The Raging Roads

I love to go for an aul drive. Hit the minty highway as my Da used to say I have happy memories of my Dad letting down the back seat for us to sleep after a day trip to Dublin. In those days Dublin seemed a lot further away. It wasn’t something you’d do on a whim. It took planning and time and you’d make sure the neighbours knew you were going because who knew if you’d come back. I remember my father triple checking, the oil, and the wheels to set about on our adventure to the big smoke. We knew we had hit Dublin when you’d see the big ball and then the McDonalds sign on the long mile road. Kilkenny didn’t have a McDonalds at the time so it was as good as being in a foreign country.

My grandfather used to bring us on a drive out the Kells to buy batch bread and as we picked the middle out of the loaf there was this bridge he’d drive over at speed and his head would hit off the roof and our arses lifted off the seats and we just thought he was the coolest most daring Grandad anyone had ever! So in essence all my childhood associations with driving were fantastic. None of us had car seats it was squeeze in as many children as you can. My Uncle even had a hole in the floor of his car that we’d all fight to sit over so that we could watch the road fly by. We knew no danger.

We are not the worst in the world for deaths on our road and we have greatly improved. In the year I was born there were over 500 deaths down to 165 the year before last but the reason I thought to talk about driving and roads has got to do with the way the deaths are reported. It’s only recently that I heard a news report mention the actual road itself. I drive the road from Kilkenny to Abbeyleix a lot and there are large sections of road without so much as a cat’s eye to guide the way. It’s so dark that drivers who don’t know the road really well crawl at a snail’s pace which can be equally as dangerous as driving too fast.

We are a wet country… it rains a lot!!!! But it seems to come as a shock to our roads when a drop of water hits them and instead of letting it slide off and soak in somewhere. the roads like to gather the fallen rain in large amounts. Are they worried that driving windy roads in the dark with no illumination wasn’t enough of a challenge… they thought let’s throw in a few water hazards while we are at it.

They say that driving while tired is nearly as bad as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But once you get on a motorway in Ireland you could hit France before you could find somewhere safe to pull in and get a rest. There are various junctions in Kilkenny where the road markings are wrong or contradict what I learned in my rules of the road book all those many years ago. It really frustrates me.

The placements of pedestrian crossings are just laughable. At one junction you have to turn right from being perched on a hill only to turn to be hit bang in the face with the possibility of a mother her six kids and two dogs trying to cross the road.

I get that we are all human. Most of us have made what could be classed as a silly mistake, taken our eyes of the road or pulled out when we shouldn’t have but the state of our roads are a disgrace. Road markings are missing unfinished or simply worn away. I sometime wonder if the people who plan and construct the roads have ever been in a car in their lives. To prevent accidents you have to put the best of precautions in place. Sometimes it just feels to me like the roads are being designed to be against us.

Bedtime Battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. No the bedtime that I speak of is that of my three adorable children who, when it comes to going to getting them asleep, I like to refer to them as the spawns of Satan.

As a rational adult I cannot come to terms with the fact that at 7, 5 and 3 the children do not realise that every night without fail they have to go to sleep. I try to get across to them that this whole sleeping craic was not my idea. It’s not something I’ve conjured up to wreck their buzz or just be mean. This is a biological necessity.  When seven o’ clock arrives it’s like a shock to them that they have to go to sleep. It’s like it’s crept up on them unexpected like a big scary spider and the screams and protests are just as loud as if a big hairy one dropped onto their chubby little faces.

Now before the suggestions come flooding in I have tried many techniques. I have tried staggering the bedtimes starting at 7 with the youngest and working my way up to the eldest. Well sure I was putting children to bed for hours. It was like Groundhog Day from one child to the next, the teeth brushing the story telling the rubbing and me all the while doing my best not to fall asleep with each one. I’d start at 7 and I think I was still at it come half nine on more than one occasion.

I tried the whole bath and bedtime routine. Drops of lavender in the bath and nicely warmed towels all designed to soothe and relax. Well not my three reprobates. The water touched them and like gremlins they came alive.  They were drinking the bathwater and splashing each other and wriggling out of my hands like eels as I tried to wrestle them into their pyjamas. It was exhausting.

At the moment I’m at the stage where I’m turning off the electronics a half hour before bedtime to see if it will wind them down and prepare them for sleep. Paired with a story and lots deep breathes I can’t say that it’s getting any better. Macy has to have one story because she’s in a separate room and then to get the boys to agree on a story I’d need to employ a skilled negotiator and all the while I’m deep breathing to stop myself from putting a whole in the wall with my bare hands.

I’m sure it’s the same in every house with young children. But on a serious note I hate putting them to sleep when my last words to them are negative ones spouted out through gritted teeth. Every morning I explain to them how their behaviour was unacceptable the night before and how tonight has to be different and everyday they vow to do better and every day I believe them.

I’m studying at the moment and I need the evenings to get some work done or catch up on the housework and the longer it takes me to get them to bed the less time I have to get the things done that I’ll never have enough time to do anyway.

It’s not all about me despite what you may have heard. The Children need their sleep. I see such a difference in them when they have had a few nights of good quality sleep. It’s when their bodies grow and repair. It’s also the time that their brains organise all their thoughts from the day. Knowing my three the thoughts that they organising is new and inventive ways on how are they going to thwart their mother at bedtime tonight.  Is it 7 o clock yet? No? Great because I need time to prepare for tonight’s battle. Wish me luck.

 

 

Not a whorehouse

As most of you know I am single. This paired with motherhood has numerous challenges. How do I date while protecting my children? Where do I find someone to date? Where do I find the time to date? Now let’s park those issues to one side and deal with the real problem. The men!

This post is not going to be complimentary to the opposite sex. So I apologise to my three male readers but I am sick to death of men. I am going to illustrate my point with a scenario that occurred over the weekend.

I get a random message request. A guy who saw me recently from afar thought to text and ask me out. Now credit where credit is due. Not only was that brave but it was romantic and exciting. Of course I was flattered and proceeded to chat to see if a drink was something I’d be interested in pursuing.

Turns out he was a normal attractive funny guy with a cheeky sense of humour. We had great textual chemistry…. See what I did there. We text on Sunday and the initial scenario was that he would like to cook for me. I thought wow a real man willing to put in a bit of effort. I declined because I wouldn’t have a date in the house with the kids. So then it went to a meal and drinks. That was just as good. The flirting was peak and I giggled the weekend away.

Then there was a switch. I’m not sure what happened and I refuse to blame myself but the meal got dropped and it was just drinks. Then a text came to say he was going casual so to give me the heads up not to go full hog. Then it was sure will I just call over when the kids are settled.

Well that was it my back was up. I had indicated to the boy (demoted due to immature behaviour) that I had a fiery temperament but I had not expected to display it so quickly. I told him I couldn’t keep up that he kept changing his mind. Then the usual sermon came….I’m not looking for romance or anything serious I’m just looking for fun. Well hose me down lather rinse and repeat because I’m a woman of course my immediate thought was marriage. The first thing I thought when you text me was how will I pin this guy down?

So the following correspondence pretty much put the nail in the coffin of our relationship. I text. ‘I think what you are looking for is a whorehouse.’ It wasn’t taken too kindly to. I relented and said sure call up and we will chat and I was…. I think you call it ghosted…. That’s where you get ignored completely.

Now I wish that I could tell you that this incident was unique or isolated. Sadly it’s not. In the interests of fairness I have no idea what that guy is going through in his life and he’s probably lovely but this one was the straw that broke the camels back.

I’m sick of organising a baby sitter to have to suffer the humiliation of telling her that my date has let me down that she is no longer required. I’m sick of blokes thinking that they have to put in no effort and still expect sex. Just because you don’t want a relationship doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least still have respect.

I remember getting the shift when I was a teen. After you’d wonder were you gonna meet again. It was exciting and nerve wrecking and sometimes crushing. But if before that guy kissed me he had said …… Just to let you know I only want this kiss and that’s it ….. Well sure I wouldn’t have kissed him at all.

Not all women want a serious relationship but what we do want is respect. It wouldn’t hurt to put in a bit of effort. Being taken out, getting to dressed up and making an effort adds to the build up of eventually getting what we both want. Make no mistake I love sex. What I don’t enjoy is it being made clear that that’s all is required of me. Then my dear what you are looking for is a prostitute. If I were one sweet cheeks …. You couldn’t afford me!

I am slowly resigning myself to the fact that I am going to spend a long time alone maybe it will always be the way. I just don’t understand the modern way. Sometimes I think if you can’t beat them join them but I feel deep down its not for me. I’m a traditional girl. I like to have a relationship. I enjoy being a part of a couple and the last time I checked it was fun!! That being said I’m not opposed to short flings. That’s fun too.

So to wrap up the incident. I was fuming at being ignored. There is nothing worse to me. So I was trying not to turn 100% psycho. For my own closure I needed to say something. So I returned the pic of his dick he sent me. Said… Here you can have this back and a bit of manners wouldn’t go astray.

Case closed.

Next.

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

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My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

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You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen

 

 

 

I’m eating nothing!!

If you have read other posts you will be aware of my battle with the bulge. Without trying to sound dramatic, that wouldn’t be like me at all, I liken it to a serious addiction. Food is my drug of choice and I don’t know how to become rehabilitated. I literally flip flop from wanting to loose weight and swearing to make a massive effort to throwing in the towel and accepting that I’ll never be slim. That switch could happen at least four times an hour. Every time professing to anyone that will listen…. this time will be different…..and it never is.

Writing this tonight I’m in binge mode and weight loss is the furthest thing from my mind I’m having a fat food Friday and I’m loving every minute of it. Until tomorrow when I try on my jeans and I’m like 7 pounds of rice shoved into a 5 pound bag. (I think the correct  phrase is 7 pound of shit but you know… I didn’t want to be vulgar). Continue reading “I’m eating nothing!!”

Birth Story Numero Trois

There’s not a mother alive in this modern age that hasn’t shared her birth story with her nearest and dearest. In fact I’m pretty sure a lot of us have shared it with complete strangers from time to time. These stories are our right’s of passage into motherhood and we recite them like the folklore of Irish history. I know I tend to flesh mine out and I could give the Children of Lir a run for their money.

I will tell each birth story in turn but I’m going to start with my most recent birth just because I can remember it with greater ease. I can say with conviction that I am finished having children so I can reminisce fondly, safe in the knowledge that I will never have to go through it again.

This time two years ago I was waiting patiently for the birth of my third child. Having split with my partner I had to return home to my mother and it was a stressful time to say the least. Moving back home is hard regardless of the circumstances but I arrived not only with sacks of clothes but with two young boys and a bun in the oven (a pink bun by the way but ssssssshhhhhhh you’ll ruin the end of the story).  Not ones to dwell on the negative we just got on with things and tried to look forward to the new arrival as best we could. Continue reading “Birth Story Numero Trois”

Solo Warrior

We have many firsts as parents, first time to change a nappy, first time to be puked on, first time shopping for school uniforms…. the list is as long as it is varied. Well today I had a first. I probably won’t forget it in a hurry but not for the same warm fuzzy feelings that other ‘first’ memories bring to that corner of my tummy. Today I had my first, I suppose the only word for it is, altercation, with a fellow parent over one of my children.

A knock came to the door and I was greeted with a very irate man wanting to know why his daughter was upset over something that I had said to her. Yes me! Not my son but me, a grown middle-aged woman had upset a young child. Not one of my finer moments I can admit without hesitation.

Now I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of the conversation because I would be extremely tempted to fill in my part of the conversation with many phrases and quick-witted remarks that I wish I had said, as opposed to what actually occurred. I will expect plenty of private mails looking for the finer details. What I will say is that I did  speak to the children and tell them to play nicely with one another and asked them not to exclude my son.

In hindsight maybe having words with other people’s children is not a great idea…. lesson learned. This upset the child and in turn upset her father and a conversation followed where we both defended our own as you do and parted agreeing to speak to the children about their behaviours towards each other.

Of course for the rest of the evening my mind was flooded with thoughts of what had happened. My role in the events and my son’s role and how could I have behaved better and how do I help him improve his behavior towards others?

Do I stand by my son and defend him to the death….

My child would never do such a thing!

When I see a parent approaching my door do I turn my head and automatically assume his guilt regardless of the circumstances?

What did you do?

It’s one of the first times in a long time that I really felt like a single parent. I had no one to bounce the situation off of. No one to help me rationalise. No one to debrief after the big scary man came up and gave out to me. No one to have my back. No one to calm me when I swore blind that the children would never see the light of day again and no one to hug me when I felt extremely vulnerable.

The conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t come to a conclusion. I couldn’t wrap this up in a little bow and tidy it away. I realised that I don’t want to be a naive parent and pretend that I don’t think that my child is capable of being mean to others. Of course he is. Along with every other child on the planet. They are all horrible to one another at some stage. I also feel like I want to defend him to the death because he’s my cub and I’m a mama bear and if I won’t defend him who will?

I did learn that I won’t be talking to other children about their behaviors. It’s a modern approach to parenting because in my childhood days if any adult spoke to you, you did what you were told and if you complained to your mother you were told where to go. I’m not sure that it’s a great parenting development but it’s here and it’s not going anywhere. I’m also going to shift my focus. I can’t control how other people treat my son but I can help shape how he responds.

I’m off to have a vodka because this scummy mummy has had enough for one day. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the summer. I may pull the curtains and pretend I’m not here!

Be well

Ellen

 

Imaginosity

I’ve only just recently overcome the fear of bringing my wee family places by myself. All too often I have recruited family and friends with the inner feeling that I just couldn’t cope  alone. Well this day I decided I was bringing my brood up the the big smoke to Imaginosity, the children’s museum in Sandyford. I will confess I was meeting a friend up there but that was more for a catch up then the support that I had grown to crave.

Preparations always begin the night before you are going anywhere. I had gathered the clothes that I wanted them to wear and placed them in neat piles on our snack table. Our snack table is a breakfast counter but my boys could not understand the concept so we rechristened it the snack table much to their delight. They seem to be the only ones who have a snack table in their house….. course you are boys because it’s a totally made up thing!!!!!

I packed a change of clothes for each child. I did only pack one change of underwear and socks between the boys because like seriously what are the chances that both of them would get destroyed all the way down to their underwear. As that thought popped into my head I already felt like I was tempting fate. Then I thought feck it…. first one to get wrecked gets the underwear…… number two will be going commando! A few snacks in the bag and I was ready to rock.

Up and at it early I put on the face while the lads ate their breakfast. All bustled into the dinky and hit the minty highway. I was driving like the stig in a dress and totally loving life. I somehow managed to overestimate how long it takes to get to Dublin these days. We were booked into Imaginosity for 11:30 and I’m sat in the car park at 10:10.  Never fear nothing a bag of jellys and Justin Beiber on the radio couldn’t solve.

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We scrambled out of the car and made our way to reception where we signed in and got our stamp on our hands. The place was choc a block full of small children who didn’t really know what was going on. The staff made an announcement of all the little rules and no one listened. And no I’m not talking about just the children. There was one woman who spoke on her mobile the whole way through it. I had to have a word with myself to calm as I had visions of myself grabbing her phone and flinging it out the door.

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Our session began and we made our way up the stairs and a world of chaos unfolded in front of my eyes. I hadn’t put Macy down when the boys were gone no where to be seen. Every corner had something to discover and explore. A supermarket and post office, a diner and a bed to play doctors and nurses. Another floor filled with a mock news room and stage equiped with costumes and lights. Science mixed with play mixed with education.

Although the session was sold out I can’t say that it felt packed. There was so much to see and do that children moved on regularly to allow the next child their turn. The wonderful part was seeing parents role playing with their kids in the supermarket and a Dad operating the lights on the stage for his daughters production. It brought out the child in the adults too.

The session lasted two hours and mine were just about getting hungry and looking to go as it drew to an end. This was of course after my son went down the stairs and helped himself to a toy out of the toy shop. I said to him…..

‘you cannot steal a toy….you have a brother and sister…. you have to steal three!!!!!

What actually happened was a very sheepish apology to a staff member who was very understanding. Thank the lord. We headed back to the car and all the lads wanted was good aul McDonald’s. Onto google and we found the nearest one and they devoured every morsel they were starvin marvin. Loaded back into the dinky and they all snored the whole way home while I murdered Adele songs while making up my own words.

I really enjoyed the day. There was no fighting no tears and it all went smoothly. I think the big bonus of Imaginosity was how safe it felt. Bringing three anywhere is daunting but it felt very secure. We will be looking forward to our next adventure.. And I might ever tell ye all about it.

Stay safe

Ellen

 

 

Service with a Smirk

Although I am a stay at home mother  every year at Christmas I am fortunate enough to get work in the local Ice Rink. Every year the owners recognise the skills that I have and implore me to become a vital part of a vibrant team of young ambitious workers. There’s that and the fact that the owners are my aunt and uncle!! Either way I love being a part of the work force even for such a short time.

Serving the public is not for the faint of heart. The vast majority of people are kind and courteous, wait their turn and are grateful for anything that you can do for them. Then there are the others……

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A great source of amusement at the box office was the numerous people who would attempt to get a ticket at a reduced rate. 12 and over is a adult ticket so therefore logic would dictate you had to be 11 to get the more appealing price for a child. Men at least 6 foot tall with a mustache would plead innocence when challenged about their age. You gotta  love a trier.

Standing in the skate dock one afternoon a lady on the ice grabbed my attention. She sat her child over the barrier and said to me without a smile on her face said. ‘Is he supposed to have skates on him?’ It took me a minute to actually understand the situation. She had come to a rink, paid €13 to bring her child out on the ice and somehow thought that he did not have to put ice skates on to go ice skating on ice. My jaw still drops when I think about that one.

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Working behind the shop could be full of fun. Once such phenomenon is the six giggling teens who all want a diet coke and a bar. Here’s the catch… they all stand behind one another and order individually… the…. exact….same….thing. No chance of…. Oh while you are over there all five of us want drinks. Nope. They would rather see my little legs work like a flintstone outcast over and back and over and back. On the plus side it was great exercise.

Well it’s all said and done for another year and I feel lucky to have been a part of the team. It gave me an outlet from the children and also made me feel very lucky to be able to stay at home and watch them grow. See you all for the next big freeze!!!