Monday, 12 September 2016

My least favourite things

With sincere apologies to fans of the Sound of Music...

Car-fulls of vomit
And trousers 'round ankles.
Crashing the buggy,
The fourth time it rankles.
Clothes soaked in urine
All tied up with strings
These are some of my
Least-favourite things!

Muddy, wet jean legs
And hot plastic raincoats.
Cancelled appointments
For one of these wee dotes.
A hole in my handbag
From my wedding rings
These are some of my
Least-favourite things!

When the rain pours,
When the car stinks,
When the baby's sad,
I simply sing some of my favourite swears,
And then I don't feel so bad!

Friday, 9 September 2016

A wee dose of reality for a smug Mammy

One of those mornings. 

All the little jobs seem to take a little longer. Socks need to be turned the right way out before being put on. 

It takes three tries to put three yoghurts in three lunchboxes.

But spirits are high, songs are sung and we're finally only one light jacket away from getting out the door.

'Mammy! He's standing on the chair! He's WEEING ON THE CHAIR!' 

No worries. I've got this. I swing into action, calling out directions like an ER doctor in her element.

'Little One, come with me!

Little Lady, sing songs to Littlest so he doesn't get bored while we sort this out.

Little Man, we need pants, trousers, socks and shoes. Bring them straight to the bathroom please!'

Honestly, I only just stopped myself from shouting out 'Stat!'

And in a flurry of activity we were done. A clean, dry superhero was ready for another day of preschool. 

'Great teamwork,' I told them as we trotted along to school, 'we're not even too late after all that help!'

I wished them luck with spelling tests and dispatched many kisses and hugs. Little One trotted happily in to his friends and Littlest and I headed for home.

A quick tower built, a book read, and a load of washing into the machine. And finally, time for a coffee. Content with another good morning, I savoured it. Sitting comfortably, chatting with Littlest who was practicing standing up and sitting down by my feet. 'If I were trendy,' I thought, 'I'd probably consider this a moment of hygge. Still, my cup is empty and there are other things to be getting on with.'

I stood. 

And yes, it was at that moment I realised what had happened.

I sat in the wee.

I'm pretty sure George Clooney never had to deal with this!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Meltdowns and how to deal with them

I'm going to start with the TL; DR here.
Mind your own damn business.

It is that simple. If someone else's child is having a tantrum, or a meltdown, and they are not in imminent danger from, say, an oncoming train or tsunami, then back the hell off.

I promise you that the person dealing with the meltdown has a better idea of what to do about it than you.

With the best of intentions, it is unlikely that you will be able to help.

If your intention is merely to make a funny, funny joke along the lines of 'Uh oh, uh oh! That's not good, ha ha ha!' then perhaps you should take up some sort of hobby, as it would appear you have too much time on your hands.

Forcing a parent who is dealing with an overwhelmed, panicked toddler to actually acknowledge your hilarious remarks is not just rude, but utterly stupid.

The person dealing with a scenario you'd rather not find yourself in does not owe you an explanation.

So to the 'hilarious' man who encountered us at a low point this afternoon:
I could have told you that he'd had an amazing start to preschool today.
I could have told you that just being in a noisy environment is like running a marathon for him.
I could have told you that he desperately needed sleep.
I could have told you that if I let him go, he'd have run into traffic simply because that was the direction he was facing.

But it was none of your business. Instead, your amusing little interruption, a moment's distraction, earned me a rather painful bite on the back of my neck. So thanks for that, funny man.

What's really funny is that people like you are never around to see how his body relaxed instantly after I wrestled him into the sling. You weren't around when a newly calmed little boy inspected my scratches and tooth marks half way home and said sorry. And if you're lucky, you will never truly understand what it is like to be so utterly overwhelmed by your senses that you simply cannot cope.

But understand this - it was none of your damn business.
Next time, back off.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Life after 'switch on'

So we're about a month in with Little One's cochlear implants and we're still trying to balance the swings and roundabouts of it all.

An hour's concentration on listening games might mean no energy left for the travails of wearing trousers for two days. Nine or ten hours of unprecedented auditory input requires 12 hours of deep sleep, without which there will be thrown toys or raised fists or bared teeth. An elated message to Hubby 'He turned his head, he definitely heard something' must be paid for in tears.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy though and we're slowly settling into a routine for our current version of normal. Sadly, today both the swings and roundabout in our local playground were wet, so we headed for home after the school drop-off and proceeded to play with every toy in the whole house. Upending every storage bin, throwing every ball and knocking down every tower took us almost an entire hour and soon we found ourselves at 10:03 running out of activities.

Aha! Surely it was time for a snack? Little One brought me to the press where one might reasonably expect to find crackers, peanuts or other delicious savoury treats. Alas, there were only marshmallows there so we left the press empty-handed.

Next we spent some happy minutes colouring in the envelope intended to carry Little Man's school tour fee safely to school but our hearts just weren't in it. Suddenly, Little One hit upon an idea. He ran off, and came back with his baby brother's coat and a winning smile. Of course! We should take a walk.

With Littlest and me suitably attired and Little One insistent on his t-shirt, nappy and wellies combo, we departed. What a jolly walk we had. For the first 20 feet. And then, at the side of the road, an impasse. As I tried to continue around the corner on our Going For A Walk route, Little One waited patiently to cross the road for our Going To The Playground/School/Out Of The Estate route. Oh dear.

Little One: *points across road, smiles*

Me: 'No, I'm sorry. We need to go this way now.'

Little One: *points across road, smiles, nods*

Me: 'Later. We'll go there later. Let's go this way now. I'll race you!'

Little One: *shakes head, points across road, smiles, nods*

Me: 'But the playground is all wet! It's yucky. We'll go for a walk now and play later, after school.'

Little One: *points across road, signs 'eat', smiles*

Me: 'What the- ? Oh my goodness, you are bringing me to the shops to buy peanuts, aren't you?!'

Little One: *nods, smiles*

So right now, life can be tough. Each day requires more work and patience and calm and ingenuity than we ever thought possible. Each tiny piece of progress is fought for, and earned. There are days when the battle seems lost. But that cheeky little kid? Well, he's worth fighting for.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Hello. Can you hear me?

Hail slicing down
While under a tree
I wonder how much you can hear with me.

Does that pitter patter escape you still?
The running children's shrieks, so shrill.

Your hair still smells of sand and sun,
Warmed by an hour's playground fun,
While ice falls from a sky so clear -
It bounced on your hood then, did you hear?

I know right now it seems too much,
To hear and see and smell and touch.

Your shoes hurled furiously to the floor
When you simply cannot take anymore.

Your favourite hoodie rejected with rage
Its confines now feel like a cage.

Unfamiliar anger on that beautiful face
Relearning your sling is a safe, calm place.

Of course, fun times are still ours
Building high and destroying towers

Developmental listening games,
Learning to hear your very own name.

But this won't be the last day with tears
Because of your lovely, imperfect ears.
So for now we'll stay here, under this tree,
Where I can protect you, perfectly.


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Sudden silence

Eerie calm where hordes of shoppers once hustled.
Silence as a thousand telephones do not ring.

Front doors left ajar reveal unswept floors.
Dishes are piled in sinks, or still on tables
With their half-eaten meals long forgotten.

A child's picture stays forever half-coloured
While an uncapped marker dessicates alongside.

A lone tap drips, unnoticed.
Something more important is happening now.

The stairs are unstomped
A child's tambourine unshaken
A book suffers damage to its spine as it lingers face down on a side table.

It's clear that something has happened here.
Something profoundly odd has disturbed an ordinary day
And changed it forever.

It's Ireland
And the sun is shining.
Quick!
Drop everything!
Go outside.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Unlocking a memory

I have found myself in possession of Marian Keyes' new book. Apparently that sometimes happens when you make a trip to the local bookshop and offer them money. Who knew?

Now, anyone who has read Marian's work will know the nod-and-laugh combo guaranteed to punctuate any sitting with the book. The feeling that this exact scenario has happened to you, but she has explained it so much better than you ever could, and what was once a mortifying moment is now a gleeful giggle of recognition.

I was reading with Littlest asleep in my arms, and was making every effort to keep my chortles in check so as not to wake him. And then, mid-nod, while reading about the horrors of hairy, 5 O'Clock shadow legs, I stopped. Oh. Oh my. A vague inkling of embarrassment, and then I remembered all in a rush. How could I have forgotten?

It was just about a year ago, and I found myself with 3 hours all to myself. Yes, 180 minutes with nary a child (bar the one I was gestating at the time) to be looked after. What would I do with such a luxury? I had a long shower, then breakfast with a book in the local café. After retiling the roof and solving World Hunger I became a bit bored. And I still had over two hours left. So I rang the local beautician to see if I could sort a last-minute leg wax. I explained that I knew I was totally chancing my arm, but I didn't have anywhere to be until 1.30 and could she squeeze me in?

'You need to leave here at half past one? Oh I can sort you out, absolutely! Pop in at ten past one, ok?'

'Oh thanks so much!!'

'No problem at all. Sorry, what's the name now till I write you in?'

'Aisling. Aisling Cahill. Thanks again'

'Oh. Aisling. Right.
...
Eh, lookit you better come in at one o'clock in that case. I'll see you at one, ok?'

And there you have it. It's not my imagination. I'm not simply being unkind to myself. I am, verifiably, FIFTY PERCENT HAIRIER than the other women in the village.
Have I been brave enough to go for another appointment? Not Yeti!