Friday 30 August 2013

We Made It!

First week back in school and we made it to the other side.

Oh, alright, then.  The first two days back at school.

But they are the most important ones. 

I only had to wake them up the first morning.  There wasn’t too much of a panic.

Pancakes for breakfast.

No objections about having to wear scratchy clothes, warm socks and tight, new shoes.   

No tears. 

From anyone.  Although there was a dodgy moment in the school yard when Shy Boy refused to get out of the car because his bestie hadn’t arrived yet.

They went in smiling and exited pretty much the same way.

I didn’t do too badly either.  I remembered to pick them up, didn’t forget to pack lunches, new books and water bottles.  I didn’t get the bags mixed up. 

I did, however, purchase the wrong Maths book for Shy Boy.

Oldest Boy came home looking for additional materials like a red pen, a picture of him “not as a baby” and a copy book.

He only went in with about 8 of them.

They ate non-stop when they got home the first day and slept like logs that night.

There were no sudden shocks at having to return the next day.

Oldest Boy spoke of a friend having “moved to America” and how he is “never, ever going to see her again.”

Shy Boy spoke of what he wanted for his dinner.

They were wrecked but happy.

And now it’s the weekend.

We made it!

How did you get on?

Monday 26 August 2013

Things I Won't Miss When They Are Back in School

So they’re back to school in a matter of days now.  That means summer is over and it’s time to dig out the sleeping bag and travel mug for the car. Because let’s face it, that is where we are going to be spending most of our time.

Already the evenings are dark enough to need lights on at 9pm.  Boo! 

I saw a sneaky Christmas ad on the goggle-box during the week.  Winter stuff is in the shops and I have a fruity chicken curry recipe taped to the inside of the press door.  Bye bye summer salads and chilled glasses of wine in the garden.

Sun block is on special offer because no-one needs it now.

The grass is starting to slow down and the swallows are preparing to leave us.  The fields are empty plains of yellow scratchy stubble and some of them are already grubbed, getting ready to receive next year’s seed.

Just when you become used to one season, the next one throws muted yellow, brown and red colours at you. 

I am going to miss summer so frickin much!  Don’t go, please don’t go! Stay for another little while.  Like maybe another six months.  Go on, I won’t tell anyone.

As much as I am going to miss all the lovely things and joys that are synonymous with summer, there is a whole pile of stuff I won’t be missing when they go back to school.

In no specific order these would have to be:

The late bedtimes

The upside to them going to bed late is there naturally follows a later wake up in the morning.  This is totally acceptable.  In fact the shit crazy me of yesteryear would have given her second and third born for an 8am wake-up.  However, at present it means I haven’t seen an 8pm bedtime in about two months.

The constant demands for stuff

Ok, so this isn’t going to entirely stop – but the biggest offender will be back in the confines of his classroom and the demands persistent requests to go to the Euro shop/for play dates/to entertain him will cease.

The Spending of the Money

Again, this won’t stop entirely.  After all, there is no such thing as free education and in order to break the monotony of the day, on occasion, I herded them all into the car and we went to the shop for milk.  This litre of milk always, always cost me anything from a fiver to a tenner with all the extras I invariably picked up.

“I’m bored” and “What can we do today?”

I definitely won’t miss these complaints.  But they won’t miss my snarky answers of “are you now,” and “I don’t know.  What can you do today?” either. 

The Parks

God, the parks.  With their swinging swings and their slidey slides and my kids who go “push me” and “watch me” and me going “where’s the bloody man in his cappuccino van?” Parks serve their purpose but only when there are other mothers to talk to whilst my kids entertain themselves and don’t get stung in the process.

The Noise Levels

Sorry?  What was that?  Couldn’t quite hear you there.  See, it takes about an hour after they go to bed before the noise, shrieks, shouts and roars leave my head.  When they go back to school I am going to be that lady on all the air freshener ads who walks around her house smiling, adjusting her curtains and caressing her soft furnishings.

Snack Time(s) and Ice Creams

My lads are grazers.  They prefer to eat little and often.  I will varmint if I have to prepare another load of pancakes, drop scones, pieces of fried bacon, ham sandwiches, bowls of chopped fruit or bowls of cereal.  Eat your dinner for cripes sake!

Contagious Bathroom Visits

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a disease but it’s definitely catching.  As soon as I head in the direction of the bathroom, someone else announces they “need to go” and beat me to it.  Then the others decide they might as well take their bits out for an airing as I stand there, hopping from one foot to the other and shouting at them to hurry up.

Ah yes, all of that will stop and peace will reign for a few hours in the morning.  I will get to drink whole cups of coffee.  I will be able to listen to Ray D’Arcy on the radio in the mornings again.  Quite possibly as I am drinking my whole cup of coffee.

I am quite looking forward to leaving something down, maybe even a sharp knife, relaxed in the knowledge that it will still be there when I come back.  In fact, all of the cutlery can breathe a collective sigh of relief, knowing they won’t be brought out into the garden and used to carve up the earth.

But mostly, mostly I am looking forward to finishing some chocolate without having to share it.



Friday 23 August 2013



There I was, sitting under two bored and whiney kids when my phone beeped.  It was a text from school reminding us all that it was back to abnormal in four working days.  Saturday and Sunday are just around the corner but that helpful message just served to reminded me it is the last weekend of the school holidays.

I have been feeling the dread since the start of August but when my phone beeped and I read what it had to say, the dread multiplied.

In a gesture of solidarity, the sun slipped behind a cloud and stayed there for five minutes.


Shy Boy had been invited to an impromptu play date and off he went, absolutely delighted with himself, grinning from ear to ear.  It was lovely to see.

Not so lovely though to have Oldest Boy literally hanging off me, moaning in my ear about how unfair  it all is, what can he do, and in case I didn’t hear him the first seventeen times, how unfair it all is.


The dead weight in the pit of my stomach is strangely reminiscent of my own back to school days. 

No matter what we got up to this week, no matter what time it was when I checked the clock, I thought to myself “this time next week they will be in school/I will be on a school run/making lunches/supervising homework.”

When the boys want to close the kitchen door, which is open from early morning till late at night, I stop them.

“Please leave the door open.  This time next month we’ll have to keep it closed.”

This time next month it will be the end of September.  They will have been back at school a month!


Also one of my boys likes to take chocolate sandwiches for his lunch.

Go on.  Give out to me. 

I’m off to the shop to buy myself a bottle of Treat to cheer myself up.


Monday 19 August 2013

Clockwork Orange

A Very Scary Fruit

We’re still playing musical beds in our house.  Without the music.  Unless “please, please please go back to your own bed,” is music.

Sometimes I am lucky and can coax the midnight bathroom visitor back underneath their own sheets, but mostly, I don’t even try.  I grab my pillow, tell them to “get in there beside your Daddy and I’ll see you in the morning,” before crawling into the vacant bed across the hall.

I have spread myself out on the floor beside a cot and a bottom bunk bed, trying desperately not to snort carpet pile up my nose as I waited for the offender to go back to sleep.

I have held water bottles for various boys to sup from and tip toed out of their bedroom in the vain hope they will let me.

There have been a few bad dreams since the summer holidays and these are the ones I don’t even try to fight.  I just pull back the corner of my duvet and invite the child in.

Today I overheard Oldest Boy giving the low down on bad dreams to Shy Boy.

“Your brain does this thing,” he began, “when you’re asleep and you kind of have no choice.  It sorts out all the stuff you see during the day.”

So far so good so correct.

He continued.  “If you see bad stuff,” at this junction he reached out and plucked an orange from the fruit bowl, “just pretend this orange is horrible, well, your brain will remember this orange and you’ll have a bad dream when you’re asleep.  See?”

Great!  Orange nightmares tonight so.

Friday 16 August 2013

Hiding Places

Typically the boys are not good at finding stuff.  Things like schoolbags, coats, socks, shoes, toys, juice bottles and favourite story books.  Because these objects are inanimate and do not jump up and down screeching “yoo hoo! Over here!  Here I am!”

I have discovered when they burst into a room and they don’t immediately see what they are looking for, they will turn on their heel and leave.    

So, when they barge into the bedroom and are not expecting to see me crouched down behind the laundry basket, say, they will run back out again shouting “Maa-mee!  Where are you?”

It’s a good hiding place, down on the floor behind the laundry basket. 

I have also stood in the space under the stairs.  There are enough coats hanging up there to provide temporary refuge.  This one works particularly well in winter as it’s darker then.

And the other night whilst the fruits of my withered loins were playing abattoirs, I grabbed my book and went upstairs to the bathroom.

It didn’t take long for them to thunder up the stairs after me, sounding not unlike a small herd of elephants.

As expected, one of them burst into the bathroom, halfway through the word “maaaameeeee,” as he went. 

I cut him off by putting the book up to my face and said the first thing that came into my head, “I’m not your mammy.  I’m your aunty Gail.”

Silence for a brief moment and then footsteps as he ran out.

Then I heard it.

“Guess who’s in our bathroom?  Go on!  Guess!  It’s Aunty Gail.  Aunty Gail is sitting on our toilet reading one of mammy’s books!

Sorry Aunty Gail.