Just Me and Mini

The Picnic Chariot

Thursday 6 Sep 2012

Monday was Midi Minx’s first day full-time in school.  Both me and Mini were missing her dreadfully, rattling about this quiet house on our own.  So we decided to do Mini’s favourite thing: go on a picnic.

I’d been threatening to go out cycling with Mini for a while, so The Boss had checked my old bike over, pulled out helmets for us both, a neon-bright bag cover, waterproofs and extra packed-lunch boxes.  Blimey, you’d think he didn’t trust me to find them myself!  Then again, maybe he’s frightened of the mess of the garage if I’d gotten frustrated looking for something in vain?

(I wonder if it’s under here..? I’ll just put that carefully over there… Nope. What about under this?  I’ll put it on the pile… Nope. Hell. What about under here?  I’ll just chuck that over there… Nope. Bloody hell!  Ok, let’s throw that stupid thing over here, and that pointless thing over there, then I might be able to see… Argh! Why is my life so cluttered?! I’ll just kick that pile over… Oh that feels better… I’ll go stamp on that… Grrrrr! I’m so ANGRY!! Why can’t I find a stupid bicycle pump?! NggggAAARGH! <crunch, rage=”” stomp,=””>)

Although I could chop up scabby dog, add a boiled egg, call it ‘picnic’ and the minxes would eat and enjoy it, I made a bit of an effort today: tuna sandwiches, little BabyBels, tiny bottles of water, cherries, “stobs” (strawberries).  And boiled eggs.  Add a change of clothes, a few nappy changes, a ton of tissues and we’re ready.  And we’re not… back to get Mini dressed a bit more warmly – it may be the start of September, but that breeze is nippy!

Happy Tummy!

We cycled the 2 miles to Roseisle with Mini complaining bitterly the whole way about how bumpy the ground was.  Talk about Princess and the Pea!  My bike is a Cadillac of a big old bike; I rode on the smoothest bits of the path; Mini was wearing thick trousers and a nappy.  Hmph!  She had some fun stomping around when we got to the beach, but the tide was in and I’d stupidly not put her in wellies – her little Doodles would be pointless in wet sand.  My idea of walking about barefoot didn’t appeal to her, and I didn’t fancy her hanging around too long beside an area that a previous toddler’s lazy parent had left a used nappy at (there are hundreds of bins and a few skips not 50 yards away.  If someone is too lazy to take a nappy to a bin, I wonder what else they’re too lazy to do?)

We checked out the playground just back from the shore, as there were a few new things.  Predictably, Mini was only interested in climbing up the cargo net and whooshing down the slide. And again. And again…

After half an hour, it was time to go home.  It was fine, until I realised that I’d missed my turn-off.  My (crappy) navigational sense told me that I could nip off any of the tracks to the right to eventually hit the main 60mph road into the village, or I could go straight ahead to finally end up down by the caravan site.  But would any of the tracks go over the old railway line at a bit I could cycle over?  Or were they all tiny, rough, and for people on foot only?  I decided to go on to the caravan site.  And brave all the sand across the track that helped me do some alarming, crazy skids.  Mini thought they were a lot of fun; I didn’t.

We popped out much later at the caravan site, squeezed through some posts either site of the path with barely an inch to spare, up past the school, which Mini waved wildly at, and home.  Where she completed failed to have a nap :/

I dare you to click on this to see it larger, and count all the caterpillars…

Tuesday was a write-off because I had to finish a knitting order, and with winds gusting over 50mph, I didn’t fancy dragging my littlest minx out in it, other than for a short half-hour caterpillar-cull in the brussels sprouts, cabbages and broccoli (I’m still squashing 40 – 50 every 2 or 3 days, in a piece of ground 4ft x 4ft).

On Wednesday, I decided that Mini’s cold was better enough for us to go swimming and start getting her used to the pool again.  Well, after 15 minutes of her prancing around at the edge of the pool, I tried to get her more engaged.  How about splashing Mummy?  Nope.  What about watering my blue swimming cap?  Nope (I need to wear a cap at the pool because my hair is newly blue again and I don’t fancy leaving a river of blue semi-permanent dye everywhere I go…)  What about the chute?  The floats?  Armbands?  Your float vest?  Watering can?  Nothing.  Until Aqua Aerobics started, and suddenly Mini decided it was a lot of fun to leopard crawl on her belly to surreptitiously spy on the old ladies, then slither back to the little pool to bounce up and down in the water in time to the music.  Ah, well – it’s a start!

Cawdor Castle Minxiness

“Muuuuuum! Mini farted!”

3 August 2012

A year ago I took the minxes on a picnic at Cawdor Castle. This was back when I still had my stay-at-home-mum L plates up and going out with them on my own was a Huge Deal. This time all 5 of us went and we walked round the little 2 mile blue route rather than fighting along the tiny 3/4 mile red route with a double buggy (!)

rose rebellion pre-school carrier cosmic flower

The Boss and Midi hiding behind ‘cosmic flower’

Predictably Mini fell asleep in a sling on my back and Midi refused to walk further than a mile. Luckily wily old me brought along a pre-school carrier that she fit into. She loved it, but neither me nor The Boss could get on with the shoulder straps, so despite being as-new, it’s been sold.

“Here’s a lovely example of the ox-eye daisy, or Leucanthemum vulgare…Oi, are you listening at the back?!”

The minxes had a bit of fun posing amongst flowers, pretending that they were really well-behaved. The truth will out, though: the evidence is in the video links below…


Minx Trickery

How do you get your minxes to eat their lunch, all their lunch, without fuss, bother or mess? Cut it into shapes, wrap it in foil, put it in a backpack, turn them out into the garden and tell them it’s a picnic!

First picnic of the year: a chilly but sunny 16 March (as always, click a photo if you want to see it larger)


Cawdor Castle

Maxi: 'Holy shamoley, Midi, a wee man just fell out your shoe!' Midi: "Yikes, I thought it was a piece of grit'

In a bid to fill the girls’ 6 weeks of holidays with fun activities, I took them to roll down a hill and be photographed by a Japanese tourist.

This was back on Tues 28 June (this blog is supposed to be replacing my manual diary, so I really ought to get facts right).  The day dawned warm and sunny, no one fancied hitting the beach again or walking in the woods (!), so I decided to go further afield.  My mother-in-law had mentioned wanting to go to Cawdor Castle last time she was up, but we never got round to it.  Inspired, I decided to go there before the schools finished a few days later for the summer holidays.

I wasn’t mental enough to try to take 3 little girls around the inside of a castle (I can barely keep Midi Minx out of trouble when I only have her to supervise, never mind her sisters!) so I went for that great old standby: picnic lunch and bimble around outside.  The lady at the ticket gate couldn’t have been more helpful with advice, top tips and information.  So we went to explore one of the flower gardens, then through a hidden door to the Nature Walks.

We went on the shortest < 1 mile one, as I had Mini and the picnic lunch in the Phil&Ted double buggy and Maxi and Midi off the leash (ho ho ho).  For some reason, both girls decided to whine constantly.  They squealed at spiders, bugs, tree roots, the ‘cold’, the wind, the huge long walk, not liking being the Deep, Dark Wood, and so on, and so on.  I tried to make it exciting, pointing out big trees, little trees, ants, foxgloves, a single white foxglove, oak leaves, poppies, spider webs, the lot.  I exhausted every single Pollyanna bone in my body and they were having none of it.  Midi whined to get into the buggy.  As I was at the one bit of the path that *really* wasn’t fit for the off-road buggy and was worrying about Mini overturning and either being squashed or rolling down a ravine, I really wasn’t in the mood.  But a few hairy moments that tested my underarm deoderant (precariously roll the buggy on a single back wheel and hope it doesn’t landslide…), and we were fine.  The path came out behind the carpark and beside the picnic area, so the girls perked up knowing lunch was on the way.

<sigh> What is it with dog owners?  The picnic area is huge.  A dog and its owners were sitting at one end of the field.  As I wanted my girls to run off a bit of steam and squeal their wee heads off, I walked to the entirely opposite end of the field, well away from the dog and other picnickers whose lunch might be disturbed by my zoo.  So why did the owners take their dog away from the solitude and empty space of where they were, and exercise it between my girls and the other picnickers?!  They didn’t do much to improve my general opinion of dog owners, I’m afraid.

Anyway, a lazy lunch of boiled egg (of course), nutella sandwiches, rainbow box (purple radishes, red tomatoes, orange carrot sticks, sliced yellow pepper, green celery sticks), bananas, juice cartons, water, BabyBels and I discovered that I was sat in the single boggy spot of the lawn.  So for the next hour I looked like I’d wet myself.  Nice…  Mini gleefully chased her sisters barefoot while I pointlessly dabbed at my trousers.

We tried exploring the other 2 gardens, this time with the buggy back in the car and Mini in a sling so she could nap.  More whining from Maxi and Midi.  Again, I tried to make it interesting: I got them to listen and see what they could hear (birds, bees shouting “Busy! Busy! Busy!”, leaves swishing).  I got them to find a rainbow of flowers (go find a red flower.  Now go find a white one.  Now a purple one).  Midi loved that game; Maxi liked it because she knew was finding flowers closer and closer to the ice cream shop.  I tried one last time to get them to walk somewhere, anywhere, by bimbling around outside the castle.  They happily ran to the top of the beautifully manicured sloping lawns and chucked themselves off.  A passing tourist whipped out his incredibly enormous camera and started photographing them rolling down the hill, his wife/girlfriend giggling at his side.  I gave up, and took the girls for a tub each of ice cream (where Maxi made my heart melt by asking for egg-free ice cream so she could share hers with her baby sister).

So, I thought they’d had a dreadful, boring time.  That night, though, when The Boss asked them if they’d had a nice day, they raved about it and declared it the Best Day Ever – little teases!!

Angry Old Trout

The Boss (ha!) has been in Coventry for 6 hours now.  Only a penitent phonecall a few minutes ago got him out the dog-house.

Today was yet another gorgeously sunny day, so we decided to pack yet another picnic, and hit yet another beach.  Roseisle beach, this time, and walk as far west as Midi’s little legs would take her, towards the direction I last saw dolphins.  We had loads of sausages at their Use By date and The Boss had found an old disposable barbeque in the garage, from back in pre-kids days when we spent every single weekend out camping, climbing, walking and biking.  We’d buy them el-cheapo in their 10s from France on climbing trips.  Anyway, our last family picnic till next weekend promised to be a good ‘un.

Everyone bar Maxi Minx was tired from pants sleep – Midi woke me at 6.30am climbing into my bed.  I’m glad I caught her because she’d wet herself.  We just got up rather than slept on.  Mistake!

The picnic was lovely, with all of us scoffing sausage sandwiches in a pretty secluded part of the beach, away from the crowds (my God, there must have been about 50 people on the entire beach on a sunny bank holiday – it was rammed!) and their rubbish and dog poo.  Mini Minx dunked her breadsticks in the sand and sucked it off thoughtfully.  She’s cutting those 2 enormous top teeth, so I guess rubbing it into those inflamed gums helped ease the pain.  Either that, or she’s bonkers.

Maxi Minx, ever the artist, quickly gave up making sand angels and started making a collage of a mermaid.  It was over 6ft long, and she drew the outline with her hands, then ‘coloured in’ the tail with hundreds of pebbles and seaweed, with a discarded bit of rope to form the fish tail end; seashells made up a kind of bikini; a string of barnacles and baby shellfish strung out in a crusty kind of rope formed the necklace; she found 2 matching mussel shells with attached barnacles for earrings, and some plain mussel shells made up the pendant parts of the necklace; different types of seaweed made up the hair, but it was carefully arranged symmetrically and draped purposefully.  I describe it in so much detail because (a) I was agog and amazed at my little 5 year old’s precision, ever-present drive to create art, and sheer prettiness of it, and (b) the beautiful photos and the video I took of it with Maxi explaining all the different bits are gone forever.

The Boss dropped the camera in the sea and lost it.

I was nearly sick when I found out.  Losing the video cut me most, followed by the photos of the mermaid.  Then I remembered all the lovely portrait shots we’d taken of the kids all day.  And yesterday, I caught the most amazing lenticular clouds, in a beautiful 4 hooped wave.  And all the shots from the Theme Day.  Baby Mini changes so much so quickly that I worry being without a camera for a few days means that I’ll lose special memories (well, photos serve as my memory these days).  And she’s about to take her first steps…

I know he didn’t actually set out to drop the camera in the sea.  But he tried to blame the camera loss on me, till I reminded him that I’d passed the camera back so he could take some ‘wet’ shots of an arty piece of stone arranging he’d done at the water’s edge.  We both searched the edge of the water for around an hour, trying to calculate where the receding tide might have dragged it, in vain.

I glowered for hours.  I’m the kind of person who’d rescue photographs and diaries from a burning building, but abandon purses, wallets and phones. (Do I really need to say I’d rescue the kids first?  No.  Thought not.  Kind of obvious, eh?).  I really grieved for the lost pictures.  I know it’s silly, but I did.

Tonight he went off for a cycle ride after the kids went to bed.  I wasn’t all that surprised to find that he’d gone back to Roseisle beach, and had actually *found* the camera!  It was out at almost the low-tide bit.  He phoned to tell me the good news and apologise.  (‘Good’ in that I could stop tormenting myself with the possibility that it was lying on sand, ready to pick up and use but still lost.  Now at least I know that it did fall in the sea and get trashed and we’ll need to buy a replacement bloody pronto).  I stopped sulking and accepted that accidents happen.  I suspect that the camera will never be resurrected, but I have a ridiculously optimistic dream that rinsing the photo card in clean water and leaving it to dry for a few days might, just might, let me read off some photos?  We’ll see.

So.  Now to replace it.  If I could just buy the same one, I would, but I can’t find anywhere that still sells the 6 year old FinePix F10.  Many friends are recommending the Panasonic TZ range.  I’ve started comparing and am getting a bit lost.  I don’t want something all-singing and dancing.  I just want to be able to do great, sharp extreme close-ups of knitting, flowers and children, clear photos of clouds and children action-shots, and be able to take the odd video (not necessarily in HD).  But I’m being seduced by the possibility of better and better images as you up the price range… Argh!  Och, I have a realistic short-list of 3.  I think I’ll make The Boss feel useful and task him with deciding on a replacement tonight.  If he picks one on my short-list, we’ll just get that.  If he doesn’t… well, I’m sure I’ll make him see sense.

Scorcher Sunday

And another beautiful day dawned on the gorgeous Moray Firth.  I watched with very, very tired eyes…

Mini cried and fed from midnight through till 2am.  Yawn.  Then at 6am, I woke up with Midi in bed beside me.  As last night was the first night Midi didn’t wear a night-time nappy (“I a big girl; I no wear nappies no more”, she’d scoffed) I quickly checked the seat of her pyjama pants in dread.  Yep, clammy and damp.  I think that was worse than soaking wet.  Had she been cuddled up beside me for seconds or hours?

I levitated out of bed (honest) and found her own bed-clothes had been sodden but were now half-dry.  Great.  So that’d be 2 beds to change, then.  She cried pitifully as I washed her down in the bath and reassured her it was all ok, and never mind.  She asked for a nappy, but I feigned ignorance of where silly Daddy had hidden them.

At 8am The Boss insisted I have a coffee and get up.  Grooooooo…

My short-term memory has been shot a long time now, from long-term effects of not enough sleep.  Today I noticed that I couldn’t keep a thought in my head past any distractions.  Example, I’d go to ask The Boss something important and en-route to going to him to ask, I’d see a broken toy, pick it up and zzzap, I’d forgotten.  I’d remember that I needed to remember something, but that was it.  If you saw the effects The Silence had on people in Dr Who Series 6 Episodes 1 and 2, you’ll know what I mean.  Maybe Steven Moffat is as sleep-deprived as me.

Anyway.  Today I was determined to get the girls into a proper sleep cycle, so that would involve lots of outdoors, lots of sunshine, and lots of food.  We went to the Forres Theme Day and had a shamble around the vintage cars on show.  I’m just not into cars (they have an engine, 4 wheels and get you, your family and all your stuff from A to B), but the girls liked looking at the ‘shinies’ and the steam engines.  They also liked the ice-cream, donuts and face-painter.  The face painter remembered Maxi from a kid’s birthday party they were both at a few months ago – Maxi Minx (and I) were very impressed.  As were the girls at being made up to look like a Unicorn and a Lion.  Do I really need to tell you who was who?!  I moderated my constant call of: “Come and hold Mummy’s hand. Right. This. Instant!” to “Give me your hoof/paw – let’s go scare people”.

A half-hit was the bouncy castle.  Midi wanted to go on it, but Maxi didn’t.  She was still scarred from last summer not being allowed to go on a bouncy castle because she was wearing face-paint.  The bouncy castle owner had been very rough about it, waiting until Maxi had taken her shoes off and had already set foot on the castle entrance.  The fete organiser got very angry with him, whilst I placated a sobbing Maxi with a promise that she could have more face-paint after she’d had a good time bouncing around, but I remember the man’s rudeness and brusqueness really tarnished Maxi’s day.  Anyway, lo and behold, it was the same bloke.  Again, too busy yapping with another old man to pay any attention to his customers.  After a bit of encouragement, Midi bounced around, only to have the man try to roust her out with all the other kids after just a few minutes fun.  I ignored him, as did Midi.  He shouted and whistled at her like she was a dog.  Same rudeness, same curtness: “You – girl!  Off now!”  I yelled back: “I don’t think so!  Your sign says it’s for 8 minutes – she’s only had 4 minutes.  She’s staying on”.  He came over with his big stop watch and quietly said, “I’m not arguing with you, so I’ll give her another few minutes.”  I growled: “You’ll give her another 4 minutes, like we paid for”.  And by God, he called her off 4 minutes later, to the second.  What a shame he didn’t call it early – I was spoiling for a noisy fight with the old, smelly thief.  Instead I called Midi and she bounded off quite happily.  Avoid the pink cow-shaped bouncy castle in the Moray area!

After more donuts (oops, they just seemed to fall into our hands, all hot and juicy and sugary…) we had a picnic at the edge of the park.  Mini showed off her pretty pink and lace dress, Midi and Maxi roared / neighed at passers-by.  A half hour at the swing park, then boring, boring food shopping.  As Mini had fallen asleep in a comfy back-wrap carry, I opted to let her sleep and walk ahead and meet the car-bound family at the supermarket.  I forgot how far away it was  – only 15 mins walk or so, but a long time for 2 wee girls to wait on their mummy and sister.  How could I forget?  Lack of sleep!  It only hit me when I got to the main road.  Doh.

The other nice event of today: Mini Minx was waggling her arms and banging some cups at me, standing proudly.  So I held out my arms and urged her on.  She took 1 and a half steps into my proud hug.  I’m not convinced it counts as her first steps, though, but they’re definitely not far away.  (Me?  Not wanting my baby to grow up?  Surely not.  Aye ok: rumbled!)

So, Midi is off to bed with no nappy again.  I wonder what time I’ll be awoken by Her Sogginess tonight, then?

L Plate Mummy Part 2

The Trout loves 'Minx Mayhem Remover'

In the words of Baby Bud, “Aaaaaah’ve had a fabby dayyyyyy!”  Well, I was on a roll after braving the beach with the 3 minxes on my own on Tuesday, so today I upgraded in difficulty: 3 hours on the same beach with 3 minxes, not such great weather, another little girl and her mummy.

As expected, it took me 3 hours beforehand to get ready, but that was mostly because I was on a mission to use up some leftovers and make Cornish pasties (ok, ok, I’ll come clean – I ran out of bread for sandwiches).  Except they were probably Kiwi Pasties, because they were full of lamb and sweet potato.  Actually, here’s a quick recipe before I forget, because they were pretty yum: 

Bottom right Kiwi Pasty half-demolished for <ahem> Quality Assurance purposes

Kiwi Pasties Ingredients

*200g shortcrust pastry (made with 200g plain flour, 60g salted butter, 40g lard)

*leftover lamb from last night’s leg roast

*leftover mashed sweet potatoes from dinner 2 nights ago (boiled sweet potatoes mashed with salty butter and a good shake of cinnamon)


Roll the pastry into 6 shapes roughly circle-ish.  Mix the lamb and mashed sweet potato together,  then dollop it onto the circles.  Brush the edges with milk, then join (do whatever shaping takes your fancy).  Brush with more milk and stab in the side to let the steam out.  Bake at 220degC for 20 mins then 180degC for 35 mins.

They went down a treat, but would be even better with chopped onion and gravy, I think.  What a shame, I’ll just need to try that recipe out this weekend, then…!

I digress.  So, I loaded the car boot with pasties, boiled eggs (decorated again by minxes, which kept them occupied for 15 mins while I got stuff together), cake, apples, juice cartons, cheese sticks, pepper fingers, big flask of coffee for me (it was a rough night…) and a ton of spare clothes, and off we went for an 1130hrs rendezvous.

We had a hoot!  Loads of beach-combing (I spotted oyster shells larger than my palm – I was more excited than the kids!), being flown over rather low by a Hercules, bubble-blowing (I’m proud of that – I brought a bottle of bubbles along as a distraction tactic for when I needed the kids to stay in one place while I did Mummy-guff), lunch-munching and general puddle splashing.

Why the praise for the bottle of antibac in the top picture, though?  Well, the minxes were true to form and all 3 poo-ed within the space of 10 minutes: one in a nappy, one in a portaloo (it nearly blocked the chemical toilet – I did a muscle in pumping the flush) and one in a hastily dug latrine.  With a toy spade.  Being a complete dog poo Nazi, you can imagine how deep I dug that hole and how well I filled in and stamped on it.

The 3 eldest girls had lots more fun at the playground while the youngest one yelled and squealed at them (through the goo of her eye infections – they had gotten so much better so I’d not gone to the docs, but today was a set-back.  If no better tomorrow, I’ll battle the vaguaries of the appointment system and get her checked out, even though she seems ok herself).

To top off their day, it was a ballet day, so I plonked the minxes in the car and drove half the beach to the class.  4 wet wipes and a hair brush and they almost looked human (ballerina-like they were not).

Was today a success, then?  I have a wind-burn glow, Midi Minx was so worn out she fell asleep in her dinner and Maxi Minx declared it ‘My Best Day Ever.  Ever.  Really’ before wolfing her pasta bolognaise as fast as her sisters.  I’m very proud: eat well, play well, sleep well – just what I want for my growing kids.  And dealing with their synchro-poos without disaster (yet) has made me confident enough to start properly resuming my former outdoor life, so time to venture further afield next week – yippee!!

Spot the Ball

Outminxing a Minx or Being a YTS Mummy

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my time as a stay-at-home mum:

“I didn’t give up my career to mop a perma-filthy floor instead!”

“I didn’t give up my salary to constantly clock-watch and rush, rush, rush to get the next meal made, only for you to smear it on the walls!”

“I didn’t sign up to spending most of my waking time following 3 minxes and a man around to just pick up everything they lazily discard!”

I think like a lot of soon-to-be SAHMs, I’d had a real rose-tinted view of what life would be like:

What I Thought It Would Be Like

Me and the kids baking every day, then doing messy crafts, maybe a story or 2, a walk after lunch (cooked, and from scratch of course), coming back via the swings and afternoon snack in the garden.  Home-cooked dinner, more stories, bed.  Lots of laughing, “I love yous” and fond sighs.

The Reality

Me and the kids yelling at each other every day, them making incredible amounts of mess (food, toys, each other’s hair), a Naughty Step each or 5, parked in front of CBeebies while I get 3 meals ready (proper food – why does it take me so long?!), route-march to the shops occasionally strapped into the double buggy, run around the garden for 5 minutes until Midi Minx starts to rip up newly-budded bulbs or Mini Minx starts to wail (she’s such a limpet, that baby!).  All sit down to family squabble-athon dinner when The Boss gets in from work.  Pass kids to The Boss for wash, story and bed so I can be Bad Cop and scold them when they get up again and again, and turn the Chimps Enclosure back into a house for 10 mins or so before bed.  Free time spent shopping, cleaning or feeding Mini Minx.  Breaks: one pee break if I’m really, really desperate.  Lots of angry yelling, crying, and strops (adult as well as child).

Pants, isn’t it?  So I’ve decided to get a grip and stop letting this frustrating life just happen to us.  I’m the adult – I’m in charge.  Who cares if every meal is a proper one, made from scratch?  Who cares if the carpet is hoovered?  (OK me, if Mini is crawling over it).  Who cares if the kids stay clean or their clothes stay in one piece? (Um….)  Why spend every single meal fighting with the little beasts to eat – why not let them go hungry if they’re determined not to eat?  It won’t hurt them long-term.  Why not let Midi Minx wet and poo herself if she’s being too stubborn to use the potty before we go anywhere?  I can handle the smell (and God knows, she has enough clothes for anything too badly messed to just be binned).

So I did.  Today dawned cold, crisp and sunny.  Perfect beach weather!  And being the original Mega Minx, I know that little girls who won’t normally eat lunch will eat a scabby dog if it’s called ‘picnic’.  So I checked the tide tables, decided when to go, then got the girls to draw over a boiled egg each while I made sandwiches.  They practiced for Easter while I cut loveheart shapes and teddybear shapes.  Best of all: it counts as a ‘craft session’.  10 bonus points to me.

Minx picnic

Tarted-up Scabby Dog

We live on a little jobby of land that pokes out into the Moray Firth, so have an embarrassment of beaches and rockpools within 15 mins walking distance.  However, supervising 3 minxes on my own (remember: I still have SAHM L plates) meant I felt more confident taking a mountain of stuff in the car ‘just in case’.  Besides, it was only 4 mins drive to the nearest long flat EMPTY beach, bereft of dog poo (have a had a rant about dog owners yet…?)  So that’s what I did, and unleashed the minxes.

Midi and Maxi took charge and shook out an old rug onto a little platform stand by the beach.  As predicted, they wolfed down their lunches, especially the wee loveheart chocolates in shiny red foil I’d taken as a treat-surprise.  We had a really lovely 20 minutes scoffing, looking out to sea to spot dolphins, blethering about the oil rigs floating past and deciding where the North Pole was in relation to our house.

What is it about my daughters, though, that they can’t spend an hour out of doors without needing to poo?  And usually all at the same time?  And usually with 5 seconds advance warning?  Thank goodness for nappy sacks and a strong stomach…

Mini Minx soon set off her siren wail – as well as still being my little cling-on, she’s got an eye infection too, poor wee soul.  I’m guessing it’s from rubbing her bogeys over her little face (Germ Vector Midi brought this evil cold virus into the household the week before last and all 3 girls are suffering).  So I walked her in her buggy in ever-increasing circles round the eldest 2 minxes as they explored, pondered on why oystercatchers are so-called yet they catch mussels (Maxi), ate sand (Midi), climbed old WWII anti-tank defences (Maxi), ate empty crab claws (Midi), looked under rocks (Maxi), licked rocks (Midi), threw rocks (both. At each other).

Mini’s screams wouldn’t stop, so we slogged back to the car.  Typically, she stopped just as we got to the car park.  Luckily there’s a wee playground right there, so flexibility being the key to being a vaguely-adequate mummy, I let them run off more steam while I fed Mini cheese sticks and coaxed out a few grins from her. 

Midi Minx Planning Her Next Ambush

Getting home, I played with the girls for an hour or so before dinner (shocker!), so dinner was a cobbled together thing that was weird but fast (pasta twirls, sliced cold roast beef, boiled broccoli and carrots, mashed sweet potato, cinnamon and butter).

The day was a success because: Midi fell asleep in her dinner tonight, and both girls ate a decent meal.  The best bits for me: hearing all 3 giggle and laugh (and myself – nearly scared the wildlife); taking the time to just cuddle each girl, get snuggled back and tell them I love them.  Bits to work on: I’m really not comfortable around mess and dirt!  I let them get filthy and wet and didn’t fuss or scold, but it was a surprisingly big effort not to.  The minxes weren’t bothered and enjoyed the day all the more for it.  I need to work on embracing my grubby side.  Based on the weather forecast, we should have a chance for another practice at being a normal family the day after tomorrow 🙂