Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Reflex, Re Re Reflex.

So, there I was, Christmas week, leaving my new born baby in the very capable hands of my mother and sister to go to a Duran Duran concert in Dublin.

What the hell was I thinking?

He was 16 days old; I wasn’t even used to him being on the outside of me yet.

The tickets were a present from my family for my landmark birthday earlier in the year, which happened to coincide with the week I found out I was expecting the new born I was now feeling homesick for.  That was a big week.

Even though I didn’t expect it, I’ve turned out to be a bit of a clingy parent.  I thought I would skip out the door the first chance I got when I had my first baby, but instead I irritated my mother with phone calls every 20 minutes to see if baby was ok. 

I was a bit better this time, he is my third and I should be getting better at the job, but I still found it hard to leave.

I met up with hubby and we had a bite to eat.  Then we parked up the cars and took the tram to the concert venue in the city. 

I was still doing ok until I realised I had missed my older two children’s bed time.  Guilt washed over me and I had to concentrate really hard on not running out of the building in the pouring rain to get home and give my little ones their good night kisses and say our special things that we always say at bed time.

I got distracted by Twitter for a bit, which helped, especially as the tweets from the venue were being displayed on a giant screen in front of us.  I got quite a kick out of seeing my name up there.

Then the band came on and started with some new song I didn’t know.  I felt a bit deflated.

All was not lost though, they went into some oldies but goodies, Hungry Like the Wolf, Wild Boys etc., but then it happened, the moment that made me turn the corner and zap back in time – “na na na na …. na na na na ….  the reflex …. the reflex ….”. 

Suddenly it was the summer of 1982 and I was 11 years old in the back of my Dad’s car with my Walkman on, listening to the Reflex which I had recorded from the radio onto a bright yellow cassette which I brought everywhere. 

For those who aren’t in the know, in the olden days, we used to listen to the top 30 on the radio every Sunday afternoon and stand over it with our fingers on the record, play and pause buttons waiting for our favourite songs to come on and attempt to release the pause button at precisely the right time so you would only record the song and not the DJ’s voice.  I guess it was a type of downloading, not sure about its legality, but I had Duran Duran all over my yellow cassette thanks to it.

That was the 80’s, they were just great?  I loved every bat winged, blue mascaraed, kitten heeled and Duran Duran theme tuned moment of them.

So my night was a great success.  Duran Duran were flipping brilliant and I’m so glad we went.  Sorry to all the tweeting Duranies who couldn’t be there, but we have a bond now that cannot be broken.

Now, must go see if A-Ha are going on tour again anytime soon.
My little one did great too, he didn't even notice I had gone and abandoned him for a bit of Simon Le Bon.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A Little Cat of Very Big Consequence

Last week we got a fright at our house.  Well in truth it was me who got the fright, thankfully no one else was upset by a drama that unfolded in our home over a 13 hour period.

Our pet cat Berry went missing.  It never happened before, in 8 ½ years we have always known where she is.  This knowledge has been facilitated by a very distinctive squawking sound she makes.  That and the fact that she doesn’t seem to be aware that she’s actually feline, which has led to some distinctively odd behaviour on her part.

She likes to bathe for instance, not in a puddle in the back garden, but in our bath or shower, particularly on warm days, she waits for the water to go down to her comfort level, then she gets in and sits in it.  Cooling her derrière and paws.  She then very considerately gets out and dries herself on the floor mat.  Honestly, she loves it.  She always loves anything garlicky in flavour, eats things off her paw and can open the fridge.  She’s a little odd I’ll admit, but she’s ours and we love her very much.

So when she didn’t come home one morning last week, I was glad the 6 year old was at school and the 3 year old was oblivious.  He came for a walk with me around where we live to look for her, when that proved fruitless; we went for a drive around our village to try find her.  No sign anywhere.

I came home deflated and worried, contemplating how I would break news of our cat’s disappearance to the family, in particular to the 6 year old.

Our cat has been a really good pet to us.  On cold mornings, she jumps up behind our children to warm their backs while they eat breakfast.  Last February while my other half was away and both children were sick, she kept me company on the landing while I watched over my feverish little uns.  In fact, when I was with one, she would sit outside the door of the other and she did this all night long as though it was as much her job as mine.

During the summer, when my other half was sick in hospital, she literally kept watch over me, following me all over the house day and night.  Running to the car when we came home as though checking for news of how her male human was doing.

We, as a family really appreciate her, so when I saw her limp up the garden just before the school run last week, relief flooded through me.  We don’t know what happened to her during her 13 hour disappearance, she had been hiding under the deck for some time, so she must have had a hurt somewhere, but she came home and that’s what mattered most.

Last night she appeared to have disappeared again and I got worried.

Imagine how rubbish I felt when my other half discovered I had locked her in the shed for five hours when I was putting the kids bicycles away. DOH!

P.S.: No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog, just a little annoyed by their human’s stupidity.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Life is a Rollercoaster Baby!

About six months ago I had a very eventful weekend which changed a lot of things in my life.  Over the course of a few short days I turned forty and found out I was pregnant with my third child.

My fortieth birthday faded into the background somewhat as all the plans I had been making since I turned thirty suddenly had to change.  Gone were the many bottles of red wine that would have been my constant companions under ordinary circumstances.  No big night of partying like it’s 1999 and of course the quiet afternoon of Botox I had hoped for had to be swapped for a nap and a quick trip to the shops for sensible supportive undergarments.

My other half coped well, he had a few drinks himself at my birthday party and managed to deflect offers of alcohol for me with expertly placed comments like “she’s been sick as a pig all day with a tummy bug” or “we had a few last night, she’s not able for it any more” while I sipped orange juice and water. 

As the weeks passed by I felt really well, which confused me.  In the past, pregnancy for me meant the complete opposite.  I had found the task daunting, exhausting and a lot of work.  For some reason this time round, I was actually enjoying it.

I craved healthy foods, drank wells worth of fresh water, slept like a log and only had teeny bits of sickness.

Then a couple of weeks ago at the six month mark, baby decided he/she had been giving me too easy a time and aimed a couple of kicks into the same overstretched muscle in my lower abdomen.

It hurt.

Like fricking hell.

It still hurt three days later so I went to my GP, who wasn’t happy with the situation so she sent me to the hospital where I learned that I’m carrying a hyper responsive baby and need to rest a lot.  This wasn’t really news to me as I’ve been woken by baby more than once since about 14 weeks in.

What was news to me what how many other women were in the hospital at the same time as me with exactly the same problem.  How odd.

That afternoon there were six of us.  All over forty, all expecting our third/fourth child, all having had wonderful pregnancies up until that week and all carrying hyper responsive babies.  I think that basically means our babies move a lot more than normal and with what feels like super human strength, although I haven’t yet found a doctor who agrees with me on the super human strength part.

I have been fascinated by this and can’t stop wondering why we’re all in the same situation.  What if last February something unusual happened over our little corner of the world and our babies were affected.  Maybe they’re special

Yeah, yeah, I know all kids are special, but maybe ours have powers.

I know it’s most likely a coincidence but if you hear of a new born baby setting fire to a midwifes arse in about 10 weeks’ time, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Connect Me

Another summer over, another first day back at school already a memory and its September.

So, here I sit at my kitchen table, ready and waiting for genius to strike.  My routine is back in order; I have designated time two mornings a week to write for the next three months and what happens?  My Internet connection goes down.


Doesn’t the Internet service provider know that I have a check list before I can write?  It’s crucial to the point of being superstitious.  I absolutely, most definitely, completely importantly must do the following before I can write a word:

·         Check email.

·         Cross reference bank account with my carefully planned colour coded excel budget for the household.

·         Look at the stats on my blog.

·         Check email.

·         Look at my credit card balance in case a miracle has happened in the night and its zero for the first time in 17 years.

·         Add a bunch of stuff to the online shopping list that I forgot last week.

·         Check email.

·         Mess about on Twitter for 5 minutes (ok perhaps 30 minutes).

·         Facebook someone.

·         Check email.

·         Read the 9 at 9 on the

·         Look at to find out just why Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez split up.

·         Check email.

Alright, I’m not a complete fool, I know I don’t actually NEED an Internet connection to write something on a blank page, but I LIKE it and without completing my checklist, my brain just can’t clear itself out.

I am not a happy camper Internet service provider person, if that thingy twirling in the corner of the screen doesn’t connect soon, I’ll be making a stern phone call and this time I’ll stay on hold no matter how many times I have to listen to Green Sleeves. 

You won’t break me.

NOTE: If anyone out there actually gets to read this you will realise that at some point my Internet connection connected and I am now in fact a happy camper.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The C Word

I know, it’s disgusting.

I don’t know a soul who likes the word.


I met a right effer yesterday.

He clamped my car because he claimed he couldn’t see the valid parking ticket he had watched my other half pay for and put on the dash board of our car.

The sneaky little so and so waited until we had left the car park and then clamped us.

I would like to point out for the sake of clarity that we did not break the law.  We weren’t parked in a disabled space, or blocking an entrance or anything and it wasn’t the police or a traffic warden that clamped us.  It was a private company who own the private car park that we had parked in and paid for.

So anyway, 90 euro later and quite a bit of verbal abuse from both the git who took the clamp off the car and the other git who shouted at me down the phone, we now have to appeal at our own cost.

It’s so unfair that a scam like that has been made legal.

The strange thing was, it led me to a Holly Hunter in Broadcast News moment.  If you haven’t seen the movie, Holly Hunter plays a highly strung character who every so often sits down and has a good cry.  I’m not talking a bit of a sniffle, I mean a good from the pit of your stomach, runny nose, mascara destroying, frighten other people with your ugly face, proper cry.

I couldn’t figure it out at first but then I guess I had to face up to the fact that we’ve had a pretty stressful few months in our family.  Things are all working out for the best now, so nothing to complain about, but isn’t it funny how the stress and strain you feel doesn’t go away just because the cause of the stress does.  I suppose the clamp was the straw that broke this camel's back.  You have to let it out somehow.

So that’s what I did.  I calmly checked everyone was ok, drove home, walked upstairs, locked myself in the bathroom and balled my head off for about a minute and a half.

It felt good and I highly recommend it.

One tip though, make sure there’s enough loo roll to blow your nose in.

On the Brightside, I have heard a great story about a guardian angel in the town where I got clamped.  Apparently someone is going around these private car parks with a bolt cutter removing clamps from people’s cars.  I do hope it’s true. Hee hee!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Diary of A Delayed Flight - WITH CHILDREN!

Anyone who has ever flown anywhere with children will know that it can be a little challenging.

We recently flew away for a lovely week in the sun which got off to a bit of a rocky start.

Sticking with my diary theme, here’s what went down:

4.09 am – My alarm goes off – I hit the snooze button.

4.10 am – My other half’s alarm goes off – I jump out of the bed, stumble into the bathroom, forget what I’m doing in there and walk out.  After approximately 30 seconds, I remember we have to check in at 6 am for an 8 am flight and go into full get the kids up and in the car mode.  I should point out that on the day I am 18 weeks pregnant with our third child and have had little or no short term memory for weeks.

4.12 am – 6 year old is sitting on the landing, fully dressed, carrying a back pack that is at least two thirds her own size, wearing a big smile.  She still hasn’t opened her eyes yet.

4.25 am – The toddler is breaking me.  After 10 minutes of arguing and crying about why he has to get up and get dressed, the other half takes over. He succeeds is dressing the toddler.  Next is teeth brushing – shudder.

4.59 am – We depart house.

5.40 am - We arrive at one of our favourite places – The Long Term Car Park at the airport. 

5.45 am – A bus to take us to the airport from The Long Term Car Park arrives.  However, the driver, who obviously has a degree in humour decides to skip the bus stop itself at which we are standing with 2 suitcases, 4 pieces of hand luggage, a buggy and 2 kids and instead stop a further 50 metres up the road.

5.50 am – After much dragging, pushing, shuffling & complaining, all four of us and our luggage are on the bus.  The toddler smiles and says he likes the bus.

7.30 am – Having stood in the check in line for an hour and a half watching what can best be described as a spanner with arms and way too much make up check in a total of 2 families, we are told that there will be a delay of approximately 40 minutes, but we still need to get to our gate as quickly as possible.

7.55 am – Security check.  The toddler is fading and climbs into his buggy.  However, being the security threat he is; he and his buggy have to go through the x ray machine thingy separately.  He’s tired; it takes a number of attempts, one of which includes him walking into the actual machine.  We hold our breath, he doesn’t cry – phew!  Meanwhile, the 6 year old is positively lively and has decided to work at the airport shoving those little trays down to the people queuing behind us.  Such is her enthusiasm that a security person (obviously threatened by our child’s efficiency), tells her in a little too stern a voice to stop doing that.

8.25 am – Having walked approximately halfway home again in order to reach our gate, we are corralled into an area via another security gate with the words POINT OF NO RETURN emblazoned across it.  We are then and only then told our 40 minute delay has extended to 3 HOURS!!!!  We are in a circular area at the furthest reaches of the airport, it is approximately 60% glass and almost everyone has kids.  The few who don’t are already sensing something unfamiliar in the air and start queuing for the loos.

8.30 am – “Are we getting on the plane yet?”

8.31 am – “Are we getting on the plane yet?”

8.32 am – “Can we get on the plane now?”

8.33 am – “I’m bored, can we go home?”

8.34 am – Toddler has gone past the point where he could have fallen asleep and has started to whinge.  I would just like to point out that in a recent study; the sound of a toddler whinging was been listed as officially the most irritating sound in the world.  My other half and I concur with these findings.

8.40 am – Having paid over 17 euro for 2 croissants, a bottle of water and a packet of crisps from the café that doesn’t have anything in yet because apparently it’s too fricking early for their breakfast delivery, we attempt a picnic.  It does not go well.

8.50 am – Other half is starting to crack, he goes to look for a vacant loo where he can wash half the picnic off himself.  During his absence I am asked where Daddy has gone 11 times.

9 am – Other half returns, there is officially no way out of where we are.  He looks frightened.

9.30 am – VICTORY! The toddler is asleep; we have at least an hour of peace ahead of us.  However, uncharacteristically, the 6 year old decides we will pay for the delay she is experiencing in getting to a pool.

9.31 am – ask 6 year old to stop messing with my phone.

9.32 am – tell 6 year old to stop messing with my phone.

9.33 am – grab phone from 6 year old and realise she has been exchanging photos with my sister.  Am impressed, so I begin to show her some other things on the phone.

9.45 am – Have completed teaching 6 year old all I know about Twitter, Facebook & Email.

10 am – Take 6 year old to the loo.  She is delighted to announce to everyone waiting behind us that she needs to poo.  We are then treated to a full account of her bowel movements with impressive sound effects.

10.10 am – It becomes apparent the 6 year old has locked herself into the cubicle and really wants to come out because the smell is so bad. 

10.17 am – Finally, another mother discovers how to unlock door from outside – I may not know her name, but I will forever remember and cherish her for this.

10.30 am – Last Call for our flight is announced.  The stampede of bodies and buggies is scary.

11.10 am – We are FINALLY in our seats.  Other half is heartbroken to be sitting apart from the children and I, but is happily reminded of our toddler by another toddler sitting beside him who repeatedly hits him through the entire flight.

On the Brightside, the holiday was lovely and the flight home was much easier.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Diary of a 6 Year Olds Birthday Party

Zero minus 48 hours – almost 6 year old is sick, temperature, sore throat, no appetite (this last one bewilders me). 

Zero minus 24 hours – almost 6 year old is no better, but fully convinced she will be completely recovered by tomorrow morning so that she can go to school and have everyone sing happy birthday to her.

Zero minus 22 hours – of the 21 kids invited, 19 now say they are coming.  This goes completely against the statistics.  Must be a slow social day for 6 years olds.

Zero minus 18 hours – almost 6 year old running a temperature of 39.8.  Also, it hasn’t stopped raining for 3 days.

Zero minus 6 hours – my little one is finally 6; she thinks she looks taller this morning.  Going to school.  Still running a high temperature, doesn’t look so good, but refuses to accept possibility of being sick on her birthday.

Zero minus 4 hours – the bouncy castle has arrived.  It fits in the garden – Just! If any kid bounces over the back of it, they’ll have to stay there until the bouncy castle people come to retrieve it as no normal adult could possibly fit back there.

Zero minus 2 hours – it hasn’t stopped raining – AT ALL!  Bouncy castle is floating eerily in back garden.  Water slopping all over the deck.  I will not panic, I will not panic, I will not panic.

Zero minus 30 mins – collect 6 year old from school, she’s shivering.  Forehead feels hot as a toaster, still insists she feels fine, but agrees to some medicine to make me feel better.  Rain easing up.  Help arrives in form of 2 sisters and mother. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2 pm – Party Time!  The rain has stopped and the early arrivals have kindly used their bottoms to dry off the last of the rain from the bouncy castle. 

2.10 pm – have already figured out which child is going to be “the one”.  "The one" wants to know when we’re having birthday cake, now!

2.15pm – 2 children have somehow clambered onto the roof of the bouncy castle.  I have made it very clear that is not ok.

2.16pm – apparently I didn’t make it clear enough.  They did it again, jumped off the roof onto slide sticking out the side of the bouncy castle, bouncing a little girl clean off it onto the still soggy lawn. 

2.17pm – am hoarse, but think I have finally made my feelings about climbing onto roof of bouncy castle clear.

2.20pm – “the one” wants to know what’s in my handbag.

2.30pm – there are now 20 children in my house.

2.40pm – sun is out, kids laughing; table full of junk food has been discovered.  Looking good.

2.55pm – first casualties, somehow during a bit of bouncing/sliding two heads collided with the nose of one head going into the mouth of the other head.  The one who ingested the nose assures me she tried really hard not to bite.  The inserter of the nose disagrees with this analysis and wants justice.  I give them both more sweets.

3.15pm – the toddler has had enough of his sisters friends playing with his toys.  He’s really quite vocal about it.  They all think he’s adorable when he’s angry.

3.35pm – I have a feeling my sisters are quite relieved to be childless and considering staying that way.

3.45pm – “the one” is demanding McDonalds as sandwiches and rice krispie buns are boring.           

4pm – We bring out the cake and sing happy birthday to 6 year old.  Am choking up, where did the last 6 years go?

4.05pm – “the one” and I have an altercation in the kitchen over the size of the pieces of cake I'm cutting.  Frighteningly strong for such a small child but I manage to keep my hold on the cake knife.

4.10 pm – 6 year old bursts into tears, she doesn’t know why.  Looks like someone drew circles under her eyes with charcoal, she feels warm.  She, Daddy & I have a cuddle on the couch, her friends want to know if she’s ok – awwwww!

4.20pm – Second casualty, lovely little one has hurt her little finger.  She’s very brave, but it looks swollen.  Time to bring out the Magic Cream (Arnica).

4.25pm – “the one” is demanding some of the fancy carrot cake my mother brought for the grown-ups.  No flipping chance.

4.35pm – first child to leave.  Time to bring out the party bags.  I’ve been reliably informed by at least a dozen kids that it’s really really really important I don’t forget to give them theirs.

4.40pm – 5pm – most of the children leave, we seem to have a lot of socks on the deck that don’t belong to us.

5.10pm – “the one” leaves, giving me hugs and kisses and tells me it was the best party ever – little love.

6.30pm – toddler still going on bouncy castle, at one point almost falls asleep while climbing back up on it.

8pm – bouncy castle goes home.  6 year old in near catatonic state, toddler devastated, waves bye bye to bouncy castle through tears.

9pm – thanks to mother and sisters, our sitting and dining rooms are almost normal.  Other half and I so tired, we’re in pain.  Ears still ringing from shocking amount of noise generated by 20 kids.

6 year old already looking forward to turning 7.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

The Tooth Fairy finally came to our house this past weekend.  Not once but twice.
We had been waiting a long time, a very long time indeed.  The lose tooth had been wobbling, squeaking, squelching, turning, moving in any number of directions up to 90 degrees for months.
So long, in fact, that the new tooth was half way up behind it when finally, last Friday a gentle tug was all it took and out it popped into my delighted very almost six year olds beautiful and grubby little hand.
Months earlier, when the initial wobbling of the tooth began I fussed about and spoke to lots of other parents about what the going rate was for a milk tooth. 
The consensus was 2 euro per tooth was fair considering the current financial climate. 
So a shiny 2 euro coin was put aside in the inside pocket of my handbag for the occasion.
Luckily we got it right, as it turned out, our almost six year old had discussed in detail with her school friends what she would get and a 2 euro coin was the minimum.  Phew!
There was great excitement on Saturday morning when the tooth was gone and the coin was in its place.  Sadly, later in the day, that joy was replaced by despair when browsing in a shoe shop the almost six year old let rip with an almost mirror shattering scream that her tooth was gone.  I thought temporary amnesia had occurred but it turned out she was talking about a second tooth.
Where and when the second tooth had fallen out was a complete mystery.  She remembered nothing of it.
I felt bad for her but it took me back about 34 years ago when I went on a nature walk with the Brownies, yes I was a diligent little Bluebell in our local pack.  I had many badges, no recollection of what any of them were for now, but I wore them with pride.
Anyway we were on our nature walk and as usual my brain trailed off in some far off direction that my imagination took me while I absently fiddled with a loose tooth hanging off my gums.  All of a sudden it popped out and I got such a shock I swallowed it.
I was so upset because I was convinced the tooth fairy wouldn’t visit me if I couldn’t put my tooth under my pillow; I can remember it as clearly now as the day it happened.
I sulked home and told my tale of woe to my family.   I was truly devastated despite being comforted and cajoled by my parents that it would all work out.
The next morning, my father called me into the bathroom where there right beside the toilet was my earnings from the tooth fairy. 
For at least four years I completely believed that the poor tooth fairy had to sift through my poo to find that tooth.
On the Brightside we did a Google search, (back to nowadays) and discovered that the Tooth Fairy uses magic to find lost teeth, so she would know where to look.  We left her a note just in case and first thing Sunday morning heard the squeals of delight from the almost six year olds bedroom.  She’s up 4 euro already.  If this keeps up, I’ll be asking her for a loan.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Sports Day

My daughter just had her very first ever Sports Day at school.  She was so excited she was fully dressed standing over us at 6.03 am on the morning of the big day.  It took me a while to talk her into our bed, well bribe with a promise of a cartoon; I wasn’t capable of a whole lot of talking at that hour.
I went along on the big day to support her, bringing the toddler, the camera and a picnic.
The camera turned out to be my most prized possession of the day.  Unfortunately the sheer amount of belly shaking, couldn't catch my breath for laughing caused many of the photos taken to be blurry, but boy was it worth it.
The toddler turned out to be one of the more exuberant supporters of the day.  He even went so far as to join in.  As in run down the field during the sack race and then just keep going past the finish line and beyond to the fence to chants of “Run Forest Run”.
I should point out he runs like a speed walker with his little tushy clenched and shoulders pushing up to his ears.  I should also point out I was the only one calling him Forest, but it just seemed so fitting.
The organisation at the school was incredible; I’m in awe of teachers and how well they hold it together while all around them are little people doing things that make no sense.  Eating weird stuff off the ground, climbing each other, walking backwards or just spinning until they fell over. 
I had forgotten spinning just for the hell of it, I used to love it, afraid to do it now of course, and I don’t like the falling over part anymore.  It’s not worth it without wine to soften the blow.
The teachers managed to get so many things done with all the kids taking part and within the allowed time frame.  I would like to be taught how to do that.  I didn’t notice any of them eat or use the loo though, which worries me.
So, there were multiple egg and spoon races, where potatoes were used I presume for their durability, relay races and my favourite, the one where they pass a bean bag to the person behind them by bending over and handing it between their legs and then run to the back of the line.  Oh that one had me leaning on the fence for support, I laughed so hard.
Then to polish off a great day, along came the picnic.  I stood on poo that I think came from a sheep.  The toddler seemed to take up the entire blanket.  We ate soggy sandwiches.  The fruit was ignored.  I got to meet some nice parents I hadn’t met before.  I watched my daughter interact with the other little people she spends all her days with and tells me very little about.
Yep, it was a good day for all of us.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Eat, Drink, Bounce

My daughter is almost six, a birthday party is expected.
We’ll pull it together but last week she gave us a list of 41 children that she wishes to attend, not counting herself and her little brother.
This causes it’s own set of problems, logistical and whatnot, our house is not big and with those numbers one of those indoor play places that do it all for you is ruled out completely.
We did that last year, 13 RSVP’d and 17 showed up.  The Party/Events Organiser was not a happy camper. 
Neither was I, as I hadn’t expected to spend most of my daughters 5th birthday in the loos with the little ones whose parents had employed the drop and run tactic.  Smart people, very smart people.
Nor had I anticipated the pretty little Klingon attached to my right thigh for the entire event which meant I couldn’t use the toilet as I have issues in that department.  It’s nothing serious; I just can’t perform with an audience.
A couple of years ago for my daughters fourth birthday we hired a bouncy castle for the day.  It was a great success, until most of the older kids where we live decided to join in and frightened the living daylights out of the little ones.
This year we’re going down that route again, but I’ve employed a few tactics to help things run better.
Firstly, the side gate will be locked and any big kid who attempts to jump it will be met by me and the sweeping brush.  I’ll train the toddler in too, for back up, he’s pretty grumpy at the moment and permission to thump someone would be most appreciated.
Secondly, we’re holding the party on a Wednesday.  This works on a number of levels, the best being that it’s her actual birthday day, but also the simple awkwardness of it being midweek means a few won’t be able to make it, thereby culling the numbers.
Thirdly, if we do go ahead and hire the bouncy castle it’s 20% cheaper midweek than on the weekend which makes me happy because if there’s one thing I can’t bear, it’s paying full price.
We’ve got three weeks to the big day, so I’ll be using the whole “well if you don’t behave I won’t order a bouncy castle” line until the last moment.  Yes, I plan to milk that sucker dry.
She’s been to a number of birthday parties lately.  Some of them have been very impressive.  Some have basically been booze ups for the adults.  Some of them have been proper old fashioned parties with games like pass the parcel.
We’re keeping it simple, fill them with sandwiches, crisps, juice, chocolate & sweets and then let them bounce until they collapse at which point we’ll hand them all back to their parents with a party bag full of yet more sugar based products. 
Oh Joy!
On the Brightside, my toilet issues don’t apply at home, we’ve got locks on the doors.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Moving On

Last week, I saw someone I never thought I would see, well not in my country at least.
It was the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, she drove past our house in her big black range rover with an impressive cavalcade.  Not to mention helicopters, army & Gardaí (the Irish police force) present all along the route.
She smiled brightly, her car slowed and she looked warmly at our children.
It was quiet, which was a relief as we had watched television reports of anti-royalist republicans and dissidents rioting in Dublin city over the previous two days.  I was born in 1971, so my memory of “The Troubles” is very clear and I have no doubt of what havoc could have been wreaked had certain people decided on it.  Thankfully, they chose the high road.
I was born in the Republic, I was born a free person, so were my parents, but my grandparents were not.  They were born subjects of a royal family who reigned over a nation that invaded our country, so the history of what happened here is still fresh.
This complicated history has confused me my whole life.  It’s anything but black and white.  There are so many elements and events of the 800 year occupation of my country that keeping up has always been difficult.
Ireland has struggled to establish itself since being declared a Republic.  The industrial revolution passed us by, we were declared neutral but thousands of our men fought in both world wars as part of the English army, we’ve had a few recessions which led to thousands upon thousands of our youngest and brightest emigrating, often to England.  I have a huge number of cousins who were born and raised in England, their partners and children are English but still they have a root or two in Ireland via one or both of their parents.
I don’t know how English people interpreted their Queens visit to our island, but I hope they realised the importance of it to a nation which spent a long time fighting for liberation.
The leaders of both Ireland and England stood shoulder to shoulder, paying their respects to lives lost, acknowledging mistakes in our shared and confusing pasts but more importantly looking forward to our futures.
The Anglo Irish agreement almost 26 years ago started a process that made peace possible for today’s Ireland, which made the passing of the esteemed Dr. Garret Fitzgerald last week all the more poignant.
It’s true that we all need to learn from our pasts, but we also need to move on from them.  The past is the past and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  All we truly have is today and the hope of a better tomorrow.
As for today, Barack and Michelle Obama were here for the day.
It’s been a good week to be Irish.
Is Feidir Linn.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Truth About Me

The Truth About Me

I have been tagged by the wonderful blogger Mammy Dolittle.

Ok, so here’s what this is about.  This questionnaire from the Guardian Weekend Magazine has been doing the rounds in the Blogosphere, and it’s mostly a bit of fun.
So, here goes: 

Which living person do I most admire and why?
My mother.  She has faced the best and the worst of life with dignity and always has great hair.

When were you happiest?
The first time my little girl smiled at me.  We were alone together and it was just the best feeling I ever felt.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
My twenties, it was a long moment.

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A Car but I wish I could say a handbag.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family.
Where would you like to live?
New York City.  From the first time I went there seventeen years ago, I’ve loved it.  Failing that, a field in the middle of nowhere would be nice.  I’m an all or nothing kind of gal.

What’s your favourite smell?
My children’s heads.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Dawn French, even though we’ve never met, I just know she gets me.

What is your favourite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It was the first grown up book I ever read for pleasure and it hooked me like no other.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Snoring.  I’ve actually woken myself with a start; such is the power of my snore.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Sabrina from Charlie’s Angels
What is your earliest memory?
Being in my mother’s mini sometime in the early seventies.  It was wine and I kept sliding down the back seat
What is your guiltiest pleasure?

X Factor.
What do you owe your parents?
My life and never being afraid to question something.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
My Dad.  For not being there when it mattered most.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

What is King Cheese n’ Onion Crisps.  Who is my other half.

What does love feel like?
Like jumping off a cliff with your eyes closed and absolutely believing you won’t get hurt.

What was the best kiss of your life?
Outside Dunnes Stores on Georges Street in the early hours of the morning after the first time he told me he cared for me.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Like.  Like I say it all the time like.  Like I don’t even know why like.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Minding a child with chronic diarrhoea.  The child had it, not me.  Not sure which would have been worse actually.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Nothing, the past is done, all that matters is doing your best right now.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
I had a scare a few years ago, but it didn’t happen, so I shan’t dwell on it.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children.

When did you last cry, and why?
This morning, I was worrying about my kids.  I’m hormonal.

How do you relax?
I either read or stare out the window.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Acceptance of the tough stuff.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Life is for living.

I am going to tag these lovely bloggers, coz I’m nosy: