Wednesday, 22 April 2015

20 Things I Never Said Before I Had Boys

1.  Take your hand out of your pants!

2.  Stop licking the floor.

3.  The toilet brush is not a plunger!

4.  Jayz, I hope that’s Nutella on the       wall/orange juice on the floor!

5.  Don’t sit on the dog!

6.  Did any poo’s come out? 

7.  What colour was the poo?  Was it runny or solid?

8.  Is that a smartie up your nose?

9.  If you wear your underpants like that you’ll get a wedgie!

10. It is a nappy, it’s just made out of lots of toilet paper that’s all.  Come on, try it.  Squat!

11. If you LICK food you have to EAT it.  You can’t put it back on the PLATE!

12. You have troll nails!! 

13. That nostril will be bigger than the other one you know!

14. Don’t do your wee’s on the grass!

15. Quick!  Wee up against the wall.  Go on!  No-one will see you!

16.  Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease stop shouting.  I! Said! Stop!    Shouting!  Do you hear me? 

17. Don’t put that crayon up the dogs bum!  Why????  Why?????  Just don’t!!

18. I can so do my wee’s.  Just not the way you can!

19. That’s my muffin.  And they’re not blueberries.  They are dead flies and spiders!

20. I will give you twenty million euros if you go up that stairs and stay there!  How about a   bag of Haribo then?


Monday, 20 April 2015

You Know You're Middle Aged When

Horrors.  When did THAT happen?
You know you’re middle aged when……..

You dance like no-one’s watching.  And that’s the trouble.  You never had any of the moves in the first place and that hasn’t changed.  Then you catch the neighbours watching you rocking out to Taylor Swift as they’re waiting for their gates to open.  You freeze, horrified, for a millisecond but thanks to some rogue remnant teenage rebelliousness, you incorporate it into your routine and keep going.  In fact you take it up a notch.  Someone tell me to stop!  Now!

You google Perimenopause.  Sure.  You get your kids’ names mixed up.  Sure.  You may forget which day of the week it is.  Maybe you’ve even put the sugar in the fridge.  It’s quite possible your spacial awareness is going to hell.  But you don’t like it.  You don’t like it one little bit.  You find yourself in front of the google machine and against your better judgement, type perimenopause.  The last time you ticked all of the boxes was in a Marie Claire magazine and it was a lot funner than a bloody perimenopause check list.  FML!

Here's some flowers.  

All the young wans wear too much make up.  In your opinion.  You find yourself eyeing them through slitted eyes and concluding they’d look so much better without all that fake tan, the big hair and a lot less make-up.  But you do admire their pearly white, perfectly straight “are they CAPPED?” teeth.  The same goes for their clothes.  You’ve got bigger belts!  How on earth does she walk in those shoes?

Wash your FACE!

Grey hairs.  Once upon a time standing in front of the mirror tweezing the odd one was a fun way to kill ten minutes. But now they’ve taken over.  Your hairdresser is polite when you comment and says, “Ah, there’s just a few,” but you sit there watching them spring up out of nowhere as she blow dries your hair. 

I could rock this look.

Saggy Eyelids.  The day has finally arrived and the heart breaking thing is you didn’t see it coming.  I certainly didn’t.  One day you’re putting on your make-up, accentuating your eyelid crease to make your eyes look bigger and the next you’re looking up non-surgical ways to get rid of droopy eyelids on You Tube.   How the fuck did that happen?   You’re not so much of the “hooded eyes” look as hungover looking all of the time.  Even when you’re not! 

Not me.  But close enough.

Mom Jeans.  A recent revelation.  Apparently these exist and I covet a pair.  They lift, they slim and shape.  They perk and tuck and come with their own building site warning.  For when the recession is really over.  I have opened a new jam jar and it is called “Mom Jeans.“  They only cost €62 but by all accounts are worth it.  I truly have been living under a rock.  The rather large one outside Penneys.      

Mom Jeans!

Cats bum.  You do that thing with your lips like a cats bum when you’re displeased, disgusted or are trying hard hard hard not to give out to someone else’s child in the schoolyard/playground.  Oh yes, a definite sign that you’re middle aged and contrary with it. 


You discover a penchant for wine.  Or maybe it was already there; hidden by pregnancies and breastfeeding and being knackered tired.  Who cares?  You’ve discovered it and find you like it.  You like it a lot.  But ssssh, don’t tell anyone. 

You discover words like penchant.  And others like; “in my day,” “when I was young(er),” “I remember when,”  “I’m not able to drink anymore,”  “I’d better put the dinner on,”  “money doesn’t grow on trees, you know?”  You discover whole sentences in fact.

Disclaimer:  The “You” mentioned above is really me.  It’s always me.  I’m middle aged.  Not you.  I hope I didn’t (a) offend you and/or (b) scare you.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Finalist at Last!

So I received a lovely surprise.  Last evening I discovered I am a finalist in the Glenisk Irish Parenting Blog Awards 2015.  The humble parenting blogger is finally receiving recognition in our own right.  The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and when names such as One4All Gift Cards, SEAT Alhambra, Stena Line, Bear Nibbles,, Birthing Mamas, Blacknight Solutions, SuperHands Baby Sign Language are the many sponsors of the different categories, I think it is fair to say that pudding is pretty damn good!

I am honoured to be amongst such a powerful and talented group of women.  We span all of the genres, write about every faucet of parenting; the good, the bad, the downright ugly and sometimes the painful truth.

I have shared many, many thoughts and fears with these parents.  Many’s the surreptitious tear that has been wiped from my eye as I read their stories but there have been many, many mouthfuls of tea and sometimes wine, spat at my computer screen in laughter too.  

These are funny, funny women; make no mistake.  Witty, strong, determined, fearless and of an evening, slightly trolleyed.  Or maybe that’s just me!

We are the Irish Parenting Bloggers and we rock!

Thank you all who voted for me. 

*bows reverently*

*then reaches for the white wine*

Monday, 13 April 2015

What I Was Reminded of Over the Easter Holidays

I was pissed off/in a strop reflective when I wrote this Sunday evening, the last day of the holidays.  I was caught up in a snarl of resentment about how much of my life (and theirs!) gets sucked up with school stuff.  It’s a very busy time and I find it all quite stressful.   The school lunches were made – I had no choice.  The fucking things were nah-nah-nah-nah-ing at me since 8am, reminding me it was the last day.  So I made them.  Then I couldn’t rest because I needed to get the uniforms sorted.  I was gasping for a cup of tea glass of wine and I had the fear that even one glass would make me forget about them so I resentfully pulled jumpers and shirts off the hangers upstairs and left them in a big pile in the laundry basket.

I tried to cheer myself up with the fact that the Easter break is a little taster for the summer holidays which are only around the corner now. 

Anyway, time waits for no man, woman or child and the fact is, school is back for the next two months.

In the meantime these are some of the things I was gently reminded of over the break.

Things can be mad. Then they just settle right back down.   For the first week or 10 days there is a lot of frustration and copious amounts of wine consumed; then pure and utter bliss takes over as we all settle into the new routine.  In fact one of the boys asked if we could “stay at home tomorrow and do nothing” over the Easter Sunday weekend.  Suited me just fine.  We weren’t even that busy as we tend to chill and relax during school breaks anyway. And best of all, I get to stay in the scratcher until 8am most days. 

Pyjama Days.  I have a little confession to make.  Despite having four boy children who can be the very devil to dress we have never ever had one of those pyjama days that others have at the drop of a hat.  That’s not my confession.  My confession is; pyjama days never sat well with me.  It always seemed, lazy, I suppose.  *runs off to hide* I have seen the error of my snobby ways.   Oh boy, oh boy, days where your kids sit around in their pyjamas are lovely.  The sheer lazy, decadence of it all.  And they were happy as Larry too.  We had no more and no less than two pyjama days.  I am easing myself into it slowly.  Next weekend we might not even bother getting dressed at all.

Crankiness.  Lack of bedtime routine can make for messiness.  Lots of messiness and when night time awakenings interfere with my much awaited for uninterrupted 8 hours sleep, heads might just roll.  One of the lads got very cranky into the second week.  He indulged in a fierce amount of whinging and whining over nothing at all.  He was doing my head in.  He moaned if he lost on Xbox.  He gave out when his brothers said something he didn’t like.  It went beyond sensitive.  The truth is, the child was knackered.  Going to bed at 9pm for the first week of the break was taking its toll.  He was in his bed at 8pm sharp that night where he remained for almost 12 hours.  Totally different child the next day.

Teeth brushing.  This tends to get forgotten about in the mornings.  It doesn’t matter that I leave the toothbrushes on the sink every night as a reminder for the next day.  If we are not getting in the car and heading off somewhere, even for a litre of milk, the teeth are sorely neglected.  Which makes for much complaining that night when they all get an extra special super dooper scrub.

Wine.  I alluded to this already.  It is not my fault that the supermarket does a nice deal on wine during the Easter break.  Not my fault at all.  Nor is it my fault that I like to avail of it.  Likewise when I have a few glasses every evening during the break.  I put it all down to being teetotal during four back to back pregnancies and/or breastfeeding to 16 months.  Maybe I’m making up for it now?  Judge me.  Go ahead.  I dare you!

Brighter evenings.  Makes it harder for them to go to bed.  Particularly on the night before they are back to school.  It doesn’t matter on the other nights when bedtime is stretched out a bit, but bright evenings make them highly suspicious that their parents are pulling a fast one and annoying demands for food are made.  All in an effort to delay the inevitable. 

Confusion.  Mine.  I always hear the theme tune from Glenroe in my head on the Sunday night before they go back to school.  Sometimes I even have the Leaving Cert Exam Dream.  You know the one; it’s present day but you’re sitting the exam not having opened a book in twenty odd years.  I’m a jittery mess in the morning; did I make the lunches?  What about their uniforms?  School bags?  Water bottles?  I’m forgetting something, I know I am!  I always double check the heads in the car before we leave the house and then I spend the journey reminding myself to take a right at the traffic lights and not continue straight to the supermarket.

Poundage.  For the previous two summers I was sickened, annoyed and completely frustrated to discover, despite regular running, I gained a very generous half stone.  The penny dropped this Easter break and it appears it is the constant running around after the lads, endless school runs, appointments, sporting activities and forgetting to eat that keeps the weight down, not road running.  Easter chocolate doesn’t help either I suppose.  I am hanging onto the belief that weight gained quickly will be lost even quicker.  Maybe I just made that one up.

Come on end of June!  Let’s be having ya!  Does anyone else strongly dislike school or is it just me?          

Friday, 10 April 2015

Irish Kids During an Irish Mini Heatwave.
Irish kids during an Irish mini heatwave.  In April.  Sigh

Scenario 1.  Wanting to shed all of the clothes.
The first good day appears in the middle of March.  The day before saw howling winds and rains that battered and maimed.  The flowers in the garden are horizontal to the ground, the refuse bins are in the hedge and the trampoline is like a bug on its sorry back.  But the sun has come out.  Wait!  There it is………………no! Gone back behind the cloud.  Give it a minute.  There!  There is is.  Oh wait.  Gone again.  But they want shorts and t-shirts.  It is a waste of perfectly good breath insisting that they will be back in screeching about how cold it is and wanting coats.  After the 73rd time of telling them how mental an idea it is, a rogue child decides to go and find the summer wear himself.   The crazy thing is, he succeeded.  Now why can’t he find his shoes in the box under the stairs where they always are every other day?

Scenario 2.   Putting on Sun “scream.”
The sun is shining, true, but you still wonder if they really need a bit of sunblock.  You know you should put it on but that would mean having to get up and find the half empty tube from last year.  It could be in The Bag (TM) under the stairs, in the hot press, with the swimming bag, in the pocket thingy in the car, anywhere.   Ah fek it, it’s not even 11am yet.  They’ll be grand.  Won’t they?  But it niggles.  Not only are they irish kids, two of them are of the red haired variety.  They’ll be roasted quicker than a vampire before sundown.  Ah fek this sodding weather and why can’t you ever put the half empty tube of sunblock somewhere handy and accessible for the next year.  Now you have to get several kids into a headlock to apply same.  Not worth it.  But you’d better just in case.   

Scenario 3.  It’s too hot.
The sun is shining and they are all sitting on the couch squabbling in the non cute way only kids can.  You calmly but through gritted teeth suggest they all “pop outside” for a while.  They snarl back they are not for “popping” anywhere as there is there is the most pressing task of Xbox to be getting on with.  Anyway, it’s way too hot out there, hadn’t you noticed.  It isn’t said but there is a definite “duh!” implied.  Little shites. 

Scenario 4.  Feeding them.
So the sun is out and it is time to think about fodder.  Easter weekend is not too far in the ago and in an effort to pack some goodness into them, the oven is turned on and the makings of a roast chicken dinner flung into it.  Shoulda stuck with a salad.  Or smoothies.  Or jam sandwiches.  Even Corn Flakes.  They won’t eat the dinner.  It’s too hot for hot food but the chicken gets devoured and funnily enough hot chocolates are ok too.

Scenario 5.  Time for bed.  Now they want to go out and play.
Their aversion to the sun disappears just as the pyjamas appear.  Suddenly it’s a great idea to go outside. Your mental debate begins; get them straight back inside or just pour that glass of wine.  The wine wins.  You keep half an eye on the water gun.  No way is that going out there; if they want water fun they can bloody well wait till tomorrow!


Scenario 6.  Grubby kids.
Half a bottle of wine o’clock later and it’s definitely time to get them in.  After another twenty minutes and a quick top up, they troop in, complaining and bringing the dirt of the day with them.  You couldn’t be arsed making them shower.  A wash with a wipe will suffice.  The bed linen needs to be done anyway.  It really doesn’t matter that bits of grass, smears of muck and sweat will be ground into the sheets.   No, it doesn’t matter at all.  At least it won’t when the bottle of wine is finished. Maybe you should have handed out that water gun after all.

Scenario 7.  It rains.
They all look at you like it’s your fault the sun has gone.  They wanted to go out and play on the trampoline and spend some time in the play house.  One of them is raging because his bicycle skills needed perfecting.  No, they do not want to go grocery shopping with you.  No, they do not want to see if there is a good film on Netflix.  No!  They most certainly do not want to! Do anything! And you! Can’t make them!


Never mind.  There’s school on Monday.  You won’t even care if it rains.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Feelings on a Fourth Birthday (And an Interview)

The day he was born was a spectacular spring day with sunblock and strappy dresses.  I was wearing both when I got to the hospital.  I still had on the dress when I gave birth. 

Today he is four, the weather is amazing, the dress is long gone but I still have his first Babygro and vest in his memory box. 

Today he is four and I watch how his older brothers interact with him, how they help him, how they play and rough house but are careful (sometimes) and hold back a little.

Today he is four and he carries around an old mobile phone and likes to call out for cappuccinos for me. 

Today he is four and is fast losing the baby softness of his hair.  It is turning into “boy hair” and I love it; the mess of it, the way it smells, even when it needs to be washed.  Particularly when it needs to be washed!


Today he is four and tall for his age.  He is fond of nose rubs and being carried.  He will hang on tight, wrapping legs around my waist and tapping his hand on my shoulder blade.  I love the feel of his wiry little body.    

Today he is four and he counts a “good knife” as one of his favourite toys.  It is just a regular butter knife that has been used to make muck balls so often now, the handle is crooked.  It is a huge source of torment for Mister Husband when he grabs it from the drawer.

Today he is four and he loves to find “lucky quarters” (must be said with a very strong American accent).  He likes to talk.  Boy, does he like to talk.  There is no point asking him to give someone else a chance, namely his parents, he just keeps going.  Once he actually said, “But I like to talk.  I like to talk for hours.”

Today he is four and if it’s got wheels he’s happy.  Similarly he adores raspberries.  He eats these like sweets.  He loves a bath.  He’s a tad fond of his mother, so much so there is fierce competition between him and his almost 6 year old brother.  Who still bears claw marks on his neck from the last encounter.

Today he is four and there are no babies in our house anymore.

No babies.  Anymore.  All gone.  Baby free house.

The day has finally arrived, the one that seemed so very far away, like Christmas; almost here but not close enough.

Our youngest is four and our oldest is nine.

It has been four years since I last gave birth.

I made it!

And to mark this most special of fourth birthdays I put a few questions to the birth day boy.

How old are you?  
(After some thought) 4! I am 4!

What is your favourite animal? 
Big Hero 6!!  (A movie about a robot!)

What is your favourite game?  
Crack the egg.  (An actual game they play on the trampoline.  It involves someone curling up and the other “players” jump so hard it “becomes too much” and the egg cracks.”  Ok then.) 

What is your favourite thing to do? 
Lawnmower the grass with daddy.

What was your favourite holiday? 
The beach.  Yeah, the beach!

Where is your favourite place to go?
The Blig Blue Barn!  (The Big Blue Barn is an indoor play centre)

What is your favourite restaurant? 
The pub!  For ice-cream.  (For the record he was only ever in a pub once.  For about fifteen minutes.  And there wasn’t a bit of ice-cream in the place.)

Where would you like to go on holidays?
The beach!

What makes you happy?
Daddy’s lawnmower. 

What makes you sad?
Not getting the lawnmower.  And cross words.  (I’m beginning to notice a theme)

What does your daddy work at?        
He works in an office and has meetings.                                                                                                                 

What does your mammy do all day?                                                                                          Make dinners.  Give Juno food.  Make pancakes.  (Basically I'm a feeder!)                 

What would you buy if you had lots of money?                                                                          A pig.  I mean a toy pig!     A money pig!  That means you can put money in there.                 

What are you really good at?                                    
Sliding down the slide.  Playing Xbox.  I'm also good at hiding.                                                                                    

What will you do on your happy birthday?                                                                               Play in the Blig Blue Barn.  And my water gun and splash it at the lads.  Water some plants.  But I won’t eat dinner.  I will eat nana’s dinner.  I like pink meat for dinner. 

Tell me something bad that happened to you.                                                                          I falled.  And I have heart attacks when the lads shock me with frights.

Happy birthday Brendan!  The best boy in the whole wide world.  Fact!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

20 Great Things That Happened This Morning

When I first opened my eyes this morning I couldn’t see out the window because there was such a dense fog.  I knew straight away it was going to be a wonderful day.  So I rolled right back over and shut my eyes.  I wasn’t wrong!  It is a glorious day.  Birds are singing, the grass is bright green and the air is warm.  I also saw swallows today!  The first sign of summer.

When I finally made it downstairs the boys were quietly entertaining themselves which was a minor miracle in itself.   It is week 2 of the Easter break and true to form, everyone has settled into a nice routine.  The first week was a bit crazy; the weather didn’t; help but it always takes a week to 10 days before things settle.  Because everyone was so mellow I decided to go with the flow and take whatever the day threw at me.  Which was only delightful things. 

Here are 20 feel goods that happened this morning.

  1. I didn’t get up until 9.20am.
  2. The boys didn’t request pancakes for breakfast.  Everyone was content to eat slice after slice of toast and drink orange juice.
  3. We are not going to budge.  One of the boys expressly asked last night if we could stay at home today.  His wish is my command.
  4. For the second day during the Easter holidays, the boys stayed in their pyjamas.
  5. I am sitting on the stairs in perfect, warm sunlight drinking tea.
  6. The boys are not fighting at the moment.  Xbox is entertaining them so I can sit on the stairs in golden sunshine and drink tea.
  7. There is washing on the clothes line.  Actual washing.
  8. Last night we went out for a delicious meal in our local Asian restaurant.  Very generous portion sizes meant the boys couldn’t possibly finish theirs so we took home doggy bags.  Dinner is sorted for today; yellow Thai chicken curry.
  9. It is week 2 of the Easter holidays and it feels like there is ages left still.
  10. I am still on the stairs and no-one has come looking for me!
  11. Second cup of tea at my feet (and some Easter eggs) on the stairs.
  12. My floors are clean.  Not such a big deal normally but they really needed doing.
  13. There is a second load of washing on.
  14. I am not wearing socks.  I am wearing short sleeves and a short trousers. 
  15. The back door is open and will stay that way until late evening.
  16.  Smallest Boy has come in to remind me to put his “sun scream” on.
  17. There is fruit soaking in tea waiting to be turned into a tea brack.
  18. The bubble machine is being put through its paces.
  19. Putting a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge for later!
  20. Having an actual conversation about putting up the picnic table umbrella.


Yes, it is a cracking day.  Long may it last.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Good News Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.  If you are Irish it means there isn’t a drop of alcohol to be got for love nor money.  All the pubs are closed, see. Unless you were prepared and bought some yesterday.  You could also go out for a meal.  I think restaurants and the like can sell alcohol on Good Friday.  I stand corrected on that one.

But I’ve got three bottles of wine.  Two are in the fridge chilling right now. 

I think meat is supposed to be shunned today as well.  I ate chicken. *shrugs*

Moving on from food and drink today was Good News Good Friday for us. 

We received the results of some blood tests. 

See one of our boys had a very scary allergic reaction to something or other last December.  Very briefly it involved a mad dash to the out of hours family doctors service where he received two shots to take down rapid swelling.  After an hours observation we were discharged with instructions to go straight to hospital if anything changed that night.  

Some hours later he suffered a very common secondary reaction and we hot footed it to the hospital where he received a shot of epinephrine into his thigh.

It turned into an overnight stay.  The next morning he was right as rain, his memory of the previous night a bit hazy.

I carry an epipen at all times now and his school also has one.

Today the results of his bloods told us he tested negative to fish and nuts.  The bad news is he is allergic to grass pollen, dust mites and dog dander.

A food allergy is horrific.  Everything has to be watched.  Every ingredient has to be read and read again.  There seems to be traces of nuts in everything. We haven’t eaten fish of any description since December 13th 2014.

Having said that, our boy was lucky in that whatever caused him to have his reaction (he had eaten fish that evening) he was never in any danger of reacting to cross contamination.   There are kids out there who cannot be in the same room as nuts such is their risk of anaphylactic shock and possible death. 

So good news for him.  Great news for him.  He is thrilled to be able to eat fish again.

Of course we are relieved too.  We still have to carry our epipens but it’s fantastic that a food allergy has been eliminated. 

I, on the other hand, am not so thrilled at the prospect of all that dusting and cleaning I will have to embark on. 

Dog dander. I mean, come on!       

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

When Bedtime Takes an Age!

Once upon a month ago, if I really, really, really put my mind to it, I could have four kids ready for bed and actually in the blinking thing in under forty minutes.  Yes, that includes brushing four sets of teeth and a bedtime story.  Ok, so there might be a few tears and some bewilderment because I am moving fasterthanthespeedoflight and there’s a good bit of shouting but focus on what’s important; they’re between the sheets in under forty minutes.  Job done.  Mission accomplished.  Now where’s that glass of wine?

These days all of that has changed.  Now it takes forty minutes to get them up the stairs and a further forty (if I’m lucky) before I get to walk back down it again.  And into the arms of my glass of wine.

Things are crazy in our house.  Box of frogs crazy.  Lid comes off, they go everywhere. They take sibling rivalry to a new level.   I’ve dropped “down to his level” trying to diffuse a bomb tantrum and another one is swinging out of my bra strap whilst a third is roaring for assistance from the bathroom. 

I’m trying to explain to one of them he has 12 sleeps left till he’s back in school (“is that the same as 10 sleeps?”) and another one is filling me in on his latest conquest in Minecraft whilst a third is attempting to remove batteries with the sharpest knife he could find.

In other words, no-one ever gets undivided attention.  Particularly when it is needed.  As soon as one issue is dealt with, there are two more waiting for attention.  One on one time just does not happen when there are more than two kids.  It’s just not possible.

So, I reckoned I would have a go at it when they are in bed.  Get them all nice and relaxed with the bedtime story, tuck them in and then spend a few minutes with them. 

Initially this was for the benefit of one boy in particular.  The one I still feel needs it most.  So I would sit down on his bed and ask him to tell me two nice things that happened that day.  

The first night he talked non-stop for twenty minutes.  All I did was sit there and nod, make the odd sound in my throat to indicate I was listening to him.  Which I was.

He fell asleep with a smile on his face. 

It was lovely.

And so we continued. 

One night as I was leaving the bedroom one of the neglected them piped up, “it’s my turn for you to talk to me now.  My two things are……………………………..”

Smallest Boy was next.  “My things are I need a water gun and I don’t like Liam.” 

Not really getting the point of the exercise but early days.  Early days.

So, yes, these nights I am coming down the stairs ages after the bed time wind down but as long as the one on one time is being met, isn’t that the main thing.

*whispers* And the glass of wine afterwards!