Friday 31 January 2014

Stuff I Have Learnt Since Becoming a Parent

Stuff I have learnt since becoming a parent.  This is not a definitive list.  But only because they are not teenagers yet.

You won’t remember anything in the early years.

Your own name, your child’s name, which day of the week it is, the last time you had a full night’s sleep or the last time sat down to eat without a child on your lap.  You definitely won’t remember the last time you visited the bathroom alone.  Make a list.  Make lots of lists.  You will need them.

Mothers lie. 

They just do.  Usually it is For Your Own Good. They tell you it won’t hurt when it is going to hurt like hell.  This will come into its own during the Heartbreak Years aka the teenage ones.   They tell you it’s gorgeous when you suffer a disastrous haircut and end up looking like a brillo pad.  They will swear blind to their vegetarian daughter it’s vegetable and not chicken soup.

Mothers cry.

On the outside they seem like strong, go-to people who always have the answer to everything and know the right thing to say at all times.  But they’re not and they don’t.  They’re only human with feelings of their very own who close the door and bawl after you’ve gone, despite waving you off cheerfully and telling you it’ll be alright.

Mothers hurt.

They feel pain just like everyone else.  Maybe more so.  Sometimes people don’t realise this because mothers are so good at hiding it and putting on a brave face.  And also maybe because they know what’s ahead, what is unavoidable and that sometimes you can run but you can’t hide.

Mothers worry.

About everything.  They worry that their kids will be too warm, that they will be too cold.  They worry about them going hungry or being left out.  They worry that their kids might be worried about something because recent studies show worrying Is Not Good For You.

Mothers fear.

They fear the fear.  There is no getting away from it.  If pushed they will be hard pressed to tell you what that Fear actually is.   But it usually revolves somewhere around the vicinity of their children.

Mothers have a sixth sense.

They are finely tuned experts at calling your bluff.  This mostly always works because mothers are amazing like that.  They have the knowledge.  Knowing their offspring inside out is alwaysa given.

Mothers are always right.

This is a universal fact.  Even when they might be slightly wrong. It saves a lot of hassle in the end if this is accepted from the get go.


The minute you make that cup of tea the one who is asleep will wake up.  Guaranteed. 
It might look exactly like the dinner they get in crèche but it will get pushed away because it “tastes funny”.  Equally you can call it Nana’s dinner if you like but they won’t buy it.    

Kids have an innate compulsion to keep your arse away from a seat, any seat, and if you do manage to park it, they will have you hopping off it before you can say “cat on a hot tin roof.”

Lastly but definitely not least, it does and will pass.  Takes a few years though.  Especially if you have a couple of kids in quick succession.


Tuesday 28 January 2014

Harbringers of Spring

Last October I decided I would quite like a snowdrop carpet for my front garden.  It didn't seem too difficult to make happen. 

I bought nets of snowdrop bulbs and placed them in the ground with my willing helpers.

It seems like only yesterday we did that and not four months ago.

Today I went looking in the area where we planted little families of bulbs; putting them in their beds so they could sleep and wake up, heralding the arrival of spring.

Guess what I found in my garden today?  

Yes!  The first signs of spring!


Friday 24 January 2014

Outfit of the Day

Here we have Smallest Boy modelling quite an eclectic ensemble to say the least.

Styled solely by himself the range includes Penney’s Best, H&M and Dunnes Stores.

The long sleeved T with the slogan Monster Thunder is from a couple of seasons ago, possibly two, maybe even three.  H&M I believe and I have no idea how much money exchanged hands.  It is a recession piece meaning it was handed down from his older brother.  Something worth noting, the logo Monster Thunder glows in the dark.  He does not know this.

If you look closely you will see the bottom half of the collection is compiled of two parts; a grubby, grey, bobbly and well-worn tracksuit pants from Penney’s Best.  This item is also available in black and navy.  Fantastic value at only €4.  Smallest Boy has teamed this pant with swimming trunks, Penney’s Best again, which he found in the hot press.  Current price unavailable.

The feet are togged out in a brand new pair of Ben 10 snuggle socks with clever little grips on the soles to prevent slipping and sliding.  From Dunnes Stores they come in a handy pack of two and might have cost €8. 

Yes, that is a handbag purse type thing.  In which he totes around his Bikini Bottom friends and two fish.

Smallest Boy is currently on hiatus following designing this season’s collection and will be available for comment and press junkets at a later date.

He thanks you for your continued interest and support in all of his endeavours.   

Monday 20 January 2014

Charity Begins at Home

Getting to the charity shop is more difficult than it appears.

In fact I would go so far as to say it equals a combat training zone without the camouflage gear.  Unless camouflage gear is a rain coat and you’re loading the charity haul into your car in the lashing rain.

I’ll start at the beginning.

Every January I do a de-clutter.  Usually of toys and books.  Clothes get the chop too and anything else that has been hidden away for 6 months.

If you haven’t used it, worn it or needed it for that length of time, say goodbye to it.

Sorting clothes is a piece of cake.  The lads have zero interest in it.  In fact I could be dressed as a clown with a writhing snake around my neck but if I am at the hot press or near their wardrobes, I am practically invisible.

However, if I am on my knees and pulling books from a book shelf or rifling through the toy box that is a different matter entirely.

“What are you doing?”


“That’s my toy.  Why do you have my toy?  Is that the bin?”

“It’s broken.  It doesn’t work anymore.  Look at it; Juno has chewed it to pieces.  It’s no 

“But it’s mine!”

So in order to do a proper de-clutter I need to employ stealth, be covert and quick about it.

Oh, ok.   I need to be a sneaky cow.  There!  I’ve said it.

The other night I dumped an armload of comic books, school books that were two years old and covered in dust plus a realm of drawn on paper into the recycling bin.

I lied through my teeth and told the child who caught me red handed it was a yearly subscription to a magazine I didn’t read anymore so they had to go.

“Yeah.”  Mister Husband was engrossed in his phone.  Or at least I thought he was.  “A subscription to Pinocchio magazine!”

Anyhow, lined up on Saturday morning was a large box of books, several black sacks containing items of clothing I was holding onto in the belief I would fit into them again. 

My six month rule had well and truly been broken; some of those skirts and trouser suits were more than 8 years old.  Who was I kidding?  The office me is long gone.

I piled everything into the car and covered it with bags of swimming gear.

Off we went.  The plan was to drop everything into the charity shop after the swimming pool.  With four kids in the car.  In the rain.  When the charity shop is across the road necessitating several lone trips from the car to the shop.  In the rain.

I have been looking at most of these bags piled up since the end of December.  They were doing my head in. They had to go.

I couldn’t find parking.

I ended up going home.  With several black sacks and a large box of books still in the car.

Friday 17 January 2014

The Beauty of School Meetings

How to accessorize for The School Meeting

One of the little pleasures of having school going children would have to be the school meetings.  Be they parent teacher meetings, First Holy Communion ones or starting school the following year gatherings.

I like to look on them as a little gift from the school.

A little gift to me.

I get to sit in a chair and have a chat with another adult for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes.  Parent teacher meetings are great!

All that’s missing is coffee.  Of course, I could bring my own.

The meeting I attended recently was the aforementioned enrolment meeting. 

Bearing in mind I have previously gone to two other meetings of the very same nature but I am going to gloss over that unimportant semantic.

It doesn’t matter to me that I already know about the uniform and where to buy. Ditto the school book list.   I am familiar with free play and why it is not advisable to give your Naíonán Beaga (Junior Infant) yogurts for lunch in a difficult to open lunch box.

I have been adhering to the “small treat allowed on Fridays” healthy eating policy for four years now.  The staggered start and finish times don’t phase me anymore.

I was good to not go. 

But of course I was going.  Forty minutes of me time was there for the taking. 

And as I sat waiting for the meeting to commence something I had suspected for a long time was cemented home; being the middle child in the family can suck but it also has benefits.

In Lovely Liam’s case, one of those boons will come home to roost in the guise of four friends starting in the same school, all of them in the same classroom

His older brothers did not have that advantage.  I am hoping this will be a great assist in helping him adjust to big school. 

Alas I got so excited about the prospect of free time I forgot this meeting was just the first of two; the enrolment one.  The shorter one.

My shoulders stiffened and I sat up a bit straighter as Muinteoir Sínead took off, speaking a bit faster than I was entirely happy with.  At this rate my forty minutes of free time was going to be shaved down to thirty. 

If I was lucky.

During the meeting, parents, especially those who are “first timers,” were encouraged to ask questions and I mentally urged them on.  Anything to stretch out the meeting a little bit.  I even toyed with the idea of asking a few of my own. 

Before I knew it Muinteoir Sínead was handing out the form to be filled in and it was time to go. 

Down the hallway and towards the front door.

But wait. 

What’s that up ahead?

A queue.  To the oifig.  Where we had to hand in our completed forms and get the birth certs photocopied.

Great stuff.  I joined in earnest.  And then realised, me the mother of two boys who already attend, had done her homework and the certs were copied on the way into the meeting.

Foiled at every twist and turn. 

Ah well, there’s always the meeting in May.  The long one.

School.  Some of the best days of your life.  Particularly when your kids go there.