Still Alive… Just Busy

sleeping cat

Foster-cat: happy and dreaming of the seagulls he can chase

I’ve been reading my favourite book at night this week – my old diary from when Maxi Minx was 2 and Midi was weaning. The Boss has been grumpy about me sniggering at it and waking him up.

I’ve also been busy knitting up for a Baby Show craft fair, getting a brochure designed for my little business, Rainbow Knits, sending a fan mail letter to the people who manufacture my favourite wool that’s turning into a bit of a lucky business opportunity, talking garments with my 5 lovely testers (been receiving photos of some seriously photogenic, beautiful babies who are making my knits look special and me incredibly broody), taking on a 12-year-old foster-cat for the next 2 years and separating him and our 5 yo tabby (she wants to be friends; he doesn’t), sorting out my messy garden, baking and partying over Maxi’s birthday, and generally faffing around. You know how it is.

So I thought I’d wave and say ‘I’m still alive and so are the minxes’ and leave you with yesterday’s Midi-ism:

Midi: “Daddy, my head still hurts! It’s so sore! I just can’t stop thinking!”
The Boss: “Well, stop thinking so hard, then”
Midi: “I tried that, but it didn’t work. I keep on thinking, thinking, thinking. Argh! It must be bleeding!” (checks ears with fingers for signs of brain-seepage)

I’ll Thcweam and Thcweam and Thcweam

The first bit is really Shouty Old Trout Part II.

Since I dashed down this morning’s post, I’ve been reflecting on my shoutings and the unconscious thoughts that led to me blowing my stack at Maxi and Midi by the road. I’ve had a pretty testing day, and I’ve been humbled by some really lovely, loving and thoughtful replies to my original post, by email, message and reply to a Facebook status.

It seems that I’m not, in fact, alone in being a shrieking, paranoid, shrew-mother when it comes to scatter-brained offspring and roads. I feel a little less weird and over-reacting. Thanks, ladies xxx But as I said to my friend L, I think I need to go back a stage or 2 in my wee informal programme of becoming a less stressed mum, and do some consolidation by encouraging the minxes to go make and eat mud pies 🙂


I said it was a pretty testing day. Well, Mini has been in a bad mood since 9.30am. She was happy enough toddling up the hill from school, sometimes even being allowed to let go my hand (woah, shocker!). In my street, the front gardens go right to the edge of the road; there is no pavement. Some of the local kids are encouraged to walk along the edge of the gardens, which is very safe and pragmatic. The Boss, however, wants the minxes to grow up with some road sense. So he prefers that they walk along the edge of the road and remain aware and alert to traffic. I see both perspectives. So although I encourage the girls to walk at the edge of the road, I won’t nag toooooo much if they stray onto the lawns. What I won’t tolerate, though, is my 2 year old scuffing through lawns and flower-beds, leaving Mini Minx sized thrash marks in bushes, and generally laying a trail of devastation like the Tasmanian Devil. She didn’t like me holding her hand. She hated that I continually picked her up from each lawn and plopped her feet back on the road. Most of all, she was incredibly frustrated that I didn’t react in pain to her new, sharp little fangs sinking into my hand, apart from calmly squeezing her cheeks hard to make her release.

She got home in a bad, frustrated mood. She then spent the next 2 hours getting up to all the mischief she could: hitting Midi, shouting at the cat (well, the one we’re fostering; she’s too scared of our old one), kicking over toys, ripping books. Normally I sit guard over the girls in the kitchen when they eat or drink anything; nothing is allowed in the living room. But sometimes, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. So I went. And Mini immediately sneaked a full beaker of milk into the living room that she then threw over Midi and the settee. Both settees got fragged, actually. I had to give myself a strict Time Out to be able to shout coherently, never mind anything else.

The washing machine and tumbler have been going on all day since. 10 loose covers and 2 settee covers = 4 loads. As well as being made of heavy, motor-straining cotton, the fabric is also deeply-encrusted with glitter. My whites will never be the same again…

And that wasn’t the end of Mini’s strops. She refused to eat her lunch, insisted on being fed, then refused to eat off whatever cutlery I offered her. She wanted milk. NOW! But not in that beaker. Or that cup. Or that glass. Or that mug. She had a screeching tantrum at having to sit in her own car seat, preferring her sisters’ (no chance! Safety first, safety second, and you, Mini Would-Be Octopus, are going to be folded like a pretzel by your much stronger Mummy till you get into that seat and stay there). She ranted at our Foster Cat for sniffing disparagingly in her general direction. She went apoplectic at having to wear wellies in the rain instead of shoes. She furiously plucked her socks off, insisting on wearing a single, odd sock whose partner was lost eons ago.

Foster-Cat can climb bunk bed ladders. Or levitate. I’m not sure which.

To top it all off, Maxi bit Midi on the finger after The Boss put them to bed. It seems Midi had kept shoving her finger in Maxi’s mouth. Though why they were in the same bed I still haven’t established. “I’m so sorry, I forgot that I’m not allowed to bite Midi!” wailed an apologetic Maxi.

The Boss's favourite white pants, newly washed. Oops....
(Photo: Lazybum outlet,

Shouty Old Trout

Staff Sergeant Kevin L. Zetina, Platoon 2085's...

Staff Sergeant Kevin L. Zetina tries out Grumpy Old Trout's top shouting tips on his Marines. Who *can* cross the road safely. Mostly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been 10 years since I last yelled parade square commands above the blare of a military band, but your stomach muscles never forget…

…and my neighbours won’t forget being awoken to me roaring at Maxi and Midi Minxes this morning. If you’re reading this <adopts lovely David Tennant’s Dr Who’s worried meerkat look and tone>: “I’m sorry; I’m so, so sorry”.

I’m trying to give the minxes a little more leeway and stop being so over-cautious and controlling. I’m really, really trying. I’m better with scissors and glue and mess in general. I still need to work on the outdoor stuff. So instead of parking Midi and Mini in the double buggy so I can completely ensure Maxi is safe on that road with the speeding, sleepy drivers dodging the 70 or 80 bin-lorries*, I let all 3 walk to school. Well, I put Mini in her lovely pink carmin fish wrap up on my back for the way down, so she could walk back, and let Midi and Maxi chase about but with the exhortation that they hold hands.

*OK, I exaggerate -it’s only 3 or 4. But we only live in a little village!

Everything was going well, until I suddenly noticed both girls racing down the hill, getting out of shouting distance. They were about 20 yards apart, and more than that distance away from me. They didn’t look like they were at all aware of all the driveways they were crossing, or the little cul-de-sac roads they were pounding across. Most mums would let them get on with it, I know, but not me. Yet. I’m haunted still at seeing both of them in the past for no clear reason merrily veer from running in a safe straight line suddenly to running on the main road in front of cars, distillery lorries and buses. So I yelled at them to stop. Both twitched, so they heard me, but chose to ignore and kept running. So I yelled again. Louder. With a ‘STOP!’ command. Nothing.

This time I really let rip. Proper deep wake-the-dozing neighbours belly roar. Then ran down to them, with Mini wobbling about on my back. I scolded both, explained why I was angry and told them not to ignore me yelling again. I explained in baby terms that freedom from the tyranny of Mummy always holding their hands in front of their friends only came at the price of being able to trust them to listen to and obey me. Midi rolled her eyes, Maxi burst into tears.

Cue enormous Mummy Guilt. It wasn’t really Maxi I was angry with, I suppose. She’ll stop for a big road maybe 80% of the time. But I had to stop her running on because Midi follows and copies her. And Midi has a 0% compliance rate for stopping at road junctions. Had I just shouted on Midi, she’d just have followed Maxi running on, regardless. I explained this to Maxi while I cuddled her. She cried big, fat, hurt-feelings tears. Every drop compounded my guilt at not dealing with the situation at all well.

I tried another tactic. I reminded them both about stopping for roads. Then breezed, “Come on, let’s race and catch your friends up!” Maxi set off with a smile, Midi followed, one eye on her sister. Maxi reliably stopped a foot from the kerb of the next little road; as I’d thought, Midi ran straight across without looking (I’d already checked it was safe before setting my little test). There. Evidence as to why the girls had to do what I said. Maxi cheered up at the copious praise I heaped on her little head; Midi just rolled her eyes. Again. Mini stroked my sore (still-blistered and scabby) head.

In the playground, Maxi went racing up to her favourite P7. I guess M has finally gotten fed up of a little P1 constantly mooning around after her and jumping and clinging on to her neck – M barely said hello then went lolloping over to play with her own friends. Poor Maxi looked so crestfallen and hurt. I gave her a huge cuddle and kiss, explaining yet again that big girls like to play with other big girls. As ever, I tried to encourage her to play with her own classmates, but she has always preferred to try to mix with older kids. My heart hurt for her. A lovely P6 girl, B, who Maxi also adores, kindly took her by the hand and led her away to play something else.

I guess today hasn’t started well for my biggest-little girl; I hope it gets better for her.

Bank Holiday Blues

2 astronauts and air traffic control crafting

Well, The Boss was back in work today so it was just the minxes and me. Yippee! But they weren’t at all interested in my ideas of going to the beach, going to spot new leaves in the woods, or helping me sow some seeds in the garden.

play helmets

Major Tom and Commander Tim try their helmets out

Oh. OK, what do you want to do today, then? It’s your holidays too. You want to build a space rocket. Ah. Another stay at home day, then. Well, you can do what you like with pens, scissors, sellotape, glue, pipecleaners, card, playdough and anything you find round the house. But no glitter. GLitter’s right out. No chance-eroony. I blew my glitter tolerance valves out months ago.

Actually, we had a lot of fun. Instead of trying to direct the girls in their crafting and building efforts, I just stepped back, tried not to shudder when Midi

The Captain. Naturally. All leaders have those funny antennae. And zips up the back of their necks

wielded her scissors a bit too close to her sister’s long, beautiful mane of hair, and let them get on with it. I asked the odd question to get them going when they paused, like: “What do space astronauts wear? What colours? What clothes do you have that are that colour?” (So now you know why Maxi is wearing head-to-toe white and Midi is in pale pink. Pink? Well, would *you* ever buy Midi Minx anything white?!)

They decided that I was allowed to play, so long as I was the token alien. Maxi made me a fetching third eye for my forehead, thoughtfully sticking it on with double-sided sellotape.

The all-important 3 warning lights on the rocket's dashboard. Obviously.

The navigational dashboard

Midi made some dashboard controls: one is obviously full of writing, and the other has the crucial red, amber and green warning buttons on it.

scotland flag

Maxi: "That's one small step for a scot..." Mini: "Oi, Captain, shift that pile of space-junk off the pan!"

Maxi was too busy making a nice Scottish flag to stick on the moon to notice that Midi had grabbed the pilot’s post. “Never mind!”, I breezed, “You can be the Captain and therefore the boss. Here, have a light sabre”. She perked up a bit when I let them have Space Drinks (juice cartons) and Space Snacks (bananas in some silver foil envelopes). Still, the most miserable one of the bunch was Mini: she relished her role as shrieking Space Traffic Control, yelling abuse at Midi The Dastardly Space Pilot through her echoing microphone.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday, Day 9 of the Easter Holidays

Saturday we spent watching Toy Story 2 (minxes), making Simnel Cake (me) and catching up with the mountain of housework (me and The Boss). Sunday was a similar home-based day.

First we got the minxes to decorate their boiled eggs – guess whose was whose? (and please ignore the second row of photos – I do apologise for my incompetence at posting pics right now):

Then all the decorated toilet-roll carnations (directions at the bottom of this post) had to be stuck to cheapy bonnets. Yes, I realise that Easter has nothing to do with flamenco dancing, but try explaining that to a secularly-brought-up 2 year old? While I’m looking at the photo, yes, that’s a pink potty, and yes after the Easter break I’ll probably start actually-properly-honest-to-goodness potty training Mini Minx. Yikes!

Building up to a proper chocolate frenzy - the 6ft 1 perpetrator tries to look innocent in the middle

Normally I can’t stand the increasingly Americanised/pop media-led encroachment into traditional customs. But here we are encouraging it ourselves with a chocolate Easter egg hunt. Wearing Easter bonnets. I am a Grumpy Old Hypocrite. In my day, Easter meant that you boiled an egg, decorated it, rolled it down the nearest hill. And again. And again. Only when it smashed (and you picked out the grit and ate it) were you allowed your single, solitary chocolate Easter egg.

Although I’m a non-practising anything, I want the minxes to be aware of different religious tenets, festivals and what they mean. So we had a chat about the symbology of the eggs:

Me: “Girls, why do we decorate boiled eggs at Easter?”
Midi: “Cos they’re actually called slimeys and cos we all like them! Except me. Cos they’re slimey. Even when they’re hard”
Mini: “Egg! Egg! Egg! Yum! Mine! Mine! Waaaaah! MINE!”
Maxi: “Because Jesus, who was a very, very, very nice and kind man, was put in a cave when he died, and the egg is kind of like the stone in front of the cave”.
Me: “That’s right, well done! So we roll the egg because..?”
Maxi: “It makes the colours look nicer?”
Me: <watching out for a sudden thunderbolt from above for not teaching her kids some basics>

double rainbow easterAnd on the subject of religion, I have to include this photo that I took on Easter Sunday. I know it’s a seagull rather than a dove, but nevertheless, some might enjoy the vague symbology; some might just enjoy the pretty rainbow.


blue hair didymos petrol fish shortie

February. PS the sling is a petrol fish shorty a lovely friend lent me so I could learn rebozo carries

I’ve had dark blue hair since early January. My hairdresser does a great job, I love the colour and cut, so I wonder what happened today…?

This morning my hair was pretty yuck, so I washed it, but didn’t condition it because I knew it was being bleached again at lunchtime so that the blue would be more vibrant. I got the minxes ready for a 2hr session at the hairdresser (made up a packed lunch, snacks, toys and books) and went to drop one minx off at a friend’s, who’d kindly agreed to mind one for me. All the minxes cried and the friend’s grandchildren were disappointed at only having one minx to play with. She offered to take the 2 eldest minxes. I relented. Mini Minx then sobbed her heart out at her sisters’ gleeful disappearance upstairs. My friend persuaded me to leave all 3. It felt like I was cutting my own arms off, but I felt that if I’d refused, I would have been being rude: don’t slap someone in the face when they’re offering to help. So I unloaded lunches, gave lots of kisses all round, and set off to the hairdresser.

It was my usual session: we blethered, had a laugh, had a chunter and a moan about stuff, drank tea and coffee and put the world to rights. My scalp tingled more than usual when I got the bleach in the regrowth, but it wasn’t painful per sec, and went its usual pale yellow. We talked about how the salon owner hadn’t stocked up on blue and that only one tube was left. Was it enough? My hairdresser agreed with me that if she cut my hair first there would probably be enough. There was: the blue went on, and although it was a bit ouchy on my scalp, it was no more than usual. Uncomfortable is as bad as I’d describe it. While we waited I related the many tales of evidence I have about what a jinx I am. God, how we laughed! “There we were at 30,000ft…” I’d start. Though her phone went non-stop and she had to keep stopping applying bleach/colour to answer it.

Timer up, she washed off the blue. And I have no idea what happened, but the right side and the back were not blue at all, not one little bit: they were still yellow. Even the top was a bit patchy. Now I know she’d covered them, and checked that it was properly distributed. I wondered if it was because she’d applied conditioner after the shampoo between the bleach and the colour? I’ve no idea. She looked horrified. I laughed it off. Why? Well, do you think I’d have gone blue in the first place if I cared all that much about how I look? It looked very bizarre. And? I’m sure I’ve looked worse in the past, and will again. As there was no more blue colourant in the salon, I reassured my hairdresser that I’d just book a time to come in next week and get it sorted.

I should have stopped there. No. Me and my bright ideas. When I’d originally come in she’d suggested going purple instead of blue, and I’d wavered, but decided not to. She also was cross that she didn’t have blue to sort it there and then. I put 2 and 2 together and made 7. “Why not just put purple over the top to cover it up now, then?” We looked at each other, then the clock. I phoned my friend to check a 1 hour delay would be ok (and mentally plotted where the nearest florist was to say thanks with flowers); she mixed up the purple.

blue purple hairWell, as soon as it hit my scalp it burned. I wondered if it was me being sensitive. After all, freezing cold goop on a tired scalp does feel sore initially. I mentioned that it was nippy, but joked that my body was saying, “You’ve sat on your lazy bum for 2 hours now, and had 2 cuppas made for you – time to get up!” But it kept burning. I told the hairdresser it was burny. She was alarmed, but I said it was ok. Actually, it’s still hurting, I said. Sitting upright, I noticed I had red blotches down the side of my face and neck. My chest looked red. My hairdresser said my scalp looked normal. She asked if I was ok and fetched me a glass of water. I suggested we keep going. For now. My heart started racing, from being a dyed-in-the-wool drama queen rather than from an allergic reaction, I’m sure. But my scalp really hurt, so 10 seconds later I said, “OK, stop. I think we need to wash it off right now”.

My hairdresser looked instantly relieved, poor soul. I confided that I was a little bit proud of myself for being brave enough to say, “Stop”. I’m not very good at confrontation or nay-saying or anything other than mild-mannered-ness. I joked that it was either yell, “Stop” or “Pass the gas and air”. As the purple was on the yellow bit of my hair for only 20 seconds rather than 20 minutes, I didn’t expect it to cover it at all – maybe some of the patches on the top. I braced for impact as I looked in the mirror, expecting leopard print. In fact, it’s ok! Which is a bonus, I suppose.

Pink, purple and blue. Just practising for those old lady rinses...

I’m booked in to get it sorted out next week. Both my hairdresser and I simultaneously suggested skin tests again. Although I’ve used that colour a few times, I guess you can suddenly develop a sensitivity. So we’ll see on Saturday (and the 48 hrs afterwards) if I’ll be getting a colour (ever) again. There’s no harm in checking.

Since I got home, though, my scalp has blistered. It’s not actually painful, just very tingly. And if I run my hands through my hair, my fingers come away with droplets from burst blisters. I’ve also consulted Professor Google, and it would appear that the fault of the blistering is mine – I should never have washed my hair this morning. As for the patchy blue, I’ve no idea. Could it be because it was from an opened tube? Could it have been the conditioner between bleach and colour, maybe not rinsed out properly? Who knows. What I *do* know is this:

  • bleach hurts. Really hurts.
  • it’s only hair. Why suffer pain if the alternative is just to look a bit weird / wear hats for a few weeks?
  • it scares the hell out of your hairdresser when you give her a reassuring hug as you head out the door.
  • rain on freshly-coloured hair makes little droplets of dye drop around your face and neck and makes you look like you’re melting.
  • I’m a tad concerned that my hair will fall out. I’m comfy having weird-coloured, even patchy hair. But I don’t fancy looking like I have mange.
  • this wee innocent mid-life crisis is certainly giving me new experiences…

*Note: I’ve not identified my hairdresser even by her intials because I don’t believe today was her fault at all, and would hate for anyone to read this and cast aspersions!

‘Rest’ Day

Good Friday, Day 7 of the Easter Holidays

Current ban on glue? No problem for Maxi - use a whole roll of sellotape instead

What a yucky day! Unrelenting rain. But because we were all a bit frazzled, we decided to have a stay-at-home-day today. Well, except for me and Mini Minx who zoomed off right after breakfast with a long shopping list and 5 shops to visit. And every bin in the high street. Have I told you that Mini is obsessed with wheelie bins and skips..? Again, she refused to go in the sling or even hold my hand. “I walk!” she insisted. “Woe do!”

Mid-film, mid-munch

When we got back, Maxi and Midi had transformed the downstairs. I think the idea of having a home cinema day to watch their new DVDs had caught their imagination. They’d lined every stuffed toy in the house into row upon row of ‘audience’. A huge number 8 outside the living room door gave me a clue which cinema was showing Toy Story that afternoon. hot cross bunsMidi had made a big decorated hand to go beside it, but we’ve still no idea why. Both girls happily ripped up paper into confetti-sized tickets for all their toys, and The Boss had taught them how to make paper bags for their popcorn. Maxi also had time to make a random spring-time collage (photo top left).

The latest knitted horrors that I'm going to inflict on Mini Minx

As soon as Mini went down for her nap, the curtains were drawn, DVD on, bags of popcorn readied, and everyone settled down for a lazy afternoon.

After the film / nap, we all belatedly made hot cross buns – I did the dough and The Boss and minxes did the rest while I finished a Fairisle cardigan that’s been on the go for weeks. The buns tasted good, but by golly they were tough!


Thursday 5 April, Day 6 of the Easter Holidays

So the weather forecast changed again. Quelle surprise. And I realised I’d been reading the train timetable wrong. (Don’t ask… my excuse is that I’m chronically sleep-deprived. I no longer eat with sharp knives or forks). Both of these conspired together to mean that we went from chilled to argh-get-out-the-door-right-NOW in the space of 2 minutes! The Boss hurriedly threw a packed lunch together (today was going to be a very expensive day) and I unpacked and repacked the cold/wet weather crates for the car. But paused long enough to find 2 old CDs for the car: Air’s Safari and the Bookbug CD with the incredibly toe-tapping drums & bagpipes of ‘The Meeting’. I was pretty overjoyed to find the latter, as all 3 minxes like to sit in the back, pretending to play bagpipes or drums along to it. Hugely entertaining for me and The Boss.

Then we set off on a looooong drive to Aviemore. As we went past Forres, the snow got thicker and thicker. We got caught behind a Glasgow lorry doing 35mph. For some reason The Boss wouldn’t overtake. I pointed out that if he tried another gear – perhaps reverse – we might get there faster… Then I really got snippy. I’m a grumpy sod, me, especially when I see time ticking away for no good reason. Life is *short*! Don’t waste a single second! I waited, though, until we finally reached Aviemore to completely explode and roar at him when he floated ineffectually around Tourist Information instead of simply asking the right direction to the train station. I’m ashamed to say that both Maxi and Midi burst into tears when I hysterically announced that we were unlikely to get on the train after all because Daddy was being an air-head. The sight of those sad little faces burst my anger-bubble instantly.

But 2 lucky things: a very lovely man knocked on the car window as we parked and gave us his parking ticket until 1500hrs. He refused to take any cash for it. What a kind soul! And secondly: we ended up waltzing up to the train station ticket office, bought tickets, strolled to the platform and straight onto the train. The Boss had actually timed it to perfection. I did apologise profusely.

Steam Train Travelling from Aviemore to Boat o...

Steam Train Travelling from Aviemore to Boat of Garten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So: why were we going to Aviemore train station? To go a trip on the Strathspey steam railway! We’d budgeted for a very, very flash outing, going First Class. For that, we got our own compartment, so we could let the minxes take their wellies off and let off a bit of steam themselves without disturbing anyone else. It was also very comfy and toasty warm, with plenty of space to pack away a mountain of down jackets, fleeces, 5 hats, 10 gloves a change bag and a picnic bag. The complementary coffee, Fruit Shoots* and shortbread biscuits went down very well, too. And it was spotless. Actually, the entire train was spotless, even the Tardis-like toilet (in a tasteful mustard. Ahem!)

* Honestly, I’m relaxed about the kids drinking stuff like Fruit Shoots – so long as it’s not more than twice a year 😉 Maxi made me laugh when she gasped and whispered in horror, “But Mummy, we’re not allowed these!” as I’ve never actually forbidden or discouraged them.

So, why go on a steam train? Well, with the snow lying on the ground, it made the very beautiful journey from Aviemore to Broomhill (Glenbogle in Monarch of the Glen, apparently) via Boat of Garten even more spectacular, especially as we chuffed past the lazy rolls of the River Spey. The journey was long enough to see different views – ogling big houses, farmland, river, mountains – but short enough to keep the interest of the kids. At Broomhill we got out for a leg stretch and all the children lined up to look inside the engine and the fiery boiler. The driver and stoker happily lifted toddler after toddler up into the engine, showed them round, then perched them at the window with a driver’s hat on for a cute opportunity. Maxi and Midi were delighted!

Back in Aviemore we decided to squeeze in a little walking before the rain came down, so drove round the corner to Rothiemurchus. Well, the carpark at Loch Eilein. And hit that nightmare of all multi-child parents: Midi wanted to stay in the car, Maxi wanted to plough on to see what she could see and Mini wanted to pick up every stone in the lane. And play in the carpark. Then zigzag back down the track in the opposite direction to her sisters.

We maybe managed to walk a mile round the loch. The girls played Pooh Sticks/Stones together a few times but I gave up trying to herd them together after about 2 hours. Maxi pointed out to me that she’d not whinged once, despite being tired. My God, she was absolutely right! She’d been good as gold, keeping up with her sisters, happily letting Midi answer all my questions of “What signs do we see when it’s springtime? What will we maybe see round the corner?” despite knowing all the answers. What a girl! I think our fellow walkers thought we were mad standing in the drizzle, applauding her wildly.

Giving up to go home, I put Mini in the sling, especially as she’d asked, ” ‘Ling?” Strangely, she then protested long and hard at actually being put in her sling. No, before you suggest it, her nappy was fine. So I’ve no idea what was going on. Over-tired from missing her nap? Actually, I think we were all a bit over-tired from the past week of tearing about. Everyone happily agreed to have an at-home-day the next day. Except for me – I’d have to go into overdrive washing all the muddy outdoor kit, get out to do a week’s food shopping and catch up with the housework. Yawn! But it needs to be done, so we can have more fun later in the week!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Say That Again…?

Midi Minx has uttered the phrase “F*ck*** hell!” 4 times now. I’ve explained calmly and seriously that using that phrase makes me feel sad and that it makes her look really stupid. We agreed that if she said it again that I’d smack her bum; if I said it, she could smack mine. I assumed she’d got it from my potty mouth because it was definitely said with a Scottish accent, but on reflection, that’s just not a phrase I use. I’m more of a muttered “Oh FFS!” kind of woman. So where did she hear it from? Nursery? If so, I wonder what delightful Glaswegian phrases she reciprocated with..?


Yesterday Midi was cutting about, being a mental Midi as usual, chatting away to herself in a few different voices and accents. I laughed and asked, “Midi, are you bonkers?”

“No, Mummy”, she replied, “I’m a genius”.



After happily using the word ‘no’ for 6 months now, Mini has finally learned how to say ‘yes’. She pronounces it “Leh!” (as in ‘yeah’). Her vocabulary has exploded, but she still mostly uses only the first syllable of words. So whereas Maxi might ask if she might please have the butter, Mini will say: “Want butt”. Requests to say it properly result in my little baby demanding “Want butt now”. I despair.

Five Go Playing in Aberdeenshire

Wednesday 4 April, Day 5 of the Easter Holidays

Maxi Minx woke me up with a typical 5 year old conundrum:

“Mummy, which is more effective: a gun, a cannon, a cutlass or a coconut on fire?”

Gun, because you’ll do more damage and are less likely to miss. Good morning, Daughter. Thanks for keeping me awake most of the night, then swapping your Wake Mummy shift with your younger sister. Pass the coffee. And park me on the laptop, on the Met Office site…

Well, what do you know? The weather forecast changed, and so did our plans. A quick shifty of where it was raining or sleeting, where the best visibility was, when it would clear and warm up (oh ok, become a bit less cold) and which day it would bucket down left us deciding to get out in the fresh air today. So… Aden Country Park near Mintlaw it was!

I gave up loading the car with bags and just put everything in 2 big laundry crates. Well, have you seen how much space 5 pairs of wellies take up? The Boss has very big feet. And then there’s 5 sets of waterproofs and fleeces, 5 complete changes of clothes, 5 snacks, 5 drinks, etc.

We stopped in Banff for lunch. No fancy treat lunch today – The Boss did a brilliant run and grab at The Co-op and we ate our quick, healthy, cheap-ish picnic lunch in a little car park on the East side of the bridge over the river. The Macduff side of the bridge, still on the A98. Right here. And watched the mental waves. Don’t watch them drunk – they come at the shore from literally all directions! I uploaded a 17 second video clip, because still photography doesn’t do it justice.

Eventually we came to the country park, got changed into (freezing) cold weather gear in the car park and discovered our visit would be free as the machine was on the blink. It would have hardly broken the bank though – 70p for 4 hrs parking, £1.50 for all day. So, ready for the cold, we went to explore!

The kids’ playground was really good. Only a couple of swings, but plenty seesaws, a slide, clambering tube, zip line, whirly roundabout and a great wee ‘outdoor gym’ trail – things like stepping poles, balance poles, wobbly bridge, tyre chains. The minxes loved it! We had to prize them away to go and find coffee / milkshakes. Me and The Boss loaded up on heat and caffeine while the girls guzzled ice-cream, milk, squirty cream and marshmallows. After a snack like that, you have to let them run around. So we went off exploring the arboretum.

Over the next 3 hours we played Pooh Sticks (except for Mini, who prefers Pooh Stones. And is eternally exasperated at never winning…), swapped round which daughter was in the wrap, wiggled through the beautiful Sensory Garden, wandered round the all-abilities buggy-run, up the tracks and over the dog exercise area (clean! It was clean! Some really, really responsible dog owners! Thank you!), around the duck pond, past the mineral well, up the tree house and then the best bit for Maxi and Midi: clambering all over the enormous fallen tree that they honed their bouldering skills on.

We were really sorry to leave, especially when the spring sunshine finally blasted through the chilly air. But dinner called. And The Boss was feeling flush. So a quick stop and clean up at the absolutely spotless toilets and off we went, past the fields of wobbly new lambs (I’d seen one sheep in the middle of giving birth as we drove past that morning). We stopped at the Gold ‘n’ Crispy in New Pitsligo. It was busy at 1730hrs on a Wednesday, so that bode well. We all ate in and shared 3 big fish suppers. Yum! Crispy and delicious. I guess we could have zoomed home afterwards, but it was far nicer to bimble along the coastal trail, even though it was straight into the sun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The funniest bit of the day was little Mini desperately trying to stay awake to eat her treat of a chocolate chip cookie. She fell asleep clinging to it. When she was wakened 15 minutes later, she started biting at it before she’d even opened her eyes.

Before I go, I have to give a quick mention for Deeside Holiday Park – I phoned to cancel our camping booking with them, explaining that although me and The Boss were happy camping on snow, our little girls weren’t yet accustomed to extreme weather. I cheekily asked if I could shift my booking a few months to the summer, when The Boss would next have time off work, and not lose my deposit. The witty and funny Shona did exactly that, even though the Ts&Cs say that you can’t. What a lovely lady – I can’t wait to go!