Wednesday 25 September 2013

Let Autumn In

I have always felt “melancholy” towards the end of summer. When I was younger, the very first sight of the harvest being taken in would strip me of something.  It used to feel like my soul; like it was the slow death of something.  Something sucking the lifeblood out of nature.

Told you I felt melancholy.     

This year was no different. Kind of.

For the last week or so I have been woken each morning by flocks of swallows dive-bombing the gable end of the house, cherry picking the daddy long legs that cling to the wall.  Stocking up before they make their flight to sunnier climes. 

When I go for a walk in the garden, the diehards that are left swoop and chatter above my head as they dip and dive for tasty flies.

Pretty soon, the skies will be empty.

When it is the very early days of spring I know which trees bud first.  In the same way, when autumn is chomping on the heels of summer, I know exactly where to look for the first red and brown leaves.

I think I’m primed to looking.  I can’t help it.  I look until I find.

From the beginning of August I knew each and every tree on the road with even just a tiny section changing colour. 

Now I don’t have to look.  Every tree has a red, orange or brown section.  Driving under a canopy of trees at a set of traffic lights each morning, I am guaranteed to have a couple confetti down onto the car.

Autumn is in.  Whether I like it or not.

And if I am to be totally honest it’s probably not autumn that bothers me; more the fact that winter follows autumn.

I don’t dig winter.

This year, though, I decided to face facts and let autumn in. 

It helps that, in my opinion, autumn is probably the most beautiful of the seasons and in that respect, my second favourite. 

I also happen to like Halloween more than Christmas and as that falls at the end of October it is another reason to put on my happy face.

Who doesn’t like a good bonfire on a darkening evening; the kids get to go trick or treating and enjoy their mid-term break.

One of my favourite blogs is called myinternalworld.  From the moment I discovered it, I felt she was talking to me.  She always has something to say, something that reaches out and connects with me. 

One of her recent posts, What Autumn Gives has inspired this blog post.

One piece of advice that struck a chord with me was fake it till you make it.  In other words, even if you don’t feel very cheerful, pretend you are.

Last weekend I went outside into the warm autumn sun and knelt down on the damp earth to plant spring bulbs.  Literally planting proof that summer is on its way when they peep above the ground next April.

Just this morning I didn’t feel like it when I woke up, but I decided I was going to bring 
Lovely Liam, Smallest Boy and Juno to the park after the school run.

We collected Gruffalo nuts, also known as acorns, for a nature table and for ourselves to plant as we do every year. 

Juno made two new doggy friends and I was hugged skinny by the boys for “an awesome visit to the park.”

I might have stumbled on the not so secret, secret, folks; keep it simple.  By far the way to go. Forget the Big Stuff. 

Take a moment to enjoy what is happening around you now and most of all, let autumn in.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

A&E Round Two

At the time of writing I was waiting for Mister Husband and Shy Boy to come home from A&E.

Nothing serious.  History repeating itself which kept me calm.   I knew what to expect so I was not the least bit surprised when A&E was his last port of call for the day.

Shy Boy woke with a whistle and a wheeze in his chest.  He went to school as normal but on coming home it was clear he needed to see the GP.

Over the course of an hour he had two rounds of a nebulizer plus a dose of steroids.

His oxygen levels improved and I was glad to see his complexion pinking up but he was still “tugging” with his breathing.

So for the second time in as many months, and it has to be said, years, we visited A&E.

When Shy Boy was 7 months old he had a particularly nasty case of bronchiolitis and he needed to be nebulized.

For as long as I can remember he has had a loud, sharp bark, particularly at night.  Not totally unlike a seal.

On occasion I would notice a wheeze in his chest but it never developed.

Monday we were told he most likely had several small asthma episodes over the years but as they were minor, we didn’t notice.

Straight away I remembered the handful of wheezing, coughing and chesty issues he had.  A year ago on summer holidays, he asked for “a go” of Oldest Boy’s puffer to help his chest.

Something worth noting, if a child is to develop asthma, it will be by the time they are two or three years old.  Not older.  And as a result, there is a strong possibility they will grow out of it. 

Within twenty four hours Shy Boy was all but 100% improved.  I kept him home from school, more for my own peace of mind than anything else.  But I also wanted to make sure he knew how to use his puffer correctly.

Then he told me Oldest Boy had come to him in the school yard to see if he was ok and my heart almost did two things; burst with pride for Oldest Boy keeping a concerned eye on his younger brother and broke with the guilt of sending Shy Boy to school when he was feeling so badly.

But there is a lovely upside to the whole episode.

Shy Boy was in great form altogether.

I can quite honestly say I have not seen him so chipper in quite a while.

I think the small bit of attention he received did wonders for his self-worth.  I think he thoroughly enjoyed the one on one time with his daddy the night before.  The half hour journey to the hospital in the van, the treats afterwards and when he got home, I slept in beside him.

He’s great now.  He needs his puffer a lot during the day to help his chest but this is expected to decrease considerably until he may not need it so regularly.  If at all.

This evening, he is coughing a little bit but hasn’t requested his puffer at all.

I think he’s almost cured.  Now all I have to do is purchase a large staple gun somewhere to keep his clothes on.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Days Like This

“Well, my mama told me, there’ll be days like this.”  She’s not wrong, Van Morrison’s mama.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, the day didn’t start too great.  For starters I had a headache and felt strangely, hideously hung-over.

If I’m going to feel like this, I remember thinking, I want to see several empty bottles of wine when I go downstairs.

It being a school day, that wasn’t going to happen.

Then Smallest Boy, having been freed from the confines of his cot, came wandering in, tights clutched in his hand.

I got a big forehead touch and a nose rub before he proceeded to scramble in beside me.  I was then treated to a “go” of his tights which involved having them rubbed along my nose and cheek.  His little way of sharing his comforter with me.

The headache lingered until I finally gave in and took a pain killer.  After that everything just perked right up.

Every cloud has a silver lining and my headache had a lovely, glittery edge.

Because I had been feeling so awful I decided to do just what needed doing.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

So I took a moment.  Actually I took lots of them!

I drank cups of ginger and zesty lemon tea.  I ate scrambled eggs.

I went for a walk around the garden. 

Smallest Boy was having a decadent early morning nap and Lovely Liam tagged along with me.  We walked amongst the swooping, chattering swallows and kept an eye out for ladybirds.  They are definitely not as plentiful as they were last month.

We went back inside and I made some mini-buns.  The recipe yields around 30 so I put some aside for Lovely Liam to take to school that afternoon.

We watched The Gruffalo.  A gorgeous half hour of animated loveliness and we made a pretty good attempt at reciting the lines ourselves.

Shy Boy came home from school and ran straight into my arms for a hug. 

He had homework for the first time since going back to school and because Oldest Boy was on a play date, he had me all to himself.  He took out his pencil and work sheet and we sat together for ten, Zen minutes as he finished his obair bhaile. 

The day could not have been as chilled had I put in a personal request.  Fights were few and far between.  I had one less school run to do, the one that is usually the most stressful as sometimes I need to wake Smallest Boy and I really, really dislike this.

I believe your body sends you little signals, advising you, encouraging you to slow down and take it easy.  If you don’t listen to them, they get more persistent.

Mine was only a headache.  But I never get headaches.  It was my second one in three days.

I’m glad I listened.  I could have gone hell for leather after taking pain relief but I chose not to.

I’m glad I listened. 

Wednesday 4 September 2013


Hugs are good.  Hugs are great.  Even the loud, half asleep ones, at silly o’clock. 

I wasn’t always so fond of hugs.

But my boys learned me.  They showed me the warm and fuzzy way. 

Over the last few years I have seen too many people depart from this world to be awkward about a hug anymore.

When Lovely Liam was but a wee baby, he would wake at the aforementioned silly o’clock for a kiss and a hug. 

It was hard.  It was frustrating.  But that was what he wanted and he wasn’t going back to sleep until he got one. 

Today, at four years old, he will turn to me, countless times every day and tell me he loves me.  Sometimes he punctuates it a wink, deadly serious, and returns to his telly watching. 

Once I found him staring straight at me. He silently mouthed “I love you,” nodded and 
looked away.

I told myself it was not a bit weird, it was lovely and one day, not too far away in the near future, there will come a time when all four of them will cross the road in order not to be seen with me.

That could be starting already.

Shy Boy will run ahead at the school gate of a morning so I can’t kiss him goodbye.  But he wants me to give chase and of course I do, because he really does want that kiss and cuddle before he goes to his classroom, even if he goes about it in a not so obvious way.

Oldest Boy has already looked at me with sheer horror and fear when I ask him for a kiss gate.

Alas, he means it so I don’t pursue.

According to we need at least 8 hugs a day and being enveloped by someone can raise your serotonin levels, which elevates your mood.

You’ll be glad to hear they also reckon a hug can strengthen your immune system.   

Amongst other things hugging boosts self-esteem, relaxes muscles, balances the nervous system and my favourite claim is they teach us how to give and receive.

So go on.  Give someone a free hug today.

It’s not a bit weird.

You know you want to.