The secret of ‘How I Cope’. That, and the 2 emergency back-up bottles of wine lurking beside it
I knew it was going to be a long day when I got peed on for the second time before 8am.
Midi Minx’s been complaining of a sore tummy on and off for a week or so. I’d ignored it because the tummy-aches coincided with being told to do things she’d rather not. Like: get out of bed. Or eat your dinner. Or go to bed. This morning over breakfast she announced that her lady-bits stung when she peed, so I took her a bit more seriously.
“OK, I want you to wee and I’ll collect some in this jam-jar”, I calmly and bravely told her, waggling a recently sterilised jar at her (I’d cleaned more than I’d needed on the last batch of Moray Coast Trail Jelly). She sniggered. This should have alerted me… I caught a jar-full, ignoring the wet hand – well, I’d need to wash my hands anyway. Then she decided to force the rest out as fast and hard as she could, and it sprayed over me. Nice… Maxi decided that her tummy hurt too, and that she needed her wee collected. Another wet hand, another session with the soap, another split in my permanently dry skin.
Now, I’m no doctor. But when your 4 year old pees out something that looks like cloudy apply juice, you do think: UTI. Maxi’s pee was clear and fine, so I ignored her sudden ‘tummy-ache’ complaints. Mini sat over her breakfast, blinking over her 2nd day of bright pink eyes. Looks like they’re not magically getting better on their own, either. So that’ll be a visit to the GP, then. Luckily, the brilliant receptionist was on today. Normally when I call the GP’s surgery asking for 2 appointments, I get offered different days or split over the morning, and get some surly attitude when I explain that, if possible, it would be brilliant if I could have 2 together. Brilliant Receptionist doesn’t need hints like that: she just sorts it out, first time, every time. I think she’s also the only one who gets that when you call the surgery, you either feel rubbish yourself, or you’re stressed about someone you love who’s feeling rubbish. You’re really not at your best and most eloquent. She didn’t need to hear me bark orders at all 3 girls to understand how it was: She Just Knows.
One quick school run later (no Midi, you ARE going to school and I’ll pick you up at break time. You’re fine. You’ll live. Go have fun) and I did the best thing today – invited my friend back for coffee and a blether instead of standing nattering in the street. I had a whole precious hour of adult talk and laughter, sat perched amongst the clutter of the morning. She graciously didn’t notice the crunch, crunch, crunch of 200 kilos of Cheerios and discarded peanut shells on the floor when she came in, or the 2 big jam-jars of little girl pee that I’d unthinkingly left out on the table
We ended up sitting in the GP’s for half an hour. Midi and Mini bounced and chattered and played and raced around. I’m glad I’d not kept Midi The Future Best-Actress-Oscar-Winner off school after all… The GP’s pee dipper said a bit of protein, a bit of sugar, but nothing much. Midi giggled when he prodded and patted her belly, and he declared her fine. I bow to his far superior medical knowledge. But if her pee is still cloudy in 3 days, she’s going back! Mini was given eye drops. Poor lamb! She lay down happily to get them. After she got the first drop, I peeled her off the ceiling and tried in vain to prise her other eye open. My ears bled. Oh boy, this is going to be a long 3-5 days of giving her eye-drops 4 times a day…
Lunch was the usual disaster:
“What would you like to eat, Mini?”
“…and what else…?”
“How about some fish fingers? Beans? You love baked beans!” Silence. Pursed little 2 year old lips.
So I served up toast, beans, fish fingers and juice. She ate the toast, had a token swig of juice, refused everything else, but claimed to be hungry. After exhausting persuasion, stubbornness, threats, bribery, I accused her of being a baby.
“I’m a big girl!” she wailed. I shook my head. “I am!” I mouthed the word ‘no’. “Yes me are! YES! ME! ARE!” I realised it was me being the baby, and gave in.
“Do as I say, Minion-Mother, or these little fingers are going to go a-walking…”
I changed tack and asked about her pants because it’d been around an hour since I last perched her on the potty (it’s Day 2 of the latest attempt at Potty-Training). She claimed they were fine. I checked her pull-up pants and made a fuss that she’d peed on The Princesses – poor princesses! (Yeah, I’m daft enough to believe that a child who doesn’t care that she’s wet or soiled herself might give 2 hoots about peeing on some Disney cartoon characters). I want to try reward stickers for successful potty use. So far at the end of 2 days she’s earned the grand total of 0 stickers. Nil. Zero. Zilch. But I WILL see this through to the end of the week before giving up and going back to nappies for a few more months.
Luckily she had a nap, so I had an hour to attack most of the terrible mess of the kitchen and attempt to turn the bathrooms into ‘vaguely habitable’, before picking up the eldest 2. We went to the library, where I was instantly distracted by someone talking about local authority public consultations whilst the minxes ran amok, then the chemists.
It was a looooong walk home. Midi whinged about the wind. Maxi complained she was too hot. Mini railed about the unfairness of being stuck in the buggy. Midi got angry about her hair in her mouth. Maxi walked along the very edge of the (unmaintained building-site) road and slipped sideways and fell, just as a car went past. Funny old thing, the same scenario I warn her about at least once a day. She was lucky because the car swerved in time. So although I was incredibly relieved that she’d only hurt her bum, I was madly frustrated at shouting myself hoarse day after day after day to be ignored. Continually.
Sp picture the scene: We finally get home – I’m tired, windswept, upset, angry, relieved and my back hurts. I’ve got 3 little girls who’re tired and whining. The 2 eldest throw instant strops when I ask them to help carry in school bags and library books that are currently decorating me and the buggy, and the youngest strops because I’ve not released her from the buggy instantly. The door finally opened. Everyone stands around mutinously, watching the warm contents of the house whoosh out the door. I scoop up 7 big books, a homework folder, a little rucksack and big rucksack and slam them on the floor. No reaction – they’ve all transformed into sloths. I guess they’ll jump out their skins in about 15 minutes. Mini’s hungry because she’s not eaten any lunch apart from a slice of toast. She tries to nab the fish fingers and beans I didn’t clear up after lunch (too busy cleaning the bathrooms). I whisk them away. Maxi screams like Midi has ripped her leg off. The mood they’re both in, that might well have happened… so I turn my back to scold them. I turn round to fetch Mini a banana or something. The wily git has spotted the apple sponge I started to eat myself at lunchtime and got distracted from, to sort out the rotten pull-up pants, and is troughing in. I whip it off her. She starts to protest, but forgets that her mouth is full of dry sponge. And chokes. She looks frightened. I’m not – she’s still pink. So I reassure her, scoop her up, cuddle her with one arm and thump her back with the other. She stops choking and snuggles in to my shoulder, crying. I kiss her head, push one cat away from the spilled cat food with one foot and yell at her big sisters who’re poking each other.
Right in the middle of the chaos, the phone rings…
Another bright button. Photo from Fonejacker.blogspot
“Hello!” I demanded.
“Hello, this is Ali from the Department of the Ministry of Mis-sold Claims” said a bright little enthusiastic button. Jesus Christ, they’re taking the piss now…
“This is a spam call. Take my number off your database immediately”, I barked.
“No, but, listen, I have very important…”
“NOW! Immediately!” I spat, and hung up. I’m not normally that rude but today I made an exception. What next? Oh God, homework…
Midi brought her first reading book with words home yesterday. She refused to read it last night, claiming a sore tummy. She refused to read it tonight. It’s due tomorrow. I tried not to fight about it, or get cross, but how difficult is it to sound out and figure out the 4 words, “can you see me” then be able to read them as a sentence? Especially when that is the sole sentence on every second page? Or learn that ‘we’ is pronounced “wee” rather than “wheh”? I mean, ok, I can understand that it takes a while, but half an hour? Holy schamoley, I think my 2nd daughter is either a skilled comedienne or has bumped her head too hard. I started to write a note to her teacher in Midi’s homework book to summarise the past half hour’s non-progress. Midi threw a hysterical fit. So we tried again, reading out together. It was a bigger disaster. So I abandoned reading homework and went for number homework. Bigger disaster…
I’d had the bright idea that the best way to teach Midi about coins was to actually use them. So I got all the sweets left from Hallowe’en, and even raided my own chocolate stash. I set them out on the table with little bits of paper in front saying 10p, 20p, 2p, etc. I shared the contents of my purse with all 3 girls and prepared to be Shopkeeper. My idea was that Midi would figure out the price and correct coinage for each purchase. Maxi was having none of it – every single question I asked Midi, she butted in to answer. I tried to be gentle and reassure her that I knew she was clever, that knew the answers already, and reminded her that last night had been her homework night. Then I brusquely asked her to be quiet. Then I yelled “Shut up!” By the 5th warning, I knew I was about to explode and guzzle the chocolate myself in a massive adult tantrum. Midi still only knew 3 coin types and even then only if she could see the actual number on the reverse (size, shape and colour seemed to have no impact). By this time, it was half an hour past the time I should have put dinner on, so curry out of a jar on yesterday’s chicken leftovers and a big portion of peas it was going to be. Even though I knew it would cause a fight and more arguments from 3 fussy little girls.
Some days are just pants. I hope Ali or one of his colleagues phone back tomorrow so I can have some fun at his company’s expense. I have his number stored on the mobile…maybe I should make a spam call of my own? Mwahahahahaha!