Tuesday 29 December 2015

Why I Won't Be Participating in Dry January

The short answer is because I don’t want to.  But I have other reasons.

Until very recently, as in the last 24 hours I did not know such a thing existed.  I was all, “what?   It’s not Lent, is it?  Already?”

See I have kids and as I said to the nice chap in the off licence on Christmas eve, red wine and whiskey and sherry are exactly what makes Christmas day with small children tolerable.   
Ok that’s a slight exaggeration.  Wine helps.  It helps a lot.  But what really works for me is sleep, lots of sleep, a quiet house (never going to happen) and then a little bit of wine.

Also I spent three, count them, three consecutive Christmases either pregnant and/or breastfeeding.  I was practically teetotal for a decade.  

All decisions made my very good (sober) self, granted.  I accept that and I was happy (Mostly.  Sometimes.  Maybe for about an hour in 2009) to remain teetotal.  But now that all of my boys are long weaned and the baby shop is closed, I enjoy a glass bottle of wine most weekend nights.   I do not have a problem with it.  At all.   If I went out to the pub each Friday and Saturday I would drink a lot more than a bottle of wine, I can tell you. 

I enjoy wine.  It’s nice.  I like it and I have no intentions of stopping drinking it any time soon.

I understand a lot of people are full of Christmas and all of the excesses but I’m grand.  I do not feel the need to give up anything nice at a time of year when we should be kind to ourselves.   It’s winter, lads.   We wake up in the dark and go to bed in the dark.  The weather is poxy. Our bodies and minds are crying out for a bit of comfort.  Anthropologically speaking we should be curled up in a cave wrapped in a bear skin with an extra layer of body fat keeping us alive until the spring when food is more plentiful. 

To embark on Dry January, I feel is to deny ourselves a basic human need.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. 

And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a glass of wine in front of me at the time of writing. 

I like wine and I’m proud. 

On a more sober and poignant note, Dry January is a fundraiser for the charity Alcohol Concern.  A truly worthy cause and I am in awe of those who complete 31 days alcohol free.  Please check out the above links even if it is just to have a read of the statistics and maybe even donate something. 

Sunday 27 December 2015

Was Christmas Really Two Days Ago?

Christmas day was approximately two days ago.  I have been dodging Nerf gun bullets for about 24 hours.  They hurt!   The hills are alive with the sound of PSVita’s (whatever the Christmas they are!) Maiming myself on Lego has come to an end; now it’s those annoying little PAW Patrol toys.  Lovely Liam still doesn’t believe Santa brought The Velveteen Rabbit.  (He so did.  I may or may not have almost cried when I read it Christmas day.  Approximately 48 hours ago.)

What did we decide to do today?   On a day where our kids are literally falling over their Christmas presents and books and Xbox games?  Because, you know, cabin fever is a thing. 

We went to the cinema.  Not everyone wanted to see Star Wars and not everyone was impressed with The Good Dinosaur so each parent shape took two boy shapes and went separate ways.

Until we got to the cinema and one boy shape decided he didn’t fancy Star Wars after all and wanted to see the dinosaur movie instead. 

But this is what happened first.

The sales were on.   The car park was almost full at 11.30am on this Sunday morning.   But we wedged our half a train car into a space and out we got.

The weather was grand today.  Gone was that horrible, almost warm rain and in its place was biting cold.  My kind of weather.

But there’s a boy in the house whose chest does not like cold, biting weather and it seizes up, gets tight and he morphs into a seal.

“Did you bring my inhaler?”  Bark.  Bark.  Wheeze.  Bark.  Wheeze. 

No I did not bring the inhaler. 

Ok, so he is only 8 (almost) and really cannot be trusted/expected to remember such important issues like his own health so I bit down a frisson of rage so strong it alarmed me.  


We joined the queue in Sam McCauley’s and I prepared to beg the pharmacist to please give my child an inhaler.

And then I remembered the awesome thing I have come to call My Magic Handbag.  In it are toy cars.  Two or three extra things that Smallest Boy likes to snuffle when he sucks his thumb.  Sucky sweets for tickly throats.  An epipen.  Items of make-up.  Tissues.  Biro’s galore.  Some pencils.     A couple of notebooks.  Three pairs of gloves.   Seven wallets.  Yep, I said seven.  Four empty boy wallets.  One empty wallet (mine).  My regular wallet (containing a little money). My birthday wallet (containing a little money).  Some cables for recharging boy things.  A PSVita yoke.  And, holy sweet mother of divine Christmas, not one but two unopened inhalers.  For safe keeping.

We got to the cinema on time and I went through the rigmarole of changing prebooked seats. 

The lovely girl behind the counter sorted it all out for us.  It was brilliant.   She even told me they serve wine when she saw how stressed I was. 

I told her not to be tempting me.  But when I saw it was only a small bottle I told her it would be no good to me anyway.   Sure, that’s only a mouthful, I told her.

We had a bit of a laugh about someone (ahem) being heard snoring in Screen 8 and I paid for four kids trays of popcorn and we went in.    

And because that wasn’t enough we followed it all up with a trip to Eddie Rockets.

Thoughts for the day:  people is mental.   It seems a SALE sign ignites a dormant feral instinct and you’d be killed for reaching across to touch a scarf.

I keep asking, “What day is it?”  I now promise not to get annoyed with my six-and-a-half-year-old when he asks this several times a day.  That’s what it feels like!

You don’t really need a sixth pair of black boots.  Even if they are half price.  You just don’t.  

There’s an awful lot of shite in the sales, isn’t there?

And finally.  Was Christmas day really two days ago?

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Torture by Chocolate

It all started off innocently enough.  I was upstairs GHD’ing my hair and Oldest Boy followed me.  He sat on the floor and proceeded to go through the Christmas Stash Box.  Every house should have one.  It contains boxes of chocolates, tins of sweets, bottles of wine, candy canes, crisps and in general Christmassy goodness. 

We discussed which box of chocolates would go best with the hot chocolates (hocklates) on Christmas Eve and it was decided Milk Tray would be the one.

“What would you like for Christmas, Mammy?”  he asked as I fiddled with that tricky bit of hair behind my ear.  The piece that, if I’m not careful, could see me clamp my earlobe in between the heating iron.  It has been done.

“I’d love an item of jewellery.”  I told him.  Confident in the knowledge there is a little pair of gold studs wrapped and waiting for me to open in two day’s time.  “I’d also love some makeup.” 

Bronzing pearls if you’re asking.  And some primer. 

“And maybe some make-up brushes.”  Thanks Real Techniques.  “A book is also an excellent thing to receive.”  I continued, thinking of the new Anna McPartlin on my bedside, tormenting me, but I refuse to touch it until Christmas Day.  “Chocolates.  Wine. Anything really.”

“I think you’re really going to like what we got you.”  His smile was a hundred watts.

“You got me something?”  So was mine.  “Oh, lovely.  Now begins the nagging until I make you tell me what it is.”

“Stop, Mammy.”  There was a tinge of panic.

“Hmm.  Let me see.  Can I eat it?”

“Stop guessing!”  It was a shriek.

“Ok, so that’s a no.  I can’t eat it.”

Nervous laughter and a burst to leave the room.

“I can do chocolate torture, you know.”  I shouted after him.  “it’s where I make you sit in a chair and I take that box of Milk Tray, open it and force you to watch as I eat them.  I’ll be like, “tell me, Conor.  Tell me or I swear to God I’ll eat this chocolate.  I will, so help me.”

“There’s loads more.  And anyway you’ll only make yourself sick.”  He was halfway down the stairs, terrified he’d give the game away on himself.

I let him go.   Not fair to put extra pressure on someone who is already fizzing at the gills for Christmas Day.

A quick rub of some John Frieda Frizz Ease. 

Hair was grand. 

Thanks for asking.

Monday 21 December 2015

It's Almost Christmas. Good and Bad Signs

I don’t know about your calendar but ours announces there are just four more sleeps to the big day.  You know the one.  Christmas Day.  That one.  There is simply no getting away from it - Christmas day is around four corners.   The signs have been there since Halloween but now they are totally utterly and absolutely in your face. 

Similar to the lists Santa likes to make, there are both good and bad signs that Chrimbo is almost here.  I thought I’d start with the bad signs.

I know it’s Christmas when:

I approach the till in Eason’s sideways with a suspicious lump under my coat.   Upon opening it, the contents spill all over the counter and I hiss at the startled shop assistant, “Quickkkkkkkk! Fire them into a bag before the kids appear!”

I become quite good at commando sign language where I jab two fingers at Mister Husband, then at my own face, wave them towards the kids and finish by denying that I did not just give him the finger in the book shop.  I was just signing at him to “keep the kids away.”

I’m sick.  Or the kids are. Or the dog is.  The humans have a tummy bug.  The dog ate some chocolate coins – including the wrappers and then savaged the advent calendars.    

I can’t see the counter top for the lists.  Lists.  Lists everywhere. 

I am fed up receiving phone calls from couriers looking for directions to my house. 

I never thought I’d say it but……………...is that bloody Fairy Tale of New York again????  and could someone please tell George Michael, it’s gave and not “geve you my heart?”

Home and Way is over until January.

I have the fear.  The fear that I will forget someone.  Or something. 

And then there are the good signs.  The very good signs.

There’s mountains of chocolate in the house and rivers of wine.

The stairs are strangled under fairy lights.

There are two thousand three hundred and twelve batteries in the bowl on the counter.

Brussel sprouts are the Veg de Jour

There’s 4 sleeps left on the advent calendar

I’ve got Vienetta in the fridge!

The boys get their Christmas holidays tomorrow!  Two whole weeks of rest time. 

I’ve got premixed gin and tonics in the fridge!

All of my shopping is complete. 

Most of my presents have been distributed.

It really is almost here.  It really is.  Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday 14 December 2015

Have Yourself A Mindful Little Christmas

 How come, when Christmas falls on the same day every year, it always seems to creep up and take me by surprise?  There’s how many days left till Christmas?

And how come I always get tired in December?  Like, really, really tired.  I just want to crawl under a duvet and sleep for 48 hours.  It’s a mental tiredness too, not just physical.  

Anyway, it occurred to me there are only a few short weeks left in 2015.  I think everyone has cottoned on to that judging by the general thrum of activity that is taking place.   Have you been to a shopping centre lately?  Even a local supermarket?  ‘Nuff said.

It’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  And on the back of that, whilst things are busy but still generally quiet, before they get totally manic, I thought I’d write down a few things to keep in mind.  To keep us sane and focused. 

They don’t call it the silly season for nothing.   

So, whether or not you set fire to your hair as well as the pudding, even if you forget the crackers and indulge way too much, it’s still only one day.   It might be a long day, granted, but even the worst day is only 24 hours long.  I saw something I really liked recently; it’s not the presents around the Christmas tree that count, but the people around it. 

Remember folks, it’s nice to be nice.  No pushing or shoving.  It’s just a coffee machine, the last half price designer bag or parking space.  Use your indicators.  Stop at pedestrian crossings.  Be mindful of little kids wanting to do their own Christmas shopping.  Say please and thank you, please.  Thank you.  

Remember those people behind the tills or in customer services don’t want to be there any more than you do.  They’re just doing their job.

Buy a suspended coffee.  Give someone your trolley coin.  Smile at people.  Even if they don’t smile back.

Drink responsibly.  Do not drink and drive.  Please put down the blasted mobile phone.  When you’re in the car, at the dinner table, in the pub or paying for something.       

Say merry Christmas like you mean it.

Go for a walk.   Buy headphones and use them.  Listen to the local radio station or some music.  Avoid bright and cheery Christmas television if sound and bright lights are your trigger.

There are lots of things you can do to help you over the festive period.  It’s ok to say no for starters.  If you just cannot face into yet another gathering or room full of people, make your excuse and take some time out for yourself. 

We are constantly surrounded by noise, mental and visual stimulation and this can chip away at our tolerance levels.  Try not to get too stressed over the whole thing.  It will come and it will go and life will return to normal.  Live in the moment.  The next one is just around the corner.

2015 is mere weeks away from being history.   I am going to try and let mine go out with a small pop rather than a big bang. 

Because that suits me.  You do you.  And be safe. 

May your days, all of them, be merry and bright.    

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Tips for Grinch Free Last Minute Shopping

If you’re anything like me, the run up to Christmas can be a little stressful.  I like to be organised.  I dislike last minute surprises.  I am a huge fan of lists.  Although I still manage to forget one child, a different one, each year.  I am not one of those last minute shoppers.  

Today is the second day in December and I still have a few bits and pieces to collect. 

This is the stuff that can ruin the whole thing for me.  When I am finished having everything wrapped and labelled with nice, thick, black lines drawn through my list of lists, I literally feel my lungs open up and air filling them.  Relief, the release of tension, all of it leaving my body to make room for some Christmas anticipation and dare I say it, excitement?

This morning I forfeited my precious child free three hours to do just that – make a deliberate effort to slough off the Christmas tension. 

Here are my 5 tips to, hopefully, make the last minute Christmas shopping easier.

Make a list.  It works for a reason. Make one and most importantly stick to it!  I would even go as far as listing shops in order of preference or convenience.  For example, I enjoy a cappuccino on the way home so I put the place where I like to buy it, last on my list.  Another idea is to write the name of each shop you intend to visit on that list and underneath, outline all you need there.  If someone is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your purchasing, include their name and the gift you intend to buy. 

Go early.  Possibly the best move you can make.  You will beat the crowds and also avail of easy parking.  It’s a joy to enter a store and find you have it practically to yourself.  Another upside to an earlier visit is merchandise being on the shelves and not all over the floors which can be the case as the day moves along.  Is there anything nicer than moving quickly through the aisles and the sheer luxury of your car parked closed to the building and not half a mile across the parking lot?

Go alone.  Leave the kids firmly and positively at home.  At the risk of offending them, I might also suggest that partners are left there too.  Trying to shop with small children in tow is a nightmare at the best of times.  Never mind when you are trying to pick up last minute bits and pieces that you don’t want them to see.   Shopping alone is actually fun.  No-one complains about being tired, bored, hungry or worst of all, needing the bathroom ten minutes before the next one does.  I suppose this is where your partner comes in handy.  If he hasn’t wandered off that is.

Give yourself a time limit.  I knew I had exactly two hours this morning and I made the most of them.  I found myself picking up things that caught my eye but were not on the list so I was ruthless and put them back.  On my way to the ATM I passed the Wet n’ Wild make-up stand and I was irresistibly drawn towards it.  But I clamped down hard and walked around the other way on the way out.  It can be done.  Reach for your inner strength.  It also meant I hadn’t eaten into my finances with make-up items I did not need.

Bring cash.  Leave the credit card at home, in the drawer, in the car.  Taking cash means you are forced to stick to your list and budget.  You can’t be tempted by that “unbeatable” completely unnecessary offer if the drastic plastic isn’t with you.

When you’re done, you’re done.    Know when to quit.  Don’t keep going back for more.  Even if you have a half hour to spare.  And a few bob.  And if you do happen to have some cash left over, will you please contact me and tell me how you managed that part?  Please and thank you.

Enjoy the last minute panic and be careful with that trolley!

Monday 30 November 2015

Bah Humbug. Not Really

This weekend at an overnight stay in Galway, the guy at reception was full of chat with the boys.  They lapped it up.  Then he asked them were they tired because they watched the Late Late Toy Show the night before.  Lovely Liam piped up, “We don’t actually know what that is.”
The poor guy behind the reception desk.  His face was a picture.  All kinds of incredulous and disbelief. 

It’s true.  My boys have never seen TLLTS.  I think the oldest one is aware of its existence but other than that, he has no interest in it.  The youngest two would never be able to keep their eyes open – in fact Smallest Boy issued his “bring me up” instruction at approximately 8pm Friday night.  It means he is tired and he wants me to take him up to his bed and tuck him in.

The Late Late Toy Show is not the only Christmas tradition we don’t partake in.  We don’t pose for pictures with Santa nor do we do the Santa trails.  My boys have never been to a panto or ice skating.

The Christmas tree goes up mid-December and I do my best to take it down before New Year’s Day.    

I’ve never cooked a turkey.  Last year I served a fancier than usual roast chicken for our Christmas dinner. The boys loved their Viennetta ice-cream with sherry trifle for desert and had a great time pulling crackers.  They declared it one of the best dinners ever.  This year I think T-bone steak is on the menu and the boys have expressed a strong interest in egg fried rice as part of their meal.

We don’t visit other people on Christmas day.  We stay in our own home.   The boys’ aunties come to us for maybe an hour in the morning to distribute much awaited for presents. 

I used to make a big deal out of putting up the Christmas tree.  But everyone got bored after ten minutes and wandered off so I keep it all very low key now.

One year I spent almost thirty euros on a turkey crown and there were maybe four slices carved from it.  It was a total waste.

The boys like to stay at home Christmas Day and play with their presents, watch TV, dip into the bowls of chocolate sweets and just chill.

So do I.  

I suppose those are our traditions.  We do enjoy other customs.  For example, I have yet to miss a school Christmas pageant.  When the boys get their holidays from school, we go out for a special lunch.  

We also enjoy plenty of family meals.  Year round and not just in the run up to Christmas.  I particularly like this one.

Another massive event in their lives is the brainchild of their grandmother who is no longer with us.  A few years back she organised the first of the now annual Santa visit to her house.  Granny and Grandad asked a friend of theirs to don the red suit and belly and each grandchild took turns to receive their gift from the man himself - who had very kindly taken time out from his very busy schedule to visit a fully decorated home in south Kildare on a frosty Sunday evening.

The older kids are questioning Santa now but accept it’s just a helper that steps in for the day.  The younger ones are still deeply enthralled and amazed at the whole thing.

Who needs a Santa trail or a frantically busy supermarket when Santa can fit in a personal visit in the comfort of your grandad’s home?

So when the guy at reception over the weekend followed up his initial shock over my kids being ignorant of The Late Late Toy Show by asking them, “do you know about Santa?” I was very confident in the knowledge that yes, yes they do.

We may not be as traditional as other families with our festive happenings, but we get a kick out of them all the same.

Rudolph the plywood reindeer.

Friday 27 November 2015

The Complaint Hotline

I collect Smallest Boy from Montessori at 12pm.  Mister Husband is the best person in the world because he does the 1.30pm school pick up and I fetch the remaining two boys at 2.30pm.

From 9am till 12pm I enjoy complete and utter serenity both in my mind and house.  I love it.

From approximately 2.45pm, not so much.

As soon as they clap eyes on each other, the rowing begins.  The bickering.  The sniping.  The moaning.  The whinging.  The fighting.  The arguing.  The whole kit and caboodle.

It’s exhausting.  It’s stressful and I hate it.

I have told them as much.

I lost the plot this week – I am not proud but it happened – and I roared it at them. I told them I dreaded that time of day; that I hated them coming home from school.  That I find it all so upsetting and stressful and loud and horrible and it makes me want to cry and would they all just please stop!

They did.  

For a while. 

They fight over the Xbox.  If the tablet has been left at home, they fight over that.  They fight over couch space. 

They come to me with their complaints.  The big stuff, the small stuff, the ridiculous, the unbelievable, the just because I can stuff.

This evening I told them I was going to call my own mother and complain to her.  That I was going to give out to her the way they give out to me. 

“You have a mother?  But you are a mother!”

The phone conversation played out.

“It’s Friday and I’m bored.  Make it go away.”

“I want to go out but I can’t.  I’ve kids to mind.”

“It’s raining.  Will you make it stop by tomorrow?”

“Can you do the washing for me?  Please?  You never do it.  Never!”

“What’s going to be for dinner tomorrow?   Will I like it? How come you never make me what I like?”

“Why can’t I watch what I want to on the television?”

“Can I have a treat?  Why not?  It’s just not fair!”

They looked at me as if I had lost the plot.

“You sound silly.  If you ring nana and say all that stuff to her, she will just laugh at you.”

Ya think?  So how come I don’t find it funny when you boys say all of that stuff to me?  Well?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Anyone?



Thursday 19 November 2015

Good Cop Bad Cop Recipes

Right.  So we’re a pancakes for breakfast family.  At least the boys are.  Every morning I make them pancakes.  It’s not hard.  They are easy to make – the batter is always made the day beforehand - occasionally when they are particularly hungry I might have to whip up a second batch that morning, but it can be very repetitive.  Already one of the boys is bored of them. 

He is also fast evolving into that mythical werewolf creature otherwise known as a teenager and has begun the love affair with sleep and his bed.  He has maybe ten minutes in the morning from the time his feet hit the bedroom floor to his butt reaching the car seat so a quick yet nutritious breakfast is necessary for him.

So I went on a quest to find a healthier, non-cook breakfast option and I discovered these lovely oaty breakfast muffins by Jenny Bristow.  My lot aren’t fond of raisins and the like so I omit those and instead chuck in a half pack of chocolate chips.

Try them. They take about ten minutes to prepare, are really tasty, high in fibre and full of energy. 

110g/4oz raisins or sultanas
Juice of 1 orange I used regular orange juice
75g/3oz Rolled porridge oats
 175g/6oz Self Raising flour
 25g/1oz soft brown sugar
2 tbsp. rapeseed oil I used sunflower oil
 1 egg lightly beaten
 ½ tsp Cinnamon powder
175ml/6fl oz. buttermilk or low fat milk


 Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6
Place the fruit with orange juice in a bowl for 10 minutes until they have plumped up. (Sorry Jenny.  I soaked the porridge in the milk for this step.  It absorbed nicely after a few minutes)
Place the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; to this add the beaten oil, egg and milk, mix lightly for only 1 minute. Don’t forget choc chips if using.  I think the grated zest of an orange would be lovely in this.  I also think a spoon of peanut butter would be another really nice option. 
Transfer to lined muffin tins and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. When cooked dust with icing sugar and serve.  One of my favourite things to do when making muffins is to add a couple table spoons of yogurt to the batter.

The second recipe is Brookies.  For those of you who may be new to these delicate delights, think brownies married with cookies with the density of those little amaretto biscuits you get with your coffee.

Up until a week ago my world was devoid of brookies.

I like nothing more than chilling out in front of some beauty bloggers and one night I happened across Lily Pebbles  who featured the aforementioned brookies on her blog. 

Two things stopped me in my tracks; Lily Pebbles reckoned a yield of 75 brookies from one batch and there is almost a pound of sugar in this recipe.

75 brookies!  And a pound of sugar?  Seriously?

The pound of sugar is correct but what she did get wrong was the yield.

I got way more than 75 so you might want to wait until there is a birthday party before making these.  Although they are very light.

85g 3 oz good quality cocoa powder  
14 oz caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz icing sugar


1. Mix together the cocoa, caster sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. 
I used the electric beaters for this.   Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours. I’m lazy and impatient and only gave it about two hours.  It was perfect.
2. Preheat oven to 180 c/ gas mark 4. Line baking trays with parchment. Pour icing sugar onto a plate and using a teaspoon, spoon and roll mixture into 2.5cm balls coating each one with the icing sugar before placing onto prepared trays
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Let them stand on the baking tray for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

I wouldn’t recommend the brookies for breakfast.  Well, maybe one or three.  But definitely try the muffins.  Once cool, especially the following morning, they taste even nicer.

Friday 13 November 2015

Cornflake Boy

“Are we cornflake going to collect Liam today?"                                                                                                 
“I would cornflake my breakfast now.”

“I think it’s cornflake a wet day today.”

“Is today cornflake treat Friday or is it a cornflake school day or cornflake the weekend?”

“Is it cornflake time for Galway yet?”

“How cornflake soon is it to Christmas?”

I know!  What the heck is that?   Smallest Boy is a talker.  Once you make eye contact with him you can consider yourself a goner.  Good night Irene!

Lately he has also taken to putting the word “cornflake” into every sentence.  Depending on the amount of stuff he has to say, he could use “cornflake” three times in one sentence.

Except it’s not “cornflake” he’s saying.  It’s “kind of like” but he says it so fast it sounds like “cornflake.”

I always believed there were a couple extra voices in my head.  Always.  It seems this has been proven lately as I am the only one who “cornflake” can hear him “cornflake” saying this.

It “cornflake” drives me mental.   

Thursday 5 November 2015

How Not to Scare Your Child in One Easy Step

Don’t lie to them.  That’s how.  Easy, see?   Simple.  Easy peasy lemon queasy as my small boy likes to say on an hourly basis.  It’s not a bit annoying.

I’m rambling. 

Ok, you know the way ladies of a certain vintage (over 20) like to blatantly shave years off their birth cert?

Don’t do it.

When your child asks how many years old you are, what your number is or even if you are in double digits yet, tell them the truth.

Do not tell them you are 24.

Unless you are.  Of course.

Do not lie and tell them you are 24 when you are really 42. Almost 43.

The other night one of my boys asked me how old I was. 

Forgetting myself for a moment, because lies will catch you out like that.  They will.  I told him the truth and said I was 42.  Almost 43.

His little eyes widened and he gasped out.  “You told me you were 24!”

“Yes, but I feel 24.” I replied tucking him in.  “That’s the important thing.”

Another lie.

I do in my hoop feel 24.  I feel every decade, month, week and day of my almost 43 years.

“That makes you a lot older than I thought you were.”  The blankets were clutched under his chin.

“Ah, it’s only a number.”  I reassured him.

“Jesus, how old is Daddy then?”  The panic!

“He’s younger than me.  Don’t worry about it.”  I was beginning to see the error of my ways. 
We were seconds away from the “when are you going to die” question.  I’ve been lying about that for years.  More of a threat though rather than a reassurance.

“So, he’s 24 then?”

“No.  No, he won’t be 24 until next May.”    

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.  I promise you.  Now goodnight and get some sleep.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

See, don’t lie.  It scares them when the truth comes out.  Now all I have to do is tell Mister Husband he’s a lot younger than he thinks he is.  Also that the boys want him to audition for the Milk Tray ad.