Painted Stones Pt 1

Day 19 of the School Summer Holidays (17 July), and my plans for heading off strawberry picking fell apart because I had to take Midi Minx to the doctors and wait in for a biiiiiig online supermarket delivery. That had a lot of strawberries in it. Oops.

Well, I think Midi has thrush. Rather than self-diagnose, I thought I’d take her to the GP, to make sure. I think we saw the senior partner today. Nice man, but I guess that me plus 3 little girls in a tiny room with one chair kind of intimidated him: he gave a prescription without examining Midi, listing all sorts of reasons why not. “It would be less embarrassing for us both”, was one. I didn’t explain that none of the minxes are very body-conscious (except that my beautiful Maxi has recently complained that her gorgeous, perfect, round ears are “far too big and I hate them”. Yet the identical ears on Mini are “cute”. I despair).

Sorry, I digress – where were we? Gp. He quickly listed reasons why Midi might have ‘inflammation Down There and a discharge’, eg recent antibiotics, 4 year old dodgy hygiene, ‘perfectly normal and age-appropriate masturbatory explorations’. I stiffled a very non-middle aged mummy snigger, was inwardly highly amused though sympathetic at his obvious discomfort (he actually said “Down There” in a Les Dawson style whisper), I agreed with everything he said, then drove to the next village to fill the prescription for Magic Cream. I was sniggering because last week Midi had proudly informed The Boss that she’d finally found her willy, but that it was only a little one, and that Maxi had helped her find both of theirs. Bless! The innocence of little kids, eh? The Boss completely bottled out of explaining what a clitoris was for – he said that 2 pairs of earnest little eyes were just too much for him.

So: chemists and filling prescriptions. The minxes and I discussed what to do that day as we drove to the chemists. “Paint!” demanded my eldest artist. “Throw rocks!” sniggered my thug. “Eat cake!” suggested Mini-me. Then Maxi came up with a blinder: “Paint rocks like cake! Or dinosaur eggs!”

So, a quick stop-off back at home to pick up my purse and usher little girls in to do a pee-stop (spot the experienced, battle-scarred mother…) then off to B&Q. To throw in a bit of maths practice, I told them they had a budget of £10 to buy whatever they wanted. We spent some time discussing the merits of buying 2 tins of shiny metal lacquer versus 9 bright colours and using the varnish lurking in the garage. I thought the tester pots would be a brilliant idea because they only have a little paint (economical, not too much waste) and they come with a paintbrush in the lid (less mess, less waste, easy and instant use).

Mini got exceptionally excited about painting stones. I persuaded her to have a nap first. Now I meant to only start it off with the bigger girls, but I turned into the “No! Not like that! Look at the mess!” screeching shrew of a mother and ended up just getting all the stones done in a oner, inwardly promising to let Mini paint the next coating. The smartest thing I did was insist on Midi and Maxi wearing the thick shower hats their Grandma had bought them. I remembered all too well the trauma caused a few years ago when the nursery used paint that didn’t wash out of hair… I also insisted on old clothes. Phew! They really weren’t messy, but the few paint splashes there were *didn’t* wash out.

Edited to add: I’ll show the photos of the stones in a later post – they’re pretty cool!

The Boss is Somewhat Traumatised

See, darling? You’re supposed to stand *on* the board. Like this man

Poor J – he’s been through the wars a bit.

 I persuaded him last night to help me finish painting the hall, so we’d be finished faster and could settle down to watch Dr Who in peace, this side of midnight (last of the old romantics, us).  So he took the brush, I got the roller, and off we zoomed.  Just as we were finishing, I heard a yelp, a thud, then a bunch of other yelps and thuds: The Boss had fallen down the stairs.  I found him collapsed in a sprawl with his painting tray still held aloft, for all the world like a tray of martinis.  He was so scared of dropping white paint on the carpet that he’d managed to surf down on his bum.  His buttock bruise was most impressive, as was the fact he’d given himself whiplash.
In The Olden Tymes, when I was young and carefree, I’d regularly trash ironing boards surfing on them (or on them on stairs) when I’d had a sherbet or two.  I sure didn’t get whiplash.  Bless…
Today we did a big B&Q shop to fix a load of things: finally get a ceiling lamp for the hall to stop the front door crashing into the stupid pendant lamp (we’ve only lived there 18 months…sheesh), get lawn food (I don’t care living in a desert, but The Boss thinks it might be nice), paint for the living room (I’m on a painting roll, I tell you!), that kind of thing.  But most important of all, we needed a plunger and some drain rods.
Our showertray fills up and barely drains.  I’ve been really meticulous about rescuing hair from the plughole this time round, because in previous new-baby-hair-moults I’ve clogged drains with the handfuls of 2ft long hair falling off my bonce.  So I figured it wasn’t that.  Nevertheless, when prods of elongated coat hangers yielded nothing, I squirted a ton of old hair-removing cream down the plughole instead.  (I put the rest on strategic places on me.  And didn’t wash it off my armpits properly and got a tad chemical-burnt – youchy!  That’s why I prefer razors).  Anyway, that didn’t work – the cream just floated back up into the tray when the water was run.  Worse, the downstairs toilet stopped flushing properly, and it gurgled and bubbled when the handbasin emptied.  And the sink gurgled and filled when the toilet flushed – yeeeeuch.  Yeah, we had A Problem…
I voted that The Boss tackle the blockage because (a) he owned the sturdiest rubber gloves, (b) he’d probably caused it in the first place*, and (c) it was definitely A Man’s Job.
* Definitely TMI: The Boss’s toilet-otters are legendary, and sometimes require beating with a stick to kill ’em before flushing.  Our middle daughter takes after her father, and learned to use a toilet early because potties aren’t big or deep enough for her. Her nursery teachers are regularly shocked and appalled, in a horrified-fascinated kind of way.
Before getting busy, The Boss decided to check under the inspection manhole cover.  He recoiled and ran away, then tip-toed back with a spade.  He looked down the hole, looked at the spade, sighed, paced away, and returned with a bigger spade.  And commenced chopping.  Well, after filling the wheelie bin with toilet roll, floaters and sludge, he came in and staggered upstairs, green-faced, to the (newly-draining-freely) shower.
Poor man!  Guess it’ll be steak and chips for tea, then.

How Did Sharing a Room Go?

The first night with Noisy and Shouty sharing a bedroom went… as badly as we expected it would.  After shaking loose of Midi’s wet, limpet-cling cuddle this morning, I found a path of open books, clothes and cushions leading from their room to mine.  Following it as nervously as Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, I was right to be scared: they’d upturned every single toy that they own, emptied every drawer and box, hauled their (500+) books out the bookcase, and generally caused havoc.  They spent a good part of the day tidying it up again…

Maxi was miffed that I called her path a path.  “It was a slide for Barbie”, she pouted.

Midi was equally grumpy.  She threw an enormous tantrum because The Boss had poured a teaspoon of milk into her Rice Krispies.  “Aaaaarghhh!” she screamed, “They’re all wet!” when she could roar vaguely coherently.  Yep, as well as shrieks we had full-on upside-down smile, shaking with rage and streams of ectoplasm dripping on her chest (her cold is still quite bad).

They kicked off about their teddies, too.  Between them, they own 2 full toy-boxes of teddies and soft toys (40? 45?  More?  Anyone want some?!  Or should I keep them as handy crashmats when they jump around the sofa again?)  Yet Midi insisted that “Poppy got 4, I only got 1!  Waaaaaa!”  Showing her the evidence to the contrary didn’t help.

So faced with that, what’s a Mummy to do but pack off Daddy to B&Q for paint, photo shelves and a curtain pole?  I locked myself away for an hour and painted one of the middle box-room’s walls light green.  I got some really brilliant masking tape rolls from Lidl a week ago: they’re thin masking tape attached to very thin plastic that folds right out, so you have a kind of dust sheet attached to your masking tape.  Perfect!  If I wasn’t so ham-fisted at laying down the tape.  I got it in my hair, on my nose, curled round my fingers, stuck to the wardrobe (too lazy to move it more than a foot away from the wall).  Bah!

I’m going to work on the little room all week, a wall at a time, till I can move in Mini Minx (I’ll miss my noisy little room-mates darling snuffles at night; I sure won’t miss the farts.  Much.  Well, maybe a bit.  I love the way she wrinkles her little nose in her sleep in response to her noise/smell).  By then, the shared room should have settled down and beds, boxes, books and bits should be in their final places.  Then I’ll paint their room and attach mini mirrors, etc.  I showed the girls the paint for Mini’s new room (pale green, pale pink, and a very light cream).  They blinked thoughtfully when I asked them what colour of paint they fancied for their room.  “Dark pink” Maxi predictably asked for; “Black!!” declared her equally-predictable younger sister.  So that’ll be very light cream and pale pink for them, too, then. Using Timeless, Sweet Pink and Willow Tree.  I think Wellbeing would have been a nicer, brighter green, but The Boss chose.  And I’d have dithered for 3 hours and left the shop empty-handed in a fit of undecided pique had I gone to get the paint…

My back’s been fine today – I guess all the physio and exercises I’ve been doing on my flabby old stomach have taken the strain away from my back at last.  Bonus!

Maxi decided that my lot as a Mummy has been quite tough, lately, so she made me a present.  She wrapped her echo microphone in one of her toy napkins.  “This is for you, my old cake-y Mummy”, she smiled.  “It’s a microphone.  But whenever you get bored, you can rest your chin in the cup at the top of it, like this, or your elbow.  Or you can sing in it.  Please don’t sing in it, though.  I-love-you-very-much, bye-bye!”

I love you, too, Princess xxx

My Back Hurts Because…

I’m stoooopid and impatient and because the car didn’t get MOTed today.

The garage phoned to cancel the MOT just as The Boss was driving off.  So we decided to get the kids dressed up in nice clothes for a change (we normally all scuff about in grungy who-cares-if-it-gets-paint-on clobber), and all go into town to do the weekly food shopping (rock ‘n’ roll…you should see what else we do for entertainment round here!)

First port of call was Matalan for kids’ belts and big plastic-backed bibs.  Midi Minx promptly wet herself.  This was despite me asking her every 10 minutes if she needed a wee.  I swear I checked not 45 seconds before she let out that all-too-familiar siren wail…  Flexibility is both the key to Air Power and the fundament of being a parent, so we did a swift dive into Asda for a clean up of kid and car seat, then diverted into our favourie ‘treat’ cafe for coffee, milk, cake, sausage sarnie and porridge.  We all had different combinations of these – guess who had what?  Sanity, smiles and caffeine levels properly restored, we were off again.  A visit to TK Maxx was disastrous in that it sowed the seeds for later – I found some cool tiny mirrors to stick on walls.  Tesco was… well, Tesco.

To get Tesco out our hair, we decided to drop everything and get out for a walk onto the beach.  I spent a lovely 2 hrs alternately kissing Mini Minx and breathing in the air she breathed out, as she snoozed in the sling on my chest.  Midi and Maxi Minxes hopped in and out the big old double buggy, enjoying the freedom to scamper about here and there without me scolding or chiding them.  There were so few people about, not even dog walkers – it felt like we had the whole windy firth to ourselves.  The Boss seemed to enjoy ambling around, too, and patiently pushed the girls on swings for at least half an hour at the playpark on the way home.

Walking back home, we counted 5 houses (including our own) with tiles missing.  All had just an edging gone.  All were in the same street.  My suspicions do side with a neighbour who darkly blames the builder, but you know what?  The house insurance company can pursue them if they want – I cannot be fagged with toing and froing with a lawyer just to get 6 tiles put back on the roof.

The Boss and I have been thinking about moving our little noisy room-mate out into her own room for a while, and we keep discussing what combination of minx and room we should create.  Up till now I’ve been very resistant to the idea of having 2 of the minxes share in order to keep a room spare, because (a) it encourages clutter, and (b) giving our kids space is more important to me than providing guests with their own bed and room.  However, The Boss can be very persuasive: he pointed out that whoever had the middle room was in a tiny boxroom, which wasn’t fair if the other 2 were in huge rooms.  So we gathered the clan together and asked their opinion.  All were in favour of Maxi and Midi sharing, with Mini in the boxroom.

Getting home from the walk, I thought, “I’ll just…”  Those fatal words.  (Remember “I’ll just check on Midi; she’s been quiet for a while”?!)  I only meant to look at Maxi’s room more closely and see what I could move.  Och, it’d be easier if I just moved this.  Then that.  I might as well hoover now I’ve uncovered all the dust.  Oh hell, it’ll take 15 seconds to shift the chest of drawers.  Now I need to hoover there.  Do you know, I could add Midi’s books to the bookcase if I just move this here… and that there…  Oh wow, it’ll all be much better if I move the bookcase altogether… to there.  Oh look, space for another bed… 

So, while The Boss made dinner (super-fresh mackerel – yum!  Mini Minx ate half a fillet.  Slurped it up with barely a chew.  Couldn’t get enough.  That’s my girl!) I basically moved the kids in together.  By the time he called “dinner’s on the taaaaaaable!” it was all done.  He thought I’d gone up to give it a bit of a tidy, so his face was a picture.  And my back was a tad achy.

After dinner, I decided I could use the space more efficiently.  So moved it all around.  My back now hurt a lot.  Then I changed it all again because it gave an escape route out the window for Houdini Midi.  Then one more time.  Then went online to search for some affordable new bits and bobs of furniture.  And research paint.  So tomorrow I shall mostly be resting my silly back while The Boss purchases paint and photo shelves.  And probably catching up on sleep – Midi and Maxi love their new room very much, love being able to play and squabble into the night without a partitioning wall, so have only just gone to sleep…

I think the smartest thing about this evening was taking each girl up alone with me and getting them to decide something big.  Eg Maxi decided which shelves on the bookcase would be hers and which side of the room, and Midi helped me decide where to put the furniture.  They both loved that I put both their names on the door in big sticky letters and shifted some of their pictures around so that each part of the room felt like theirs.  Now here’s hoping that when each girl wakes in the night feeling lonely, she’ll stay in her room with her sister instead of waking me up!