Monthly Archives: April 2015


It’s been a long day and I’m rambling here, trying to stay awake. The farmer is still outside as it continues to be our busiest period of the year. Honestly, how does he keep doing it? Today, I brought our two youngest boys to our nearby town, Listowel, to do a few messages, as my mother would say.

And there I witnessed something incredible. Remember, it’s late and I’m tired so hold your judgement on what I might find incredible. Low and behold, I found that my toddler had turned into a young boy. I mean a proper young boy. Outside of the incident where he showed the lady in the hotel his eyeballs (could have been a lot worse), he was dreamy.

Ok, I’ve been holding back on you. Up until now, I haven’t been that honest really because as I’m his mommy, it’s my job a). to love him and b).to be his PR woman by way of telling you ‘Oh, he is a little rap-scallion, a rogue’ etc. etc. but let me tell you when it came to the terrible twos (which by the way carries on for a good two years), he was awlful. He is what a boy is meant to be, uproarious, boisterous, spirited times ten. I no longer own a functioning lamp in my house, this larger than life Tasmanian devil has broken it along with a television, several telephones and so many pretty cups I’ve stopped counting.

And I know, it’s easy to judge and think that boy is just unruly but mainly he’s just a real character, taking over the room, a force to be reckoned with. He will break your heart and then take it back and fix it up with a hearty laugh and a hug. That said, it has been really stressful taking him out. I mean really stressful. So today, prepared to cajole him along the streets in Listowel with narration, plaumause, promises and ashamedly sometimes threats, he defied me ultimately by being absolutely adorable.

I had forgotten that it happened with my first son too, overnight, he turned from ‘terrible three’ to ‘fabulous four’ and life got a lot easier. So hold tough Mommy and Daddy if you’re reading this thinking you have produced a little heir who you will be most likely visiting behind bars someday, for unexpectedly, one day, something readjusts and they turn into the lovely boy  or indeed girl they were meant to be and you think, well you don’t think, you take a gigantic sigh of relief. Phew. That was hard work. Now, go and enjoy them.

‘Til the cows come home

Walking the cows in for milking has to be the best part of the job. It is, especially on sunny evenings, a bit of a family affair. This evening while the father of the house was getting the parlour ready for the arrival of the cows, I watched on as our sons cycled wildly around the yard. They screamed, oinked, woo-who-ed into the late Spring evening, uninhibited, drunk on the freedom of the open air.

They cycle with their Dad back the road, chatting animatedly about their day.  Our six year old who has, since the weekend, cycled without stabilizers, come to realize that sunshine and outdoors does an everyday adventure make. ‘Look at me’, he squeals, ‘check it out’ he shows off to us, his adoring fans. It doesn’t feel like that long since I waddled back the road for the cows with him tucked up inside me and now here I am with the three of them marching down for the cows. The baby and I walk in front of the cows as the farmer lets the them onto the road. The cows, mind you, are not in any rush as they meander up the road for milking. Sometimes, a neighbour might be stopped waiting for the cows to pass and self consciously, I will the cows to move a little faster, but they rarely oblige. All in good time. Luckily, we have very patient neighbours who wait for the cows to make the turn into the yard followed by Dan and his little cyclists so that they can pass by safely.

The six year old continues to pontificate as his father ties a wire behind the cows in the parlour yard, his little brother agreeing heartedly with everything his hero says, while the baby pulls out of my arms, trying to join the gang. They cackle away, making their own voices heard asserting their own position in the family, as the farmer and myself share a ‘we did good’ glance at each other across the cows, our small people and the magnificent Spring evening. 

A Gift

There are few days as beautiful as a sunny Sunday morning in April. If you rise early enough you catch it before the house builds up to its usual crescendo of activity. For now, it is still, sunny, wakening, calm. From my coffee perch, I hear a cow bellow, the birds twittering over green fields, the farmer getting the parlour ready for milking. The gate closes for the cows arrival, there is the familiar drop of buckets on the dairy floor.

The cows wait outside the parlour for their turn to bring us their milk. The milk tank will fill with their bounty and as they wander from the parlour out to the gorgeous green grass that April has brought here, the milk will be collected.  It’s off to its destination, a fridge away from here, filling another little boy’s breakfast bowl we tell them.

Here is the gift of another beautiful Sunday in April, fresh milk for our pancakes, growth in the  fields and good health for the family and animals in our care. No better gift.

Have a lovely Sunday.


There’s not much I don’t know about dinosaurs. Take your Triceratops for example, for all its three horned head butting ability, it’s still only an herbivore. Around during the Cretaceous Period, it’s one to remember. I could go on, for pages and pages about Dinosaurs, all shapes, sizes, winged and un-winged, meat-eating or not. Ad nauseum. Mother of three sons. My specialist subject is extinct sauropods.

I used to be a contender but now put me in a room full of adults now and I’m a rookie. I think I might have regressed myself. I know all about it. My second son has taken months to toilet train (apologies if you’re reading this Secondo in the future but mommy needed an outlet), he regressed you see, to babyhood on the arrival of his cute, gurgling, nappy-ed younger brother. And it broke my heart. Seeing him a boy frustrated that Mommy had brought another blue-eyed boy to replace him. Not true, not true at all. In the past week, we’ve had a Eureka moment and he’s gone to use the toilet, all by himself. Like a big boy. I do go on, what hope is there for me? A contender, a contender!

You see, I’m now an expert on toilet training and dinosaurs but would you want to sit next to me over coffee? I wouldn’t. I’m like the self conscious eighteen year old again listening to myself as I speak to adults. Am I a bore? I used to be interesting, if I do say so myself but these days when I open mouth I say things like ‘climb off that couch’ or ‘take your hand out of there!.’ Not exactly conversation openers are they?

Lately, I’ve been dipping my toe into ‘real world’ waters again, teaching a bit, the odd conference, writing, but it’s difficult after you’ve been at home with young children for a while. For a start, you really can’t keep up with the who’s watching what on television. Before all this motherhood started, it was all about reality TV, are we still watching folk having inane conversation about toenail clipping on a couch in a random house in the UK for example?

And what are you wearing? I live in the countryside and don’t often get to the city which is eye opening I can tell you. What I’ve realized in a world post maternity wear is everyone is wearing black and white, I wouldn’t even call it check, but it’s check patterned.

Come to think of it actually, I quite happy here in my motherhood bubble for another bit talking about poo-poos and Tyrannosaurus Rex until the cows come home. I’ll take my second coming as a debutante in my own time. Practicing talking about grown up subjects to anyone who’ll listen. You can do without my tuppence worth for another while world, there’s more important work to be done. Rrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaarrrh.


I should probably have him hold the bottle himself.

I should instead, go downstairs and run through the various household shoulds that steal my Saturdays and get the house ready for a busy day on a farm in Spring.

I should lie him down in his cot with his bottle and let him drink away. His bottle will be gone soon enough, independent enough on a job well done to do this all by himself.

I should hurry his brothers along. They should most probably dress themselves.

I should probably empty the dishwasher. I should certainly be folding that mountain of laundry.

I should, really.

He lies tucked as always his head lying on my left arm, staring up at his mommy, one hand scratching his head, his other hand scratching his mommy’s back.

I should probably make the beds. Or maybe I should wait ’til he finishes the bottle and falls asleep.

I know which should I’ll remember.

He sleeps in my arms, unconditionally.

Just a Spring Day

It’s just a Spring day on an ordinary Dairy farm in North Kerry. Farming wise, we’re on the threshold of the year. You need not react to anything the sky bestows on you as it has this year’s farming faith in her hands. Last week it rained and rained and the cows stayed in, the land was wet and we knew we needed a couple of good, dry weeks.

Low and behold, she turned, April has come and brought with her some fine weather. Drying the fields weather. I dare not type it. It’s fine weather. We know, April could throw anything at us yet but sur’ we’re ready. We’ve been here in all states of Grace, smiling, knowingly. The farmer himself, being of Hearthill, is more adept at not reacting to the weather, his wife on the other hand wills it to be and then it is or it isn’t.

For today, there’s talk of wobbly tooths, sunshine and a hot chocolate picnic on the beach. All under a powerful sky, to the backdrop of the mountains of Co. Kerry, Ireland. Ordinary stuff. Ordinary, beautiful stuff.

Your Spring day to enjoy.

The Big Smoke

I love a city break. Hold your horses, nothing that exciting. A twelve hour trip to my native home by the Lee, Cork. Home where my mammy minds the boys for a while as I run on borrowed time to do all things city in a supermarket sweep style of events. On yesterday’s sweep, I had willed the stylist to hurry up while she blow-dried the head, hair by hair. Are you going anywhere nice? Yes, the shops.

Keep in mind, that a trip to the shops in Kerry requires a half an hour round trip at the very least with small children. So the Big Smoke shopping sweep frenzy starts and as it’s an impromptu visit, little thought has been put into what needs to be purchased. There’s been a ‘Get something nice for yourself!’ salute from base camp and it sounds like a challenge.

Running through the shops, I see the items that would make my weekly existence easier. I wouldn’t have to run to the local shop for a card if I bought these birthday cards in bulk. In they go. Ah, vests, they need vests, in they go. He needs milking overalls, ah, in they go. Something nice, something nice, something nice.

Eventually, I stand stupefied in front of a beauty counter as an assistant who can smell a good unmoisturised-un-make-uped thing coming from a mile off, slinks over to me, grinning. How are you today she says in a way that is so kind, I almost believe her. I’m good, I’m good, I gush. This is followed by a two minute almost unhinged explanation of why I look as I do, unpolished, weary looking, not very clear skinned. I might also be wearing the day before’s mascara, not a good look. The speech was fresh in my mind and only needed a few minor adjustments from the soliloquy I had delivered to the hair stylist earlier. Small boys, farm, springtime, tear away at the knots, teething baby. You know yourself. Cringe.

Oh, I understand, she says though the lack of bags under her eyes say differently.  That or the stuff she’s pedaling really works! Do I need a concealer she asks? Concealer, concealer, sounds like I could hide something? Concealer, gone, cannot remember what it does. I know it’s hard to fathom, but as I was trying to remember what it was, shopping items were popping into my head. Nice olive oil from the market, that would be nice, a shirt for himself, Easter decorations. Oh yes, concealer, that I’m sure would be necessary. Do you need anything else? A sit down, a glass of champagne, a good nights sleep? In the way of beauty? That would be where the good nights sleep would come in handy. We’re short on humour today; there is a queue forming. City people aren’t big on small talk I find.

So, I take out the card as the lady wraps my concealer or miracle maker as she likes to call it and I remember, I’m under time pressure. No need for the bag, oh it’s going in a bag, or the tissue, it’s being wrapped in tissue. I look around to see if there is anything else I could buy here as she asks for my loyalty card. It would be loyal if you hurried up. Laid back all of a sudden these city folks. Not on my timecard lady. Free samples, yeah, yeah, yeah, fire them in. I hand her my card and oh, she says, the till roll is gone, I’ll have to call a manager.

Nooooooooooooo. Not the till roll. Ok, I’m in a rush, I blurt, mortified but on the verge of tears. I know it sounds sad, but I love my city, I really want to run to the market and go to my favourite cafe and watch the passers by but that’s not a luxury time wise that is afforded to me today. Can I shop while the manager fixes the till? But your card is inserted? You’re a meany lady, I think, and you wear too much makeup I seethe. Bitter, bitter, bitter, not very nice at all. You can take the girl of the city…

Two new till rolls later, I’m sent on my way, a little bit defeated until I feel the fresh air on my face outside. I hear the familiar sing-song of my native Corkonians, know the promise of the carpeted book shop that I love to thread upon and settle down a bit. A nice cake from the market for the farmer, some Easter decorations to adorn the kitchen, coffee beans for the mommy of the house. Oh flowers, yes, flowers, I hope they survive the journey home. Little luxuries from the Big Smoke that we can’t find easily within reach at home.

I leave my native streets reluctantly, especially all those lovely shops, coffee houses, market, familiar enough faces. They’re as hard to leave as my parents and sisters.

I’m home today in the country, decorating the kitchen with the bounty from my speedy shopping sweep, sipping my posh city coffee, hidden for a while under one very fancy concealer. Little messages sent from the Big Smoke to the Little. I’ll take it.