More Shitty Parenting……

 

S is for Shameful Parenting

S is for Shitty Parenting

 

My parenting skills have slipped to an all time low. Its a combination of the summer holidays, readjusting to life with four children and general pure laziness……but we are living in anarchy at the minute.

 

I walked into the sitting room and they were stuck into Toddler’s and Tiara’s ( a really ridiculous programme about kids beauty pageants) . There was a 7-year-old on screen in full evening wear and make up crying. “Why is she crying?” I asked. “Her spray tan isn’t even” my 8-year-old replied. I questioned should they be watching this and told them I didn’t think it was appropriate. Their reply “but we watch it every morning when you and the baby are still in bed”. Right so. I sat down and watched it with them. It’s ridiculous but weirdly it sucks you in.

My kids new role models via tlc.com

My kids new role models
via tlc.com

There is a large green area outside our house. I allow the kids to go out as I can see them from the window. I was feeding the baby when they told me they were going out the other day. I let them at it. Five minutes later, I looked out and there was the four year old strutting around the green in her dressing gown and these fake glittery ugg boots. I  had foolishly assumed she was dressed.

 

The boy got his hair cut the other day. It’s lovely. Then I noticed a huge brown mark on his neck. My first thought was how I had not noticed he had such a big birth mark before then I realised ,no,it was just dirt. A big dirty mark all over his neck. I do wash him, obviously not properly anymore.

I was getting ready to go to bed one night last week. I assumed the children were asleep because it was 10.45pm. They weren’t, they were in the playroom,the only reason I went in there was to check on the dog.  I came close to going to bed without realising they were still up. I would like to think the husband may have noticed but I am not 100% confident.

I forgot to make lunch one day this week and breakfast a couple of weeks ago. I only realised about the lunch when the husband came home and I heard the kids telling him how hungry they were. In my defense, they snack all day and they hadn’t mentioned they were hungry or mentioned the lack of lunch until this point. This point was at 6pm.

Right now, the four year old has paint all over her stomach. The six year old still has the dirt on his neck and the 8 year old is dressed like someone who watches too much Toddlers and Tiara’s. All three of them have used the word asshole in the correct context at least once today. Asshole is a word I overuse. There is nobody to blame but myself.

I’m not proud by just how much my parenting skills have degenerated in the last couple of weeks. It needs to stop now. Any day now.

Please someone tell me your parenting skills slip in the school holidays? Please?

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The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

Dublin.July 17th. Temperature: 1000c

Ok slight exaggeration but this week is warm. Sticky warm. Cloudy then sunny but consistent sticky heat. In typical Irish fashion, I am moaning. The kids are moaning, everyone is moaning. The 8 year old sat down beside me and burst into tears. I asked her what was wrong. She was too warm so she cried. I almost joined in.

Also how do people in hot countries keep their babies out of the sun without resorting to Mission Impossible style movements. I had to walk sideways with the buggy in the park yesterday, sideways most of the time, then straight, then sideways again to avoid the rays. I looked like I was hammered. I am sure people were thinking oh look at the woman she has clearly hit the bottle because she can’t handle all her children. I was swigging a bottle of water, they probably thought it was vodka as I stumbled along sideways.

The baby has gotten new super magical powers with the heat. She doesn’t need to sleep. She has just given up on it. Here she is at midnight last night. I didn’t photograph 1am, 2.45am, 4am, 4.53am……….

team no sleep

Apparently the rain is coming back tomorrow but its to stay warm. That will be even better. Excessive heat and rain. Yay.

 

Now look what I’ve done, put that song back in your head. Sorry about that.

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Hotels of Ireland. A Rant.

Things that are difficult to do with four children. Part two –  Book a Hotel In Ireland.

no-vacancy-sign

Today I spent many hours trying to book a hotel room.

Things it would be easier to do than book a hotel in Ireland for 2 adults and 4 children:

  • teach myself to speak fluent Japanese.
  • find a pot a gold at the end of a rainbow guarded by a cheerful leprechaun.
  • convince a country and western singer to play 5 concerts in Ireland.
  • make a hotel out of loom bands.
  • toilet train my 9 week old.
  • find my very own unicorn to live in my garden.
  • create the solution for world peace.

Unicorn

Do hotels not realize there are many families who have more than two children? Booking websites let me down by continuously suggesting interconnecting rooms. Interconnecting rooms are two rooms. I don’t want two rooms. My children are too small to sleep in a hotel room alone and I don’t want to pay for two hotel rooms. Call me cheap but I don’t want to spend 1000 euro on a three night break where it will most likely piss rain and I don’t want a self catering mini break, my whole life is self catering.

I took to phoning hotels, “4 children…………..IN ONE ROOM” the well spoken reservations agents exclaimed “Goodness no”.  On my last phone call, out of desperation, I  told the hotel my children were so small they would all fit in one single bed , which was a blatant lie but I was desperate.  I was painting a full on Darby O’Gill and the Little People scenario,my little fairy miniscule children. I think I even used the word wee to describe them. Wee little miniature children “Shure they practically fit in my pocket” I  told her in my new  Oirish fake accent that I had adopted . I don’t know why. Desperation, frustration, who knows. It worked or it might work. She felt sorry for me and told me to give her name if we run into problems on arrival. Hurray for persistence and fake accents and maternity leave which allowed me spend five hours trying to book a hotel room. A hotel room, in the middle of nowhere,in an area I had no desire to visit. Win.

darby o gill

 

 

 

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Adventures in Dog Ownership

It was the dogs arrival date birthday this week. We have him a year. I wrote before about the things I didn’t know about a having a dog, it all still applies. I still feel the weight of responsibility of being a dog owner, bizarrely I find it more of a responsibility than being a parent of four.

In the last year he has:

  • eaten 4 pairs of my boots, 6 pairs of my shoes, 4 of my bras, several pairs of knickers ( he takes them from the clothes horse, only mine) several kids shoes, many many toys and teddy bears and loads more things that I can’t even remember or I have blocked out.
  • cost us a substantial amount of money  – food, vaccinations, insurance,treats, leads, collars, vet visits.
  • had to be walked daily, even in the rain, even when heavily pregnant when the husband was away.
  • scared the living crap out of me- the night we forgot to lock his crate and we woke in the dark at 3am to hear something bounding up the stairs and then jumping onto our bed on top of us. It took a good 45 seconds to realise what was happening.
The dog and the small girl

The dog and the small girl

Had I known baby number 4 was going to enter our lives realistically we probably wouldn’t have gotten him. That’s being honest. But he was here first. The husband loves him, the kids worship him, he is the small girls best friend. They can often be found cuddled up together on the ground. He snuck into my affections more slowly. The husband travels a bit for work and over the winter and spring he was away a fair bit. At night time when the kids finally went asleep, the dog would come and sit with me. Who knew a dog would be good company? I even let him sit on my lap some evenings. He is ridicously big, but ,he is  comfortable, if heavy and weirdly he knows if something is bothering me or if I am upset and he stays close to me.

festive collar

Rocking his festive collar. He eat that too.

He wrecks my head too though. He continues to shed a lot. I have resigned myself to the fact that we and the house will always  be covered in  dog hair. He is a shit guard dog too. We were getting some things done in the house a couple of months ago. I took annual leave because I was worried about how the dog would react to the strange men in the house. His only problem was working out which one of the strange men he was going to lick first.

Then there is  the eating all the things that he shouldn’t; it is really getting tiresome now. I had a doll for over 30 years. Her head is lying out the back garden, he is currently using it as some sort of weird fetish teething aid.  He has perfected his I am so guilty and I am SO SORRY look though so he gets away with it.

That would be my bra. My worn once bra after the dog got it.

That would be my bra. My worn once bra.

He pulled a muscle a couple of months ago. That cost big bucks. If the husband or I pulled a muscle, we would take some drugs and get on with it. You can’t do that with a dog though. Dog drugs cost serious money.

Then there was the whole getting his balls hacked off drama. Living with a dog with a cone of shame is no fun and is quite frankly,  dangerous. We all had injuries from the cone. It was when he came home from the vets that day that I realized I did love the fucker. The husband carried him out of the car and put him on the ground. He was all drugged and woozy and looked so sore. The guilt.  It was only when I was lying on the floor with him, his head on my heavily pregnant lap, that I realised I did love him. He is one of us, part of the family. He’s a good boy ,well, most of the time.

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Breastfeeding and Getting Stoned- A Comparative Analysis

The new one is 8 weeks old now. We are emerging from the lovely newborn stage. A thought struck me recently, breastfeeding has many similarities with getting stoned especially in the early days, I would imagine*

* if I leave out an I imagine or an apparently make sure to add it in, in your head.

 

breast

 

The High

You spend a lot of time on the couch or in bed, feeling relaxed. Two hormones are responsible for milk production,prolactin and oxytocin. You are swamped in these hormones. Prolactin is known as the mothering hormone, it’s the one that makes you feel sleepy and relaxed. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone, this is the one that gives you that falling in love high. Combined, well they can leave you in that delicious loved up dazed and content state. I have always found breastfeeding a huge de-stresser. Some times ( and there are many) when it all gets too much, I sit down, I feed the baby and all is ok with the world again. You’ve got to love feeling relaxed, mood enhanced, lying on the couchness. It could be compared to feeling high. The high and relaxation one might get from cannabis.

Mindless TV

With all the lying around, you need the remote control in hand. Similar to how one might need the remote to watch mindless tv or a movie or boxset when stoned.

The Munchies

Dear god, the munchies I get when feeding, especially at the beginning, are unbelievable. I can and do eat everything. Food tastes amazing, especially after having nine months of food tasting like sawdust. All the food, I love all the food. Apparently, when stoned, all the food is also amazing.

The Naps

Obviously with all the eating, mindless tv and eating, naps are required. I believe naps are also nice when high and its easier to drift off.

The Doing As Little As Possible- ness 

Did you ever see a stoner scrubbing a bathroom or ironing? Me either. Same when you are establishing breastfeeding. You HAVE to be on the couch or in bed tucked up with your baby with breaks for eating and the mindless tv.

How Breastfeeding and Getting Stoned Differ

  • Breastfeeding- very healthy. Smoking joints- not so healthy.
  • Breastfeeding- free. Buying cannabis can be pricey to achieve the same level of highness several times per day.
  • Breastfeeding – easily accessible. Cannabis not so much. If I wanted to buy drugs now, how would I even do that? And even if I did find a dealer, sure Id have to bring all my kids with me in my bus. That would be frowned upon, I would imagine.
  • Breastfeeding- legal. Getting stoned- illegal.
  • Breastfeeding- mostly all the food is handed to you. Stoned- you would need a slave ( also illegal) to continuously get you food or you would have to get it yourself and this would really cut into your on the couch, watching tv time.
  • Weight- you can get away with eating a lot more food due to the extra calories needed when feeding, again, especially when establishing feeding. Eating all the food when stoned leads to rapid weight gain.** For example, I know someone who went to Amsterdam for four days after they got married. They had been dieting to try to fit into  their wedding dress.  They may have broken a world record in rapid weight gain and managed to gain 10 pounds as a result of those four days.

** may or may not be me.

 

In conclusion, in my experience, breastfeeding provides many many of the advantages to getting high and none of the downsides that regular drug use can bring about.

Boobs rock.

boob may

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Some Reasons Why My House Is A Mess

My house is a mess. This is not news, it’s always a mess but it’s particularly messy at the moment. Now I have a valid excuse of course. She is seven weeks old now but it is because of her that I spending this weekend trying to sort out the mess because now there is another person living here and she has her own things that we need to find space for.

There are many reasons for the mess. The end of term piles of art and books that came home from school and have to sit around before a reasonable amount of time passes before they can be dumped. The four year old found a crumpled worksheet in the bin last week, she spend the following 45 minutes crying leaning over the crumbled worksheet trying to get the creases out muttering “How could you do this, WHY would you do this”. There are at least 458 completed worksheets of the letter A lying about but they are all equally special it seems.

Loom bands,  these bands don’t make themselves you know and they have taken up a significant amount of my time in the last month as has hoovering them up. Snapped colourful bands are speckled all over the house and the garden actually as they have been appearing in the dogs poo. Yes.

photo (52)

Speaking of the dog he is another reason for the mess. He has new magical powers- every day he sheds, what seems like, every bit of hair on his body and the next morning the amount of hair has doubled on his body. There are clumps of hair everywhere and then a child cuddle’s him and the child is covered in hair, so, the child and the dog are both walking around shredding hair.

Dog and E

The magical shedding dog

So between hoovering dog hair, loom bands and spending ridiculous amount of time just trying to make the new one smile because she is just mastering smiling and its lovely, the normal messy house has reached catastrophic levels. The main reason though is because I am just really bad at housework and I am a hoarder. I keep everything. My motto this weekend was be ruthless. Be ruthless, I kept repeating this yesterday as I attacked the entire fitted wardrobe/ storage space that is in my room but is only used to store crap and as I emptied an entire set of drawers in my room that is only used to store crap. Here is some of the shit I found :

positive pregnancy test

  • Pregnancy tests. Used pregnancy tests with faded positive signs in their boxes. I would like to be able to tell you these are from last year but I suspect at least one of them was from the precious first born in 2005. A stick with 9  year old dried urine. Nice. They went into the bin with the appointment cards from that pregnancy. Scan pictures are acceptable to keep, appointment cards from eight and nine years ago- absolutely no need to hang onto them.
  • A drawer full of bras that I have no idea how they ever fit me and the only way they will ever fit me again if is I have some pretty major surgery.
  • A load of bus tickets. I bought my first car in 1998 and haven’t used buses regularly since.
  • Some pretty hideous clothes including a vile leather skirt circa 1999 and some coats that I genuinely have no recollection of ever buying or wearing.
  • A huge amount of patent shoes with five and six inch heels. I don’t remember ever having a job as a stripper, unless it was so traumatic I blocked it out, that is the only reason I can come up for having so many pairs of stripper shoes.
  • Pay slips from 2005. No wonder the country went mad buying 7 houses and apartments each and putting decking everywhere, we paid fuck all tax, like tiny amounts. A depressing read, binned.
  • Books, so many books. There are thousands of books in the house. I would say I will never read 98% of them again. They are being boxed up today. Well some of them.
  • My Debs dress. Its 19 years old. It made the cut and is still upstairs.
  • 80% of my clothes. No clue what I am going to wear for the next while, probably the Debs dress.
  • Loads and loads of CDs – I didn’t know what to do with these. I don’t listen to cd’s anymore. Does anyone? Should I bin them?
  • 9 jars of moisturizer that are empty. 27 nail varnishes that are dried up and unusable. Make up that is at least 5 years old. Just tonnes of cosmetic crap.
  • A box of baby shoes that people bought my eldest child. Beautiful intricate pretty shoes. Some of which have the price tags on them. One pair of beautiful little rosebud slippers were €39.99. People had more money than sense in 2006- these little slippers are proof of this. I kept them all and they have never been used because she couldn’t walk when aged 0-3 months ( size is on them all) nor could the six or four year old when they were infants and the new child is showing no sign of walking anytime soon so why would they would require these beautiful little shoes? ( I kept one pair, actually two, because they are pretty if goddamn bloody useless)
photo (53)

My 35 year old teddy- going NOWHERE

The above is really only scratching the surface of the amount of shit I have hoarded over the years. The  worse thing is I have moved house 4 times in my adult life. Not only have I kept all this crap. I have packed it and moved it from house to house. My ruthlessness shall continue today. I am dumping it all, well definitely as much as I can once I finish writing this , try to make the baby smile and make some more loom bands………..I may have poor housekeeping skills but I excel at both hoarding and procrastination,useless skills.

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The End of a Small Era

 

It’s the end of a small era here this morning,my four-year old has just left for playschool for the last time. She has been going there every day all her life and attended for the last two years. My older two children  both attended this playschool. Today the four-year old finishes and the playschool closes its doors for the last time.

images (7)

I remember back in 2008 looking into playschool and Montessori’s for the precious first-born. I didn’t know any parents really in the area and had no recommendations. I checked out a few and then I went to see this one. A small playschool filled with toys and happy small people and staff that were like Nana’s instead of childcare professionals. There are certificates on the wall of qualifications and training, in six years, I have never given them more than a cursory glance. I knew from the start that the lovely teachers would look after my children and give them a hug and a kiss if they fell or if they were lonely, it was more important to me than qualifications or curriculums. And they did, they hugged my children and taught them how to count their fingers and make wagon wheel cakes and paint messily and take their turn. This playschool was the first place my three children were looked after by anyone other their family. It was their first baby steps into the world of lunchboxes and learning. It was the first place they learned something that their Dad or I hadn’t taught them.

It has prepared my three children for school because while they may not have been able to write, read or do addition upon leaving, they learned to open their lunchbox, look after their belongings, wash their hands and make friends. They all made great friends there. Even I made friends! One of whom I met six years ago and I think I will know forever.

Sept 2012- First day of playschool

Sept 2012- First day of playschool

My children walked in there on their first day a couple of months shy of their third birthdays and became a little bit independent of me. I cried the morning they all started and I will most likely cry when I go to collect my daughter today. Even though this is my third time doing this the nostalgia is just as strong and the pangs thinking about another one of my children starting primary school still cripple me, even though I know she will be fine. The other two were because I believe this playschool gave them all they needed to prepare for the world of school and they all had so much fun there.

The playschool is closing today. With the introduction of the free preschool year a few years ago a number of Montessori’s  have opened in the area. There is huge competition based on the number of flyers I get in the door and this school is now closing. I think it’s an awful shame. I am not sure if there are any other playschools in the area and there should be more. There should be more options for parents who don’t choose the Montessori method for pre school. I am sad for the wonderful teachers who have looked after my children so well over the last six years and all the other children that have come through the doors in the 15 years they are open.I am sad that the new child won’t get to attend there when her time comes.

I’m so proud of my four-year old today, she has sailed through playschool and has grown from a tiny little girl eager to emulate her big brother and sister and leave her with her school bag in the mornings, to a tall, friendly, bright and beautiful 4 and a half-year old who will join her big brother and sister in primary school in September.

June 2014- The 4 year old heading off this morning

June 2014- The 4 year old heading off this morning

End of a small era. I will always remember this playschool and be grateful I stumbled upon it six years ago, it will be a little bit hard to say goodbye today.

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