Even better than the seafood buffet, the breakfast buffet, the bar tab and the general atmosphere at Twin Waters, we managed to shop for two whole days. And I mean WHOLE days, from open to close. Bring on Christmas because we are ready.
Far better than even the glorious shopping was we only took Miss0 (who was a dream) and farmed the rest of our brood out to family.
My mum minded Miss9, Miss5 and Miss2 at our place, which meant we didn't even have to pack their bags.
"How were they?" we asked as we came in the door and were disappointed by lack of both dirty dishes and bickering.
"Perfect," said my mum. Worst thing about letting my mum look after the kids is she does such a fantastic job of it you feel inadequate.
When we arrived home on Sunday night not only was the kitchen spotless it was resplendent with flowers made of colourful tissue paper and pipe cleaners, which she'd crafted with the girls. When I saw them my heart simultaneously leapt and sunk. She's so good with housework and the kids you end up feeling grateful and mediocre all at once.
But then this morning, when I took my mum out for a thank you coffee, she admitted things hadn't gone as swimmingly as she'd hinted.
The best bit, if I can be so petty as to call it that, was when, having taken the girls to the shopping centre to pick up a few things, Grandma decided to treat them to a ride on a coin operated car. You know the ones which, for $2, will flash lights, play a song and rock about from side to side without actually doing anything. They're a little like a mechanical bull for kids.
Our kids love going on the rides at the shopping centre, although admittedly we've never actually inserted any money in them. Which might explain Miss2's reaction.
Sitting Miss2 between her older siblings, Grandma inserted the money, expecting a minute of entertainment for the girls which she could use to zone out and gather some energy.
"Gwaaaaaaannmaaaaah!" screamed Miss2 the moment the car started to move. Her arms were flapping about above her head as she insisted she be taken off the ride. By the time my seventy year old mother extracted her from the car the ride, and my mum's inner calmness, was all but spent.
"Never mind," my mum said to the two older girls, who were a little (and by little I mean a lot) disappointed their special treat was ruined by their anxious little sister. They'd spent the entire minute trying to help push Miss2 out of the ride without getting slapped about by Grandma's hands and Miss2's elbows. "You can have a go on the Merry-Go-Round." Which is another coin operated ride in the shopping centre.
So Grandma stood holding Miss2's hand while Miss9 and Miss5 inserted a coin and the ride started.
"I wanna go!" yelled Miss2 before the older girls had even done one rotation. She's going through that difficult stage. She'll grow out of it in another eighteen years or so.
"You can't, dear," said my mum. "It's already started."
"I wanna go! I wanna go! I wanna go!" began Miss2, pulling Grandma's hand and working up a good head of two year old steam - you know, the type what could drive locomotives, if only they could figure out a way to harness it.
"No," said my mum. This woman had raised my sister so she knows how to stand firm on a decision.
"YES!" bellowed Miss2. She's a lot like my sister and knows how to steamroll until she gets her own way. She yanked her hand out of my mum's, rushed forward and grabbed hold of the ride.
"It was hilarious," my mum admitted to me over coffee. "She wouldn't let go, so she was dragged all the way around before she was flung away, managing a little tumble before coming to a halt."
But of course Miss2's indignant rage didn't stop there and, when the ride was finished, Grandma lead the furious, raving, unharmed two year old, with the older two siblings in tow, past seemingly judgmental frowns, out of the centre to the car and home again.
Which I can't help but feel makes the weekend even more perfect. Thanks mum x
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