Starting As I Mean To Go On

The children went back to school yesterday. The four year old started. All went ok, she took it in her stride. I took the same picture of each of my three eldest on their first day of school, I put the three photographs together last night.

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Nice isn’t it? I am going to call it, thank fuck I have a baby.

They are just growing up too quick. I know that’s what they are meant to do and I am really proud of them but god days like yesterday make you just want to freeze time a bit.

It’s really quiet in the house right now and I miss them. I am a sap. It will pass and by the end of the week we will have readjusted back to the school routine.

Every September I have these high hopes of starting a new more organised regime and envisage myself as a pinterest parent. It lasts for a week or two, it didn’t even last a day this year.

Sunday night at 9pm found me sitting on my bedroom floor trying to remember which handbag I was using this time last year as I knew I left the labels in an envelope in it. After emptying out several, I found them. Organised chaos is I how I roll. At that stage I was too tired to iron on labels so 7am yesterday morning saw me writing initials onto jumpers and ties with a permanent marker instead. Illegible as it turned out and I ended up with more marker on my fingers than the uniforms.  “If you lose your tie remember it has a big black smudge on the back of it not your name, ok?” I explained to the kids.

People have been regularly asking me am I exhausted with a small baby and three older children. I haven’t been at all. I thought it was because my body had finally readjusted to sleep deprivation after years of preparation but no that’s not the case. I was fucking delusional. Of course I haven’t been worn out as for the last two months, none of us have gotten dressed before 11am any morning. We have spent the summer lounging around doing very little with absolutely no routine what so ever. By 3pm yesterday I couldn’t talk with exhaustion. I communicated by nodding my head slowly. Walking up the stairs took supreme effort. How bloody naive was I thinking I was some sort of wonder person who survived on minimum sleep and was able to maintain a sunny deposition? It’s very easy to be cheery and non weary when you are wearing clothing with elasticated waist bands and not making lunches and washing uniforms all the live long day.

 

So back to starting the school year as I mean to go on. There is no disillusionment  this year. Right now I know there are parents out there who are making heart-shaped pancakes with smiley faces for their children before school and making fucking bento boxes for school lunches. That is fine. Good luck to them. I am fine with that. This year I am not even going to try to compete. My children are just fine with their cereal for breakfast and ham sandwiches and fruit all thrown in together in their lunch boxes. We have started as we mean to go on.  My head nearly exploded yesterday afternoon when I saw the boy going into the playroom with his pencil-case. I was kind of hoping he would hang on to its contents till at least mid-term. To achieve this the pencil-case must stay in his bag not the abyss that is the playroom. It’s not looking good that the pencil-case will survive the month…..

I like to think that what my children miss out in bento boxes and cook book worthy breakfasts they gain in other things. I am just not sure yet what those other things are yet though. I did have the time to jump up and down half-naked on the doorstep this morning to try to get my kids to laugh for a photograph the husband was trying to take of the three of them heading off together for the first time. I don’t think that is a positive though. I can see them lying on a psychiatrists couch in twenty years time “She didn’t even cut the crusts of our sandwiches” they will wail.  Fingers crossed the kids they are sitting beside in school have average low effort lunches too and not this type:

Via bentonbettelunches.com

Via bentonbetterlunches.com

The husband is off work yesterday and today. The two of us have been able to feed and dress and drop the kids, together. Tomorrow morning I have to get out the door alone with four of them and I am flying through my maternity leave at the speed of light. I have no clue how I am meant to get myself ready for work and get four children up fed and dressed in the morning. I am considering, when the time comes, that we will get ready the night before and all go to sleep fully dressed to speed things up in the morning. I am sitting here now in the quiet house. With my baby. And the mess. Worn out. Its day two.  Bring It On.

 

 

 

The voting is still going on for Best Blog Post in the Blog Awards. You can re-vote weekly. If you have 30 seconds can you click At The Clothesline and vote  pretty please? I have no shame left. Its gone. Well gone.

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There She Goes…………

September 1st is racing towards us. My third child starts school next week. This is the third time I have done this in four years, you would think it gets easier;it doesn’t.

It’s a big deal them starting school. In my eyes, it’s the start of their life without you, the start of them getting their wings. She has been going to this school daily since she was a tiny baby in the buggy collecting and dropping her big sister and brother. She know’s in some ways what lies ahead for her, so do I.

She will make friends and she will learn to write and read and learn that she can’t always have attention when she wants it. Some days will be hard but they will be few and it will be mostly good and she will be happy. She is a complex character the four-year old , she directs and bosses her older siblings around but defers to children her own age most of the time. She roars requests at me and her Dad but can be painfully shy around others. She has a grim determination too. If she doesn’t want to do something, it doesn’t happen. We have been saying yes to her since day one in pursuit of an easy life. When she was born the other two were one and three, we done anything needed for an easy life. She is a good child though despite our sometimes lax parenting of her.

She is fiery and funny and clever and school will be great. I am trying not to think about the days where she can’t find someone to play with in yard or the times someone might be mean to her and she will have to swallow back a sob and put on a brave face cause she is “actually a really big girl now” as she keeps telling me.  The great will far outweigh the rare difficult parts though .  I am going to miss her. I hope she loves it. Well first I hope she decides to go in next Monday, then I hope she loves it.

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Tummy Time Charlie Sheen Style

The new one is 3 months old. She had  a judge my parenting, developmental check last week. Lots of questions about tummy time which of course I lied about “Jesus she is never off her tummy, she is a developmental prodigy”  and the like. For the uninitiated, apparently babies need tummy time to learn how to push themselves up and eventually crawl. Now the baby does get tummy time , she is on my chest, on my lap etc but the rules insist that babies be placed on the floor for tummy time. The nurse very helpfully suggested to the four-year old she could help with tummy time. I adore when people tell one of my children what to do with my small infant. Love it.

I suspect this baby was drugged to look so happy during tummy time

I suspect this baby was drugged to look so happy during tummy time

Anyway, obviously not wanting the new one to fail in life, I have made more of a conscious effort to put her on her tummy this week. Turns out, just like my other three ( and I assume all babies ever) she hates it. I am going to guess she gets this from me. If I was incapacitated and forced to lie on my stomach with no way of moving, while people much bigger than me shouted at me or waved noisy toys at me,  I would hate it too.

We started off with the nurses helpful suggestion that the other children could help. Baby placed on changing mat on floor. One sibling to her left, one sibling to her right, one facing her head on. They screamed her name continuously for two minutes while she made a valiant effort to move her head before finally making eye contact with me. She didn’t need to roar, the look said it all “PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW”. So I did.

CHARLIE

I tried it again the next day without the assistance of her siblings. This time she did roar, she roared and gave me the look of PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW. So I did.

We tried a few more times with similar results. Last night I put her down again. She promptly spat up, face planted the puke and then snorted it. Charlie Sheen style tummy time. I picked her up. I cleaned her up. I comforted her. She calmed down eventually but that look of horror was still in her eyes as she was getting over it. If she could talk I know she would have been mumbling between the gulps of hysteria “You don’t know what is was like man, You weren’t there” . 

I am going to wait a while before we try it again.

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How I Party When It’s My Birthday

Go, go, go, go, go, go

Go shawty, it’s your birthday
We gonna party like it’s your birthday

 50 Cent- In Da Club

Yesterday was my birthday. In the words of 50 Cent, this is how  I party when its’ my birthday……….

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I didn’t get breakfast in bed because I got up too early. You would think I would relish a sleep-in because its many months now since I have 8 hours interrupted sleep but I seem to have lost the ability to sleep in. That happens when you get older apparently. So I got up and had breakfast and got realms of homemade cards and drawings and it was lovely, all lovely.

Then I played a couple of game of Connect 4, which I won. Victory is always sweet even if you are playing against a 4 and 6-year-old. Then the kids wanted to play giant snakes and ladders and the lovely birthday morning degenerated quickly. I didn’t enjoy Snakes and Ladders as a child and turns out I don';t enjoy it as an adult. It has the potential to last for four hours. They are a lot more snakes than ladders. The boy kept cheating which kept sending me into an irrational rage ( I did mention above my competitiveness) and the older girl kept counting the places she had to move including the space she was on. WHICH IS WRONG. I kept telling her it was wrong and she kept doing it. Then she kept moving in the wrong direction and the other two did too which led me to shouting “what is wrong with you all, you can count, why are you pretending you can’t , of course 53 comes after 52, don’t be so stupid” . This is pretty poor parenting I know but in my defense the game had been going on for about 17 hours at this stage. The four-year old was getting as bored and irritated as I was so started using the dice as a weapon when it was her turn to throw. Flinging it at force at her siblings. The husband looked on dismayed no doubt by my behaviour and his children’s lost ability to count . We eventually gave up, which was good for everybody involved. Snakes and Ladders will be making it a midnight flit( or more likely a  10pm flit because I can’t stay awake till midnight anymore) to the bin one night this week under the cover of darkness.

The Devil's Game

The Devil’s Game

Meanwhile the husband kept asking in a non pushy lovely way what would I like to do for my birthday but I didn’t really want to do anything. Downside to having an August birthday when you become a parent the birthday budget is severely hampered by the need to buy school shoes and runners and all the rest of the last-minute school stuff and I didn’t want to go out and spend money just for the sake it. The other downside to an August birthday is the shops are full of end of season neon shite summer clothes that people have spent the last four months refusing to buy and now in my mature state I refuse to go out and buy is as I have done in the past . Next month I will shop for my birthday present and I will buy boots and they will be lovely and I will be so glad I didn’t go out yesterday and buy end of season sale hideousness.

Nonetheless the husband being the rock star ( albeit aging rock star) that he is kept asking what I would like to do. So I decided I would like to nap. Do you know what is worse than no nap? A 12 minute nap. Just as I was drifting off to a deliciousness slumber in an empty bed ( I am never in bed alone at the minute) my 8 year old woke me up as my mum called in. I really wanted to stay in my cocoon or loveliness but figured it would be pretty rude since she gave birth to me and all that on this day many years ago. So I got up again. Now slightly grumpy due to the mini nap. It was flying visit from the mother.

paint

The conversation then resumed……”What would you like to do” asked the husband for the 27th time. I sat and thought about it and said I would like you to go and buy paint and paint the hall stairs and landing. Which was pretty mean of me because I knew he wouldn’t say no to any request I came up with.  I would say at this point he wanted to punch my birthday head in but as I mentioned he is a rock star so off he went to diy shop on a weekend afternoon hell and took the three older children with him.  The English Patient was on the night before but I was too tired to stay awake as I am old as fuck so I recorded it and  myself and the baby sat on the couch and watched that. They arrived back with twenty minutes to go. I had been sobbing obviously as it is the most beautiful saddest film ever. The boy and the older girl sat down to watch the end of it with me. In fairness to them as it was my birthday and they were being extra nice,  they didn’t ask me endless questions just laughed at my  ugly tears.

The reason I really wanted the hall stairs and landing painted was because I done something stupid a few months ago. The walls in this house are full of smeared handprints and marker and just general mess. I always used to keep a spare bit of paint and when it got really bad just painted over the really bad mark. A few months ago I bought one of those sample pots to partake in my lazy as fuck mess hiding .Misty Rain, Dewdrop Morning, Hazy Hallow……….Why do they not just fucking call gray paint gray. Naturally I bought the wrong one. Didn’t realise till I came home and covered up the stains on the wall with it and it dried a couple of shades darker than the original colour. So my hall for the last few months has had what resembled miss thought chinese symbol tattoos in random spots all over it. No more though ,as the husband came home and painted. He is finishing it now, the four-year old is sitting at his feet offering helpful tips and advice, who knew she was such an expert in painting and decorating.

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We had a nice dinner last night, we had cake, I put the heating on in August like the mad bitch I am,  we were going to watch a movie but at half nine the baby was unsettled and the big girl was still awake so I went upstairs to lie down with them for a few minutes and didn’t get back up. The husband came up. We watched Match of the Day. Actually we watched the first twenty minutes of Match of the Day and we couldn’t stay awake. So we went asleep before 11pm ………

In summation-I am old. Old as fuck.

I had a lovely day.

I might go to a garden centre today and start sentences with “In my day…….” 

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Dublin Can Be Heaven……….Child Friendly Dublin

I read this piece on Office Mum this morning about whether Ireland is child friendly. Everyone experiences are different, for me, its a yes.

RTEmagicP_Dublin-DoorsI’m a true blue. Dublin, is my home, it always has been. I know Dublin. I had to rediscover Dublin as a parent and I have never been let down. Don’t get me wrong, I can bitch and moan as good as anyone, yes things can be expensive, yes house prices make my heart break, yes you can always find something to give out about but there is a whole lot of good here too.

From my house its a ten minute drive to the heart of the Dublin mountains, in twenty minutes we can be on the coast. The city centre is 30 minutes away. We live in a typical subarban estate but there are parks, there are libraries, there is good decent public transport, there are improving bike lanes. Is Dublin child friendly? I really think it is.

My Dublin ten years ago was where is a good place to drink, what restaurant first. where is the best spot to find a taxi at 4am? My Dublin, as a child, is still there and now I get to rediscover it as a parent and an improved Dublin from a child’s perspective because Dublin woke up and realised children are its citizens too.

The national museums and art galleries  all cater for the smaller visitor with activity packs, art supplies, workshops and more. The Science Gallery and Imma too. The three Dublin county councils run a host of activities and free events throughout the year – treasure hunts, outdoor movies, halloween events, Christmas markets, outdoor music and drama events and festivals. Libraries with huge children’s sections that also run regular events. All free. The parks across Dublin which boast upgraded and brilliant playgrounds.  Swimming pools, cinemas that now offer booster seats so small children can see the movie. Play centres the bane of your life when you have a toddler and have to squeeze up a tunneled slide to rescue a stuck 2-year-old ( happened me at 9 months pregnant) that become a place of loveliness when your kids are old enough to play without your help and you can sit and read a book, once you tune out the noise. Bowling, trampolining, the national aquatic centre,The Ark,  Zip Lining up the mountains, the zoo. If you want a day out with kids , your options are huge and varied with options for all budgets.

Then there are the constants, the Dublin I enjoyed as a child that my children enjoy now- Dun Laoghaire Pier, the seals at Howth, the dart along the coastline, the busker’s on Grafton street, the climb to the Hellfire Club,  the botanic gardens,watching the planes on the old airport road,the panto at Christmas,buying fruit on Moore Street,  chasing the tide on Sandymount Stand. Dublin that is steeped in history personal and national . The bullet marks that remain in the walls of the GPO, the crypts at St Michans , Kilmainham gaol, places I learned about Dublin’s history from my granddad’s as a child  on day’s out, all there waiting to be revisited and seen through my children’s eyes, now.

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Then there all the places of personal history too- my children can point out the bench in St Stephens Green where their Dad asked me to marry him and the one beside it where their Grandad asked their Nana to marry him. They know not to stand too close to the pond when feeding the ducks, because they know the story of my sister forgetting to let go of the bread and falling into the duck pond . They know the chapel in the centre of the city where  their Dad and I got married. All their history.

Everytime I went out with my Grandparents when I was child, they bought me a book. We spent hours in Waterstones, Easons on O’Connell St and Hodges and Figgis. Dubray Books on Grafton St is one of my favourite bookshops now. My eldest daughters too. She can’t pass it without asking to go in. It brings me right back to when I used to stroll around town with my Nana and Grandad as a small child. The bookshops were always the best bit.

My Grandad and I. St Stephen's Green. 1981 ish

My Grandad and I. St Stephen’s Green. 1981 ish

I have had never had a problem finding somewhere family friendly to eat in Dublin. There are too many restaurants to mention and restaurants too have copped that children are customers too. No longer do kids meals consist of just sausage and chips or chicken and chips. Of course there are many restaurants that aren’t child friendly but there is enough choice ,that is fine with me. There are places I wouldn’t bring my children to eat and there are places on the rare occasion, I get to eat out without them, that I don’t want to listen to other people’s kids. Some places are not buggy friendly but I have never had a restaurant refuse to store a buggy at the door for me. I have breast-fed all over Dublin and never had a rude remark. I know this is not the experience of everyone, but it is mine. I have always found Irish people to  be child friendly. Of course there are assholes who will tut or sigh at times but there are assholes everywhere whether you areout with children or without them. And for every asshole I have met, I have met 100 other people who have smiled at my kids, held open a door for me or picked up a dropped teddy bear or coat when my hands were full.

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We have had so many tourist at home days in Dublin. Getting the bus into town where you can’t get the correct change ready because it’s the bus fare for children depends on the driver and the ticket price is never the same on the return journey. We have done the Viking Splash and shouted at randomer’s on the street, we have taken boats on the Liffey and learned about the history under the bridges. Last Summer we took a boat trip around Dublin Bay. Dublin looks magnificent from the sea just as it always does when you come into land over Portmarnock on a clear day.

Am I  romanticising parts above? Perhaps. I love my city though. I forget that sometimes and need to fall in love with it again. Of course it’s not all good. My children don’t see people falling around drunk and vomiting in the streets at 3am but they do see the city’s  homeless every time we are in town and have seen people begging, children begging. You can’t hide the bad and the sad in the world from them.  There are lots of things that are wrong with Dublin but there are a whole lot of things that are right too. Businesses and amenities have adapted to become child friendly, we have the sea, we have the mountains and everything in between. The above is just a snapshot of Dublin and all that is good there.  If you have had a bad experience in one restaurant or one event please don’t write off Dublin as not for children, give it another try. Dublin is child friendly, you just have to go out and find it.

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photo credit: Cian Ginty via photopin cc

photo credit: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits via photopin cc

photo credit: mirkuz via photopin cc

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An Update On My Persil Eyeball Injury

A couple of weeks ago I had a shit day after my eyeball was torpedoed by the top of a bottle of persil. I have an update on this.  A …………….video update. This is a top class production by the way. All those hugely successful video bloggers better watch their backs.

I don’t actually sound like this in real life. My voice is  less irritating. Or at least I hope it is because surely if it was this annoying someone would have told me. Like my husband or my mother or someone………..

 

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My Big Knickers…………A Love Affair

When I was getting bits and pieces together for my hospital bag when pregnant, I bought the obligatory big knickers. The big knickers that are always mentioned on lists for labour bags. If you have given birth you know the ones I am talking about.

This time round I only found the big knickers after I had the baby. I had picked up a packet of four. When I took them out of the packet, I had the windows open in my bedroom, the light breeze made them billow like a sheet on a washing line. Black, cotton, huge. At this point I could have thrown them out or left them in underwear drawer but laundry has reached new levels of horror here and I had no other pairs so I put them on. I am so glad I did and even more glad there were another three pairs of them.

via marks and spencers.ie

Cotton wonderfulness

 

Cotton, loose but with the ability to stay up, they are amazing. They look absolutely hideous but sweet jesus they are divine. I realise this is a slippery slope I am now on, next stop support tights, elasticated waistbands and mom hair and I don’t care. These knickers make me happy. They kind of sit on my thighs they are so big, they are almost like shorts. In fact much to the horror of the husband, I have been wearing them around the house as shorts. When he first saw them on me ( I was prancing around thrilled with the comfort of them) he told me I looked like “a fucking hobo” and “what if somebody calls in?”  The kids have laughed and pointed at them “Mammy they are the biggest pants I ever ever ever seen” they said. “I know” I replied gleefully and walked off. When I walk in them I can feel them almost swinging along behind me. This pleases me rather than horrifies me.

When I open the knicker drawer and see these lying beside stupid expensive tiny pieces of lace , they are the obvious choice. I don’t even have to worry about VPL because the lines of these pants appear where lines shouldn’t ( under my boobs, across my thighs) so they can’t even be mistaken for knicker lines.

I will have to wean myself off regular usage  at some stage for fear of the slippery slope I mentioned above. While they are the most comfortable thing ever, I can see how they could ,potentially, affect my ambition and ability to somewhat look semi presentable at times but I am not throwing them out.  They are my baggy cotton hideous knickers  and I love them.

 

 

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