Monday 26 May 2014

X-Box Wars

What a nice colour!
Recently my boys had a fight over something they don’t even have: an x-box thingy. 

The demand idea suggestion nagging began shortly after the First Holy Communion.  I have no idea how much one of these things cost, nor do I want to [really] but there was a mild expectation that Oldest Boy would be able to procure one after the 29th of March this year.

I met the demand idea suggestion nagging with a lot of “hmmmm.  We’ll see’s.”

Then it went quiet as these things tend to do.  Other more important, easily acquired stuff came to the forefront of his mind.  His favourite adventurer released a new book and the Book Fair came to school.  He was quiet for maybe a week.

Then it started up again and this time round, in his mind, the x-box was a runner.  There was no definitely maybe about it.  He had it all sorted out.  Christmas is just round the corner, or something.

He has real leadership qualities.  Two of his younger brothers were highly influenced by his enthusiasm and vision even though one of them has no idea what an x-box is.  Like his mother.

Discussions started in earnest.     

“It’s going to be in my room.” Was the announcement.

“Eh, I don’t think so.”  I was worse.  I found myself talking as if an x-box was coming to live with us.

“But that’s not fair!  All of my friends own one and it’s in their room.”

“No they don’t.”  Of this I am sure.

“Anyway, it’s going to be mine and I will say who plays with it.”
“Eh, I don’t think so.”  I was worse.  Talking as if the x-box was already in the house and waiting to be unpacked.

“But that’s not fair.  It was my idea to get one!”

“I didn’t say you, I mean ye, are going to get one yet.”

“But that’s not fair.  All of my friends have one.”

“Eh, I don’t think so.”  Of this I am sure.

Are you getting a sense of déjà vu?  I definitely am.

Later on that same morning we had our usual cup of coffee after the school run.  They boys are so comfortable in there now they expect a Werthers original every time they come in, from the sweetie jar on the counter.

That morning there was none.  So Karen, the lovely lady behind the counter, who is so good to our boys, very generously presented them with a yellow Snack bar to share as we were leaving.

On the school run Oldest Boy, the X Box monster, spots a rogue Yellow snack wrapper on the floor of the car.

Darn it!

“What’s that?” Even though he knew right well what it was.  “Where did that come from?”

“Oh,” says Lovely Liam, oh so casually but oh so smugly. “Karen gave that to us this morning. “  He paused for effect.  “When you were in school.”

Eyes glinted for a fraction of a second but determined not to be outdone and to have the last word, Oldest Boy had to save face. 


“I go in there with daddy all the time.  And I get rocky road!  And one day,” he paused for effect. 
“I even got Fanta!”  One up man ship radiated from him in waves.

“What?” screeched Lovely Liam in outrage.

“What?” I whipped around to look at the grinner in the back seat.

Fanta? Liquid sunshine as far as the boys are concerned.  In a can.  And the devils very own drink as far as I am concerned. 

“Yeah,” he said, absolutely refusing to back down.  “I got Fanta. And it was yum!”

There was nothing I could do.  He got Fanta (and it was yum!) the damage, the evidence was long gone. 

I can’t do anything about contraband fizzy drinks when they are doled out in my absence, but I sure can do something about an x-box.

I’m almost sure of it!


Friday 23 May 2014

Stuff My Kids Think I Need

We all know leaving the smallies at home while you shove the trolley round the supermarket is the best way to save on your grocery bill.  Ditto the daddies.

But sometimes it is necessary for them all to tag along.  And be present in the changing rooms.  And at your side as you queue for that longed for coffee.  Even if it is just a take-out. 

Recently I left my four alone at the table in the café.  Mister Husband was queuing for the coffees and I scooted across to the smoothie bar.  I glanced over to ensure one or some of them weren’t sawing the legs off the table.  They weren’t.  But Smallest Boy was on all fours on top of it, roaring like a lion as the other three laughed and egged him on.

Sometimes they are just there.  With you.  All the time.

When we are executing Family on Tour:  The Supermarket Experience this is the list of stuff my boys find it necessary to con/pester me into buying.

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Blue Polka Dot Bikini Pants
Smallest Boy was helping me with my swimwear shop.  He descended with great excitement and pride on a pair of “underpants” and announced in his Outside Voice that they were “in my size” and everything. 

Lottery Tickets
These might as well be iron filings and my kids magnets such is their attraction to them.  I always end up with 33 blank lottery sheets in the bottom of the trolley as the boys fight over which one is the winning ticket.  It has escaped their understanding you have to fill in some numbers first.  No-one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever scooped the jackpot with a blank ticket.

Animal Print LED Torches
It was a toss-up between the giraffe or the tiger print one.  I spent the rest of the supermarket experience being blinded by a bright white beam trying to sear my iris’s shut.

Anything down the Home Wares Aisle
In fairness to them they believe they are helping me by selecting a new weighing scales (Are you saying I’m fat?) non-stick baking items (they just want me to make cookies) and tea lights (ok, I could use those). 

 Jungle Print Undies
The more garish the colour and print, the better.  Do I look like a Kardashian person?  Nuh-uh! Please put back the pink leopard print piece of dental floss that you are waving over your head and kindly stop yelling “do you like this one, Mammy?”  Also I can select my own “booby warmers” thanks muchly.

And then sometimes, sometimes, when I am picking all the crap out of the buggy before I fold it up to load it in to the car, I find little surprises in the bottom.

In amongst all the empty kinder egg inserts and useless Happy Meal toys.  Surprises like the odd €uro store item thrown in.  Once I found one of those eye shadow pencils which is basically a blender thingy.  I was particularly pleased with the thief boy who threw that one in as I had been looking for one for ages. 

Recently I discovered a bumper pack of boy's white underpants on my approach to the exit.  There was also a pair of slippers, very similar to my own and a swimming trunks.

All dutifully removed and hung up with the ear-rings and a stern warning issued to Mister Husband about being more vigilant or I will end up barred from Penney’s.

I could cope with the mortification of being asked to accompany a burly security guard to the office.  Followed by a possible arrest.  But being barred?  From Penneys?  That I could not live with.

Monday 19 May 2014

Swings and Roundabouts
Two of my boys have yucky *verruca’s.  Jumping in here with “if anyone has any amazing cures, please, please, please pass them on.  Please!

So pool socks are necessary.  The first ones I purchased were of the type they pour you into when you are scheduled for a caesarean section.  

Horrible yokes.  The feel of them.  *shudder

Ok, so not quite.  They are more like this.

Just LOOK at the similarities though!

Oldest boy began to complain.  He found it difficult to do that turn around thing swimmers do when they get to the end of their length and do a forward roll in the water and push off against the pool wall.  That one.  Insert correct term here.

I heard him.  Loud and clear.  They were also the absolute devil to get on and off.  Something happens to wet TED socks and they seem to tighten up out of pure spite and take a layer of foot skin off as they’re at it.

If they were any good they would have removed the damn verruca.

Anyway, I managed to find him gorgeous new ones.  Perfect in every way; aesthetically pleasing, easy peasy to get on and comfortable to wear.

These are they.

Then the next fella located a suspicious spot on the sole of his foot.  Egads!

I refused to buy him the same horrible socks his older brother wore.

So I contacted the sports shop the next town over to be told they had no idea what the delay is with this particular item; they had been expecting them for over a week now.

I sent an SOS to my contact in the Big Smoke but they weren’t homebound for a few more weekends so I had to wait.  And contact the sports shop the next town over to be told they still weren’t in.

Imagine my absolute surprise and delight when I spotted them in my local department store.  AND they were two euros cheaper than the sports shop.

Couldn’t. Believe. It.

This shop is not known for its habit of embracing the 21st century. 


In the same store I was having Smallest Boy fitted for New Summer Shoes.  They used a tablet to measure his feet. I-swear-to-god.  A tablet.  He got to touch a screen for Jack Nano or Daisy Nano.  Then type in his age.  The tablet slid into the measurey-thing, Jack Nano waved at him and his new shoe size appeared in digital brilliance.

What’s wrong with the old measuring tape?

I selected a nice, summer shoe in his larger size and the lady went off to the store room to find it.

We waited. And waited.  And waited.

She returned to tell me not only was she unable to locate the size I wanted, but the sample shoe was missing in action too.

Smallest Boy had to leave the store wearing tight, pinchy shoes but at least the older boys had their brand new pool sox.

Swings and roundabouts.  Swings and roundabouts. 

*verruca:  A horrible wart that develops from the inside out on the soul of the foot.  Very infectious and picked up at the swimming pool.  Common and popular treatments include freezing them off, taping them over with duct tape or Elastoplast, filing down with an emery board.  I am led to believe that over half will disappear of their own accord after a year.  

Sunday 11 May 2014

Ten Things I Have Learned about Parenting. Boys.

My Boys!
I am taking part in Learner Mama’s linky and compiling a list of Ten Things I’ve Learned About Parenting.  Because I am the mother of four boys I am going to chat about what it’s like to parent boys.  How difficult it can be.  How loud it is.  How scary.  The random acts of violence.  How much wine can be consumed.  (By me!  By me!)  The cooking of all of the food that may or may not get eaten.  The shouting and roaring.  (By me! By me!) And them!  And them!  The endless laundry.  The ingrained dirt.  The testosterone.  And of course, the laughs and never ending affection.  This list is not definitive and refers only to my own observations. 

Boys are hugely affectionate.  All of mine love a hug and a kiss.  The older two will approach me when I am sitting and put their arms around me.  The middle two frequently announce that they love me. 

Boys are mental.  They just are.  Their energy knows no bounds.  A ten minute rest is enough to re-charge their batteries and they are off again; to cause more devilment and mess. Whilst their defeated mother cowers in the corner and wonders if 5pm of an evening is too early to start drinking.

People love to count my boys for me.  I am constantly reminded of how busy I am and that I have “my hands full there!”  Sometimes I am offered all sorts of advice, some good, and some bad, but all of it with good intent.  This is great but I much prefer some help.  The odd spot of baby-sitting perhaps.  Someone to come over and run them ragged so they are too tired to do anything except sit still and watch a bit of telly. 

My first boy made me broody.  As soon as he was born, I knew I wanted more.  I had no idea how many and I stressed a little bit as I was 33 and thought time was against me.  I needn’t have feared.  Eight and a bit years later I have the birth certs, wrinkles and the odd grey hair to prove it!

Boys are huge advocates of toilet humour.  The word “butt” creates much merriment.  High fives are doled out if one of them farts and kudos is given to the one who manages “a silent but deadly” effort.  Belching competitions are frequent. Whilst their long suffering mother wonders if they will ever tire of such juvenile high jinks.

Boys are sweaty beings with a tendency to strip.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  They’re not fussy like that.    

Boys dislike changing their underwear.  It’s quite remarkable the lengths they will go to in order to get out of this simple request.     

Boys are endlessly curious.  And loud.  They can be obnoxious and I say that with much love.  They love nature.  The outdoors and water.  Boy do they love water.  It could be an ocean, a puddle, a bath or a swimming pool.  They love the stuff.     


It’s all fun and games until someone starts crying.  Read numbers 2 and 5 again because this is usually how the tears start.  A fun game or a joke taken too far ends up with a punch fest, a bump and maybe even a nose bleed.   

Despite what people may think, boys are sensitive folk.  They also like to read.  They have amazing, incredible imaginations.  They don’t hold grudges.  And as those lovely people mentioned above are so fond of telling me, I’m lucky to have four fine young lads to look after me!

 Go on.  Make yourself a cuppa, get comfortable and click on the link above to have a good read.  You know you want to.


Thursday 1 May 2014

A Week in Dinners.

You wouldn’t thank me for my roast beef but I can whip up a mean dessert.  Cooking is a drag but for me, baking is relaxing and rewarding. 

I suspect it is the creative side of buns, cakes and cookies that holds the appeal.  I find it difficult to make meat and two veg look attractive on a circular piece of china.

When the boys see me taking down the weighing scales and preparing tins, there is a buzz of excitement and then shouts of delight when I tell them what I am going to bake.

See, they don’t shout like that when they hear what’s for dinner.  Not the same thing at all. So baking is probably an ego stroking exercise for me too.

I have great plans for when they are older. 

Meanwhile this is what was on the menu this week.  You might like to check out Bumbles of Rice a lovely parenting and food blogger, who is running a most enjoyable "Week in Dinners" series.   

Because I suffer greatly with The Guilt on Mondays having fed my children quick and easy meals over the weekend, my Sunday dinner happens on Mondays.  Today we had roast chicken with all the trimmings.  They were boiled potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, sweet corn and gravy.  All hoovered up with relish.  Great satisfaction for me.

Because Monday’s dinner is so epic I recover on Tuesday.  Not really.  Tuesday happens to be a busy morning for me as I attend my local breastfeeding group.  I have a “dinner at 1pm.  Not an hour before and not 6 hours later” rule.   So on Tuesdays we have pancakes.  The lads love pancakes.  This is always greeted with hoots and hollers of delight.  You’d think I was starving them!

I had a hankering for shepherd’s pie today.  The law of averages duly states that in a house of 6 people at least two will object to that days offering.  I will be accused of having favourites and possibly even hating one of them.  No comment.  I wanted shepherd’s pie and because I am the mammy, I rule! I grate lots of carrots and onions and crush heaps of garlic.  These are fried off in a pan and then I add the lean minced steak.  When this browns I add one of those jelly beef stock cube things.  The strong one.  A splash of water to help it along its way.  And then for the best bit.  Two heaped table spoons of Ballymaloo relish goes in next.  A quick taste.  If more relish is needed, I add extra.  I also pop in some frozen peas.   During the making of this I have potatoes boiling.  There always seems to be a chunk of turnip knocking about in my house so this makes a tasty addition to the mashed spuds.  A splash of milk to cream it up and after the mash mix is spooned onto the meat, it all goes into the oven for maybe twenty minutes.  Serve with beans and wait for the cheers of delight or the onslaught.  Don’t take the latter personally.   

I was on a roll this week and did a second Sunday dinner albeit on Thursday.  It was roast beef again with all the trimmings.  I find the gravy with this meal can be in short supply but it’s delicious.  Very rich and beefy.  One boy compared it to his nanas and told me my effort didn’t suck.  Thanks chief.  He asked for second helpings all the same.   This dinner was most enjoyable and pleasant. 

Fridays are a kind of lazy day with fast food of the processed variety served up to the boys.  Usually in the form of oven chips and chicken nuggets.  Some like spaghetti hoops with them.  Some don’t.

Another lazy day due to the swimming and the grocery shopping and the mammy insisting on getting her run in before midday for a nice change.  The boys enjoy ham sandwiches on Saturdays with a helping of cheese ‘n onion crisps on the side.  We’re a lazy house. 

Sundays start late.  A late family breakfast in our favourite café consisting of pancakes and hot chocolates for the boys.  The people who brought them into this world usually have eggs and bacon with coffee and the house special with coffee.  This late breakfast serves as brunch.  Usually pizza is demanded later on that same day.

I didn’t take photos because that would be unappetising in the extreme.  Also I didn’t know I would be doing this.  But imagination is a great thing altogether. 

However, here are a couple of pictures of my boy’s hot chocolates and one of my sneaky cappuccino and muffin.