The Tale Of The Go Slow Summer

Tens of times this summer when I thought of something, I half wrote it in my head and swore I would write it here when the kids were asleep. My baby did her baby thing and took everything from me. It was all I could do to wipe the concealer from under my eyes and not fall asleep on the sofa after they were all down. I have scanned insta-stories as I brushed my teeth, read blogpost after blogpost about day trips and staycations and foreign jaunts and yet I could not bring myself to put finger to keyboard to do the same.

This is the write off summer. Our bucket list is untroubled. The boat trips to islands (Dalkey, Ireland’s Eye) not taken. The scenic sights (the Sugarloaf, the Mayo greenway) unconquered. We have been to familiar parks (Phoenix Park mostly, and the small local one). I have split myself in three; one wants the playground, one carries a football everywhere and wants me to ‘take shots’ on him, and one wants me to stop everything and whip a boob out to feed her. Therein lies the rub; she wins, and takes precedence over all things. There’s nothing like a baby to slow things down.

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We did make it to the beach in Wexford, which is the most important achievement in anyone’s summer.

I don’t think my sons will look back and think they were robbed of anything. I think they’ll remember that between supermarket trips and boring walks to the post office that they were not being ferried too many places. This year there’s been probably a little too much screen time and a lot too many treats. There’s been too much shouting, I know that: I apologised to my neighbour two doors up a couple of weeks ago, though she swears she loves to hear the kids outside playing. The neighbour on the other side told Teddy he has a lovely singing voice. That means she knows exactly what my fishwife (fishmother?) voice sounds like too as I beg them to cease and desist with the trampoline based violence.

cartoon network
Wholesome

From my perspective, I probably would have got more ticked off a To-Do list if I had just been home with a baby. I began to paint the back garden in the evenings. It got interrupted on bad nights when I was too tired to contemplate painting breeze blocks. Those same freshly painted sections now have dirty marks on them borne of hours of Dominic kicking a ball against them. I tell myself he wouldn’t have been able to perfect his chips, rebonas or volleys if we had been off #makingmemories on various day trips. The drawers I swore I’d clear out during baby naps are getting there at a snails pace. Though the work is slow, my boys are sparking joy while we go. (And I’m not getting rid of as much as I hoped)

walk walk fashion baby
walk walk fashion baby

I’m not naturally inclined towards spending every waking hour with small people who use me like a walking talking search engine. All I want is 10 minutes silence and someone else to fold the laundry. But I was there this year and I appreciate this time because I know it probably won’t happen again. They don’t know it, but they’ve been lucky to have a parent around the last three summers, twice due to redundancy and once due to maternity.

It’s bittersweet, this impending return to school and getting back into routine. One boy can’t wait to get back to his mates. The other one is approaching his new start with admirable confidence. I’m looking forward to long walks with my best girl, who snoozes while I rack up the kilometres and down the coffee. It’s a far cry from asking what we’re doing next and if we can have jellies when we get there? Her day to quiz me and beg for ‘device’ will come. I just hope I can carve out even half the time the boys have gotten to be there with her.

Netflix For Life: 11 Recommendations For Your Family

Netflix stream team

Is Netflix your bae? Ask any recently post-partum parent and you’ll get a knowing nod. Even more so if they have other older kids to take care of too. There’s a groove worn in one side of my sofa from the hours spent feeding my baby, and the text is wearing off a certain red button on my tv remote. I settle down with coffee, the baby and a muslin cloth and press it. The younger boy comes in from a morning in montessori and presses it. The older boy finishes his homework and presses it. The other half loads up the app while he makes the school lunches and I do the same folding laundry if someone small is asleep.

And when the last childs’ question has been answered for the night*, and the cat has settled on the back of the sofa without the fear of being hit by a Nerf bullet, we go in again.

(I mean, this isn’t each of us, everyday. We do do other things than watch tv like.)

So, safe to say we’re experts. Without further ado here are the Netflix shows lighting up our lives right now and in the near future.

Master of None.

I wrote about this last year and it’s back for Season 2 right now. We have watched the first 3 episodes and it is sublime. I cannot say enough good things about Aziz Ansari and his supporting cast, especially his real life mum and dad, who play his mum and dad in the show. And it makes me really really want to up sticks and live in Modena.

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Leaving Home

Last night, 2100

“Mammy?” he calls in from his room.

For fifty minutes I’ve been lying down shoving a boob in his sister’s face trying to get her to sleep; now she’s just about drifting off and he expects to hold a conversation through the wall with me.

“I’ll be there in a sec” I stage-whisper through gritted teeth.

“Did you know Martin McGuinness died?” he calls.

“Yes!” I hiss back in disbelief, not at the famed Republican politician’s death but at how he thinks this is a good time for this conversation.

“Yeah two weeks ago Mammy” he calls back again.

Last night, 2115

I creep out of my room and am four steps down the stairs when he calls me: “Mammy come here”

“What is it love?”

“Can I show you a magic trick?”

GO TO JAYSIS SLEEP CHILD.

Today

This isn’t unusual behaviour but today is a big day for him and I think he’s a bit over excited. It’s his very first non-family sleepover, and it’s not even just in a friends house; it’s with the Beaver Scouts and it’s happening in the den in preparation for later camping trips.

All grown up...
All grown up…

Last week I decided that he deserved better than the manky old sleeping bag in the attic that has frequented festivals and dusty floors for about 15 years now. I mentioned in passing I’d ordered a kid size new one for him. Each day he enquired as to its whereabouts, its colour, what would we do if we didn’t arrive…

It arrived. He rolled it out and he had a go in it on the living room floor. He pretended to be a mummy, scared his brother, wouldn’t let him have a go of it and it all ended in tears, predictably. Then we spent 15 minutes trying to get it back into the bag it came in.

He has been trailing round the house after me, listing the cereals they’re going to get to choose from on saturday morning. He has mused on what ‘mascot’ he’s going to bring. FYI, I think he’s chosen Icy.

Picture courtesy of world.ty.com
Picture courtesy of world.ty.com

So that’s it. My biggest boy is going out into the world, without an auntie or grandparent there to creep into in the middle of the night. Surrounded by his peers; some of who will be clutching their soft toys and wishing they could sleep so the night would pass quickly, some of who will be bigger and braver and giddy. Hand on heart I’m not sure where he’ll fall on the spectrum.

One thing is for sure; I’ll be sleeping with the car keys under the pillow ready to spring and get him if he needs me. He won’t need me. Dib dib dib.

me and my boy
Practising our duckfaces.

It’s Not Perfect

keepon-keeping-on

It’s not perfect.

Not entirely dissatisfied with life.
Not entirely dissatisfied with life.

But there’s days that run smoothly with only a to-be-expected level of whining and hitting and tears. If you’re four and you’re asked to drop what you’re playing with and get in the car to pick up your brother then it’s okay to give out a little. And if the pirate ship that you painstakingly made out of eighteen pieces of Duplo breaks when you bring it in the car, well it’s fine to shed a few tears about that. I let those cries wash over me and placate any way I can in order to get things done. Continue reading

The Big Sleep

So many people ask: is she good for you? Well, no, she’s a baby for me. This is what she does: feed, poop, sleep and lately, chat and smile a little.

They don’t come out preprogrammed to make a parents life a joy or a misery; either all smiles and sunshine or rubbing their hands together with clear evil intent. The latter would be impossible: have you seen a newborns relationship to its hands? They’re surprised by the very existence of their own hands about 94 times a day, they’d never get it together to offer an intention with them.  Continue reading