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Family, Motherhood

Desperately Seeking Susan

July 4, 2015

I can’t have stuff, my small army won’t let me. They have stripped me of my youth, decent clothes, dignity and now they are taking my possessions. The catalyst for the following rant happened last Thursday morning. I planned on taking a morning shower which takes some military planning. The oldest two were playing Lego Batman on the Xbox but my two year old was wandering around the kitchen trying to sniff out treats. I sat him at the kitchen table where my laptop was charging and put on youtube, a 17 minute long kinder surprise opening video… just enough time to shower and dress. I hopped in the shower with my mammy antenna humming loudly; I ignored it as the hot water was so delicious and closed my eyes pretending I lived a leisurely, minimalist existence. I dried off… silence, hmmmmmmm.

As I descended the stairs Conall (7) shouted ”Mam, don’t come into the sitting room, you won’t be happy!” “Shit, shit, shit, I jumped the last few steps only to see Rian grinning and wiping the windows with a tea towel. There was a discarded Dettol spray on the floor. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care that he’d smeared the window but I had just washed them the night before for the first time in possibly a year…. argggh, why now, it’s like he knew.

I made my way in to the kitchen and sat at my laptop with a cup of tea; I opened it and liquid seeped out… and what was that familiar smell? Dettol!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO

i have NothingThe three boys ran into the kitchen to see why mammy was wailing. Rian piped up “ I broke your laptop mammy”. Conall and Koray looked at each other as if he had admitted to playing Grand Theft Auto. I’m not proud of this but I began to sob and I said “this laptop was the only joy I had in my life and you took it from me, I have nothing left, nothing!” Yes, it was dramatic but I was PMSing and channelling Bodyguard Whitney. Koray said quietly, “I’ll get you tissues” and came back and mopped my face while saying “you’ll be ok “ softly over and over while Conall awkwardly massaged my back. The culprit stood his ground with an angry little frown taking the carnage in and clearly revelling in it. I then got a things could be worse speech from Conall where he listed everything from being burnt alive to being on the Titanic.

jackieo-60s-pillbox1I got everyone in the car, put on my Jackie Onassis sunglasses and drove to my friend Susan’s.             The journey was silent, peppered only with Rian’s Father Jack impression although instead of feck and girls, he sporadically shouted fuck and laptop. giphy

Susan answered the door in her dressing gown and proudly announced she had showered for my arrival which I said was a lovely thing to do and then promptly burst into tears again.

She was taken aback and looked confusedly down at her dressing gown; I explained it wasn’t the kindness of her personal hygiene but that my youngest had destroyed my social media and Netflix addiction. We then played our favourite game, swapping assholery (kids not piles) stories followed by a half hour of here’s what I’d love to do right now. The second game always involves a hotel room, room service, alcohol, a bubble bath and hours of alone time, on a bad day an airport or even a hospital stay (nothing serious but requiring bed rest and alone time) may be involved.

Thank you Susan for having kids that are assholes too, and for admitting you struggle. Thanks for getting your husband to try to salvage my laptop and when it couldn’t, it was nice of you to comment on it’s cleanliness and dettolly smell. Next time you call, I will do my best to shower for you but I may need to lock the kids in the shed while I do so.

Motherhood, Musings

Summer Bummer

July 2, 2015

I loathe all school holidays but the Summer ones have a special place on my hate list (just above the ice-cream man and below anti-vaxxers. I am writing this at 10pm from the top step of my stairs, tummy rumbling as my 3 are all awake and insistant that they are not tired. They ran the length and breadth of the streets all day, sweating profusely as neighbours commented “they’ll sleep tonight”. It may have something to do with the amount of ice-cream and sugary drinks they consumed, it may be the brightness or the sticky heat but they are not tired. If it were winter I would have had 2 glorious hours of kid-free time under my belt by now; I feel like moving to Sweden for 24 hour darkness.

“ Mam there’s a monster” “Mam I need more water” “Mam…. mam… mam”.

 

                  Reasons I hate Summer10003006_10153180856043138_6873644945176506878_n

 

  • Sun-cream; I am a paranoid wreck when it comes to protecting the kids… which factor? I think 50 but my husband who grew up in Turkey never seeing a bottle of sun-cream argues with me that they need vitamin D. I opt for 30 and apply it as his eyes bore into my back. How often should I reapply? In the meantime I have forgotten myself and fried my neck and arms sufficiently farmerish. I always seem to apply the factor when I feel the burn as if it has reversing effects. I don’t remember my parents using cream on us and plenty of scaldings happened on Wexford holidays. The only time I can remember seeing this magical potion was when we went on our first foreign holiday to Majorca when I was 12. It was such a novelty to go on holidays in the 80s that your extended family would turn up at the airport to watch your plane land and greet you as if it were an episode of Coming Home For Christmas. The quality of your holiday was judged by the colour you had gotten and if you were still white or pink you would hang your head in shame as those sliding doors in arrivals opened. krapiva
  • The Outdoors: You are branded the shittiest parent ever if your kids don’t partake in some outdoorsy fun or at least a Summer Camp. My CV list of hobbies are as follows; cinema, reading and art; I also throw in walking so I don’t look like a slob but it’s only because they can’t prove I don’t walk or catch me out with probing questions on what team I walk for etc. Letting them out to play on the road is torturous. They beat each other, whinge and scream which is nothing unusual, only now they have my neighbours as an audience. Today I used 5 plasters for scraped knees due to miscellaneous falls; Rian ran into a bush of nettles and I asked a 10 year old kid what I should do? He rubbed his leg with a dock leaf and then applied aloe vera gel from a plant in his garden… I was thinking Zirtek and sudocrem but mini Bear Grylls sorted it. At one point I deluded myself into thinking I could relax on my porch (broken bit of a step) and watch them with a mocha and my phone. Koray put a cigarette butt he found in the garden in my fresh mocha and anytime I glanced at my phone they yelled “put the phone away Mam and watch me do this sick trick on my bike”. Then comes time for getting them in and I’m like a fishwife screaming their names. Eventually I’ll put one in a rugby hold and get him in the house and begin the chase for number 2 when I notice number 1 has escaped and the merry dance continues for an hour before I unleash PMS Aisling to the stunned shock of the crowd. Why do we all feel the need to take the kids to a zillion fun places over the holidays? I am agog at the tagging that goes on on facebook and have thought to do some fake tagging just to keep up… like Aisling and kids at the museum, the theatre, the fucking Guggenheim. When I was a kid we went to the pub and got a bottle of red lemonade and a packet of crisps between us and if it was sunny it was a beer garden. Bring those days back… I’m starting a petition on change.org.2015-07-02 00.08.44 (1)
  • The Paddling Pool: The bane of my life. A sniff of hot weather and they’re stripped to their nip and in the freezing, disgusting water. They don’t like it clean, they half fill it with muck, possibly a progressive skin treatment; I may bottle it and make my fortune. They also like to run in and out of the house with their mucky feet, slipping and half breaking their neck and the sound barrier.
  • The fact that Rian still wakes at 6am regardless of what time he goes to bed, hence I don’t even have the compensation of a lie-in.
  • The Flies: that is all.
  • The Late Evenings: Every night for months I will be asked “why am I going to bed when it’s bright?” “Why can I hear my friends out?” BECAUSE IT’S BLOODY SUMMER, GET INTO BED!!! I have blackout blinds and curtains but to no avail…I’m thinking of painting the windows black or removing them altogether.BBQ
  • BBQs: My husband is in caveman heaven as he cooks meat and drinks beer; meanwhile, in the kitchen I am chopping salads, microwaving potatoes, cleaning kids bums, getting drinks, cutlery etc ready.
  • The Sweating: I am bad enough at the moment with my imagined peri-menopause but the Summer has me in a perpetual lather and not in a glowy, movie way. My hair is stuck to me and my face is puce… I can’t even put makeup on as it slides off, I’m a hot mess. The kids are just as bad and my laundry load has tripled with sweaty sheets, paddling-pool remnants and sun-cream staining.whisky-foxtrot
  • Ireland: We are so excited by the prospect of good weather that everything comes to a standstill: Tesco gets sold out of Bundys; everyone seems to be carrying a 6 pack (beer definitely not the other kind) and decorum goes out the window. Women love to wear a vest top in the summer, pity they can’t have a decent bra to go with it; it’s like Jeremy Kyle, why do all the women wear dirty grey bras under their vests? Men think they’re built like Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love when they are really like Mr. Bean… my eyes, keep your tops on, I can’t bear it. Then there’s all the talk of the weather continuing? ending? dirty_windows_01
  • Damn sunniness showing up the filth of my house and particularly my windows. The bins stink and attract flies which I spend half my day swatting with a flip-flop or spraying till we have to evacuate the house due to fumes.
  • Self-maintenance: All that pruning, painting, filing, dyeing, waxing, buffing, moisturising, calorie-counting… makes me want to put on Pjs and eat Wispas.


I’m a Winter person, I like artificial heat and lighting. I like my kids in bed at 7.30, too cold to get out of their quilts. I love flannel sheets and winter boots. I enjoy Christmas and dark evenings and wine at 5pm cos it’s night, right? My kids want to go out? Sorry it’s lashing, snowing, hailstoning I say smugly… now get back in front of that Xbox and play Minecraft.
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Family, Motherhood

Boys Don’t Cry (yes they bloody do, all the time)

June 29, 2015

Growing up with one sister and no brothers and also attending an all-girls school till the age of 17 left me clueless to the world of men. As a child they were feral creatures to be avoided at all costs. We would visit cousin’s houses and I would try to make myself invisible while observing their behaviour…I was the David Attenborough of the male species, storing the information for a future life. I witnessed the hyperactivity, messiness and violence first hand. These were also the days of unrestricted E numbers which could have had an effect on this..  generic coke and sugar puffs rounded out the 80s kid’s diet. I would veer between pity and jealousy for my female friends and cousins with brothers.  On the one hand they had someone to protect them from the mean suburban streets and a potential for hot friends but they also faced extreme forms of torture; chinese burns, forced fart smelling and having to watch football.

Now here I am at the mercy of three small men (and one big one) and while I know that most kids are messy assholes, here are some traits that seem to be primarily male ones.

giphy (15) 

  • The toilet seat. From the dawn of… well toilet seat invention this has been the cause of many arguments and possibly divorces? murder? It isn’t  just the laziness of not replacing the lid but the petrie dish of germs and stainage left on the rim that causes palpitations for me and I won’t even get started on the non-replacement of a new roll of toilet paper. I’ll give a nod also to the crop-circled (often skid-marked) jocks loving left 5 inches from the washing basket and always crotch up.
  • Not playing with toys. I have said many times before that I am forever searching for the elusive toy that my kids will attach to and while away a quiet few hours. They cry and beg for toys like any kid and when they get them they play with it for 30 seconds and then resume their assholery. Point in case is my two year old’s obsession with Kinder Eggs. He loves to open them and then throw the chocolate away (I eat it, sometimes off the floor). He looks at the toy briefly and then walks away. Right now 2 year old is pushing the double buggy around the house, knocking stuff everywhere while my 4 year old is climbing inside a quilt cover. I have heard from friends that their kids will sit and have tea parties or brush their dolls hair, all nice role-play stuff. tumblr_mgbuq5Ie3u1rnr47go8_250The only role-play mine know is possibly John and Mary from Father Ted or a WWF wrestler. As a disclaimer, my husband and I don’t wrestle or beat each other with garden implements (not in front of them anyway).
  • They like to mess with their junk.. ALOT! enough said.
  • They have so much energy. No matter what time I put my 2 year old to bed, he wakes at 6.30 every morning and is marathon ready. They were cursed with a lazy ass mam who is allergic to parks and the outdoors (psychologically). I may invest in a treadmill for them to run. Before bedtime they like to chase each other around the island in the kitchen for a half hour. This raises an eyebrow from visitors but is a successful full-of-beans remover.
  • They love their mammy as I’m sure girls do but the boys are unabashed in their love. I am told many times a day that I am loved and how much (to the moon, then to mars and back to earth again). Conall still likes me to walk him to the door of school and kiss and hug him while his female peers prefer to be dropped at the gate and walk in independently. He has faced a dilemma when his girlfriend Emma bumps into us at the school gates and informs me that she is walking in parentless. Conall is then faced with a Sophie’s Choice of mammy or girl? He looks beseechingly at both of us and I know in an ideal world we would both hold his hand and skip in together but Emma is insistant and he chooses her. I’m happy he’s made the right choice but can’t help mutter “ungrateful bastard” and “harlot” under my breath.
  • I don’t have to watch Frozen on repeat or any Disney princessy shite.10343616
  • Poos, farts, willies, bums (front and back) are guaranteed to get big laughs. Forget your sophisticated knock knock jokes, our house is more Farrelly Brothers than Coen. Don’t get me wrong I like a poo joke as well as the next but it’s hard to listen to them shout poo and laugh hysterically on long car journeys.
  • They wear whatever I put on them which is fabulous, no arguments at all. They wouldn’t notice if I put Borat’s mankini on them, they’d skip out to play oblivious. Haircuts are a pain in the ass as they are so often and as I know short hair is difficult to manage… putting hair in a ponytail is an easy option when compared to sticking down a multitude of cowlicks.
  • They like to eat! My middle son is built like a rugby player and it is so hard to keep him full. He’ll eat a steak and a half in a sitting and will want more. He spends half his day standing on the ledge inside the fridge staring at food. He’ll ask “what are you eating?” I’ll say “prawns” and he’ll ask “can I try?”. Then he’ll say mmmm and steal my dinner. The other two are a bit more picky but I am envisioning future food bills when they are teenagers and have started to research the price of camper vans and gas masks.
  • The washing, the motherf**cking washing….. it’s too much! I dress them, wash them, gel their cowlicks and five minutes later they are like a miner. How can their fingernails get dirty inside the house?

 

This list is certainly not exhaustive but I’m sure as they get older I will have more bullet points. I am well aware of the hell that teenagerdom will bring, or am I? The washing….although I have heard they take a hankering to washing their own sheets, how thoughtful.

I know that raising girls brings it’s own hardships and if anyone is up for a challenge, I will gladly post for you on my blog. One point I must mention though is the absolute annoyance of people asking if I’ll be “going for a girl?” Do they not think that my family is complete? Sweet Jesus, one more baby and I’ll lose the last few brain cells I have left so PLEASE stop asking, it ‘aint gonna happen. I am queen of my semi-detached castle and I will continue to clean all those socks and jocks in return for all the sweet hugs and love I get in return, I just put feminism back 50 years didn’t I? Apologies future partners and Emma.

A Cornish Mum

Family, Motherhood

Assholery

June 25, 2015

Being a parent has so far been an eye-opener and a complete shock to my system. It has been nothing like I ever thought or expected. I was so judgy pre-kids and rolled my eyes at tantruming kids and their frazzled parents blaming bad diet and a lack of discipline. I read every pregnancy and parenting book I could get my hands on in the first couple of years. When things began spinning out of control with my first, organically-fed child I began to watch Jo Frost with a pen and paper.http--i.dailymail.co.uk-i-pix-2008-07-19-article-1036217-0200ACAF00000578-428_468x534

What nobody warned me about was the level of assholery I would have to put up with from my progeny. They astound me with their brazen demands and torture me physically and mentally. I once thought I was a patient person but they would provoke Gandhi into giving them a clip around the ear. Their proficiency in whinging is at an olympic level. I CANNOT abide whinging, I’d rather listen to a tap dripping, a fly buzzing, Rosie Perez saying mass. I don’t deserve this as I have never been more unselfish… I give them my food if they want it (even though they’ve had theirs and it’s the first thing I’ve had time to eat all day); I clean their asses (while dry-retching sometimes); I don’t sleep more than 3 hour stints; I am literally at their beck and call and yet they treat me like a Kardashian’s personal assistant. How is it possible that I can love these three boys so much while they relentlessly abuse my sacrifices?

 

PP005 (Peppa jumping in muddy puddle-CMYK) copyI will list some examples : (please note that all examples happened in the last 10 days)

    • They wanted a sandpit and to stop them digging up the grass in the back, I succumbed and bought a plastic pit, 2 bags of sand and all the paraphernalia. A half hour later I looked out the window and they had sprinkled all the sand to the four corners of the grass. Koray took it up a notch by pouring water on a patch and turning it into a muddy puddle.. damn you Peppa!
    • One of them will ask for a specific meal ie; ham, grated cheese and pasta and on presentation will say yuk, I actually want nuggets. I used to like cooking but now it’s a loathsome deli-assistant job akin to catering for people with imagined food allergies.
    • They can be stubborn little shits, “Mam, I want a gintair” “It’s called a guitar love” “IT’S NOT, IT’S A GINTAIR IDIOT” Fast forward 5 minutes to where I’m on the verge of tears and he’s apoplectic with rage and I’m agreeing… “alright, alright it’s a bloody gintair”. Then I catch sight of his smug face in the rearview mirror arggh.
    • “Mam, you’re pretty…..pretty ugly” cue hysterical laughter
    • Look at what I’m doing!” “I can’t, I’m driving the car”LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK…. for the next 10 minutes
    • Check out that old guys face, it’s SOOO red” “Stop shouting, he’ll hear you!” “But it’s RED”
    • 4am: “MAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, My blanket fell off the bed”
    • The two smallies decided my sitting room carpet wasn’t stained and damaged enough so they poured conditioner all over it and then rubbed flaky, powdery play doh into the mixture. Not satisfied with their carnage they then rolled in it and ran up the (carpeted) stairs touching everything in their path (jackets, my handbag etc). I have often joked about burning the house down for insurance purposes but this time I half-meant it.

 

 

 

hoo-ahIt’s a form of torture and I don’t have Liam Neeson’s unique skill-set to deal with this. They like “the step”… it doesn’t faze them and my shouting voice has become my normal speaking tone. I’m like Al Pacino HOO HAA! I thought motherhood would soften me and I’d acquire a glow and parents worldwide would flock to me for advice and a slice of my famous home-made bread.

giphy (14)Instead I am a broken woman, dealing with three ninjas… I am Clouseau to their Cato but alas forbidden to karate chop. I make sure they get their 5 a day while I make do with the odd Coke Zero and biscuits… sometimes I’ll find time for a crisp sandwich… I’ve probably got rickets.

It’s a thankless, messy and difficult job and the only thoughts that help me sleep my intermittent sleep are those of revenge (these involve embarrassing pant-shitting stories told to potential love-interests) and dreams of successful sons’ accepting an oscar, a nobel or a booker prize and thanking me for all my sacrifice and serenity in the face of their absolute assholery.

 

Modern Dad Pages

 

Motherhood, Musings, Women's Issues

hospital bag

May 25, 2015

When people approach me in work with their maternity hospital lists (it’s a large chemist in case that needs explaining), it’s all I can do to keep a straight face…. so much useless shit and euphemisms. Let me walk you through some of the current recommended items for a pregnant lady’s hospital bag and explain the reality.               If you are currently expecting your first child, stop reading immediately, there is nothing to see here, these are not the droids you’re looking for.

sat 10 25 02Loose fitting nightdress or an old long t-shirt; Good advice indeed. Many deluded girls buy beautiful, expensive pyjamas with visions of a 1950s movie where they will be handed a 6 month old child after 2 pushes and smile radiantly at their partner without creasing their silk nighties. I have previously mentioned the story of my Mam destroying her elegant nightdress after a vigorous enema when labouring on me (always thrown in my face in an argument). The reality is that after birth your nightdress is fit for a Damien Hirst exhibition or an incineration. There will be all kinds of body fluids on it… blood, sweat, vernix, vomit and if you’re very unlucky like my Mam, your own shite. I recommend wearing your partner’s favourite t-shirt.

 

Womens-Disposable-Briefs-for-Heavy-Incontinence-G88080FRSPDisposable underwear and maternity pads; again, good advice. I have had many ladies ask for maternity pads and visibly flinch when they see the ginormity of them and proceed to ask where the regular maxi pads are. How can I explain without scaring them that they will bleed like a stuck pig (I’ve never understood this expression and I am definitely not googling it) and it’s not like a regular period bleed, it’s a years worth of periods in a couple of weeks. Good luck switching one pad for the next, a game of roulette in itself. My post-baby bed wear has always consisted of disposable pants made sexier with a naval to base of spine pad and a giant nursing bra stuffed with breast pads. Nothing sexier than a lady who has just given birth, I may pitch a calender idea.

 

ar4950Cotton wool: This causes a lot of concern for new parents. They are being told by every parenting blog and health professional to stock up on cotton wool balls. They’re not entirely sure why but they know that these along with Vaseline are mandatory when having a baby. My seasoned sister told me to get wipes but I was afraid and opted for the cotton wool balls. The nurses have some serious issues with wipes (too 21st century and easy to use) and go Ratched on you if they see you with them. You are “encouraged” to procure cooled, boiled water and cotton wool to clean the baby’s bum. It proved so stressful and time-consuming that on baby 2 and 3 , I’d gotten brave. If they approached with a scornful eye on my wipes, I’d counter quickly with “he’s not my first”. This seemed to sate them and I’d already earned major nursey points by breast-feeding (well done Mum!… gotta love the patronising). You also had to use cotton wool and water for bathing the baby and I was itching to get at them with some Johnsons but waited till home as I didn’t want to push my luck and have social services arrive at the hospital for my flagrant disregard for 1960s midwifery.

 Hair bobbins and brush.. “yes I spent all three of my labours brushing my hair and trying out new hairstyles, I actually learnt how to french plait and fishtail”… said no mother ever!

 

Now to the ridiculous….

 

Massage oil or lotion for if you would like to be massaged during labour.

Young pregnant woman enjoying in spa treatment. perineum_massage_oilI wanted to punch my husband in the face if he accidentally brushed off my leg but to each their own. Speaking of massage, in the weeks before birth it is recommended to massage your perineum which involves knuckles and vaginas and is supposed to help prevent an episiotomy. My enormous girth prevented me from being physically able to do this and it was not something I was willing to ask for outside help on as I already felt like a big, unsexy lump and that would feel like rubbing salt into the would (kinda literally). Also if I’m using the massage card, I ‘d rather my feet or lower back but I did have a serious episiotomy so perhaps I should have given the unpleasantness a try.

 

Snacks and drinks; toast-tea-17767981I cannot believe that any woman could think of food while a watermelon is making it’s torturous way through her body with a spectacular exit strategy. There is nothing on earth like the tea and toast you receive when all is done but during the ordeal I’m too busy vomiting down the front of my sodden nightie, rabid on gas and air and trying to ignore the 6 million tubes I have inserted into every orifice to think about an egg salad sandwich. It was a joy however to watch my husband snack on Mars bars and play angry birds on his phone while giving my leg an occasional sympathetic squeeze.

 Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as a CD you have made… No, just no. I am not bringing my baby into the world with knobby, pretentious music. Will you have me suppress my screams like Katie Holmes, have candles lit, whale music playing and a doula? I can’t, I’d be scarlet for myself, I’m too Irish. I like to spend the downtime whinging and my third was born to the sound of farting. It was uncontrollable and shocking but I wasn’t apologising. This explains a lot as Rian does seem soothed by gassy noises.

 

Arnica cream. Although there’s no conclusive evidence that it works, some women report that arnica cream helps to reduce the bruising and helps the healing process. Don’t apply the cream to broken skin. I don’t understand this… where do you suggest I apply it… I’m broken … everywhere.

 

A water spray for your face to cool you down, ha, it’s not my face that needs cooling but I suppose it would prove a hard marketing campaign for cooling your “ring of fire” although I know a catchy jingle.

rs_634x1024-150502102842-634.kate-william.cm.5215A going-home outfit; Kate Middleton has set the bar high for this one. Maybe I’m a freak but I was still fat for months after having a baby so the maternity clothes I arrive in fit me quite snugly on the way out, normally leggings and a long shapeless top… come to think of it, 2 years later I’m still wearing that particular uniform. Unfortunately there wasn’t a hairdresser/ make-up artist/ stylist available in the Rotunda and I certainly wouldn’t have worn a lemon dress for varied reasons (partly because yellow makes me look washy and mostly because it’s not conducive for hiding haemorrhages).

So, when packing for the hospital all you need are a couple of nasty old t-shirts, huge pads (for everywhere), leggings, wipes and a birthing partner to abuse horribly. All the rest are bells and whistles designed to distract you from the messy task in hand. I’m not forgetting the baby bag but that’s full of sensible stuff and doesn’t warrant a slagging. I have concentrated on the negative aspects of birth but anyone who knows me, knows I actually love labour, the last part when you see your little creation for the first time, it’s a feeling like no other and the unfathomable horror that got you to that point blurs and fades.

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Mummascribbles

Family, Like Magazine, Mental Health, Motherhood, Musings

Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?

May 14, 2015

I’ve always loved referendums, it’s an exciting time to vote. Elections can be confusing and, let’s face it, a little boring. Referendums tend to get people animated, and heated debates can be overheard in the workplace, the home and the pub. May 22nd is no exception. We’re being asked to vote on marriage equality and as the date approaches things are heating up. It’s starting to feel like a fight between the insular Ireland of old and a modern Ireland encompassing many different nationalities and lifestyles .

father-ted-careful-nowThe No campaign have tried to muddy the waters on what should be a clear cut decision of marriage equality for all. They have made the argument about children and in doing so have gone for the human jugular. If it wasn’t such a serious matter I would find their posters funny in the way that Father Ted’s poster down with this sort of thing was  Children deserve a mother and a father” and “surrogacy? she needs her mother for life, not just for 9 months”. They have managed to alienate a vast number of the population asides from the LGBT community; single mothers, widowed parents; adopted kids; surrogates etc

I am doing my best to raise my kids to be as open-minded as they can be. I want them to grow up in a world where they are accepted and loved. They have each had a shaky start; My 7-year-old has aspergers. He struggles socially and I worry for his future relationships. I have never worried about the sex of his future partners, to me that is irrelevant. My only concern is that someone will find him as amazing and hilarious as I do. My middle boy has a heart condition, and I worry for his future health. I don’t worry about his love life… He will be loved wholly and completely, two minutes in his pouty, wide-eyed company and anyone would fall for him. My baby boy had major surgery at age two for craniosynostosis. He was born with a metopic ridge down the centre of his forehead that gave his face an unusual look. Faced with the difficult decision to proceed with major cranial surgery for what were primarily cosmetic reasons, we did it for him because life can be hard and cruel and we wanted him to feel acceptance and not to be judged by his appearance.

Your life changes forever when you have kids. You become almost primal in your desire to protect these helpless little beings. To flourish, they need someone batting for them. They need to feel pure love with a side order of discipline. There are many parents out there doing this alone and I take my hat off to them. With two parents you can take some time out for yourself, have some support with family decisions along with all the good bits a relationship brings.

The sex of that other person has no bearing on things whatsoever. Someone to teach them ball? My husband doesn’t play sports and the boys aren’t interested anyway. Would two men raising a daughter have difficulty preparing her for periods? My Mam didn’t have a notion about biology and my Dad explained it to me factually and it wasn’t slightly awkward.image

Raising boys I’m always conscious to keep the lines of communication open. I have a worry book that I use each night with Conall in which we draw and discuss anything making him anxious. I lie beside each one of them at night and tell them to feel free to tell me anything.I would be heartbroken if I thought that they felt they had to hide some key part of themselves- after all, statistically young men are prone to suffering from mental health issues that end tragically. Boys are taught to be self contained and can become emotionally stunted as they get older. They need to know they can disclose anything and we won’t love them any less. Well almost anything- I could accept them telling me they’re gay, bi, transgender anything but a priest. That I would struggle with – but I would find a way.

We are told by the no side to “think of the children”, and indeed we must. We must think of our own kids and the kind of world we want to raise them in. We must think of the children growing up in Ireland right now, and realising they might be gay. What will a no vote say to them? That they are less than their straight peers? We always tell our children they can be anything they want to be*. Do we want to put a small disclaimer at the bottom of that lovely sentiment? (*As long as you’re not gay and wanting equal rights.)

So, I urge you, DO think of the children and vote YES; yes to equality, yes to love and yes to being anything you want to be!

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Family, Motherhood, Musings

My So Called Social Life

April 27, 2015

I think if I squint my eyes, spray some Elnett and put on a bit of the Immaculate Collection; I can vaguely recall a social life.2015-04-27 09.20.31 I have photos to prove it;  me in a variety of expensive outfits with beautiful hair and a smiling, line-free face, arms around girlfriends all similarly attired (jeans and a fancy top was the go-to outfit du jour). When I say photos, there aren’t many as this was pre-social media and camera phones (thank christ). Although in 2003 I did purchase a Sharp camera phone. It cost me a fortune (2 weeks wages) and was my pride and joy until one fateful night when it slipped into my vodka in Buck Whaleys. That phone once got me and some friends into Lille’s Bordello when it was nigh on impossible to get in. I flashed it about and made us look “money”. It also took an amazing selfie (I was a trailblazer) at a Counting Crows concert that I’ve included to the left. It’s like one of those magic eye pictures, cross your eyes and you may make it out. People were nudging each other and whispering “look at yer wan and her fancy phone that takes pictures! she must be famous!” In a previous life I worked as an office administrator and earned a decent wage, I lived at home and to my shame barely compensated my parents for that. They had the pleasure of my company and sure what else would my Mam be doing other than making my bed and cooking dinners that I would invariably turn my nose up at? Friday, I got paid and I would withdraw the money from the bank machine and spend half it on that night’s outfit, makeup and pre-drinks. There would always be some thing that had caught my eye in that week’s Sex and the City that i’d be after and I’d walk the length and breadth of town (not the southside..nooooo) in search of a blue liquid eyeliner or a pink blouse (true stories). I would spend hours getting ready, face-mask, cucumber on my eyes, mani-pedi. article-2711491-20247EBB00000578-976_634x897Friends would call and we’d pour a few vodkas and totter about with wads of cotton wool between our toes, blasting Madonna and lighting candles. My mam was always nervous of the candle situation and would blow them out when passing, probably wise what with the elnett and all. We’d arrive down the stairs in a haze of glitter (hair mascara, remember?), cleavage on show (hello boys) and already a bit tipsy. When my Mam was done critiquing our look (rightly so) she would always say “O to be young again”. I’d look at my friends and roll my eyes “whatevs… drop us into town would ya?” My Mam would keep asking “have you eaten?” on the way “yeah, yeah “ I’d answer as my tummy rumbled… no time for food! We’d hit the bar and make our way through the cocktail menu and normally end up on vodka and red bull with the occasional shot. I’d arrive home Saturday in a state after an all night party; spend the day in bed ordering take away and popping painkillers, only to do it all again on Sunday. I could never quite put my hands on my keys and would ring the door bell till my Dad opened it like Walter White in his Y fronts. I always wondered what if it was the police?

 

Fifteen years later and I would like to detail a night out now. I harbour thoughts of a new outfit but I’m afraid of what size I might be and can’t deal with finding out. Also Navigating a shop with 3 small kids is near impossible and don’t I have to pay for the boys swimming this month… ? article-1133142-0340B5D8000005DC-378_233x423If I do manage to find a precious 20 minutes to zoom around New Look, I’ll end up grabbing a load of black clothes that when I try them on I resemble Jo Brand doing stand up. 500px-Basic_Instinct_The_Leg_CrossOn a recent night out I decided to rectify the post-baby, chocolate and wine loving belly problem with a pair of control pants. I ended up so uncomfortable during dinner that I had to go to the toilet to remove them. That proved very difficult and I was gone so long my Mam came in to check on me (yes a night out now can sometimes involve Mrs. Kelly). I contemplated asking for a scissors or at least some talc but managed in the end and spent the rest of the night trying to avoid doing a Sharon Stone.

Arranging childcare requires numerous phone calls and some begging. I always promise to have them in bed before I go. I’m afraid the younger ones will figure I’m abandoning them for a few hours so I have to leave getting ready till they’re in bed at 8 and the electric shower is so noisy it would wake them so I may have to clean up with wipes and dry shampoo. Forget nail varnish… odds are someone will definitely need comforting and they’ll smudge. I opt for the Jo Brand ensemble and hunt for some jewellery to jazz it up, realising the kids used my jewellery box as a treasure chest in a game of pirates a few weeks ago. I should wear heels but I’ve been on my feet all day so opt for comfy boots. Red lipstick, perfume and a nice handbag help the self-esteem. No more cleavage showing tops, three breastfed babies destroyed my once proud knockers and I am left with two deflated balloons.

20150310_213635My idea of a great night out is a meal; I’ll have booked ahead for myself and my husband or friend, depending on the night. Fifty-50 is our  regular haunt. We will appreciate every second of our precious time and pore over the menu. We’ll listen intently to the waiter’s recitation of the specials, unnerving him with our rapt attention. A bottle of wine will gleefully be ordered and we will remind each other after every glass to take it easy as we’ll have an early start.

Judgement impaired, we will have a nightcap or two in a local pub and then return home to hand over a wad of cash to the babysitter (when did babysitting get so expensive? I’d earn a fiver for an all nighter back in the day). The next morning with 3 kids quite literally bouncing on my head, I’ll be glad we didn’t get those shots. A deal has normally been put into place the night before between myself and my husband on who should do the first shift (he picked rock, I picked scissors). So I arise at 7 and grapple with the baby’s fragrant nappy and I dream a dream of times gone by.anne-hathaway-les-miserables-dreamed-a-dream

Motherhood, Musings

How My Kid’s Are Like Little Stoners

April 23, 2015
  • They constantly have the munchies for sugary, calorie-laden food and their favourite meals are pizza, hotdogs and burgers. Each day begins with a hopeful mantra, “ sweeties, sweeties sweeties” and I can’t get petrol in the garage without anarchy in the back of the car as the smell of possible goodies inflames their nostrils and has them salivating. Am I the only one who hears the distant chimes of popeye the sailor man and goes straight to damage control? The TV gets put to maximum volume and I sing at the top of my voice hoping to distract them from looking out the window to see every mother’s nemesis… the ice -cream man.
  • They nap when they need it or when the sugar rush wears off and in all kinds of positions and places. They can be lazy as hell, demanding blankets and snacks from their cocoon of comfort while I their enabler, look on in jealous resentment.
  • They can be philosophical at times: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why do elephants not have corners on their eyes?Acotilletta2--Red_Hulk_composite442Their answers can be profound: I’m the Hulk (the red one); I came out of a box of cereal; Cos their eyeballs get in the way. I can ask them questions and get the most random of answers: Q:What would you like for dinner? A: Do you know there’s a golden bonnie?
  • The world holds limitless possibilities. My two year old son told me he’d like to go on a rocket ship to the moon.. today!
  • 5723627-Rocket-ship-leaves-Earth-and-travels-to-the-Moon-Stock-Vector-astronautI draw on my college days, when obviously I didn’t inhale, and had to talk friends with the greenies/ whities down: I end up placating them to keep them calm. Of course we’ll go on a rocket later as mammy’s a little busy right now. Yes, I can see that you’re red hulk, check out the muscles and No, you didn’t come out of Mammy’s bum, that’d be gross…. you came out of her vagina love.
  • You can have the most amazing and literal conversations with them, stuff that I’d like to have embroidered on a cushion. Conall once said everything’s worth a try except jumping in a volcano or crashing on the motorway. That is genius right there and I have patented it in case you try putting it on a cushion.
  • They have very poor motor skills… (not the car, I haven’t finished training them to be my designated driver just yet, damn short legs). I have the bare minimum of glassware and crockery as they have managed to break most breakable items although I have managed many’s the last minute save proving a career in sport may not be an unattainable nightmare.
  • They are very emotional beings. The word fart could set one of them laughing till he literally pees. The next moment they could be crying uncontrollably for the simplest of reasons. They tell me they love me ALOT and shower me with kisses. This is lovely but can make simple tasks like packing your shopping difficult as 3 little people compete in hugging you to the point of suffocation.
  • Their clothes are normally stained five minutes after dressing them. I haven’t noticed any hot rock burns but they’ve yet to enter a pyromaniac phase.
  • They suffer with memory loss although that’s more convenient than anything else. I will have to repeat basic instructions such as put on your socks 12-15 times and at a graduating volume. PUT ON YOUR (MOTHERFUCKING (unsaid but thought))SOCKS!!!!
  • giphy (1)Their language is peculiar and peppered with profanity. Thanks to youtube and bad parenting they have adopted a lot of adult phraseology that is unique to say the least. Conall in particular can be pedantic and embellishes his conversation with some humdingers like… emmm humdingers. They swear and when done appropriately, it’s endearing.. like Koray (4) saying “o shit” when he loses at Xbox or Rian (2) who told me this morning “Koray said fuck off, murder him.. get the police”  See there’s another one… fear of the police! Conall has also taken to using air quotes frequently. He said the other night that everyone in the house loved me except Dad who was (cue air-quotes and voice dripping with sarcasm) “in love with me”.
  • They have boundless ingenuity if all the dishes are in the dishwasher; they will fill a vase or a jug with juice if needed, although this may be learnt from their ingenious dad.figaro-flyer
  • They get shows like Spongebob and the Regular Show. There’s also a cool little Netflix cartoon called Figaro Pho that has got to be written by someone high or insane..they laugh hysterically at all of the above while Disney PC stuff bores the hell out of them, thank Christ.

 

Disclaimer: my kids are not stoners and if they ever become stoners I’ll post embarrassing stories about them on social media.. o wait I’ve already done that; screw it I’ll be an old lady, I’ll probably join them for all that arthritic pain etc.

 

 

Family, Motherhood

Kid’s parties and other horror stories…

April 16, 2015

I love when it’s one of my kids birthdays for many reasons:

They are getting older and a little more independent. I adore babies but I would be happy to fast forward the toddler years. I am told I’ll look back on these days with fondness but right now it is hard bloody work.

My beautiful, sweet two year old has been possessed by an angry wrestler (maybe the spirit of Randy Savage). He has taken to growling at people. He bites, smacks and kicks and does so with gleeful abandon. When I put him on the step he roars defiantly in my face and then does his time, maintaining unnerving eye contact the whole time. When I seek an apology I get a sorry laced in sarcasm and possibly a punch in the face. Has global warming taken effect on the ageing process and my 2 year old is about to get a wobbly voice and a bum fluff moustache? It is a battle of the wills and my fiery red-headed temper has 3 nemeses…

2664019-attila_lunnocuchulainnMy kids have a molotov cocktail of genetics… a mixture of Attila the Hun and Cuchulainn (yes I’m a direct descendant).

I may need to stick egg cartons all over my walls because we tend to have our “conversations” on a louder decibel level than most.

 

I love to spoil them with gifts… yes, I know you’re all piecing it together and thinking this is in direct correlation to the behaviours listed above. I have to explain my mindset.. I have always thought there is an elusive toy out there that would bring my boys together (quietly) and keep them busy, while educating them. My search has proved fruitless so far. Conall, ironically was the easiest to occupy. He would watch The Bee Movie on repeat, I had to buy 3 copies as it wore out, I did watch A LOT of Seinfeld when I was pregnant though… doesn’t Jerry have Aspergers??? Hmmm so perhaps it’s not vaccines that cause autism but watching Seinfeld when pregnant; makes as much sense. Koray needs more hands on parenting; he needs to express his love while receiving it constantly; cute and draining; I apologise in advance to future partners; he’s as needy as his mam. maxresdefaultWe’ve already mentioned Rian, he cannot be occupied. He likes to watch the kinder surprise opening thing on youtube but will say “I don’t like it” constantly so I’m changing the clip every 2o seconds and getting nothing done.

My mantra is September 2017 when I get the last one through the gates of school and relinquish all responsibility, for a few hours anyway. O the things I will do, the places I will see!

Second stage of labourI like recounting horrific birth stories, especially to people who haven’t had kids. It’s fun. This was done to me by my sister so I like to think that I’m paying it forward. So in the tradition handed down to me by my mother who on my birthday every year will recount the details of my birth and the enema that destroyed her beautiful new nightdress and slippers; I will do the same to my kids along with a healthy dose of Kelly exaggeration.  I do have some Photos that my husband took from the frontline, I may work on a slideshow.


                                                                     The downside of birthdays

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You feel a need to mark the occasion but everything seems way too stressful. I’ve been burnt too many times. I had Conall’s 3rd birthday at Fun Galaxy where he had a meltdown and ate his food under the table. The following year was the cinema and another episode where he thought I’d lost him (which I had) because he stayed back to watch all the credits. When he was 5 I asked him did he want a party and he said no, he hated them so that was fine but the other 2 have probably suffered because of it. Also my kids birthdays are December, January and April and it’s normally cold and not conducive to a bouncy castle. Ok, I’m making excuses. I will never have a party in the house, I couldn’t bear it. The games, the sticky surfaces, the whining, the toilet accidents…. o god.

The pressure to get a cake and sometimes Aldi are out of the nice chocolate one and I’m forced to get the horrible white one!

I was at my cousin’s house last week for a party for her 2 year old. It was lovely to see friends and relatives and most of them (kid free ones) were having a drink and a catch up. The kids were in the way of us having a good time (I was driving so not that good) ..and mine were particularly prickish (it’s a word). Leia had gotten so many presents but all the other kids were determined to break or steal them. Rian had missed a nap and was wandering around howling, bubbling snot from his nose and Koray had decided to be shy and clingy and was clamped to my leg. Then there’s always that one uncle, (not naming names Bernard Saunders) who teases the kids unmercifully, grabbing their toy and saying mine or eating their slice of birthday cake. Kids are way too sensitive these days.

As I looked at the kids murdering each other and squashing chickatees into the carpet, I had a flashback. It was that very room 30 years earlier that housed some of my best kiddie party memories. Our parents had it right… feed the kids shite (normally generic coke that left strings of brown on our tongues) and let them run crazy, their blood stream awash with 1980s E numbers; then open the bottle of bacardi and let the real fun begin. We would normally end up having a sleepover while listening to Uncle David play John Denver to a rapturous crowd downstairs.

988655_10151736379666411_869271003_nAs I watched Jen place triangular sandwiches and chicken goujons on the table (and thought about how far we had both come, gastronomically) ; I was transported back to her Mam doing the same and I caught her eye and said “how did this happen? When did we become the adults?” francis-malcolm-in-the-middleIt always annoys me on Facebook when it’s a kid’s birthday and someone says… 2??? How did that happen? or time is going too fast because I don’t agree, I’m an impatient person and am always looking to the next stage but when you step back and look at the big picture; blocks of years, decades are going too fast. Today I’m complaining about toddlers but it won’t be any time before they are teenagers and the shit hits the fan.

This is a phase I’ve dreaded since birth and military school may be an option; it seemed to work well for Francis in Malcolm in the Middle.

Family, Motherhood

National Lampoon’s Wexford Vacation

April 2, 2015

Expectation Vs Reality

When I think of holidays, I picture glorious days by the pool tanning myself and drinking cocktails; getting ready to go out in the evening by pulling the tags off new clothes (my favourite thing to do) and applying aloe vera to burnt shoulders; finished off with a garlicky meal, bottle of wine and lazy conversation. I’m not delusional, I do realise that I have three kids so I have had to manage these expectations somewhat. Grown-up Holidays

A meal out with the family should be a good indication of how things would go on holiday. Ever the optimist, I recently cajoled my husband into bringing us all to a local all you can eat buffet. He tried reasoning with me, but no, I stood my ground with visions of well-behaved kids and admiring glances from strangers at my impeccable mothering skills floating around in my head. So, with the boys warned to within an inch of their lives, off we went, double buggy in tow. I found the perfect table, right at the back, away from any potential judgers. It went well till the boredom kicked in approximately seven minutes later. The waitress obviously had no kids of her own as she brought three full pint glasses of sprite! I said I may need more napkins and she brought two !?! They started to play chasing… the restaurant filled up and I could feel the tut tuts burning a hole in my back. The waitress then thought it’d be a good idea to bring lollipops while they were eating. My husband paid the bill as I tried to skull the un-drunken wine and we dragged them home by the scruff of their hyperactive necks.

lollipopsOne predominant memory that will probably go down in the family annals is the seven week sabbatical to Turkey we all took when I was on maternity leave with baby number two. I travelled with my Mam, Dad, sister and her two kids. My husband followed three weeks later due to work commitments. My Mam and Dad had a holiday home In Kusadasi bought during those lovely celtic tiger years. I figured it would be idyllic… swimming, sunbathing and possibly a few nights out with old friends (I was a rep in a previous life and lived there for four years). The reality… a breast feeding baby going through a growth spurt and clamped to me continuously and a three year old boy dealing with sensory overload and wanderlust. It was too hot for him but he refused to go in the pool, preferring to run around the slippy edges or randomly hit someone so the pool was not a place to relax. He would go missing on a daily basis. It was 35 degrees plus every day and the house had no air conditioning so closing doors was not an option. I decided to put him in a play school hoping he could pick up some of the language and have fun while giving the rest of the family a bit of respite. It’s just as well I only have a tiny bit of Turkish because every day I’d go to collect him the teachers would try to explain what he’d done that day, making motions slapping themselves etc. I’d just smile and say see you tomorrow. When my poor husband came over and collected Conall, he got an earful from the harangued staff and a child psychologist tried to explain to us that something wasn’t right but everything was getting lost in translation. He finished up in the playschool but I decided to pay for one extra day and dropped by with him by surprise and I heard the teacher say “Conall Allah Halla Halla” The Turkish equivalent to “O crap it’s Conall” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but I left him anyway to my shame.

One evening he locked himself in the upstairs bedroom and the caretaker had to come with a ladder to help him out. In 7 weeks I was probably paler than when I arrived, and I got one night out… well a rushed dinner with a friend. I did manage a couple of Captain Morgans after I got them to bed at night until the Ramadan drummers would walk by the house and frighten the shite out of everyone!

We haven’t had a holiday since, partly due to fear and mostly to economics. Which leads me to now. I am writing this from a mobile home near Carnsore point, Wexford. My mam held onto my eldest, Conall and I have the two and three year old. My Dad came with me as my husband had to work. My cousin Jen, her husband Chris and their two year old, Leia followed. In theory, again, lots of fresh air, beaches, pre-downloaded Peppa. What could go wrong?  I left Conall with my Mam because he had a temperature and was complaining of a sore tummy. I knew he’d be in great hands as my Mam does a good Florence Nightingale. We got to the mobile two and a half hours later and the kids started phase one of who can bite the hardest? Rian was particularly cranky and felt a bit hot. A couple of hours later he threw up all over me and the couch. I spent the next 24 hours timing dosages of Calpol/ Nurofen. In the meantime it was pissing rain and the wind was starting to whip up. All our plans of beaches and sightseeing were slipping away.

The Exorcist

Day three and there was an exorcist moment as he sprayed me with vomit and his head turned 360 degrees to cover my quilt and pillow, completely bypassing the waterproof sheet he was lying on. I did a temporary baby wipe and febreeze job with the bed and tried to sleep but the wind had reached tornado proportions and would jolt me out awake every ten minutes. If I wasn’t so exhausted I may have had the energy to worry about the safety of a house made of polystyrene in the face of extreme weather.  We ventured a meal and spent the time tag teaming each other to stop the little despots slamming each other’s fingers in a door or setting off a fire alarm. My middle son has been in the throes of an Xbox withdrawal. He’s gone cold-turkey and is surviving it by personifying and demonising Wexford. “I hate Wexford, it loves me but I hate it so much”.

Myself and Jen took them for a “nice drive” and they were shouting in unison that they wanted to go home and telling us to STOP if we sang and damn we love to sing! I’ve developed a case of under-my-breath Tourette’s coupled with fatigue, the likes of which I have not experienced before. The cousins hightailed it muttering something about a work emergency. I don’t blame them and as I stood in the plume of dust left by their car I entertained the notion of running after them and hopping in the back. The baby was not getting any better and was like a grumpy little goblin. I drove them to a doctor in Wexford town and he was diagnosed with an ear and chest infection. A trip to the chemist and my “possible meal out” money spent, we headed back to the mobile. I then got a call from my Mam to say Conall was at the doctor and had tonsilitis. At this point I saw my Dad unscrewing the top of the second bottle of Captain Morgans; “Throw some cherry coke in there and I’m with you” I almost shouted. All this time I’m hobbling about, stinking of deep heat due to the crappy bed I was sleeping on. Deep Heat

We’re supposed to be taking a family holiday to Turkey in the Summer and I’m optimistic that it’ll be amazing… think of all those beautiful sunsets, tanned shoulders and leisurely meals. I can’t wait!

Motherhood, Women's Issues

Fendi Fanny

March 16, 2015

This post comes with a warning! Ladies, be prepared for some major leg-crossing and men please appreciate that you won the genetic lottery.

I am writing this from my lovely private hospital room. It’s a sad state of affairs when a trip to the hospital becomes the only way to get some rest. If I discount the pain, it’s been fabulous. Yesterday, I watched 8 episodes of Orange is the New Black in a row, pausing only to tick what I’d like on the following days’ menu and to check my Facebook. To what do I owe this pleasure? It’s courtesy of my kids and their enormous heads. Room-to-Improve-Dermot-Bannon-3My pelvic floor had become more of a mezzanine and my vagina’s back wall had collapsed. Sounds like a case for Dermot Bannon and the Room to Improve team. My 3 kids birthweight’s were 8lbs 11 oz, 9lb 6oz and 9lb 13oz, I have a small frame, I didn’t do kegels and the first birth included a delightful episiotomy. My first indication that something wasn’t right was a couple of weeks after the first when I got up off my extremely house-proud mother’s couch to notice a dark stain. My mother (slightly hysterical) told me I’d wet myself or more importantly her azure two seater! I couldn’t understand it as I’d felt nothing. It’s surprising how quickly incontinence becomes part of your life and you think nothing of changing pads or pants ten times a day. You avoid exercise and cross your legs if you sneeze/ cough or laugh. If you do mention it to your mother/ granny you’ll be told “the joys of motherhood”. I had my second child three years later and didn’t get much time to recover as he has a heart condition and we spent his first week in Crumlin hospital. When we got settled at home I was having a shower and felt something wasn’t right in my vaginal area. I had a look in a hand mirror when I got out of the shower and discovered a large fleshy bulge between my legs. I almost developed my own heart condition and convinced I was prolapsing or birthing that second lizard baby from V, V-Visitor-Baby-1 I took off to the doctor who referred me straight back to the Rotunda. I was told there that it was a vaginal wall prolapse and physio would help. Panic over, I got on with looking after my boys but the incontinence had worsened. I could empty my bladder and turn on the tap to brush my teeth and a gush would soak me. I never felt clean and definitely not sexy. I certainly wasn’t dancing around the kitchen, waving a wooden spoon like the Always discreet ads and their “sensitive bladder” bullshit. I saw a physio who gave me gadgets to try and exercises but nothing was working and then I found out I was pregnant again! I was linked into the Rotunda’s physio after the last baby and she informed me that the muscles in my vag were bust and physio was a waste of time and I was put on the waiting list for a gynae. I was in no hurry as I knew I’d need an op and my kids were too small to leave so I stocked up on Tenas and carried spare knickers in my bag and avoided trampolines. I learnt the hard way not to wear blue jeans on a night out… stick to black!

Gap of DunloeA couple of years passed and I was called to the hospital to see the public gynae. She told me there was nothing she could do and I’d have to see a urinary-gynae and there was a two year waiting list. I explained to her that I felt like an 80 year old woman and by the time somebody got to fix me I would be 80 and therefore it wouldn’t matter that I smelt of pee and had a vagina like the Gap of Dunloe. I asked who was the best privately and was told Paul Byrne in Beaumont Private. I called his office and met him a couple of days later. He asked some questions, had a glance and gave me all the answers I needed. He said I needed a net sling put in to hold up my pelvic floor and some vaginal rejuvenation to repair the episiotomy damage to the back wall of my vagina. I skipped out of there until I discovered my health insurance wouldn’t cover it. Many tears later, I got a loan of €5000 from the bank and it was all booked for February the 9th, 2 days after my 39th birthday. Much hilarity ensued as the girls in my job made me “vag cakes” on my last day. This consisted of two cream cakes side by side.. a before and after. I got some interesting cards, definitely not Hallmark. I was shocked by how many young girls in work expressed jealousy that I was having a “designer vagina” whereas the older ones complained of urinary issues but were too nervous or embarrassed to have it fixed. The weirdest thing is I wasn’t even slightly nervous and that’s from someone who passes out every time she gives blood (I’m not allowed any more, cranky nurses). The logistics of having my kids looked after was the main issue… it required summit meetings, different coloured pens, calenders, shouting and some crying. I felt like the mother in that awful movie “who will take my children?”. Lots of people stepped up but I beat myself up that this was an elective surgery and maybe it should be put off longer. I rang my Mam bawling so many times. Can I state that I don’t recommend anyone calling my mother in a crisis, ever! She would outcry me and then put the fear of god in me about how painful it would be and did I have enough pads for ALL the blood? So, everything was organised and my husband dropped me to the Bon Secours at 7.30am. We had a few nervous giggles about my enormous downstairs situation and how fab it would be after. He admired my surgical stockings and backless gown, I’m slightly worried about a fetish!

I was wheeled off and gloriously drugged to the eyeballs. I came around in recovery to hear the nurses talking about Belvedere. I was gasping to talk and when I got their attention, asked them if Belvedere had an ASD unit? They had no idea what I was talking about. I got back to the room and remained in a love bubble, showering my husband with weird compliments while he laughed hysterically. I was starving from fasting and the nurses kindly brought me cocktail sticks with cotton wool balls to dip into water and ice and suck on. I imagine this is how Kate Moss lives. The drugs wore off that night and sweet jesus the pain was excruciating. I hate to press a hospital bell due to that crippling disease, Irish politeness, but I pressed and pressed. It felt like that moment before you push a baby, intense pressure mixed with an insane period pain. sheetsThe next day they took out the catheter and the “pack” (felt like they pulled 10 king size sheets out of me) and that brought a lot of relief. I could pee on my own, vast amounts of it, into a measuring jug. There’s a strange satisfaction that comes with peeing half a litre. I got a Difene suppository that I could write sonnets about. So here I am, a repaired fanny and an operational pelvic floor. I’m to be released in two days so time will tell. I’ve to be stationary for 6 weeks so that’ll be a challenge. I will let you all know the results in the vaguest terms possible but fingers (not legs) crossed!

I wrote this 5 weeks ago and have had many gross complications and episodes since… I’ll leave it till my next post… a vaginal cliffhanger.

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