Friday, 28 September 2012

Big Bird. Week 9. Relapse

 “When things get me down, I take a deep breath and go to my happy place.  The fridge.”
This week I got a terrible fright. I want a new bra.  I’m gagging for it.   I ran in circles for twenty minutes and I have started to notice when people put a different wash out on their clothes line.  How sad am I?  I fear I have descended into a walking, not talking very much, nosey neighbour, an imperfect candidate for a one woman neighbourhood watch scheme.   It’s a sure sign you’re getting on when clothes lines take on a new fascination.    “They didn’t have that tea towel out to dry yesterday and is that………?  Yes.  Yes, it is a new pair of socks.”  Sad.  Very sad.  There were lots of sad things during the week.  I went to the dog’s altogether.  I got all warm and fuzzy with yet even more chocolate and although the stuff was eaten and digested by Wednesday, it goes without saying that I Was Only Fooling Myself.  I’ve suffered a huge relapse - I’m not sharing my chocolate anymore.  I dropped a Giant Chocolate Button on the floor for Juno and in a moment of mad I-shouldn’t-have-done-that panic, I almost took her nose off when I covered it with my foot.  I think I really was going to stoop and pick it up.  Things have gotten so mud slidey I am thinking of setting up my own Chocoholics Anonymous group.  It will not be like a book club where everyone knows all that is, is a covert opportunity to drink wine.  Chocoholics Anonymous will not be a chocolate get together.  Although we could, quite possibly, drink wine. That might be nice.  There is a rumour doing the rounds that red wine can possibly help with weight loss.  But when you see the word “possibly” before the latest revelation or discovery, you know they are just telling a blatant lie and the word “possibly” is only stuck in there to make up a 1500 word count or to cover all libellous angles.   Aye, so I was bold again this week.  I only managed 3 runs and one of them was running in circles for twenty minutes.  Let me explain.  The evenings are dark now at 8pm.  Too late for hitting the asphalt.  This is not an excuse.  There is no way I will run on a busy, dark road of an evening.  But we do have quite a big garden.  It is big enough to use as a running track so that’s what I did.  Two of the Awesome Foursome were asleep so I happily put on some cartoons for the older two and got into my running gear.  I did my few weights as warm ups and put the timer on the oven.  I asked the Screecher Creatures to shout at me when it went off.  They didn’t.  I think it was a crafty ploy on their part, to keep me outside and running around the garden all night.  On the plus side, I got a bit longer than my usual run and on the down side; the neighbours probably have all their “she’s for the looney bin” suspicions confirmed.  And I have gone into craving mode.  I saw a fantabulous purple Shock Absorber in a magazine.  It’s purple with blue edging.  I am a firm believer in buying a gimmick in order to keep up the interest levels.  When I was on my Wedding Diet years ago I bought myself one of those yoga mats to do my floor exercises on.  It didn’t matter that I had a perfectly good, soft and comfortable carpet underneath me at all times, I wanted my yoga mat so I went out and bought it.  I used it for about a month and then got bored with it and returned to working out on the perfectly good, soft and comfortable carpet.  But it worked.  It got me over a hump.  A Shock Absorber is not a gimmick I hasten to point out.  I repeat - it is not a gimmick.  It is a wondrous, over the shoulder boulder holder, tit sling genius piece of engineering. And I just want it.  I’ve got two others, a black one and a nearly black one.  Well, grey because it used to be white.  I saw it in a magazine and the big lousers had also put up a gorgeous pair of runners.  But they cost my weekly shop so I won’t be getting those any time soon!! A bit of important boob trivia for you: did you know that your chests can move in the figure of eight when you run if they are not adequately taped down?  Well they can.  All that bouncing around stretches a booby part called Coopers Ligament (don’t ask coz I don’t know).  It prevents sagging but once it gets stretched, the damage is done.  So tape up those chests ladies!  Take it from me; the Shock Absorber is the only way to go.  It is no coincidence that I am putting gagging for it and Brax in the same paragraph.  Brax, by all accounts, is coming to Ireland in December.   Except of course it’s not really him at all.  It’s the chap who plays Brax.  I’m not that gullible.  And sure he’d be no good to me at all.  Yes, he might look like Brax but he’s not Brax and I am not one to settle for second best.  Ah jayzus scrap that, I’ll settle.  I’ll settle!  The man is a pure and utter walking indulge fest but I got a terrible fright and almost gagged when I saw him bumping uglies with that wan.  Alas it can never happen between us now.  I’m sorry, but he’s been ruined for me.  I’m also a bit disappointed in his taste.  Does he even see those ridiculous ear rings she wears?  I’m not mad about the way she sometimes wears her hair either.  And I won’t get started on her fashion sense because I would only come across as bitter.  And I’m not.  Not at all. Not even a tiny bit.  But he’s let himself down with a bang (no pun intended) and that is all I will say on Brax.  For this week.  The other thing I am gagging for is a girly night out.  I’m on a promise (definitely no pun intended) from my cousin that this will most certainly happen over the next couple of weeks.  And if you are reading, missus, and by gum you’d better be, I am holding you to that!  It’s been so long since I had a night out and let’s be honest, drinking home alone is not a good look.  Until next week, folks.  Oh, I was slightly mollified to learn I gained just a half pound this week.  But in the words of many a school report, could do better.         
September 6th -   ten stone eleven and a quarter pounds
September 13th – ten stone eleven and three quarters of a pound
September 20th – ten stone twelve and a half pounds (gained three quarters of a pound)
September 27th – ten stone twelve and three quarters (gained half pound)

Monday, 24 September 2012

An Audience with The Wonderful Wagon

“Conor, close the bathroom door, will you?”  “How did you know I was in there?”  I wasn’t in the mood to explain acoustics to a six and a half year old so I told him a whopper:  I am your mother. (No. That wasn’t the whopper!) I told him, when a mammy has babies, she is given special powers.  (That was the whopper.  And it continues.)  When a mammy has her babies, from then on The Mammy knows everything.  Even when The Boy says he didn’t do it, The Mammy knows that he did. The Mammy even knows when The Boy is only thinking about doing something. So don’t even think about it.  The Mammy is on to you!  He gave me his half and half look – will I believe her or will I laugh coz she’s only messin’?  And to prove my point I told him I knew he was thinking I’m only messing but I’m not.  How else did I know it was you in the bathroom, I asked him.  How else do I know which one of you is coming down the hall?  I almost had him then.  “But you keep getting Brendan and Liam mixed up, Mammy.”  Seems he was the one who had me at that moment.  I’d love to know what their fascination with the bathroom is.  Or rather, what their fascination with the place is when I am in there.  What is it they think they will miss if I manage to spend time in there alone?  Depending on the weather, i.e. if it is nice and sunny outside and there is digging and messing with water to be getting on with, my little followership to the bathroom is smaller.  It will be missing one or two members.  Original members I might add.  But I have gained a new follower.  The dog.  I’ve shaken off a Screecher Creature or two on visiting the latrine but Juno likes to keep me company.  Where once I heard the slap slap of little hands on the floor, or the clomp clomp of ill-fitting welly boots and their owner coming to find me, now it’s the click click click of dog nails.  The door will be nudged open, a silky little black head peeps round and Juno will come right in, park herself on the floor, then without shame and with absolute pleasure, in front of me, begin to groom herself.  The word groom is used in its broadest terms here. Let’s just say she won’t be licking me or any of my kids afterwards.  Filthy beast.    Kids have a sixth sense for stuff.  They do.  We’ve all done the going out thing where the clothes are left in the bathroom with the make-up and the high heels.  Doing our best not to leave a clue that we are “up to something” namely a rare night out.    Handbag on the stairs, even the perfume for crying out loud, will only be sprayed going out the door.  There’s nothing like smelling differently for raising the dial on their “she’s going out and we must stop her” radar.   Mine, all four of them, as babies, were intrinsically and telepathically connected to the kettle.  Even when we lived in a carpeted, two story and some of them were asleep upstairs, they still heard that little “click” all the way through the ceiling and insulation.  I have tiptoed out of the room in an effort to get to the bathroom in peace.  I have seen one of them on occasion scratch the back of his neck as I do this so I reckon the hairs are beginning to stand up, to alert him, just as I am making good on my escape. I can’t even lock the door after me anymore.  It’s one of those locks that can be twisted open from the outside  in the event that a child locks himself in.  And of course, allowing a Screecher Creature handy access when I am in there and one or three of them need to follow.  We thought of everything, didn’t we?  In our house no-one needs to use the loo when we’re about to get in the car, but once I go in there, it’s a free for all.  I should bring food and we could have a picnic.  A regular little get together.   The following are normal questions and demands in our house.  But guess where I am when they were being asked? Go on.  Guess. Not only am I in the bathroom, I am in the shower.  The bloody shower.  I suppose I am a captive audience but still!               “Mammy, I need to do a wee.” “Mammy, can I have a sandwich?”  “Mammy, where’s my kite?” “Mammy, will you wipe my bum?”  “Mammy, will you put on Netflix?”  “Mammy, get me my shovel!”  “Mammy, do you want to see my new pet slug?”  (No!!!!!) “Mammy, my willy is itchy.  Fix it.”  (No!!!!!!!)  “Mammy, were dinosaurs ‘stinct when you were little?” Do you want your sandwich soggy?   Never mind that the bread and jam live in the kitchen and not the bathroom but for the love of shower gel, how do you think I am going to make you a sandwich in the shower?  Can you not see that I am busy?  The bathroom is also no place for slugs, itchy willies, kites, shovels or otherwise.   The mind boggles, it really does.  I have often said that I could be strung up from the ceiling, clearly unable to help anybody, in the same room as Mister Husband who could be sitting on the couch, legs crossed and reading the paper.  The boys would bypass him and come straight to me dangling from the roof, to request something.  In fact, this might have happened.  Oh wait, I was at the sink.  Same diff if you ask me.   

Friday, 21 September 2012

Big Bird. Week 8. Bottomless Pits

“We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot of information in our heads. So I’m not fat, I’m just really intelligent and my head couldn’t hold any more so it started filling up the rest of me.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”   Garfield on Facebook

Tonight’s post is a wee bit different due to the bloody computer that passes as the Screecher Creature’s home entertainment system having gone to the digital cemetery in the sky.  It used to be my computer, but they conveniently took it over for their use.  Therefore, it follows that the little blighters have taken over the other computer, the one I have been using to work on my blog.  If I get a bit of time in the afternoons, I’ll sit down and noodle away.  But I haven’t been able to get next or near it all week.  Trying to was akin to taking a T-bone steak from a rabid Rottweiler.  I didn’t fancy my chances so I paced the floors and told myself to have patience that when our new telly arrives, I won’t know myself.  Neither will they.  I am guaranteed hours and hours of hassle free me time as they sit and watch it.  This has been written into our customer contract thingy so it’s a win win all round.  Also this week, exercise wise, has been a bit of a disaster.  I let three nights in a row pass without doing anything except feeling guilty as hell about it.  I chose instead, to drink a glass of wine on two of those nights, and went to bed at 9pm.  I also murdered a large bar of Turkish Delight, a bag of Wispa Bite Sized Pieces; one of my oh-look-chocolate-in-a-different-shape-and-I-cannot-resist problems.  Plus other various confectionary items.  The Awesome Foursome, however, seem to be going through yet another growth spurt.  They are bottomless pits at the moment which has inspired this blog post.    So to begin. 
It felt like a bacon and cabbage day so that’s what was on the menu for dinner.  Various kids ate it with various reactions at various times during the afternoon.  It was 4.30pm, approaching tea time and tummies were starting to rumble.  Screecher Creature No. 1 requested pasta.  Might as well see who else fancied it.   
Me:  Iarla, do you want pasta for your tea?
Iarla:  No.  Not hungry.
Me:  Liam? Pasta?
Liam:  I want Weetabix with honey on it, Mammy.
Me:  Sigh. 
I got to work making pasta and Weetabix.  Thank complex carbohydrates for the micro wave and Dolmio pouches.  Handed finished products to them and as the empty bowls were brought back to the kitchen I began to clean up the dishes.   
Conor: Mammy, I’m still hungry.  I want cereal.
Iarla:  Mammy, I’m hungry too.  When am I getting my pasta?
Me: Iarla……………………………
Liam: Mammy, I want cereal too.
Me:  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I still had to feed the dog!
I did a fair bit of sighing and mental giving out.  Went back into the kitchen, opened the press, took the saucepan out again, filled it with water, waited for it to boil then added spaghetti.  Stuck the pouch of bolognaise sauce in the microwave, all the while  entertaining myself with images of force feeding the mind changer if he changed it again when the food was put in front of him.   So far so good.  Went back into the kitchen to make the lunches.  Pulled cheese, cheese strings, yogurts and fruit out of the fridge.
Liam:  Mammy!  Help me do my poos!
Off to the bathroom I go.  Plopped him on the toilet seat and rushed back to smear some jam on two slices of batch bread.  Cut them in half.
Liam:  Mammy!  Wipe my bum!
Race off to the bathroom.  When I got back to the kitchen, the sandwiches were gone.  Thieved.  Lifted.  Being digested in the sitting room.  Grrr.  Start the lunches again.
Iarla:  Mammy!  Juno did her wee’s on the floor!
I did swear a little bit at this point and not too quietly either.  Off to grab the wee wee cloth and complete operation mop up.  Back to the kitchen.  Quick wash of hands.  (I do remember.  Just because I didn’t mention it before, doesn’t mean I don’t do it.  I do.  Regularly.  My hands could grate cheese at the moment because they are so rough from all the washing they get) I turned with the intention of packing the lunch bags.  My hand hovered where the cheese strings had been not two minutes earlier.  Gone!  The thieves at work again.  The chopped up bits of fruit were also stolen.  Would they ever just stop eating!!!!!!!! 
Someone:  Mammy!  Juno’s eating Lego!
Me:  Take it from her!!!!!!
No answer.  I didn’t bother going to the Lego’s aid.  If the owners weren’t concerned, I wasn’t going to pretend to be.  The lunches were going to be finished before I did anything else! And if the dog needed someone to stick their fingers down her choking throat to retrieve the piece of Lego, it was not going to be me.  Oh, alright.  It probably would be me!
September 6th -   ten stone eleven and a quarter pounds
September 13th – ten stone eleven and three quarters of a pound
September 20th – ten stone twelve and a half pounds (gained three quarters of a pound)

Monday, 17 September 2012


Once upon a time BC (Before Childers) Mister Husband and I were delighted with ourselves because we didn’t have a rubbish bin.  We recycled as much as we could and invested in a compost bin type thing for food waste. We couldn’t get over the cost of a yearly subscription for a refuse collection and secretly scorned at those who did.  Well, I did anyway.  I was wearing my green eco-friendly coat at all times and never missed an opportunity to announce it.  I even walked round the supermarket once looking at chickens housed in their little plastic poly tunnels checking for the tell-tale urine burns on their plucked legs.  I’d seen a programme where chickens were mass produced in sheds and had so little room in which to move, they literally sat in their own shit thus receiving ammonia burns to their legs before being (mercifully) killed and sold to chippers.  Where yes, I used to eat them after a night in the pub.  I was well and truly flying the flag for animal rights and recycling.  Then we decided to buy a house instead of renting in Dublin.  We upped sticks and moved to Carlow where we continued our green lifestyle.  I even took the bus to work and everything.  It almost killed me, those early morning starts, but that’s another story.  Imagine my delight when we found a fantastic recycling facility in Carlow.  It even took old chip pan oil and everything.  Except we didn’t own a chip pan.  But we still used the facilities.  Regularly.   The place was fantastic.  It was packed of a weekend.  People arrived with empty tetra packs, cereal boxes and tin cans spilling out of the backs of their cars.  The organised amongst us even had those stackable drawers where everything was neatly stored depending on what it was so all they had to do was tip the newspaper drawer into the newspaper skip, the plastic containers into the plastic receptacle etc.  Course, it goes without saying, in a house where children do not rule the roost, the bulk of our recycling was for the green, brown and clear glass bins courtesy of our many parties.  Ah, them were the days!  This recycling centre even had its own little wash room where you could rinse your hands after the filthy job of smashing glass bottles as hard as you could into a large green bin.  Can you tell I loved doing this?  Our green-ness continued for a while and we were completely on board with it.  It cost us nothing and we were doing our bit for the environment.  Don’t anyone mention driving there and co2 emissions.  Our carbon footprints were not perfect but we were trying. Then Screecher Creature No. 1 came into our world and as part of our eco-friendly pledge, we messed about with re-usable nappies for a while.  A long while.  Too bloody long.  My hands were raw with all the washing and the smell of pis……. I mean ammonia in the bathroom would make your eyes water.  It didn’t help that Screecher Creature No. 1 was a heavy wetter so the washing machine and its constant use totally contradicted what we were trying to do in the first place.  We battled with using “real” nappies because you can’t rock up to a recycling centre and just fling them in the nearest receptacle.  So our bin free days were fast coming to an end.   The day the bag of disposable nappies came into the house was the day my life started again.  How fickle am I? I didn’t give a toss about my carbon footprint.  That horrible bucket and its steaming contents were at an end.  My hands grew skin again and Screecher Creature No. 1 stopped leaking through the cloth nappies and onto his cot sheets Every. Single. Night.  Aaahhhhh!  Fast forward three more kids and a new house later.  We have not one but three bins for refuse collection.  The nappies, I am hugely delighted to announce, are coming to an end.  Brendan, be fore-warned.  Your older brother was just two and a half when he decided nappies were not for him anymore so I have high hopes for you next summer.  Don’t let me down boy!   I can’t really claim to us managing without a television. Not when we have four boys.  It’s not a television proper; it is more of a computer monitor and a few wires to connect us to important things like Netflix and Mister Maker on You Tube.  This kept us all going for a while.  Especially me.   I know there are people out there who have television free households and I salute you.  In the very early baby days, my kids were not going to be television junkies.  Snort!  At least I had good intentions.  These were quickly replaced with a desperate need for peace and quiet.   I remember the day a box set of Baby Einstein DVD’s came into the house.  I was outraged!  Educational or not, our precious firstborn will not, I repeat, not be watching these.  Television will rot his impressionable brain and I, as his mother, cannot allow that to happen. I needn’t have worried.  He wasn’t a bit interested in them.  Until the Old MacDonald DVD was “popped” on and impressionable Screecher Creature No. 1 was enraptured for twenty minutes.   He likes tractors and combines!  Quick, where’s the loop button?  That was the end of that and the unpaid baby sitter was firmly established, welcomed with open arms even, into the household.   Then the small computer/laptop/notebook decided it had enough of irritating female cartoon characters and went on strike.  As in upped and died strike.  It also didn’t help that a hungry pup chewed through some wires.  Something had to be done.  Forget about reading books, running about in the garden, making and doing, the television problem had to be solved.  And quickly.  It was time to bite another bullet. Time to put another black mark against our carbon footprint.  In other words, get a television.  How I’ve changed.  This turnaround might also have something to do with the Screecher Creatures wanting to use my computer when theirs is out of action.  Eh, sorry chaps.  God love us all but the excitement is huge. A new television is winging its way to us as I type.  I had to check this bit; it is a forty two inch plasma screen thing that will need to be secured to the wall.  Everyone has one apparently. We nearly do.  I’m still green albeit with envy now.  As a family that have been, until recently, watching our entertainment on a computer screen, this new television the size of a small home cinema, is hugely anticipated.     I’ve even stocked up with popcorn in its honour.  The saucepan popping kind.  A bit more environmentally friendly.