poor soul – before leaving, I recommended he stay with his elder sister in London and get her to look after him for a few days (!)

Midi spotted some red velvet/fake suede shoes in DE Shoes that I’d admired before. They were enormously tall platform shoes with a double red Mary Jane strap across the mid-foot, and only £19.99. Well, as they had them in a size 5 and Midi didn’t seem averse to waiting, I decided to try them on. While Gormless Girl went off to find the matching shoe of the pair, Hatchet-face Hag sniffed in my general direction, glowering down her purple-veined nose at me. I’ve have loved to know what she said snidely under her breath about me to her colleague (she curled her lip, her colleague sniggered, I pretended I’d neither noticed nor felt humiliated; all I heard was a “Watch her!” referring to me). I tried the shoes on and went to find a mirror. “It’s over there,” said Gormless. “Aye, if you can walk that far”, muttered the old bag. It absolutely galled me to admit defeat with a “No, they’re out of my league, I’m afraid” after 3 or 4 steps. I’d have loved to have trip-trapped over lightly to spite that auld witch. Instead, I took my money and my future custom as a parent of 3 desperate-to-be-shod girls elsewhere. After I pointed out that one shoe’s straps had holes while the other shoe had no holes in the straps. Big flaw. Ha! I don’t think Misery Guts’ assertion of, “Oh a cobbler can put holes in them” will wash with the shoes’ eventual buyer.

(Seriously, the service was so bad that I’m never shopping in DE Shoes again. I don’t care what sales they have on! I’m a responsible 40 year old mum of 3, not some fly-by-night, light-fingered 15 year old). 

The Next sale was rubbish, as reported originally on Saturday morning by The Boss. I got very grumpy about the external labels and hangars all proclaiming size 12, then when you actually waddled to the changing room with an armful and an easily-distracted toddler you discovered that the internal labels said every single size *except* 12. Grrrrrr.

I went to Tesco to buy Mini nappies, esp. as Huggies have a BOGOF offer. Every size except her size: no size 4s to be seen. And no nappy sacks either. Again. Double-grrr.

I still hate shopping – I can’t think why?

Standard Minxiness

Today was a kind of standard day with the minxes, but for a change I took notes to remind me of all the minxy things they do through the day.  I stopped around lunch-time.  So here is half a standard day for me.

Over breakfast, Maxi and Midi Minx were discussing what they were going to be when they grew up.

“I’m going to be an artist”, declared Maxi, for the millionth time, “And I’m going to be unusual”. Yes, dear…

“I gonna be a Mummy!” Midi said, all wide-eyed.  I asked her how many kids she was going to have. She held 5 fingers aloft, gleefully.  Girls or boys? “All boys!!” she giggled.  Good grief…

Mini Minx listened seriously to these exchanges and practiced saying her sisters’ names: “Popp-pa!  Llllllllllll!” she said, to their delight. For extra cuteness, she then wrinkled her nose up because she knows I have to squash it. It’s irresistible, like a Laughing Buddha’s tummy, her nose draws my fingers to it.

Mini’s comprehension is far, far greater than I realised. I got the girls to help me clear up the terrible mess of craft stuff so I could put their breakfast on the table. I don’t expect wonders, just a bowl-sized space on the table. Mini was ‘helping’.  “No, no, R!” I said, “Get the bit on the floor!” The wee soul, who had her back to me, immediately bent forward to get the bit on the floor I was on about. It’s like when I ask her for the hundredth time in an hour, “R, what’s that in your mouth?” and she opens her little mouth wide and waggles her tongue at me.  Very sweet.

Also sweet is Midi’s chipped tooth. Well, endearing, but worrying, too. I noticed it yesterday for the first time and no-one has any idea when she knocked a little lump out the middle of her top front tooth, on the edge. I suspect it was the last time we had roast chicken – Midi loves drumsticks, but if you take your eye off her too long she’ll start crunching up the bone, like a dog… And although she’s stopped trying to eat her friends, she still bites in frustration (her toys, the settee, the door, her shoes)

Shoes – I got the girls some new sandals for the summer earlier in the week (yeah I know it’s mid-July, but you know, they only needed them now, ok?) Mini’s arrived today.  She loves her purple Tevas and happily put them on and pulled them off all day.

I told Maxi I was going to make a Thai curry for dinner tonight (I didn’t – I went for Indian tomato chicken with spicy cauliflower and rice instead and everyone except Mini and me hated it. Fussy gits). She asked where Thai was.

“No, Thai is something that comes from Thailand. It’s a country on the other side of the world”, I explained.

“Don’t you mean England?” Maxi asked. “That *is* on the other side of the planet”.  See what I mean about catching a sense of humour..?

In a fit of what-the-hell-how-messy-ca-it-get, I decided to make Nigella’s sour cream chocolate cake with the girls. They fought over who got to stire the wet stuff and who got to stir the dry stuff. Well, Maxi whined and whinged about whatever Midi did; Midi didn’t care, she just got on happily with making a mess. I sent Maxi up to get back into bed and get out ‘the right side’. Meanwhile, I gave Midi 2 eggs and got her to crack them into a jug and whisk them.  She did it perfectly! Clever girl. Her pudgy little hands managed the shell beautifully, and she was so pleased with herself. On a roll, I decided to let her help me press the buttons on the mixer.

“Now wait till I tell you!” I warned her, “Don’t touch anything till I say!” Too late. On to ‘pulse’. Our flour-guard is broken, so me and Midi got covered in flour and butter. She yelled in shock. I wailed in anger. After giving her a cuddle to reassure her that no-one was hurt this time, and just not to do it again, she decided to have a little dance.

“Mummy, watch me spin!” she grinned, and executed a very fast triple-spin on one foot, her posh frock skirt swooshing out wide (it was a stay at home day, and if they don’t wear their party frocks then, when the hell else are they going to?!). Alas she held on for the last half a rotation too long, and toppled over, like a spent spinning top. Crack! Her little head nearly left a dent in the hard laminate. She was sniffly till she got a piece of the chocolate cake to make her feel better (it was too rich and she hated it all, except for the Smarties I let her decorate on her half of the cake).

The Boss was off work sick with the cough he’s had for 18 days. He cutely thought he could lie on the sofa all day, cough weakly and watch TV: I quickly asserted how he could watch one or more girls while I did other useful things. Like sort out the curtains in the living room so they didn’t sag in the middle, like I asked him to fix when we moved here 2 years ago (grrrrr). To be fair, he is a bit poorly. We watched Black Swan on DVD this evening and he stopped breathing for quite a bit when Natalie Portman got seen to by Mila Kunis. In fact, he went quite red in the face. I nearly had to fetch a bucket of water to shock him back into breathing…


Rainbow Knits at Inverness Airport

Look, I know I never blog about my knitting, but I have to write a tiny little weeny post about the weekend before last.

While the Scottish Golf Open was playing at Castle Stuart, Inverness Airport right next door decided to put on some entertainment for its customers.  It advertised for some crafters and makers to apply for a stall for some days over the week.  I applied, for a laugh, and was thrilled and honoured to be picked.  I’ve only ever experienced a single craft fair before now (I sold a solitary pair of booties), so I was a bit scared and overawed, and planned to demonstrate my knitting rather than attempt to sell.

Well, it was a hoot and I was so well looked after by the airport staff.  I had so much time to sit and knit and think without untangling a minx or 2 from my wool every 5 minutes.  I spotted a couple of Faces (and got overawed at ‘Auntie’ Carol Kirkwood touching my knitting – about 1000 years ago I failed the audition at Shepherds Bush to be a BBC weather presenter, but I still admire ‘meteos’) and enjoyed blethering non-stop about knitting. It seemed that a simple, “Are you a knitter yourself?” brought out so many lovely stories and interesting snippets from so many passers-by.  I admit that I lapped up the praise I got about my Shetland Ring Lace Shawl that I’d hauled out of storage and displayed, and even started another (well, it’s a wedding veil.  If I start now, it might be finished by the time one of my daughters needs it…).  It’s lovely to receive compliments about your crafting – sometimes I look at my stuff and wonder what the hell I’m thinking of, wasting my time and energies knit, knit, knitting it all.

In terms of ‘business’, I sold nothing on Day 1, made 3 sales on Day 2 and a single sale before I’d finished unpacking my stall on Day 3.  I’m definitely not cut-out to sell – the young dad buying for his beautiful, tiny premature twin daughters showed me their photo on his phone.  I’m glad he gave me the money for the booties beforehand, or I’d have given them away for free (I was feeling very hormonal and gooey).

Best of all, for me, was talking with the other stall-holders, who were all far, far more experienced than me and very generous with their advice (as well as fantastic company and a good laugh!).  I hope I’ve got their links right, because their work was just beautiful.  I felt very honoured to be displaying in their company.  I don’t like to single people out, but I have to mention 3 really lovely and talented ladies:

Helen of Ripples Crafts was selling some absolutely delicious hand-dyed wools, postcards and knitting kits. The Boss had to give me a talking-to every night, reminding me of the size of my stash of wool.  Had he not, I know I’d have spent my entire takings at her beautiful stall.

Morna of Made By Morna had a stall of the most exquisite hand-sewn, appliqued quilts.  It wasn’t just the quality of work that I admired, it was the wit she imbued in her pieces.  I still lust after her Apple Quilt: it’s a thing of beauty and I can see why some people buy them as wall-hangings.

Julia of Julia Smith Ceramics had a stall full of the most delicately patterned, gorgeous pieces.  And it didn’t sag in the middle, like mine and Helen’s…

Death and Alchemy

Our cat is very small, literally kitten-sized.  She is blindingly white, with luminous green eyes.  Her name is a very friendly ‘Daisy’.  However, she is Glaswegian and obviously thinks she is nails.

When Daisy was even smaller, her attempts to catch seagulls (or ‘eagles’ at Midi calls them: guess they sound pretty similar) or garden birds were farcical and a constant source of amusement.  Then in her second winter, it snowed.  Finally camouflaged, she discovered how to catch field mice and blue tits.  This continued into spring and beyond and now, aged 4, she regularly leaves me and The Boss presents of mice, voles, birds and baby rabbits under the garden seat.  Or sometimes in the veg patch (yuck).

On Tuesday I noticed the remains of a pied wagtail in Daisy’s favourite spot, in front of the chard, where nothing grows (Daisy’s white fur is impervious Teflon to the things I put on and in the ground to protect my baby seedlings in vain.  Bloody cat!).  When I went to pick it up, I found another, fresher wagtail corpse beside my little apple tree.  Cat, stop bringing Death to my garden!

I cleared up the bits then cleaned my rubber gloves with the spray bottle of Flash.  Except The Boss has been watering it down, again.  Now, I think he’s right to add a bit of water at the end of handwash bottles, for example, that are really thick.  But he adds so much water that they become virtually homeopathic.  Babe, Flash barely cuts through grime at full strength!  Leave it alone!

Then there’s Maxi, determined to make perfume.  The poor girl was on her 5th attempt.  She spent yesterday carefully collecting the very best petals in the garden: not wet, not too dry, not too fresh and not dried out.  She added just enough water, stirred carefully, put them somewhere safe to steep for a few hours.  When she went to check out progress, a sulky Midi got there first and tipped it over the kitchen floor (cue more squeals, wails and shouting.  And a profound lack of apologising).  The second attempt got spilled by the cat.  The third attempt was scuppered by the wind.  Mini Minx ruined the 4th attempt this morning because Maxi left the bowl within a millimetre of her sister’s grasp.

I sent Maxi outside with her precious bowl of petals, away from her sisters.  She’d asked for some pretty ribbon and a glass bottle with a stopper, but she got an empty plastic bottle of tonic water and a tea strainer.  I watched her shaking her pink-stained water furiously and holding it up to the sunlight, scrying its contents, before tentatively unscrewing the lid to have a wary sniff.  I think I’m lucky that I have a cold – she insists that it is her ‘Spring Perfume’ and that it makes her smell beautiful.  I just hope it doesn’t make her itch!

We all drove out to meet The Boss for lunch at his work, today.  It reminded me of 5 years ago, when I’d sometimes take a baby Maxi out to The Boss’s work for a picnic lunch, back when I was on maternity leave from work.  Those lunchtimes were the highlight of my week, then.  Today was similar – the girls were very excited about seeing Daddy during the day, and even his grumpy old face lit up over lunch.  They even behaved themselves in the wee canteen.

After The Boss went back to work, the girls had a play in the next-door playpark, then after some toilet shenanigans (thanks goodness we can all squash into a disabled loo, and thank goodness it was empty…) we went on a wee nature trail.  Midi had obviously forgiven me for being such a disciplinarian – she held my hand for the whole 45 minute bimble.  With Mini snuggled in a sling on my back, and Maxi skipping around, suddenly willingly independent, we had a really pleasant afternoon.  They actually enjoyed trying to spot thistles, daisies, butterflies and daft stuff.  We waved at a fork-lift driver filling up with LPG. They didn’t baulk at going into The Deep Dark Woods (maybe because we were higher than the houses when we climbed the steps). They even happily stuck to the path! I guess they got their Karma Reward because on the way back Maxi trod in some dog poo and the mess was too big to clear up at the roadside, so we abandoned going to the boring old supermarket. (Both feet. Brand new sandals, first time of wearing. Sandals, feet and ankles covered. I hate dogs. I really hate dogs).

Midi’s affection was explained by her crashing out in the car, then sleeping for 3 hours when we got home.  She even slept through Mini’s noisy demands for more blueberries: she empties her bowl, then bashes it on the table while shouting angrily till I fill it up again.  She thinks nothing of nicking her sisters’ or parents’ share and is never sated when it comes to sweet berries.  This is why I kept her in a sling when we went strawberry picking at Wester Hardmuir last fortnight…

Bloody Vikings!

Midi Minx was very lucky to make it through yesterday unscathed.

I’m not sure what set her off, but she spent the entire day being the very definition of recalcitrant.  We had our standard battle over breakfast, fight to get her to drink anything, war over getting dressed, and she glowered at me all morning because I wouldn’t let her play with her glitter (well, finding glitter in the contents of Mini’s nappy, as well as upon wiping, is evidence that the bloody stuff is over-used in this household.  As well as damn alarming).

Anyway, while I was busy changing Mini’s (sparkling) nappy, Midi quietly hauled out her big sister’s Peg Farm World.  Some game with about half a billion tiny beads.  Which is why none of the minxes have been allowed to play with it, yet.  In the 3 minutes it took me to wrestle Mini to the changing table, hold her in a head-lock and swipe her clean (the child detests nappy changes and scurries away as fast as those little legs will take her at the mere mention of, “What’s that smell?”), Midi had ripped open all the bags of beads and had them overflowing out a big bowl onto the table.  I came in, saw my worst choking nightmare, roared, “Stop that right now, young lady!”, to which she retaliated by grabbing 2 meaty handfuls of beads and deliberately emptying them slowly on the floor.  The smirk on her face told me this was no accident.  I should tell you, too, that earlier in the morning she wet herself in her chair at the table over breakfast literally the instant I hit ‘go’ on the washing machine; she has been potty trained successfully during the day for quite some time.

Half an hour later, when I’d climbed back down off the roof, Midi’s indignant howls had mostly subsided and the last of the beads that wouldn’t fit in the bags were (mostly) swept up, me and Maxi sat and had a mother-daughter chat.  She wanted to talk about her favourite pants.

Maxi Minx loves her pants that have the days of the week printed on them.  She can’t read, but recognises that ‘Wednesday’ can’t possibly be the word for Friday (I tried to hoodwink her when my washing obviously hadn’t caught up in time to wear the right pants on the right day, and failed miserably).  She gabbled for a bit about recognising some letters, then asked why the days were called what they were.  Example, where did Wednesday come from?  I explained that some days were named after Viking gods, like Wodin and Thor.  So she had a bit of a giggle about the names and what they were the gods of.  Obviously she’d heard of Vikings before, because she declared seriously,

“Viking are normal people now, because they had kids, so they had to stop all their killing and scaring people”.

Um.  Yes.  OK.

“I’m wearing my Viking pants, so I’m not scared about anything!” she added proudly.  “Nothing makes me scream”.  Oh right, except the spider this morning, the bee at the window 2 minutes ago, your sisters all bloomin’ day and the cat…  Still, at least she can hear properly: Midi misheard me, and now thinks that Saturday is named after Santa.