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Family, Motherhood

Christmas chaos

December 29, 2017

I’m going to document all this while it is still fresh in my mind and will reread next December so I can at last keep my Christmas expectations low or failing that… book a hotel!

I woke up at 5am on Xmas morning in a sweat (not due to my new duck feather quilt which I fear to be a big mistake.. too noisy and warm) but because I remembered I’d to steep the bloody ham. I tried to be as quiet as possible while maneuvering a slippery piece of meat bigger than a human head into a pot that just about fit it.

I had just dozed off when I heard the five year old shout ‘there’s stuff in my stocking…. MAMMMM!!!’

This bit I like… the kids marvelled at how well Santa knew them as they opened Stranger Things blind bags, Beano prank kits and Trash Packs. They begged to go downstairs but I told them they couldn’t till I made tea. ‘And drink it?’ queried Conall hopping from one foot to the other. I did my usual speech about how we had to go to mass before we could open our presents and weren’t they lucky to be little heathens. ‘’I believe in God’ said the 5 year old in a bid to be controversial; We all froze until he smiled and said ‘just kidding’.. and we all laughed glad that the true meaning of Christmas and all it’s overindulgence could be restored.

Tea in hand, hair wild and boobs swinging (beneath a Game of Thrones T-shirt… shame, shame) I opened the door to the sitting room like Gene Wilder in our favourite Xmas movie (Silver Streak). The older boys got a computer between them so their stack of presents looked small; The five year old had a mountain of cheap shite to open. He wanted slither-io snakes from santa which are from a game very similar to Snake on the old Nokias so the bar was low. Middle child noted amount of gifts and so I guided him to the copious notes from Santa explaining his logic. My husband sat there bleary eyed (he’d had to drink many cans in the name of Santa the night before) and saw all these gifts for the first time.

He then asked could he go for a nap.. I let him as he’d been working all hours taxiing over Xmas and I was feeling benevolent.

Two hours later and I was on the verge of putting his head to steep in a pot. I was having my Mam, Dad, sister and her two girls (one of whom is vegan) for dinner at one and I was still peeling carrots at 12.30 in my pjs. There had been multiple stops to mediate fights and find missing bits of lego.

I somehow managed to be showered, dressed and dinner ready by 1.30. I forgot to baste stuff or do all the fiddly, fancy cooking bits I’d been googling for a few months and I handed up Turkey, ham and boiled veg. I apologised to Ossie as he made appropriate yum sounds as I know those kind of dinners are his idea of bland hell. The vegan had tofu and spuds cooked in coconut oil rather than the delicious goose fat we had.

After dinner my Mam and sister sat smoking at the back door and half-heartedly muttered ‘d’ya need a hand?’ and ‘god she never gets a break’ as I sweated buckets into the steaming dishwasher.

The gifts were then handed out and my sister and I continued on a tradition of ‘being ungrateful little brats.’ In fairness my Mam did gift Fiona with a Jo Malone candle set that she had given my Mam four years previously but my Mam deemed it too good to ever light.

I was given Marian Keyes latest book and while I admire Marian greatly, anyone who knows me knows that I am more of a fantasy/ thriller/ dystopian gal. There were other gorgeous gifts from my parents though such as a bracelet and yankee candles in clean cotton. (ungrateful little bitch!)

I gave my Dad and my Mam slipper crocs from Lidl which my Dad took a shine to and I did the whole speech of very handy for going out to the bins. My sister was disgusted as she watched four of us extol the virtues of this exemplary footwear. I overheard her ask Conall if he knew his Mam was hickey and saw him nod agreement.

The big hit was a book I made my sister by the Book of Everyone.. It’s the second time I’ve given one of these as a present and they produce the right amount of tears and gratitude for a smug gift giver.

Giving my Mam a present is not something any of us look forward to and she’s usually left to last. In the weeks leading up to Christmas we receive numerous calls telling us not to be wasting our money on her. I’ve bought her sentimental necklaces and personalised pottery pieces but her reaction is always one of confused amusement and she’ll ordinarily give it away right in front of you. This year was no exception, I decided to be practical and got her face creams… I mistakenly got a day one and a neck/decollate one instead of night. ‘Ah what’s this?’ she exclaimed. I pitched her the idea of looking after her neck and my sister fair play got stuck in as we pointed out her flapping turkey neck in great detail. ‘It’s too late for me.. Aisling you take it’… this was the closest I got to a compliment all night.

I got giddy and showed my Mam Christmas knickers I’d gotten to which she said ‘they’ll never fit a big girl like you’ and slapped my arse for effect.

The boys gave her a Donald Trump desk tidy which she spent some time beating and using shocking profanities much to the kid’s delight!

I spent two hours setting up my nieces iphone because I’m somehow the tech person but having never owned an iphone it proved tricky. My Dad kept tutting saying he didn’t know how they’d survived in his day.

My sister and kids left and I spent a further few hours putting together lego while the folks and my husband got royally pissed. I let him get the kids to bed and at last opened some wine at ten o’clock!

We stayed up till almost two emptying and refilling the dishwasher and remembering Christmases gone when my Dad got just a football and an empty sock (not a patch on the slipper crocs of 2017) and the one where I got a tape recorder and spent years recording people’s conversations. My Dad mentioned he’d a load of tapes in the house… I just need to find something to play them on and let the blackmail commence..

Did I mention that two of the kids had a tummy bug over Christmas?.. one was puking, the other scuttering. The oldest saved his projectile for two nights ago while lying on my freshly changed sheets… the duck feathers will never be the same.

Happy Christmas from me! Let’s survive till the 8th of January when I hope there is something left on the sales rack for a big girl like me. Roll on Nollaig Na mBan and a 2018 filled with lotto wins and a sudden and unexpected gym addiction.

Family, Motherhood

Hey Children! Leave My Bed Alone!

June 15, 2017

You think you’ve got your shit together as a parent and then one of them drops a dumbbell on his foot.

Ossie was away a couple of weeks ago and I went into superhuman mode. I reorganised all the presses in the house.. I now have a container specifically for birthday candles, although this will probably get lost on the occasion of it actually being someone’s birthday.

It was a Sunday and my old childminder/ friend/ sometime babysitter had called over and I used her to sit the kids while I got the ingredients for a roast dinner at 2pm .. not so organised I hear you tut. I flung it all together and we had some semblance of a civilised meal. I was just about to tidy away the dishes when I heard a bang followed by an ominous silence. I turned and saw the dumbbell on the floor and Rians horrified face. I opened my mouth to give out to him for possibly cracking the tiles when I saw the blood. I began to run in a circle of uselessness till Rebecca grabbed him and washed his toes to assess the damage properly. I mentally slapped myself in the face and went to look. His big toenail was completely cracked and that and the toe next to it were swelling and black. My sister arrived and we took him to the out of hours doctor to check… he put a plaster on it, proclaimed it fine and I paid €90. Am I a bad mother that I thought ‘there’s my fucking Ikea money gone’?

When Ossie got back, he owed me BIG and I made him come watch a Beatles documentary that my friend Susan had won tickets for on the radio; We are fans and even we were bored.. there was no music at all for the duration and so we blasted 500 different versions of Strawberry Fields all the way home. I was struck again by the lyrics no one I think is in my tree and it shall be carved on my urn or whatever cheap receptacle my family will shove me in when I’m gone. When we got back it was early and so decided to get full value from the babysitter (soz Rebecca) and slipped into the local for a few nightcaps. We got into bed at around 2am and one hour later Koray woke us puking in the toilet. Thus followed hours of Nurofen/ Calpol administering.. towels on sheets.. buckets on floor.. cuddles on demand. Not one for drama Koray exclaimed at one point that he wanted to go downstairs, get a knife from the drawer and stab himself to end the pain and I have to admit I had some empathy with him. Daddy Pig slept on peacefully as men do in times of parental stress (that or take an hour long shit). I spent the next day drinking coffee and washing bedding. That night I went up to my bed exhausted, only to find that Rian had fallen asleep there while his full bottle of warm milk trickled into his hair and my freshly changed sheets. Moses could have parted the amount of liquid in the bed and although I didn’t do physics in school, I did wonder how the volume I put in the bottle would equate to a king size bed being saturated through the memory foam right to the mattress. I changed the bed while keening and invoking every dead celebrity I could think of to give me strength, ie.. gorgeous George Michael, precious Prince and all the blessed members passed on from the BeeGees help me suffer this injustice. Ossie arrived up to question the strange noises coming from the bedroom… probably a little excited till he saw my face and the stripped bed. ‘I HAVE HAD IT WITH PISS, VOMIT AND MILK IN MY BED’ I roared and proceeded with the rhetoricals.. ‘Do you know how often I change sheets? Buy washing tablets? Use the dryer? He countered with his own rhetorical ‘any chance of a ride?

The very next day the kids were all itching their heads and when I checked I saw they had nits for possibly the 4th time this year ARRRGGGHHH. For any of you that have dealt with this, it is horrendous.. the solution, the combing, the discovery bleurgghhh. Not to mention the motherfucking sheet changing! All this while I’m detoxing from wine and toxing (is that the opposite?) on Toblerones. I’m wondering if there is a humane and safe way to put kids to bed in a leakproof plastic container that somehow decontaminates them of nits etc.. a job for N.A.S.A.?

The Sisterhood

October 6, 2016

It’s difficult to make friends as an adult and most of mine have been around since primary school. They know me better than myself and there is never a need to apologise for a surprise fart or habitual legging wearing.

There have been times when I thought that I may be on the market for a new friend and initiated conversation only for my intended new bff to say something like “I don’t believe in vaccinations” and I’m out. The thrilling difference between making friends now than as a kid is that I have zero tolerance for bullshit (opposing views to mine). I am a 40 year old opinionated mother of 3 and by god have I earned my stripes and so I have a small but amazing group of women to rely on. The latest being Deirdre, a neighbour, and we met when our 5 year old boys decided to be besties and house hop all day long. We had a coffee and then realised we are the same person, although it has to be pointed out that Deirdre is a culchie and my TV and movie references are wasted on her. Coffee has often turned to gin/ wine and she has pulled me from the brink of despair many times as I hope I have her.

The reason, I’m telling you all this is to impress on you the importance of The Sisterhood. While pregnant and in the cocoon of breast-feeding it can be hard to maintain friendships and life can be very lonely; You need to surround yourself with people who have been through it or are in the midst. Men are great but they will always look for a logical solution to your despair when sometimes all you want to do is cry and for those tears to be turned to laughter.

Recently, one of my oldest friends, Susan (I’ve known her since we were 4 but she is in fact a good 4 months older than me and I know she would be pleased for me to divulge that) called to drop one of my kids home from school and she asked was I ok? I thought I was but found myself crying, then laughing because I didn’t know why I was crying. She didn’t dig for a reason but laughed with me and said she had those days too.

Then there’s Jen, my cousin who can always make me laugh… sometimes a little too much. We’re doing an evening painting and sketching course and when we left last week my picture blew out of my hand in the wind. I had been holding a pee in for the entire class and I just couldn’t chase it so she hopped all over the place as I crossed my legs and begged her to stop. She did retrieve the picture but I needed to sit on a jacket the whole way home.

left-over-from-halloweenWe are all in a group message on Viber and when things get too much we put out the Batman signal (the wine one) and plans are furtively made for a night out. We normally go for dinner, laugh all night and go home feeling renewed and ready for another week of domestic slavery.

When someone has childminding issues, we’ll brainstorm and figure it out between us.

Susan and myself always joke about running away or slowly poisoning our husbands (mariticide seemingly) and moving in together to take care of the kids. She’s so good at laundry and I don’t mind cooking; She can be unfettered in her own room and when she has her period, I will dispense drugs and make a hot water bottle. I will also sympathise profusely and not say “AGAIN? Jesus do you ever stop moaning?”

a15ef44a1a13bed846eb8dcd8a93c519I was shopping with Jen during the week and she said, “we really should live together” (I’m much sought after, it can prove problematic) and I had to tell her I was promised to Susan but could we start a women only commune? I told her my wish to wear long Anne of Green Gables nightdresses and swish about comfortably. She looked a little disgusted but agreed. I’ve been addicted to those things since button down nighties were on my hospital list for the babies; I wore them as long as I could until Ossie threatened to burn them.

Can you imagine how nice life would be in our commune?… the dishwasher would be emptied, toilet seats down and the children all playing fabulously, enjoying sharing their toys. Actually that last part seems wrong but there would be a lot of drinking and watching of great TV at night, we’d all be bra-less in ugly yet comfy nightwear, synchronised and hyped up on Feminax.


Parenting is…

September 8, 2016
  1. repeating yourself continuously: put your shoes on.. not that foot, not that foot, not that foot, not that foot… oh Jesus c’mere and I’ll do it; come in for dinner, it’s bath time etc;  mention a treat however, or Youtube and they are all ears and specifics.mandy-patinkin-rupert-friend-claire-danes
  2. asking “rhetorical questions”: “How was school?” “Any news?” It’s like living with the Homeland team. I have enlisted  a secret agent (my friend’s kid) although she may be a double agent as she only reports nice things and I am deeply suspicious.
  3. becoming your mother and quoting from her little book of cliches: “If your brother put his hand in the fire, would you?“(they normally look excited at this one, as if it’s a challenge) “Your face will get stuck like that” (or your hand.. in your pants!) and “Money doesn’t grow on trees” (technically paper money begins life as a tree.. Conall the smartarse).
  4. having ridiculous conversations that normally begin with “would you rather?” This morning’s was “would you rather be a sniper or a soldier?” If a satisfactory answer is not received within 30 seconds, there may be tears (mine).
  5. juggling many chores at the same time: I once breastfed Rian while unloading the washing machine and locating Ossie’s car keys with the power of my mind (they were hanging on the key rack as normal grrrr).giphy-46
  6. biting back swear words: I’m not brilliant at this but I do try to leave the room before I’m goaded into saying something that would scorch Father Jack’s ears. I’ll normally walk into my room and hiss assholes, while kicking the bed and then rejoin them like Mary Poppins (on valium).
  7. becoming unshockable by bodily functions, casually cleaning arses and vomit without having to hold your nose; Also interspersing conversations with other adults with asides to your kids like “take your hands out of your pants” (very common in the Ozdemir house) or “if you have to pick your nose, please put it in a tissue and not in your mouth“.
  8. piling on weight by finishing the kid’s meals: I can’t help it my mother told me not to waste food, it’s sinful you know.
  9. pretending to know everything: thank you Google for making me look so smart.
  10. knowing the intricacies of Minecraft, Roblox and Five Night’s at Freddies.20160605_205837
  11. kissing their boo boos away and revelling in the fact that you have this great, placebo power and wishing you could self-heal instead of being so reliant on Solpadeines.
  12. always having wipes in your bag and if you don’t you may feel the onset of an anxiety attack.
  13. guilt: I am constantly guilty about what I feed them, how much technology time they have wrangled and mostly about how I have lost my shit with them at the end of a difficult day.
  14. a lot of empty threats: I say stuff like “put away your toys or I’ll bin the lot of them”. I would, to prove I’m a hardass but they cost so much money (yes you Lego) and I don’t think I could bear the endless whinging in the aftermath of such a cull.
  15. wanting to burn your house for the insurance because the kids have destroyed it and you don’t know where to begin cleaning.. the marker off the walls or the chewing gum on the couch?13254271_10153845612638138_4178210020303418645_n
  16. trying not to become an alcoholic by relying on the numbing effects of wine/ gin when they are in bed to soothe your tattered nerves.
  17. never looking at your optimum best (this could just be me). By the time I get the three of them dressed and lunches packed for school, I have about 90 seconds to throw on leggings, a jumper and put a bobbin in my hair.
  18. passing on your heritage like a love for crisp sandwiches, comfortable shoes and the Beano.11902402_595304687278699_8374999688052281835_n
  19. having a love/ hate relationship with your washing basket. The love is obviously when it is empty.. a rare and solemn occasion, like the Winter Solstice.
  20. being forced to watch a lot of crap on TV and youtube; I hate you Skylander family!
  21. eating crusts
  22. saying SHHHHHHHH more than anything.
  23. never having ANY privacy; in the toilet, in the bath and definitely not in the Ann Summers drawer.
  24. fighting with your spouse and on reconciliation saying “what did we fight about before we had kids?
  25. worrying incessantly that something could happen to them be it illness/ bullying or abduction and scrolling through your Facebook feed quickly and with your eyes squinted so you don’t see any bad stuff about kids that could cause many sleepless nights.
  26. getting out of bed in the middle of the night to check they are all still breathing and maybe get a smell of their gorgeous, sweaty little heads as they sleep angelically.
  27. never getting enough sleep due to the above/ dealing with their nightmares and your own and middle of the night water/ cuddles requests.

The Secret Life of Aisling’s Pets

September 5, 2016

When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed a pet; The reason? my Mam hates/ is terrified of all animals and as psychologists will confirm, this made me want one all the more. I decided I would like to be a vet when I grew up (I now can’t think of anything worse, especially since I heard the story of having to squeeze dog’s anal glands), although this ambition may be fulfilled by my super bright niece who has chosen a heap of sciencey subjects for her leaving in her bid for veterinary.

10154538_10152129450368138_458602991_nMy first pet was a wild mouse who inhabited my childhood home and I named him Ernie. For some reason my Mam wasn’t too enamoured with him and one fateful day I witnessed Ernie’s guillotining (the scene closely resembled THAT Ned Stark scene as I clung to my Dad and wept).

I wore my Mam down at a school Christmas fair and she allowed me to keep the goldfish I’d spent £20 in 10ps trying to win. She didn’t however think to get a bowl but produced a fancy, glass dessert bowl to keep him in.. it was a little shallow but he seemed happy. Sometimes I’d fill the bath and let him have a good oul swim, even tipping him from a cup into the water so he’d know how it felt to go on a water slide… similar to Rainbow Rapids. One morning however, I stepped out of bed and squished my poor fishy between my toes, a very unpleasant sensation. To this day, I’m not sure if the shallow bowl was at fault or if I had instilled a sense of adventure in him that a goldfish should never have experienced.

I thought back to the days of Ernie and longed for a mouse, sure they were only a pound in the pet shop in Northside Shopping Centre. Once the weekly shopping was finished, my plea bargaining would begin but my Mam would not be swayed.

terrapinShe eventually agreed on a Terrapin before the whole salmonella thing and we went to a pet shop on George’s Street or called George’s pets.. can’t remember. I have no idea how I persuaded her to do this as it seems completely out of character for her to back down but I was a tenacious little thing. We got in the shop and I ran past the terrapins to the Guinea Pigs and started playing with them. My Mam began to sense a trap and tried desperately to sell the terrapins to me. I had the pet shop owner on board and we ground her down. I cuddled the guinea pig and began to sob, begging my Mam to get it and she had no choice as all the customers in the shop stared at her expectantly. We got in the car and I held the cardboard box on my lap as if it contained precious jewels as my Mam tried to come to terms with what had happened and listed all the rules to having a pet… you clean it, feed it, never let me see it, it can stay in the bloody shed etc.

We got her home and I named her Frisky; I let her out of the box and she shot under the couch. My Mam’s cousin Edward had arrived and he and my Mam stood on chairs screaming as I tried to catch it. I thought about teeth and claws and so put on a preventative pair of rubber gloves. My Dad came home from work to this scene and calmly saved the day as he does.

Guinea-Pig-on-A-LeashFrisky lived a happy 3 months… I carried her in my backpack and made a tiny lead. The cold in the shed got her in the end but I was convinced she was hibernating and spent several hours trying to wake her up with a hairdryer. RIP little Frisky.

There were many times after this that I tried my luck with a cat but that is the most hated of all my Mam’s hated animals. Kids would often call to the door with an adorable litter of kittens and I would plead and beg but I had used that card up on Frisky. It was my younger sister Fiona that went big and bold in the procurement of a pet. I was helping my Dad out in work one day when we got a hysterical call from my Mam saying Fiona had brought a dog into the house and she was terrified. We  raced home at lunchtime to see the tiniest of puppies whimpering in a corner as my Mam rocked back and forth in a chair. My Aunty Avril’s dog had had a litter and Fiona didn’t risk asking permission, the balls on that kid!

maxresdefault (2)We (I) named him Cujo and never did a dog live up to a name like he did. He grew to be enormous and resembled a rottweiler but was a mongrel of some description. He would run and hurl himself against the conservatory when we had guests and his bark was terrifying. He had a touch of the stupids and once attacked my Dad as he tried to get over the back wall when he was locked out. Taking him for a walk was insane, I was literally dragged behind him as he tried to attack people and the neighbours would cross the road when they saw us coming. After a few years, when my Mam and Dad had me and Fiona safely across the Atlantic staying with cousins for the Summer they sent him to a farm in Ashbourne. NO, that is not a euphemism… they did, I promise!

So now, I’m in the position where my kids will ask for a pet and I’m just not that into it anymore, I think I have enough shite to clean and meals to make. I did get Conall two goldfish a few years back. I was afraid the younger ones would tip the bowl so I placed it on a high shelf in the playroom. After a week, I got a really bad smell and thought maybe a mouse carcass? (a strange conclusion, I know). Eventually I located the smell to the bowl.. I’d forgotten about the fish. Sadly, one didn’t make it but I managed to keep the other one alive for a record couple of months. My friend Susan bought hers at the same time and they are still alive and enormous… the moral is, don’t come live with me, choose Susan.

1276206_10151749554853138_297019093_oI then got a cat behind my husband’s back. He wasn’t impressed but came around when he saw how gorgeous Alan (Conall’s choice) was. I really tried this time… I fed him, bought him toys, pet him but one day he went outside and never came back. I can’t really blame him and I really hope he found a nice, little old lady to look after him.

13247849_10153824974403138_6620765751162457142_oAs you all know, Conall got a guinea pig (and a trampoline) instead of a communion. Kimmy (Schmidt) the Guinea pig seems to be thriving. She’s living feral in the back and has gone against natural law and has befriended a cat; I think they’re looking for a Disney deal.
To all the animal lovers out there, I am truly sorry for all the loss I have inflicted on the animal world. In my defence, I did give up meat in 1992 for 3 months but realised I didn’t like vegetables very much; it all ended when I had to decide between an omelette and a steak in Oscar Taylors. I tried again in 1998 for approx 6 months when Linda McCartney died; I was lured back by American, crispy bacon. I think I’m more Ron Swanson than Doris Day.

Back To School

September 2, 2016

It’s that time of the year when my newsfeed is filled with pictures of kids on their first day back to school and my fridge is stocked full of sandwich fillers and fruit.

My baby just went into montessori full time and so it is my first year to have 5 mornings free to do with as I please. A few years ago, I dreamt of this day and all the sleeping I would do but now they all sleep the night (usually) and so I am not the sleep deprived shell of a human I once was. My mother and sister tell me I should take the time to clean my house… but aside from putting on the dishwasher/ washing machine and a quick wipedown with some baby wipes (me and the kitchen), I really cannot waste this golden time on that shite. I did plan on joining the gym but am conveniently putting that off Monday to Monday; So, I have spent this week going for breakfast with friends, watching Gossip Girl and getting on top of some writing… while drinking 500 coffees and stuffing my face. I am unapologetic.

breakfast-club-claire-brian-andrew-ftrI deserve it after the shitstorm that is the morning rush. I am awoken at 6.30 with Rian’s freakishly regular bowel movements. He still likes to drop it in a potty and scream MAMMM; I enter his room and he is bent over, awaiting a wipe. I’ll give him milk and his tablet and optimistically crawl back into bed. 7.30 and I sneak downstairs… make lunches, sip on a coffee and await Koray (5) who loves to slip downstairs in his bare feet and frighten the shite out of me. He has breakfast and I repeatedly smell his hair and kiss his head.. There is nothing like the smell of a child’s head in the morning… much better than napalm.

Rian (3) will enter the kitchen, full of anger and demand cheerios (no milk) and huff off to the couch to await his demands being met, oftentimes shouting “f words”.

I will have to almost beat Conall (8) to wake him, and he will walk, zombie like to the bathroom.

I’ll fast forward all the fighting and the 10 minute drama of trying to dress three giggling/ crying wrigglers… suffice to say that it should have made up a section in the Krypton Factor.

walter-white-teaching-chemistryI’ll get everyone into the car and will be forced to listen to “dumb ways to die” for the 10 minute journey there. Conall will ask me convoluted questions regarding weaponry in WW2 (his new topic of choice) and I will feign intelligence. Conall walks Koray into his class and I always feel a lump in my throat as I watch the two of them walk in the gates holding hands and I think I made them and have an existential moment.

Another 10 minute drive and I drop Rian off as he admonishes me and tells me I am to go have a coffee and then collect him. I tell him I have some work to do and he shouts “NO!! Only coffee!” I agree and skip out of the montessori and into my filthy, yet kid free car. A little voice inside says “ah look at the empty car seats” and I tell her to shut the fuck up.

Back home and the house is eerie, asides from all the breakfast dishes and strewn underpants to be dealt with; right, I’ll do some shopping, have dinner ready and get stuck into those wardrobes.

What seems like 5 minutes later, I’ve to go and collect them and all I’ve achieved is beating my high score on Suduko and having 4 coffees with a neighbour as we discussed all we’d to do.

I have 3 collections… 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30…. There is light at the end of the tunnel as in 2019 all 3 will be finished at the same time… FOR ONE YEAR!

Screen-Shot-2013-08-27-at-13.00.17My kids are so angry when I collect them, especially Koray. He’ll wave at his teacher and she’ll smile at me as if to say “you have a good one there” and then he’ll turn to me with gritted teeth and hiss “I hate you… the apple you put in my lunch had a bruise” and I know I’m in for 2 hours of verbal abuse. Rian needs a nap but I can’t let him if I want any sleep that night so I’ll deal with his glazed eyes and frankly sociopathic behaviour till bedtime. Conall gets home and runs for the laptop and I rugby tackle him for homework… it’s 3pm and Ossie is just surfacing for work. He sees me looking longingly at the fridge and says “it IS too early for wine”


The lost (hens) weekend

August 23, 2016

I went on my first ever hen’s weekend away a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic!

It seems a distant memory as I type to the theme tune of Koray’s 30 minute tantrum downstairs because the battery died on my phone and that is somehow my fault even though he’s been on youtube all morning; grand, Ossie just lost his shit and let a roar at him… he’s quietened to whimpering about how much he hates me.

T’was a Friday afternoon and after much dropping off of children and hasty leg shaving I arrived at Jens, my cousin and the hen. I must give some background here…. Jen was an awful hussy and had her daughter before her wedding. The wedding was in a registry office and then a raucous party back at her house where not one person walked a straight line upon leaving (I was carried out). Poor Jen (and Chris, her husband) spent their wedding hangover dealing with a baby. Another baby came along and 3 years later she got around to organising a hens. I too was (am) a heathen hussy and pregnant on my wedding day so my hens has yet to be planned, almost 10 years later.

image-0-02-01-ca294b165b1d0975b67d034f28fb78cc8d3c59e2ffaa025c0fe5d38ea6306dcc-VFB_IMG_1471211875351The bus arrived and it was so comfy and me, Jen and my friend Susan hopped on… pinching ourselves that we were about to leave our kids for 2 whole nights! There were 10 of us all together and we started sedately on Bucks Fizz.. The driver, Ken amazingly let me plug my phone in and play my spotify playlist… his eyebrows raised when the Carpenters blared and I further emasculated him with lots of Whitney and Madonna. Jen had a large cooler in the back and produced many Coronas with lemon and shocker, I drank beer…. ME!!! and I might again. Jen and Susan made up a song about me called Tiny Bladder as I sprinted into pubs and petrol stations grabbing my crotch and shouting “don’t make me laugh!”

We eventually got to Carrick on Shannon and after another pee dash into a cafe we arrived at our suite which was so beautiful, I contemplated starting a new life there. I was to share a room with Susan, who is always my wife on nights out and Jen shared with her cousin Michelle. There was another apartment across the way that housed Jen’s in-laws who were all completely mental, in a fun way!

hqdefault (2)We realised that we were all more than a little hammered so coffees were made along with tayto sandwiches. My wife went for a little nap, (she’s not able) and me, Jen and Michelle laid all our makeup out on the table and extolled the virtues of this lipstick or illuminator and we cleansed, toned and moisturised while listening to the dulcet tones of Peter Cetera, Madonna (I got to sing an uninterrupted Live To Tell Bridge) and Bruce.

13679889_10154027054448138_2537699605268116884_oOutfits were tried on and discarded and I had a hair emergency when I used salt spray instead of hairspray to hold curls but was rescued by Sue of house Murphy (the other apt).

I got a bit of a fright when we went into the pub first .. Murtaghs… it was stag and hen heaven/ hell. There was an almost tangible wall of testosterone to be fought through to get seats which we did, followed by a couple of platters that we horsed down. There were many older.. dare I say culchie guys in their best shirts, dancing with their eyes closed. I was fascinated but Jen warned me not to make eye contact. We noticed that our wives (Michelle and Susan) were getting a bit slumped of shoulder, due to the fact that they both have a combined weight of maybe 10 stone and decided to get the little ladies home. Jen disappeared for ages to the toilet and I became enraged and stalked off to find her. She was chatting to a couple in the smoking area and I stormed up and shouted “your wife is drunk!”… I started to drag her away as she mumbled about not being gay but voted yes in the referendum and not having any problem with it. As soon as we got outside I realised it was all a ruse as Jen fell over a kerb and admitted to being drunk. I ferried them home like a military sergeant… Michelle went rogue through a field at some point and I had to pee alfresco. I noticed a small roped area and warned all making sure everyone stepped over safely with Jen by my side shouting rope! and careful now! She then became entangled somehow and ended up in a heap… I thought of drawing a chalk line around her but we made it back. Captain Morgan made an entrance and we decided to play old tv theme tunes and sing along. What fun! giphy (45)Three’s Company best for dancing while Family Ties best for a tear up. Me and Jen Blue Steeled to 90210. Much, much later I got into bed and couldn’t sleep due to all the caffeine and I took a Night Nurse and climbed into Iggle Piggle’s boat and floated away  yes my name is Iggle Piggle….

Day 2 and much medication later, we made a big fry for everyone and spent the day making ourselves beautiful… it took that long.

Maureen arrived, Jen’s cousin in law and a roommate for me and Susan. Things got complicated when she and Susan discovered a mutual love of Star Trek and hatred (they just don’t know) of Game of Thrones and I ended up calling Maureen affair…. To which I referred to her all night.

20160813_183442We went for dinner in the Courtyard Kitchen and then were picked up for a cruise on the Shannon… which was basically Murtaghs on water. We sat on the boat facing the most miserable hen’s party I’d ever seen… a bunch of women who had obviously had professional hair and makeup done that day and were doing their best  not to displace any of it. You know how make up artists are called Muas? Well I think of their prey as having been mua-ed. Some of our gang got some muscly guys to put Jen’s hens t shirts on and they wore them well while Jen lamented her innocent 18 year old face (image on t-shirt) being subjected to such lewdness.

Back to the pub and the ratio of men to women was quite high and we abused this… Jen had a boy carry our shots to the table only to realise that he wasn’t staff. We situated ourselves in the smoking area where we were besieged with compliments from hot nordy guys.. “You have 3 kids?” “you’re 40?.. I don’t believe it”… how delightful! They drifted away when they realised that we weren’t interested in a “my husband doesn’t understand me” scenario.

Poems,_Prayers_and_PromisesWe headed home on the promise of more theme tunes and Captain Morgans. Instead we made a mistake and played John Denver and we all sat there with tears dripping onto the floor as we thought of mothers, aunties and friends lost. As an antidote, we played Counting Crows and some early 90s stuff and sang till almost 4am. As I went to bed I left Jen and Michelle holding hands and crying to Hootie and the Blowfish…. I actually laughed myself to sleep.

The next day was not so funny and I don’t know how I packed or got on the bus but I know the journey home was a sombre one. I didn’t know if I wanted to puke or have volcanic scuts but I held it together and cured myself somewhat by eating 5 packets of Hula Hoops in a row… The Murphys were still upbeat but a glance at Jen and Susan showed shells of human beings.

Ken was surprised by our personality change but respected it with silence.

We were deposited one by one back to our families and we were grateful of some normalcy (except Jen who spent that night in Temple Street with her son who had a chest infection).

It took me about 3 days to get over the debauchery and have a glass of wine and I cannot wait to plan my own… all suggestions welcome.

Our family trip to Clare

August 6, 2016

We just spent 3 days holidaying as a family of five in Ennis, Co. Clare. I googled best hotels for families in Ireland and then whittled out all the really expensive ones and ended up with narrower options; Treacys in Ennis got good family reviews and I was swayed by the picture of a double decker bus as a bunk bed. It worked out at €330 for 3 nights including breakfast and kids club.

We set off last Tuesday afternoon and the boys spent their car journey time coming up with as many euphemisms for their nether regions as they could ….stuff like “sausage and meatballs” and in case these references were lost on me and Ossie, Koray would shout “get it! get it! while pointing at his crotch. We spent an hour shouting at them to stop and then decided that the radio was a better option… the boys continued to script a Kevin Smith movie in the back.

The hotel was grand… no frills but clean and the food was good; kids ran riot everywhere so I exhaled a little. We decided to go to the pool and I realised the joys of having boys as I got to go to the changing room alone. The boys were delighted and fearless as they dove into the kids pool, then the adult pool and back again. The lifeguard approached me and said “no jumping”.. I tried to relay this and no one gave a shite… a new lifeguard came on duty and I saw the previous one have a chat with her while looking our way. She came over and said that the small ones were not allowed in the adult pool at all and any joy I had evaporated as I sweated over all pool shenanigans… I glanced longingly at the jacuzzi and steam room and realised they would never be.

20160805_092502The boys settled in their bunk that night and I went to bed early. However, the surrounding on the bunk was metal and every time I would drift off, one of them would hit off the edge of the bed with a resounding tingggggg and jolt me awake. The next morning, fueled with coffee we set off for Bunratty Castle. I stopped at a chemist and explained to the girl that I had left my elderly mother back in the hotel, smothering with a cold and unable to sleep.. I asked what would be the best over the counter remedy to knock her out and I left there clutching a pack of Night Nurse capsules… actually looking forward to my night’s sleep.

2016-08-03 12.59.24Bunratty Castle was fascinating but had many, many narrow, treacherous steps and I walked behind the kids, terrified that they would slip.  The best part for me was the folk park… there was an entire village set in the 19th century. It was amazing as there were actors in the houses, telling stories or cooking food as a fire burnt in the hearth. I found it a really emotional and informative experience and wished I could hear more over the din of my kids. Conall wanted to buy a new flat cap but they were €30 there so I told him we could get one in Penneys when we got back so the whole way around he whinged very loudly that “this was boring and he just wanted to go to Penneys”. We found an olde sweet shop so they were quieted with giant lollipops. We visited a 19th century school there and I was struck that the desks were the same we had in school with the inkwells and all and I thought just how fucking old am I?

13667972_10154002679323138_1121823064396585295_oConall got arrested by a bobby who was an amazing actor but too nice and may have spoiled my “I’ll have you arrested” threat.

We had dinner back in the hotel and there was a hairy moment as I asked Conall what he’d like to drink at the bar and he adopted a culchie accent and proclaimed loudly that he’d like “some cock”… he then made it worse by clapping his hand to his mouth and saying… “shit, I know what that means…. I meant Coke.”

The boys went to the kids club that night back in the hotel and I was visited by some good friends from my repping days, Elaine and Pamela. I ran up to get Conall from the kids disco and he was soaked to the skin in sweat and a boy pointed at him and said “he caused loads of fights”. To which Conall replied proudly “There was 2 of them versus me and I won cos I punched one in the stomach!

Down in the bar a debs was beginning and when I was in the loo, a girl asked if I’d unzip her dress so she could wee.. I did and she had no knickers on and not a shred of embarrassment; I’d to wait to zip her back up and it was a struggle. On the way out I begged her to enjoy her night as it goes by so quick… I think I meant life and I felt a bit teary. I got to bed and took 2 night nurse and slipped into a coma.

article-2120332-12451E70000005DC-974_468x403I was woken at 2am to the squeals of the fire alarm and after a long denial, I opened the door and it was like a scene from the Titanic, people leaving and kids wrapped in blankets. I came back in the room and said… “I think there’s a fire”… Koray was awake and I got our shoes on and Ossie told me to check out the situation before waking the others… “What’s keeping you?” he asked… “I’m hardly going outside with no bra on”… I replied while hooking it under my Harry Potter nightie. I contemplated eyebrows but threw caution to the wind. Outside there were 3 fire engines and as a hot fireman approached, I was glad of my bra. He told me there had been a small fire in the nightclub (feckin debs) but it was out. It took my body ages to relax as the sleepy drugs fought with the adrenaline.

The next day we went to see the Aillwee Cave which was spectacular. We attended a Birds of Prey show first and it was my first time to see vultures up close… they are fascinating creatures… they digest everything, even bones, fact! I marvelled at the handlers, they wore a pouch and controlled the birds with food from the bag.

Ireland-FlagTo go inside Aillwee Cave we had to go through a gift shop first and Conall spotted an Irish flag…. He wanted it and he wasn’t bloody getting it as he’d tried to ruin last years holiday to Turkey over an Irish flag. As we made our way through the 1km in length cave he started to freak (a bit about the flag, but mostly sensory issues) and I had a brainwave…. I was wearing a brown leather bag over my shoulder and I had emergency smarties. I popped one in his mouth, silence… I fed all 3 like little trained birds and we made it through without embarrassment. There was a fantastic mountain behind the cave and Ossie encouraged the boys to climb. I followed for a bit but my nerves were gone watching them and I let them go and perched on a rock, marvelling at the beauty of the Clare countryside.. I thought that if anything spiritual were ever to happen to me, it should happen here… I tried to force it… almost like a fart but I remain a heathen. I felt smug that my phone was dead and that I was living in the moment and then I was sad as I imagined how stunning a photo of me from behind, contemplating stuff while gazing at the fabulous scenery would be…I will forever mourn that photo.

Conall returned gleeful… he had found €2 on the mountain and ran off to buy the damn flag.

13765773_745221555620344_172698546270517995_oOn the way home, I insisted we went a little out of our way to find the Father Ted house which we did and it was glorious. Ossie went to turn the car and I tried to take a selfie.  A woman with a car of kids and Kerry plates pulled up and said it was her 4th time to visit and that she’d take a photo. She told me to get up on the wall… it was  a major struggle, but I managed and composed myself in a bid to have a presentable photo. It wasn’t until later when I checked back that I saw she’d photographed the struggle of my generous bottom.

On arriving back at the hotel Conall marched in front waving the flag as if we were a delegation at the Olympics… he did so for breakfast the next morning also. I was filling up my plate when I heard a little girl saying “mam, mam, that’s him… that’s the boy I told you about that bit me”… I looked down to see a smirking Rian and chose to ignore the entire situation as did the other mam.

There was loads more I wanted to do.. Like the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher etc but we will definitely go back at some point.

Ossie had an epiphany as we drove home to the sound of Koray teaching Rian to sing “use your private parts as piranha bait”. He said that he realised that the boys were happiest when climbing and being outdoors exploring nature and I concurred… adding that he’d be very busy on his day trips as I stayed at home riding the Night Nurse wave.

Family, Motherhood

Summer 2016.. the story so far

July 15, 2016

It’s been approximately 3 weeks since the boys schools broke up for the Summer and it’s been non stop fun!

No, no I will mention a positive first.. This is the first year since 2007 that I can have semi lie-ins. Rian is always first to rise at 6.30 ish and comes into my room demanding “warm milk and his tablet”; I’ll provide these and warn in a treacherous whisper that he is not to wake anyone else. He will then approach my bedside 5 or 6 more times with crises that range from “my blankie is broke” (fell off his bed) to wanting a new app downloaded. This morning he cried to watch Iggle Piggle on Netflix and I tried to calmly explain that it’s a CBeebies show for 10 mins while inwardly shouting “get the fuckity fuck out of my room and let me sleep!!”

19fopi85psdcvjpgInevitably he’ll wake Koray in the top bunk and copious bum talk and muffled giggles begin; someone will go too far and Koray’s pterodactyl like screams will begin… this is the point at which I snap. I become part Old Testament, part rabid dog and stomp into their room growling about smiting them as god and all the holy donkeys are my witnesses… I will bring a plague of locusts on their bunks and set fire to all their false prophets (angry birds stuff). They quiet momentarily and as I put one leg in the bed, I can hear them collapse into giggles.

I’ll doze off and be woken by one word increasing in urgency POO. Rian will be sitting proudly on the potty and I’ll have to clean it and him. I’ll do this and get back into bed and Ossie (he works nights) will intimate that I should give up and get up and I mentally smother him with a pillow.

Rian will have enjoyed the poo drama and will often squeeze out an unnecessary pip once he is sure I’ve dozed off so he can scream POO once more. Koray will try to sneak into my room to steal my phone, knocking my water on the floor and at this point I hear Conall’s door open and I take one last loving look at my pillow and leave the bed. So when I say lie-in, I really mean a series of disturbed naps that do more damage than good.

elvis-1977Conall’s summer holiday goal is to stay in pajamas for the entire thing using every piece of technology in the house, stopping only to use the toilet; He’s doing exceedingly well as the other two keep me so busy that it’s difficult to police him. I am enforcing trampoline and reading breaks… imagine these things are a chore to him. Rian plans on wallpapering and carpeting the entire house in tiny pieces of play doh and Koray is causing maximum mental anguish with his emotional neediness. I am surviving by comfort eating, drinking wine and popping painkillers; I’ll end up like Vegas Elvis by September. And there’s Game of Thrones… I am so late to this party but I have watched about 43 hours of it in the last 2 weeks… it is sooo good and all I want to do is lock myself in my room and binge what’s left. It’s also helping to assuage my parental guilt; I may not be doing loads of outdoorsy, memory-making shit with the kids but I’m not selling them into marriage or slavery…yet!

Koray is in lego camp this week and seems to love it but is such a cranky little shit when I collect him, it’s as if he’s had to fake niceness with the teachers all day and then sees me and thinks.. “She’ll take a verbal beating and not leave or call the police (even though she constantly threatens both). It’s similar to when I leave work on a Sunday and Ossie calls to ask me how my day was and I bring up the time he forgot my birthday.

69b01f73-395c-4a00-b0bb-21ae96ecd875_16x9_788x442Conall will be starting his camp in DCU next week; it’s called Whizzkids and is an IT camp and aged 8-17 so I hope he can steer away from watching youtube videos towards the Mark Zuckerberg/ Bill Gates stuff… an easy transition, I’d imagine. Yes I’m aware that I am moving him from technology in my house to technology elsewhere but at least this way I don’t have to feel as guilty.

Again.. A positive; we are halfway through July which is the only full month they have off and August will be broken up with a hens and a family holiday.. to Leitrim; Both of which will be fraught with stories, disasters and drunkenness I imagine and I will be reporting from the front lines.

Bring on the end of August and my first time to be kid free 5…. Yes 5 days a week.. Oh the things I will do, the places I will see (I’ll sleep the first 3 months that’s for sure).

Mental Health, Motherhood

A Woman’s Work

May 17, 2016

It is hard to be everything to everyone; a good mother, a good wife, friend, daughter, employee etc.

We all try but sometimes we fold under the pressure. I am not an over achiever by any stretch of the imagination; in fact I am typing this as my house goes to shit. There are clothes to be put away, a trillion pieces of lego to be stored in the giant lego head and I could do with shopping around for car insurance. Some days, I tick along nicely and manage a relatively happy house… other days I LOSE MY SHIT. It all gets too much and I explode. After the meltdown, if I check my period app it will always say 10 days to my period.. any experts out there that can shed light on this?

mushroomsA Good Mother? Monday was 10 days till, I was preparing dinner but I had a lump in my throat for no reason and should have excused myself to my room to listen to early Madonna and weep for my lost youth but I was doing my martyr act and the kids were tripping me up everywhere I stepped. Ossie was judging my dinner choices and extolling the benefits of everyone eating the same dinner instead of making several different things. In my head I was imagining ways I could slowly poison him and be cleared in the autopsy results. The noise level was increasing and I’m ashamed to admit the following; I picked up a punnet of mushrooms and threw them against the wall and screamed “MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING DINNERS” at the top of my voice. Ossie bolted to close the back door and windows but I didn’t give a flying shit if  Gwyneth-fucking-perfect-mother-Paltrow heard me. I grabbed the car keys and drove to the end of the road where I was racked with guilty and self-pitying sobs. I then drove to my sisters and in to the middle of her own domestic dramas.. she assured me I was normal and gave me cigarettes. I drove home after half an hour, reeking of fags and self-pity. I opened the hall door and my 4 boys were sitting on the stairs like the Von Trapps. They jumped up joyously and chanted “we love you mam“. I got them all bathed and put to bed and when I looked for food, there was none. Ossie offered to make toast but changed tack when he saw my face… a chinese was suggested which I declined as an extravagance for one. Half an hour later I had the best place on the couch, a prawn chow mein on my knee and a glass of wine.

Why does it take an almost breakdown for anyone to take notice of my needs.. is it selfish as a mother to even discuss having needs? I’d love to see a pie chart of my day because honestly the only time I get to myself  is a toilet break which I often put off to my weakened pelvic floor’s detriment. I cannot continue like this and be a good mother… I feel too hard done by and it’s making me snappy and weepy. It’s not fair that when a 3 year old asks you for the 10th snack in as many minutes that you answer them with “I had dreams you know, ones that involved a loft apartment in New York with an exposed brick wall, a roof garden and a laundromat where I would meet interesting people.”

Lucky Aide Lois from Malcom in the Middle 2000

A Good Employee:  I normally love getting out to work, hopping in the car, turning on the radio and stopping for a coffee; I like having a lunch break and some of the girls are best friends for life.. they are all wild and interesting. I like my job and I even like most of the customers. Lately though my babies are getting anxious as the weekend approaches and often stand at the window and cry as my car drives away and that is the hardest thing. I’m at a crossroads and dependant on the mercy of a slew of childminders (is that the plural?) and sympathetic bosses. If I quit my job, I will lose all contact with normalacy and friendships will eventually wane but are my kids suffering without me? I need a life coach… are they still around or was that a ’90s thing? Married-with-Children-married-with-children-30474101-800-544

A Good Wife: I try, really I do but I have not got much left for him at the end of an exhausting day. We still have a date night once a week that normally involves staying in and watching a movie and having a few drinks but at this stage in our lives, it’s enough. We are both hot-heads and built up rage at our kids can manifest in some adult door-slamming but our fights don’t last long and we realise that neither of us can do this alone so we are bound together as ignored dictators of a rebellious war zone. All pretence at romance is long gone and we sit in companiable silence at night in mismatched, worn out pyjamas. I’m a nag but if I didn’t, he would gladly sit on his phone as I do all the housework, oblivious…. he tells me to rein in my spending (I can be a bit fluthulach… my mam’s word). So, in essence, we are the quintessential poster couple for married with children.

A Good Sister/ Friend: I hope I am, I try but often when they ring I have to scream at the kids alot and then without warning, hang up because laughing has indeed turned to crying. I do cherish these relationships though as they are the ones who will always pick me up when things are too much and if it’s desperate… a night out will be arranged.

93414622A Good Daughter: Read the above regarding phonecalls. I am now in a position to understand my Mam’s dilemmas when she returned to full time work when we were kids… in fact we often cry over how hard it is to leave your kid’s in someone else’s hands (just one of the many things we cry over). I appreciate all they did for me and hardly begrudge them their lie ins… argghhh I do, I really do.

As women we are expected by society to fulfill all the above roles without swearing and preferably with lipstick. It’s impossible and if you are doing it and fitting in the gym and trips to garden centres, I am assuming that you are taking speed. We need to not be so hard on ourselves and support each other… to be successful certainly does not require adopting male characteristics, use your empathy and experience to support other mothers trying their best. If you feel like fucking the dinner off a wall, try counting to 5 and at least get a chinese out of it. If you, like me, sometimes feel like you are doing a shockingly bad job of all your roles, watch reruns of all the TV shows I’ve featured and you will feel perfectly normal.

To Commune or not to (why my kids won’t make their communions or confirmations)

May 13, 2016

My newsfeed on Facebook has been swamped lately with pictures of kids making their communion/ confirmations; My oldest sons should be next week but we made the decision to opt out. I was raised Catholic and my husband Muslim but we have both been atheists since our teenage years; we married in a registry office and are raising our kids accordingly.

2016-05-13 10.46.31When Conall was almost a year old I started ringing local schools to put his name on the waiting lists but was told that I would need a baptism cert and after much deliberation we decided to combine his first birthday with a christening. It was torture sitting through the talk of original sin but we did it for the sake of his education. I dressed him in jeans and a shirt on the day and the photos are hilarious as the priest is looking disgusted at our unwillingness/ fit of giggles to mumble shit about rejecting Satan; My husband just looks bewildered by the event and in need of a pint.

holy_eucharistAn Educate Together was set up in the area the year my son started school and this is the route I would have taken if it were not for the fact that we were having all sorts of behavioural issues with Conall (he was to be diagnosed with ASD/ Aspergers later that year). The Educate Together school was to be housed in prefabs for the first few years and I was dubious about their facilities. In the meantime we had found a fantastic school, not too far away with many amenities, a playground and state of the art facilities; it was however Catholic. We debated this and I figured that surely the ethos would not be that strong in 2012 and we could live with a few hail marys for the sake of an excellent education. I approached the principal about the importance of Christening my younger boys and he said it was not mandatory but they wouldn’t be able to make their communion or confirmation.

The last thing I want is for my children to feel excluded or left out but I also have to stand by my own non-beliefs and refuse to be hypocritical for the sake of an outfit or envelope of money. Conall is fine and is actually delighted not to have all the extra homework. That homework can be interesting and would be dangerous put in my hands… one of the recent assignments was to list 5 things a priest does!

Possibly things would be more difficult if I had girls and they had to forgo the dress, who knows? I loved my communion and confirmation and felt like a princess but my Mam and Dad practised their faith so it was a no-brainer (they don’t anymore… I can be very persuasive).

article-2554748-1B4BF07200000578-358_634x848I do remember being terrified at my first confession and find it hard to believe that this is still a thing; I would be incandescent if someone made my innocent(ish) 8 year old confess to “sins”.

I would love to see a time when these religious activities are done outside school hours making it fair on everyone. Any time this topic arises people will ask “but why a Catholic school?” 90% of Irish schools are still under the patronage of the Catholic church so there isn’t much choice for people of different/ no faith and you can be sure that many, many teachers would love not to use up valuable class time with communion and confirmation preparation.20160513_113211

As my mother says “to each their own” but I would urge people to be true to their own belief system and values and act accordingly; I’m surprised by how many parents are unaware that they have a choice in the matter. An outfit can still be bought and the child celebrated without all the god stuff, I may have more difficulty persuading family and friends to hand over brown envelopes, but I’m working on it!


The Heartbreak Kid

April 1, 2016

I have spoken extensively about Conall’s struggle with Aspergers and Adhd and about Rian’s craniosynostosis but I don’t talk too much about Koray’s heart condition, frankly because it scares me.

In 2008 when Conall was born and I lay beside him in Holles Street, I had a whispery little chat about what was what in the vein of Only Fools and Horses when Damien was born. The gist of it was an apology that he would be an only child as I was not prepared to suffer again as badly as I had in that labour ward. A few years later when the memory had faded, I approached Ossie and explained my feeling of encroaching broodiness; we were renting a 2 bedroom apartment in Ashbourne at that point and being the sensible one as always he asked me to wait until we had our own place.

As soon as we had paid the deposit on our semi-d, I reminded him of his promise and as I crossed the threshold a new owner, little did I know that a new life was starting it’s own journey in my body. I was spending a fortune day by day on pregnancy tests so it was a good thing it happened fast or our first mortgage would have been late.

Me and Ossie went for the scan together during his working hours and before my shift started in Boots and were delighted to learn it was another boy… “a friend for Conall” etc.

giphy (36)I really took the piss in work… I hadn’t experienced the joys of an “Irish working pregnancy” before and I was cossetted beyond belief. I plonked my sizeable ass on a stool and served from there; not many people wanted to work beside me due to the horrendous flatulence I suffered with. My pregnancy was quite easy.. The only issue was breathlessness…. and at night I would dream of running in an open field taking large gulps of air as the air seemed thin and unsatisfying in my room and I would often wake Ossie to tell him this.

204786_10150149452923138_3984370_o (1)My baby’s due date was April 1st and I had my friends Aine and Susan over the day before for a playdate (their kids and mine, not us). I kept stopping mid-sentence to hold my belly and they were getting slightly concerned and made me ring Ossie who said he was on his way. We drove to the hospital late evening and I was told I was in early labour. This sped up considerably when my waters spontaneously broke on the bed and labour followed at 4am that morning. It was an easy enough birth with only 2 stitches and not too much pushing. He was and is such a good boy, arriving on his due date and causing minimal pain. The midwife was so lovely and said she had a private room free for us even though we were public and I was elated.

Koray was enormous and the nurses really thought he would weigh more than 9lb 6oz and I was experiencing post-birth euphoria while Ossie seemed concerned about something…he was a little blue in colour but nothing to worry about I thought. The midwife called for a doctor and explained to me that she suspected a heart murmur and not to worry; however we could not be given the private room as we would have to be close to the emergency services. I got into my bed on the public ward and turned towards the noise of a freight train snorer next to me. Ossie kissed me sympathetically and I told him to go home and get some sleep.

2011-06-01 15.18.46A nurse doing the rounds was concerned about Koray’s temperature and I had to put him down my top for what seemed like hours. Another nurse came and told me she had to take him off for an echo and would be back within the hour. I waited for what seemed like an eternity and my phone started to die. I asked a frazzled nurse if she could find me a charger and she said she’s see what she could do. An elderly dr came to talk to me then and said Koray had a poorly heart and he was going to have to stay under observation in the neonatal ward and someone would be with me shortly to take me there. I felt like I had been punched in the face and it was all made worse by the surrounding beds filled with “normal mothers and normal babies”. I rang the bell for the nurse and asked again for a charger and she snapped at me that she had lots to do and I shouldn’t ring the bell for such things. I tried to explain my predicament but started sobbing and she let me use the office phone to call Ossie and tell him to come back. I was escorted to the NICU and it is a scary place to be… my big baby filled the incubator and he was now attached to many, many wires. I’m a crier but I have never wept as much as I did sitting beside that incubator waiting on information. Eventually Dr Orla Franklin, a predominant paediatric cardiologist approached me and told me that Koray had as aortic stenosis. She was so kind and explained that if you were to have a heart condition that this was the one to have (this always stuck with me). He was to be taken to Crumlin as soon as there was a bed available. Ossie arrived and I was all out of tears… action had to be taken. I discharged myself from the Rotunda and as soon as we got news that Koray was to be moved… we drove to Crumlin children’s hospital.190894_10150149458863138_3062051_o

209823_10150149460023138_7193379_oHe was placed in a tiny cot and I took up residence beside him on a leather chair. A children’s cardiology wing is a real eye-opener and things began to gain perspective as I knew this little pudner would be ok. We stayed in the hospital for about 5 days and that is where he met all his immediate relatives for the first time and despite meeting them, he went from strength to strength. I breastfed him as much as possible and soon we could remove the wires.

Dr Franklin discharged him but we are still outpatients and have to visit yearly. He is normally told he is doing exceedingly well but on the last visit I was told that his faulty valve is leaking..he will need surgery but not for awhile. I don’t google this because I am happy not to know until I absolutely have to. He is thriving and you would never know anything was up with him.

He is a very clever, charming and loving little boy; He knows about his heart and will use the excuse my pipes hurt to get out of doing stuff ALOT! He climbs trees, swims, plays unsuitable video games behind my back; He is currently obsessed with saying bum and penis and I fear I am raising the next Adam Sandler. He is desperately handsome and is always surrounded with a little fan club of women… I don’t fear for his heart (maybe a lil bit) but for the ones he will break as a young player on the dating scene.