Spring is Sprung

Right, now that I’m feeling more of my old self than I have in 7 months, I’m going back to my old style of blogging: just a daily blah of all the mundane minutiae that we get up to.

Today felt special, even before I opened my eyes. I woke up unsquashed by minxes (they’d slept in their own beds. Finally!), I’d had a full night’s sleep, and I could smell the coffee The Boss had lovingly brought me in bed. (OK, I say lovingly. That’s actually shorthand for “very afraid of the consequences of me stomping about without a jolt of caffeine first. Very, very afraid”). When I peeled my eyelids open, I could see sunshine seeping in around the blind. I could hear only Killer Cat complaining that she wanted out – the minxes were all snoring. Ah… peace for a precious 5 minutes!

We still managed to be almost late for school, though, but that’s what happens when you let your kids eat their breakfast without nagging them. And sneak a peek on all the things you’re desperately eBaying. And a cheeky check on Facebook while you’re there.

Last week I had to make the 4 Minute Walk of Shame with a shrieking, screeching, tantrumming Mini who kicked and windmilled at the deprivation of being made to walk the whole 100 yards to school. She screamed the whole way there, the whole time I waited on the elder 2 going into school, and the whole way back. Mortified. Good morning neighbours, time to rise and shine. Yes, I just moved into your neighbourhood last week. I’m sure you can’t wait to meet me or my noisy kids either. Yes there are 300 of them, and they’re all as badly brought up as this one. Today, I got the 4 Minute Walk of Shame with a wailing Maxi, who was objecting noisily to me not stopping everything and everyone in order to listen to her opinion about something. She seems to be growing up to be like my mum: absolutely no concept of keeping time, or being on time, or the need to be at a place for a specific time. Drives me insane.

MiniAfter faffing about with laundry and giving the air a chance to warm up, me and Mini set off exploring. We walked down a little country lane. I wasn’t sure whether it was a private drive or not, but we walked along, enjoying the snowdrops and the yew trees and the looking at the coal-tits (when you’ve only see seagulls, pigeons and oyster-catchers for years, the variety round here is great!). We took photos of each other. Looking at them, I can see that my 3 year old takes better photos than me! I seems like only yesterday she was learning to focus her own eyes, never mind focus a camera. The camera’s nearly as big as she is!

GrumpyOldTroutIn the distance, I saw a big black labrador without a lead. The dog saw us. I realised how alone we were and felt a little vulnerable. I remembered how much Mini hates dogs, turned on my heel and suggested we walk back, whilst setting off at a good tabbing pace. It was a smart move: the dog and its owner caught us up, the dog straining on its lead to jump lensmanup on Mini, slabbering its drool everywhere. I stood between it and my baby, and hauled the stupid thing away a few times by the collar. The owner happily chattered about how his dog was still just a puppy and still liked to jump up on children (!), and how he’d put it on the lead when he’d seen Mini. He was completely oblivious to the dog actually trying to jump on her and me. Right now. In front of him. Lead or not. Blimey, I don’t think he really ‘got it’ that he could pull the lead himself and actually control the dog’s behaviour… Bless.

I walked around a little public garden with Mini, looking at the unblossomed daffodils and all the different tree buds. She then decided that she was too tired and wanted to paint a picture of me instead. So we walked home, and I let her do her worst with her paints while I attacked the entire house’s glassware with the Mr Muscle. You do *not* want to know how black the living room windows were. And now they’re streaky. But they’re clean!

After dropping Mini at nursery, I enjoyed my first day in weeks of NOT having to nip down to the rented house to load up another car-boot load of stuff and clean another room. I spent the precious 90 minutes eBaying anything else that I had photographs of and thought I could maybe sell.

It takes 4 minutes to walk to school in the morning; it takes Midi 2 minutes to run back home; it takes Maxi about half an hour if she’s cajoled and dragged (an hour or longer if I left her to herself). It was still sunny (balmy high of 9degC. Too cold for middle-aged mummies with faulty internal thermometers, but fine for 3 girls with anti-freeze for blood), so the minxes played in the garden from 3.30 till 5. I’m not surprised that Mini and Midi fell asleep by 8 this evening. And Maxi? Good God, the bonkers child has decided that right now (9pm) is a great time to practice her recorder! Sheesh.

Sunny Sands

Today was the second of 2 School In-Service days and the troops were getting restless… ¬†Although my stitches are only sore to the touch and otherwise I’m pretty much back to normal, I’m still a bit leery of carrying Mini Minx on my back in the sling, or hoiking about rucksacks with changes of clothes or picnic food. So ok, long walks were out, but there’s no way we were being confined to barracks!

Well, except that we hung around a bit for a phonecall that never came and I washed the downstairs windows and hung out 3 mountains of clean washing in defiance of the circling seagulls (I had 2 secret weapons: Killer and Foster Cats. Who had a fight last week and really hate each other, except when ganging up on seagulls, when suddenly they look like a loving partnership). I thought I’d hear whether the mole I had cut out was a melanoma or not within a week. Today was Day 8. I did phone the number I’d been given if I ever needed to talk to someone, and the dermatology staff nurse I spoke to was wonderfully understanding, but really didn’t know how long it would take to hear, just that it was normally 6 weeks for standard biopsies. I guess I must have misheard the surgeon, then, and it’ll be sometime next week. Damn: I’d hoped to have the weekend off from my surreptitious fretting. And on that topic, The Boss changed the waterproof dressing for me earlier in the week. The scar is a lovely neat 2″ line on a very jaunty angle, with 4 stitches and 4 steristrips. It’ll be a very interesting scar, so I think I’ll like it a lot.

Back to the mutinous monsters… They wanted to sit around watching DVDs and CITV. I wanted them out, out, out in the fresh air, getting physically tired enough to sleep properly. But with me lacking stamina and enough moral fibre to cart around everything we’d need, we compromised and went to the beach.

Big WIDE open space!

Big WIDE open space!

For the hour we were there at low tide, it was gloriously sunny and virtually empty. I let the minxes wear whatever the hell they wanted, so long as their wee scalps were covered with hats, and Little Miss Fiery RedHead especially had her face and neck in the shade. Well, the sight of them gallumping around in wellies, fluffy ballet tutus and paper-flower-bedecked bonnets stopped 2 ladies in their tracks, who exclaimed how pretty they all looked. I guess ‘pretty’ translates as ‘downright weird’, sometimes. The minxes shyly stumbled along forlornly for a bit, till I started skipping about on a pretend horse. Oh aye: full reins, whinnying, clopping noises, horse-dung-dropping, the lot. That’s all it took for them to join in. Mini insisted on being a Princess in need of rescuing from the top of a 3″ rock, and roughly pushed Midi away, even though Midi was doing fantastic impressions of dragons and dragon-slaying. Maxi found a stick and half-heartedly waggled it about as a sword for a few minutes, then, token-effort made, happily set about her normal beach business of drawing things in the sand.

Inspired, me and the youngest 2 started shuffling names in the sand, with letters 10 feet tall. I did all 3 of their names and a huge love-heart. Midi shuffled a seriously neat ‘Mumma’ and a circle for a hug. It was exactly what we’d done in the snow on the way to school in March. But bigger. And even more fun. We were like a mother duck with 2 ducklings following along, as we shuffled and jumped between letters.

I’d picked up some bits and bobs for half-lunch in the Post Office on our way down and hidden them in Midi and Mini’s little rucksacks. Maxi decided when we could stop and eat them. Only then did they discover what I’d bought. So after troughing 3 little cocktail sausage rolls each and half a bag of sherbet lemons (a¬†nutritious, wholesome lunch that any stay-at-home mother could be proud of (!)), we started the serious beach work of splashing through puddles and turning over rocks. Until my welly sprung a leak. I guess I’d hidden one piece of broken glass deep in the sand too many. I don’t mind having soggy feet, but can’t bear one wet and one dry, so we slowly ambled off towards home.

That was probably the best part of the day, just bimbling along, hand in hand with various minxes, blethering about nonsense, no rush to be anywhere, no-one else around, nothing to be super-alert about, enjoying them racing over in turn for a hand-squeeze then zooming off freely for a wee explore before coming back to show me more of their found treasures.

We were almost back at the car when 2 young black labradors came excitedly bounding down the ramp towards the kids. It wasn’t a lollop; it was a proper I’m-Making-A-Beeline-Right-For-You. Mini hid behind me and clung on, and Midi screamed as they both came up to her, jumped and then dashed off. I called over to Midi just before they reached her that it was ok, they were just being a bit too boisterous, she’d be just fine, to keep on walking, not to worry. The owner gave it the usual “Oh, ha-ha, they’re really friendly, they’re great with kids, honestly, they’ll do no harm, they’re around kids all the time”. What kind of special kind of stupid do you have to be to see that making a child scream in terror isn’t being harmless? I mean, call me old-fashioned and reactionary, but either those dogs were out of control and she couldn’t stop them as they ran to Midi OR she thought that them doing that was entirely ok. I had a Bad Mother 10 minutes: I blanked the stupid woman, who was swinging her enormous bag of dog-shit about like a trophy, comforted Midi, distracted her with a sweetie and got her back to the car. What I *should* have done was ask the woman which was true: she couldn’t control her dogs or she thought it was ok to let them frighten my daughter? Then ranted appropriately. But d’you, I was just too bloody *tired*. It’s such a shame, too, because the vast majority of dog-walkers on that beach are stellar – they either keep their dogs well away from playing kids, or put them briefly on a leash as they pass, or keep them obviously under a tight voice command (jeepers, some of them are so good that I’d love to ask them to teach me how to do that with my own daughters). I need to make sure that the girls don’t see the (lack of) actions of one fool as being indicative of how all dog-owners act. Sometimes I think they do, even though I try to downplay when it happens, and keep my thoughts to myself (or till The Boss comes home and the kids are in bed).