The Ghost of Christmas Future

I met Future Me today.

It’s a Thursday, so at 3pm I was doing my usual: trying to control Mini and Maxi Minxes whilst standing impatiently outside the nursery door, waiting on them opening up, getting anxious that yet again, we’re going to be late for ballet class. The nursery class appears to operate at 4 minutes slower than the rest of the universe school. Over the Christmas holidays their clock’s gotten slower: it’s now about 6 minutes.

So there I was, hopping from one foot to the next, whilst pretending to look as nonchalent as you can when your blood-pressure’s sky-high, you’ve had a rough day, it’s freezing and the driving sleet is chilling you to your bones and you’re dreading an hour of shrieking banshee mini ballerinas. Some fat old troll waddles up, pushes past my girls and growls at the queue in general, “Are youse queueing for nursery?” A few of us muttered, “Aye” but I suspect we were all biting back various retorts along the lines of, “Naw, we’re queueing for the STD clinic: what have you got?”

Anyway, she squeezed herself to the front of the queue. One of the nursery teachers trilled, “No, you have to wait till the teacher releases your grandchild!” because, I think I’ve said before, they insist on the toddlers sitting down till *they* call them forward to meet you at the doorframe when you get to the head of the queue of parents. Anyway, Fatso gurgled, “Whit a load o’ rubbish! Here x, come on now, say goodbye to your teachers!”, waddled in, grabbed x, and squished on past. “That’s how you do it!” she smugly announced to the queue.

Around a million retorts fought amongst themselves in my head to be first to be spoken. Rude slurs like “I guess you really are Speshul and need to go first in case you piss your pants waiting”, “Are your piles too painful for you to stand waiting for a minute?”; truisms like, “No, really, you go first: age before beauty”; angry remarks like, “If you can’t be bothered to wait, then you’d better come earlier tomorrow”, “I’m in a hurry, too – are your piles more important than me getting to an appointment in time?” So: what witty, pithy retort made it? Wait for it… Here it is…

“Yeah, but, but… oh, I can’t be arsed”

Nice one, Trout. That really told her. Bet she’s smouldering over her cauldron right now, still beaming in shame. What a dork!

So yeah, I was furious at the old bag for being so rude, cross with the crowd for letting her, and boiling mad at myself for being too slow to even protest properly. Grrrrrr! And the thing is, as angry as I was, I could see her point. And I could also see an awful lot of myself in her; just 25 years older and 25 stone heavier.

You can imagine how my mood was when I got the girls to ballet and 2 uncontrolled kids were running screaming along the corridor and round and round the dining room, where the kids change. I tend to sit in the far corner out of the way – it stops me and all my millions of bags of *stuff* getting in everyone’s way, it’s a little quieter, and it’s easier for me to control my own wee horrors. So when the 2 hooligans raced past for a 4th time and ignored the tuts from me and 2 other mums, I muttered that once more and I’d trip them. Well, to be fair they’re only 8 or so, and what 8 year old even notices the existence of middle-aged mums, never mind that you might be getting in their way? So, on the 6th pass I put my arms up and said loudly and in a low voice, “OK, you need to stop running now – you nearly knocked over the baby. Enough. Stop”

Lo and behold, Mummy Hooligan stepped forward suddenly and had a word with them. Aaaaaaaah, so that’s who owned them? They resumed their shrill screeching and chasing up and down, knocking things over, but in the corridor away from my toddler at least. Though that little toddler kept making a bee-line for a teeny-tiny baby girl in a car seat, right the other end of the room. I had let Mini dress herself up like a dog’s dinner (pink wool dress, pink and blue wellies, enormous pink frothy ballet skirt, too-big sheepskin coat with flapping mits, too-small pink and blue earflap hat perched on the top of her head with a football-sized pompom) so at least the sight of her gave everyone a tiny bit of warning of the impending doom as she stormed towards them. Luckily I intercepted Mini in time before she touched the wee baby, but it was (shame-facedly) close. And as usual Midi chose those moments to run off in the direction of the door opening onto the car park. Talk about torn…

And I solved the mystery of the vanishing food and drink. Finally! Two or 3 times I’ve run out of snacks and drinks for the minxes: Maxi’s finished her lesson and I’ve gone to give her the last juice carton, orange and tub of raisins, only to find something missing. Each time, I’ve found the wrapper or peel in the bucket, so I’ve assumed that stupidly, in my sleep-deprived haze, that I’ve fed a younger minx twice. Today I noticed a wee girl lean over the table, smiling away, licking her lips and all but drooling, swaying in her seat. As the arcs of her sways brought her closer to the juice cartons and pots of raisins lying in front of Midi and Mini, she stopped pretending to smile at the girls and gleefully slabbered at the food. On the 4th sway she was within grabbing range and there was no doubt whatsoever that she was planning a grab and run raid. I leaned over, snapped the lids on the pots and moved the cartons nearer to me. She looked at me, scowled, and slunk off. Guess she’s away to look up ‘subtlety’ in the dictionary.

Wish this came with a wee stand, trolley and IV attachments

I’m not ending this post on a downer. This morning I decided that I needed a treat, so me, Midi and Mini headed into the heaving metropolis of Elgin and bothered 2 nice, quiet ladies in our favourite coffee shop – they were just enjoying a quiet scone and a coffee, minding their own business. I did feel sorry that me and the girls shattered their peace, but honestly, I kept my commands and orders as quiet as I could. And the girls didn’t spill or splash anything. Baby Mini clearly said a new word, “Draw! Draw!”, which impressed me hugely – we rarely go to Scribbles yet she’d remembered that you get a wee piece of paper and crayons to draw with. She and Midi even shared the crayons without trying to eat them / stab each other. They drank their strawberry milkshakes neatly, gobbled up half an Empire biscuit each (Midi placated because I whispered that she’d gotten the biggest half), troughed half my scone, and drew a map back to the car, each. I feel sorry that we were noisy, but I must admit that we 3 had a cracking great half hour.

Day Out With Maxi

Well, I finally went to bed around 2am this morning after hitting the ‘scholarly articles’ on ticks, Lyme disease and other nasties. I slept ok, given that I had some nightmares about one very graphically described study, checking the likelihood of passing Lyme on to mice compared to how long ticks were attached. Still, the study left me feeling very reassured that the chances of Maxi catching anything from a 7hr-attached adult female tick (female, cos the ugly brute was huuuuuuge, but not engorged) were just tiny. She’s far more at risk from all the dog-poo on teh paths round here.

Anyway, I remember checking the clock at 0230hrs. Then again at 0500hrs: Midi Minx stood wailing at the side of my bed. After a few weeks of being dry at night again, she’d wet the bed. The Boss sorted out her bed while I hosed her down, got her in dry clothes and settled her down. As Midi continued to wail, Mini Minx set up a big howl. I thought she was just jealous of me cuddling Midi – she’s going through a phase of screeching and hauling at her sisters if they dare to come to me for a hug (Mummy’s lap is MINE ALONE, she roars). I couldn’t settle her, so The Boss suggested I check her nappy (yeah, despite 3 kids, lack of sleep stops you thinking). Sure enough, she’d pooed so much she’d leaked all round her nappy legs, nappy back, nappy top, through PJs and sleeping bag. I can’t shake off this virus, hence why I couldn’t smell it.  Bleeeeeeee! Alas, the lukewarm water left over from Midi’s shower was gone, so Mini got cleaned down with cold water. I reckon you could hear her screams down at the harbour. After The Boss cleaned her up, she came to me for a cuddle and wouldn’t let go, like a little tick (hehehehehe!). So I let her sleep with us. While she thrashed around trying to get comfy, Midi came in for a cuddle and was distraught at my arms being full of baby. So she snuggled into The Boss and they quickly fell asleep. Around 0800hrs I finally fell asleep for an hour.

Although I looked somewhat more haggard than usual, I’d been promising Maxi a mother-daughter visit to town this past week, so tanked up on coffee and attacked the shops. She was a brilliant shop-friend, finding nice clothes in my size (! I detest clothes shopping, but I’ve recently dropped 2 clothes sizes, so needs-must) and cooing how beautiful I was. I mean, how could that not be fun?! We had a good blether, bought hairbands and bobbles for her and her sisters, then went swimming.

As we’d started late, it was just after 1300hrs, so we had a chocolate donut and an apple juice each (“So we don’t fight over it”, Maxi commented) before we hit the water. We spent an hour in the kids pool with Maxi relearning how to swim. Her right arm seems disconnected from the rest of her: she can remember how to do back-stroke and front crawl with each individual limb, and up to 3 going at once, but move her right arm with anything else and she stops and sinks. Doh! She wasn’t impressed at me refusing to let her go into the big pool until I was happy she could swim herself, but hey-ho. So we played with the cutes and the big floats and generally had a laugh.

After an hour, we hit the showers, when she laughed so hard she nearly peed herself, and I showed how tired I really was: I used rich, heavy body moisturiser instead of shower gel. I rubbed in a good double handful, mildly mystified as to why it wasn’t lathering. I think my new cozzie is now dead forever…

As a special treat, we went to Scribbles for lunch (! It was 15oohrs!) afterwards. Maxi chose calzone and a huge chocolate milkshake (pizza-pie) and I had my standard beef chilli melt, the meal that I think baby Mini was built on. Idly chatting, Maxi suddenly broke off with a very teenage, “Oh my God! Listen! It’s my favourite song! By Katie Perry! It’s… it’s… “Baby You’re a Firework!” I did snigger a bit.

Maxi got a piggy-back back to the car as a special treat, quick blitz at Tescos (failed utterly to find a replacement Vileda broom-head, and it feels stupid to buy an entirely new broom), then home in time for tea (Maxi’s favourite – sausages!) and to eat the biscuits The Boss had baked with Midi.

The bit had that me laughing for the rest of the evening, though, was at the Tesco check-out. Maxi was waggling around her shopping list, blethering on to the cashier about how she wanted a paper hat made out of it. He admitted to making paper aeroplanes for his kids, but couldn’t do anything else. We looked down adn Maxi had made a perfect paper hat out my crumpled list and cheekily perched it on her head. I was speechless, the cashier’s jaw dropped. “I’d no idea you could make paper hats – who taught you?” I asked. Maxi shrugged. Minx!


Being a Trout, I hate shopping.  I’m indecisive by nature (so get stressed with too much selection), I hate dithering (so get stressed by my own indecision, and detest bimblers), don’t like parting with money, am ashamed to ‘consume’ so much (in terms of goods – I’m greedy too, but we’re not talking about food, here) and would rather be tramping up a green and brown hill than a grey pavement.  Don’t even start me off on talking about my fellow pedestrians..!

Oh all right, quick mini rant on pedestrians.  Why oh why oh why can’t they come with brake lights or indicators?  It’s difficult not to walk up someone’s heels, or rather, push a buggy up someone’s heels, if they stop suddenly, or change direction just as you’ve manouevred yourself and a heavy double buggy and baggage into a bit of space.  Trust me, when I get going with my little entourage I have the turning circle and braking distance of the QEII!  And on that note, don’t go expecting me to manouevre round you.  I don’t really care if your corns and high heels are killing you, unless you are infirm, very old, or have a heavier load than me, *you* give way to *me*.  Nowadays I enjoy the passive aggression of mutely stopping the buggy and stubbornly refusing to steer around when meeting head to head with some daft bimbo/himbo who’s too busy admiring their swishy hair or spotty complexion in shop windows to step out of the way.  When I’m walking about town on my own (yep, that once-a-year experience), I get out of everyone’s way.  But I absolutely will not rip my stomach muscles even further apart by unnecessarily pushing a heavy double buggy (12kg) plus a 10kg baby plus a 17kg toddler plus bags plus stubborn 18kg minx.  Grrrrr.  Maybe *I* should come with a horn.  A big juggernaut air-horn.

And breathe.  I shop only when I have to (ie it’s cheaper to go get my necessary goods myself).  To be fair, though, today was ok.  Only Maxi Minx was in nursery today because Midi Minx declared, “I not feelin’ vewy wlllll”.  She was still exuding ectoplasm-goo-snot and had a bit of a pink eye, so I decided she could come cheer me up around my local town.  Well, she left her inner minx at home and was a Very Grown-Up Little Helper all morning.  Perhaps she was so chatty and giggly because we could actually hold a sustained conversation without being interrupted by Little Miss Chatterbox (Maxi)?  Whatever the reason, we’d a very productive zip round town, in and out of the 10 shops I had to go to (don’t ask…).  We made each other laugh, she made her baby sister laugh, we blethered and the boring torture that was shopping went very quickly.

Best bit of shopping: zipping round ASDA with Midi stroking Mini and cooing, “I love you, Baby Sister” while Mini blew a 20 minute razzberry, pausing only to inhale.

I couldn’t praise her good behaviour any more, so stopped for coffee, scone, tiffin, apple juice, breadstick, breastmilk (guess who had what?) at the local incredibly baby-friendly cafe as a special treat.  Well, that and the fact that Midi was going on about, “I HUNG-gry!” every few seconds from 1000hrs.  I don’t know why – she polished off 3 bowls of Cheerios, 4 beakers of milk and a banana for breakfast (the resulting poo this afternoon would have embarrassed an elephant.  It poked out 2 sides of the potty, FGS!)

The other part of today that was a lot of fun was checking out all the bulbs bursting into flower in my grey back garden.  I need to post photos.  I’m tickled pink that we have a single snowdrop (yesss!!) as well as one mini iris and a few pots of crocusses.  Best of all, the rhubarb crown I bought last Autumn and thought had rotted and died has burst into vibrantly-pink life.  Thank goodness I was too lazy and disappointed to dispose of it.

D’you what I reckon has really made me feel so good today?  THE SUN SHONE!!  Gosh, I’ve missed it!

Midi Minx-isms

5 mins till baby R’s feed and I’ve been reflecting on some of the goings on in this household these past 24 hours.  As usual, most of it revolves round our second daughter.

Example.  We’re potty training and whilst wees in the correct place are greeted with wild cheering and praise, poos are rewarded with a sweet treat.  So, after today’s enormous Cumberland sausage:

“L, would you like a biscuit?”

“Yeah a yam”*

“Which one would you like?”

“I wanna big, big, big, big, big, big, big (Mummy note: I’m spotting a trend here), big, big, big, massive one.”  Selects a wafer-thin crunchy slip of a biscuit.  She’s such a tease.

*Note: ‘yes I am’ is her stock reply to anything.  She says it to buy her thinking time, or to assert her authority or ownership of anything and everything.


“L, do you need a wee?”

“No thank you.”

“Are you sure?”

“No sankoo!”

“Really, really?”

“No! Sang!  Koo!!!!!”


P is going through a phase of wanting to wear nail varnish because some of the girls in her nursery class do.  Me and The Boss are of one mind on this: over our combined dead bodies.  So P, being an opportunistic minx, has used her new white board pens to ‘accidentally’ slip and colour all 10 of her nails in red.  I worked my ‘I’m very disappointed in you’ chat and facial expression to the max.  It obviously had an effect: yesterday she’d scribbled over one palm only (it had an anarchy symbol, capital A in a circle.  Coincidence?  Or design…?)  And this morning she sheepishly asked for help to rub off black pen scribblings over both hands and arms.  After much scrubbing with wipes, she admitted she might need some help as “I did a little bit on my knee, too”.  Turned out the only part of her body she’d not scribbled on were those bits covered by vest and pants.  Everything else was adorned.  The ensuing squeals from the bathroom as we abandoned the wet-wipes and went for the bath, bubbles and rough flannel were shattering.

The person Maxi Minx was trying to emulate...?


Talking of ‘shatter’, we’re pretty tired today.  Youngest 2 minxes had us up most of the night.  Mini Minx is almost crawling backwards and almost has a second tooth ruptured.  (Midi Minx just prefers squashy mummy cuddles in the night compared to cold plastic dolly hugs).  Anyway, as me and The Boss tried to doze with the baby between us, I was watching her out of a half-closed eye.  By crikey we’re going to have trouble with this one!  As her growls and escalating volume of shrieks had no effect, she wriggled over till she could reach her Daddy’s face.  Not liking his closed eyes, she reached under his glasses and tried to push his eyelids up.  Minxdom beyond her tender months indeed.