Have Sewing Machine; Will Traumatise.

May 6

Maxi-gets-through-morning-school-run-without-being-shrieked-at shocker! She got up at 6.45am with The Boss and they had a lovely leisurely breakfast together. When I stumbled into the kitchen at 7.20 she was happily sketching on her billboard-sized drawing pad. Then she had her favourite kind of morning: safely tucked away in her room, away from her noisy sisters, making Lego models. Who was this happy, cheerful, compliant little girl?!

As I said, I didn’t haul my sorry bum out of bed till 7.20 – Mini had had me up for ages last night. She’d come in because … nope, I can’t even remember. A twisted sock. She missed my snarl. She wanted a cuddle. Whatever it was, it was enough for me to relent and let her in bed beside us. As usual, this was a huge mistake because she then spent the night waking up and complaining that she was cold and needed more covers; I was facing away from her and she needed Mummy Cuddles; I was facing her and my breath smelled like bums; I was cuddling her and making her too hot; I was facing away from her and she needed parental attention Right.This.Instant… yawn.

You can see how short the dress was without its new bottom tier. Loads more years left now. Ish...

You can see how short the dress was without its new bottom tier. Loads more years left now. Ish…

I spent my 90 child-free minutes today finishing off an owly dress for my Owly Girl. I’d bought a metre of owl fabric for Midi a year ago, but never used it. I’m on an insane bid to get to the bottom of my fabric stash, so decided she needed a new dress to run around in. As this was just 2 types of cotton, it was really easy to work with. Such a treat after last week’s trauma, discovering that t-shirt jersey is harder to work with than voile. (“I’ll just fold this jersey fabric in half… Argh, it keeps slipping! <shove, poke=””> Right, let’s line up this end and pin it as I go along… Smooth out! Smooth.Out.NOW Actually, banging helps <bang, thump=””> Oh hell, now it’s going all 3D on me!”). Five whole days of sailor-mouthing just to get a metre of jersey cut it in half, joined in a circle, hemmed, gathered, and attached to the bottom tier of a too-short dress. I’m never working with jersey ever again. Evil stuff! Och well, at least Midi doesn’t mind that the gathers are wonky.

Midi's Owl Dress

Midi’s Owl Dress

I finally bit the bullet and accepted that one of Mini’s library books was indeed lost forever and went to our old library to confess and pay up. The lovely librarian checked her entire stock of kids’ books in case we’d actually brought it back and it hadn’t been stamped in. She checked the bookcases; she checked the shelves; she checked the back rooms. It was so kind of her to take the time! She gently explained that the book I’d brought along to donate as a swap was no good because it had been published at a different time. We looked up the price. Yikes! She checked on Amazon for me in case we could get the exact same one cheaper. Yes!!! No… it was out of stock. Ach well, I’d brought my cheque book. The librarian said she’d check with HQ about the price because she didn’t think it fair that I pay the full price when she was sure it hadn’t been in great condition. She’d let me know. I thanked her profusely, grabbed Mini’s new stack of books and headed off.

Footery buttons and loops, but the twirling says that she likes it

Footery buttons and loops, but the twirling says that she likes it

Within a minute or 2, the librarian caught up with me in the carpark – HQ had agreed just to write it off. Wow! How lovely! I’d been fretting about the money, so I could have swung her off her feet in joy. What a kind lady! Libraries and librarians are (sometimes) just ace.

A less-than-enthralling afternoon ensued, fielding squabbling over who was getting to ride their bikes and who was going on a scooter to pester our long-suffering neighbours in the cul-de-sac. We’re so lucky that folk driving into the street seem to be very wary of 3 little female hooligans on wheels.

Though there were nearly only 2. Midi was determined to push every button of mine this afternoon, and make both her sisters cry repeatedly. I sent both her and a wailing Maxi to their rooms to separate them and give my ears a chance to stop bleeding. When I went to “have a little chat” with them 10 minutes later, Maxi was suitably penitent and looking chastened, whereas Midi was nonchalantly lounging on her bed, happily reading her new library books. She absolutely refused to apologise to Maxi for hitting her, or to me for shrieking and screaming like a banshee. I think the fact that she quietly apologised to Maxi in person, when they were washing hands before dinner together, saved her from yet another reading of the Riot Act.

I watched a tired Mini rubbing her clothes labels again tonight. Her little arm can barely twist behind her back to reach her trousers label. I asked her where she’d like me to make a tag that she could stroke on her next homemade nightie: “On your wrist? Your elbow? Your waist?” No: she preferred what she was used to (small of her back, the awkward sod). I moved her blanket round so she could reach its care label more easily. She didn’t like it. This toy? That toy? No. None of them were “rubbable” enough. I’m guessing it’s the silkiness of the tags that she loves, but Mini being the contrary sod that she is, it could be something random like the precise dimensions of the scrap of fabric!

Painted Stones Pt 2

It took a few days to get over the trauma induced by my eldest 2 daughters’ frenzy at painting stones. When the memories had faded a little, I got on with letting all 3 minxes paint the second coat.

Again, I insisted on old clothes and shower hats. Mini I just dressed in an old waterproof all-in-one. I sat the girls down and explained very seriously that I was going to let them open only 1 pot of paint at a time. They all had to take care not to spill the paint because the terrible mess would kill the grass and be wasteful. They were to sit quietly until it was their turn. They were not to hit each other with the paintbrushes. They were not to throw paint at each other. All 3 nodded seriously and sagely. Three seconds later, it had flown out of their feather-brains and they were creaming and fighting like a flock of seagulls scrapping over a herring.

Maxi and Midi were attempting to open pots of paint with their teeth; Mini was blithely sploshing paint over her feet and her sisters’ backs; Midi threw away a tube of black paint which was *instantly* grabbed by Mini, who squeezed it as hard as she could so that a thick glob of never-wash-that-out-in-a-million-years goo flew in the air and hit them all.

I attempted to gain control by shouting. Nothing. No reaction. I lowered my voice and growled. They just shouted over the top. I whipped away the sloshing paintbrush from Mini. She threw back her head and unleashed a banshee howl. I snarled, snapped and made a very horrible noise myself. They just looked at me like I was being a bit annoying. Where was the instant compliance? When had my skills at gaining immediate attention disappeared? I grabbed pots and stones and brushes like a snatchy octopus. All 3 howled. I threatened them with being sent to bed. They pouted. I tentatively handed over a single pot. They looked at it warily. I passed over a brush. They slowly picked it up. I moved back a solid centimetre. They snatched a pot each, applied it to teeth, and started squabbling again. I seethed. Painting done as quickly as possible, they were stripped, attacked with baby-wipes, and dispatched to run around the garden like over-excited, hyperactive savages.

The photos make it look like we had a lovely, calm afternoon of fun. But now that you know the real story of what happened, you can maybe spot mania in those 6 beautiful little minx eyes…

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Good, Bad and Ugly

Tracy’s comment reminded me of the bit I missed out from yesterday’s post, hence the ‘L Plate Mummy’ title.  I got carried away chirruping about the good bits of yesterday and forgot to include the ugly bits.

I made the Kiwi Pasties instead of eating breakfast, partly to save time and partly because I got distracted.  I opened the fridge to get milk for my cereal, instead saw the leftover lamb, thought, Oh if I hack the last of that off the bone now, I can mix it with the sweet potato leftovers and get 2 plastic pots in the dishwasher right now… Oh look, if the filling’s done I might as well make the pastry just now…Oh if I don’t get it in the oven now, it won’t be cooled down by 1100hrs… oh (etc).

So that all took about 20 minutes.  While I was in a pleasant kitchen dither, the minxes got bored and started bugging each other:

Maxi on Midi Minx: “She turned CBeebies off!”

Midi on Maxi Minx: “She Poo-poo Head!  Hur-hur! Poo!  Poo!  Poo-poo!”

Maxi on Mini Minx: “She’s eating my jigsaw!”

Maxi and Midi in unison: “She HIT me!!!!  Oo-oo-oo-OO-OO!”

Mini Minx to no-one in particular: “Yum! Yum! Yum! …Uh?  Wwwwwwwaaaaahhh!”

I know fine that lack of calories and being below the Critical Caffeine Mass makes me grouchy as sin, but Maxi Minx’s 20 minute-long whinge set my blood boiling.  Her whine is set to ‘Grumpy Old Trout Brain Pierce’ shrillness.  I  scolded.  I threatened them with cancelling the outing.  I promised to take their toys away.  When it got to the point where I heard myself roar, “Right!  That’s it!  Any more from you lot and we’ll never do anything nice again.  Ever.  Ever-ever.  No swimming, no ballet, no walks, no painting, no digging, no nursery!”, I kind of got the hint I might have gone a teensy bit too far (!).  Midi looked mutinous, Maxi was sobbing angry tears and Mini was throwing a proper tantrum (at 11 months.  Over a removed half-eaten jigsaw piece.  Nice).

I covered up the immediate tidal wave of Mummy Guilt with a big sigh and a “Oh this is rubbish.  Let’s start all over again <cuddled one>: Good morning, P!  Did you have a lovely sleep?  <hugged the other> Good morning, L!  Did you have happy dreams last night?  Shall we have a lovely day today?”  Luckily for me, both big girls played along, brightened up and played nicely for a whole 10 minutes after that.  In the meantime I made up some little tubs of dried fruit with a treat of a red-foil wrapped chocolate love heart hidden inside for their picnic afternoon snack.  Pure guilt.  I made another one up for their friend to hide the fact it was a ‘remorse’ treat.  Not that they would have known anyway.

There was another meltdown for us all when Maxi trod clods of mud over the carpet right after I took time to explain why she had to stay on the floor because her wellies were filthy and the baby would eat the mud, then Midi refused to put on her wellies and threw one, just missing Mini Minx.  Five neighbours saw me frog-march the eldest 2 minxes to the car and had probably heard their caterwauling and my angry shouts.

Today, though, pre and post-nursery they were good as gold.  It wasn’t my scolding, for sure, it was the after-effects of being run ragged outdoors.  Roll on the weekend!