The Things Kids Say No. 3971


Midi Minx stared at me solemnly at dinner.

“Mummy, I know how Jesus died”, she said, head downcast, eyes like deep pools.

“Oh?” I said warily. I’ve been trapped in conversations like this with my minxes a fair few times before.

She stretched her arms out in a crucifix. “He was pinned to a signpost”.

I’m still dying here. Can barely type through tears…

Mother Knows Best

After settling into her new school quickly and well, around about October 5-year-old Midi Minx had a big wobble. She suddenly didn’t want to go to school in the mornings, and clung pouting or sometimes sobbing to my leg. As Maxi generally clung to the other leg, wailing, this was not a good look. We did not look like a coping, happy Family Unit. I asked Midi what the problem was. Eventually she confessed:

Would you taunt this innocent little face?

Would you taunt this innocent little face?

“There’s this boy in my class called J…”, she wobbled.

Maintaining a Mummy Poker Face on the outside, I inwardly raged: I don’t need to hear anymore. He’d so dead. Whatever it is, how dare he hurt my baby?!

“Yes? What about J?” I asked lightly.

“He calls me a Poo-poo Head”. Sobs. “And everyone laughs!” Breaks her little heart.

I hugged her tighter still, kissed her wet eyes and thought for a second.

“Does he only say it in front of his friends?” Nods. “When he’s on his own?” Shakes head. “Well, Midi, what you have to know is that all little boys are stupid. And really easy to trick. Here’s what you need to do: when J calls you a Poo-poo Head, instead of feeling hurt and crying, you have to smile.” She looked up at me like I’d turned into Julie Andrews. On an acid trip. “Yep, smile. And say loudly, ‘It’s OK, J, I understand: secretly you really like me. But you call me horrible names so that no-one else guesses that you like me. I get it. It’s OK. I won’t tell anyone’, then wink, smile and walk away”. Midi looked thoughtful. “And it’s really important that when he protests and shouts that he really, really hates you, just smile wider and say, ‘You’re not fooling me. That actually means that you really love me lots. But I only like you a little bit, as a friend. Sorry'”. Midi started to smile.

I went through a little dialogue role-play, me playing the parts of Midi and J, along with comedy pirate and princess voices, so that Midi could see how it might play out. I showed her how to use words to put that little boy back in his box, but without being nasty or horrible, and how it might make everyone else laugh *with* her, which would make them like her more. And he’d get frustrated and stop, because his friends would take over and tease him every time he called Midi a bad name. She really got it. Her eyes lit up. She sniggered. I kissed her, then got on with making dinner and promptly forgot all about it.

A few days later Midi skipped out of school, and trilled, “Mummy, you’re really clever”.

What?! Oh-oh. My children think I’m stupid and old-fashioned and strict. This doesn’t bode well, whatever it is…

“I did what you said about J”, she smirked.

J? J…? Oh! That J! Oh hell… But she’s smiling? “Uh-huh? What happened?” I asked.

See these brainzzzz? I eat them up for breakfast. Like you, if you cross me

See these brainzzzz? I eat them up for breakfast. Like you, if you cross me.

“Well, he called me a Poo-poo Head and I smiled and said everything you told me to. And all his friends laughed. And he got cross, like you said he would. And then…” she burbled. I winced. Oh no, what happened next? I’m too scared to listen. “And then he said ‘When we grow up I’m going to marry you!’ And I said ‘OK'”, she giggled.

What?! Oh no, this has totally back-fired! What have I done?

“Mummy, you are so smart and clever. J’s my best friend now”, she snuggled up to me. “Right, what’s for snack? I wanna biscuit. Or chocolate…”, and she scampered off.

Nice try, little daughter: it’ll be fruit as usual. You can’t swing your auld mother off-track that easily…

I Can Still Hear You!

Today (January 25 – I found this lurking in my ‘drafts’ folder. Sorry…) was Midi Minx’s 2nd follow-up after her grommets operation. After a lot of shenanigans*, we got an appointment at the nearest children’s hospital for today. Because the appointment was too early to pass on childcare to The Boss and too late to get back in time to pick up Maxi after school, I had to take all 3 minxes with me. Ha. It was always going to get messy…

* I got the standard letter saying “You may now phone to make an appointment”. Constantly engaged the first day I tried to call. And the next day. And the next day. I started to get really irked. The letter is phrased in that really aggressive and patronising tone that rubs me up the wrong way. I’m warned in the letter than I *must* contact them within 14 days of the the letter date. Or.Else. Hmmmm… postal delays meant that I didn’t get the letter till Day 4. Then Days 5-7 were days the telephone line wasn’t open. Days 8-11 I couldn’t get through. So I gave up and cheated, and called the switchboard. They put me through to the wrong hospital. I tried again. Wrong ward. I couldn’t understand the woman who answered, but reckoned the numbers she rattled off before hanging up just might be a phone number. One of them got me through to a very apologetic woman who made an appointment for me, but again, she stressed that if I didn’t turn up then Midi would go to the bottom of the many-month waiting list again. I bit my tongue, but honestly, why feel the need to hector me about attendance? I’ve never missed a medical appointment in my life. I’ve never been a No Show. Why automatically assume that I need to be rebuked and scolded before I’ve done something that I’m not inclined to do anyway? Argh! Makes my blood boil!

Anyway. Anyway. I picked up Mini from nursery. They’d been having a wee party to celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday, so all the children were jumping around wildly to some traditional Scottish music when I went in. Mini’s eyes were whirling. She looked flushed and tired. Oh-oh… She had her first meltdown within 10 yards of the nursery door. “I hate you! You not park in the school car park! I HATE the school car park! Hate it!” she shrieked, foaming at the mouth.

“But Mini, you get upset when I *don’t* park here, and park beside the play-park! I parked here because you asked me to!”

“Waaaaaaah! Hate it!”

I distracted her with some lunch and fed her bits and bobs while I rustled up 3 packed lunches: ham on oat bread, cranberry and raspberry juice cartons (found in the price reduced section – bonus), cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, sliced cucumbers and a share of a bag of fried root veg crisps (also reduced – double bonus). I folded up wee kitchen roll pieces and tucked them inside the boxes to tart them up for the kids. Then I nipped over to the school with a happier, full-tummied Mini.

Midi greeted me with a “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, hello, good to see you, I got everything right in my spelling and got another sticker and I’m great and I did really well and I worked hard and my teacher gave me another sticker and I’m ready for hospital and I can’t wait to go.. <whumph>” and threw herself at me. Maxi meanwhile started a slow search for a bag, then carried out a few languorous conversations. I’m asking Santa for a shepherd’s crook for Christmas.

Finally stuffing them in the car, we stopped for a mandatory attempt-to-pee-before-long-car-journey and grab of packed lunches. They approved of the lunches, so all was quiet and well for the hour-long journey. We arrived at the hospital. All was quiet and calm walking to the entrance. We arrived at reception. All was quiet and safe. We arrived at the WRVS cafe. Chaos descended. “I want those crisps… No, those ones! I want chocolate. Where’s the chocolate? Where are the sweets? Need sweets. That one. And that one. Gimme! Go away <shove>”. They were plonked in their seats, given a bag of Quavers each and told to sit down, sit still and stop demanding. Didn’t work. Maxi realised that her audience of 2 small boys had disappeared to look at the helicopter, so she wandered over to show-off in their general direction some more. She was followed by her sisters.

I rounded all 3 up. I guess the hour of sitting still in the car had sent them bonkers because I had to restrain all 3 and make them look at me to hear me say, “We’re going!” Then we waited maybe 40 minutes all in, never sure when we’d actually be called through, so 2 of the minxes had close toilet calls. Actually, wouldn’t it be cool to have a toilet in the same bit of the building as the waiting area? Wouldn’t it be cool to have some kind of system to tell the staff you’ve just taken your kid to the toilet to save them assuming you’ve just given up and wandered off home? Leaving easily-distracted 7 yos to listen out for their sister’s name with strict instructions of what to do is about as useful as telling the pot-plant in the corner where you’re going. I’d left Midi with Maxi and frog-marched a cross-legged Mini to the toilet (yet again). When I came back, there was no sign of the other 2. It took me a worrying few minutes to track them down to the hearing test booth.

The doctor Midi finally saw was lovely (he established a great rapport with Midi, addressed everything to her, was clear, pleasant, brisk, friendly), and the upshot is that Midi’s hearing is ‘boringly normal’ (hooray!) and that he’s happy for her to be discharged (woohoo! At last!) but for me to get her re-referred if the grommets don’t fall out by late summer. Excellent.

On the way back, driving through the city on a Friday afternoon, I played my favourite traffic jam music: anything from Holst’s Planet Suite, so long as it’s at full volume. I tell you, when Mars gets going, it properly drowns out the racket of 3 whingeing, whining girls..! I played Saturn and used words like ‘menacing’, ‘scary’, ‘dread’ to describe it. The kids stopped fighting and really listened. It’s finally overtaken One Direction’s “One Way or Anuzzah” (sic – ta, Mini) as the most requested car tune.

Butterfly Spotting

Grumpy ButterflyMini Minx came barrelling out of nursery this afternoon, warbling a song about butterflies. I complimented her on the painted colours; I noticed the purple antennae; I praised her on her singing. She wanted to take it with us to show people while I attended to some bits and bobs in town (I was summonsed to get my fat arse to the pharmacist pronto for yet more iron tablets. Great…).

“Oooo, that’s a lovely butterfly!” cooed the lady in the uniform shop.

“Yep. Ver’ pretty”, agreed a modest Mini.

“And it’s frowning!” noticed the uniform woman.

“No!” scoffed Mini in a sing-song, “It’s not frown-in’!! It’s grumpy”, she explained.

“Oh? Why is your butterfly grumpy?” asked the woman.

“Cos it’s a Mummy Butterfly!” sniggered my witty 3 year old.

Butterfly MinxThe woman smirked at me. My flabber was ghasted.