Thursday 28 April 2016

Yet Another Stage

Parenting is all about the stages, isn’t it?   There’s the pregnancy bit and the waiting till your baby arrives.  

Then you enter the first stage of labour, followed by the second and wait a minute – there’s a third stage??

Shoulda read the small print. 

Along comes the sleepless stage followed by the regression stage.  But there’s loads of those.  I won’t list them all out here but a bloody good example would be when your baby finally sleeps through the night and you hardly dare hope they might continue with this good behaviour.  And they do!  You finally relax a month later and bam!

Regression.  A developmental leap or something.  I don’t know, I’ve lost all of my baby jargon but I do remember regressions.  It’s the sleep regression where they decide they’ve had enough of this sleeping through lark thank you very much and want to wake up at the crack of dawn again.

It’s great fun.  Not.

Roll on the teething stage.   The weaning stage.  The solids stage.   The crawling stage.  The cruising stage.  The slapping (you) stage.  The pulling of hair (yours) stage.  The walking stage.  I’ll only eat beige food stage.   I’ll only eat cardboard stage.   I’m afraid of everyone and everyone stage.

All of the damn stages and then they hit school.

I’ll leave that for another day.

It’s great though when things begin to level out.   They can put on their own coats.   Get the shoes on the right feet.   Click on their own seat belts.   Carry a small load of washing to the washing machine for you.  Nice things like that.

My favourite stages were when I didn’t have to sing like a mad woman in the car anymore at 5pm of an evening and little eyes were closing.  When I could flush the toilet and feel secure in the knowledge it wouldn’t wake anyone up.   When I knew I could leave the house for an hour or two alone and I wouldn’t be missed.   Much.   What I mean by that one is, they could help themselves to the fruit bowl or some yogurts in the fridge.  

The latest and much welcomed stage is two of them are now able to fetch frozen bread from the freezer, toast it and put spread of their choice on it without assistance. 

I surely do love that one!

But there is another one roaring up at alarming speed.   The cinema.   It was great when Smallest Boy was old enough to come along.  He would sit happily for maybe an hour before becoming restless and wanting to climb on top of me to fall asleep.  Really nice. 

We would sit there, mother and four sons, watching the movie and everyone would come out all smiley and full of the joys of life because it was something we they all wanted to watch.

But not anymore.          

Oldest Boy is a ten-year-old with a sophisticated taste in his movies.   Not for him The Jungle Book or The Chipmunks or Capture the Flag.  

That ship has sailed thank you very much and if he is forced along to watch something that is not of his choosing I am assailed by a barrage of complaints about how unfair his life is and how he’s bored with that kind of stuff now.  

I understand his pain.  I do.   I thought I would never get out of the cinema that time we went to see the thing with the minions in it.  I thought The Good Dinosaur was forty minutes way too long.  I didn’t love Frozen at all.   Oh wait.   They saw that with someone else.   Brave was only ok. 

So I understand.   I do. 

But if I have to suck up the crap films, I am not doing it alone and he’ll have to join me.  

Either that or stay at home. 

Where I’ll be this Saturday movie night with the three younger ones watching Chipmunks:  The Road Chip and crying into my wine as I do so.  While he is off on an overnight camping trip with his rugby buddies.

Did I tell you I was off the wine for a while enjoyed two glasses at the Communion last weekend?   No?  Well I was and I did. 

I would stay off it this weekend too but there’s high pitched voices ahead and annoying songs going to be sung so I’ll need to dilute the pain somehow.

Yeah, so stages.   Dontcha just love ‘em?

Monday 18 April 2016

Preenager in The House

It was inevitable really.   Time stands still for no man and all of that.  But I thought my place in front of the mirror was safe for another while.   Just for the record, I don’t spend a lot of time there, but a person needs to be able to see her reflection when she is drawing on eyebrows and pointing things at her eyeballs in the name of make-up.

But I never in a million years would have expected my place to have been nicked by a ten-year-old boy wanting to style his hair into a Mohawk.

There is a preenager in the house and it happened literally overnight.

Or maybe not. 

A few weeks back there was a family gathering for a milestone birthday.   The good clobber was dragged out.   The First Holy Communicant was delighted to be able to showcase his Paul Costello duds and a shirt was dug out of storage for Lovely Liam.  

The preenager stopped me in my tracks by asking, “when are you going to buy me fancy clothes?”

Up until now this boy has lived in tracksuit pants and his beloved rugby jersey.   I have snuck up on him and body slammed him to the ground to get him to change his socks and underwear.    Once I saw him lick his hands clean when I told him they were dirty. 

So you can understand my amazement at the request for “fancy clothes.”

Last week he developed a very sudden interest in music and my ears are bleeding thanks to Coldplay ever since.

Coldplay I ask you.

There is hope on the horizon, however.   He was making enquiries about The Cure over the weekend.   All is not lost.

Then he pointed to his thick mop of hair.  The one he refused to have cut since Halloween.  

“I want it gone.”  He said.   “Chopped off.”

As you wish.

The barber went out the back and brought in the shears.   The three brothers hooted and laughed as the lumps of hair fell on the floor. 

After the carnage, the barber advised me to “lash on the conditioner.   Leave it for at least an hour and then wash out.  That head hasn’t seen light in months by the looks of it.   It’s going to be a work in progress.”

Tell me about it.

Last evening, I was frogmarched into the bathroom where he proceeded to style his hair in front of the mirror.

“Take a picture.  Take a picture of what it looks like so I can show the barber and he can make it look like this all the time.”

I explained it wasn’t the cut that was at fault; product was needed in order to keep the style he wanted.

I am a stupid woman.

There was a tin of hair stuff knocking about since Halloween and I found it for him.

I am a stupid woman.

The others got wind of the activity in the bathroom and before I knew it they lined up “for a go” of the comb and some “sticky stuff” for their own hairs.

Delighted with himself his parting words before he went to bed were, “will you wake me up early in the morning so I can fix my hair before school?”

And so it begins.

Friday 15 April 2016

It's Spring

I see swallows everywhere now.   The smell of freshly cut grass is thick on the wind.   I’ve even hung washing on the line.   Some days it’s too warm to wear a coat.  I’m googling smoothie recipes again.   The other day I needed to wind the window down an inch or so on the school run.   I see kids eating ice creams sometimes.   Camping gear is on offer in stores.   It’s First Holy Communion and Confirmation time.   Birds either have wriggling worms in their beaks or nest building material.   When I dress in the morning I leave off a layer.   Sandals are appearing in the shops and you don’t have to look too hard to find sunglasses either.  Before we know it, sun block will out where we can see it and not behind everything else on the shelf.  

It’s spring! 

Our trampoline is dead though.   Never mind, the boys don’t know it but another, bigger and better one, is on the way.   This week I was putting lunches into school bags and I realised one of the boys hadn’t done his homework from the night before.   Because he was too busy playing outside.  The way it should be.   Most nights they go to bed with dirty hands because I haven’t the energy to fight with them to shower.  A baby wipe in the morning will do the job just fine, thank you. 

It’s spring!

These nights I don’t bother lighting the candle in the fireplace nor do I switch on the lights strung from the mantle.   It’s not dark enough.   The boys complain going to bed accusing me of sending them too early because it’s still bright.   Even though they are going half an hour later than they usually would.  The fruit bowl suffers a quick but painless death.  Trousers are ankle length and long sleeved t-shirts skim the tops of jeans.   They’ve all grown. 

It’s spring!

Book lists for 2016/17 have come home and Smallest Boy has received his Induction Day time.   Thoughts are moving towards trips to the Zoo, Tayto Park, picnics and our beloved holiday in Rosslare.  Winter coats are shucked off.  The box of street chalks has been unearthed to fill the hour in between school runs.  Knees are ripped out of jeans, toes scuffed on shoes that are becoming too tight.  Little freckles appear across little noses.  Fingernails are dirty and hangnails complained about.

It’s spring!

The dog is shedding her winter coat.   Her water bowl needs refilling often.   The back door is left open all afternoon.   There are two spring birthdays in the house.   The music begins to change on the radio; a distinct summery sound.  The air smells different; wet earth, silage on the fields.  All around things are growing, creatures are being born as the circle of life begins again.

It’s spring!

Saturday 9 April 2016

Thoughts on a Fifth Birthday
So there’s this boy living in our house.   Apparently I am going to marry him when he gets older.   He has, on occasion removed his daddy’s arm from around my waist and said, “I’ll just give that back to you, daddy,” before branding me his own with a kiss.

He likes his orange juice in a special glass.  But that’s ok.  I have my own coffee cup.  

When he’s sleepy and tired he needs to go to bed, like now.  And he will nod off within minutes.   A bit like me too.

When he wakes, he prefers to lie there until his legs are “fully charged” and his eyes “like the brightness” before he even thinks about climbing out. He didn’t get that one from the ground either!

There was massive excitement this week at the prospect of turning five.  “That’s almost double digits, right, Mammy?”  

But once upon a time he didn’t want to grow up.   There was a myriad of reasons.

His teeth will fall out.  That will be sore.  And he won’t be able to eat apples.
Grown-ups don’t like stuff when they are grown up.  Like chocolate.  He is scared he won’t like chocolate and his sock anymore.
It will mean he has to go to school.  He doesn’t want to go to school because he will be lonely. 
He didn’t want to not wear nappies ever.  Like never.  Nuh uh!
He will have to sleep in a big bed.
He won’t be able to use the thing in the park that he needs to hold onto with two hands and rock.  I have no idea either.

But we’re definitely getting there.    Big school is just around the corner.   There are regular inspections for lose teeth and daily expressions of fear that they might be loose.  Finally, we are a nappy free house.   I have sleep again.   Bathroom breakdown assist is still a thing but we’re getting there.

And on this momentous of days, there will be two cakes.  Because, you know, you’re only five once in your life and you need one for school and one for “the actual day you’re borned.”  And why not?  So Lidl’s best chocolate creation went into school today with a few Munchie’s, Rolo’s and tiny Smarties glued to the top with melted chocolate.  The cake for “the actual day he was borned” will be a meringue of the “half and half” variety.     “Half with strawberries and cream and half with cream and sweets!”  Gotcha!

He wanted to carry his non-birthday cake into school.  My first thought was a definite, “No, he’ll drop it.”  And then, “ah fek it.  He can carry it if he wants to.”   I lifted it out of the car.  And I dropped it.

He has built his 5th birthday up to Christmas morning magnitude.  There is one present waiting for him.  From his nana.   Couple of weeks ago he was on the verge of an “I’m not leaving till I get it” standoff in Dunnes stores when he spotted PAW Patrol merchandise.  So I told him he could have them but they were an early birthday present.   Did this sink in?  No.  Of course it didn’t.    it’s been totally, conveniently forgotten.  At least he’ll have a *balloon to play with.

I thought a *helium balloon might be a nice touch.  A bit of a surprise for when he wakes up in the morning.  

“Any ideas on a birthday present for a 5-year-old?” said the text.    I made the stupid stupid mistake of asking the 5-year-old.    You’d think I hadn’t been at the fifth birthday milestone three times before.    He decided he would quite like an aeroplane but his spec was fierce complicated and I told him he would have to become a toy maker and make one with those requirements himself.  I fired off a text along the lines of “a bag of play sand and something with wheels, please.  Or a snorkel for the pool.”   Be grand.

He expressed an interest in a windmill for his birthday present.  The joy.  How simple.  How easy.  How inexpensive.   But it’s too early.  It’s not quite windmill season yet.   I did manage to procure two very very small ones however.   Be grand.   He’ll be totally distracted by the helium balloon. And the half and half cake. 

And if that fails, the bubble machine from nana will definitely save the day.  

I hope. 

Happy birthday smallest boy.   

Friday 1 April 2016

Did you know?

pic credit:
Did you know that?

The letter “k” does not exist in the Irish language?

If you want to get a Pikachu onto the bus, you need to Pokémon!

A group of jellyfish is called a smack?

Your microwave and computer can drain you?  Place two teaspoons of bread soda onto a small piece of brown paper and put under each.  Change after two months.

You can’t lick your elbow.  (And you just tried)

Camels have three eyelids to protect against blowing sand.

The dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle.  (You laughed too.  Go on.  Admit it!)

A donkey can see its four feet at the same time.

People with blue eyes have a higher alcohol tolerance.

Going back to donkeys.  One will sink in quicksand but a mule won’t.

Camels chew in a figure 8 pattern.  This one reminds me to remind you, lady reader, if you run or indeed walk very fast as your chosen form of exercise, your boobs also move about in the figure 8!  Get them strapped down!

A group of toads is called a knot.

If in the unfortunate event you find yourself caught between the jaws of a crocodile, simply push your thumb into its eyeball.  It will instantly let you go.  No, I have not tested this.

Sea others hold hands (paws?) when they sleep so they don’t drift apart!

Squirrels plant thousands of new trees each year by forgetting where they put their acorns!

Crows are so intelligent, they play pranks on each other. 

All of that lint that gathers in your pockets?  It has a name.  Gnurr!  But how do you pronounce it?

Women with large backside live longer than men who mention it!

Now off you go and find a pub quiz somewhere!