Today I Spent My Birthday…

March 20

Today I Spent My Birthday… having a strange man guddling in my lady-bits. More on that later.

I’ve been awake most of my birthday. Lucky me! I went to bed after midnight, then was woken by my thoughtful youngest at 1am and 4ish, because she didn’t want to sleep in her own bed. The deprivation! Around 7am, Midi and Maxi brought in 2 sheets of writing they’d carefully and colourfully written, and sang me the songs they’d each made up. Ah, such a sweet thing for them to do! My heart burst, but my ears really needed my morning coffee first. Mini brought me 3 special family portraits she’d drawn. I think in honour of me, she’d given everyone purple hair. Bless! I unwrapped my present before The Boss left for work – a sleek, shiny, silver-coloured CD-player / amp / DAB radio. Argh! It’s so dinky I could just die! And the sound… Wow, wow, wow! I’ve been relying on dodgy radios and the car CD player for far, far too long. I’d forgotten that music actually has depth: bass lines as well as tinny treble.

I had Midi Minx home with me and Mini this morning – school had sent her home yesterday with abdominal pain and a hot, itchy forehead rash. Well, they did when they finally got hold of me! There’s no / limited mobile signal in the village, so when the school had called my mobile at 11am and left a message asking me to come pick up Midi and take her home, well, I didn’t get it. I didn’t hear them call the landline, and no message was left. At 1230 hrs I’d left the house to take Mini to a playdate. At 1330 hrs, school had tried the mobile again. At 1345 hrs, they called the house where we were at the playdate. Imagine my surprise to find that the call was for me… How had they tracked me down?! Impressive! And mortifying. And worrying. Emergency phone numbers are now updated!

Actually, yesterday was evidence of my progress towards being a less clingy mum: I’d left Mini with the kind mum who’d invited us over when I went to get Midi. Well, Mini had been having a lovely time, and had piped up: “I don’t want to go with you, Mummy!”, pushing my face away from hers by boinking me on the nose. Riiiiight! Although I’m happy and proud to see her independent self-confidence, I’m still haunted by the preceding 3 years of extreme clinginess. God, the evidence of that clinginess is all over most early posts of this blog! The same lovely mum dropped Mini back at home at school hometime, and even picked up Maxi from the school for me so that Midi hadn’t had to leave the house. I felt very humbled by her thoughtfulness.

So. Back to 20th. Midi was at home with us, wrapped in a fleece blanket in front of the TV, with Mini snuggled beside her, trying to win some sympathy points from me too. My friend visited and the girls happily drew on an activity book she’d brought them while we talked. Ha! That was the only time that day that I sat down and relaxed…

Midi had a GP appointment at 1110 hrs, and after lots of quizzing yesterday I’d made a mummy-guess-diagnosis of a possible UTI. So all morning I’d made sure she’d drank lots of water. I tried to get a sample of wee from 1030 hrs, 3 hours after the last time she’d gone to the toilet. Nope. I tried reassurance. No. I tried silence. Non. I tried turning on a tap for the sound of flowing water. Nothing. I tried dribbling water from a jug over her vulva. Nowt. The poor wee thing had real performance anxiety! I gave up at 1100hrs and chased off to the GP’s surgery. We tried again after another flask of water in the car. No.

The GP was very thorough, but couldn’t really conclude anything. The lack of peeing went against UTI. The rash didn’t really link with anything. I’d given Midi Piriton this morning when her left eye had puffed up. There was nothing obvious giving her a rash. No new animal or obvious allergen exposure. No fever. No sore throat. No raised glands. Just a funny itchy head, intermittent ab pain by her left bottom ribs and burning when she peed.

Luckily, I had 3 more trips to make that day past the surgery, so could take that bloomin’ pee sample in our own sweet time and hand it in later (I did. It looked clear and normal. I didn’t hear back so it must have been fine).

We drove home, had just enough time to have some soup for lunch, then back into town (yep, same one that the GPs surgery was in) to drop Mini off at nursery. Back home. Half an hour to clean up and fretfully hoover a bit, then back to the GPs to go have a coil fitted.

I’ve never had one before, and only agreed to it because my periods are so heavy that it’s been affecting my life for a few years (leaking after 90 minutes on the Uber-Mega-Massive-Nelly-the-Elephant sized tampon for 1 or 2 days out of every 24, and not being, em, well, dry for more than 3 days in every 24. And having to take iron tablets for more months of the year than not. Rubbish, eh?). So why now? Well, I’d gotten so iron-deficient recently that I was having palpitations, struggling to breathe after even minor exertion, freezing cold literally all the time, toes and feet turning greeny-black for a few minutes when I got in the bath to heat up a bit, pins and needles most of the time, bad brain fog, blah, blah, blah. So it had to be worth a try to see if getting the coil (Mirena) would help a bit, eh?

Anyway. I was a bit apprehensive about lying semi-naked in front of 2 strangers, one of whom would be rummaging around inside me. Whilst I was still having a period. Gruesome. I was also nervous about whether it would hurt. I’ve had 3 children, but all by caesarean. My cervix only ever managed to dilate to a weedy little 5cm 6 years ago.

So did it hurt? Aye. It did. Fair nipped. The GP and nurse were both very sensitive and kind and really very caring towards me, so I felt a bit of a rotter admitting to them that it bloody hurt. Achy at first, then sharp stings. Just for a few seconds at a time, but on and off for a few minutes. I didn’t cry, but I did swear a bit. I tell you, though, if it stops me bleeding so much it’ll be soooo worth it! Though Lillets might go out of business…

Whilst I was spending my birthday having a rare old time (!), little Midi was quietly sitting in the waiting room colouring in for 15 minutes. What a wee star! I felt fine afterwards so was ready to nip off and do the half-million other jobs I had to do before picking up Mini from nursery in half an hour, but instead just sat and admired Midi’s drawings for a few minutes first. Lovely! It’s the stolen moments like that that really make me happy. That, and the 30 minutes nap I snatched snuggled into Mid’s shoulder on the sofa in front of CBeebies later that afternoon (bliss).

For my birthday tea I made us sausage rolls, ham sandwiches, the obligatory Philadelphia sandwiches (no-one likes them, but it wouldn’t be a party tea without them curling up uneaten in the corner), veg sticks and home-made houmus, tzatziki and tomato salsa, hula hoops, ginger beer (aye – lashings of it) and some fruit kebabs that The Boss made. …damn, I just realised that we forgot to eat the Party Ring biscuits. Argh!… The kids and The Boss had made me a lovely lemon drizzle cake last night, and it was delicious. Maxi doesn’t know that, though – she didn’t get any:

Normally after the Birthday Boy or Girl blows out their candles, we sing Happy Unbirthday to everyone else in turn and let them blow out the relit candles. At Maxi’s turn, instead of blowing out the candles, she kind of huffed / coughed over them. Trying to be funny. The Boss and I scolded her for being disgusting. Cue instant hysteria from our eldest. She wailed. She howled. “You always, always tell me off for everything!” she exaggerated. She wailed as loudly as she could and generally stropped about. “Thanks for spoiling my birthday”, I sniped, pettily, as her sisters joined in with very brattish Give-Me-That-Big-Slice-Now-No-That’s-Not-Big-Enough-Aaaaaarggggh!-It’s-So-Unfair. Maxi was sent to her room till she was ready to apologise or at least feel a bit calmer, while I magically stopped the others’ bratty behaviour in its tracks and pretended nothing had happened. Midi and Mini ate their cake, giggled, had a laugh, then toddled off to get ready for bed. All the while Maxi wailed, “Everyone hates me! No-one understands me! It’s so unfair!”

After maybe my 3rd attempt to get her to listen to why I’d found her coughing over a cake unacceptable behaviour, she stopped squawking long enough for me to speak. I don’t think she actually understood, though. Sheesh, it’s so bloody hard sometimes trying to explain! At 7 I think she should understand why her dad and I had objected to her coughing over others’ shared food. The wee voice in my head reminds me that she probably genuinely doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t stop me getting exasperated sometimes.

Spot the, um, power-tool

Spot the, um, power-tool

So, what high jinx did I get up to the night of my birthday? Helped The Boss build the huge Besta-moth of cabinets in the kitchen. Don’t panic – the blue is just the protective covering. It’s all glossy white. It will hold an entire room worth of clutter. The smaller Billy bookcase in the right of the photo will hold all my sewing stuff. Oh wow, it’s going to be so great to cram everything behind a shut-able door!

Spot the child

Spot the child

And Madam Midi Minx? Oh she’s snoring her little head off, surrounded by a couple of her toys (!) Can you spot her?!

The Cutlery Prodigy

Just walked back up the hill on the 2nd school run of the day with Mini in the sling. I love carrying her on the front because we can gaze into each others’ eyes, kiss and chat about stuff that 22 month olds find interesting. Like birdies in the sky (“Buddees ina kye!”) and who she and her sisters are (“Pop-pop! Lalla! Woe!”).

This time of year always makes me reflect on how fast the minxes are growing up. Midi will be 4 in a few weeks, Mini’s nearly 2. I manage to stay in denial most of the year, but at the moment I’ve been confronted with some big advances.

Small examples first. I think I already mentioned that Mini spontaneously learned to say ‘blue’ when I dyed my hair 3 weeks ago. She can now repeat colours and sometimes gets a few right when you ask. She’s pretty excited about facing forward in her car seat now that she’s finally reached the max weight limit for rear-facing of 13kg. Within a day she was clambering deftly up and down (apart from the 5 days that the stupid car was stuck in the stupid garage, but that’s another rant entirely). She’s started biting in anger, albeit gently. (That’s one developmental stage that she will be ushered swiftly out of, believe you me!).

Bigger examples. The week before last I was teasing Mini and gave her a big handful of cutlery and told her to lay the table for dinner. She industriously shuffled to the table, swung the double-handful over her head and onto the table. I half-watched her pick up a piece, say, “Dada” and bustle off round the table to where The Boss usually sits. Then she raced back, grabbed another piece, said, “Pop-pop”, and trotted to Maxi Minx’s chair. Anyway, eventually she came over for a cuddle. As I swung her on my hip, I saw that she’d actually laid the table. OK, everyone’s knife, fork and spoon were plopped together, but to be fair Mini’s head barely reaches the tabletop. But the remarkable thing was that everyone had the right cutlery – the 3 minxes all have their own small metal sets that are subtly different from the other sets. Believing this to be a fluke (how can a one-year-old spot which cutlery her sisters use, for goodness’ sake?) I gave Mini the task of laying the table every night. She does. And she always gets it right. Frankly, I’m amazed.

Not to be outdone, Maxi Minx at 5 is flourishing in school. I caught her reading her books inwardly to herself. I thought she was just looking at the pictures, but no, it was the words. She’s also reading Harry Potter to herself. I’m not sure that’s what her teachers would say was age-appropriate, though…

child baking licking the bowl

Always the best bit of baking, no matter how old you are

Maxi and Midi are making an apple crumble by themselves on at least one night a week. All I do is peel the apples, though I’m sure Maxi could cope with that, now. Is it time to coax Mini away from munching the butter and flour, and get her to learn to stir in sugar and spices properly, so all 3 can make it entirely by themselves?

And I’ve been quizzing Midi what she’d like for her birthday: another dolly? Paint? Chalks? Toys? No. She wants a white camera, a blue headress so she can be Mary, another white headress so her favourite dolly can be Jesus, and a real boy. Crikey, Pinocchio meets The Nativity in the head of a 3 year old…

I AM a Grumpy Old Trout

Sure am: I’m now 40.

I toyed with the idea of “you’re not 40 until you celebrate it” and ignoring it completely. But to be honest, I’m not that bothered about being 40, or being old.  Got too many other more important things on my mind!  So I decided to celebrate my big birthday on Sunday just past, by celebrating my baby’s 1st birthday.

Originally I’d been a bit put-out at the expectation that me and Mini Miinx would share a birthday to suit my in-laws who flew up on Saturday and departed on Wednesday, Mini’s actual first birthday.  But it made logical sense, as The Boss would be at work on Wednesday.  And I wasn’t bothered at all about whether my birthday was commemorated or not.  After a lot of analysing why I felt so bloody grumpy about it, I came to 2 conclusions: I don’t like HAVING to do anything, and I didn’t want Mini’s most special of birthdays to be over-shadowed at all.  But the most significant thing that’s happened in my 40 years on Earth has been the 3 minxes, so what better way to note those 40 years than to concentrate on one of those girls?

I’ll blog about Mini’s birthday separately; this post is all about Me Me Me.

I opened my presents in the morning and spent all day feeling quite overwhelmed with phonecalls and messages from friends, and the outpouring of love from my family.  The Boss isn’t a man of words, but he wrote a lovely message in his card that reduced me to tears (not telling – it’s private.  It’s not rude or deeply personal, it’s just a message from him to me).  Thanks to Facebook’s handy note of the day’s birthdays, my brothers didn’t forget for once, and sent me messages that made me smile through my grumpiness.

I spoke to my Dad on the phone at night, round about the actual time I was born.  He’d had a skinful because he was staying at his little brother’s, and they were having a great time together.  Alcohol makes my Dad more overtly emotional and he exclaimed how sad he was that we lived so far away, and how much he wanted to put his arms round me and give me a cuddle.  I made some noises about “I know, but we’ll see each other soon, it’s ok”.  Actually, what I wanted to say was, “Me too, Daddy!  I really, really miss you and hate that I haven’t seen you in a year.  I’d absolutely kill for a big Daddy Hug just now!”  But of course I didn’t say that, did I?  Because that would have made him feel worse.

What also made me even grumpier was the fact that I don’t remember my Mum’s 40th birthday party at all.  I’d have been 17 and still living at home, full of hormones and angst and parental-hatred and utterly, utterly self-centred.  I’ve not cried over my Mum in a long while, but this past week I’ve really missed her.  It’ll be the 3rd anniversary since she died on 29th March.  I have some videos of her with Maxi Minx, just before she had a big stroke at the start of her first bout of chemotherapy, and just before we lost her as ‘Mum’ (her body lived on for just over a year afterwards, but with a different personality inhabiting it).  I just can’t bring myself to watch them.  I can look at her photos, and frequently do as our walls are covered in photos of our families.  But to hear her voice or watch her move again would hurt more than I can bear.  I’d kill for a cuddle from my Dad, so maybe you can imagine what I’d sacrifice to have one more hug from my Mum.

The Trout Is A Big Softie

Midi Minx is now 3. Her birthday passed without serious incident or visit to A&E. In fact, we all really enjoyed ourselves. Even The Boss, who turned 32 the day before. (Yeah, I really tried to get Midi out on his birthday, but failed dismally. And the surgeon was too busy swigging from a can of Fanta and laughing at my previous caesarean scar to make the midnight deadline. So she was born at 0005hrs, 5 minutes too late).

Because my mother-in-law is visiting, we decided to take advantage of the 1:1 adult:minx ratio and took the girls swimming. Maxi Minx showed off her Real Swimming Without A Float, Midi got to thrash and splash her sisters around (I found Konfidence aqua-band things that keep water out of infection-prone ears: they’re brilliant!) and Mini Minx licked her rubber ring thoughtfully. Mini started shivering after 30 mins, so I took her out.  She started wailing when we discovered that the showers had no hot water. Although I’d brought a fluffy dressing gown for her (way easier than struggling with a towel), she started crying loudly when I lay her down on the change table. When I strapped her down so I could get undressed and dried, she went ballistic. The Trout’s 4th Rule of Motherhood is that the clumsiness of your fingers is directly proportional to the volume of your baby’s screams, which is indirectly proportional to your speed.

We decided to go for a long walk along the beach. I have a theory that anyone lazy enough to leave their dog’s poo on the pavement/path/beach is (a) a cretin, and (b) too lazy to walk very far. As well as (c) very dead if I catch them. So we only had to walk maybe 1/4 mile past the caravan park to find clean beach. The girls loved it, for different reasons. Maxi loves the pink glittery pebbles on that beach, and Midi likes the dead things. Mini is fascinated by the dogs. The dogs love me. The Boss thinks they can smell my milk; I think they’ll get a kick if they continue to paw me after I’ve used my best Naughty Minx Deterrent voice on them in a sharp: “Down!”. Anyway, we didn’t see any dolphins this time, but did discover a new path home through the woods, free of dog poo. The Boss even made noises about getting the baby seat out to put on the back of the bike for Mini.  Ulp – better crack on with the gymball core-strengthening exercises…

Midi got the cake of her dreams: she wanted a white triangle, with white decorations and white candles. I asked if she wanted sparkles and glitter. She looked disgusted. So this is what I made:

It was just a 2-sandwich Victoria sponge (weigh 4 eggs. Mix up the same weight in butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour. Bake at 180degC for 30 mins. Makes 2 x 7″ cakes).  I sandwiched it with buttercream and strawberry jam then cut it into a triangle (3 offcuts for Quality Assurance sampling – yum). Over that went white roll-out icing. Then about 30 cut-out lovehearts to hide the joins, her name, and the only non-glittery white candles I could find. They sparkled a bit, but weren’t too bad. Midi liked it a lot. She liked the taste even better. I am very, very proud. I made some rose and loveheart jellies with strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant jelly.  Cheesy I know, but we all like jelly, and they looked so pretty.

A loveheart for each infinity that I love her



The bottom pic is the Dundee cake I made The Boss. If you want the recipe, you have to comment on this post!

A currant for every time I think, "I really love that man"