Saturday, 15 April 2017

When the three year old tells you, he has news.....


The Easter holidays have been a very different affair this year. Normally when the children are off school, we try to go somewhere each day, just to get out the house.These trips can vary dramatically in terms and ranges of excitement, but once they know they’re going somewhere and once cabin fever isn’t allowed to set in, I tend to have more civilised children on my hands.

This Easter things had to be different. With barely any time left,  until my book manuscript needs to be submitted, everything is on a very tight schedule. The sort of schedule that hyper children and snot filled babies and threenagers, don’t care much for – and that “wingers of it” , like me, struggle with.

Spotting the rising chaos and recognising the challenges in hand, I managed to convince my mother to take three of the older boys for a few days. Younger children are more content with shorter outings and with a teenage daughter still here, I knew that we could manage the resulting change to dynamics a little more easily. Everyone stood to benefit, except my teenage daughter, according to her. My undying gratitude isn’t sufficient it seems, but we’re finding that feeding her coffee slices at random and frequent intervals over the course of the week is helping to cushion the blow.

With three of the boys missing, the house has seemed so much quieter. As child number five, stepped up to the role of “biggest boy in the house”, we realised that it’s a role that he quite enjoys. It hasn’t made much of a difference to child number 6 though. He knows the power of the dark side.  He remains very happy in his own personal role as "destroyer of things" and "family streaker".

This morning as my hubby loaded the car and prepared to take the remaining troops with him, to collect their brothers, a very “peachy” smelling three year old entered the dining room. As I sat at my laptop, typing away furiously, I heard the words that every mother dreads to hear – especially from the mouth of a threenager.

“I have some good news and some bad news, mum”, he said. I looked up in a panic and could see immediately that there had been an incident.

“What’s the good news?” I asked, “Eh, eh, - oh yes, I found a charger” he replied.

“And the bad?” I followed, swallowing in fear.

“This, eh, fell on my head” he said, producing a now completely empty bottle of conditioner from behind his back, and looking at me in staged shock with his green eyes aghast.

“But I smell really, really nice” he added for consolation.

Much later than planned, my husband left to collect my other children.

Week two should be interesting…….


Sunday, 2 April 2017

He's struggling.

A rolling stone gathers no moss apparently. Well we’re rolling, rolling, rolling, here and there’s barely time to gather our thoughts, never mind any moss.

After a crazy busy week, we’ve had a Drama Feis, birthday party and chess tournament this weekend and now we’re rolling towards my son’s confirmation midweek and my daughter’s transition year musical every single evening.  All the usual mayhem has to be fit in, in between, and it will be, even if it’s accompanied by lots of grumbling about there not being enough hours in the day.

But on top of all that, and in spite of the excitement about the upcoming confirmation celebrations and musical staging (after months of practice), there’s an air of uncertainty that hangs over us. Our ancient, sixteen and a half year old dog, isn’t great.

I’ve written about him before and how he was getting old and slowing down hugely. He even looked as if he needed a touch of “just for dogs” around his greying temples. But now the discomforts and struggles of old age are really setting in.




He’s almost completely blind, he has lost his hearing, and his sense of smell has rapidly diminished. His back legs are weak and stiff and he’s sleeping a lot.  It may be from the medication that he hates but that he has to take for his kidneys, which blood tests have revealed are deteriorating also. He has to change diet and drink more water, and the situation will be reviewed.

He’s just a dog, some might think, but we love him so much. As my husband reminisced with our twelve year old son, about the fact that he can’t remember life before Rodney, my twelve year old reminded him that in his case “there was no life before Rodney”.

Rodney arrived six months before my daughter was born and has greeted each child with a sniff and a tail wag once they arrived home from hospital. Each new arrival saw him pushed further and further down the priority pecking order but it also brought him a new fan in due course, and a new heart bursting with love for him.

The older children are in denial. “He’ll be fine” they say, when they catch me watching him struggle, or sleeping yet again. They think this medication is going to solve it all. They don’t want to think of the alternative.


I hope they’re right, but he’s old, very old. We need to do the right thing for him.  I just wish I knew what that was.



Thursday, 23 March 2017

An Ode to Mother's Day


It comes around just once a year,
A day of celebration,
And recognition of all that mums do,
Beginning with creation,
Though granted, they didn’t do it alone,
The dads made a contribution,
But it’s not the men who are pregnant 9 months
Coping with added weight distribution,
Till the end of gestation when baby emerges
Through a design, quite flawed by dimension
Think melon and nostril and you’ll get the picture,
And the pain’s probably also worth a mention,
Or out through the tummy, a passage created,
With the flick of the surgeons sharp knife
Means a longer recovery, but baby’s here safely,
And the scar fades a lot through your life,
The sleepless nights follow, the boobs grow impressive,
To proportions never imagined before,
And the nappies keep coming, and the teething and tantrums
Toddler terrors, threenagers and more,
Cut knees to be treated and bumps to be kissed,
The scrapes keep a coming no matter
As the walls they are scaled and the trees, just a challenge,
And your furniture is left all a tatter,
Redesigned kitchen walls, and phones down the toilet,
Surprises, you find every day,
Need to hide all your treats, cos the kids they can sense them,
And eat them all, much to your dismay,
Then there’s homework and projects, all needing attention,
But kids are resisting so much,
And you feel you’ll go crazy, as battles continue,
Over English and Maths and all such,
But on mothering Sunday, all is forgotten,
You’ll think of how lucky you are,
When the cards are presented, and the pictures drawn carefully
Loving messages sent from afar,
Cause no matter our age, or the age of our children,
A mum knows how lucky she is
Though the hours are long and the terms need some tweaking,
We know being a mum is the biz.
Still on mothering Sunday, appreciation is welcomed,
And mums could all do with a rest
It’s just twenty four hours in a very long year,
So enjoy it mums, cos you’re the best!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Winging it!

Winging it and hoping for the best, is my general adopted position when it comes to the two thousand things that have to be done here in any one day. It largely works, kind of, with priorities being met and the less important things going on the neverending, non existing, list of “stuff to do tomorrow.

With a book deadline drawing ever closer, the usual deadlines to be met, a transition year musical on the horizon and upcoming both confirmation and communion, in addition to the other million and one things that go hand in hand with rearing a family we decided that we might need to give our whole winging it policy a bit of a helping hand – so my husband booked Monday off work.

Our internal walls were badly in need of a little TLC thanks to the combined artistic efforts of my 3 year old and 18 month old with a purple crayon and a red marker, so the plan was to tackle them, let me get some serious writing done and declutter some of huge amount of homeless junk that was gathering in every room of the house. We were a man and a woman on a mission. Our plan was to restore order to our gaff!

Rookie mistake. Making plans when you have children, is just tempting fate - and fate was weak. And so it came to pass that we spent Friday night in A&E waiting for my daughter, who had been referred by our G.P. with suspected appendicitis, to be assessed. Trooper that she generally is, meant that the first attending doctor viewed us suspiciously, wondering why she didn’t just take painkillers and stay at home. She didn’t seem to be in enough pain apparently. I explained how she had been screaming in agony earlier and that it was actually the G.P. who had sent us over and that she still was in a lot of pain, it was just relative. When the surgeon came to see her, she decided to admit for surgery in the morning. The consultant the next day, had her in theatre within ten minutes of his examination.

While I waited for my daughter to come out of theatre, a message arrived in my inbox. A preparatory photo, I like to call it. My husband, the responsible adult at home taking care of our other children, had thought rugby scrumming with my eight year old in our kitchen, you know the sort of place where there are hard tiles on the floor, was a good idea. Turns out he was wrong, and the eight year old had an impressive lump on his forehead and black eye to prove it. Some culpability was directed my eight year old’s way by the responsible adult – apparently, “he hadn’t bound properly”.

Naturally enough the weekend passed with intricate negotiations necessary to allow myself and my husband to take turns spending time with my daughter at hospital, without unleashing the full force of a Hogan invasion. The boys were fretting for their sister and were keen to see how she was doing but we had to keep messages to the video kind as her stitches wouldn’t have coped with the physical impact of their concern.


And as Monday, the day that we were supposed to take control, drew to a close, we realised that in terms of all that had to be done, we were now in a worse position than we were before, but our daughter was home, and all was well, and the eight year old’s shiner was every colour of the rainbow. Normality had returned to our household, there was lots to do. Winging it was best option. 


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Those Friday Feels

It's Friday night, you know the the feels, 
The weekend stretches out, 
It's time to relax, kick off our shoes, 
And "FREEDOM " we can shout, 
From all stresses of the week, 
The things that drive us crazy,
The work and traffic and school runs,
There's no time to be lazy,
Tomorrow's not a working day,
No hectic morning to dread,
Cos Friday evening is our time
Once the kids have gone to bed
So what to do, and how to chill
Is what we now must ponder,
Sweet or fruity, red or white
Of which type am I fonder?
Then pour a glass and settle down,
Remote in hand securely,
Peppa banished for another day,
And grown-up programmes purely,
It's Friday evening and we own it
Relaxed, no we're not boring,
At 9 O'clock, I'm wine in hand
By ten you'll hear me snoring 😴