Blood, Snot and Tears

Mini Minx made a hole in the new Burghead to Cummingston cyclepath with her head. She’s ok. I’ve aged 20 years. The end.

Setting off for some fun

Setting off for some fun

The detail:

The minxes have been badgering me to let them go cycling for the past week. Mini has steadfastly refused to go on the childseat at the back of my bike for weeks, now. The thought of trying to shepherd all 3 on bikes safely along the edge of a busy road, past thundering articulated lorries and speeding vans filled me with mortal fear. However, little Mini has been getting faster and faster on her little balance bike, so in a haze of extreme sleep deprivation, this morning I agreed.

It started very well and just got better and better: all 3 ate hearty breakfasts, reminding each other that they’d need lots of energy to cycle all the way to Cummingston and back. Normally it’s a fight to get more than a bite of honey toast past them in the morning. Then instead of our normal fights over suitable clothes (all 3 prefer flimsy pink, glittery, frothy nonsense over sensible clothes. They do NOT get that from my genes!), they actually requested thick jeans and long-sleeved jackets. As I shuttled back and forth to the garage, fetching bikes and helmets and gloves and a partridge in a pear tree, they stood safely at the door. There weren’t even complaints when I put a tissue, a snack bar and a milkshake carton in a little backpack for each of them. I got myself in trainers, grabbed the Connecta Sling “just in case” (forgot the sun cream, doh), then headed out the door.

backpacksI felt like I was dreaming: all 3 girls kept to the side of the road. When cars approached, they hopped off their bikes and walked, or nipped into driveways. They kept together in a group. They kept to the inside of the road. They called warnings to each other about oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Yes: these are the same 3 girls who can’t successfully WALK down the road to school without being reminded to look, listen, breathe in and breathe out again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My step lightened. I might have smiled a bit. I started to praise the little blighters for showing such care and common sense. I especially praised zoomy little Mini, who was nipping along so quickly that I had to jog. The sun shone, a gentle breeze cooled us, the sea gleamed green: life was bloody wonderful!

snacktimeEventually, around the time we were level with Cummingston, Mini complained of being tired. Her sisters were up for cycling all the way to Hopeman and back, via Roseisle forest and the swings, but they listened to their baby sister, and suggested that we stop for some ‘energy’. I showed them how to get their bikes off the cyclepath and lay their jackets over the thistles so they could sit in relative comfort. They demolished their snackbars and milk shakes. I spent the time telling them how proud I was of each of the them: how they’d encouraged each other; how the elder 2 had held back and kept Mini company; the way Midi had passed on Maxi’s top tips on how to conserve energy cycling; Maxi for warning her sisters as they’d approached a slippy bit of the path; how they’d all looked out for each other, were safe in traffic, and been loving sisters.

“If you keep being this safe and lovely to each other”, I beamed, “I’ll let you cycle to your new school in August!”

Although all 3 were raring to go on to Hopeman, I decided to call it quits and started to head back to a chorus of minx groans. But better to feel they could have gone further than to face the prospect of carrying Mini and her bike up that hill home!

Maxi had a little wobble and fell off her bike with a loud howl. I helped her get her bike chain on again. She wanted to tell me all about her microscopic graze, but I was painfully aware that Midi and Mini had continued, and that there was a little downhill bit coming up. As I set off towards the younger 2, I saw Mini take the wee slope at full tilt, so I broke into a run, shouting over my shoulder to Maxi to catch up.

Too late. With a crash, Mini lost control on the downhill turn and fell off the side of the cyclepath. The cyclepath is just a smooth ribbon of tarmac, laid in a strip, so the edges drop a steep 4 inches or so slope down to rough stones then the dirt. It’s a sharp edge, and although Mini was wearing a helmet, as she tumbled off her bike she took the full force of the edge of the cyclepath on her forehead, right above her eyebrow. I didn’t realise that, though – I thought her helmet had taken the impact. She screamed. I picked her up and held her tight.

I’d let Mini take off her padded jacket because it was so warm. Yep: she was wearing a short-sleeved teeshirt. Her screams didn’t really abate, so I peeled her off my shoulder to check for grazed arms. I wasn’t expecting a thick river of dark purple blood running down her little face. Crap. Where was it coming from? It gushed a bit. My insides froze. It gushed again. Ah, gotcha – that black line there on her forehead. I grabbed a ball of tissues and pressed it hard on the cut. She shrieked louder. I told her something about it being all ok, that Mummy was here. Y’know, in case she was confused that I was hovering 2 miles overhead, or something. Maxi wailed a bit. Midi declared, “I feel sick!”

I’m not sure how I corralled them, but I got out the Connecta, got Mini in it on my chest, pressed the tissue to her head hard (it was still running lots of blood… don’t panic, head-wounds bleed… give it a minute… she’s hot and bothered and it’ll look worse than it is…). I grabbed her balance bike and helmet, calmed Midi and Maxi down, explained to them that we were going to go very fast back home and set off as fast as I could. Maxi offered to carry Mini’s backpack. I accepted gratefully, but it slowed us down while I transferred the pack. Then Maxi lost her bike chain again. Cursing, I helped her fix it. Then my shoe lace flapped undone. Holy God Almighty, will I ever get off this path? Mini whimpered and shivered. “I’m tired!” she wailed. I could feel panic clutching at the edges of my head. I walked faster.

I thought about whether to stop and call an ambulance. Nope – too hard to get to, and I’m not sure it’s that bad. I looked at the cut. Just oozing now. But oh my lurching stomach, it looks like a dent in her forehead. I looked at sleepy Mini. Concussion? Midi asked if Mini was going to die. In spite of myself I sniggered. And walked all the faster. I thought about how long to get home and to the car – maybe 20 minutes? Then another 10 minutes to A&E? How could I do it faster? Could I phone my friend J and abandon bikes and bags and 2 elder girls while I ran up the hill to the car with Mini on my chest? No – what if she wasn’t in? I stopped to fix Maxi’s bloody stupid annoying chain again. I told Midi again that Mini was fine and just needed a little stitch. Stitch… stitch… stitch… oh you doughball, what about the GP’s surgery in the village? Yep, faster to get there than home. But were they open? We’d arrive around closing time. I stopped to catch my breath and phone them. Shitty stupid head, don’t know the number and it’s not under the eminently sensible ‘Doctor’ in my mobile. No idea what I put it under. Crap, crap, crap. March on.

Maxi and Midi suddenly gained the ability to cross roads safely by themselves as I blazed a trail in front. After 15 minutes or so of marching / wobbly cycling, we swooped through the thankfully open door of the surgery and called for help. The receptionist ushered us through to the nurse. I sat the elder 2 down in the waiting room and carried the still-crying and clinging Mini through.

The lovely comforting nurse touched the cut and it gaped open, in a stubby T shape, very clean cut. And deep… “Oh my God!” I gulped as I stared down the deep hole. The nurse fetched the doctor. They agreed on steristrips (no glue). She applied 4 steristrips in a star shape, covered it with a dressing, reminded me of different reasons to go straight to A&E, then we were off, showering everyone in profuse thanks as we tumbled out. Well, I virtually had to haul out Maxi, who was determinedly talking to anyone with ears.

Mini wanted to walk home, clutching my hand, still whimpering. I was happy to hobble along: I’d hurt my back holding the dumb balance bike out to the side for over a mile, with a heavy 3 yo on my chest and one arm twisted round to press her cut shut. And I realised I’d given myself blisters on each foot. Mini checked herself for injuries: sore knees, grazed forearms, scratched tummy, one bashed palm. It took maybe half an hour to walk the rest of the way home.

Normal service now resumed

Normal service now resumed

After a drink of cold fizzy juice (normally only a birthday treat), my youngest Evel Knievel was back to normal, especially after a chat on the phone to Daddy. She’s wavering between not wanting to cycle again, and wanting to get back on. We’ve chatted about how everyone falls off their bikes at some point, even Mummy (comically, in front of a large group of RAF Regt recruits, who were far too frightened by the sight of the flabby, flapping skirt sailing through the air to laugh). Speaking of which, Midi’s been flapping around her, and come down from bed 3 times tonight already to tell me that Mini’s head is bleeding again (it’s not – it’s just oozing slightly). She’s asked to sleep beside Mini (no!) until I go to bed and take her into my bed with me (good idea – I will!)

I hate head injuries – they make me come over all irrational and panicky. Get well soon, my baby.

The Strength of Mini’s Head

Tuesday 9 April 2013

I’ve been very quiet recently because we’ve been away on a week’s holiday in Orkney. It was brilliant, despite me being a hormonal, shouty old bag. As usual, I took my paper journal to offload all the minxy goings-on, and I may or may not share them on this blog over the next week or so (though all the outdoorsy things will go on the Little Trekkers Ambassadors blog, as usual). I also have about 40 unpublished draft posts from the past month or so sat waiting to be finished… So, as usual, I’ll have to revert to dating each of my next few entries to make some kind of sense (!) to this. Anyway, despite all that, I really need to offload today.

We’re onto Week 2 of the Easter Holidays, now, and The Boss is back at work, so I have the job of keeping the minxes from killing each other or me every day on my own.  Yesterday’s trip to the beach totally failed to tire them out*, so today we met up with some friends and little Merida Minx at Brodie Castle, between Nairn and Forres.

*They’re like dogs: if they don’t get enough exercise they fret (Maxi), get over-excited (Mini), don’t sleep well (all) and chew shoes (Midi). It has to be vigorous enough to “give me the sweats”, as Midi puts it so delicately. Bless.


Hey-hey we’re the Minxees


See? Sailing ship. Two Leaves. Twigs.

After a long, loud, but excellent lunch, we took the 4 girls over towards the castle grounds because they could be as noisy and scampery as they liked without me nagging and scolding the poor things to sit up / eat up / be quieter / etc. and it would be free (I’ve pretty much run-out of fun tokens).  They had fun trying to tempt the bread-stuffed swans and ducks to eat more, then raced around the pond like 4 mad things on speed. Actually, I lie – like 3 mad things on speed. Maxi was doing her usual Dreaming Tortured Artist act, wandering around with her head in the clouds. Other kids grab a stick and chuck it in a stream to play Pooh Sticks. Not mine: Mini mostly remembers that sticks float whereas stones sink. Every. Single. Time. And Maxi has to craft and whittle out a perfect replica of a 17th Century sailing ship out of 2 rhododendron leaves and 2 twigs, and use *that* as her Pooh Stick…

They startled a huge Clydesdale Clopper out for a ride. The poor rider apologised to us after it had bucked and reared and kicked before she’d gotten it under control, yet it was our shrieking, flailing minxes who’d half-frightened the horse as it had drawn level and just forward of them – luckily for kids and horse that they were many, many metres apart the whole time. Then they headed straight for the Adventure Playground to wreak havoc there.

I think by now you know I’m a helicopter mother: over-anxious, paranoid, smothering, controlling, wrap-them-up-in-cotton-wool, very risk-averse kind of parent. Every day I try so, so hard not to be, even though it physically wrenches my guts. I have a huge struggle with not being the clingy parent I am, and trying to be the hands-off parent I think I should be. Well, I’m sure I stunt their emotional growth with my shouty bad temper, so I really should make an effort not to stunt their ability to assess and take on risks and hazards.

So: when Mini wanted to follow her sisters up the big tower to the high tube slide, my instincts screamed NO!!, but I found myself reasoning out loud: “Well, if you can climb the ladders by yourself with no help, then ok”. I shouted over to Midi to go with her, and in fact to go first, to stop her toddling off one of the open ‘windows’ in the tower. One risk dealt with: next? I then started fretting about little Mini falling backwards. I went to shout over to Maxi, to get her to follow Mini, so she was marched up the tower in a sort of sister-sandwich. I even shifted my camera across my body to prepare to nip up the tower myself. But not in time…

Predictably, Mini got to the top of the 3rd ladder, missed her handhold at the top, and fell backwards. She bounced off the first platform, then fell down the next ladder and collided with the next platform right on the top of her little bonce, and kind of twisted halfway out the wee open ‘window’. Well, I levitated up the first ladder before she’d even let out a scream (I think I managed a big loud “F***!”, though), and grabbed her up. My paranoid head was shouting inside about broken neck and spine injuries and not moving casualties until you know they’ve not broken anything, but the bigger Mummy Bear bit of my head just wanted to cradle my baby and kiss it all better. I know I probably sounded and looked very calm, but I just plonked down, halfway up the tower, and held her, rocking, for a few minutes. Partly to comfort her, partly because I was shaking too much to do anything else, and partly because I wasn’t sure that I’d managed to retain bladder control getting such a fright (I had. I stayed dry. Just in case you were wondering). After a bit, I dared to look and check that she was waving her hands about, kicking her feet, and seemed to have full control over her limbs as well as her lungs. When she’d calmed down a bit, I handed her down the ladder to Merida’s mummy. She instantly demanded to be let back up. No chance-eroony, little daughter! Baby playground for you! Where to be fair she demonstrated some nifty footwork on the rope bridges and happily scowled at all the boys in a 10 foot radius.

No apparent damage. Ish.

No apparent damage. Ish.

Actually, the afternoon was a bit of a parenting fail. Maxi fell off the big round hammock swing, Midi fell off the aerial slide multiple times onto her (rock-hard) head, and then for an encore tumbled down the tube slide of that tower and out onto her bum. Although I made sure I could see the 3 of them at all times, and spent a bit of time hovering over each, I mostly stayed with Mini. But there’s only one of me and 3 of them. I’d never have gone to the playground had my friends not come too, and really lightened my load of both amusing and safeguarding the girls, but being typical children, they only fell when there wasn’t an adult immediately next to them.

Looking for trolls

Looking for trolls

Now that a wee bit of time has passed since this afternoon, I can see some funny bits: I could see that Midi was falling off into the soft woodchips and bouncing up, laughing, and making comedy bows, so didn’t need me to come over fussing. And when she fell off the slide, she made quite a funny “bang… bang… bang-bang-bang… thump” noise as she clattered down. She related it breathlessly to her Daddy later as: “I did a double-cartwheel and went over and over and over!” Um…. not quite. But nice story. When Maxi fell, she also fell onto soft ground, and had a good, solid, whole-body-contact kind of fall. I went over to check she was ok and one of the kids on the swing with her farted. I mean, I know my bright orange hair is a bit scary, and I’m a bit haggard-looking nowadays, but honestly, I didn’t mean to frighten him that much! I quipped: “Wow, who just farted?” and the 4 of them bomb-burst to opposite ends of the playground. Oh, the power!

Things did get better, though. In a bid to include The Boss in this week’s, um, ‘fun’, we picked him up from work at 5 then drove round to the swimming pool. I guess we picked the perfect time, because we 5 had the entire learner pool all to ourselves. Maxi and Midi threw themselves about boisterously in the water, and The Boss marvelled at Midi’s new-found water confidence, trying to swim under everything that she could. Mini was typically slow to get her water feet. But when the aqua aerobics class started, she had me in stitches as she danced along in delight. She bounced and twisted her little hips, chanting: “Wiggle-wiggle! Wiggle-wiggle! I wiggle my little fat bum-bum, Mummy!” After a bit, she got too tired to remember to stand back up again when she fell over in the water. And she forgot that she’s scared to go down the little slides into the pool and got almost as noisily splashy as her sisters. I think I laughed non-stop for half an hour at their antics.

After an hour, I called it quits and got them properly washed and shampooed in the showers. Trying to pin down 3 little soap-dodgers with long, thick hair is NOT easy! We spent so long in the showers that I think the pool attendants suspected we were jakeys in for our monthly clean. Then some bright little buttons decided to scrub the entire changing room floor with soapy, bleachy, smelly water, all in a oner. Great – so how are we supposed to stand in a little cubicle and avoid the bubbles flowing in? How do I get everyone dry and keep them dry? No point just missing out our cubicle, Clever Clogs: gravity and a big changing room on a slope will defeat you every time…

Looking at 3 tired little minxes who’d never last the journey home, I twisted The Boss’s arm, and off we went to Evil McDs, where I got to scare a whole restaurant full of people with my frizzy, half-wet, orange fright wig. Extra bonus points!

Today Was Brought To You By The Minx ‘Midi’

Saturday 5th November. It started fairly well:

Midi Minx: “Mummy, your breath smells AWWWWful!”
Me: “Well, that’s because I’ve not had my morning coffee, yet.”
Midi: “Why you always drink coffee?”
Me: “Because you always come in my bed at night and wake me up so I feel tired all day.”
Midi: “Oh. Well, I always drink wine.”
Me: “That’s nice. What do you want to drink with breakfast, then?”
Midi: “Mllllk. Cold. Actually”

(Yeah, she really pronounces it like that, without the ‘i’)

It was mine and The Boss’s 6th wedding anniversary. That’s traditionally iron. I guess we both anticipated that an electrical iron as a present would be reciprocated with divorce papers. So we both had to up our game a bit. Well, I did. Last year’s ‘wooden’ anniversary present was a proper wooden porridge spurtle. It was just the perfect present: little, but thoughtful, useful (we eat porridge by the cauldron), it was simple and classically shaped, and it had a little loveheart carved in the top. Perfect. Clever man!

So, what about this year? Well, I found a very cool cast iron bike stand for my mountain-biking mental man (he seemed pretty pleased). And I unwrapped my present to find a little silver box, shaped like a star. Jewellery. Iron. Star. Shooting star? Meteorite?! Meteorite!! He’d got me a piece of a meteorite (1947, Siberia): my very own shooting star. He also wrote some very wonderful things in a card, which will remain private, but made my stony old heart just melt. What a wonderful, thoughtful person he is!

Even though I’d explained that only the people celebrating the anniversary actually observe it, Maxi made us a little paper card, with our house and the whole family (even the cat) on it. Tellingly, she’d drawn all 3 girls in flamenco dresses..!

It was such a gloriously beautiful day that we decided to get out. Unlike last weekend, though, we did a mini declutter. So we had to via the dump first to get rid of the 3 big bags of baby clothes and plastic bottles. So we had to check out the ‘recycled’ bikes. And there were loads, just in Maxi’s size, so we got her a perfect purple one. So we had to go to the park via Lidl to pick up some groceries and check out the bargains. And bought half the shop in Christmas goods (pannetone, gingerbread hearts, gift wrap, etc, etc). So we had to have some lunch before we hit the park. And we were on such a high we decided on soup and a roll at the brilliant garden centre cafe. The girls were fantastically well-behaved just chatting, us 4, while The Boss waited in the longest line ever for 30 mins.

Why am I boring you with all this? To make the point that had we gone straight to the park, the day would have been a bit of a downer, instead of reasonably active and productive. Maxi and Midi had a play at the playground before getting on the bikes, while I walked Mini in the sling to get her to sleep. After maybe 15 minutes, from the far end of the park, I saw The Boss pick up a roaring Midi and hug her to him. His body language didn’t say ‘Panic!’, but it wasn’t right either. So I marched over as fast as I could. I forget what he said, but I could see Midi had fallen on her little bonce – she had a blue egg on her forehead with a red stripe through it, like the skin underneath had split from the force of the swelling.

We were amazingly calm about it. Spot the 3rd time parents who’ve seen their daughters get a fair few head injuries?

“I think we should get it checked out – it’s Saturday and what if she gets dizzy later?” The Boss reasoned.

“Hmmm, she seems ok. But yes, let’s go. Now. Maxi, we’re going. Climb down. Car!” I remember saying, briskly. Inside I felt like sinking to my knees and wailing at the sight of my baby’s little forehead, but outside I think I sounded like a bored robot. Maxi predictably threw a real strop at having to leave and Mini wasn’t too happy at waking up, but there you go. We did a quick detour via Co-op for a £1 bag of frozen peas to stick on Midi’s head, shielded by the cloth bag that usually holds Mini’s spare nappies, then off to A&E. Yes, the A&E Midi visited only on Wednesday and acquired a stethoscope from. The same one.

forehead bump child

Bit of a washed-out photo, but here is the egg, a few hours later

We had to wait a wee while, which I’d warned the girls about. They idly people-watched, and seemed fascinated by the steady stream of sports injuries.

One rugby player sat trying to look innocuous while holding a wet towel to his obviously broken nose (it was plastered flat onto one cheek).

Midi: “Look at that man’s pink bogeys!”

He sniggered. So did I.

Needless to say, Midi was just fine. No concussion, no fractures, nothing. But I felt a lot happier that she was checked. And she got to say hello to some of her new ‘friends’ as well, which was nice for her.

burning crucifix in bonfire

...and in a Wee Free stronghold, too!

After spending a few hours at A&E we (even Midi) really weren’t in the mood to go back out, and besides, we had to eat to get out for fireworks (“We’re going to the bangs!”: Midi). Normally we go to the main town display near where we used to live. That’s always fantastic. The last 2 Bonfire Nights we’ve lived here, we’ve driven back to that town. But this year we thought we’d try our actual, nearest (bigger) town’s display. It was very, very good. But I think next year we’ll go back to the old town. There were more bangs, but they weren’t quite as amazing. And although I’m not a person of active faith, I did find the burning crucifix left over after the guy burnt off rather unsettling…

Midi screamed at the first few bangs, then despite quickly putting in earplugs, covering them with ear muffs and muffling the lot with a down-jacket hood, she still just wanted a big Daddy-Huggle. She didn’t see any of the fireworks, just snuggled into his shoulder. Och, she’s only 3, though! Mini was in the sling, so probably felt secure enough to watch it without fear at the noise. Maxi sat on the ground, counted the flying lanterns (she’s a massive ‘Tangled’ fan…) and oohed and aahed along with me.

I actually enjoyed just sitting in the car afterwards in the car park, waiting on the traffic disappearing before starting up, just chatting as a family. I’m really noticing how old the girls are getting – last year we could hold a conversation only with Maxi. Now it’s a proper 4-way. It’s not 5-way, yet: all Mini ever says is “Aye-wan-nat!” (I want that) over and over and over again. All day long. Bless.

Non-Stop, Just Non-stop…

Today Maxi Minx was lauded by her headmaster, Mini fell on her head onto concrete and Midi went on a class trip to A&E and seems to have acquired a working stethoscope, a plastic apron and is so covered in stickers that she looks like she fell out a cereal packet.

The sad thing is, it’s just been a standard day, really.

First off, the headmaster collared me at lunchtime. Midi saw him first. “Oh-oh, here comes Mr W!” she hissed to her fellow 3 year olds in warning. I think I’ve described the headmaster already – bit of a character, but as scary as my big toe. “Aye, Midi, and he’s watching you!” I said in The Voice of Doom.

He came up and started chatting to Midi, then asked me how I felt about Maxi being awarded her certificate. I looked appropriately thick and gormless because Maxi had told me all about finding a 1p piece, but nothing about certificates. He explained that the school assessor had been in, and he’d taken her round to see the P1 class doing a phonics lesson. Apparently Maxi had completely collared the woman and certainly shown her everything she knew. Which was rather a lot. But the manner in which she did it, and the politeness she’d shown had impressed the head so much that he’d presented Maxi with a special certificate for her extraordinarily polite manners at School Assembly. I got Maxi to show me where the certificate was being displayed for the week. My wee girl! I must admit, I was bursting with pride and told her so. Sounds like the head was equally proud of my little P1.

Midi’s nursery class were on a visit to the local hospital today. It’s the hospital she and Mini were born at, where she was hospitalised overnight with dehydration 2 weeks before Mini was born (see? I’m still scarred by the experience) and where I feel I should be getting Frequent Flyer points at. It’s only a little hospital, and that continuity is a really big deal to me because I’ve not settled anywhere long enough to have a ‘local’ anything. Till now. Anyway, Midi is going there at the end of the month to get grommets in, adenoids out, and told the staff this. Apparently they made an incredible fuss over her, and got her to try out the weighing and measuring and bp checks, etc, etc. So when I picked her up at 3pm she was covered head to toe in stickers saying how brave she’d been, was wearing a blue plastic apron, and had a real stethoscope round her neck. I worry that Midi being Midi she just ‘acquired’ it because she liked it. So although she said she’d been given it, I’ll check tomorrow. I’ve visions of a shame-faced journey to A&E tomorrow before lunch… Midi now insists that she will be a doctor when she grows up after all, so she can “hurt people to make them better, hehehehehehe!” This is a direct quote from her. I’m afraid for the NHS. Very afraid!

Mini…. Aw, my poor baby Mini! I’d bundled her up today because it’s cold and my wee lamb has shockingly bad circulation (like her Auntie M with Reynauds Syndrome). So she had thick mits on, tights, leggings, big anorak, thick fleecy hat, thick wellies and was bundled in a sling against my down jacket to get a big warm Mummy cuddle and chat on the way to pick up her sisters.

I’m so glad I took the time to turn her into the Michelin Man! We were stood in the playground with Maxi, waiting on Midi’s bus turning up from the hospital. I put Mini on a little bench ready to literally take 2 seconds to click my sling round my waist before holding her against my tummy. At that moment the bus arrived and Maxi made a bee-line straight for the busy main road. I took an extra 3 seconds to bellow, “Maxi! FREEZE!” and in that time Mini toppled over and fell on her head. I expect I must have uttered, “Oh f%c&!” aloud, because all the mums around charged over to see if the screaming Mini was ok (while 2 very astute and kind mums collared Maxi). I was frightened to look, but prized her little arms from my neck. She’d a big egg on her forehead (thank God for the thick fleecy hat!!) and a graze under her little nose and mouth where she’d eaten the concrete. I’d visions of fractured skulls and broken necks, but she’s seemed fine all night and even appeared to instantly forgive me for not watching her properly. Way faster than I’ll forgive myself! What a dumb-ass thing to do! Thank goodness it was only a low bench.

Me, I’m busy organising craft fairs, agreeing to flyer the county and trying not to smack or indeed react to an incredibly abrasive woman. Well, she’s bizarrely only abrasive in a certain crowd; on a one-to-one basis she actually seems very charming and personable. Never mind, I try not to take these personality defects personally :oP