Slugs and Abatoirs

Normally Maxi Minx is the bleeding heart liberal creature lover in our household and her little sister Midi is the thug. So I was a bit surprised to see Midi sprout her pink fluffy halo.

While Maxi was at school this morning, I ousted Midi and Mini into the back garden to get some fresh air and exercise (yep, just like puppies they need it or they go bonkers. In fact, Midi still chews her shoes and Mini chomps and dribbles over everything, but that’s another story). Mini busied herself making marks on everything with her jumbo chalks (…tick…’Mine’…stroke…’Mine!’…scribble…’Mine-mine!’) whilst Midi scrabbled about on her hands and knees, clucking away to herself.

“What’s on your hand?” I asked, before spotting that she was gently stroking a half-dried-out slug that was warily waggling its antennae at her, near its death-throes.

“It Mr Slug; he like a snail, but he got no shell! Pooooooor Mr Slug,” Midi cooed, gingerly picking it up to place it lovingly on the wet grass.

She paced up and down our little patio, patiently following all the silver slug trails to their mostly-dead originators, before rescuing them to the grass. Perhaps it’s just as well she doesn’t see the soles of my shoes when *I’ve* been out gardening… However, my Midi is still my Midi – she crumbled up some dessicated worms for her pet slugs as food before auntering indoors for a quick game of ‘barbecue the dolly’ before lunch.

That reminds me of the conversation I unwittingly got into on the drive to the supermarket last week. I’ve got a terrible habit of blethering away in a kind of stream of consciousness while I’m driving with the girls: “Oh look, there’s a cow. Oh look, there’s a cool-shaped cloud. Oh look, there’s a dead teenager thrown out his windscreen after that high speed crash”. Anyway, as we swung round the roundabout, I remarked on the lorry full of lambs off to the abatoir.

“What’s an abatoir, Mummy?” drifted the sweet little voice of my eldest, most sensitive, little girl, Maxi, from the back seat. Um, well, it’s the place where they turn lambs and sheep into joints and chops and things for dinner, I explained, hedging it a bit.

“What, they get lambs and they chop them up? They go, ‘chop-chop-chop’ with them? With big axes and knives?” quizzed Midi in a horrified whisper, catching on faster than I really give a 3 year old credit for. Oh crap.

“Um…yes,” I admitted weakly, then shouted the ultimate distraction: “Oh look, a rainbow!” Bingo. I’m the Mummy and I’m still the boss. For now.

Primary School Secrets Revealed

Maxi Minx is always (always!) last out of school. I think I know why:

Just imagine all the 4 and 5 year olds of your average Primary 1 class in one enclosed space. I guess it doesn’t matter if they’re starting school in the morning, or finishing class and getting ready to go home. Now, most little kids have trouble with buttons and zips with their wee sausage fingers, so all outdoor clothing comes with velcro. Lots and lots of velcro…

Picture the little blighters fighting their way in and out of their coats, thrashing around, all that velcro flailing about. I reckon at some point they all end up stuck to each other. One wee kid manages to wrench free an arm, but the momentum sticks her to another kid’s hood fastener. He pulls his head out of his pal’s hair only to get his chest stuck to the waistband of his nemesis. The teacher dives in to prevent a murder, but forgets that she’s already put on her kagoul. Which has velcro’d cuffs and sides. She directs her escape from the roiling mass like the spinner-controller of a big game of Twister.

Now you know why Primary 1 teachers look so flustered at the end of the school day.

tangled climber

From the week they learned to tie shoelaces

Standard Week, Really

(wrote this last week)

Mini Minx can only say 8 or 9 words, but is trying out some new ones. I gave her a slice of homemade tea-loaf that all 3 minxes made. She rubbed her little belly, licked her lips and sighed, “Mmmmmmmmmm. Yuck!” Keep trying, darling…

Mini also burst into hurt tears when I refused to share my emergency Stress-Relief Chocolate with her. They were so heartbreaking that I pathetically relented and fed my 18-month-old some Evil Cheap Dairy Milk. I am sure to go to Dentist Hell when I die.

Maxi Minx, meanwhile, has been busy worrying about me going away for the weekend to visit my poorly Dad. I didn’t think to alert her teachers that she might be unsettled about it, but they noticed. It might have been the graphic, word-for-word description of the operation he was about to have…

Staying with Maxi, I read on someone’s blog about how hurtful some girls were to her 9 year old daughter: crumpling up and binning a drawing she’d made lovingly for one of them. That really struck a chord with me, so I’d chatted with Maxi about it in a 5-year-old-friendly kind of way. We talked about what she would do if someone threw away one of her drawings, and what she should do if someone gave her a drawing that she didn’t like. I had marked it as ‘Tick – fully completed’ in my head. So I wasn’t impressed to hear her teacher remind her that although she’d not really liked Neave’s drawing, Neave had spent an extra-specially long time and great care making it just perfect for Maxi. Oh hell… So I switched from chatting about it to full brainwash mode. From henceforth, if any child gave Maxi a drawing, regardless of what it was, Maxi was to say, “Thank you very much! I love it!”, put it in her bag and talk to me about it. The next morning I found Neave, introduced myself, and sxclaimed what a beautiful drawing she’d done for Maxi, that she was very kind and talented. After getting over her shock at The Mental Mad Perma-Distracted-Looking Lady talking to her, she looked fit to burst with pride – the wee soul!

Midi, meanwhile, got her 4th review with the ENT professor at the hospital. She’s already her got her Autumn-and-Winter-Perpetual-Cold, so her hearing sure wasn’t any better than last time. I’d observed that her speech had caught up with where it should be whilst she was relatively infection-free over the summer, but that already it was going backwards. So I agreed that getting grommets would, indeed, make sense. So I guess it’ll be by the end of next month! Poor wee mite. She’s to get her adenoids whipped out, too, if they’re as inflamed as the prof suspected. I know it’s for the best, and I know it’s not a major op, but she’s my wee baby and I wish I could just make everything trouble-free and perfect for her. She asked if it would hurt. “Yes”, I said, “You’ll have an ouch, but not as much of an ouch as when you had your injections”. She seemed satisfied with that, and busied herself chosing a sweetie for being so fantastically well-behaved and obedient all morning.

Midi (and hence Mini) missed swimming this week because of the thick snot rope sported by Midi. Maxi might as well have missed it, because this week she swam even fewer strokes. Typically, though, she managed to jump in the pool by herself just as I raced Midi to the toilet. Missed it. Damn!

I don’t know what goes through Midi’s mind sometimes. Now that she and Maxi are in different ballet classes, she likes to peep in on her big sister. I don’t know what she’s expecting from a class of 5 year olds, though – “Oh. They’re sitting down” she said, all disappointed at them pointing and flexing their toes. Perhaps she believed they danced round sacrifices, or something?!

Probably the biggest thing last week was my Dad having a stroke and needing a sudden operation – I’ll write about that separately, though.

I’ve Been Uncharacteristically Quiet Because

…I’ve been a tad busy and stressed. My Dad had a stroke last weekend, had carotid artery surgery yesterday and I’m off to see him tomorrow.

In between the hundred million phonecalls (including one very special call to him the night before the op – he sounded just fine, only the odd stutter), I’ve also gone and gotten an infected finger (so had to stop knitting and typing for a bit), had temporary arthritis (! Who knew it even existed?! Never mind that you could get it after a dose of gastroenteritis too many…) and spent a long weekend battering my website a bit. And a whole night ‘thoughtfully’ printing out useful flashcards to send to Dad in case his speech was worse than it actually was. Well, he’d lose the will to live if he couldn’t curse and swear like Father Jack.

So, what I’m trying to say is that I’ve not been blogging because I’ve not been *able* to, not because I’ve not wanted to. The minxes are still being minxes and I fret that I’m not logging all their funnies or milestones but I will when I get back next week.

Wish The Boss well as he handles the girls alone on very little sleep! (They’re driving me to the airport in about 7 hours time, and picking me up v late Sunday night. Oh boy…)

Little Things That Improve Your Day Instantly

  • Midi Minx airily announcing at breakfast, “I am not a monster; my teachers say I’m lovely”. I lost my coffee and choked for a loooong time.
  • The expression on Mini’s little face as you hold your arms out for her to jump into at the swimming pool. All 6 of those little teeth on display with a squeal that’s pure dolphin.
  • Maxi whispering, “I love your knitting. You’re the cleverest Mummy in the world”. Ah, darling you won’t be saying that when you discover fashion.
  • Realising you can’t get any wetter (when rained on for the 8th time that day) so stopping wincing against the rain. Then noticing it tastes a bit malty (!)
  • The Boss bringing hot buttered toast, unbidden.
  • I said, “The Boss bringing hot buttered toast, unbidden
  • (Damn, the telepathy link’s down again…Must be the stormy weather)

Important Clarification

Honest, I’m heading for an early night. Truly. In a minute. But first…

I’ve had a few very kind and supportive emails and messages and comments over the past day or 2. It’s made me pause and reflect (a) on what a lot of lovely people there are roaming the internet, and (b) I might be giving a skewed impression of my daily reality. So I thought I’d clarify a few things. Just in case it affects how you read my posts.

I’m 40 <gulp> and have lived, shall we say, a very full life thus far. Living up here, with my husband, our 3 wee girls and our cat is absolutely brilliant. I love my life and am extremely (almost smugly) happy with my lot. Life with our minxes is frenetic, emotional, perplexing and very, very fun. If any of my posts come across as whingey to you, imagine me reading out the story to you in person, preceded with a nudge and a “You’ll never guess what happened today – it was such a hoot! Well, …”. Except for posts in the category ‘angry’. Now *those* are proper whinges and moans. For those, imagine a female Victor Meldrew growling, “I just don’t belieeeeeeve it!” 

Anyway. Just thought you should know. Right, off to bed. After making sure Midi’s had a wee.

You Can Tell Today Is Tuesday

I hate Tuesdays, ok? I think we’ve established that here and here. But I normally just get on with it. Not today. (And it’s only 1012hrs)

My Tuesday started off at midnight when I still wasn’t in bed. I’m crocheting a beanie for Rainbow Knits and I finally sussed out how to attach the rainbow as part of the hat. I meant to have an early night, too, after spending most of yesterday feeling dizzy and lightheaded from lack of sleep (thanks, sleepless Midi Minx). Still, by 0045hrs I was in bed.

At about 0115hrs, Midi stumbled into bed. I was too tired to shift her back to her own bed, even when she thrashed around, so gave The Boss a shove to make enough room for me to sleep on my side like a sardine, then passed out.

It started going downhill properly at 0255hrs. I’d rolled over in my sleep to give Midi a cuddle and rolled over onto a massive, cold, wet patch. She’d peed herself and not woken up. Arrrrgh! Stand to! Stand to! The Boss dead-armed a dripping Midi to the bath to shower her down; I stripped the bed. Although we still use a waterproof undersheet in case of kid accidents, Midi had fragged the (newly-laundretted) duvet. Double argh! So Midi snuggled into her nice, dry, warm bed while me and The Boss huddled under a random collection of kids’ spare blankets. In cotbed size. I may not be a whale anymore, but I’m a bit longer than a cotbed.

Maxi came trilling into the bedroom around 0600hrs, chirping about wanting help attaching her fairy wings to her outfit. I don’t think she understood my slurry words, but she sure got the underlying message and hotfooted it back to her bedroom with a screech. Which woke up her youngest sister.

Mini then woke up again around 0720hrs with huge stinky poo leakage and bright red nappy rash. Great. Still, after she calmed down (around half an hour after cleaning her up) I got on with giving her a more leisurely breakfast than normal. Except she upended it all over the floor. As an encore, she tipped her beaker of milk s-l-o-w-l-y down her front. Then sat there looking smug. And expectant (would Mummy say any more cool words? Would she shout? Would I finally get my own way and not have to wear this stupid frilly dress?)

While I was away trying to find something to mop up the mess, the cat came bounding in and splashed through all the mess on the floor. She didn’t bother giving it a lick, just danced around in the slop for a bit, then legged it, leaving a long trail of mushy pawprints behind her.

Sod it – most of it could wait till after the school run. I put the kettle on for the second coffee of the day. Just as I was raising it to my lips, Maxi yelled from the living room, “Daisy Cat’s pooed on the carpet!”

I honestly looked round for cameras. This has got to be a joke, right? Someone’s doing all this to get a good laugh at my reaction, yes? No. Luckily The Boss discovered last week that the little dustpan makes a brilliant carpet scraper. And it wasn’t cat poo – it was cat vomit. Daisy had barfed her entire pouch of Felix ‘Shrimp and Plaice’. Whiffy…

I think the local road workies must have got a message that my eyes were whirling in opposing circles this morning and cleared off just in time – if any of those fat layabouts had blocked my path (and the accumulated 6 stone weight of double buggy with flat tyres and turning circle of the QEII) this morning, I think I’d have vaporised them with a single look. Instead the stupid sods had blocked all the pavements entirely with far too many massive signs helpfully pointing out the unmissable-roller-coaster-like RAMP across the road. I think I may have torn a stomach muscle or 3 manoeuvring the double buggy onto the road and back around all the stupid signs.

I decided not to go swimming with the girls this morning after all*.

*To be fair, I decided that last night when Midi was running a bit of a fever, had a runny nose, and was so out-of-sorts that she’d been bitten at nursery by the local thug. On a normal day he’d have been felled with a single Midi swipe before his teeth had touched her skin. 

Atom Explosion

Roadwork Man Wishes the Grumpy Old Trout 'Good morning!'

Do NOT Read Unless You Have a Strong Stomach – Seriously TMI

This post is pretty disgusting, but I thought I’d include it because it’s a little observation of my life with my kids. It mentions virtually all the yucky things you can imagine, so please stop reading if you might be offended or might feel sick (the vast majority of people, ok?)

Last week I had gastroenteritis. Yeah, again. Twice in a fortnight; 3 times in as many months. My insides are just in tatters. And I haven’t seen this weight since I was 24. Anyway, when Midi Minx started vomiting on Tuesday night I honestly thought it was because she’d been chewing her wellies again. Then the next morning, Maxi threw up. Oh-oh, bug alert…INCOMING!

By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling a bit peaky, and by evening I was totally floored. Well, curled up on the bathroom floor. The girls got over their bug in minutes; I was ill for 2 days. With superhuman Martyr Mummy effort I managed to just about look after the kids on Thursday (thank God for CBeebies, packed lunches made by The Boss and the fact that the baby, Mini, stayed well).

Anyway, here goes…this incident sums up my busy, multi-tasking life as a mum…are you ready?

By the middle of Thursday afternoon I was counting the minutes till The Boss came home. Every time I dragged myself off the sofa to lumber to the bathroom I worried about what the minxes would get up to while I was gone. I tried loperamide to stem the flow, but that just provoked vomiting. So there I was, sitting doubled over on the toilet, trying not to pass out with the smell. It made me vomit (again), but luckily I’d taken the sick bowl with me. Bloody hell, it came out so violently it splashed. Damn. Not so much that it wrecked my favourite fluffy comfort cardi, but because I’d no more energy left to even attempt to go clean it up. Worse, the splash aroused the interest of the cat. “Go away Daisy!” I croaked. “Shoo!” But the effort made me go r-aaaaaa-lf again.

I must have left the living room door open because little Mini Minx wobbled over to me looking troubled. Her little nose wrinkled at the smell. She warily eyed up the cat and sidled up to me for a Mummy-cuddle. I pushed the cat away with my foot, spilled a bit of vomit out the bowl and cursed. I yelled for Maxi to come help me with her sister. My hands were full (of sick bowl) and the rest of me was gripping the toilet, so I’d nothing to cuddle Mini with. I suggested she go back to her sisters. Mini started to cry. I yelled for Maxi again. Nothing. No response. She was busy singing CBeebies theme tunes. I vomited again. Mini started to wail. I put the bowl down, wiped my face and tried to reassure Mini. The cat sniffed at the bowl. I pushed the cat away. I yelled for Maxi. The cat came at the bowl from a different direction. I lunged at the cat. Mini got a fright and kicked the bowl. The bowl spilled some more. Over my feet. I got a fright and filled the toilet again. Mini shrieked at the noise/smell. I vomited once more. Mini raced back to the living room. From the safety of the kitchen door, Midi watched and cackled. Maxi blithely sang along to the next theme tune.

I will get my own back on Maxi when I am old and incontinent and living in a Granny-flat with her. Oh yes!

Random Observations

I tiptoed into the girls’ rooms last night to check on them before I went to bed. As usual I had to touch Mini Minx to check she was still alive (the child makes no noise when she breathes at all), unload around a hundredweight of stuffed toys from Maxi Minx’s bed and unfurl Midi’s death-grip on her wooden chisel and hammer.

Unusually, Maxi’s pillow looked a bit lumpy. I found some books and a plastic teapot lid under it. Still lumpy. Tissues, bobbles, hairclips. Still lumpy. A mini football. Eh…?!

Saturday mornings can sometimes be wonderful – Mini woke up and sang to her stuffed giraffe for a bit instead of yelling to be set free; Maxi waddled in for a cuddle and a chat about her dreams (surreal. Don’t ask); Midi staggered in 5 minutes later, hair like Doc Emmett Brown, eyes like Bambi, safe under her doll’s pram’s pink umbrella.

Midi has obviously had a bit of a speech upgrade this past fortnight at the new nursery. It’s still a bit ‘underwater’, but her vocabulary and the complexity of her sentences have increased enormously. But she’s still my original little Midi: she prefers her dinners “all smudged up” and she loves me “olla-waya-moo-nan-back. Lots. And lots. Can I have a biscuit now, please?”