Friday 26 September 2014


I AM no stranger to relapse.  I’ve suffered many.

A running relapse where I run for 3 weeks and take the next 5 off.  Completely undoing all of my good work in the process.

A shouting relapse where I try very very hard for the eleventy millionth time not to shout at the kids.  I’m cruising along, nodding and agreeing with everything they say and then bam! 
One of them fires something at me and it almost takes the eye out of my head.  The dog runs for cover under the table and the boys’ expressions range from smirking to sullen as the shouting commences.

The sugar relapse where I try half-heartedly to ignore the opened packet of treats in the press.  I last about two hours before I devour them.

Then there’s the potty training relapse.  My first one.  Just to clarify – I am not the nappy wearer, it is my three and a half year old.  Just in case you didn’t know that.

It is my first nappy relapse and I don’t quite know what to make of it.  I’ve read about this and I admit to feeling a little smug, confident such a thing would not happen to me.  So when it did I was totally and utterly clueless about how to deal with it.  And I had chucked the magazine. 

Smallest Boy nailed his wee wee’s in a matter of hours.  Hours I tell you.  He’s great at it and thoroughly delighted with himself.   This week he used several toilets because the potty was in the car.  Everyone in all of the shops got to hear about this.  He even looked for a high five from a confused older lady.

Then he went two days without doing a poo.  I will refrain from regaling you with regular elimination habits but prior to Pottygate you could have set your watch by this child.
Poo’s won’t work in the potty or the toilet.  They just won’t.   

Now, we’re back to the nappies albeit for a very short period of time every 36 hours or so until elimination happens.  Oh, and they have to have a caiman on the front of them.

Not the red sports car pull ups I bought.  Not the cute little ones with hedgehogs on them.  

The Lidl ones with a caiman on the front.  Only they will do work.

What was I saying the last time?  Oh yes. 

Dear Múinteoir, please excuse Smallest Boy and his nappies.  He does not have incontinence issues nor is there an undiagnosed bowel problem.  He just likes his waste catcher.  You might like to take him in hand because I’ve given up.

Monday 22 September 2014

Was There Wine Saturday Night?

Exhibit A:  Wine
WAS there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  I know there was gorgeous, tasty Tapas.  I do remember that much.  It was glorious having food I actually wanted to eat, handed to me, with no-one hanging off my leg and asking annoying questions like, “what’s that there?  The red thing.  Yuck.  I’m not eating that!”

Was there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  I know there was a drop taken as I got ready and the remainder of the bottle shared as we waited for our lift into town.  I remember chatting but couldn’t tell you what we were actually chatting about.  I remember a phone camera.  I remember having all the lolz.

Was there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  After our tapas we went to a pub but only for a half an hour before the taxi arrived to take us all home.  I remember a lovely doggy face looking in on us as we dropped a friend to her house and then my own doggy greeting me when I got home.  I remember getting out of that taxi but not getting into it.

Was there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  There was a slow climb upstairs holding onto the wall for support.  I know I briefly considered removing my make-up but I think I snorted and kind of folded myself onto the bed.  Not into it. Then the room started to spin and I distinctly remember telling myself to, “concentrate.  Breathe and you’ll be……..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Was there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  Who knew eyelids could weigh so much and be so difficult to open?  When I managed it the next morning I was in exactly the same position I fell down in.  And to this day I am still not sure if those were the last of the summer swallows outside the window or just little black dots in front of my eyes.   There was a definite request for two pain killers and a cup of tea.  One I was not able to drink.  I rolled over and blanked it all out.   

Was there wine Saturday night?  I think there was.  It was 1pm when I opened my eyes again.     Mister Husband asked me the obligatory questions about who was out and what did I have to eat.  I told him lots of other people were out and we had pear cake for desert with one of the tapas courses consisting of the tiniest, most perfect little quail’s egg.  But two days later I am still waiting for the rest of it to come back to me. 

Exhibit B:  Pear Cake

Was there wine Saturday night?  There definitely was.  There was also a red lipstick swatch on the back of my hand.  I had a niggling hedgehog memory I couldn’t explain.    

When I went downstairs I was greeted warmly by my neglected kids.  “Hiya, Mammy.  What was it like last night?  What did you have to eat?”

I told them it was gorgeous and I had wonderful things to eat.  The absolute truth.

“You were asleep for all of the day. Was that because you drank all the alcohol last night?”

It certainly felt like it.

Was there wine Saturday night?  There sure was.  And do you know what?  There was a drop taken on Sunday night too!

Friday 19 September 2014

The Day I Turned off the Telly

LIKE everything brutal the beginning is always the hardest.  And in this case the loudest.  

My kids are loud and crazy but not stupid so they knew the remote was not lost as I had claimed.  They even reckoned it wasn’t hidden, I was just being the “meanest mother ever” by not letting them watch telly.

See?  Not stupid.

Does this happen at yours?  School is out.  The drive home is the warm up for what escalates once they get inside the house.  Subtle bickering the back of the car.  Nit picking and whinging about how awful their day/teacher/best friend/the weather/their lunch was.  Grumbling over what’s for dinner.  Insisting they are not doing their homework and how sticking red hot needles in their eyes won’t change their minds.

And then they get home.  Fling themselves on the couch and have a good old argy bargy over remote control rights before moving swiftly onto disagreeing ferociously over what they actually want to watch.

The noise levels are murderous.  I mean insane.  There is a boy in our house who screams.  Ear splitting shrieks and I swear there is a minute crack on the window as a result. 

One growls when he is angered.  It is an unnatural sound and he has a tight little acidic face to match.  The smallest one threatens to put them all on “phone bans” and yet another uses his feet to make room for himself on the couch.

There are days when I literally can’t handle the noise.  It gets in on me and makes me see red.  I know the best plan of action is to not meet fire with fire but some days I act before I think.

I had one of those days during the week.  Strangely.

I went out after the fifth warning issued from the kitchen and switched off the telly.

Instantly they were all on the same page – savaging each other over whose fault it was the telly got killed.

I turned tail and returned to my bat kitchen and let them work out their petty grievances themselves.

It blew over pretty quickly.   In about ten unbelievably noisy minutes. 

Then silence descended.  I was afraid to look.  I could hear thumping up the stairs.

“That’s alright by me,” I shrugged and returned to whatever it was I had been doing.  “Sulk if you want.  See if I care.”

And then there was the unmistakable sound of the bricks and Jenga blocks being horsed onto the floor.

I clenched my jaw and was prepared to run at them again when I heard something else.

A rustling sound.  Some scrabbling and then quiet talking.

Was it?  Could it be?

I stepped into the room pretending to be on an urgent mission to find something lest they thought I was watching them, and yes it was, it definitely was four boy children playing together.

In harmony even.  Sharing blocks and ideas.  The older ones helping their youngest brother build his own tower. 

Be warned though, hiding the remote or just going cold turkey and switching off the goggle box could go either way.

The other way is too blood shed-ey to even think about.

I think I was just lucky that day and am realistic enough to realise there is no way on this green earth enforcing a second TV embargo any time soon will work.

But it was lovely while it lasted.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Going Potty!

I HAD genuine fears about Smallest Boy walking through those school gates still clad in Lidl’s finest Toujours.  (Nappies, folks, nappies)

I wrote the odd mental note to Múinteoir stressing he did not have incontinence issues or an undiagnosed bowel problem, just a strong attachment to his waste catcher.   And if she had a few moments in between the Modh Coinniollách and lón mhór, she might have a go at it herself for me. 

Okay, it wasn’t a fear exactly and I believed he would be using the bathroom without a second thought and all by himself by the time he turned 18, but the thought did cross my mind nonetheless.

This boy was hanging onto his padded bottom for dear life and refusing to entertain the idea of Big Boy pants.  Didn’t matter what cartoon character was emblazoned on the front of them, he eschewed the notion entirely.  Even bribery in the form of chocolate was greeted with a firm, “No!  Love my nappies.  Want to wear them forever!”

Then he began to ask if he could do his wee’s and his poo’s.  He would stand beside me, hopping up and down, crossing and uncrossing his legs, depending on what his need was.
A sure and definite sign that he was ready and I suggested he use the potty on each and every occasion. 


“I can only do them in my nappy.  They won’t come out on the potty.”

Foiled again.

And then. This very morning he announced “I’m about to do my wee’s.  I think I need the potty.”

I dropped the whisk thingy, pancake batter splattered all over the wall, and ran to do my boy’s bidding, hardly daring to hope.  As I was fetching the potty, he was busy removing the lower part of his pyjamas and dry nappy from the night before.

Expecting him to change his mind as he had done 78 times since the summer, I dropped the potty on the floor and watched, amazed, as he took position. 

Standing up seconds later, a massive grin on his face he announced “See?  I had lots.”

And indeed he did.  Of course me and Mister Husband went completely overboard with the high fives and congratulations.  You’d think the boy had passed diamonds and not urine but lookit, he is mere weeks away from being three and a half.  

He got paid the princely sum of 50c for his efforts and I was this close to nipping that one in the bud, let me tell ya.  I am all for a little sugary treat for emptying the bladder but not emptying my wallet for the same procedure. 

The absolute coolest thing about this particular potty training event is, strictly speaking and the occasional spot of questioning him over his reluctance aside, he did it all by himself.  


And secondly he is the only one who wasn’t clad in fleece tracksuit pants for the experience.  He is able to manage the button on his trousers and everything.    

With only one accident since eleven o’clock this morning, I am very very confident I might just be able to claim this one trained in 6 hours as opposed to the others taking three days to do it.

Now, anyone for leftover Lidl nappies?

Monday 15 September 2014

For an Easy Life

I QUITE like things that make my life easier, a little prettier and a little less problematic.

Oven chips and chicken nuggets for dinner on Friday for example.  Catrice nail varnish in Penneys for that injection of prettiness and Mister Husband doing the 1.30pm school run for me.

Another example would be when Smallest Boy sees a stupid magazine that costs a fiver and he zones in on it.  Purely for the stupid piece of brightly coloured plastic sellotaped to the front.

Actual stupid piece of plastic

“Not today” is greeted with the beginnings of a very loud public protest.  To hell with mixed messages.  After all I didn’t say which day he could have it – just not that day – and today is as good a day as any so I give in.

Magazine that was never opened

“Go one then.  And don’t tell the others.”

“Okay, Mammy.  Thanks, Mammy.”  Sparkly milk teeth and a dimpled smile flash at me. My 
heart melts.  My gorgeous boy.

“Wine, Mammy?  You want to buy some wine?”

“Don’t mind if I do.” and we both toddle out of the supermarket with our treats.

See?  An easy life with one less problem.  Wine will do that.  Every time.

Friday 12 September 2014

Death by Lunch Boxes

AT first I thought it was going to be the school lunches that killed me.  I did.  I was convinced of it.

But now I know it will be the parking situation at the school.  I am.  I'm convinced of it.

Let’s look at the lunch box situation first because I know you’re dying to.

I am that mad eejit mother who makes proper ham and chicken sandwiches. From roast chicken and a small “eye of bacon” thing which are cooked special like every two days. 

 Guess what else I do?  Cut the crusts off one set of sandwiches. 

At the risk of repeating myself, I am that mad eejit mother. 

Then there is the small matter of the remaining lunch box contents. 

Some of them like yogurts.  One doesn’t.  Some of them likes grapes.  One doesn’t.  One of them likes oranges.  Two don’t.

It is an absolute head wreck!

Then, just to shake it up a little and keep me on my toes, there was a subtle difference in parking at the school.  Or maybe not so subtle.

Our school celebrated its tenth birthday at the beginning of the month.  The first classes to occupy the school consisted of approximately 15 students.  As those classes have vacated the building and moved onto Secondary, their departure has made way for the new full capacity classes of 30 Junior Infants to enter the system. 

Loads more pupils but the car park has stayed the same.

I used to be able to hop in the car 15 minutes before pick-up time, arrive, be able to park comfortably and still have time to get to the school gate.

Not anymore.

These days I need to leave my house a full half hour before pick-up going, “Come on lads, let’s GO!  If we don’t go now I won’t get parking and we’ll have to walk two miles to the gate!”  I clap my hands at them and everything.

If I leave the house even two minutes later (it’s happened!) all the spaces will be gone and I can be seen going “FUCK!” (It’s happened!) As I drive round the car park with squinty eyes, cursing at the shite, inconsiderate parking. 

When I do get parking and collect the older two boys they will always ask, “What’s for dinner?”

So on Monday, for example, I tell them it’s roast chicken.

Response:  “Awwwww!  I hate roast chicken.”  Completely missing the point.  Which is - it is a roast dinner on a Monday!

Tuesday.  “Roast beef today, lads.” 

Response:  “Awwwww!  I hate brown chicken.  Hate it.”  Completely missing the point.  
Which is -  it is a roast dinner on a Tuesday!

Wednesday.  “Before you ask, it's spaghetti bolognaise.”
Response:  “Awwwww!  I hate string pasta!”  Completely missing the point.  Which is - this is your mother’s idea of a lazy dinner.  Lay off!

Thursday:  “Pancakes today.”
Response:  “Yeah!  I love pancakes!”  “So do I!”
“Me too.  Great.  My favourite!”  Totally overseeing the reality that was two roast dinners in favour of a pint of milk, two eggs and a few ounces of flour!  Ingrates! 

Maybe it will be dinners during the week that end up killing me. 

Breaking it down my kids eat well and it is up to me to leave the house in time to get parking.  But I’m not convinced.

Which one of us has to suck it up?

Watch this space!

Monday 8 September 2014

Small Beginnings

WHEN we go to the swimming pool there are many, many sports bags. 

I need to remind them every time I stop the car but at last they are pretty good at bringing their bags into the house when we get home.

Then they dump them inside the bathroom door for me to unpack and sort out.

That’s okay.  That’s allowed.  Small beginnings lead to great ends.

Soooooooo, I have decided to extend this further and encourage them to help me do the same thing with the grocery shop.

And to get the bags further than the bathroom.

There was a small haul this afternoon, for some essential provisions.  I parked the car and this is what transpired.

“Right!  I want each of you to take a bag into the house please.”

What?  But there’s shopping in there.  Heavy shopping.”

“Yeah.  That one has tins in it.  That’s too heavy for me.”

“Just take something you are able to carry.  That’s all.”

Of course I meant for them to pick a small bag of light, non-breakables.  I should have been clearer.

Oldest Boy grabbed the pack of toilet rolls.  Shy Boy went for a bottle of orange juice. 

Both items taken from full bags of groceries.

Small beginnings lead to great ends.  Did I say that already?   

Friday 5 September 2014

Snobby Porridge

I am not a breakfast person.  Never was.  Which is probably a good thing, especially since the ankle biters came along, as I never seem to actually get any.

I suppose it’s not entirely their fault.  I possess a system that does not like to wake up for at least two hours after my feet hit the floor in the morning.

My breakfast could very well be called brunch.

Semantics.  It’s all food no matter what way you eat it.

But as it’s a breakfast post (is it?) in case I haven’t mentioned it 7 times already, I absolutely hate porridge or anything warm and milky.


I am not even fond of cereal with a splash of cold milk.

Eggs and bacon.  Eggs on toast.  Or just plain toast will do nicely, thank you for asking.

I am, however, partial to a decent granola.  Which is a bit odd as it consists primarily of oat flakes which are really porridge in disguise.  Snobby porridge if you will.  

But I really really like the stuff.  With some yogurt on top.

But, in order to be deemed fit enough to be in my bowl, and you market yourself as Granola, then you must meet the following criteria.

  • Actually be granola and not moos-lee.  Chancers!
  • None of your flour and sugar content thank you very much.
  • Not too much dried fruit.  And absolutely no raisins.
  • Preferably wheat free therefore gluten free.  I just like it like that.
  • A daycent bag if you please.  Generally granola costs a fiver.  That’s a lotta money for sawdust and wood shavings.  Even if they are tasty wood shavings.

I’m not fussy, I just know what I like, okay?  And another thing I’ve noticed is there are so many different varieties out there.  I have yet to find the same bag the next time I go to the supermarket.  I’ve been in three different places now and even in a different seaside county and they are all different.

Currently I am enjoying Jordan’s Super Berry granola.

If you’re interested/give a damn/like granola/bored/drunk/all of these/ the bags of Linseed from Lidl are gorgeous so put a generous couple of teaspoons through as well.
Porridge is well lauded for its filling you up powers and it appears granola will do the same.  

I love a bowl after a run.  Keeps me out of the sweetie tin.

I’m sorry.  Very sorry.  It’s been a slow week.

Monday 1 September 2014

Fek! Shoes! Arse!

WHEN my lovely sister-in-law was sorting out holidays this year, she had only one question for me:  “Is there any time that doesn’t suit you to go?”

I asked her to book in July as I like to keep August free to do the school stuff shop.  In other words, if there is any money left over my kids might get new shoes and nice jumpers for school.

This is where I am forced to admit I am a gobshite.  A large, thundering gobshite. 

Note to future self:  there is nothing left in August.  There never is.  You won’t even get a red pen.

With three boys going to school this year I am mindful of one thing:  getting a bargain something as close as possible to this is free!

The youngest has such flat feet you wouldn’t be able to slide a piece of paper underneath them so he lucked out and got the ”good” shoes to support his arches.

The others have to make do with ones made out of layers of newspaper and painted black. 

I’m joking.

They’ll get the health board footwear.  Ones with Velcro straps.

I will be at my limit in the mornings to get them all up, fed, dressed and into the car.  I don’t need to lace up three pairs of shoes as well.  There is an excellent chance that my boys just might reach puberty without having learnt how to tie their shoelaces. 

I am sure they'll cope.

So my question is: why in the name of god, when the school gates were almost open for business, was it so difficult to buy halfway decent, no need to pay through the nose shoes for boys? 

Or school books?  “Sorry, that particular one is sold out.  But you can order online.”

*Yes but you need fekin money in your account to do that!* 

You’re in need of a red pen that costs 45c?  Tough shit.  Why didn’t you get your act together and buy it a month ago? 

With everything else?  Like everyone else?

I know it’s not like Back to School ™ creeps up on you and you get 48 hours notice but come one!

We’re all watching our wallets and being frugal in order to purchase other stuff.  Like wine  food and oil for the autumn.  You know, because no-one likes to be cold and hungry.    

After several hours of fruitless searching and feeling extremely frustrated, I asked Mister Husband, “What’s the point?” 

Is it really worth it?  By the time you drive to the various counties (yes, we did that) and spend ages coaxing/threatening the kids to try on countless pairs of shite shoes, would it not save a lot of hassle to just go and buy the well-known branded ones in our home town?

But at a saving of over €150 last year on footwear alone, that is just a little bit too much wine money  grocery funds to forfeit for the sake of time and grumpy parents and kids.

So come on local department stores.  There are loads of parents out there looking for shoes and a bargain. Pony up for god sake.

Where’s your competitive spirit?