Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Maith an Buachaill

So, Screecher Creature Number 1 started Senior Infants back in September.  Or Naionain Mhora, as he attends a Gael Scoil.  The parent teacher meetings happen in November which came as a bit of a surprise to me last year.  He was only in school for a paltry two months and it was beyond me how Muinteoir could get the measure of 28+ kids in that short space of time.
He’s learning to read at the moment.  Oh, the fun.  If Muinteoir knew the lengths I go to in order to complete the allocated 10 minutes of reading practice each night, Muinteoir’s job would be on the line.  See, our buachaill is a bright child.  He knows his tricky words off by heart and will recite them perfectly with one eye on the page and the other on anything else at all. 
I tried to trick him.  He’s dead against the mixing up of his tricky words.  Apparently, this goes against the way Muinteoir does it.  I told him Muinteoir said he wouldn’t be able to do it, he wouldn’t know his tricky words if it was done like this.  The boy is also quite competitive so this worked a treat.  It was slower than reading them down in order but after a few errors, he got it.
Last week I got him to use his binoculars.  Oh, the lengths.  I stood at the far wall and pointed out random words as himself read them through the glasses.  Another success.
Bribery also works well.  A favourite treat just within his line of vision can be great encouragement.  Unless of course the two year old nabs it.  Has happened. 
Isn’t education the best thing ever, all the same.  They are the best days of your life in fact.  Anyone else glare in utter disbelief at a parent who dared tell them that.  I am discovering, though, that reading and maths are not the only things our eldest son is learning in school.  He has mastered the art of giving the “ultimate wedgy” much to the outrage and frustration of the four year old.  He is the weak and defenceless target.  Farting and belching at will are new and unlikely to come up on a school curriculum any time in the near or distant future.  This is not a deterrent. 
He derives great enjoyment at administering a Chinese burn.  I’ve been the victim of a sharp and burning flick of his fingers – it’s hard to see him coming sometimes.  Although he once attempted to flick the baby and he received a harsh warning but I was unable to stop him the day he punched his baby brother “in the nuts”.  The child was wearing a nappy so was well padded but he cried in pain and shock nonetheless.  So did the perpetrator when I was finished with him, I don’t mind telling you. 
 “Mammy, who’s Mr. Beaver?” he wanted to know today.
I was stumped.  I asked for more information.  “All the girls like him, Mammy.  Erin and Abbey want to marry him. They were fighting over him today.”
Ah, Justin BEIBER.  The lessons in life continue and will for a long time to come.     

Child's Play

Some of the things my two year old learned this week:

Flour is really, really hard to get into your trouser pockets.  It also makes a big mess.  And Mammy cross.

It is really, really easy to push a chair into the shower and climb up high to get at all the bottles on the shelf.  It also makes a big mess.  And Mammy cross.

It is really, really cool to climb up onto the counter in the kitchen to get at the chewy orange vitamins on the high shelf.  They also make a mess when you bite them and spit them [all]out.  And it makes Mammy cross.

It’s really, really hard (but possible) to get your hand in behind the chest freezer and turn it off for the weekend. And it makes Mammy cross.

It is really, really super fun to draw all over the walls in all the rooms in the house.  It makes a big, colourful mess.  And it makes Mammy (and Daddy) cross.

It is really, really uncomfortable to stay in a dirty nappy so it has to come off. But it makes a big mess.  And it makes Mammy cross.

It is really, really funny to batter Mammy’s yukka plant with a plastic sword.  It makes a big mess though.  And it makes Mammy cross.

It is really, really cool to get the face paints and draw on the baby’s face.    My two big brothers get annoyed with me if they get left out so they have to have a go too.  It makes a really colourful mess.  And it makes Mammy cross.  But kind of smile too.

It is really, really nice to rest my head on Mammy’s knee and tell her that she is a “ludey” Mammy.  It gets me a big kiss. And it makes Mammy smile.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Summer Holidays

I’ve been on many.  And some good ones at that.  A trip around the West of Ireland springs to mind immediately.  It was glorious.  Fungi the dolphin, gorgeous seafood, nights in pubs where the locals conversed in rapid as gaeilge, late breakfasts in the B&B’s.  Those were halcyon days. 
Another time we chanced Turkey.  Fabulous weather, the kind of heat that literally jumps off the tarmac at you when you disembark the plane.  Great craic with the locals at the all night hotel bar.  An overnight stay in Kusadasi, trips to the markets in Bodram, and the breathtaking white mountains of Pamukkale.  I didn’t want to go home. 
Just last year we went on our first family holiday.  I was newly pregnant with our fourth son and despite the early first trimester tiredness and our then youngest refusing to sleep properly at night time, I was very much looking forward to it.   The hotel proved to be a huge success.  The lads were entranced by the bunk beds and the pool was an even bigger hit.  The weather behaved itself and all in all, we returned home four days later nicely refreshed and for months afterwards, the boys still spoke about “Bird,” Co. Offaly, frequently asking when could they go back to their bedroom with the bunk beds.
Such was its success that we naturally wanted to relive the experience this year.  Clonakilty, Co. Cork, or Clon, as it is known locally, was an experience.  The jury is still out on whether it was a good one.  Holidaying with four kids under six is not a good idea.  In the infamous words of Julia Roberts; big mistake.  Huge.
There were spitting competitions with Cheerios, demands for the pool and the beach, two major melt downs from an overtired and frustrated three and a half year old.   No-one was asleep before 10pm and all were awake at about 6.30am.  Our two year old woke two nights in a row roaring like a bull caught in a trap.  Puked his ring up on the last night. All over our bed.  I slept on the floor!  Let's see.  Will I go on?  Too many Coco Pops and not enough Weetabix thus leading to a severe bout of constipation in the aforementioned two year old.
Can I have my money back pulll-ease? 
Basically, it was so stressful and frustrating that we decided to stay an extra night, determined to knock some sort of craic and/or relaxation out of the whole sorry affair. 
And who’d a thunk it?  The last night was lovely.  We booked into a guest house in town that had a room the size of my mammy's entire attic, unlike the tiny, roasting hot and cramped room at the hotel.  We even enjoyed a family meal at a pub down the road.  There wasn’t a chicken nugget or chip in sight.  The lads read their new books, bought beforehand in a charming little book shop on the main street. 
Mister Husband enjoyed a pint or two and I shocked our sons by drinking a glass of Guinness.  “But Mammy, ladies don’t drink.  Only daddies drink dirty beer.” 
We finished up with a trip to Extravision where we purchased a DVD for the boys and they watched it before bedtime. 
We are, in spite of our vows never to repeat a family holiday for at least another 5 years, in discussions about next year and doing it en-masse with the view to maybe getting a fekin cup of coffee or even an alcoholic drink in peace!!!!
But we're home now and the lads did have a good time even if there was more shouting and roaring at them on holidays than at home. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Who Will Save Her Children?

I wrote a longer version of this after the incident, years ago when I lived in Dublin.  I had forgotten all about it until I was throwing out some ancient floppy discs (remember those??) the other day.  A nine year marriage and four children later it reminds me of how much I have changed.  How much my children have changed me.  For the better it has to be said. Looking back, as someone with a very young nephew at the time, I’m amazed and ashamed of my reluctance to help this woman!

I used to live in an apartment complex where, a fact of Dublin life, no-one knew their neighbours.  The foreign family that lived above us were not the quietest in the word and that evening it sounded like mammy and daddy were having a row and the kids were providing background vocals.

Here we go again!  It was a glorious spring evening and I was finished work for the day.  The last thing I wanted was to be made privy to a domestic.  The “row” continued for several minutes with the noise level rising.  I was reaching the end of my tether so I marched out into the hall, grabbed the golf umbrella and belted it a couple of times off the ceiling.  Home and Away was about to start and I wanted my bloody dinner! And there was some laundry I wanted to put away.  I had just gone into the bedroom when I heard a knock on the door.
Straight away I thought it was the daddy from upstairs, come down to have a go at me for banging on the ceiling.  I opened the door a smidgen and peered out.  It was the mammy from upstairs, wringing her hands and looking very agitated.  In broken English she said “you hell.  Chilblains.  Police?”
The noise was still continuing upstairs and all sorts of scenarios were racing through my head.  She spoke again in broken English about hell, chilblains and the police.  Did she want me to call them for her, I wondered?  I was waiting for her mad man of a husband to come racing around the corner and drag her, caveman like, back up the stairs. 
She stood there, wringing the skin off her hands and spoke again about the police and chilblains.
A clumsy mime show ensued involving lots of sign language, including me speaking to her the way we all speak to foreign people – like they’re deaf.
Eventually I figured out that she wasn’t talking about the police or her chilblains.  What she was saying, it emerged, was that her chilblains (children) had managed to lock themselves into the apartment while she and her husband were outside the door. Could I help her, police.  Sorry, please.
The “row” was actually her husbands booming shouts of reassurance to the kids locked inside that help was on the way.
I asked her could she not call her landlord.  The woman managed to convey that she didn’t have his number – it was inside the apartment.  Her hands were fascinating me. How there was any skin left on them, I couldn’t tell.
So after a fooster around for the number for the fire brigade, I gave up and rang Directory Enquiries. 
I spoke to a really nice fella who, when I told him what number I wanted, immediately asked was it an emergency.  I hoped he couldn’t hear the kids roaring in the background as I assured him it wasn’t.  Then I dialled Dublin Fire Brigade.  I had since ascertained that the trapees were a boy and a girl, three years and one and a half respectively. 
I explained the situation to the man on the phone and he assured me it wasn’t a problem but was the woman ok with having her door kicked in?  I turned to her and asked her in as little words as possible was this ok. She twisted her hands inside out and repeated “my chilblains.  My chilblains.”
Yes, I told the nice man, she doesn’t mind and by the way, would they be long.  On their way, he replied. 
Almost immediately I heard sirens coming down the road.  The mother was already on her way down the stairs. I grabbed my own keys and followed her. 
Outside the building was the biggest, shiniest fire truck I had ever seen and jumping off it like ants off an anthill were the firemen.  Evening traffic was slowing down to get a better look and two Australian girls nudged each other in delight and wanted to know what was going on.  I started to tell them and one of them interrupted me.  “Who cares?  We’re just having a perv!”
I turned away in a slight huff to lock eyes with this huge man dressed head to toe in black.
“Howiay, luv,” he greeted me.  “Is this the right place?”
I confirmed that it was and the distraught mother came forward.  As her childrens’ rescuers entered the building, she grabbed me by the shoulders and I was pulled into her arms by a grip so strong I heard the breath leave my body with a whoosh.
When she released me she looked me straight in the eyes and whispered in perfect English, “thank you!  Thank you!”
Yes.    I still feel guilty.


“Do you want to flip for it?”

“Do you want to flip for it?”
“Over there.  Look.  Do you want to flip for it?”
It’s a game that Mister Husband likes to play when we’re out and about as a family and he spots another clan with three lads, roughly the same age as ours.  He’ll ask if I want to flip a coin to see which of us goes over to enquire of the other mammy and daddy are they going to go for the girl.  Naturally enough we never do.  Chances are they’re as sick of the question and its variations as we are.  Also that game is not as much fun as the “what’ll we buy when we win the lotto” one.
I realise people don’t mean any harm and perhaps I’m overly sensitive to the interest others have in our brood but I’ve stockpiled a few retorts for the poor unfortunate who meets me on a bad day.  Apologies to that person in advance.  They range from “the other two are at home” to “some people are just lucky.”  I’m toying with the idea of telling people we put a dress on the youngest at the weekends.  I was once asked when I was out and about sans Mister Husband, were they all mine.
It makes me wonder how my own parents must have coped and dealt with similar remarks about 6 daughters and one son. 
So, yeah, we have three boys.  There was once a time when children didn’t feature in my future, never mind having three boys.  C’est la vie.  And a very good vie it is and all. 
A good day starts at about 7am.  I like to think I’m the type of person, that when her feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil goes, aw, shite, she’s up.  Alas the lads are not of this opinion, so I don’t fancy my chances with the devil.    I’m usually woken by the eldest, standing at the side of our bed and kissing me gently on the nose.  When he’s sure I’m awake, he’ll creep in beside me for a cuddle. A lovely way to wake up.  When I lift our second son out of his cot, he stands on the side for a moment or two with his arms wrapped around me and his face buried in my neck.  The baby is only 7 months old and due to the ignorance of his age, is full of unconditional love for his mammy.  
This familial bliss lasts for approximately ten minutes before all the shouting and roaring starts.  Mine.  A mad race ensues with three sets of small persons’ clothes to be donned.  I get dressed in between brushing my teeth and washing my face.  The deodorant ball barely touches my underarm as my other hand smears a bit of moisturiser onto my face.
We all traipse downstairs to fill bowls with Rice Krispies or Cheerios.  I slap on a bit of slap while the lads chow down.  There might be a wash to take out of the machine but there’s usually always one to be put into it.  Bags are packed for creche, more shouts to turn off the telly, a headlock  may have to be employed to get a coat put on, another double nappy change before we leave the house, an errant child or two chased down and cornered before bundling into the car,  A quick kiss from Mister Husband before he goes his way and we go ours, a sip of coffee from my travel mug followed by a sneaky bite of toast before the toddler sees it.  I turn the key in the ignition and the day has officially begun.      
It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s manic. It’s lonely.  There are tears, there is laughter, there are hugs.  We fight, we make up.  Every day.  Things are broken and I fear the day my heart will be. I dread the day one of theirs will be.
Our lads are loud, boisterous, messy, spontaneous and rude. Ingeniously imaginative, inquisitive and funny. They are equally gentle and endlessly affectionate.   The oldest will, unprompted, reach over to stroke my cheek and tell me he loves me or that he is going to “mind” me.  I am often told that I am a “purdy lady” and he will, on a daily basis, reach up with outstretched arms to give me a kiss.  The next lad ( I refuse to label him the middle child) will hurl himself at my legs and hug them hard whilst crooning “mama”  and the greeting I get from both of them when I pick them up from crèche brings tears to my eyes.  But they can also be totally oblivious to my distress at times.  They rarely walk, but run everywhere.
Presently, they are obsessed with body parts.  Mine and theirs.  It doesn’t matter to whose chest they are attached, breasts are fair game.  I promise on a daily basis that a bird will swoop down out of the sky to peck off their peckers if they are not put away.  Naturally enough this is licence to persist. 
I’ve been told by one in the know (Mister Husband) that this is the start of a lifelong interest, albeit a healthy one.
Ours is a house taken over by tractors, diggers, Power Rangers, Spider Man and Ben 10.  Angelina Ballerina, has on occasion, put in an appearance but Peppa Pig kicked her butt. 
Our boys love to run in the rain and “help” with the hoovering.  They have a thing for collecting twigs and dead leaves and a penchant for cracking eggs into the cake mix.
Trailing spiders and feeding the birds feature heavily in their daily activities.  They have a tendency to miss the toilet bowl and a habit of stripping naked regardless of the season. 
They will guard their chocolate from each other but without prompt, share it with me.      
The older two will clash like Titans but when in the company of other kids, hold hands and look out for each other. 
Tantrums can and do happen but blow over very quickly and are immediately forgotten.  Time outs are frequent, resisted, endured loudly and always completed with a hug and an apology to the wronged party.  
They are self obsessed but curiously interested in others.  Certain ads on telly bearing unfortunate children in other parts of the world, bring forth why’s and how comes. 
The older two go through extremely passionate but very short lived phases.  A new toy will have its worth saturated in 48 hours.  Something that is treasured so much that it makes it to under the depths of a Spiderman duvet for two nights in a row, will, 48 hours later, be discarded to different depths.  Those of the toy box.  And they move on to the next fascination.
As much as it irks to have strangers comment on our one gender family, it always brings a smile to my face when the eldest brings up the subject.  Sometimes he asks if we’re going to get a girl baby.  I take a peak at the three of them sitting behind me, strapped into their car seats and wonder how a Little Miss would fit into that picture?  Would she be pink and frilly or as much of a mucky pup as her big brothers?
Maybe one day Mister Husband and I will find out.  Maybe we never will, we could be destined to have boys.  And all I’ll have to worry about then are the daughters in law. But until such day arrives, we’ll carry on in our house of fun.  

Letter to Santy, December 2009

Subject: Jingle Hell

Dear Santy,
First of all, excuse the mess.  Lest you weren’t aware, we’ve got three kids.  And don’t you dare try and tell me that the baby, who can’t walk and talk yet, hardly generates much of a mess.  Have you seen our laundry baskets?  Yes, you heard correctly. 
Baskets. Plural.
Kids.  There’s that plural again.
And what’s more, they’re boys.  The two that are walking and talking, more than make up for what the baby isn’t capable of doing yet, let me assure you.
Now, back to business.  This year I would like some of that old favourite; -time.  To myself that is.  Not to be confused with thyme, the herb, which is used in cooking.  I’m just making sure there is no room for error here, you understand.  Making sure we are on the same page, as it were.  And while we’re on the subject of pages, don’t bother with a book.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book, but as it’s difficult to find the time to read them, they are of little use to me.  Do you see where I’m coming from?  See what I’m getting at?
If you want to really impress me, eyes in the back of my head would be wonderful.  Hey, if you can manage to deliver presents to all those kids, under such a strict time limit, this should be a breeze for you.
 Failing that, a full and uninterrupted twelve hour sleep would just about cut the mustard.
For double brownie points, an extra pair of hands would be great, if that’s not too much to ask.  
If you have any of that magic sparkle dust you use to get yourself out of awkward chimneys, could you leave us a jar or two of it?  If it can get you out of chimney’s, a little will surely go a long way in my house.  Making a mess disappear, tidying the kitchen, washing up after a meal, emptying the washing machine, that sort of thing.  I know this stuff is in existence as I saw that interloper Tim Allen use it in The Santa Clause movie on telly over the weekend.  Come on, big guy, share the love.
Right so, I reckon that’s enough for you to be getting along with.  Looking forward to getting some of the above.  Please note they are not in order of preference. 

Subject:  Jingle Hell

Santy, with regard to your rather, if I may say so, sarcastic reply to my previous letter, I have to say I was not best impressed.  Ta bron orm, Santy, ta bron orm.  
Boys will be boys is not an appropriate response to my predicament.  I dare say you are, “up to ninety” to quote your good self, but by now you must be well used to late requests.  I realise mine may be quite unorthodox and not of the usual demands you are so obviously used to getting, given your reluctance to help this stretched mother out.  But for the love of Christmas, it’s your job man.  Get over it!   And just to issue a gentle reminder, you have now entered the twenty first century and a woman’s place most certainly is not in the kitchen.  Got that old man?  You can keep your poxy magic glitter if you want then, but in return, I would like you to, shall we say, remove, a certain annoying pink pig from a particular children’s channel.  I can arrange for a small amount of cash to exchange hands if it would be of some help. 
Is mise le meas.

Subject:  Jingle Hell

To the fat man in the red suit.  Call yourself Santy?  You should be ashamed of yourself.   Ashamed of yourself.  In this current climate, some of us need all the help we can get.   Can’t say I’m all that surprised though.  “Someone” once left me a Tiny Tears doll instead of a First Love, and don’t for a second assume I fell for your “Andrea down the road got the last one” excuse.  Shoddy work, Santy, extremely shoddy work.  Start as you mean to go on, is it? Seems to me you’re not taking your job seriously at all.  In fact, I think you’re past it.  Miss Piggy was not who I was referring to.  Miss Piggy is so dated, today’s average five year old probably never heard of her. The target, old timer, is Peppa Pig.   Peppa fricken Pig.  Not the hardest thing in the world to remember surely.  Get with the programme. No pun intended.    
And I’m curious about something. Do you own a mirror at all?  Red so isn’t your colour.   
Regards.  Not.

Subject:  Jingle Hell

Santy, you, of all people, dare to give me a sob story?  The recession is not confined to Ireland, is it? The recession is worldwide, is it?  Tell me something I don’t know!

You’ve had to let off a few elves, have you?  So?  What has that got to do with the price of eggs?  Or me for that matter.  Listen, I’m a busy woman.  Things to do, places to go and all of that.  It’s a busy time of year, or hadn’t you noticed?  We’ve all got our problems, Santy Claus, I don’t appreciate you sharing yours with me.  Last I heard, there was a Mrs. Claus.  Isn’t that her job?
All I’m asking for here is a little bit of help.  It being the season of good will and all that.  Remember?  Remember?

Subject:  Jingle Hell

You’ve been surprisingly quiet of late there, Saint Nick.  Hope it’s because you’ve been pulling out all the stops to get a least one item on my list.   Not long to go now, just a couple of weeks.  No pressure. 
Thought you might like to know that my four year old has changed his mind yet again about what he wants.  Made it somewhat difficult for me to source his latest request.  But I did it.  I. did. It. 
Think on.

Subject:  Silent Night

Dear Santy, I do hope things are beginning to fall into place for you at this late stage in the game.  It’s been a couple of days since I’ve been in touch myself.  I realise you have been under considerable pressure of late and I fervently hope that my e-mails weren’t too much of a distraction. No hard feelings, eh?  I also believe that you were laid up for a short while there.  Sorry to hear about that.  
I paid a visit to my own good doctor during the week.  He sent me on a little chemical holiday.  You know how it can be.  Strangely enough, he was eager to do the same last Christmas and I felt it wasn’t my place to say otherwise.   
Anyway, if it makes things slightly easier for you this year, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I received items other than the ones requested on my previous wish list.  It would be perfectly ok, for example, if I discovered hand cream of an exceptional quality under the tree on Christmas morning.  All that washing up takes its toll you know.   I wouldn’t be adverse to a new hoover either.  I am without at the moment due to an unfortunate accident.  It’s not a good idea to vacuum ashes from around the hearth whilst the fire is lit.  You know yourself how these things can happen.  Lesson learnt. 
I used to have a beautiful plant that produced glorious white flowers at this time of year but last week it met a messy end.  Did I mention I have three young boys, two of which are mobile?  Very mobile.  Well, a replacement would be very much appreciated.  Maybe a sturdy cactus.
If you could see it in your heart to grant me any one of these things, I would be delighted.  And Santy, this list is in order of preference.
Wishing you and yours all the best this festive season.

P.S.  Please accept my apologies for the tree.  It was taller.
And had more decorations.
The boys.
Although the carpet is my fault.  The incident with the hoover as referred to earlier. 
Actually, on second thoughts, you might just bypass the living room altogether.   Safer to be honest.  Just dump it all in the front room. 
Many, many thanks and again, apologies for any undue inconvenience caused.

If you Sprinkle When You Tinkle

Rough as a bear's A*$e
My downstairs bathroom is filthy.  It’s in a pretty bad state of chassis.  The four and a half year old is to blame.  His hours in Montessori have been reduced and two things have happened as a direct result.  The first one being I don’t have time on Mondays to sanitise my loos and the second, he has completely forgotten how to be neat and wipe the seat.  Which is only the tiny start of the problem as he has a very big tendency to miss the toilet bowl altogether. 
I went in there the other day a la Britney Spears.  In other words, in my bare feet.  I balked.    But it was too late.  I was well and truly in the danger zone. My face twisted in horror at the cool tiles underneath my feet and what might be breeding on them.  The pee monster in question talks long and fondly of all the “one armed bacterials” that lurk in the toilet bowl.  He has a recent interest in the toilet duck ads on the telly.  As well as anything gross, blood like and even remotely disgusting. They all get his thumbs up.  My loo is no exception although of course he just wouldn’t understand this one. It doesn’t bode well for the future.  It truly doesn’t seeing as there are four men folk in my house.  At least half of them are still in nappies.    
He’s also discovered belching.  Picking his nose is old hat. I doubt he'll ever get over the fascination that is his willy (Mister Husband assures me that he won't.  It is a lifelong, albeit healthy attitude.  That's all fine and dandy, but I don’t want to be distracted from my down time watching our son having down time with his willy!)  So yeah, belching is the new thing.  The first time he let rip was a total accident but the look of pure fascination and wonder on his face, was quickly replaced by delight and a loud "cool!  Mammy, did you hear THAT?" 
Now I hear THAT all the time. And he always follows it with a belly laugh, delighted with himself.  I'm tempted but loathe to destroy his joy by telling him it's not a talent, anyone can do it.
And another thing.  He’s starting school in September and still needs someone to wipe his rear end.  I’m worn out trying to get him to do it himself but he always objects and I end up going in after him. Yesterday I shouted in at him, he said it was taking 16 hours! When I stopped laughing and went into him, the toilet bowl was stuffed with tissue paper and he had managed to get more poo on his t-shirt than on the paper! Basically he's crap at it, no pun intended. Any tips on how to help him?    

Take a break – Go to the dentist.

This will crown you!
I had a little break from the boys this morning.  OK, it was only for an hour and it involved a numbing injection followed by some nifty drilling. After which I was relieved of ninety euro but nonetheless it was still a break.  I enjoyed it so much, on the way out I made an appointment for the same time, same place next week.  I got to sit in two different chairs without anyone once demanding that I get up to fetch them a drink of some kind.  One of these chairs was of the padded type and it reclined with the press of a foot pedal.  The last time that happened it was a wash and dry over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the chair vibrated so much, (I still can’t believe some people actually enjoy this!) I was in bits for two days after it.    But back to my mornings sojourn.  They had magazines as well. And they were current, not three years old which was lovely.  I got to read an article from beginning to end without having to stop midway to wipe a bottom or break up a fight.  You’ll be glad to hear I am now fully up to date on Kylie’s new love interest.  While my face was slowly numbing from the bottom lip up, I enjoyed a banal, frothy piece about a Victoria’s Secret model and her lifestyle.  Hey, she has a new baby.  I couldn’t resist!
I was positively purring with the pure luxury of it all when someone I know and hadn’t seen in quite a long while came in.  We had a lovely chat without being interrupted by sticky hands or demands for Arnica to be rubbed into fresh bumps and bruises.  The only thing missing was a nice cup of tea!
Honest to God it was miles better than going to the hairdressers.  There was very little chance that warm water was going to get sloshed into my ears or down the back of my neck.  I felt completely rejuvenated and refreshed.  It’s amazing what a little sit down and chat can do for you on a Saturday morning.    
There was only one downside.  Afterwards, I was unable to enjoy a cappuccino as my numb gob made it impossible to swallow anything before it dribbled down my chin and onto my clothes.  Small price to pay, folks.  Small price to pay.
See, in my house, it doesn’t matter if it’s soft and squishy (the couch) or hard and has a hole in it (the toilet seat) once my kids sense that my butt has made contact with a surface, they react.  Loudly.  They just hate to see it.
When you live with a clutch of kids who have a pathological hatred of you sitting down, you learn to appreciate these little chances to relax on the rare and infrequent times that they present themselves.
I wonder how those people who used to complain about the delays at their ante natal appointments feel today.  Do they ever look back and remember what it was like to take for granted those golden days when no-one was dependant on them and regret not enjoying them more?  Does anyone?    
Sure, who knows?  Maybe one day I’ll need another root canal procedure.  But this time I’ll appreciate those three and a half hours.      

Good Vibrations


The hair was not looking the best so I decided to leave Mister Husband and the boys to wreak havoc in The Art and Hobby Shop and head off for a nice wash and blowdry for myself. 
To say I was not the better of it, is an understatement.  Two days later, the hair is still looking mighty fine but the body is in bits.  I’m blaming the chair.  Some time ago, I was very impressed with a GHD in the ladies in a pub.  I thought it was a great and novel idea.  Stick two euros into the slot and you can spend two minutes fixing your hair.  I was laughed at as this apparently is not all that novel.  It’s been around for a while now.  Says it all for my social life.  So I tried not to look too impressed when the chair I was led to at the sinks, gently tilted backwards and a little foot rest appeared as if out of nowhere to cushion my feet.  For a fleeting moment, I was reminded of a hospital gurney with stirrups and was lonesome for the unthreatening familiarity of the chair in my regular hairdressers.  I decided to make like the woman on my left who, obviously used to this luxury, was in a semi state of bliss.   
At first I thought it was a reaction to the hot water, but when it happened again I knew it wasn’t me that was shivering.  It was the chair.  In the immortal words of the Beach Boys, I was picking up a good vibration.  It started out in my lower back and spread up to my shoulders.  That was ok.  Nice even.  I felt myself  beginning to relax as invisible fingers worked their way back down until, and I swear, start to massage my buttocks.  It was bordering on creepy now.  At least there was no danger of my falling asleep.  Not a chance, I was slightly nervous as to what the chair might do next.  And sure enough, the wandering hands were off again.  This time to tickle my lower spine.  I was in danger of peeing myself now.  But only because this is a sensitive area in my body, and a touch such as the one I was receiving, has the ability to make me need a bathroom, pronto.   It was almost as if the chair was telling me I was going to relax, and what’s more I was going to like it. It would have worked too if I wasn’t in such a state of high alert. I was so perturbed I was distracted from the warm jets of water that were making their way into my ears. 

Then the head massage began and I swear, the chair picked it up a notch, almost as if it knew there was competition.  And to be honest, the head massage was winning.  Hands down.  I was almost purring. I love a good old head rub.  The chair could have started a rumba and I would have been none the wiser.  This was more like it.  This is what I was paying the best part of thirty quid for.     
Finally I allowed myself to relax and enjoy the rare treat of having my hair washed just for the sheer hell of it. 
Now, another lifetime ago I used to enjoy yoga.  Really enjoy it.  During the last ten minutes of class, the ones that were used to cool down, I would cool down so much I would fall asleep.  Deeply asleep.  I was once woken up by someone pinching my big toe.  The instructor used to be delighted with me.  My falling asleep was a compliment to her that she was doing a good job.  She wasn’t wrong.  One time I even drooled a little bit.
And on this day, in the hairdressing salon, the first time I was frivolous and too lazy to wash my own hair, but opted instead to have someone do it for me, I lay there in the vibrating chair and drifted off to sleep.  But at least I didn’t drool. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pass the Blogroll!

Welcome to my ramblings.

I’ve always had a tendency to talk to myself but it kicked up a notch when I started having kids.  I reckon it was lack of adult company after our first that triggered it.  Days without adult company or conversation (talking to the telly doesn’t count) will do that to you.  It started off slowly enough.  I’d answer Ray D’Arcy on his morning radio show but he’d be well onto the next guest when yours truly was still having the same conversation with him about the first topic.  I knew it was bad when I carried on in the bathroom one day.    I used to say it kept the other voices in my head company. But I was also afraid that Screecher Creature No. 1 would be a late talker because he just couldn’t get a word in edgeways with me yammering on all the time.  But who was I kidding? These days he asks who am I talking to when we’re in the car.  It’s just me and the lads but I’m in full flow.  I even use hand gestures to emphasise my points.  I don’t care what fellow roads users think; as far as I’m concerned they’ll assume I’m on my hands free.  Then l thought, why don’t I write some of these things down?  There’s Myleene Klass, Brooke Shields, Jools Oliver. Tess Daly, Denise Van Outen.  Our own Fiona Loony.
They’re all at it for Gawd sake.    And one of my voices wanted to know who would be interested in the ramblings of an unknown.  I shut her up with chocolate and had a little think. She did have a point though.  I’m not particularly model like (more model unlike), have never recorded an album (unless a photo one counts), and to the best of my knowledge, my mug has never appeared on TV (am in possession of a radio face).  Furthermore I’m not married to a celebrity (although I have great faith in Mister Husband).   So I figured I’d better be funny.  Or at least try to be.  But then who’s laughing at 4am when they’re up with a crying, sick baby?  Who finds it even remotely amusing when their toddler is throwing a major hissy fit in the home baking aisle in Tesco’s? So I said I’d settle for being honest when funny isn’t working, and see how I get on.  Because I believe that when you become a parent you have one, maybe two things, in common with other mothers.  You have to get this little day old baby you have been entrusted with, to late teens and beyond, by feeding, clothing, loving, nurturing, protecting and educating him.  After that it’s a very, very individual and personal process. But we are all still part of a worldwide club and I believe there isn’t one of us who hasn’t experienced a high or a low alone.  So what was I going to call these ramblings?  There’s no way my nearest and dearest would allow me to call them The Yummy Mummy Diaries. I’d be laughed out of it for being vain!  Between you, me and the wall, The Scummy Mummy Diaries would be more appropriate.  Although for the record, I'm only ever slightly scummy every third or fourth day of the week! The Jammy Mammy Diaries was a firm favourite as I am indeed a very jammy mammy!  I’ve got my lovely kids who make me laugh every day.  They make me cry at times as well, mind you, but more about that later.  Mister Husband puts up with my many mood swings and doesn’t give out too much when yet another plate of pancakes or oven chips and Donegal Catch is plonked in front of him. 
Yeah, jammy mammy, that’s me!
So I’ve settled instead for The Wonderful Wagon.