Illegal Wave Riders

Just another unpublished draft:

May 9: I could really have done with a huge long-lie this morning – for once, no minx invaded my bed, no Killer Cat meowed me awake begging food at silly o’clock – but I had to go meet a man at his house to fill in a form to extend my PVG clearance (I’m now volunteering at a couple of places involving children a week; keeps me out of trouble and my beady eye on each of the minxes). While I did that, the minxes and The Boss hit a nearby coffee shop. The girls whispered round-eyed about the seesaw floorboard hidden under a carpet in the toilet, while The Boss muttered darkly about the whole place needing a good clean. I wouldn’t know: I only sat down long enough to trough a doughnut and a coffee (wannabe policewoman) to fuel me up for going swimming.

Well, I say swimming, but really I mean bobbing about in chlorinated water being splashed by the entire population of Aberdeen. Ach, it wasn’t that bad. Midi Minx has been squealing with excitement about going for a family splash around every few minutes since I told her our plans last night. Her sisters were just as excitable. And to be fair, when I looked back over today, my best bit was definitely watching all 3’s huge smiles at the pool, listening to Mini squealing with delight for the entire hour, and zooming down some flumes with Midi gripped between my knees.

Oh, those flumes were a hoot! It was Mini’s first time and she did exactly as she was told, sitting between me or The Boss’s knees, holding her breath when we told her to, lying back or sitting up more, and generally squealing her little head off. Midi is fearless in water, so she and I were most interested in going faster and faster. Maxi, however, bottled it each time. I think she wanted to sit at the top for half an hour and build up to going, but she just didn’t have that luxury. Not with The Entire Population of Aberdeen standing in line behind her… I got very impatient and led her away each time. I tried not to be angry, but found it hard to repress my exasperation. I’d described the flumes to her and let her watch the other kids popping out at the bottom and setting off at the top, explaining that I didn’t think she’d like them. After 4 or 5 failed attempts to go down, we abandoned the whole flume-going, and she howled in devastation.

We didn’t abandon the flumes because of Maxi, though. Oh no! One of the more vigilant pool attendants was doing her job, scolding and correcting some of the eejits messing around on the flumes. As Midi and I started to settle into our tucked, safe position, ready to go, the attendant checked me over and asked where my wristband was. I showed her the grubby orange rubber band I’d been given at the front desk. “No, no”, she said impatiently, “The other one. For the flumes”. I looked blank. She explained that you needed to pay extra for the flumes and I should have an additional wristband. Oops… I apologised immediately and jumped up to go, but she waved me and Midi down. I’m glad – that was the fastest ride yet! But I gathered up the troops when we got to the bottom, explaining that we’d been flume-riding illegally. The Boss hadn’t seen any notices about it either, but then, we are both chronically sleep-deprived…

To round off our Bad Parent day, we stopped for a McDonald’s on the way home. I felt grubby and soiled and dirty afterwards. Ish.

Two Swims For the Price of One

Mini Minx and I had gotten out of the habit of going swimming every week, so I decided to formally reinstate it, with proper swimming lessons. We’d done the same ones 2 years before, with Midi. Mini bloody hated them, which was why after that block was over and Midi ‘graduated’, we’d let them lapse into just going the odd time ourselves. So… how did Mini get on?

Well, she enjoyed them. Can’t say the same for the hitch-hiker, though… I’d put a big old waterproof dressing over my now stitch-less back scar, in a bid to keep manky swimming water out. I’m getting used to a permanent low-grade tickle over that area as it heals. But I felt like there were beads of water running down from my neck. Then it felt like they were running sideways. Hmmm… Nope, gravity was still the same as normal. I brushed at my shoulders and back in case a wee insect was fluttering about. The tickling kept up, so I looked over as much of my shoulder as I could. I thought I caught a glimpse of a body. Oh God…please don’t be a wasp! I asked a fellow-mum if I had any insects crawling on me.

“Nope, nothing th-ARGH!” and she looked in horror at my shoulder at the front. Assuming everyone has a wasp-phobia like me, I thought the worst, and kind of levitated out the water while brushing madly at my skin.

It was a little bigger than this

It was a little bigger than this

“Plop”, went the big thing that had been hitching a ride on my shoulders – a big old house spider. It was one of the bigger ones that I’ve seen: maybe palm-sized. Me, I have a soft spot in my heart for cows (and a soft spot in my tummy for lambs, yum) and quite like spiders, so I scooped it up from where it was dancing frantically in the water and threw it over the side, where it sat lurking and miserable for the rest of the swimming lesson. It wasn’t dead, as it had disappeared by the very end.

Just in case you thought I had unusually small hands...The actual lesson was fine: Mini refused to put her face in the water and didn’t like being told what to play with and when. She wanted to rocket down the slide all lesson. I tried to trick her by dropping toys in the water (“Oops, silly clumsy Mummy! Please can you help me pick them up so my back doesn’t get wet?”) but that only worked twice before she scolded me and insisted, “Just leave it be, Mummy!”

Predictably, it wasn’t the swimming that was the traumatic bit – it was the showers before and after. I tried putting her goggles on for them and it helped a little, but not enough to get her properly rinsed. But the brilliant thing about only having one child to worry about: after lunch I gave her a leisurely bath, long massage with thick moisturiser, and slow blowdry. She is now a calm, drowsy, happy little thing again. Result!