Twas The Night Before School

Things you don’t want to discover the day before your kids go back to school Number 428:

– a mouldy banana that’s been festering in a school bag for 6 weeks that Maxi claimed to have emptied before she stuffed it in the back of the cupboard.

I tell you, this thing wasn’t just mouldy – everything touching it had grown white, hairy fur and was slimy and runny, whilst the ex-banana was now a black stick. A very smelly black stick.

(speaking minion): "...ban-nan-na?"

(speaking minion): “…ban-nan-na?”

I wish I’d taken a photo of it, but I was far too disgusted. Maxi’s book bag had grown a new personality from the mould. So I had to scrub it with a nailbrush (after beating it with a stick) and dettoled the heck out of it. The school bag got binned. Maxi cried. She hates new things and has had the neon hi-vis yellow bag since she started school. So I can’t complain too much about having to stump up the cash for a new school bag, really.

There was a silver lining to that (furry, mouldy) cloud: every year she acts like I’m ripping her arms off as I help her decide how much of the mountain of precious, treasured scraps of paper she’s taken home from school at the end of the year that she can keep. Most years we spend literally days while she tries to negotiate around my hardline “You can’t keep it all; choose your favourite 5 things only”. This year? She binned everything. Immediately. By choice. Bonus!

I also didn’t need to find out that Midi has sprouted in the past 6 weeks and no longer fits any of her polo shirts. And is too slender to wear Maxi’s polo shirts. I guess she’ll be wearing school dresses for the next week or so, then!

Mini Minx has been full of bravado for the past year about starting school tomorrow. She’s been desperate to read her own bedtime stories and indeed write her own stories to accompany her drawings. She’s always said that the thing she’s most looking forward to is doing homework (!) She took the news about her teacher leaving suddenly to be replaced by a teacher she’s never met in her stride.

Tonight, she confided in me that she’d “had a chat with my worry dolls”: she’s worried that her new teacher won’t like her. I explained that Mrs F was maybe feeling the same way right about now, as it would be her first day, too. Mini giggled. Then looked worried again. This evening we had a huge Mummy Snuggle, which is a very rare treat from the most independent of my daughters.

Mini the Dictator

Mini the Dictator

She’ll be just fine starting school tomorrow along with her sisters and her friends from the nursery and the older class. But it’s startling when she just occasionally lets me see that she’s still just a wee growing human, and not 100% dogmatic, independent, driven machine.

The wee love

No-one Likes an Over-achiever

Ahhh Sunday – a day of relative rest after 2 days of busy-ness.

On Friday me and Mini Minx took advantage of the eldest 2 mess-monsters being at nursery, and gutted the living-room.  Proper gutted it: moved all the furniture out the way, hoovered everywhere, shovelled out the dust balls, attacked surfaces with a chisel to then be able to dust them, blasted off in-grained dried out bits of toddler detritus from every surface within a metre of the floor, tutted at the gouges on the wall (Midi forgets to steer her buggy when she’s overexcited) and even tidied up and properly ordered my little corner of knitting.

On a wave of decluttering, I finally felt in the right mood to tackle my old pile of maternity bras.  It is (or was) an accumulation from 3 pregnancies, all different bra sizes, and a total of 30 months’ breastfeeding.  None of it fits me anymore, but I think I was reticent to chuck them and admit that my baby-making days are over, over, over.  How ridiculous of me!  So I hauled out 2 fit to put on eBay and put the rest in a big bag, and into the recycling – as fortune would have it, the nursery are collecting old bras specifically for charity.  Perfect.

Later on, on a wee break from knitting another ‘Pebble’ bootie design, I painted the entire bottom hall.  I only meant to put up the masking tape, but thought, och, I’ll do one wall.  Then I decided to do another, while I was hiding from 3 whingeing kids at bedtime (well, The Boss was coping fine, adn he’d have shouted if he’s needed me).  Then I only had to do another to get it all finished.  Brill.

Saturday I think I went into overdrive: planting, building ‘cat deterrents’ in the peas and broad beans (ie lots of jaggy sticks to stop my and other neighbourhood moggies from snoozing in the veg beds on top of seedlings), propped up a wind-wrecked buddleia*, strimmed the entire front lawn and back garden (not a short task: 90 mins, and filled the brown recycling bin, because the grass was very, very long), designed a new building job for The Boss to keep him busy, happy and out of trouble (little patio sitting area in the garden with 2 wind- and neighbour-protecting, planted walls), gutted the spare room (see description of the messy living-room above, except this involved moving things to and from the loft), and painted a second coat on the downstairs hall.  Cresting on that wave of maternity bra recycling, I finally attacked a box of every bra I’ve ever owned that’s not fallen apart (I’m 40, and have been the following bra sizes: 34A, B, C, D, DD, E; 36D, C, D; 38A, B, C – so that is an awful, awful lot of bras).  If it didn’t fit well *now*, it got turfed.  I even chucked out the ‘matching pants’ of every bra I was turfing.  This is a Big Deal, because I am the 2nd worst hoarder in the entire world.

*the storms had blown it right out the ground and it was hanging on by a slender little root – I dug out the bottom, planted it deeper, built up round the stem with more soil, put in a long metal stake, then put heavy rocks all around it.  The bugger *still* blew over later that day.

To celebrate my industriousness and reward myself for actually throwing stuff out (!!), we went to the local All You Can Eat Chinese buffet.  The girls have never been, and they did us proud.  Normally meals out involve me and The Boss bolting down our untasted food down super-quick whilst breaking up fights, intercepting thrown food before it reaches the next table, coaxing food in, soothing whingeing, stopping Mini from shampooing in her dinner, stopping Midi from nicking Maxi’s food, etc. etc. etc.  This evening we actually had a chilled-out relaxing dinner (apart from 3 Toilet Breaks) that we all enjoyed, and had a good chat and a laugh over it.  Crikey, call out a journalist!  Mini liked her little strips of lemon chicken almost as much as she enjoyed slurping up tomato; Maxi ate 3 mango jelly puddings; and Midi ate everything not nailed down (and had a nibble at that, too).

I really, really hope we can have a lovely family meal like that again.  One day.  Just the once, even!

Clutter Buster


Yep, that’s all I need to say.  Spent a pleasant rainy afternoon tasking The Boss to gut out the minging hole of a car while I photographed and listed baby feeding bits and pieces and got them listed on eBay, and cleaned up some old toys ready for listing in a day or 2.  It’s the perfect antidote when you’re drowning in a sea of plastic tat – give it 10 days on eBay at 1p, and if no-one buys then you feel completely justified in dumping it at the recycling centre.  Mini squeaked with delight at being allowed to play with some old toys (new to her) and showed off her super-speedy crawl (4 moves to the second. I counted). Maxi and Midi regressed a few years and enjoyed playing with old favourites.

The leftover chicken pie from yesterday gotten eaten up after all.  I’m so glad!  I didn’t mean to take its rejection personally, but there you go – I’m shallow like that.

Before I forget, some Midi-isms.  There’s something about your babies learning to speak properly that shocks you (or me, anyway).  Maxi learning to say ‘hot cross buns’ instead of ‘hot pum-uns’ booted me into keeping a daily journal.  Today Midi said ‘elephants’ instead of ‘epaulettes’.  Thank goodness my wee 3 year old still says ‘am-blietz’ and ‘ali-itz’ instead of ambulance and aliens.

I nipped up to kiss the minxes goodnight after The Boss got them to bed.  I expected to find 2 sleepy or snoring girls.  Ha!  They were sat cross-legged on their rug, under a shared snuggle (fleecy blanket), giggling secretively to each other.  The Boss had given them milk in lidded beakers (obviously pandering to their regression, then!) and they were guzzling their ‘milk shakes’ down.  As to why they were sitting on their rug, “It’s so we don’t get our beds wet, Mummy!” explained a wide-eyed Maxi.  Obviously.  Silly me.

Talking of regressions, Midi wet herself today because she was just too damn lazy to go to her potty or the toilet.  Or she wanted some attention from me.  Hmmm.  Must… type… eBay… listings… faster..!  (Well, I need to anyway – The Boss found another 3 massive boxes of old toys.  Must…resist… urge… to… hoard… for… grandchildren.  Argh!)