Spring is Sprung

Right, now that I’m feeling more of my old self than I have in 7 months, I’m going back to my old style of blogging: just a daily blah of all the mundane minutiae that we get up to.

Today felt special, even before I opened my eyes. I woke up unsquashed by minxes (they’d slept in their own beds. Finally!), I’d had a full night’s sleep, and I could smell the coffee The Boss had lovingly brought me in bed. (OK, I say lovingly. That’s actually shorthand for “very afraid of the consequences of me stomping about without a jolt of caffeine first. Very, very afraid”). When I peeled my eyelids open, I could see sunshine seeping in around the blind. I could hear only Killer Cat complaining that she wanted out – the minxes were all snoring. Ah… peace for a precious 5 minutes!

We still managed to be almost late for school, though, but that’s what happens when you let your kids eat their breakfast without nagging them. And sneak a peek on all the things you’re desperately eBaying. And a cheeky check on Facebook while you’re there.

Last week I had to make the 4 Minute Walk of Shame with a shrieking, screeching, tantrumming Mini who kicked and windmilled at the deprivation of being made to walk the whole 100 yards to school. She screamed the whole way there, the whole time I waited on the elder 2 going into school, and the whole way back. Mortified. Good morning neighbours, time to rise and shine. Yes, I just moved into your neighbourhood last week. I’m sure you can’t wait to meet me or my noisy kids either. Yes there are 300 of them, and they’re all as badly brought up as this one. Today, I got the 4 Minute Walk of Shame with a wailing Maxi, who was objecting noisily to me not stopping everything and everyone in order to listen to her opinion about something. She seems to be growing up to be like my mum: absolutely no concept of keeping time, or being on time, or the need to be at a place for a specific time. Drives me insane.

MiniAfter faffing about with laundry and giving the air a chance to warm up, me and Mini set off exploring. We walked down a little country lane. I wasn’t sure whether it was a private drive or not, but we walked along, enjoying the snowdrops and the yew trees and the looking at the coal-tits (when you’ve only see seagulls, pigeons and oyster-catchers for years, the variety round here is great!). We took photos of each other. Looking at them, I can see that my 3 year old takes better photos than me! I seems like only yesterday she was learning to focus her own eyes, never mind focus a camera. The camera’s nearly as big as she is!

GrumpyOldTroutIn the distance, I saw a big black labrador without a lead. The dog saw us. I realised how alone we were and felt a little vulnerable. I remembered how much Mini hates dogs, turned on my heel and suggested we walk back, whilst setting off at a good tabbing pace. It was a smart move: the dog and its owner caught us up, the dog straining on its lead to jump lensmanup on Mini, slabbering its drool everywhere. I stood between it and my baby, and hauled the stupid thing away a few times by the collar. The owner happily chattered about how his dog was still just a puppy and still liked to jump up on children (!), and how he’d put it on the lead when he’d seen Mini. He was completely oblivious to the dog actually trying to jump on her and me. Right now. In front of him. Lead or not. Blimey, I don’t think he really ‘got it’ that he could pull the lead himself and actually control the dog’s behaviour… Bless.

I walked around a little public garden with Mini, looking at the unblossomed daffodils and all the different tree buds. She then decided that she was too tired and wanted to paint a picture of me instead. So we walked home, and I let her do her worst with her paints while I attacked the entire house’s glassware with the Mr Muscle. You do *not* want to know how black the living room windows were. And now they’re streaky. But they’re clean!

After dropping Mini at nursery, I enjoyed my first day in weeks of NOT having to nip down to the rented house to load up another car-boot load of stuff and clean another room. I spent the precious 90 minutes eBaying anything else that I had photographs of and thought I could maybe sell.

It takes 4 minutes to walk to school in the morning; it takes Midi 2 minutes to run back home; it takes Maxi about half an hour if she’s cajoled and dragged (an hour or longer if I left her to herself). It was still sunny (balmy high of 9degC. Too cold for middle-aged mummies with faulty internal thermometers, but fine for 3 girls with anti-freeze for blood), so the minxes played in the garden from 3.30 till 5. I’m not surprised that Mini and Midi fell asleep by 8 this evening. And Maxi? Good God, the bonkers child has decided that right now (9pm) is a great time to practice her recorder! Sheesh.

Uber Grouch

Grumpy Old Trout

Tarted-up Trout

You know how grumpy I get when I’ve not had enough sleep?  Well, Maxi and Midi took over the entire bed last night and I was too tired to do anything about it.  I’m so tired I can see through Time (to misquote my favourite Simpsons quote).

So today was a right barrel of laughs, with me and all 3 minxes snarling at each other.  Midi was on a mission to drive us all round the bend.  She pushed the baby, stood on her big sister, kicked anyone who came near her, threw her toys, refused to eat, whined constantly about being hungry, woke Mini up early this morning with a tantrum, woke her again when she’d only had 15 mins nap with yet another tantrum.  Sheesh.  As for Maxi, ‘whine’ just does not describe properly how whingey that child has been.  As for me, I was so bloody angry with the world in general that I avoided all human company till I got an appropriate caffeine level happening, at approximately 1500hrs.

We had a very brief respite over lunch, when I coaxed the brats demons little devils horrors minxes little lights of my life <ahem> to eat their food through downright bribery.

“Guess what CBeebies theme tune this is?  Nah nah nee-na-na!  … ok, take another bite and I’ll hum some more … nah nah -nee-nanana …still not got it?  One more bite and I’ll do the words … ‘something-something-outer space… far away from the human race’

<screams while jumping up and down> “Space Pirates!”

“Clever girl, P, you’re the champio-ni.  Right, here’s another.  If you take another bite of sandwich”

We spent 45 mins like that.  Midi seriously impressed me with her speedy recognition of Balamory and Gigglebiz.  I impressed both girls with my extensive repertoire of kids’ theme tunes.  Mini was impressed that I’d obviously let them watch far, far too much tv and would shortly allow her to, too…

On the come-down from such jolliness, Maxi sang the Fifi and the Flower-Tots tune.  I choked at her perfect rendition of: “Fifi!  And the Flowerducks!  Fifi!  Forget-me-nuts“.  I guess that’s how she interprets Jane Horrocks’ accent.

Other bad grumpiness today: I noticed that the beautiful pink Quinny Buzz cosytoes I stupidly shelled out for to go with my shiny new Zapp Xtra (I didn’t need it – I wanted it.  Vain old fool) has a stack of unravelling stitching.  I’ve emailed pics to Mothercare, but I guess they only have my word for it that it was like that out the packet.  We’ll see.

More grumpiness: I’ve been deluged with messages (ok, I’ve had 5) from people in Europe and the USA asking if I’d send my eBay stuff to them when it pretty clearly states that I (ok, The Boss) will send to the UK only.  I try to explain nicely that it’s because it costs so much money to send a properly-insured and tracked parcel that it’s just not worth their while when they’re buying a baby bottle, or something.  So I get ticked off when I get messages demanding: “Spain.  Postage???????????????”  And one young lady from the USA who asked how much postage would be.  And how much would that be in US Dollars.  And how much would that be on the day of the sale?  (I’m incredibly talented, but I’m NOT PSYCHIC!!  And bloody learn to type ‘currency converter’ into Google, you airhead).

Worse grumpiness: ->  (follows below. Long)

I’m shortly to feature in an article by a nice freelance journalist in a ladies’ magazine.  I suppose it’s effectively a review of some products and exercises, and will feature some gruesome ‘before’ and better ‘after’ pics.  I agreed to do it because (a) why the hell not, it sounded like a laugh, (b) there would be a little fee, and (c) a photographer would come to make me look great for the ‘after’ pics.  Did I tell you how vain I am?  But I also know it would take more than a single photographer to make me look great.

Anyway, I wrote loads of notes for the article and will be interested to see how much is my text, but that’s ok – I’m a compulsive writer anyway, and the little fee will be fine recompense.  I got a cheeky email from the magazine asking me to do my own photos, so I did, as best I could.  It was a terrible experience, but hey, it was 2 hours out of our long lives.

Today I got an email back asking, can you do the photos again?  Except like this, and like that, and wearing this and that, and can we have them by Monday?  After taking my fingers off the p-i-s-s-o-f-f-y-o-u-c-h-e-e-k-y-n-u-t-j-o-b keys, I wrote a long email back explaining why I wouldn’t comply.  I figured I was possibly writing to a daft wee girl fresh from school who has no idea of the sheer trauma I went through.  She wrote it like I could just stand up from the keyboard, pop upstairs and take 7 or 8 perfect shots.  Just in case, I went into detail to re-educate her into the life of a normal woman.

I generally look like Chewbacca, so it takes a lot of time to put on make-up (after I’ve found the bloody stuff), do my hair, find some smart clothes, check they fit, iron them, occupy the kids, move the furniture to get some space, take half a million photos off the wall to get a blank background, find somewhere to put them that the kids can’t reach, get The Boss to take some pics, scold Maxi, move Midi’s head out of shot, take more pics because you can see I’m yelling at Maxi, remove Mini’s grubby fingers from my clean clothes, notice chocolate stain, remove clothes, realise I have no others that fit, try to scrub chocolate out, decide to hold leg at funny angle to hide chocolate stain, yell at Midi, separate Midi and Maxi, re-motivate The Boss, check photos, realise I look hellish and The Boss has been holding the camera wonky, start again, find it difficult to smile while all 3 minxes are howling their heads off and The Boss is scowling at me ….<sigh>  I think you get the picture.  So I’m just a tad angry at the request to ‘just’ do some more (like, the entire shoot wearing different clothes, doing different poses and WEARING HEELS….!  I haven’t worn heels in over 2 years, for God’s sake!)

Oh yeah, and as well as write the article they want me to take all the photos for it?  And give up a whole day’s time when I’d normally be knitting to sell items to pay the bills?  And they’re going to pay me how little again…?!  I suppose what’s going to happen now is that the lass at the magazine will get her mate to pose for some shots, they’ll use my words and I’ll not get a sausage.  Hmmm, I suspect The Wrath of The Trout will be unleashed.

Gosh, I’m too cynical!