This Is The End

I haven’t blogged in so long it almost feels pointless to say this, but friends, this is the end of our fanny-hurting journey. As my boys get older and closer to being able to use Google, I realise that I don’t want to be sharing our stories as much any more.

What this blog was, and will remain to be, is a love letter to my sons. If they find themselves stumbling across it in years to come, I hope they feel even a tiniest bit of the complete, overpowering love that I have for them. With that sentiment, I will end with a letter to my lads.

Thank you for reading me, thank you for becoming my friends, and thank you for holding my hand across the sometimes lonely parenting ethers.

Dear Matthew and Mikey,
Right now, I am crammed, sardine-like between your sleeping selves. Mikey, you are snoring and taking up most of the bed, and Matthew, you are lying as much on me as the sheet, your leg snaking around mine as an alarm bell, should I attempt to make an escape (I won’t dare, by the way).

If you are grown up and reading this, I want you to know that you are my greatest bliss. I am quite a shouty person, but I think I shout “I love you!” Just as much as “put down that bloody biscuit”. Just in case, I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MY MOON AND STARS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN.

You are now nearly four and nearly three, and like to run and shout and build immense train sets that take up our whole downstairs. Recently, you’ve started holding hands, and every time I see you do it my heart feels like it’s going to explode out of my chest. Matthew, you take your role as a big brother very seriously. Today you spent ten intense minutes teaching Mikey how to chew a jelly. Mikey, you follow him around like a duckling, determined never to let you littler brother status overtake you.

Thank you for inspiring my writing for the last four years, and for giving me endless hilarious circumstances to share. I hope that this archive of our early years together gives you pleasure in years to come, and that I haven’t mortified you too much….(sorry teenage you).

I love you,

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Good news, and YAAAY IT’S WINTER

First of all, thank you to all the people who took the time to email, comment, Facebook or tweet me about the night terrors; you absolutely can’t know how much it has helped us. We have had marvellous success with Indigo Essences, and understanding what actually happens when you have a night terror (from people who still suffer from them) has enabled us to help Mikey through them. Things are looking up.

In more ways than one, because IT IS WINTER. This is amazing on so many levels. Mainly, because I can stop pretending that I’m not fat, and casually eat cake and cloak myself in giant, drapey knitwear that has no problem with my flab. It is JOYOUS.

Also, food. I LOVE winter food. I love cooking it, I love the way my house smells when I am slow cooking something amazingly delicious, and mostly, I love feeding people during the winter months. Rib-sticking roasts, baked hams, cheesy broccoli gratins – they are all firmly back on our weekly menu, and I am flipping delighted.

Lastly, wine. OH WINE. For the last few years, the fella and I have been very abstemious, barely touching a drop. Sure with the lack of sleep and constantly screaming babies, there was a year or two where we could barely lift our heads to say hello before flopping on the couch with a family-sized Turkish Delight and an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. During the summer, we brought back wine night, and it has been a revelation. We are back to having a laugh and a chat and all the things that a relationship should have, but mostly gets sidelined when the little people take over.

So there you are now. Hope you’re having a good week, and not wanting to die because it’s Midterm and the kids are going mad and the floor is all wet because it’s raining in a biblical fashion.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Night Terrors

Just when I thought that I had exhausted (literally) all aspects and topics of lack-of-sleep, my darling Mikey has gifted us all with a new one.

For the last two months we have been living in the throws of the night terrors. This horrifying situation means that, anything from three to thirty times a night Michael will start to scream as though he is in agony. His body will go rigid, he will thrash about, pushing us away. All with his eyes closed. It is absolutely terrifying.

All we want to do is help him. All we want to do is soothe him. Sometimes, to be truthful, I want to tell him to shut up, but that’s only when there has been no sleep for many many nights, and I am tipping over the edge into insanity.

This morning, the whole family woke up at 3am and the day began. After many niggly thoughts about potential dark and dangerous health issues he could be suffering to make him this way (despite the fact that frantic middle-of-the-night googling had diagnosed night terrors), I took him to the GP this morning.

His diagnosis? Night terrors. Do nothing. Don’t touch him. Preferably put him in his own room with the door closed so that his shrieking won’t wake us up. Ignore him, because this could go on for a long while yet.

This is not acceptable to me. I can’t ignore my child, who for whatever reason is clearly working his shit out in his sleep. I feel like there is some leftover trauma in his body and he’s releasing it in the only way he knows how. I FEEL so desperate. I feel, I feel, I feel.

But what about Mikey? How does he feel? This, my friends, is the most terrible thing. He can’t communicate his feelings to me in a way that I can understand. I can’t tell if he is scared, or worried, or remembering something from the dark corner of his memory, that might be distorted and that I could put right for him. How do I help him? How do I help us?

I have left my name for an appointment with Pamela Synge, who the world seems to rave about when it comes to cranial osteopathy – I think this may be the key to unlocking the overall sleep issue. I have ordered a slew of indigo essences, which help our whole family in times of need, and hopefully will help us now.

How about you? Have YOU experienced night terrors? Tell me your experience. Tell me your stories. Enlighten me. It’s a clarion call.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

I went on an online date

Last Saturday I got a blow dry, painted my nails, shaved my legs and applied seventeen layers of foundation. When I was done, I went on an online date.

NO, you scurrilous brats, it was a date of MOTHERS. Nineteen glorious, beautiful, hilarious and FUNNY members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers met up at the Irish Blog Awards in Clane. It was possibly the rowdiest Ma Date I have ever been on, but my Jesus it was good fun.

I was the worst behaved of everyone who attended.

I blame my nerves and over-excitement, but all I know is, before dessert was served, this Mama was falling arse over tits at the dinner table. Multiple Times.

Then, I danced shamefully, and tried to drag some very young girls up onto the dance floor, screaming “You only live once! Sure lookit me! I’m a MA!”. They declined. Multiple Times.

I drank shots, I spilled shots, I kissed all the women at my table, and a few at the next. I hugged the world, told them all I loved them. Multiple Times.

When Kate and Niamh decided it was time for me to go home (it was, we were the only people left), I threw a strop and then we crashed another party where there were computer people dancing to eighties music. We joined in.

While there is no denying that the hangover and giant fear cloud that I dealt with yesterday was a grave, grave punishment for my antics on Saturday night, it was GAS. I met women who I have admired for years, and it was so gratifying to know that they are as deadly, if not more so, than in real life.

Before I went on my online date I was moaning to my sister on the phone, telling her I was all scared and moany. “Shut up, you wagon”, she said. “It’s the way forward. You and those mas are paving the way”.

Truth. All truth. And we are all lovely, and normal, and hilarious. But next time, I might go a bit easier on the sherry…

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

On Prying Eyes Open With Cocktail Sticks

Sleep. Just Fucking Sleep.

Since Matthew has started playschool my eyes have been opened to other women with the same hollow-eyed stare that I see when I look in the mirror every day. The slightly hunted look, the ever so fidgety way they hop over the gravel to deposit their spawn into the welcoming arms of the teacher. The skin that is dehydrated from living like a prisoner of war for the last three years.

My sleeping pattern is this: Every month or so I get one night of about six hours straight sleep. This sets me up for the one and two and sometimes three hours in a row I get for the rest of the month. Today I am edging onto a full month of broken nights and three-in-a-bed. I am experiencing night time thoughts of valium and massages and the cool solitary beauty that a padded cell might afford me.

People have stopped telling me that they will sleep soon. It has become apparent that I own two of the worst sleepers in the history of the world, ever.

Not only that. Their Dad is all on for helping out. I am NOT ALONE IN THIS. But actually, I am.

Because. In the dead of the night, when the two year old is shrieking like a child who is being murdered, and my first thought is to the family on the other side of our semi-d, who have been unwilling participants in the sleeplessness experiment that is our two boys, my son will only be soothed by me. And I will do literally ANYTHING to shut him up.

So, I gingerly hoosh my older son over in our bed (he has taken to creeping in and hugging me, tight as a clam, until I am powerless against the force of his love and let him stay), and shove the little one in. From then on, we play “Who Can Kick Our Mother The Hardest”, and I find myself looking at Twitter at 3/4/5 in the morning, willing it to put me back asleep.

It is hell. But as a blogger I really admire, and is going through some sleep issues herself right now remarked to me this morning “the days are long but the years are short”.

True enough. But living like this is living with continuous jet lag, and while I can buy creams to make my seventy-five year old skin look a little better, my ass is seriously suffering from the sugar cravings. And. A McDonalds drive through has opened up nearby, so I don’t even have to suffer the shame of walking into the restaurant when I want to eat something filthy anymore. I can quietly and anonymously drive up there in my jim jams and suck my sleeplessness away with the help of one of their life-giving chocolate milkshakes.


Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

High Ho, High Ho

We have reached an impasse.

There is only so much more time I can spend with my children alone before I lose my mind.

Every few months I start to feel antsy, and crave a life beyond the boys, where I reclaim my career and enjoy a few quiet days working on something I love (other than them). Until now, that feeling has been stuffed back down from whence it came, smoothed over by the part-time work I do from home, and the creative joy I get from it.

This time, the beast has awoken with a ferocious appetite, that no amount of writing while batting away tiny hands can sate. I want to go back to work. Not just that. I want to go back to the career I loved so much.

The kids are getting bigger, and Matthew is starting playschool this week, so that’s probably where all this is coming from, but it is INTENSE.  I want to reclaim myself. I want to feel the exhilaration that only a day working in the fast-paced environment of a publishing house can give me. I want to feel like I am going to wee myself with fear as I wait for something to come back from the printers, and then I want to literally flop with relief when it is as fabulous as I remembered.

It’s time to regroup, it’s time to reform, and it’s time to set some intentions for the future. My boys don’t need me half as much as they used to, and I have realised that I am not able to commit the rest of my life to being with them twenty four hours a day. I don’t want the dusty magazines in my wardrobe to be the sum total of my career; I want more. And so I’m putting it out there, with great intention, and ambition to beat the band. I am coming back.

I just hope the world is ready to receive me.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Nearly Dying. AGAIN

Last Friday, I nearly killed Mikey, by not catching him as he rolled head first down the entire flight of stairs in our house. This is made worse by the fact that two and a half years ago, I nearly killed Matthew, by not catching him as he rolled head first down the entire flight of stairs in our house.

I can confirm that when you are standing on the top step, watching your child almost die, everything goes blurry and into slow motion, and you can hear yourself screaming, but it doesn’t sound like you. It sounds like a dog yelping after it’s been run over.

I drove him to the hospital, with the fella and Matthew. Matthew kept parroting “Mikey rolled and rolled and rolled, but I didn’t catch him”. Jesus Christ.

Mikey, hard of head and brute of force, of course was fine. He may have shucked off another of his nine lives, but he was running around A&E, making a mockery of us within twenty minutes of being there.

We stayed for observation for the allotted number of hours, showing the boys around the hospital that we know so well. I had a little cry in the toilet, and while I was sitting in the cubicle, realised that I had cried in this exact cubicle many, many times. I spoke to parents who are living there with their sick children, and counted my blessings as my two whooped and cheered at the giant fish tank outside Nazareth Ward, where I know very very sick children lie.

So, we are lucky ducks. And I spent the weekend beating myself about nearly killing my kids, tearfully roaring at the fella: “I KNOW you think I’m a shit mother. I KNOW you blame me”.

Anyway, he’s grand. But he needs to stop this living in the fast lane business. And obviously, I need to stop throwing my kids down the stairs.

The cuteness monster in all his cat-of-nine-lives glory

The cuteness monster in all his cat-of-nine-lives glory

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Dear Other Women In The Supermarket

Dear Woman-in-the-supermarket,

Let me break this down for you. I am the mother of two small boys. They are aged two and three. Do you know what that means? No, really. Do you KNOW what that means?

That means:

In three years I have not taken a wee on my own.

Most days, I pray for the day when my body will be mine again, and not a malleable comfort blanket to my kids. In fact, most nights, I am grateful for the ten minutes I have before one or both little bodies creep into my bed and sleepily grab my hand or arm or stomach.

I am usually at my wits end by 9am. You see, by that stage, I have lived a whole day. We get up before the birds do, and by 9am I have a day’s work done.

So. You understand, when I am DUMBFOUNDED by your lack of empathy while I am attempting to do our weekly shop. You get it, when I pale as you trundle towards me, shaking your finger at me while telling me to “control that child”. You can’t be that stupid, surely. Do you think I WANT to be crouched in the freezer aisle, beside a two year old who is howling because the toolbox that he insisted that carting with him won’t close properly. The toolbox that is almost as big as he is, and yet, which he insisted upon dragging through ten long aisles to get to here. Do you really think I want to be there? With my three year old sitting beside me, arguing the toss with his brother?

Thank you for adding colour to my day. Although I feel like a terrible mother a lot of the time, it’s not usual for it to be thrust upon me, with the vim you displayed this morning. I assume you have no kids, and if you do, live in hope that these stressful moments will be so insignificant in my future that I won’t even remember them.

But I won’t be like you, other woman. Oh no. I hope to leave that judgey side to people like you, who are so brilliant at it. I hope to be able to offer a sympathetic glance, or a rub of the forearm to a woman who is clearly in the weeds, and whisper to her that it will actually be ok. Soonish.

Until then, you will excuse me, as I drag my unkempt self up and down the aisles, offering chocolate treats like the witch out of Hansel & Gretel. I may have a heat rash from the humiliation of it all, but I am getting there. Just trying to get through the day. Just like you. I don’t know what’s going on in your life, and I hope it’s not stress-filled or horrible. But it would be lovely if you could be a little bit nicer to people like me. Because I’m not horrible, or terrible or even mean. I’m just a Mum, who’s finding it hard to get through the day at the moment.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

And Then There Are Days Like These

Ah, the sweet rollercoaster of emotions that is parenting tiny people. Yesterday, I cried at the beautiful glory of my firstborn, today I cried because I wanted to wring his neck.

I despise the online parents who pretend that every day is an amazing fairy tale. It’s not. Today has been a really good day, but I have threatened both children with an amazing array of skill about eighty times since their Dad left for work. At 9am, as both boys grappled my neck while I was hitting a crucial work deadline, I contemplated locking them out in the garden for an hour. And then it rained.

I took them to Dundrum to buy Matthew’s playschool uniform and treated them to lunch out. It was a success, in that they both ate a full kids portion of sausages and chips, but my legs will be in agony later after chasing them through the whole of the third floor afterwards. They ended up hiding from me in Imaginosity (it has that stupid fucking tiny door that all kids are obsessed with).

While spending my birthday Dundrum voucher on my kids, I decided that I deserved a cream cake from M&S to round off the day, but as I was paying for it Mikey threw the biggest wobbler of all time, screaming as though he was being murdered. The reason? The little fecker was attempting to shoplift a pair of boys knickers from the shop. I wrestled him, kicking and screaming, to the parking pay thing where the boys both lost it over who was going to feed the money into the machine, and then over the fact that they had to get in the car.

Two supermarkets later (baby wipes on offer, you get it, I’m sure), I was just dropping the shopping into the house when I turned around to find Matthew – like a magic genii – standing in the front garden. He had only bloody unfastened his seatbelt, climbed into the drivers seat and let himself out. I BELLOWED. Like a fishwife. It was terribly unseemly.

Right now, things are calm. But only because I have bribed them with a packet of chocolate buttons and Curious George. The sugar high will come down on me like a ton of bricks in about three minutes I’m sure.

Anyway, just in case you read yesterday’s post, and were all – OOOOHHHH, look how smug and figured out she is, because her kid is growing up and stuff – don’t be. I am like a frazzled wilderbeast. And I really need a glass of wine.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My baby is growing up. SOB.

Today, I brought Matthew to meet his playschool teacher. It was a morning of mixed emotions. He bounced out of bed at 5am, jumping up and down, desperate to get there now. I, moved slowly as a snail, weighed down by emotions I didn’t expect to feel.

Inwardly WAILING, I brought him to the place where I will be depositing him for three hours a day come September. If Carlsberg did playschools, this is the place. Set in the grounds of a primary school for the rich and amazing, it has it’s own forest, vegetable patch, astro-turf pitch and slide. It is Hogwarts. It’s the kind of place you dream that your child will be educated in.

He loved it. He grew fifty feet within minutes of arriving. My son. My gorgeous, charming, stunningly good-looking son, who people consistently refer to as “such a happy child” did me proud. As he dove straight in, meeting the boys and girls he will be sharing a class with, and investigating the array of pet animals the children care for, his younger brother looked on. And I know at some level he knew.

Team M&M will be separated from September, as its leader forges a path less travelled. It feels momentous. I know it’s not. I know it’s the way it’s supposed to be. And I know that I am lucky to have had him all to myself for three and a half years, but it seems like it’s all changing, all of a sudden. My beautiful baby is about to grow slightly independent of me. He will be out there in the world, feeling his way and showing people his big, amazing heart, and how he wears it on his sleeve.

I feel cut in two. One part of me is so proud of him I want to burst, and the other part wants to fold underneath my top and hide him from the world.

Last night, I lay beside him as he fell asleep. As his eyelids fluttered closed, I could see dreams racing by in twitches and half smiles. I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from waking up to tell him I loved him. To tell him how proud I am of him. And to tell him that for those three hours a day, I will miss his gorgeous self more than he will ever know.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments