Tonight Matthew I am going to be Meghan Trainor……..

My five and half year old is seriously competent. Anything her older brother and sister can do she makes a good effort at doing and most times she succeed and sometimes she does it better than they do.

She is just finishing her first year of school. She has grown up a lot, especially in the last few months. Before she demanded cuddles, stories and songs before she would sleep, more often than not of late, she takes herself off to bed at night time , when I go up to check on her, she is usually asleep, tucked in neatly, teddy in arms.

A couple of months ago she stopped sharing a room with her older sister and for now has the room to herself, its the cleanest bedroom in the house.

A couple of days ago, a vile bug, struck the house. It hit her out of nowhere, she looked awful and was lying on the couch. She informed me she was going to be sick, walked to the bathroom, fixed her hair out of her face and was sick. Competently.

I was faffing around, trying to fix her. She was calm and told me she would go and lie down. Sometimes she looks like the adult and me the five-year old. So we went to bed and we lay down. I was rubbing her hair and holding her hand and despite her being unwell it was actually really nice. It felt like weeks since we had done this ,just the two of us. She was curled up kind of on my lap and it was like she was a toddler again.

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She was worn out and still looked pretty unwell. I was trying to make her better.

I started to sing to her. She didn’t like the song, so I suggested all my back catalogue of lullabies . You Are My Sunshine, Dream A Little Dream , all rejected.

Sing All About The Bass” she said.

“Ah no, will I sing, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, maybe? Said I, hopefully.

“All. About. That. Bass. Please. Now. Go . On”– she said like some tiny five year old version of Simon Cowell.

She was sick. I was trying to make her happy. So off I went.

I’m bringing booty back……

She stopped me.

Sing from the start Mammy”.

Oh.

And so I did and when I got stuck  with the words, which surprisingly I did considering how many times I have  heard this song, this year, she prompted me.

About half way through she suggested I sing more like Meghan Trainor than myself. It was more a Stars In Your Eyes than X Factor performance she was looking for.

mt

I realise it’s not the most appropriate of songs to sing to your child, I realised this more as I was singing along without it playing in the background. Nonetheless I continued. It’s a long enough song, thankfully nobody else heard my rendition or saw my actions, if you are going to do something, do it properly and all that……..

Then I finished  “Not too bad, Mammy “and she fell asleep.

She hasn’t asked for a repeat performance and she is fully recovered now.

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The Wonderful Weirdness of Kids

One of my favourite things about this time of year, is going through the things the kids bring home from school. I have gotten more ruthless since the days of keeping every scribble from the precious first-born but their school copies are always keepers.

Did you know imagination copies are a thing? Amidst the drawings and all the colour, I am not going to lie, there is some pretty weird shit in there too. Not worrying weird just, Jesus my child is quite strange, weird. Stuff that wouldn’t be out-of-place after taking a hallucinogenic –  Cakes that talk to each other,  Batman having his injuries healed by dark arts potions,  kidnappings, mysterious parks , investigations and how to ” google things up” – arm  chair investigate work if you will  rather than Famous Five style.

Then there are the story copies . Again, amidst the poems about rainbows and the tales of pancakes and playgrounds, there is some darkness. This one was my favourite.

The Woodcutter.

Once there was a wood-cutter. He was big. He was fat. He was a Daddy. ( A psychiatrists dream  right there) He was a criminal. The wood-cutter killed children.  ( Who needs suspense, cold hard straight to the point wins the day).

The wood-cutter came to a house, to kill some children. The mom knew the wood-cutter. So the mom punched him in the face. He ran away. He was very scared. The woodcutter went to another house. The wood-cutter made sure he didn’t get punched in the face by the mom but the mom killed him anyway.

The End.

The wood cutter is twice the size of the mother, yet she throws that killer punch regardless.

The wood cutter is twice the size of the mother, yet she throws that killer punch regardless.

I LOVE IT. The moms are bad ass. One mother provides the facial punching to scare the wood-cutter away and the next mother just straight out murders him.

Of course reading the poems and hand prints about growing up and how much they love you are lovely and bring a tear but sometimes you need something new. Like a mama protecting her kids from a potential child murdering wood-cutter with violence.

Proud.

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Skincare, Badly Applied Make Up and Other Musings

Make-up, I know very little about it however fellow blogger Sinead at Bumbles of Rice came up with an idea of sharing how to look human on three hours sleep and I said I would join in, so here we go:

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I regularly survive on three hours sleep. Big sunglasses and copious amounts of strong coffee are how I survive. My jittery actions from the coffee hopefully distracts from the exhausted greyness of my face. At the minute I rarely have occasion for lots of make up and even when I do, it is hit or miss how my make up looks. I put it on, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s similar to the way I never learnt how to cook a roast dinner, nobody ever thought me to apply makeup or the importance of skin care. And speaking of that, what is with teenagers these days? They all have immaculate make-up, there is no badly applied awful colours on their faces, they all look amazing and no acne. I, however, at the grand age of 36 and a half have developed a rake of hormonal occasional spots on my chin. It seems unfair really. I went through all this twenty years ago. I digress, make up………..

Firstly I am a sucker for the “spend a shit load of money, get a free gift” promotions. So the majority of my non daily wear make up comes from these or from  christmas gifts. I have one palette of eye shadows I received as a gift about four years ago, which I use when I feel the need to see if I can apply eye shadow ( I can’t). I am looking for a good primer though any and all recommendations appreciated.

Lipstick- I can’t wear it. When I apply lipstick, I look like I should be doing porn. It’s not a good look. So  I use vaseline or if I am feeling particularly wild, lip gloss I received as free gift, see above.

After years of having thick dark brows, one of them has started to develop a bald spot. It’s the start of eyebrow ageing. I will take recommendations for brow products too please.

I like BB creams. I find CC ones too heavy. My favourite one is this one from Garnier. Its cheap and cheerful, the colour is natural and its non sticky.

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Foundation I use  one of these. If using the MAC  one I mix it with bb cream as I think it’s quite dry. The Estee Lauder Double Wear lasts for hours.

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And I am a fan of this also for help in looking less haggard and more glowy.

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I am a mascara whore. I have no brand loyalty and am again a sucker for advertising when it comes to mascara. I currently have about 12 in use. This is my current favourite ,Benefit- they’re Real  although it has a tendency to be a bit clumpy and requires careful application but when non clumpy it’s rather nice.

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See, I told you I know f**k all about make up. So instead I am going to recommend some skincare products. As I am free-falling towards 40, I finally realised I need to take care of my skin properly. These are the products I am currently love. If my skin looks good, make up looks better on me all with the long-term goal of achieving dewy,glowing skin lending the impression I have all my  of life under control.

Despite my initial derision I have become an advocate of the double cleanse. First the grime/make up is removed with some cheapo micellar water. Garnier do a big bottle for 4.50 you can get in Penneys or Boots have a nicer one in their botanical range which is cheap as chips too. FullSizeRender (5)

 

Then this.

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Everyone needs this in their life. Nia’s Calendula and Orange Blossom Cleansing Balm. It is sensational. Nia is Irish owned and chemical free and as soon as I run out of this and need to order more, I am buying their restoring moisturizer too. So the balm. It’s thick and smells like heaven. When I use it the smell calms me and I feel like I am in a spa, for that twenty-second feeling twice a day, its worth it alone. It comes with a spatula, you apply it, massage it in, then you use the fancy clothes it comes with to sweep the product off your face. Seriously, amazing. I have really dry skin and since using this my skin is so much more hydrated, I don’t even need too much moisturizer. Buy it.

This is my second wonder product. Nip +Fab No Needle Fix Serum.  A friend recommended a couple of months ago and it is another thing everyone needs in their life.

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Again it is an additional product like the double cleanse but worth it. You apply before moisturizer. Its light and I can feel my skin tightening a bit after application. My skin , particularly my cheeks, look and feels brilliant after using this for three months. It’s not an overnight change but it has definitely helped make my skin appear smoother. You can buy it online from  Boots, I haven’t seen it in store. It is currently half price, rather typically, as I bought a new bottle last week.  Buy it too.

I have also started using an exfoliation mask weekly but have yet to find one I really like. Hit me with a good recommendation and me and my soon to be youthful looking skin will love you long time.

With the addition of these two loves into my life, my obsession with moisturizer has eased. I have no real preference for a day time one once it has an SPF and is light. Night time, I am a fan of Elizabeth Arden creams-Visible Difference  and 8 Hour and regardless of the price if is says rehydrating or nourishing on the box, I will probably buy it. I am currently using samples from Kiehls with a view to purchasing but the Nia  mositurising products are my next buy. I use 8 hour Cream once a week and occasionally I burst an evening primrose tablet, mix it with lanolin ( yes the cream for sore nipples) and smear it all over my face before I get into bed. It’s  great if skin is very dry, really.

So there you have it. More questions than answers from a person who is never going to be a beauty blogger, who can’t apply make up properly but who has the cheeks of at least a 32-year-old. You can read all the other posts and actually learn something useful here  and if you have a product that works miracles and I need to have it please recommend it below.

 

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An Introduction to Crime

Wednesday evening. The sun was shining, I was making dinner, the kids were out playing. All was normal in suburbia. Then I saw one child walking towards house sobbing and other children flapping around aghast and over excited. I heard, the man in the car, he had photographs, he is ringing the Garda. Snippets of the drama but not the full story. One child sobbing so hard he couldn’t talk properly, lines of cleanliness on his dirty face where the tears had washed away the muck.

We managed to establish some of the story. We live opposite a green area, at the end of the green there are bushes and trees and behind them leads to back gardens of other houses. The child and his friend had been down there and one of the residents saw them, gave out to them, got in his car, drove around, gave out to them again, told them he had their photograph and he would go to the police if it ever happened again. There were clearly gaps in this story. The husband set off to find the man. I tried to comfort the boy. After twenty minutes the sobbing subsided. More detail of what happened came out in small snippets. The child was terrified the Garda were about to rock up at the door. Then more information came out.Then the husband arrived back with the complete story.

The child had slipped through a gate, into a garden, scaled a fence with the aid of a makeshift ladder of some logs and climbed onto a roof of a garden shed. Whilst standing, no doubt triumphantly on the shed, the owner saw him, came out and let a roar. No doubt the child got a fright and he scampered. Sadly, the tale does not end here. The man came out and locked up the gate at the back of the house. This lock was no match for the child’s friend who went back into the garden and again was seen by the man. He is not my child so I wont tell the full story but seriously I don’t think these two lads would make it as master criminals. At this stage, the man came around in his car to tell them he had their photograph and he would go to the police if it happened again.  The man had not photographed anybody nor was he going to the police, he was just trying to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. The roof my child was standing on after breaking into a garden was quite high at its peak. High enough that if one fell from that height, there could be a serious injury. I thought playing on the flat green outside our house in a quiet cul-de-sac was a safe place to play on a summer’s evening.

The husband told me all this and I went from my poor scared little boy to HE DID WHAT? in about 7 seconds. We sat down, we got the whole story from him, we went through all the what if’s, there were many sorry’s, lengthy explanations and more reassurances that the Gardai were not coming to arrest him.

We explained to the child there would be no going outside to play for a while nor would there be ipads or treats. We explained how this could never ever happen again. We went around in a circle of what ifs. Then we got in the car and drove to the mans house. I held the boy’s hand. He was just about holding it together. The man came out, a lovely man, elderly. He told me why he had done what he had done and how high the shed was on his side of the garden. The boy held it together and in a wobbly voice, whilst gripping my hand, he apologised in great detail. He managed not to cry. The man looked like he might cry and then they shook hands and I had to battle the tears. Sake.

The punishment is ongoing, its less than what you would get for breaking and entering and being an accessory to other crimes in a court as it is his first offence and he is a small child. His sisters went off on  a sleepover yesterday and he stayed here. He hasn’t seen an ipad screen nor has he stepped foot on the green. I think he has gotten over the fright and I would like to hope that this is the end to his criminal activity. Lesson learned, hopefully.

The sunset over the scene of the crime as I don't have a photograph of his rap sheet.

The sunset over the scene of the crime as I don’t have a photograph of his rap sheet.

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The Problems of June

In June of times gone past, I would enjoy the milder weather and maybe buy some new clothes and shoes for the summer with my disposable income or go on holiday again using my disposable income. June was never a stressful month. It was pleasant. No longer though, when you have children of school going age, June is exhausting, long, bank account draining and shameful at times.

 

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In June I am:

Drowning in envelopes and notes for requests for money for back to school. Back to school now starts in early Summer maybe even April.

My children are going to school in uniforms that have been washed too many times yet the paint/glue/ food stains remain. Jumper sleeves are shredded. One child’s school trousers are above his ankles. Capri length for the summer. Children going to school looking like vagabonds.

Children refuse to go to bed at night because it’s too bright. Just all out refusal. This makes them look pale with dark bags under eyes to enhance appearance of vagabond appearance.

Kids playing outside instead of going to bed. Dirt on hands that doesn’t wash off similar to dirt on too small uniforms. To complete look of peasant children.

As well as back to school costs of 10k an activity the children do on Saturdays demands full fees be paid in full for next term which doesn’t start for three months. More extreme costs.

A glimpse of sunshine makes me determined to just book a holiday. Despite much searching, costs for a week in costa del wherever costs 10k in July or August. If had been organised and taken children from school could get a villa in Seychelles in June for same price as crappy week in two star accommodation in peak times. Once pile of school money envelopes are dealt with negotiations start for which camps can be done. One child has been waiting to do summer camps all her small life and is a sucker for advertising and wants to do all the camps. Considers selling a kidney.

School lunches. We are all over them now. Now school lunch boxes contain piles of fruit and veg  and cheese grabbed from fridge and dumped into lunch boxes. Have considered pouring dry cereal straight from box into lunchbox but have refrained so far. Maybe next week.

Pencil cases are empty and/or lost. Evenings are spent searching under couch for a spare pencil so homework can be completed.

Sun comes out but have forgotten to get summer ready. Body still thinks it is winter. Blue coloured stubbly legs remain coated in jeans. Arms do strange chubby recoiling  trick when they see the light. They will readjust .

Just when think all books lists, contributions have been paid, texts for group present for all the teachers. Consider opting out and making crafty unique homemade present. Realise cant craft anything for shit. Find more money.

Double check holiday in July or August will still cost 250k because really need a break. Then realise will spend entire holiday thinking about how much money holiday has cost and feel immense pressure to have best time ever. May not be that relaxing.

Makes great plans to be more prepared for next year and transform self into a person who budgets and is good with money.

Really really looks forward to two months of no school lunches. No dropping and collecting from all the activities. Children can stay up late, stay outside and have dirty hands and dirty necks and dirty suntans which will mask their paleness from exhaustion from refusing to sleep. There will be no need to search for pencils. Life will be much better in July and maybe will find the gazillion euro needed for a holiday or maybe will just have lovely summer at home.

Three more weeks.

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Sunday

A couple of weeks ago, the husband was away with work, again. I don’t love when he is away at weekends as the days are often long. So on this Sunday, we were up early, it was an overcast day and it was the week before payday so there little to no disposable cash around.

As it was Sunday, I made brunch. When did brunch become a thing kids have of a weekend? I don’t recall much brunch as a child. Anyway, I made pancakes. I see pancakes on Instagram and other blogs and they are always in stacks. Stacks of pancakes all the same shape with healthy and tasty and picture perfect accompaniments. My pancakes don’t look like that. I make one, a child takes it and so on. Do perfect pancake makers keep them in the oven to serve together? Anyway preparing and making pancakes here for four children is a 45 minute activity. I will always manage to burn myself at least once and the smoke alarm will always go off at least one. They are nice though, time-consuming but nice.

So back to the Sunday in question, the pancakes were eaten, laundry was done and the afternoon, with the lack of money to throw at it, stretched out ahead of us. I did what I did on a Sunday as a child and we went for a drive. A drive in the overcast weather to the sea to get an ice-cream. Thankfully due to EU grants and fine stretches of motorway, you can get to the sea in a quarter of the time it took when I was a child, the drive is fairly non eventful though. Grey road, grey sky,couple of grey bridges to drive under. The atmosphere was muted. There was no enthusiasm from me or the children.

We drove aimlessly and like most of Dublin ended up in Dun Laoghaire. I had promised ice-cream. We drove past Teddy’s, home of the famous ice cream that my children love, several times.

Look kids, there’s Teddy’s” I said, sounding more and more like Clark Griswold with each drive by.

There was no parking. After the fourth attempt to find parking and the sixth time I managed a four  eight point turn in an over sized car on a narrow road, I gave up.

There is a second ice cream establishment in Dun Laoghaire, Scrumdiddleys which based on the size of its massive queues on that overcast day is giving the other one a massive run for its money. I pointed it out in my Clark Griswold voice, I have  been promising my children an ice cream from there for months, this was not going to be the day.

We had been in the car an hour at this stage. We drove on. At the next possible ice cream location there was no parking either. We drove on, again. Enthusiasm was missing from the start, we had reached despondence. Eventually after a good 80 minutes of driving and the drive resembling the Sunday drive of my childhood, there was parking in Sandymount.

Jumping in Sandymount. The camera suggests we were having a lovely day.

Jumping in Sandymount. The camera suggests we were having a lovely day.

They ran, they jumped around, the chased the rain and then the rain caught us and we got back in the car.  We had been out of it for about 11 minutes. The baby had had enough. At the sight of her car seat she gave up and wailed. I took the car keys from her so I could drive and her screeching achieved a new level of noise. I removed the house key, handed to her, jumped into the driving seat and drove home, quickly, without ice -cream.

The children didn’t even complain or maybe they did and I just didn’t hear them for the noise of the crying baby and the windscreen wipers.

We got home in twenty minutes, exhausted from the pointless drive. The noise from the baby subsiding as soon as she was released from her car seat. I went to find the house key I had handed her and it was gone. I removed car seats. I  looked under seats. The children done the same. The key was gone. There was only one possible outcome, the baby had to have swallowed the key.

“I think the baby has swallowed the key” I told the other children. They looked unperturbed . “We are locked out of the house” I told them. This got more of a reaction. The rain was fairly horrendously heavy at this stage. Car seats were flung on the ground outside the house. Visions of sitting in A&E for hours with four wet children overwhelmed me. The whole scenario played out in my head, I could see a doctor, younger than me, questioning me about how the infant had gotten the key in the first place and me having to admit I gave it to her. I wondered what damage the key was doing to the small baby as I stood there, at least when the boy child swallowed a balloon, I didn’t know about it until it appeared back into his nappy. I was just about to load them back into the car and head for the hospital when I noticed something under the baby’s chin, the key. She was storing it under her chin just long enough for me to question how had I been allowed to have a child, never mind four of them and that I was solely responsible for all four of these humans for an entire week.

We went inside. We had dinner. The children didn’t even mention the fact I had taken them on a drive to see the outside of two fine ice cream establishments. They were even kind to me. They are nicer children than I was  as a child. At 7pm , we braved the rain again and got back into the car. I live near an exit of a motorway. There is a large service station nearby that houses a Supermac’s which sells  ice cream and is a mere four-minute drive from the house. We went there. We sat in the car, in the rain, on the garage forecourt and had our ice-creams. They were good. You don’t need to go to the seaside to have a nice time or have an ice cream, after all.

#thankfockforsupermacs

#thankfockforsupermacs

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Return to Toddlerhood

Tonight she did the following:

Threw two forks at me which she had removed from the dishwasher and a cup, with force and speed.

Licked the dog.

Rejected all foods she usually enjoys.

Bit her brother’s foot.

Played with some plugs.

Head butted me so hard on the side of the head that my head ricochetted off the door resulting in a cartoon size bump on the side of my head.

Emptied a bottle of water on me.

Gave herself a round of applause 47 times and screeched at everyone else until they applauded with her.

Refused to go to sleep in, my bed,her cot, her sisters bed, her brothers bed her buggy, her car seat, the couch, my lap.

Took a number of calls on her fisher price phone and insisted everyone else made some calls too even if they were making dinner, doing homework, trying to pee……..

Despite her small size, her rage was so strong, whilst she was put in buggy to sleep she broke through the straps like a tiny 17 pound incredible hulk.

Whilst doing her victory dance after escaping from the buggy she head butted me a second time, in the mouth, there was blood. Mine, not hers. She clapped and then made me applaud her actions.

She fell asleep ten minutes ago. Standing on my lap. She is 12  and a half months old, starting early.

Todderhood, we meet again.

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