Monday 28 October 2013

Mid-Term. Day 1

Ship from Shackleton School

“Are you looking forward to the mid-term?”  “Any plans for the next four days?” “Are you glad they’re on mid-term?”

All said with more than a distinct hint of comedy.

And my answer was always the same.  “Yes.  I am looking forward to the mid-term.  It’s going to be great!  No homework, no uniforms, no lunches, no school runs.  It’s going to be lovely.”

And then I add:  “But come back to me on Wednesday.  If you see them all tethered and grazing on the side of the road you will know I have reached my limit.”

Today is Day 1 and a bank holiday to boot which means the mid-term is really only the aforementioned four days long.  Anyone can do anything for four days.

Famous last words maybe.

So far I have enjoyed two lovely lie-ins.  I was up before 9am both times but that is a lie-in for me.  Once the kids are fed, dressed and the kitchen tidied, and not by me, I am happy.

The clock going back has screwed royally with Smallest Boys circadian rhythms.  He was awake at 5am the last two mornings which is 6am “old time” but still a whole hour before his usual wake-up.

I was not about to let that get in the way of my plans.  So this is what we did today.

We visited two cemeteries.  They were surprisingly peaceful.

Because we are blessed with a beautiful river walk this was the obvious place to go next.  Juno also got her first wash/swim ever.  Even if she wasn’t expecting it.  I was just very grateful it was the dog who tested the slimy waters and not one of the boys.

Walk on the wild side (ish)

Mister Husband had to go into the office for an hour or two this morning so when we were done with our activities, we thought meeting him for a hot chocolate was in order.

Across the square from J-One Café is the Athy Heritage Centre and they are currently enjoying their 13th Shackleton Autumn school programme. 

We had to have a peep in there afterwards and I was delighted to discover an old friend within; the call bell from the Convent of Mercy. 

Like most things, I have memories of it being much larger than it actually is and the lads were all dying for a go.  They weren’t the only ones and as a result, the museum found it necessary to tie up the thick rope out of little hands reach.

If you happen to be passing through Emily Square, pop in to have a look.  You could find worse ways to spend an hour.

Then it was time for a nap.  Smallest Boy, not me. 

The afternoon beckoned.  Of course as the boys “didn’t do anything” all day we had to put on our thinking caps to see what the afternoon had to offer.

Turned out it wasn’t too shabby.

We decided to take a trip to a falconry approximately half an hour away.

I thought Oldest Boy would fall down in a fit of the vapours, he being hungry for all things animal and deadly, but in typical almost 8 year old fashion, he was very blasé about the whole thing.

I, on the other hand, once I got over the upset at seeing birds tethered, was impressed by their sheer awesomeness. 

Now the rest of the week looms before us but I have something planned for every day.  The boys may or may not get a home cooked meal every day.  Actually, they definitely won’t. 

That would get in the way of the fun.

But they certainly won’t go hungry.  We’ve got a play centre appointment in the morning in an effort to include everyone from group on our mid-term break.  There will be a trip to the pool followed by a late breakfast of pancakes in the previously mentioned J-One café. 

Weather permitting, a trip to the woods and maybe to a park or two.  There is a Halloween party on Thursday and two birthday parties at the weekend.    

I mentioned previously I was going to enjoy this mid-term break if it killed me.

I’m still alive!

Friday 25 October 2013


I have a terrible habit of saying, “I am really looking forward to…………..” fill in the blank space.

In this case the blank space is the Halloween mid-term break. 

All week, in fact all month, I have been wishing it closer and closer.

No school lunches for a week.  No uniforms.  No homework.  That one is worth repeating; no homework! No school runs. No craziness in the mornings.  (Let me dream, ok?) No in bed by 8pm every night.   (For them at least.  It could very well be me that is falling into the scratcher at that time.)

It is going to be great!


Except I forgot some stuff. 


The noise

They are always loud.  Always.  Even when they are talking quietly they are loud.  But this time I will be privy to unnatural decibel levels all week.  I will have Dora and Power Rangers coming out of my ears. 

The [lack of] readies to do stuff with

Why couldn’t The Childers Allowance be in tomorrow instead of next weekend?  I might have to rob my catering sized Mayonnaise jar to take them to the pool in the middle of the week.  In the meantime I will have to source free entertainment like the woods, the park.  The cemetery.  That’s a good one.  They’ve been looking to go to the cemetery for months now.  Would it look odd if I packed a picnic?

The tiredness.  Mine.

This one is inevitable least of all because the clocks go back at the weekend too.  Did you forget that one?  I didn’t. 

The fights

Once Deadly 60 was over with this afternoon, within five minutes they became fractious.  I went upstairs to get away from the sniping and griping.  I was followed.  I went into the bathroom and locked the door after me.  I was followed.  They opened the locked door.  From the outside.

Time to be afraid.

I’ve also realised when I say I am looking forward to something, I enjoy the looking forward part more than the event itself.

But it’s here now, the mid-term break and I intend to enjoy the next few days if it kills me.

D’you hear me?  If it kills me!

Monday 21 October 2013

Loose Teeth

Teeth Containers

Competition between the boys is at an all-time high.  I have also heard it said competition is a good thing.  It’s good alright.  So good, they are almost killing each other.

Age is an issue with Oldest Boy and Shy Boy.  With just 23 months between them, Oldest Boy has strength, speed and confidence on his side.  Shy Boy aches to be as good, if not better than his older brother.  Howls of outrage when this doesn’t happen are common.

Lovely Liam and Smallest Boy are currently battling it out over me and they will argue at length over whose mammy I am.  One of them will have my left leg in a vice like grip as the other holds onto the right one and tries to beat off his brother.

Precisely a year ago, I signed the two oldest boys up for swimming lessons and I braved the water with the other two. 

The first seven weeks were grand so I signed them up for the next round.  Shy Boy point blank refused to enter the water after three lessons. 

Today, he is a tad disgusted that his older brother is diving into the deep end and swimming through weighted hoops dropped into the water.

He announced last week he wants to go back to lessons.  To be as good as his brother.

Not too long ago in the distant past, he threw a few strops over the fact Oldest Boy’s teeth were falling out.  “It’s not fair.  How come mine never fall out?”

He now has a total of four wobbly teeth in the bottom front section of his mouth. They are rattling around in his head, but still refusing to release their grip on his gums.  Nonetheless there is much joy, much tweaking and pulling in an effort to encourage them to fall out.

When Oldest Boy was losing his, he wouldn’t eat Rice Krispies because he “couldn’t handle them” and he returned to his baby habit of heavy drooling. 

It’s not right to laugh at your kids, but sometimes you can’t help it.  It can be particularly difficult to keep a straight face when baby teeth take turns in sticking out and the child in question has to use his tongue to poke one back in behind the other.

Shy Boy is a bit wary of eating apples at the moment.

It’s a physical impossibility anyway even if he is afraid to chance it for fear of accidentally swallowing his loose choppers. 

I have assured him that in the event of them being ingested, they will pass through him.    

But also I will not be the one to “look” for them. 

At my suggestion he has gathered a couple of suitable containers in which to place his tooth if it falls out during school time.  This has previously happened much to the absolute horror of his classmate. 

The tooth was never found.

My boy scout is going in prepared.  

Makin' your mind up time.

Friday 18 October 2013

Womzies and Wonderpants

Nightmare on Leinster St!
I heart Halloween.  Heart it.  It is so cheerful, so colourful, such fun and as inexpensive or as costly as you wish to make it. 

I know cheerful is an odd word to describe Halloween.  It is supposed to scare the bejesus out of you (Freddy Krueger anyone?) but I think the combination of the traditional orange and black colours are just gorgeous. 

It’s great craic.  Parties everywhere, kids trick or treating, costumes to rival those on a film set.  No such thing as a black bin bag and a 99p mask anymore.

And if I can make myself stay out of the Halloween aisle in the supermarket and the discount stores, then it is not hugely expensive.

It is one week to the Halloween mid-term school break and in preparation I flung up a few decorations. 

I couldn’t help myself.  The window pictures went up and after an initial “me don’t like him” from  Smallest Boy at having Frankenstein move into his bedroom, once he saw the effect from outside, he was more than welcoming.

Last years work.  Too rainy to shoot tonight.

And Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without the obligatory pumpkin.  At 99c per kilo it’s not the cheapest but *if I make soup out of it* I’ll really get my money’s worth. 

One of my favourite decorations is simple but creates a lovely effect.  Jam jars painted with fluorescent paint and a tea light popped inside.    

Last years efforts.  Rain again!

We’ve been indulging in Halloween treats all week; jelly fangs and body parts, chocolate eyeballs and pumpkins.   

Lidl's best!
Boy not included in purchase

In case you were wondering about the title.  We have a womzie in the house.  You and I would know it as zombie but this is how Smallest Boy interprets it. 

Meet Womzie

Wonderpants have always been in existence.  Everyone wears them.  Instead of a cape.  Because that would be just too obvious.   

Happy Halloween everyone.  Eat, drink and be scary!