Mundane Pleasantness

By crikey, the girls are growing up!  I can actually do things with all 3 of them, on my own, now.

Yesterday (Thursday 26th) was busy, busy, busy.  Chase over to a strange health centre to wait for 10 mins in a line to pick up some registration forms, scuttle round to the dentist who promises the girls will be at the top of the waiting list for NHS patients by August, then zoom off to the old  dentist.  All in the pouring rain.  Across 7 or 8 roads and in and out of the car.  Trying to enforce decent road-crossing drills in Midi and Maxi (Midi does the comical fast head-shaking thing, too, as she crosses.  I don’t think she really listened when I explained what she was looking out for).

Dentist – well, I explained to the man that I wanted Maxi’s brown spot on her tooth checked.  It took him a while to locate it.  I got a tad impatient, because her teeth are so white that the dark brown spot (2mm across) kinda stands out a lot…  I showed him where it was, and he looked and had a think.  A long think.  I was worried that he’d so some unnecessary treatment just to get me off his back.  He asked the dental nurse for fissure sealant.  Fair enough, I thought, then nearly yelped as we went to start treating Maxi with no warning.  Just in time to save himself from having his head ripped off, he remembered himself, and started to explain (rather well) what he was going to do.  Thank goodness!  Maxi Minx was a very good girl and didn’t move a muscle (though her big blue eyes were spinning and searching all over the place).

At the end of her treatment, the dentist turned round and started writing on a bit of paper; the dental nurse stood and smiled at me.  I was too tired and too obstinate and too fed-up of feeling awkard, so instead of asking, “Can we go now? Is that it? Do you want me to wait or just go?” I just stood and smiled back at her.  Lucky – apparently I had to take the piece of paper to reception.  After handing over the precious piece of paper, I loitered expecting to get a bill.  The receptionist stood and smiled at me.  I just smiled back.  (God, they must think I’m a half-wit. Nope – I’m just not a mindreader and do, in fact, need some direction sometimes).  “Would you like to make an appointment?” she asked.  “No thank you”, I replied.  There was an embarrassed silence, with us both smiling at each other.  This time I gave in first, and did ask, “Can I go now?” “Oh!  Yes!” she grinned.  So I guess the treatment was free.  And by golly, I hope it was actually what Maxi needed.

As the girls had been so well-behaved, I decided to do a very quick supermarket shop.  Yeah: at lunchtime.  With 3 hungry little girls.  On my own.  With the school-kids filling the shop.  Without a shopping list.  Mad.  Actually, we had a bit of fun.  Maxi was the ‘Mummy Helper’, Midi helped by keeping Mini happy, and Mini grinned gummily at her big sister the whole time.  She loved the individual attention.  As the girls were so good, I got braver and braver and started filling the trolley higher and higher.  I got a bit delirious at some of the reductions on the fruit & veg (perfect strawberries reduced to a few pence just because they came wrapped in loose clingfilm rather than shrink-wrapped, and 2 heads of broccoli for 26p) so ventured further and further from the door.  Before I knew it, we’d been in 45 mins, the trolley was full to the brim, I’d done a weekly shop (saving time the rest of the week), and we were the far end of the store with just the bread to get.

Suddenly, Midi announces in a panic, “I need a wee!  Right now!”  Oh crap.  I zoomed down the massive shop as fast as I could, yelling, “Hold it in!  Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze!  Nearly at the toilet!” the whole way at the top of my voice.  Not for Midi’s benefit, but to warn other shoppers specifically why I was coming through and why I would not be stopped, even if I ran over their toes.  I reached the security guard at the front, yelled: “I’ll be back (for this trolley)!” over my shoulder as I dead-armed Midi and Mini to the toilet, with Maxi wailing, “I need a wee now, tooooo!” behind us.  Phew!  Both got there just in time.

Back in time for lunch before zooming out again to take my baby elephants to their ballet class.  While the eldest 2 danced, Mini staggered round the hall, making everyone laugh with her shriek-laughing and big raggedy smile.

It was a simple zausage and tomato sauce pasta for dinner, so no need to race back home at 1000 miles an hour: we could take our time and all 4 of us screech and drum along in the car to the kids’ CD (their favourite is Track 7 on the Bookstart CD, ‘The Meeting’: drums and bagpipes).  Mini won because her shrieks are louder than any other noise known to mankind.

Yesterday was a great day!

That’s It, I’m Going To Trading Standards

Today was a boring day of hunting and gathering for the family: food shop, pick up Minx clothes in 2 half-price sales, pick up dry-cleaning, buy elastic to finish Mini Minx’s knitted trousers, blah, blah… <yawn>  The good bits were: chatting with Mini all round the shops; treating us to coffee and a scone / porridge and half Mummy’s scone; taking photos for 2 friends’ nappycakes business (I’m no photographer, but they like my photos on Facebook, so I hope they like my snaps).

Anyway.  I’m a right label-checker and receipt-examiner, taught by my mother and her mother to Trust No One.  I’d bought 3 super-fancy pots of Organix baby food because (a) it tastes really, really nice, (b) I like Mini to eat what’s in there, (c) Mini loves it, and (d) it was down to half price.  Nevertheless, I was pretty pissed-off that the Best Before dates were all in November last year.  Yep, 4 months out of date.

Now, I know the difference between Best Before and Use By dates.  And I’m sure that Mini would have come to no harm had she eaten them.  But 4 months???!  Worse, the Tesco that I bought them from has got Previous: I returned baby food to them a few months ago that was a few weeks past its Best Before date.  As I recall, the manageress took great pains to apologise profusely (no need – these things happen), asked me what I wanted (just replace them with in-date pots, please), asked if I was *sure* that’s all I wanted (eh?  Yeah, I’m not after compensation or petrol money refund – these things happen, don’t worry about it).  So for this to happen again so soon, it smacks of a slovenly / useless / untrained grocery manager, to me.

Tomorrow I’m swinging past Trading Standards before I take them back to Tesco, and will ask if they would do spot checks on their stock rotation in general and check this is a one-off rather than symptomatic of a poor rotation system.

On that theme, I remember when Maxi Minx was a newborn Minx-in-Waiting, Tesco own-brand stuff was great value and quality.  I bough armfulls of Cherokee clothes because they were almost as good quality as the big names like Mothercare (woooo!) but a fraction of the price.  Now I find Tesco is synonymous with “cheap rubbish”.  I don’t buy their own-brand stuff anymore, as I got fed-up returning things: in the last 2 years I’ve returned envelopes that lose their ‘stick’ after an hour, crayons that barely mark paper, clothes where the buttons don’t meet up with all the buttonholes, dresses with half-finished hems, own-brand nappies that can’t cope with a single pee, ‘sweet’ fruit that’s distinctly sour, crunchy ‘ripe and ready to eat’ plums, oh, I’m too grumpy to go on.

And to top it all, the only 2 baby trolleys left both had broken straps; the safer one was so grubby that it marked Mini’s clothes: aaaaarghhh!

Toddler Modesty

Four-year-old Mini Trout has out-grown her swimming costume, so I had to find a new one.  One big supermarket chain apparently only sells children’s swimming costumes in summer; the other gave me a choice of 3 styles, of which 2 were totally inappropriate, in my opinion, for a 4 year old.  Who on earth thinks that hi-legs and a low cut top with a dropped shoulder is what a female toddler should be wearing?  I guess the same idiot people who design or buy toddler girls’ tee-shirts that have ridiculous slogans like ‘Sexy’ or ‘Hot’ emblazoned over the chest.

After a week of searching, Mini Trout attended her swimming lesson this afternoon clad in a very sensible, low leg, thick shoulder straps, full coverage burka of a swimsuit.  (I know, I know – just wait till she starts dating…)

With 3 Troutling daughters, I expect I’m on a hiding to nothing hoping that they’ll grow up with no body image hang-ups.  Me and The Boss are learning along the way and doing our very best.  Example: Mini Trout’s rounded toddler tummy is proclaimed ‘a beautiful happy tummy’.  I smile as genuinely as I can muster with all my acting talents when she flings herself at my 3-baby-plus-bad-diastasis-recti-and-a-bad-cake-habit belly and sighs, “I love your fat squashy belly, Mummy, it’s so yummy to cuddle”.  The kids don’t know what ‘diet’ means, and fashion is a swear-word in this household.

Oh boy – we’re in for some rough times in 10 years or so…

Still, I hope to lead by example.  My first day in my last job was marked with me going back to the office of some overly-macho men over lunch, armed with a thick black marker and a look-out.  I only owned up to penning the moustache, beard and bikini over a semi-naked Kelly Brook calendar about 3 years later, having sniggered each time one of the guys had moaned about the ‘shocking’ graffiti.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I could have had a head-to-head confrontation, but being underhand is sooooo much more fun.  And effective.)

Yep, still beautiful even after my make-up job

Trolley Rage

It’s a Monday, Minx 1 and 2 are safely locked up away from my grumpiness and potty-mouth in nursery, so it’s… find a shopping trolley day!

Food shopping is 100% guaranteed to bring out all the exasperation and anger in me.  If I manage to find a parking space that I can get the door open wide enough to worm the baby out of her car seat without wrecking the car beside me, I get to march all the way down to the supermarket door, in the driving rain and wind (it’s the Highlands, you know!).  I take all my shopping bags with me, like a dutiful little housewife: Save Our Planet from plastic bags (and our car-park from the shards of glass caused by the flimsy things breaking prematurely and spilling their contents…).  I also have to take a change bag, because Minx 3 still has unpredictable emissions from each end.  So presently I arrive at the big stand of shopping trolleys with a heavy baby taking up one arm and hip, 2 bags on the other arm, my long (now wet) hair whipping over my eyes and over the baby (did I say it was wet and windy again?).  I grab the handle of the nearest trolley with a baby seat, jerk at it, smack an old lady sideways with my flailing bags, apologise, sigh, and realise the fun is about to start.

Once I get the damn trolley separated from the others (honestly, it’s harder than peeling apart the wet pages of a book dropped down the toilet – don’t ask), I pause.  Are we going to have our usual Monday morning fights?  I open up the folded baby seat – yep: broken safety strap.  Really broken.  Even an enterprising woman like me can’t resurrect its previous safety.  Grimace.  Push trolley to one side, dutifully apply safety brake, struggle with second trolley.  Only person hurt this time is the baby, who doesn’t like the jolts (and me).  Peel open the seat.  Another broken clip.  Repeat.  And again…

The 4th or 5th trolley isn’t totally serviceable, but I reckon there’s enough left of the broken strap for me to tie it to the other functional one to keep the baby safely onboard.  Great!  I pull out a little blanket from the change bag with my teeth and try to arrange it as best I can over the brown, sticky stains and their accompanying mould that decorate the seat.  I lower my precious (cold, wet, shrieking) daughter onto the blanket, tie her down to it, and try to ignore the greasiness that’s transferred from the straps to my hands.  Dumping the bags in the trolley, I wheel off to the toilets where I can get a handful of wet and soapy toilet paper (IF the soap dispensers are actually full of soap – this is not always the case), unstrap the wailing baby, attack the filth of the seat, rinse it, dry it with more toilet paper, put the now dirty blanket in the change bag, put the inconsoleable baby in the clean(er) seat, and ignore the glares from the coffee shop customers who’ve had their peaceful morning coffee disturbed (try experiencing my morning, pal).  As I wheel the trolley to the first aisle, I feel the pit of my stomach plunge as I realise that the trolley won’t steer in a straight line, even if I push on one side of the handle and pull on the other whilst walking sideways.

And now you want me to spend money in your store?!!


I once tried complaining about the state of the trolleys.  I got a shrug and a grunt.  I occasionally shop online.  I only do this whenever I forget how annoying it is to fight with 26 plastic bags (I kid you not – I counted them out and I counted them all back in again to the irate driver’s hands) for a week’s shopping, or to re-educate the driver/picker that no, I won’t accept a burst carton of cream, bashed butter or a chicken twice the size that I asked for, dated to be used up today.

I hate shopping – I am obviously not a hunter-gatherer by nature.