The Not So Secret Life Of A Nearly Six Year Old

Keep Out sign

Do you watch The Secret Life Of Four/Five/Six Year Olds? I am utterly fascinated by it; watching the mini society that small children create for themselves. I love seeing how they sort things out amongst themselves without adult intervention, how they structure their hierarchies, how they egg each other on and establish little tribes. My kids are in and around this age group so it holds an extra fascination for me.

I’ve been observing my own nearly-six year old to see how he shapes up in comparison. Here’s what I see: Continue reading

The Show.


Our eldest son was in his first public (as in, non-school) show recently at the grand old age of nearly 6. He didn’t play GAA for long enough to progress to playing actual matches. He did some Speech and Drama in school, and now he does Lego, and Science. He also does Choir and sure we get a whole show at home most nights out of that. He’s taught us The Beatles (With A Little Help From My Friends), a bit of Annie Lennox (Put A Little Love In Your Heart), some Cat Stevens (Where Do The Children Play?) and the odd bit of Bruno Mars (Count On Me). In between he fills the spaces with a constant a-wimba-way, a chorus taken up with gusto by his younger brother too. It’s totally head wrecking but what kind of mother would implore her children to Please. Stop. Singing. Ahem... He’s a fine little swimmer too but to date has done nothing that allows him stage time and all the glory that comes with it.

Accidental practising at home.

Anyway, the show. A mere six weeks of gymnastics lessons have occurred since September. I expected a few tumbles in a Santa hat in December but oh no, we chose to start in a club about to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a circus themed spectacular, so we all trundled to off the National Basketball Arena in the late afternoon last weekend. Other enthusiastic children had no doubt spent the last few weeks doing demos in their living rooms but when I announced I had bought the tickets to the show the Dominic piped up “Can I come to the show? What’s the show?” That didn’t bode well for his preparedness.

It was huge; a few hundred kids with parents and siblings there for each. I deposited my child with a coach, not his coach because well, I don’t know his coach’s name. I’m sure it’s good that I’m laid back and trusting but there was a mother in the entrance queue behind me that *couldn’t believe* she’d just had to leave her 6 year old twins on their own and then I got a bit nervous because they weren’t really on their own now were they? It was total chaos behind the scenes prior to showtime and we settled into our seats listening to an awful lot of parental grumbling.

Forty minutes in, and after a delayed start, I wished he’d just appear. What if he never made it to his group? What if he needed the loo and didn’t know who to ask? An hour and ten minutes into the show, out came his group. The worrying about my precious first born was misplaced: most of them walked to their positions nicely, some hesitantly and my kid? Bounded out. Bouncing on his feet as he waiting in line, clearly ecstatic to have such a large audience. Not a single bother on him. Off they went to some circus music. They did exactly what you would expect five to six year olds to do: jumped off spring boards into star jumps, ran up a ramp, through a hoop and did a tumble out the other side. It was just the cutest thing.

There was three boys in his group of about eighteen, and that was the highest proportion of boys in any of the class groups we saw all night. The oldest boys I saw were about eight or nine. Right now he seems to enjoy it. As the term progresses I see more girls showing up in spangly leotards (nothing wrong with that – I’d wear one in their position) and there is no equivalent club gear for the boys to wear. I feel like maybe they see the boys as natural attrition rather than nurturing them as long term members of the club. Wherever his future stage is – in a theatre, on a floor mat or on a pitch, I want him to do the things that he enjoys. In the face of his increasing ‘ewwww girls‘ attitude, I think we might consider switching clubs, and in the meantime, show him videos like this one to bolster the enthusiasm:

Halloween 2015: The Lazy One


I made a call early last week that I wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself for a homemade Halloween this year. We had great fun last year, preparing to be Dr Dombie the Science Zombie but this year I just didn’t have the time or inclination to go all out. We’re still quite lucky in that I’m not under huge pressure from the kids – Dominic is quite laid back as long as he decrees his costume cool, and Ted, well he’s just not that bothered yet. But you just can’t ignore the season altogether when there’s a five year old around, and one that laps up scary things at that. So we’ve still had plenty of simple fun: Here’s how.

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Our favourite babysitter

We have a babysitter. We know her well, she’s been available to us when we’ve needed her over the last couple of years and I’ve written about her before. Around the time I went back to work, we started to need her more and more. Someone had to look after the sometimes cranky tired kids before I get home and while him indoors gets dinner on. Or after he’s gotten them fed and bathed and he’s trying to give the kitchen a tidy and maybe sort out some laundry. I see them basking in her warm glow some evenings through the living room window as I lock up my bicycle.

Yes; we truly love her, and I don’t know where we’d be without her some days.  I mean, I wouldn’t usually even share a good minders name but in this case, there’s plenty of her to go round.
Her name? Netflix. Continue reading

What We’re Eating Now: Autumn Snacktime

It can’t all be jellies and biscuits can it? No. No is the answer. Here’s some seasonal Autumn snacks we’re enjoying.


fall snacks, autumn snacks
Drank most of it before I took the pic

Nuts about them. Okay, enough tired puns. My coconut and associated products love is well documented and this is my by-now annual post that mentions them. I was feeling a bit run down after a wedding last weekend and necked some delicious carrot and apple juice made with coconut water straight from the source. Dominic requested coconut in his lunchbox, which I was delighted about. It can be hard enough fill his lunchbox healthily. Then I remembered…the nut ban! Feck. But is coconut one of those things that isn’t technically a nut? Google wasn’t helping so I emailed the school secretary to check if I was allowed send in coconut and lo and behold, it was fine! (You should probably check with your school before doing the same though)

Me and my family eat a lot of nuts so I did take some time to chat to Dom about how serious it can be if some one does has an anaphylactic reaction to them. I’m sure he probably spent next break time miming stabbing his classmates with an epipen. Anyway, we polished it off in a couple of days of lunchboxes between us.

Apples.fall snacks, autumn snacks

My sister has a tree in her garden. The fruit is quite tart, but baked in the oven at night, then the flesh scooped into porridge the next morning…delicious!  Another tasty apple snack we’re loving right now is slices of apple spread with peanut butter and topped with some cacao nibs. I’m not even sure Dominic realises that one is healthy. It’s not suitable for school, but it sure is good for filling a gap between weekend activities and I’ve been bringing that combo to work too.

Pomegranate.fall snacks, autumn snacks

Ah these pretend appley looking creatures, full of delicious jewels. I don’t even know if they’re particularly autumnal, I don’t think they even grow here. But they do seem to be more available right now. I like to use them in fancy Ottolenghi recipes but the kids lap it up too. I dish it up for dessert with some natural yogurt and honey. Since I had the cacao nibs handy I threw some in. I made the mistake of telling Ted it was chocolate. He didn’t react well initially, but came round after and cleaned his bowl.

Dis isn’t chocolate!
The happy snacker

We’re falling for these Autumnal snacks, how about you?

PS. Did you see what I did there…Fall? Autumn? (Sorry)