One of those days

I’ve been having one of those days today.  The snow blower wouldn’t start so I am out there shoveling snow while my husband mends the snow blower.  It’s the day after that heavy snowfall – we had 16 inches round our way.  I hear the front door open (must oil it) and there is my four year old daughter.  Naked. “MUUUUMMMM – the cat’s on the table!”  “Push her off the table” I yell back, still shoveling.  The snow blower finally starts so I start to scrape snow off my husband’s car.  The front door opens again.  “MUMMM.”  It’s my five year old daughter, naked except for a baby blanket around her, nappy style.  “I’m a baby penguin with a stinky-winky nappy!”   “Okay baby penguin, I’ll change you in a moment.  Go eat your fish!”  I yell back, wondering whether the neighbours are catching this. 

Our young cats are delighted I am wearing jeans, as it is easier to climb up my legs while I prepare their food.  I quickly clean the litter tray while the cats eat.  I’m not fast enough.  One cat leaps onto my back (must get their claws trimmed) while the other cat sits down in the litter tray to watch me.  Great, I have helpers!  “MUUMMMMM” – two voices from two bathrooms “I’m having a poooooo” yells one daughter, “I need toilet paper” yells the other.  I ignore one and take a new toilet roll to the other.  I find the remnants of the old toilet roll shredded and scattered around the bathroom.  The cats killed it.  I return to the litter tray to find both cats sitting in it now.  I wonder at what stage motherhood stops revolving around poo.

I need to make some phone calls so I hide and let the four horrors cope by themselves for a bit.  All is suspiciously quiet when I emerge.  My living room is littered with toys, the girls are nowhere to be seen.  The cats are asleep in a closet (WHO LEFT THAT DOOR OPEN?).  I know that less noise usually means more mischief, and the girls are playing quietly upstairs.  I can’t find anything wrong, but I know something naughty has been done – it’s an instinct.

The kids are in bed, the cats are asleep, the house is peaceful.  My eye is suddenly drawn to a toy dolphin taped to the wall … about 7ft up the wall.  There’s going to be trouble in the morning!

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The case of the blue footed booby bird

As I was driving my children home from pre-school, a police car passed us, lights flashing.  My daughters asked if they were going to lock me up again.  All the way home I had to listen to wails of protest – “Waaa!  Slow down Mummy, or the police will get you again!”

My girls have long (and slightly inaccurate) memories as it is a year since I was stopped for speeding.  The nice young policeman kindly let me off the speeding but booked me for not being able to produce my license (dammit, why didn’t I pick up my handbag?)

Ten days after this I am driving with my girls, carefully sticking to the speed limit now.  I passed a policeman watching cars who immediately spoke into his radio.  I checked my speed – all okay – and my handbag was with me.  I carried on, feeling smug.  Further down the road I am flagged down by a policeman who politely informed me that I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.  I just as politely informed him that I always wear a seatbelt and pointed to the undisputable evidence.  He informed me that I could have put it on after passing the first policeman.  Although I was armed with two ferocious daughters he was armed with a gun, so I pulled in, indignant but still polite.

My daughters by now were hissing loudly at me, “Mummy, were you driving too fast again?”  “No darlings, the policeman made a mistake.” I replied through gritted teeth.

I called an attorney for advice.  The attorney told me that as long as I had a valid license and could produce it at court the charge would probably be dropped.  As for the seatbelt offence – it would be my word against a police officer’s and I would definitely lose, so pay the fine.

I duly attended court, produced my license, groveled a bit and was let off with just court costs.  No problem.  Bring on the next court case …

I attended court, pleaded not guilty … and had to interrupt the judge who didn’t listen to my response and carried on talking as if I had said guilty.  I think I must be the first person to plead not guilty to not wearing a seat belt.  The fine is only $46.  However, I was not guilty and I was firmly entrenched in (on?) my moral high ground.  The morning passed and there wasn’t time for my case … I had to return the following week.

In the meantime, my daughters are playing policemen and have locked up countless furry toys for traffic offenses.  This is not encouraging.

To be honest I had pretty mixed feelings.  The attorney said I wouldn’t win, but I couldn’t back down.  I WAS NOT GUILTY!!  I’d had a long chat with my husband who believed me and was totally supportive.  Anyway there I was in court again, reading my book, waiting to be called …

… it wasn’t until the judge was explaining to me that I had the right to cross-examine the witnesses that it properly dawned on me that I was about to conduct my own court case and the witnesses were police officers.  I was so busy being indignant and not guilty I had forgotten the nitty-gritty of proving it!


My knees suddenly turned to water and I just knew that my voice was going to wobble if I didn’t concentrate.  I thought fast and spoke slowly.  I asked my questions and even called back a witness as I gained confidence.  Then I was in the witness box and being questioned.  Part of my defense was that I was wearing a t-shirt the same colour as the seat belt, and I wore that t-shirt to court.  It had a small picture on it and the judge asked what it was.  “It’s a blue footed booby bird, sir” I happily informed him. “A what??” he said.  “A BLUE FOOTED BOOBY BIRD, SIR!”

I won my case.

Although I am delighted to have cross-examined police officers, I am even more proud that my blue footed booby bird is now in the annals of American court history.

When I got out of the courtroom I called my husband.  “I did it!  I won!” I screeched down my mobile phone.  “Excellent” said my husband, “I hope you have learned a lesson!”

BOY was there trouble when he got home that night!!

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