Monday 29 June 2015

Day 1 Week 1

Day 1 of the school summer holidays 2015 is coming to an end.  How did you get on?  

I went to bed last night feeling fabulous knowing we didn’t have to be anywhere in the morning.  It was like Saturday but by a different name.  The kids could and would come downstairs by themselves and watch telly until I appeared.  Which wouldn’t be too much later.  We all had a little lie on.  Maybe half an hour, forty minutes longer than usual.

I was expecting today to be a bit hairy.  Mainly because at the risk of sounding like that mother, I laid down a little ground rule before they went to bed last night.  And that was; the same Xbox rule applies over the summer holidays - none before 3pm.

“You’re killing me!”
“Can I have a treat?”

I told them to expect Monday and possibly the rest of the week to be hard until they got used to it but this rule was going to be implemented no matter what.  Mornings are for reading, writing, being outside, getting jobs done and being kind to each other trying not to kill each other for the next 8 weeks.  End of.

I put the control thingers in the microwave before I went to bed.  Removing temptation as it were.

And yes, I agreed the weekends would be as normal – Xbox all the way if that was what they wanted. 

There were, of course, a few hic-coughs.  Moaning over new sandals, having to go on a laundry run, having to collect coffee in the supermarket and no Xbox.

But we got there.

The sandal debacle was solved by yet another “not my best moment” example when I pulled into a layby and told the offender that if he didn’t stop giving out about his second pair of shoes in as many weeks, he would be the one that goes to Doggy Day Care and Juno would come to Rosslare for the week instead of him.  I shut them up in the supermarket by allowing them to select two types of freezer treats.

At the time of writing my checklist looks a little like this:

Kids.                                 Still number 4.  None of them got broken.
Swear words.                   None.  Surprisingly.
Fights.                              Several.  Possibly more than 10.  All minor.
Laundry.                           Three loads.
House.                              Still standing.
Wine.                                 Half a bottle.
Morale.                              Pretty damn good.

I still can’t quite believe we are at the end of June already.  Let’s hope the next two months aren’t in a mad panic to be over too quickly.

Friday 26 June 2015

Doogie Howser is in the House

The fake Doogie Howser
YOU KNOW those awful kids magazines that cost five euros or more, with the useless bit of plastic on the front?  Those ones?  The ones the kids are drawn towards with magnetic force?  Those ones?

Today Smallest Boy zoned in on one with a doctors set attached to it.  Your plastic stethoscope, a thermometer thing and a tube of something or other.

He has been a doctor since this morning and frankly I think the power has gone to his head. 

Either that or he harbours sadistic tendancies.  I think I prefer the power trip.

He has swung from being Dr. MacSmallie with the lovely bedside manner to an injection wielding Doogie Howser in a matter of hours.

“Do you have a tummy bug, Mammy?”  When I confirmed that I did and I felt awful, his little face creased up in concern and he rubbed my hand so softly and so soothingly it was like being kissed by butterflies.  He proceeded to treat me with a “tiny bit of medicine” by way of the empty plastic tube and stuck the thermometer thingy into my mouth.  A quick listen to my chest, or in this case my right boob and it was confirmed there was indeed “a huge bug crawling around” inside me but the “medicine will make him dead and then I will get him out of you.”  Followed by another gentle hand rub.

The real Doogie Howser

“Come and get me if you don’t feel better in twenteen hours.”  Were his orders.  But in the event that he might not be available I was given full doctors permission “to get the medicine” by myself and, “take it.  Take it all, Mammy.”

Maybe not such a reliable doctor after all.  The signs were there.  But then again it was a cheap set of medical instruments. 

By mid-afternoon he was swamped with appointments as his brothers were finished school and beginning their holidays (YAY!)

Obviously feeling the pressure of such a high powered job, the thermometer became a syringe.  From which he derived great joy out of injecting medicine into everyone, including the dog.

Clearly over his bedside manner he informed his packed surgery, “This is serious medicine that will make you puke your dinner out.  I will sneak up on the bug when him’s not watching and put the needle in him.  Then he will come out in an explosion.”

I bet he will.   

Dr. MacHorrible wasn’t finished.  “This is a very big needle.  And it will very hurt.  Are you ready?”

I braced myself for the torture and when it was shoved into my stomach he apologised.  
That’s more like it I thought.  But no.  Apparently the needle wasn’t “big enough and I have to stab you again.  Are you ready now?”

I watched as he pulled back the pullback thingy (technical term) and with great relish stabbed me with it again.

I was tiring of the tummy bug thing so I decided to switch it up a bit and I complained of a fake headache. 

“Get ready for the needle!”  Yep, definite delight and relish in his voice.  He aimed it carefully at me and without further ado stabbed me in the forehead.

I think I might buy him a vet’s kit next week.  See how he gets on with that.

On second thoughts, maybe not.  The poor dog. 

Wednesday 24 June 2015

To Win or Not to Win

It's a TRAP TEAM alright!
I think I am about to do something that will surely come back and bite me in the arse.

One of the boys selected a magazine over the weekend and there was a competition inside.  The sooper dooper whopper prize was a Skylanders something or other.  I’ll admit to not knowing what exactly. 

As soon as he saw it, in his mind he became the winner and began to select which of his brothers, depending on behaviour he considered acceptable, would get to play with his Skylanders sooper dooper whopper prize.

I said nothing. 

There was no point.  Why bring down his tower?  He wouldn’t listen to me in any case.

Monday morning saw him in tears on the chair with his entry form clutched in his hand.  This boy can go from elation to the pits of despair in 0.01 seconds.

On further investigation it emerged it had been pointed out to him that only residents of the UK or Northern Ireland could enter the competition.

Cue upset, devastation and crushing disappointment.

I had initially intended to put the entry form into an envelope and let him believe that I posted it off when he was in school.  Possibly my First Mistake.  When I saw how sad he was I told him we could put his cousins’ address on the entry form as they live in London.  

Possibly my Second Mistake but it cheered him up immediately.  Pushed him right over the euphoric edge actually.

Now he believes he is going to win this damn competition and despite being told three times the closing date is July 1st, he insists the prize will be arriving to him on that day.  I am under strict instructions not to open it but to hide it until he comes home from school.

The fact that he has completely forgotten he will be on holidays from school is promising.  I am also hoping he will forget about the damn competition altogether.

Is it wrong of me to buy a packet of Skylanders Stickers and send it to him as a consolation prize?

Possibly my Third Mistake.    

Monday 22 June 2015

A Melty Monday

It is the last Monday of the school year.  I’ve spent a lot of time talking about that recently I’ve noticed.  Today there was ice-cream and snacks.  Rice Krispies and lots of scrambled eggs and boiled ones purely because it was a melty Monday.  I’d no energy to speak of.  I did the bare minimum and I was more than happy with that.  Everyone is tired.  There is a summer cold in the house.  The almost 6 year is asleep on the couch as I write.  Conked out.  He has been falling sleeping like this daily for the last week.  Did I say everyone is tired?  They go to bed at the usual time, confused because “it’s still bright outside!” and stay awake messing until well past 9pm.  Which has a direct effect on the energy levels into the next day. 

I am tired but I feel light hearted.  I have that lovely looking forwardness that only comes with the thoughts of long holidays from school, trips to the swimming pool, late evenings in the garden and bare feet.

Toes are sticking out of runners and school shoes.  Red jumpers are frayed at the wrists and the back door is open all day and well into the evening.

The garden is awash with that soft springy underfoot stuff that is not moss but not grass either.  Daisies everywhere.  We have green raspberries on two plants.  Smallest Boy and I are inspecting them on a daily basis and discovering watched raspberries do not ripen.

There is a stack of old school books upstairs waiting to be thrown into the recycling and the covers put onto new tomes for next year.  Once the school bags are washed (Friday!) this will happen.

I have a Rosslare holiday list ready to go – pared down to the absolute minimum as it will be our third year in a row back to Rosslare Holiday Villas and I’ve learned a thing or two about what to pack (extra shorts & T-shirts) and what to leave behind (pasta and tins of beans).

I should be booting up to go for a quick run with the dog but as energy levels are low, I just might take tonight off.

Sometimes melty Mondays are nice!

Friday 19 June 2015

End of School Year 2014/2015

We’re nearly there.  Almost at the end of yet another school year.  Where has the time gone, blahdy blahdy blah.

In another 7 days the fruits of our loins will be underfoot for 8 weeks.

And guess what?  I can’t wait!

Yes, you read that correctly.  Granted the first week can be a bit hairy as we all settle into our new summer holidays routine.  Leaving aside the usual daily tortures that are homework, uniforms and those soul sucking school runs, here are a few of the other things I will not miss during those lovely 56 days.

Calendars and lists.  My calendar runneth over.  The last couple of weeks have been so busy, I needed to pin an A4 sheet of paper to the kitchen press, write out each day and under that list all the places to be/jobs to do/things not to forget for that day.  Bearing in mind, I am quite fond of lists; they keep me focused and remind me not to forget a child or buy dog food.  But lists also stress me out.  There’s so much to do!  I am looking forward to ripping them down and staring at a two blank calendar months with only the word holidays to sully them.

Tracksuit tops/geansaĂ­.  Despite being the proud parent of an almost 6 year old who is head, shoulders and chest above all of the Junior and Senior Infants, the only child wearing an age 8 tracksuit top, it goes AWOL on a regular basis.  Two things happen then:  his mother cries and receives many phone calls from MĂșinteoir when she finds rogue tracksuit tops.  I have been tempted to say, “Lookit, if it’s in reasonable knick, I’ll take it.”  The last time it was a month before I got it back.  After I bought a brand new one.   His name is now painted on the front and back in Tippex for all to see.   After lunch boxes this one is the bane of my school year.

Lunch boxes.  One of my boys comes home with pencils stabbed through his apple and sandwiches in protest over the contents of his lunch box.  He also likes to shred his rice cake into millions and millions of pieces.  His sandwich “smells,” apples “got boring” and he “hates yogurts.” He takes a tiny tub of granola with 17 chocolate chips.  And a bottle of water to wash it all down.  Did I say I hate lunch boxes?  I hate lunch boxes.

Yogurt spills. When your child comes out of school with food all over his clothes and you wonder did he actually eat any of that yogurt or just stand there and pour it down his front.  I won’t paint a picture of the day he went to a chocolate factory for his school tour. 

The shoe fights. Every morning without fail the same argument happens in our house.  At precisely 8am I issue instructions to “please put on your shoes and socks.”  This request is repeated at three minute intervals until 8.20am.  He ends up walking hobbling out to the car in stocking feet (if I’m lucky) howling to begin the second argument that happens at precisely 8.25am every morning.  “Close the door and put on your seat belt.”  Every morning.  Exactly as I have described.  Five mornings a week.  Since last August.

Tummy Bugs.  To suffer once is unfortunate and upsetting but to have this blighter return to the house again a week or so later is just a major pain in the arse.  On the upside I have found a fantastic outdoors laundry service that washes duvets in 40 minutes for €8!  They need to get out of school and be free of whatever virus is running riot in there.

To break it down and make it even more lovely.  There are only 5 more school days left in the school year 2014/2015.  Four and a half if you consider they get out early on the last day.  That makes only 4 school lunches left in the school year 2014/2015.  They have been given a uniform reprieve since last week and can wear shorts and t-shirts if they wish.  They do wish.  Bye bye school year 2014/2015 and hello Senior Infant, Rang 2 agus Rang 4.  Oh and Montessori.  Hello Montessori.  How you doin’?        

Seriously though – where has the time gone?

Monday 15 June 2015

20 Tips to Keep You Sane During School Holidays
The summer holidays are long.  Gloriously long.  Sometimes maybe even a little too long.  Especially if it’s raining.  Then they’re very bloody long.  Never mind.  It’s only for 8 (long) weeks.  I love them really. No, really I do.  I can’t wait for them to roll round.  Only two weeks away.  Here’s a little list to print out and stick on your fridge.  You can call it your to do list.  You need one.  Or you will.

P.S. buy paracetamol.  You’ll definitely need that!

  1. Drink wine.  But never before 5pm.  It’s called pacing yourself.
  2. Sleep.  Keep them up later in the evenings so they’ll (hopefully) sleep on the next morning.
  3. Drink wine.  I’d recommend a Pinot Grigio.
  4. Let the kids have all the remote controls and all of the screen time.
  5. Drink wine.  Ice cold.  Gorgeous.
  6. Make it even easier and avoid bath time by taking them to the swimming pool.  Bring a magazine to read.
  7. Drink wine.  Not poolside though.  You’ll get caught.
  8. Visit all of the parks and playground.  Tires them out, see?  Helps with No. 2 above.  Bring coffee and a book.
  9. Drink wine.  Not in the park.  You’ll fall asleep in the sun.
  10. Enroll them into summer camps.  I’m sure the neighbours will be running some.
  11. Drink wine.  When the kids are at the neighbours.
  12. Arrange playdates.  At friends' houses.  Cousins' houses.  Neighbours' houses.
  13. Recycle all your empties.
  14. If they are still waking up at silly o’clock, tell them there’s school in the morning.  That’ll put a stop to their gallop!
  15. Drink wine. You’ll probably need it at this stage.
  16. Drive the car round the back.  Hook up the garden hose and give the kidlets sponges.  Clean car.  Clean kids.  You’re welcome.
  17. Drink wine.  It’s summer.  You’re allowed.
  18. Invite a few friends and their kids round.  It’ll change the group dynamic and keep them all entertained for a few hours.
  19. Drink wine with your friends.  Kids can’t share, remember?
  20. Remind yourself how much you were looking forward to the summer holiday.  They’ll be over soon and you’ll have to live in your car again.  Remember to make mulled wine. 

I’d better stick a disclaimer in here.  Naturally I am referring to one small scant glass of wine when I say “drink wine” all those many times above.  That’s all I’ll be drinking.  You do what you like. 

Friday 12 June 2015

Yummy Mummies In Shock Over Departure of Home and Away Regular

 The stillness of an early summer morning in a sub-urban housing estate in Kildare was shattered recently when it was announced on social media that Steve Peacocke aka Darryl “Brax” Braxton was to hang up his River Boy boots for good.

“He’s the best thing in it.” Mairead Fenton commented on the Home and Away stars imminent departure as she prepared lemons for the coffee morning in honour of the news.  “The girls and I, we’re devastated so I’ve decided to do something to cheer us all up.”

Guest of honour and self-confessed biggest fan Louise O’Shaughnessy was ashen faced.   “I’ve been watching him for years!  Got my picture taken with him and everything when he visited that nightclub in Maynooth.  I’m disgusted!  What a fickle fucker.  Flash the bright lights of Hollywood in front of him and he’s off.    Wait!  WiIl this be an official quote?  Jesus!  Take out the fickle fucker part, for fuck sake?”

 Mairead paused in her lemon slicing.  “Here.  You’re looking a bit pale.  Did you forget to fake tan again?”   

“Seriously, though,” Louise wasn’t taking the news lying down.  “First it was Ray D’Arcy feking off to that other fecking radio station and leaving me with nothing to fecking listen to in the mornings.  This latest is too much.  No-one has any loyalty anymore.  I’m thinking of boycotting Home and Away altogether.” 


“Anyway, I’ll be serving quiche and lemon tartlets.”  Mairead said as her other guests began to arrive.  Some of them were already crying and needing to be supported as they walked into her house.  This could have been genuine upset or maybe their heels were catching on the carpet.   “Gav has taken the kids out for the morning and given me and the girls free run of the place.  He knows how these coffee mornings can go." 

In between G&T’s and Lily O’Brien chocolates I asked some of the other’s how they felt about the news.

“Gutted!”  Said one.  “Do you know I named my son Darryl after him?   Mind you my husband hates the name and refuses to use it.  He likes Barry.  There’s been a few rows.”

“I’m going to go out on a limb here,” another announced.  “He was overrated.  End of.  Shout at me all you like.  Wake up and smell the coffee – the man was a drug dealer.  A drug dealer! Imagine all of your faces if your daughter showed up with a drug dealer.  You’d be singing a different song then!”

“The thoughts of watching Spartacus on Lazy town again, are killing me!” Louise O’Shaughnessy wasn’t letting this go.  “Jesus, I’m not able for this.  There’s absolutely no-one of any decent ride-able quality left on the telly now.”

“They’ll be grand.”  Mairead reassured me as I was leaving.   “They’re all just a bit dramatic.  I did warn you.  We’re going to sit down now in a few minutes and watch some Buffy box sets.  Everyone will get all hot and bothered over Angel again and before you know it, there’ll be an Ann Summers booked for the weekend.  Wait and see.”

Home and Away the Australian soap is broadcast on RTE during lunchtime.  If you miss any of the intricate storyline or just fancy a bit more eye candy it’s repeated at tea time.  Or you could save it all up and watch five episodes back to back on the RTE player Friday nights.  Tell your partner to brace themselves.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Barefaced Beauty and Makeup Magic. A Linky.

Have you ever muttered aloud, thank fuck for make-up?  Some of my very funny Irish Parenting Blogger colleagues have.  In fact, thank fuck for make-up was put forward as a suggestion for the title of this blog linky in which we chat about makeup.  Instead Sinead at Bumbles of Rice went with Barefaced Beauty and Makeup Magic instead.  Here is my contribution. 

Basically we all wear makeup; after all it makes us look a little less scary in the morning and I’m all for something that lends a bit of confidence if we feel we need it.        

One of the things that caused me great consternation and I have to admit, at times, embarrassment when I was growing, up were my freckles.  I don’t just have lots.  I am a freckle.  Covered in them.  They are on my eyelids, I have one on my lip, the backs of my hands and legs, tummy and Jesus, everywhere. 

I wanted to buy all of the lemons and just bleach them right off.  When I read in a magazine (coz they always speak the truth) that you won’t get any new freckles once you reach your twenties, I could barely contain my excitement. 

I call bullshit!

Someone forgot to tell my freckles to calm the jayzus down and stop multiplying.  My kids used to think I was spotty until I told them they are called freckles!

Lovely older aunties and the like used to refer to them as beauty spots when I was younger.

As a result of my hate hate relationship with my sun damage, I used to trowel on the old make-up in an effort to hide them.

You can imagine how that looked!

I’ll give you a hint.  Not very well.

These days I have learned to embrace them.

That’s a lie. I haven’t. I have learned to accept them.  The fuckers are not going anywhere and neither, it seems, are my wrinkles.

It is safe to say I have a severe case of unblemished skin envy.

Anyhow, here are some of my current favourite makeup products to hide embrace compliment make peace with my freckles.

I am a big fan of BB creams.  I love them.  I know a lot of people recon they are a glorified tinted moisturiser.  To them I say, you haven’t found the correct one for you.  I like the Garnier ones.  Probably because I haven’t really tried any others.  But over the weekend I caved and treated myself to a Bare Minerals one that I am only dying to play with.

Oh. Another thing I don’t like about my face.  I have shite eyebrows.  They are very fair and I need to draw them on if my face has to have any definition at all I don’t want to look like an alien.

I don’t wear make-up every day.  But when I do feel like brightening my face this little lot are my go to products.   Nice and simple and take me less than ten minutes to apply.

There is something very soothing and relaxing about applying make-up.  I think so anyway and I would probably enjoy it all the more if I wasn’t running back and forth to check on pancakes in the pan. 

Items in the picture. 

Garnier 5 Second Blur.  This is really nice for minimising pores. 
Collection. Gorgeous Glow colour block.  This gives my skin a nice sun kissed look.
Collection.  Colour Lash Mascara in brown.  I love brown mascara and I find it next to impossible to find.  This is the only one I’ve managed to find.  Come on make-up companies.  We don’t all like the full on lash look for during the day.
Collection.  Eyebrow pencil in Blonde.  Catrice eyebrow pencil in Date with Ash-ton with spoolie.  Both good products for keeping my brows looking natural and not like two crows took flight across my forehead. 
Urban Decay Naked Basics.  This is a lovely neutral eyeshadow pallette. 
Nivea.  Tinted moisturiser in Light.  I have this for years and I love it during the summer.  I find sometimes it needs a little help (if I’m not wearing fake tan) and this is where the Academie foundation comes in.  A tiny touch too dark for me, it blends really well with the tinted moisturiser. 
NYC lip crayon.  Rose.  It tastes like bubble-gum and it is lovely and light for during the day.

Disclaimer:  All of these products are my own.  I have not been paid for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

How do You Know There Is a Tummy Bug in The House?

We managed to go a few years since the tummy bug virus hit our house.  Maybe even three years.  Could be four.  I can remember the relayed vomiting very well but I am a little cloudy on the time frame.

Pure luck I’m sure as the boys were certainly exposed to it during that time. Take this year for example, kids were literally getting sick outside the school gate.  Some days mine would come home with a tale of how yet another friend was sick in the classroom.  Falling like flies, apparently.

I had to go and comment, innocently, at the wonder of it all, how mine were still standing.  

Until they weren’t.  Literally.  This tummy bug was a nasty one.  Wiped them out one by one and rendered them incapable of walking.  A six and seven and a half year old had to be carried up and down the stairs and into the car.  The four year old was the luckiest one.  He complained of a pain in his tummy, puked mid-sentence and carried on in his typical as you were fashion.  

Those would be the obvious signs that there’s an unwelcome guest in your house.  But there are others.  Like your washing machine and dryer begging for mercy, the unmistakable smell of puke and pale, ashen faced kids lying about looking like they are at death’s door. 

And the other signs.  Like there’s 7UP in the fridge.  Lots of 7UP in the fridge.  Your house also smells of eggy belches and toast.  There are plastic buckets and basins everywhere and towels are spread out on the floors around all of the beds. 

You haven’t cooked a proper dinner in 5 days (not complaining about that one) and the most money you’ve spent in one transaction was for more 7UP, pressed apple juice and bathroom tissue.  There are more questions about poo and the consistency of same than you can shake a stick at.   You have unfunny conversations about cramps and asking your child to rate their soreness on a scale of one to ten.

The kids are quiet except for the odd moan.  Every now and again their stomach grumbles and growls with alarming noise levels before the poor blighter bolts to the bathroom, where he remains for at least five minutes.  They can’t walk and have to come down the stairs on their bottoms.  If a car trip is absolutely necessary, having to collect the latest bug victim from school at midday for example, the sick kids need to be carried out to the car.  Harry Potter is on a loop.  Your sink is full of used tea bags and you have to warn people to stay away from the house.  You manage to lose two pounds through not eating anything yourself for two days.    

Just when you are losing track of the days of the week, the bug seems to lift.  How do you know?  Again, there are a few clues.  They sleep all night without any mad, panicked dashes to the bathroom.  Your carpets finally seem to be getting a break.  You suspect you may have given them a lifelong aversion to 7UP (not a bad thing) and they start refusing toast but requesting Rice Krispies.  They can walk again and noise levels begin to return to normal, albeit slowly.

However, there is one dead giveaway that the tummy bug has finally loosened its hold.    

They start fighting again.