Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ten ways

For the days you’ve lost the plot, can’t find the remote, need to pay more attention to your spouse, redecorate your bathroom or play with your kids, there are always ten ways;

  • Ten ways to keep all your children entertained at the same time
  • Ten ways to tell your children to ‘stop jumping on the couch’
  • Ten ways to spend more time with your spouse
  • Ten ways to cook minced beef
  • Ten ways to give the middle child more attention
  • Ten ways to use leftover pizza dough to entertain the children
  • Ten ways to stop reading blogs that make you feel inadequate as a mother
  • Ten ways to occupy the children while you’re trying to cook the minced dinner
  • Ten ways to keep your sanity when they’re all crying at once
  • Ten ways for you to keep calm when you just want to roar at them to ‘keep quiet’
  • Ten ways to use alternative words to ‘don’t
  • Ten ways to relax once they’ve gone to bed
  • Ten ways not to eat the contents of the fridge
  • Ten ways to make the most of your evening
  • Ten ways to get ready for the next morning
  • Ten ways to stop reading advice on childrearing and to use your own mothering instinct
  • Ten ways to start afresh each day
  • Ten ways to count your blessings

I’ve lost count.  I might just be starting a new trend.

September 23rd 2015

There’s only one place for boys who have feasted on birthday cake and sweets of an afternoon; the outdoors. Late September provides them with the playground that pacifies all their senses. Waylaid from their evening escursion to bring in the cows, they meet another intrepid adventurer on the way to see a haunted house with his brother and abandon the trip to the cows.

I walk with the still young boys on their adventure aware that I’ll not accompany them for much longer on these trips, they speak with animation of rat-holes, goblins, ghosts and thorns making their way through the briars guarding their haunted house. As I eavedrop, I know that imagination will accompany them on as they create the story in their minds that will colour their evenings chat.

At the farmgate, they wave goodbye to their neighbour and fellow ghost buster and head down to help Dad bring in the cows. ‘Bye so Mom’, ‘I’ll have the dinner ready so, mind your brother.’ ‘See ya later.’ ‘Be careful.’ ‘Right so.’

Off they walk into the crisp late September evening as I watch them take to their next adventure. Off they go, I think as wonder what to make for supper all too aware that they’ll take it more and more themselves from here.

Denny Street

Where did I go wrong? A good Cork city woman putting two of my sons in Green and Gold today for Kerry day at school. They start the brain washing young these days. I gest, or maybe not. Don’t forget I tell them, you’re half Cork. ‘Yeah, yeah Mom.’

If you have nowhere better to be or your team alas has not made it to the All-Ireland, ahem, there are fewer places better to be the Friday morning before the football final than your nearest Kerry town. This morning I found myself in Tralee, trying to fit my youngest Kerry son into his first pair of shoes. New shoes on we strolled up the street to suss out the craic in the town for the weekend that’s in it. And there they were gathered in little groups, looking for any excuse to walk up the Mall to talk about Kerry’s chances; the Kerrymen.

My inner Corkwoman dancing on the spot at the audacity of these people lining their main street in Green and Gold for the Homecoming. With their guesthouse places in Dublin booked since before the Munster final for the third weekend in September.

I take my newly shoe-ed buachaill for a cup of coffee to The Grand in Denny Street to get to the heart of the football speculation. You’re sure to spot a former footballer and watch the natives talking in code around the subject of tickets.

‘Not a ticket to be got.’

“Like Gold dust.’

And you know that it’s in a very rare and unavoidable incident that will be talked about for decades when a Kerryman doesn’t get into Croke park of an All Ireland Sunday. Remember ’86 when I had to watch it from Quinn’s. You poor thing, almost as bad as the, is anyone listening, the defeat to Tyrone. Say nothing.

One man, shaking his head this morning, whispered into his coffee that they were putting on a ‘very strange team’ and if I didn’t know better, I think it was put there to rile the troops. I think I might have heard a spoon drop to break the silence in the wake of the non-believers comment. A strange team what have you. Paidi O’Shea was right you know, these fans, we’ve never seen anything like them. When Kerry go on the field, they do so with the might and force of a whole county, young and old on their backs expecting them to deliver the majesty that leaves the rest of Ireland open mouth-ed.

Yes, they’re ready for you Dublin, they’re on they’re way again to bring Sam ‘home’ again.


Bath time

I’m no stranger to bathing young boys, having three on a dairy farm. Now. There was an evening I gave my first bath to a young baby boy that will remain with me forever. We had our first boy in February, 2009. Yes February. I was a home alone farmer’s wife with a new baby as the cows reached their peak in calving taking the brand new Daddy from my side. I knew it was coming this baby bath. The nurse had made it look so easy. And hey, I had travelled the globe alone, mastered languages, taught fourteen year olds the past tense in French, how difficult could it be? All I had to do was put this small, neigh tiny, wriggly, slippery person into warm water and wash him.

I was away from my family home, making my own home without anyone there to supervise me immersing my little person in a bath of water. I had been given several different bath temperature devices to help me find the optimum warm water; Ducks, sticks, they all eluded me. I rang a friend. I can’t do it, I asked her to come out (a twenty mile trip to help me bath a baby), she would have only she had something on and besides I could do it.

The house we rented first was freezing, it was so cold we lived in one room, our bedroom. So I carried the bath of warm water to my bedroom near but not too near the electric heater. Scary stuff. I placed his little towel on the floor, hood up and reread the chapter on bathing a new born infant from What to expect the first year. I undressed him. I remembered how my mother put an elbow in the water to make sure and then did the same.  I’m sorry about this I whispered as I placed his tiny little body into the warm water. I sang. He stared intently at me not really seeing me but knowing me, trusting me implicitly. Eeek.

After a ten second dip, he was wrapped in a towel, sang to as tears ran down my face. As I type, he has just run to me for his morning cuddle, so I am assured that he is well adjusted despite his first bath by an overwhelmed mother. I cuddled him that evening to me and whilst covering him in talc powder, put on a nappy, vest and babygro one-handed and then fell asleep with him breathing gently on my chest.

There are three of them now. The youngest is growing out of his bath now and I know I’ll miss these baby baths. This time to run a cloth over their slippery wet skin and take the chance to cuddle them tightly as I take them from the water. And maybe because it’s Sunday morning but more likely because he says it better, I leave you with Seamus Heaney in memory of that first baby bath and let us offer a moment’s thought for the poor daughter-in-laws out there.

Mother of the Groom  

    What she remembers
Is his glistening back
In the bath, his small boots
In the ring of boots at her feet.

Hands in her voided lap,
She hears a daughter welcomed.
It’s as if he kicked when lifted
And slipped her soapy hold.

Once soap would ease off
The wedding ring
That’s bedded forever now
In her clapping hand.

What was she thinking?

I’m beginning to think Mother Nature, and I’ll say this quietly, might not have been a mother after all. Or at the very least, when she was considering a mother’s health, she might have been on the amber nectar. I mean, if it were well thought out, a mother would never have a cold at the same time as her children. Never.

This weekend, I found myself in the shaky, shivery stage of my cold. You know, headache, sore nose, coughing. Thing was the children were just ahead of me in the cold phase. I vowed , each time I dragged my weary bones out of the bed that there would be an illness workshop along these lines over the coming weeks;

Morning Session

  • How to blow your own nose
  • Where to deposit the tissues when you’ve used them (i.e. not everywhere)
  • How to be a good patient and avoid some woman someday accusing you of having the Man Flu
  • How to avoid spreading your germs everywhere (put your hand up to your mouth when you’re coughing for the love of God)

Afternoon Session

  • How to make your sick carer a hot whisky

It’s a bit like bolting the stable when the horse is sneezing his way out the gate. But who’d remember to shut the gate when you have three screaming small boys crying, ’tissue’ ‘nose’ ‘throat’ ‘Woe is me’ (ok, that was me).

And just when you’re starting to come around and you’re just about functioning again, opening your heavy eyes, you see the state the house has been left ‘in your absence’.  I think I might just rest my head on the keyboard for a little sleep. Achoo.