3 under 3

Archive for the ‘Motherhood sucks’ Category

The Queensland school holidays are about to begin. I have desperately been looking forward to this. I’m exhausted! Our life revolves around school drop off and pick up times, and the few activities, or errands, we can squeeze in between. Only, some days we can’t do everything in school hours, and we do more running around, to and fro, after school. I’m so grateful that at least Tiernan and Molly can do their own seat belts up, because getting in the car is something we do at least eight times a day.

I’m just looking forward to not going anywhere for a few days!

But I’ve realised something. In my haste to welcome in the school break, I’ve forgotten to prepare myself for having all three kids at home. All the time. Every day. It seems that, you can take any two of my kids and do just about anything with them – go out, stay at home, whatever – and you will have an okay day. There will be some bickering, some silliness, some mess, and some frustration. But you will be fine. It’s not that bad.

However, when all three are together, all day, that’s different. There will be some sweet moments, where everyone either plays nicely together, or nicely apart. But mostly, it will be chaos.

We haven’t done this for a while. And I’m realising I’m just waaaay out of practice. I have forgotten how to just let it all wash over me, and pick up the pieces at the end. I have come to value quiet and tidiness just a little too much. I am quite short in patience lately too.

None of this will wash. If I approach the next six weeks with my current attitudes and priorities, then I predict I will be a blubbering mess by the end of week one.

So today marks the first day of my major shift from ‘Uptight, Borderline Control-Freak Mum’ to ‘Zen Mum’. Obviously this is a continuum, and I don’t expect to make it all the way. I ama teacher. All teachers have Control Freak tendencies. However, my aim is to move along at least a few notches.

Like this:


I drew a diagram in DoodleBuddy to illustrate my point. That’s how committed I am.

Of course, I will need strategies. I can’t just decide to be more calm and cool and fun, and expect it to be so. I have to change the way I do things, too.

I will have to let go of all expectations. If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed. So I won’t start the day expecting to get the housework done. Or the groceries. Or dinner cooked. If they don’t happen today, they’ll happen eventually.

Standards of behaviour, dress and cleanliness will have to be lowered, too. I’m not going to argue about silly things like wearing shoes out, or brushing hair, or wearing swimmers 24 hours a day. Who cares, right? As long as everyone showers, or runs under the sprinkler, at least once a week.

Arguments about food won’t happen because there probably won’t be much food in the house to argue about.

Bickering won’t bother me because I won’t get involved. I’ll just let them fight it out and establish their own pecking order. Simple, really.

I won’t step in and take over with cooking and craft activities. I will let them learn from their own mistakes. I won’t care if the results aren’t perfect. I won’t.

I will see the funny side. Of everything. Like when Tiernan knocked that glass off the kitchen bench and it shattered into a million pieces, spreading from our front hall to the bedroom doors. Hilarious!

This list of strategies is not exhaustive, but it at least provides me with somewhere to start. I’m sure we’re in for a very happy holiday.


So. It was the first trial game of the soccer season. Tiernan and Molly were both due to start their games at 9am. As usual, and much to Tom’s annoyance, we were pushing it to get there on time. Happily we made it, but little did I know the embarrassing events that were about to unfold.

8:55 We arrive at the field, disheveled, disorganised, disgruntled.

Tom and Tiernan head straight to Tiernan’s game. Since Tom’s the coach it’s a good idea for him to be there.

8:56 I line up with Molly and Neave to buy Molly some shorts and socks for the game. Since we require very tiny sizes, it takes a little while for the uniform guy to find what we need.

8:59 I start dressing Molly in her newly purchased gear. Halfway through, I notice a bad smell and ignore it. Not here. Not now. But then Neave sweetly informs me that she’s done a poo. In her undies.

9:01 With Molly kitted up at last, I pause to consider my options. I can either change Neave now as best I can (with no wipes or spare undies – they were forgotten at home), or I can quickly drop Molly off at her game before attempting the task. I go for option B, hoping to prevent Molly from missing too much of her first ever game.

9:02 We set off to find the Under 5 Alligators. This turns out to be not so easy. There are about five tiny fields set up all over the park, and with the sun beaming down at the exact wrong angle, it’s very difficult to distinguish one bunch of silhouettes from another. We end up weaving in and out of every tiny game before finding the right one.

9:06 The game has already started but we say a hasty hello to the team manager and get a shirt for Molly. Molly is a bit quiet but puts the shirt on. But then I try to put the orange bib on, and hit a wall. She won’t put it on. I explain that it’s so that she can tell who is on her team and who isn’t (they’re playing another team from the same club), but she is adamant. I try to convince her again, but it doesn’t work. In fact, it only gets worse. She starts crying and saying she doesn’t want to play soccer at all.

9:08 I give Molly a cuddle and say reassuring things, but as I do so, I notice Neave lifting her dress to reveal the poo, clearly discernible beneath her underpants. I ask her to just wait patiently another minute, and hope against hope none of the other parents have noticed. I don’t know any of them yet and don’t want to start like this.

9:09 After another minute of steady crying (by Molly) and increasingly desperate placating (by me), Molly is still showing no signs of being ready to play. Unsure what to do next, I glance again at Neave and see that she has now got poo on her hands, and all down her legs. Great.

9:10 I quickly inform Molly that I have to take Neave to the bathroom. She can stay or she can come, but we’re going now. Molly responds by crying even louder and starting to take off her shirt. I don’t have time to argue any further so walk away, one pooey child in tow, one screamy, half-naked child abandoned. A quick glance at the manager as I leave and I know she’ll watch Molly for me. Phew.

9:12 Neave and I make it to the toilet block, which features the lowest grade of toilet paper, that plasticky grease-proof paper stuff; the worst ever dispenser that makes you fight for every torn piece; and a large puddle taking up most of the standing room. It does not feature soap. The clean up is going to take a while.

9:13 I start cleaning.

9:14 Still cleaning. A family of three walk in and have to dance around us and the puddle to gain access to the only remaining toilet that isn’t being slowly filled with poo paper.

9:15 Still cleaning.

9:16 Still cleaning. I am beginning to wonder if Molly’s game will be over before we’re out.

9:17 Still cleaning.

9:18 Ok, done. Sort of. There is the question of what to do with Neave’s poo-coated undies. I decide to put them in a bag and throw them in the bin. We wash our hands as thoroughly as we’re able (no soap). As we leave the toilet block I tell Neave sternly not to touch her face or put anything in her mouth.

9:20 We arrive back at Molly’s game and it’s half time. Molly is back in her normal clothes and is sitting as far away as possible from her team mates. I take her back over and try one last time to convince her to play. No luck.

The Alligators go back on the field. Molly wants to go and play at the park. I tell her no, we’re going to stay and watch her team finish the game. Another tantrum ensues.

Throughout the rest of the game, other parents try to coax Molly onto the field. I am of two minds about this. I feel that pressuring her will only make it worse, and don’t want her to play unless she wants to. So for others to step in and add their two cents is a bit annoying, even though they mean well. At the same time, I’m already a bit flummoxed by the morning’s events, and am hyper aware of other parent’s judgement. I don’t want to worsen the fabulous first impression we’ve just made. Really, I just want to go home and start the day over.

9:35 The game ends. We make vague plans to return for training on Thursday (Yeah right I’m thinking to myself). We sulk away as quickly and quietly as we can.

I’m seriously considering stepping in as Tiernan’s coach and letting Tom deal with the girls.

I am writing this at 2:54am. I am sitting curled up on a hard plastic chair, with a sheet over me for warmth and my feet wedged uncomfortably into a metal safety bar to keep me upright. I’m tired.

Molly is at last peacefully asleep in an emergency bed at the hospital. She has croup, which suddenly got worse a few hours ago and she was struggling to breathe. This happens several times a year, and usually we are able to manage it at home with steroids, steam, and close observation until she calms down.

However, lately Molly has been refusing to take her steroid medication because of the taste, and the distress it causes trying to force it into her often makes her breathing situation worse.

Usually, after sitting in steam in the bathroom for ten minutes and trying to relax, Molly feels better and is able to go back to bed (in our bed, so we can listen to her breathing during the night and make sure it doesn’t worsen). Sometimes we have to repeat the steam routine once or twice throughout the night, but she is generally ok.

However, tonight was a bit different and when she didn’t settle after we tried all of our usual tricks, I got a bit worried and called the hospital. They put me through to the on-call nurse, and then she put me through to the ambulance.

From there it got a bit messy. Because we didn’t really want an ambulance. We’ve done the ambulance thing once before with Molly, the first time she had croup at eleven months if age. It was scary and we didn’t know what else to do. So we called, they came, they helped us and took us to the hospital. And then we got a $700 bill.

Obviously, $700 is worth it to save our child’s life, and in a truly life-threatening situation I would not think twice about it. But in a fairly urgent but non life-threatening situation? It’s probably best to save the ambulance for someone who needs it more and keep the $700 for, oh I don’t know, bills and food and stuff. Molly needed to get to the hospital but I could have driven her myself, she wasn’t in immediate danger. The ambulance officers did tell us that at the time, but being pretty scared and flustered by the night’s events, the better option seemed to be the open ambulance door and the safe, all-equipment-on-hand-if-necessary comfort it provided.

So you can see why we weren’t keen for a repeat tonight. Trying to learn our lessons the hard way here, people!

I hesitated as the nurse was putting me through to the ambulance and asked her whether it was better to just hang up and take her to the hospital myself. She advised me that based on Molly’s symptoms it was better for an ambulance to come to us. So I agreed, still thinking that we would just get their opinion and then take her to the hospital ourselves if necessary.

For the next fifteen minutes we were on the line with the ambulance officer, who talked to us while the ambulance made its way to us, and asked regularly how Molly was going. She wasn’t improving much and I was a little concerned at how sleepy she seemed and how hard she was finding it to talk and breathe. She actually seemed to be getting a little worse.

But then, right as the ambulance arrived, she perked up just slightly. The ambulance officer’s assessment was that if Molly was still refusing to take her medicine, then she’d best go to hospital.

Again we hesitated. I asked if she was okay enough for me to take her and the ambulance guy said probably, but if anything happened in the way there wouldn’t be anyone to help. That scared me and I started to think the ambulance was looking more attractive after all.

Tom and I looked at each other and made up our minds. $700 for the peace of mind that if Molly became distressed again, I wouldn’t end up on the side if the road trying to call another ambulance for her. The ambulance officer was quite sympathetic of our dilemma – he’d obviously come across it a few times before.

So, we bundled Molly into the ambulance, and Molly proceeded to entertain the ambulance guy with many, many stories about our personal lives. They were all told in a rather breathy, raspy way but at least she was well enough to tell them. I spent the entire trip feeling very proud of my funny, articulate girl and her ability to make friends in the back of an ambulance, and also feeling slightly annoyed that once again we had fallen for the ‘quick, get her to hospital’ trick.
Because some situations are emergencies, and others are, just not quite emergencies. But to poor old, emotionally-drained and sleep-deprived parents, it can be pretty damn hard to tell the difference.

Here at the hospital, Molly was seen fairly quickly by nurses and doctors. She has been given a dose of a slightly different medicine, which, according to Molly was “Not so bad.”
Two hours later, her breathing has settled, her cough is gone and she is snoring happily on the bed. We can go home in a couple more hours if everything continues to be fine. I am very much relieved, very grateful for the assistance and treatment we have received here, and very much looking forward to climbing into my bed.

So what’s the moral to this story?

Just pay the damn $100 for ambulance cover every year – we’d still be $900 ahead if we’d done this after the first incident… oh well.


NOTE: Some people may classify this post as ‘over sharing’. The content touches a little on contraception and an appointment I recently had with a nurse to remove a contraceptive device. No gory details included. You may be wondering why I would choose to write about such personal things, even though they are a bit embarrassing, and yeah, pretty dull? My answer is because I think this stuff is important. It’s real, and it’s messy and it’s… whatever the opposite of glamorous is. And that is what I am most interested in writing and reading about. If you don’t agree, that’s cool – skip this post.

As I have mentioned before, here, I am experiencing some unpleasant symptoms that I hope are due to the Mirena contraceptive device I’ve been using for the last two years. These symptoms include fluctuating moods, bouts of depression (or what feels like depression but probably isn’t really clinical depression), acne, and (slight) weight gain. I felt the same way using the oral contraceptive pill many years ago, and I have now reached the point where I just want to be rid of the thing. I’m saying ‘NO’ to extra hormones!

Despite coming to this conclusion a few months ago, it has been extremely tricky and vexing to pull it off. Not many GPs are trained in inserting and removing the device. My normal GP doesn’t do it, so I made an appointment with the same doctor who put it in for me two years ago. This appointment had to be booked weeks in advance because the doctor only works certain days and is busy. To further complicate matters, I had to arrange for my Mum to come and babysit for me, (because these are not the sorts of appointments to take kids to: I’m sure you can imagine the kinds of questions that would be asked afterwards!) My Mum lives two and a half hours away and does shift work, so this was no mean feat to coordinate. Much to my annoyance, the appointment was then cancelled by the doctor with only a days’ notice, because her mother was ill and she was only seeing her regular patients so she could leave early that day. I mean, fair enough… but did it have to be my appointment that got ditched, after I’d worked so hard to get it?

I tried another GP a few weeks later, during the school holidays when the kids were in care but I wasn’t teaching. These days are rare, people! During this appointment I discovered that this GP also didn’t deal in Mirenas, even though the receptionist had assured me she did when I made the appointment. Gah!

It was then that my Mum suggested trying the local Women’s Health Centre. The idea had never crossed my mind. I’m not sure I even realised that such a place existed. But, I looked up the number and gave them a call. I was happy to learn that the centre is Medicare funded, so basic services such as GP and nurse practitioner appointments are bulk billed, and other services come with only a relatively small fee. The receptionist helped me to make an appointment with the nurse practitioner, who was qualified to remove the Mirena for me and advise me on alternative contraception methods. However, as she is only there two days a week, I had to wait two weeks to get in. I also had to ask Mum to come and hold the fort at home for me, again, as I had no other childcare available to me on the day of the appointment.

The day of the appointment came and I was feeling very nervous. I’m not really a prude, but the idea of stripping off in front of others, even for medical reasons, does tend to freak me out. At the same time, I was looking forward to finally feeling a bit better once the device was removed. Fingers crossed, anyway.

I have to say, when I entered the clinic I immediately felt more comfortable and calm. It had a homely feel to it, with soft couches, lots of cushions, bookcases full of books and information brochures, and lots of other nice touches like artworks on the walls. It felt safe and welcoming. Some people may not notice these things, or not feel they are important, but I always do. If I am about to go into a room with a stranger, tell her all about my sex life and ask her to get up close and personal with my privates, then I need a few creature comforts to help me relax!

The appointment went well. I won’t bore you with the details, and I’ll spare myself some dignity. But I found the nurse very approachable, considerate, empathetic and professional. During the appointment I was handed a brochure to tell me about the centre’s other services. The first paragraph of the brochure states that the centre is a feminist service, which is fairly obvious, being a women’s centre, but I think it’s really important that they actually identify themselves as such. The brochure then goes on to explain the other services they offer women, which include naturopathy, massage, legal services, counselling, special services for migrant women, counselling and support for women who have experienced child sexual assault, and child care!!! ($2 per child per session, and by appointment only). And that was the moment I fell in love with Penrith Women’s Health Centre.

Because it is totally great to have all of these services available to women, but, for many, the child care is the absolute clincher. That is the thing I have struggled with the most over the last few months, the feeling of really, really needing to do something important for my health and wellbeing, but of having to constantly put everyone else’s needs first because it is too expensive to book extra childcare days, and because asking family members to cover for me is not always practical. And this is me, who is lucky enough to have a good support network and a husband who also takes his share of time out from work to look after the kids, and me, when necessary. If I found it so difficult, I can only imagine how hard it must be for women who do not have the same privileges I do.

So, a few days after the Mirena’s removal, I can’t say whether there is any improvement yet. Actually, I’ve been feeling pretty grumpy the last few days, but I hope this is part of ‘coming down’ off the hormones, if such a thing exists. But I am relieved that it’s all over for now. I’m also happy to have discovered such a great service that is so close to home, that ‘gets’ women and what they need. I will definitely think of them first, rather than as a last resort, in future.

As I mentioned recently, Neave is kinda sorta learning to use the toilet.

Some days she wears ‘unnies’, some days she wears nappies. We leave it entirely up to her.

Some days she actually goes to the toilet or potty, some days she doesn’t bother.

And on some, extra special days, when Neave realises that she needs to do a wee or poo, she removes her ‘unnies’, or her nappy. But, she doesn’t take herself to the toilet.

No, instead she takes herself to the toy room and does what she needs to do on the elephant. This is the elephant:

It is one of the many animals featured on our toy car mat thing.

Five times this has happened. It seems to be personal.

One time I caught Neave about to do the act and told her she needed to go to the toilet. She refused to go, so I brought the potty to her.

She placed it on top of the elephant and proceeded.

Poor elephant.

I don’t do it much but this post is in recognition of Tom.

The last few weeks (months!) I have been struggling. I keep having prolonged bouts of moodiness, short temper (very short), irritability, and general yuck. Not a good combination when you spend 14 hours a day with toddlers, who are not known for their sensitivity or reasonableness.

Tom got home at about 6pm yesterday, and I think he could tell within seconds that things were awry. I don’t know whether it was the yelling, or whether it was the intense aura radiating off my head in sharp sizzles and pops as I hid in the kitchen and scowled at anyone who approached. Either way, he figured it out pretty quickly.

So, this afternoon, he told me he would take the kids over to his parents for the evening after we all got home from school and preschool, so that I could have the afternoon off. He did this even though he has an assignment due, work commitments, and is running on about 4.5 hours sleep a night.

Even though I felt he probably deserved a break more than me, I took it. I really, really needed it.

I feel (hope) this problem is really the hormones in the Mirena device I currently have installed disagreeing with me. I hope it is, because then it’s easily fixed. I just need to get it uninstalled.

Except that leaves the small bother of contraception. I broached the V word with Tom recently (vasectomy), and while he was receptive to the idea of bringing his ‘snip date’ forward three years (the original plan was to have the Mirena in for the full five years, but so far it’s only been two), he has yet to make the appointment and get it done.

It’s important because we really are too fertile for our own good. Hello, 3 under 3!

So, in the meantime I am taking fish oil and St John’s Wort to try and balance me out, am exercising and getting plenty of sun (well, I was doing that already), and trying, trying to take a chill pill.

Lucky I have Tom to pick up the pieces when it all falls apart. Thanks, Babe xxx

Note: The above is not intended to put anyone off using the Mirena as contraception. For the first year, I found the device excellent and had no ill-effects. I know other women who have used it for the full five years and not had any problems. Different devices have different effects on each individual. Also, I’m assuming the symptoms I’m experiencing are related to the Mirena but that won’t be confirmed until I have it removed. I had similar symptoms while taking the contraceptive pill. Hormones and me just don’t mix, apparently!

I’m going to share something I wrote the other night after a particularly awful ‘family’ dinner out. Since writing it, I have had some time to reflect on Tiernan and his behaviour from a slightly less-objective viewpoint. We’ve also had three consecutive days of very manageable behaviour (not perfect, but manageable) from him, so I don’t feel as intensely that something is amiss. But I certainly did at the time.

I am worried about my beautiful boy, Tiernan. Or maybe I should be more worried about myself? I know Tiernan is beautiful – he is smart, sensitive, funny, loving, happy and gorgeous. That’s the boy I know, love and understand. But often there’s another boy – an angry, hurtful, silly, rude, impulsive, out-of-control boy, whom I simply don’t understand, and whom I struggle to like (although I tell myself, and him, that I love him). At the moment I feel like this second boy is visiting us more and more frequently, and taking longer and longer to leave.

His schedule is unpredictable. Sometimes, Tiernan will be quiet happy playing with his sisters, or with the whole family, and for no apparent reason the other Tiernan will appear and spoil the fun. This boy will sabotage the game, take jokes too far and deliberately provoke us. Then, when he is asked to stop, he will become angry and sullen, say hurtful things, and refuse to remove himself from the situation to calm down.

He almost always comes out with us, and since he is never, ever, invited, this makes for a very frustrating and stressful time. Playgroup, shopping trips, walks to the park – all are frequently turned upside down when this Tiernan repeatedly runs away, takes items off shelves and opens them, ignores all of my instructions (even those aimed at keeping him safe), refuses to hold hands or stay near me, enters shops without me and tries to engage me in a humiliating chase around the store, and then rolls on the floor and refuses to move once I have become cranky and tried to discipline him.

I know that children do these things. I know that parenting is not easy. But is it supposed to be this fucking hard nearly every day?

How many other parents (at least once a day) lock their 4-year-old out of the house for short periods (in the safe, fenced back yard) because their behaviour is so uncontrollable and there is no other way to get them to stop, and you are so cranky you’re worried you might snap at any moment? How many parents have to physically move their 4-year-old out of the room, and how many 4-year-olds respond by scratching, kicking, pinching and name-calling. How many parents regularly feel completely humiliated by their 4-year-old’s behaviour out in public, to the point where even going out together as a family on weekends seems to be nigh impossible?

How many other parents can’t take their 4-year-old to a family friendly venue for dinner because the 4-year-old will spend the entire time refusing to either play in the play area or sit at the table – instead wanting to run around, climb all over things, touch buttons, pull leaves off plants, interrupt other diners, etc.? How many other parents end up dragging their 4-year-old downstairs to have ‘time out’ and the 4-year-old is so worked up that he won’t let you touch him and keeps asking you to go away and leave him alone. How many parents put their head in their hands and wonder what the heck is wrong with him? (For the record, I chose this moment to say ‘I love you, Tiernan, even when you’re being like this,’ and I did eventually talk him into calming down and joining us for dinner).

So maybe you answered ‘Yes’ to all of the above? Would you say it every day? Right now, I feel like I could say yes every day. But maybe that’s not the case. I know we’ve had good days recently, I just don’t remember them at the moment.

But if all the other parents out there are also saying yes to all of the above, then where are you? I don’t see you in the supermarkets, blocking Aisle 11 with your intense stand-off over buying Ben 10 plastic crap. I don’t see you chasing your 4-year-old out from behind the counter in the bakery, moments before he grabs himself a chocolate donut. I don’t see you hiring professional negotiators to talk your child down off the top rung of the six-foot ladder someone has helpfully left out. I see plenty of 2-year-olds doing these things, but none who are almost 5.

I know I shouldn’t compare my children, but my 3-year-old seems to behave more appropriately (out in public) than Tiernan does. Yes, she gets silly. Yes, she has tantrums. Yes, she misbehaves. But usually I can at least understand the reasons behind her behaviour and sometimes talk her around before it escalates. With Tiernan, I am clueless, and even if I am able to figure out the cause, Tiernan often will completely shut down and refuse to listen. So we just have to wait.

I know I’m not painting a balanced picture here. He is not always horrible. He can be wonderfully sweet, kind, loving and generous ,as well. His teachers love him at preschool and at Family Day Care. He behaves appropriately (most of the time) for other people, and when visiting friends. He is able to engage and play beautifully with other children, no problems at all.

But when I look at the overall picture, I just can’t help but wonder what’s going on. Is it Tiernan, or is it me? Am I expecting too much of my 4-year-old, or am I simply not coping with the normal, everyday demands of parenting? Does Tiernan need help, or do I?

Since that night, Tom and I have discussed our feelings on the matter, and we both agree that maybe, regardless of whether Tiernan’s behaviour is completely normal or not, we should seek some help. I have done parenting courses and read books about ‘positive’ behaviour strategies, and while I feel they have their place, I don’t believe they are the whole story. I think parents need to use a variety of strategies because children are all different, and what works in some situations may not work in others. My biggest problem at the moment is being able to pinpoint exactly what is causing Tiernan to become so unmanageable. I have been looking for possible triggers but can’t find them – it doesn’t seem to matter whether he has slept or not, whether he has had a quiet day or a busy day, whether there are two parents in the house or just one, whether he has mostly done as he’s pleased for the day or whether he has been dragged around for a day of ‘errands’. I can’t figure it out, and therefore am at a loss as to what I should do to change things.

The only possible lead we have is hearing. About a month ago we had Tiernan’s hearing assessed because we were worried about his behaviour (children who have difficulty hearing can demonstrate similar behaviours to children who have ADHD, but the behaviours are motivated by different causes). The hearing test showed he has a mild hearing-loss in one ear, but as he had a slight cold at the time of the test, we are still waiting for a re-test next week. I guess I am hoping that his frustration at having to work so hard to hear is the reason for his difficult behaviour. Knowing won’t fix the problem, but at least we will have somewhere to start.

So this is where I’m at with Tiernan right now. Stuck between thinking everything is wrong, and then thinking everything is fine. Wondering whether to seek help, or not? For the moment, I am happy to wait it out a little longer (we’re on a roll at the moment, after all), and we do have another hearing test next week, so I guess we’ll see what happens then.

“‘…What a thing it is to have an unruly family!’ said Mrs Tabitha Twitchit.”

(Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Samual Whiskers: Or the Roly-Poly Pudding, 1908, p. 14).

Exactly, Tabitha. Exactly.