Saturday 15 April 2017
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
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.