Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Why I Run

One evening very recently I drew a complete blank and could not for the life of me remember the name of the boy who was standing in front of me.  Talking to me.  It was my son.

Am I stressed?

I had the shopping list in my hand but still came home without some items.

Am I stressed?

I have woken up and had trouble, real trouble, remembering what day it is.

Am I stressed?

A friend of Mister Husbands called to the house.  I knew something significant had happened to him since Christmas.  I could not remember what it was.  I avoided him because I knew it would be expected of me to say something but I did not know what to say about something I could not remember. His mother had died.

Am I stressed?

I allowed my five year old non swimmer into the water without his armbands on.  I turned and walked back into the cubicle where the two smallest were waiting for me.  With the armbands.  Too late.  The five year old had to be hauled up out of the water by his older brother.

Am I stressed?

Another evening my chest was tight and I developed a maddening itch all over my body.  Everywhere.  I clawed at myself looking for relief.  As soon as the noise and the stress of the evening abated, the irritation disappeared.

Am I stressed?

One night I woke up in the boy’s bedroom.  I don’t remember leaving my own bed and walking across the hallway.  But I do remember thinking I heard someone crying.  No-one was.  I went back to bed.

Am I stressed? 

I went for a lie-down one Sunday afternoon and after an hour I heard Smallest Boy crying downstairs.  I bolted out of the bed, convinced it was Monday morning and we had slept in. It took me a few seconds to remember why I was dressed and that it was not Monday.

Am I stressed?

I was nervous driving.  To me, I was travelling in slow motion but the other traffic was moving too fast.  Way too fast.  Traffic lights seemed to appear out of the blue.  I saw things out of the corner of my eye that were not there.  Shadows and movements.

Am I stressed?

I think I am.  Or at least, I was.  I get bouts of this every now and again and I am at a loss as to what to do about it. 

A lovely friend confided that she feels like this sometimes too and we chatted about raging PMS And just getting older.  We laughed and wondered if maybe we should just suck it up. 

Well, I decided to say fuck that instead.

I questioned why I feel so badly in winter and not so badly during summer months.

For me, I feel it has a lot to do with the light and exercise.  There is a definite link there.  Dark mornings, short and stumpy, dull, grey days with early evenings, are not my friend.  I find it hard to exercise in the winter.  I am not a fan of jumping around in front of a DVD in a warm room.  I’ve done it because I have had to but give me fresh air and a half hour outside any day.   

Then I remembered someone asking me, out of the blue, some time back, why do I run?

This is what I told her.

“I run because it's amazing. It didn't start out like that. I did it for a shits and giggles thing, to see "if I could." And I did. The buzz I got that day when I completed my little 3.8k circuit without stopping is still with me. I run because when I don't, I feel like this. Shit! Depressed and stir crazy. It helps enormously with my winter blues and it really, truly makes me feel better. I feel energised and able to face the day and the kids! I should feel that it is also important my kids see me active and sporty, but to be honest, at the moment I don’t give a toss about that. I am doing it for me and the mental health benefits I reap. Initially I started walking to lose weight and running has become an extension of that. Three stone down and still going. I've another 9lbs or so to reach my very pre pregnancy weight of 9.5 stone. The 5k thing, as in a race, gives me something to train for. This year I would like to complete a 10k circuit. I got to 7k last year and hit a wall. But I am determined to get there this year.”

It is now the end of February and it is bright up to and after 6pm of an evening.  The mornings are awake at 7am; birds are singing and there is blessed light.

This last week alone I have been out running five times.  Usually I manage the weekends only.  And a lovely, lovely bonus is I am now bringing Juno with me.

I get the hand licked off me as we run, side by side and thanked in full when we get home. 

If anyone has any tips on how to get her to stop humping me, I would appreciate it!!!!

Dear Reader, running rocks.  It just does.  Try it.  #notsostressedanymore

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.”

And so the children’s nursery rhyme goes.  I’m not quite that bad.  I don’t live in a shoe, on the contrary.  And I certainly do know what to do with my children.  I don’t think I have too many, but I know I don’t have enough time.

When I take a moment to look at our home, I mean really look at it, I can see how beautiful it could be.  How beautiful it will be.

In ten to fifteen years’ time, that is. 

Just a short while ago, Smallest Boy was clambering up onto a chair to sit beside me at the table, and the seat fell off, so he fell through the frame of the chair.  Except he was quick enough to jam his foot against the side so he was left safely dangling.  The previous evening, I removed another of these chairs because the leg buckled as I sat down and the chair heaved to one side.  That makes two with seats that fall off or if I am to be completely honest, taken off by the lads.  The others are chewed to within an inch of their wooden lives.  (Maybe that’s why one of them buckled underneath me)

When you drive up to our house the first thing that your eye rests on is the toilet roll sitting in the bathroom window.  It is like a beacon and it draws you to the fact that we do not have proper toilet roll holders in our house.  Currently, thanks to having a resident 22 month old and a 7 month puppy, toilet roll has to be placed up high.  Way up high. 

I walked round with a bucket of paint a short while ago, doing a patch up job on areas like the walls at the dining room table, around the sink in the bathroom, the window in the kitchen and around the fire place in the dining room.

Needn’t have bothered.  It is all modern art-ed again.  With Nutella and the colouring materials they received for Christmas.

Our lovely doors, in particular the architraves, look like wood worm has taken up residence.   
On closer inspection you can see that it is not a woodworm infestation, but an attack of the three and a half year old wielding a hammer and some masonry nails.  

What else?  Oh, yes.  Juno, our lovely, shiny black dog is slowly but methodically tearing up the floor. 

Everything is wrecked either by the kids or the dog.  If it is not chewed up, it is written on. 

We do possess one or three nice paintings that we happened upon BC (Before Childers) and as their very nature decrees that they be hung, they are safe enough.  You could get great mileage out of the cobwebs hanging from them though.  I know, I know.  I can’t blame the kids for that one. 

I would dearly like some new curtains.  Proper ones.  With lining.  But there is no way we can hang decent (expensive) curtains at present because we cannot afford expensive curtains due to the need to eat and that other pesky matter of keeping the roof over our heads.

Also the lads would use said expensive curtains as jungle vines.  I kid you not.  They see our furniture as gym apparatus.  The five year old has perfected a somersault off the fridge freezer and onto the couch. 

So you can see how frustrating it would be to invest in some home improvements.  

Yes, we have a home with strong potential to be beautiful.   One that will come into its own when the inhabitants move elsewhere.  In the meantime I am glad of the excuse not to kill myself cleaning.  What’s the point?  The lads will only view my work as a blank canvas for their, not so clean, work.

I am also aware, however, that when that time comes for our casa to emerge from its chrysalis, Mister Husband and I will be making ours.  We most likely will be approaching our wrinkly dotage and if I can’t seem to muster up the energy and/or interest now to give it the care and attention it deserves, that’s not looking like it’s going to happen in the next 15 years either.

After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Valentine's Day Used to Suck

Today's post is brought to you via the Irish Parenting Bloggers Group and the letter M.  I am honoured and delighted to be included in a virtual baby shower in the form of a Blog March, a cyber-nod to Aine and Lisa, the two ladies who look after us all so well in Blogger Land.    Áine, who is on a blogging break at the moment, had a baby girl, Miss Mouse, in January and Lisa who writes at is due to have her baby girl in March, a Little Sister for Little Man.   There will be a post each day to celebrate the birth of their babies.  Last evening, got the ball rolling with A mother blessing for my blogger mama friends.  Tonight it is my turn to lead the celebrations. 

I have never received a Valentine’s Day card.  There.  I’ve admitted it out loud.  Never, ever did our postman deliver to me a pink or red envelope on Valentine’s Day. 

All together now, “awwwwwww!”

All is not lost, however, I did receive a few that were hand delivered but everyone knows that doesn’t count.  The important cards are the secret admirer ones.

One time I even forgot that it was Valentine’s Day such was my poor me attitude.  I was in the dentist’s chair with a numb face and he asked me how many did I expect to get?

For a second I thought he was talking about fillings or extractions.  The semi-botoxed mouth on my face must have registered my “wha?” of panic; he remembered where I was and quickly said, “Cards!  Valentine’s cards!”

That was worse.  At least I knew there would be a filling or two.  The faint prospect of a “maybe” when it came to receiving a Valentine’s Day card was almost too much to bear. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

Like I said I did receive some nice Valentine’s Day gifts and gestures.

Once I was even taken out for dinner.  To Abrakebabra.  We stayed in the car and ate our spicy churned up meat stuff on chips.  Then went home.  Stingy Bastard!

I was never was, and still am not, a fan of Hallmark Day, sorry Valentine’s Day meals in restaurants, but even I was a tad embarrassed by that fast food outing.

Another time a gorgeous flower arrangement made its way to my desk in front of 30 odd work colleagues.

Thrilled?  Me?  I was only purple with delight.  (Mister Husband is not a stingy bastard) 

In the same way that Christmas is for kids, Valentine’s Day is strictly reserved for love struck teenagers and newlyweds.  It is a nice sentiment. But that is all it is – a sentiment.

I like to receive chocolates and flowers out of the blue rather than because a date on the calendar dictates that I should.

So for all of you out there embarking on rose mantic weekend breaks away, bling, posh chocolates and bubbly; enjoy.

Because it won’t last you know.

Before you know it you’ll be glad to get breakfast in bed consisting of half boiled eggs, cold tea and toast with bites taken out of it.  Propped up on the corner of your tray will be a card, quite possibly with marmalade on it, made in school the day before. 

But you know what?  Those are the best Valentine’s presents. 


Please check back here each day for the link to the next post.  Irish Parenting Bloggers can be followed on Twitter using the hash tags #virtualbabyshower and #BlogMarch. Tomorrow it will be the turn of

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Tricky Questions

“Do you ever get tired of shouting at the kids?”

I got asked this out of the blue at the school gate once.  For a split second I toyed with pretending to be indignant and shocked at the very idea that I would even raise my voice at my kids, let alone shout at them.  But I thought, nah.  She wouldn’t buy it.

I sighed in defeat.  Yes, I said, in fact I think they are immune to it by now.

So I shout.  I’m not proud of it.  I shout.  But in my defence (she says shame facedly) I have to shout in order to be heard over the Awesome Foursome.  They wake up loudly and go to bed loudly.  And do loud stuff in the middle.  Even the baby has a voice that would make your ears bleed.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they did one day but Mister Husband reckons it was only tomato sauce.

Screecher Creature No. 4 used to be the quietest, most laid back, chilled out little dude imaginable.   I’ve been told by someone in the know, he was what is referred to in all good spy thrillers; a sleeper.  In other words, waiting, just biding his time.  Sitting there watching his brothers.  Taking it all in, sucking it all in.  All the noise, all the mayhem, all the chaos until he sees fit to join them.  And join them he did about five months ago.  So in order to be heard above his ear splitting shrieks and the various other decibel breaking world record attempts by the other three, shouting is necessary in our house. 

“How do you handle the frustration?”

What happens in group stays in group but at our last meet up in December this was a question put to me by another mother.   Sometimes I don’t handle the frustration at all, I am afraid, and these are the days when I want the kids to poo all at the same time.  And the dog.  None of this having to wipe an arse or shovel shit every hour. 

These are the days when I literally have to remove myself from the room ergo them, because all of my senses are on overload and it hurts!  Every scream, every laugh, every shout, every bark, every bloody thing bounces against the walls of my skull and makes me think terribly uncharitable thoughts.

Sometimes I live in fear of one of them escaping in the car and putting their hands around my neck as I am driving home. (only joking) (kind of)

In group, I find myself on numerous occasions, retelling, with hand gestures and sometimes sound effects, yet another loud and crazy scene in our house.  The mothers with two or more kids are delighted with me because apparently, it goes on in their houses too.  The other mothers, those with just one baby of 13 days old, tend to look at me in horror.  I can see it in their frozen and slightly panicked smiles; she lives in an asylum!  Why is she laughing?

“I am struggling.”

It takes a village to raise a child and we don’t have villages any more.  

I find myself on many occasions wondering how my mother ever managed.   

She didn’t drive.  She was without a phone.  The Wonderful World Wide Web hadn’t been invented yet.   One week I was without all three and the isolation almost killed me. 

Sometimes, on days like this, I feel like I am imagining things.    I wonder why I am finding all of this so hard.  It’s what I wanted.  Isn’t it?  I am very grateful for my blessings.  Other people have real problems.  I remind myself that each day is only 24 hours long.  I tell myself I should be able to go from 7am till after 8pm without eating, visiting the toilet, taking a break, having some time to myself and constantly serving others.  All the time and always with a smile on my face.

Well.  Would you take a ball and bounce it against a wall for 12 or 14 hours straight?  By yourself.  With no-one to chat to whilst you are doing it?  Of course you wouldn’t.  But we are all expected to look after our kids under the same boredom levels.  It takes a village to raise a child.  We don’t live in villages anymore.     

“What’s the most expensive baby item you ever bought?”

It was a cup of coffee.  That’s right, a cup of coffee.  But it was the most expensive cup of coffee I ever bought.  It cost about thirty six euro.  Oh, wait.  The coffee cost about eight quid.  The couple of hours in the crèche in Dundrum Shopping Centre cost twenty eight euro.  Two of the best cups of coffee Mister Husband and I had in a long time.  The first uninterrupted cups of coffee in months.  As the add goes; priceless. 

We also parted with almost one hundred euros to be yelled at, pushed, poked, prodded, annoyed at first and then slowly pissed off.  Our food was spilled, dropped on the floor. I’ll stop there.  It was one of many meals out with the kids.        

I read two things last month that were of great interest to me.  I haven’t forgotten them.  The first one was: “Parenting is a journey through a foreign country – find travelling companions.” 

And the other piece was: “The only good thing I ever read from a parenting book was “if you feel you are going to hurt your child – leave the room.”

We will always have questions and if we are fortunate some of them will be answered.  At the end of it all though there is only one answer to the main one: “Do you regret it?”

It might be hard.  Given the chance to “do over” I would definitely make lots of different changes.  But not choices.  I might wish for parts of my old life back.  But I have never regretted any of my kids.