I was worried this week about the toddler as her siblings went back to school. She insisted on getting a new school bag. She kicked her boots off in a rage in a packed shoe shop last week to have her feet measured for school shoes too. She told anyone who would listen to her that she was going to school and then in typical unpredictable toddler fashion she waved off the other three, normal service resumed and apart from one request to “please just bring me to a little school Mam” she has been content to get back to routine of pottering around the house while the other’s are in school. Continue reading
As always,this list is not exhaustive………..
When I wasn’t aware maths has changed, again. Who can keep up? Not me ,to my son’s disappointment. I dare you to say “carry the one” next time you are helping with maths homework. It’s a sure-fire way to break an 8-year-old.
When I sang 50 Cent’s In Da Club on the walk to school on my daughters tenth birthday .
When I put my foot down on the tandem feeding and refused to breastfeed Olaf from Frozen.
The new one is 3 months old. She had a
judge my parenting, developmental check last week. Lots of questions about tummy time which of course I lied about “Jesus she is never off her tummy, she is a developmental prodigy” and the like. For the uninitiated, apparently babies need tummy time to learn how to push themselves up and eventually crawl. Now the baby does get tummy time , she is on my chest, on my lap etc but the rules insist that babies be placed on the floor for tummy time. The nurse very helpfully suggested to the four-year old she could help with tummy time. I adore when people tell one of my children what to do with my small infant. Love it.
Anyway, obviously not wanting the new one to fail in life, I have made more of a conscious effort to put her on her tummy this week. Turns out, just like my other three ( and I assume all babies ever) she hates it. I am going to guess she gets this from me. If I was incapacitated and forced to lie on my stomach with no way of moving, while people much bigger than me shouted at me or waved noisy toys at me, I would hate it too.
We started off with the nurses helpful suggestion that the other children could help. Baby placed on changing mat on floor. One sibling to her left, one sibling to her right, one facing her head on. They screamed her name continuously for two minutes while she made a valiant effort to move her head before finally making eye contact with me. She didn’t need to roar, the look said it all “PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW”. So I did.
I tried it again the next day without the assistance of her siblings. This time she did roar, she roared and gave me the look of PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW. So I did.
We tried a few more times with similar results. Last night I put her down again. She promptly spat up, face planted the puke and then snorted it. Charlie Sheen style tummy time. I picked her up. I cleaned her up. I comforted her. She calmed down eventually but that look of horror was still in her eyes as she was getting over it. If she could talk I know she would have been mumbling between the gulps of hysteria “You don’t know what is was like man, You weren’t there” .
I am going to wait a while before we try it again.
Swimwear, I try to avoid it as much as possible. I am just not a fan and have had hideous experiences with swimwear in recent years. I thought I was safe enough this Summer as with no plans to holiday abroad, I wrongly assumed I could avoid swimwear.
Last week we went on a mini break to a hotel in Ireland. I didn’t pack swimwear because I didn’t have any that fits ,the baby is too small for a swimming pool and I just assumed the husband would take the other children to the pool and I had short-term immunity from swimwear hell. So day one, all fine, the kids had a brilliant time swimming. I watched on from the side, comfortably fully dressed. All was going to plan. Then day two came around. “Mammy, please can you bring us swimming” said the boy and the other two chimed in, in agreement. As much as I detest swimwear, especially since I gave birth in May and pretty much haven’t stopped eating since, they were really adamant they wanted to go swimming with me, I couldn’t say no.
Fortunately I was staying in the shopping capital of Ireland. Westmeath. Land of many many salubrious swimwear boutiques. No that’s a lie. There were no swimwear boutiques. There was a Dunnes Stores with a really limited end of season swimwear selection. I had two choices. One a Hawaiian style number, so bright you would need to be wearing sunglasses to look at it and you would be visible from miles away when wearing that was €25 or the swimsuit equivalent of mom jeans. Plain black, unassuming, that cost €10. The problem was the Hawaiian style one was a size 16 which would have offered me some modesty and been comfortable on if hideous to look at and the black unassuming one was a size 12. Because I am fucking deluded and also cheap, I bought the black one.
I have big boobs at the best of times. I am currently breastfeeding so I currently have GINORMOUS boobs. Even if I was at my recommended weight and not breastfeeding, there is isn’t a hope of a size 12 fitting over my knockers, I don’t know what I was thinking. The Hawaiian one was really bloody hideous though.
So back to the hotel. I went into the bathroom to put on my new plain swimsuit. It fit fine as I put it on. Wasn’t too snug on my arse (the bottom half of me is half the size of the top half of me) all going well, then I pulled it up. I thought swimwear would be stretchy. Well I tested that assumption. I got my arms in, struggled and got it up and over my boobs. Immediately I felt my chest constricting but fuck it, I had got it on. It was fine. Then I turned around and looked in the mirror and all I saw was my boobs. The swimsuit had miraculously made them appear even bigger than they were. There was side boob, there was top boob, there was everything bar nipples. The swimsuit managed to cover them, just. I couldn’t leave the bathroom like this never mind go to a swimming pool where there would be innocent members of the public there. I shouted out to the kids that I was really sorry but I couldn’t go swimming with them. They gave out. They were disappointed. The four-year old even started to cry. So I was going to have to go swimming after all. I put my clothes back on over the swimsuit from hell refusing to even show the husband the state of this swimsuit and off we went to the pool.
We got to the changing room, the kids got ready, I put on swim hats and arm bands. I used every delay tactic I could come up and then I ran out of excuses and took my clothes off. I was having some trouble breathing regularly at this stage as the swimsuit from hell so was tight.
I was reminiscent of Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch days.
If Pam was carrying an extra three or four stone, hadn’t had her roots done in five months, had skin that was almost translucent in its paleness and was shuffling beside a pool in Mullingar instead of running along a beach in Malibu.
The pool was freezing. I got in as quick as possible, the cold held no fear for me, I just wanted to be hidden. So we swam, we had fun, the boy almost drowned as he didn’t realise that if you stop swimming to give a thumbs up in pride at your own swimming you will sink. All was fine and I tried to ignore the now crippling pains I was feeling in my boobs to add to the pain of my chest constriction and just kept muttering “please don’t let me pass out, please don’t let me pass out” . The pool was thankfully quiet enough but I reckoned if I kept my arms pressed to my side I could cover a lot of the side boob action. I looked around the husband was sitting outside with the baby. I couldn’t hear him but I knew he was sniggering at my discomfort. The prick. We got out. Do you know hard it is to get out of a pool without using your arms with three children? Very hard, is the answer. I Shuffled back to the changing room and I peeled the swimsuit from hell off me. THE RELIEF. I could breathe again. I had a new-found respect and appreciation for non restrictive clothing.
Unfortunately the pain didn’t stop and I had severe cramps in my boobs for about 8 hours after that actually required paracetamol. The fucking swimsuit gave me another boob injury ( not my first one sadly – see here )Thankfully I don’t seem to have any lasting boob pain side affects and the kids were happy enough to go swimming without me for the rest of our stay. Thank Christ as I would have had to go skinny dipping and I don’t that’s allowed in hotels. I have plans to burn the swimsuit because knowing my stupidity and continued delusion, this memory will fade and I will probably attempt to wear it again.
My parenting skills have slipped to an all time low. Its a combination of the summer holidays, readjusting to life with four children and general pure laziness……but we are living in anarchy at the minute.
I walked into the sitting room and they were stuck into Toddler’s and Tiara’s ( a really ridiculous programme about kids beauty pageants) . There was a 7-year-old on screen in full evening wear and make up crying. “Why is she crying?” I asked. “Her spray tan isn’t even” my 8-year-old replied. I questioned should they be watching this and told them I didn’t think it was appropriate. Their reply “but we watch it every morning when you and the baby are still in bed”. Right so. I sat down and watched it with them. It’s ridiculous but weirdly it sucks you in.
There is a large green area outside our house. I allow the kids to go out as I can see them from the window. I was feeding the baby when they told me they were going out the other day. I let them at it. Five minutes later, I looked out and there was the four year old strutting around the green in her dressing gown and these fake glittery ugg boots. I had foolishly assumed she was dressed.
The boy got his hair cut the other day. It’s lovely. Then I noticed a huge brown mark on his neck. My first thought was how I had not noticed he had such a big birth mark before then I realised ,no,it was just dirt. A big dirty mark all over his neck. I do wash him, obviously not properly anymore.
I was getting ready to go to bed one night last week. I assumed the children were asleep because it was 10.45pm. They weren’t, they were in the playroom,the only reason I went in there was to check on the dog. I came close to going to bed without realising they were still up. I would like to think the husband may have noticed but I am not 100% confident.
I forgot to make lunch one day this week and breakfast a couple of weeks ago. I only realised about the lunch when the husband came home and I heard the kids telling him how hungry they were. In my defense, they snack all day and they hadn’t mentioned they were hungry or mentioned the lack of lunch until this point. This point was at 6pm.
Right now, the four year old has paint all over her stomach. The six year old still has the dirt on his neck and the 8 year old is dressed like someone who watches too much Toddlers and Tiara’s. All three of them have used the word asshole in the correct context at least once today. Asshole is a word I overuse. There is nobody to blame but myself.
I’m not proud by just how much my parenting skills have degenerated in the last couple of weeks. It needs to stop now. Any day now.
Please someone tell me your parenting skills slip in the school holidays? Please?
The new one is 8 weeks old now. We are emerging from the lovely newborn stage. A thought struck me recently, breastfeeding has many similarities with getting stoned especially in the early days, I would imagine*
* if I leave out an I imagine or an apparently make sure to add it in, in your head.
You spend a lot of time on the couch or in bed, feeling relaxed. Two hormones are responsible for milk production,prolactin and oxytocin. You are swamped in these hormones. Prolactin is known as the mothering hormone, it’s the one that makes you feel sleepy and relaxed. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone, this is the one that gives you that falling in love high. Combined, well they can leave you in that delicious loved up dazed and content state. I have always found breastfeeding a huge de-stresser. Some times ( and there are many) when it all gets too much, I sit down, I feed the baby and all is ok with the world again. You’ve got to love feeling relaxed, mood enhanced, lying on the couchness. It could be compared to feeling high. The high and relaxation one might get from cannabis.
With all the lying around, you need the remote control in hand. Similar to how one might need the remote to watch mindless tv or a movie or boxset when stoned.
Dear god, the munchies I get when feeding, especially at the beginning, are unbelievable. I can and do eat everything. Food tastes amazing, especially after having nine months of food tasting like sawdust. All the food, I love all the food. Apparently, when stoned, all the food is also amazing.
Obviously with all the eating, mindless tv and eating, naps are required. I believe naps are also nice when high and its easier to drift off.
The Doing As Little As Possible- ness
Did you ever see a stoner scrubbing a bathroom or ironing? Me either. Same when you are establishing breastfeeding. You HAVE to be on the couch or in bed tucked up with your baby with breaks for eating and the mindless tv.
How Breastfeeding and Getting Stoned Differ
- Breastfeeding- very healthy. Smoking joints- not so healthy.
- Breastfeeding- free. Buying cannabis can be pricey to achieve the same level of highness several times per day.
- Breastfeeding – easily accessible. Cannabis not so much. If I wanted to buy drugs now, how would I even do that? And even if I did find a dealer, sure Id have to bring all my kids with me in my bus. That would be frowned upon, I would imagine.
- Breastfeeding- legal. Getting stoned- illegal.
- Breastfeeding- mostly all the food is handed to you. Stoned- you would need a slave ( also illegal) to continuously get you food or you would have to get it yourself and this would really cut into your on the couch, watching tv time.
- Weight- you can get away with eating a lot more food due to the extra calories needed when feeding, again, especially when establishing feeding. Eating all the food when stoned leads to rapid weight gain.** For example, I know someone who went to Amsterdam for four days after they got married. They had been dieting to try to fit into their wedding dress. They may have broken a world record in rapid weight gain and managed to gain 10 pounds as a result of those four days.
** may or may not be me.
In conclusion, in my experience, breastfeeding provides many many of the advantages to getting high and none of the downsides that regular drug use can bring about.
My house is a mess. This is not news, it’s always a mess but it’s particularly messy at the moment. Now I have a valid excuse of course. She is seven weeks old now but it is because of her that I spending this weekend trying to sort out the mess because now there is another person living here and she has her own things that we need to find space for.
There are many reasons for the mess. The end of term piles of art and books that came home from school and have to sit around before a reasonable amount of time passes before they can be dumped. The four year old found a crumpled worksheet in the bin last week, she spend the following 45 minutes crying leaning over the crumbled worksheet trying to get the creases out muttering “How could you do this, WHY would you do this”. There are at least 458 completed worksheets of the letter A lying about but they are all equally special it seems.
Loom bands, these bands don’t make themselves you know and they have taken up a significant amount of my time in the last month as has hoovering them up. Snapped colourful bands are speckled all over the house and the garden actually as they have been appearing in the dogs poo. Yes.
Speaking of the dog he is another reason for the mess. He has new magical powers- every day he sheds, what seems like, every bit of hair on his body and the next morning the amount of hair has doubled on his body. There are clumps of hair everywhere and then a child cuddle’s him and the child is covered in hair, so, the child and the dog are both walking around shredding hair.
So between hoovering dog hair, loom bands and spending ridiculous amount of time just trying to make the new one smile because she is just mastering smiling and its lovely, the normal messy house has reached catastrophic levels. The main reason though is because I am just really bad at housework and I am a hoarder. I keep everything. My motto this weekend was be ruthless. Be ruthless, I kept repeating this yesterday as I attacked the entire fitted wardrobe/ storage space that is in my room but is only used to store crap and as I emptied an entire set of drawers in my room that is only used to store crap. Here is some of the shit I found :
- Pregnancy tests. Used pregnancy tests with faded positive signs in their boxes. I would like to be able to tell you these are from last year but I suspect at least one of them was from the precious first born in 2005. A stick with 9 year old dried urine. Nice. They went into the bin with the appointment cards from that pregnancy. Scan pictures are acceptable to keep, appointment cards from eight and nine years ago- absolutely no need to hang onto them.
- A drawer full of bras that I have no idea how they ever fit me and the only way they will ever fit me again if is I have some pretty major surgery.
- A load of bus tickets. I bought my first car in 1998 and haven’t used buses regularly since.
- Some pretty hideous clothes including a vile leather skirt circa 1999 and some coats that I genuinely have no recollection of ever buying or wearing.
- A huge amount of patent shoes with five and six inch heels. I don’t remember ever having a job as a stripper, unless it was so traumatic I blocked it out, that is the only reason I can come up for having so many pairs of stripper shoes.
- Pay slips from 2005. No wonder the country went mad buying 7 houses and apartments each and putting decking everywhere, we paid fuck all tax, like tiny amounts. A depressing read, binned.
- Books, so many books. There are thousands of books in the house. I would say I will never read 98% of them again. They are being boxed up today. Well some of them.
- My Debs dress. Its 19 years old. It made the cut and is still upstairs.
- 80% of my clothes. No clue what I am going to wear for the next while, probably the Debs dress.
- Loads and loads of CDs – I didn’t know what to do with these. I don’t listen to cd’s anymore. Does anyone? Should I bin them?
- 9 jars of moisturizer that are empty. 27 nail varnishes that are dried up and unusable. Make up that is at least 5 years old. Just tonnes of cosmetic crap.
- A box of baby shoes that people bought my eldest child. Beautiful intricate pretty shoes. Some of which have the price tags on them. One pair of beautiful little rosebud slippers were €39.99. People had more money than sense in 2006- these little slippers are proof of this. I kept them all and they have never been used because she couldn’t walk when aged 0-3 months ( size is on them all) nor could the six or four year old when they were infants and the new child is showing no sign of walking anytime soon so why would they would require these beautiful little shoes? ( I kept one pair, actually two, because they are pretty if goddamn bloody useless)
The above is really only scratching the surface of the amount of shit I have hoarded over the years. The worse thing is I have moved house 4 times in my adult life. Not only have I kept all this crap. I have packed it and moved it from house to house. My ruthlessness shall continue today. I am dumping it all, well definitely as much as I can once I finish writing this , try to make the baby smile and make some more loom bands………..I may have poor housekeeping skills but I excel at both hoarding and procrastination,useless skills.
It’s the end of a small era here this morning,my four-year old has just left for playschool for the last time. She has been going there every day all her life and attended for the last two years. My older two children both attended this playschool. Today the four-year old finishes and the playschool closes its doors for the last time.
I remember back in 2008 looking into playschool and Montessori’s for the precious first-born. I didn’t know any parents really in the area and had no recommendations. I checked out a few and then I went to see this one. A small playschool filled with toys and happy small people and staff that were like Nana’s instead of childcare professionals. There are certificates on the wall of qualifications and training, in six years, I have never given them more than a cursory glance. I knew from the start that the lovely teachers would look after my children and give them a hug and a kiss if they fell or if they were lonely, it was more important to me than qualifications or curriculums. And they did, they hugged my children and taught them how to count their fingers and make wagon wheel cakes and paint messily and take their turn. This playschool was the first place my three children were looked after by anyone other their family. It was their first baby steps into the world of lunchboxes and learning. It was the first place they learned something that their Dad or I hadn’t taught them.
It has prepared my three children for school because while they may not have been able to write, read or do addition upon leaving, they learned to open their lunchbox, look after their belongings, wash their hands and make friends. They all made great friends there. Even I made friends! One of whom I met six years ago and I think I will know forever.
My children walked in there on their first day a couple of months shy of their third birthdays and became a little bit independent of me. I cried the morning they all started and I will most likely cry when I go to collect my daughter today. Even though this is my third time doing this the nostalgia is just as strong and the pangs thinking about another one of my children starting primary school still cripple me, even though I know she will be fine. The other two were because I believe this playschool gave them all they needed to prepare for the world of school and they all had so much fun there.
The playschool is closing today. With the introduction of the free preschool year a few years ago a number of Montessori’s have opened in the area. There is huge competition based on the number of flyers I get in the door and this school is now closing. I think it’s an awful shame. I am not sure if there are any other playschools in the area and there should be more. There should be more options for parents who don’t choose the Montessori method for pre school. I am sad for the wonderful teachers who have looked after my children so well over the last six years and all the other children that have come through the doors in the 15 years they are open.I am sad that the new child won’t get to attend there when her time comes.
I’m so proud of my four-year old today, she has sailed through playschool and has grown from a tiny little girl eager to emulate her big brother and sister and leave her with her school bag in the mornings, to a tall, friendly, bright and beautiful 4 and a half-year old who will join her big brother and sister in primary school in September.
End of a small era. I will always remember this playschool and be grateful I stumbled upon it six years ago, it will be a little bit hard to say goodbye today.