Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wedding Countdown: Three More Sleeps...

In three more sleeps, I will officially be Mrs. Himself.

Or Mrs. Herself - Himself.

Or maybe even just Ms. Herself.

Of course, I could always do the old Mrs. Herself professionally (in the hopes that my Christmas dreams come true and this year finds the Mammydiaries published and on a bookshelf near you) and Mrs. Himself on personal things like greeting cards and dental appointment notices.

Given that the kids are both little Misses Himself, it would probably be nice to all have the same last name.

Had we thought of this well in advance of the small ones, we could even have gone the Mr.Herself route!


Maybe we could just make up something different altogether...

Mr and Mrs. Something New

Hey! We already have something borrowed and something blue!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

T'was the very early morning before the night before Christmas...

It is four in the morning on Christmas Eve.

And no, before you ask, it is not the excitement of the season that has me up at this ungodly hour when I should be nestled all snug in my bed, with visions of sugarplums (Maltesers?) dancing in my head.

No. It is a certain unruly toddler who has discovered giant, Snot Queen size loopholes in the "Sleeping whilst at Nanny and Grandad's" section of the "Modifications on Daily Rules and Regulations whilst on Holidays in Canada" manual.

Namely, that mommy and daddy will do almost anything to keep her from waking the entire household, including (brace yourselves all ye "good parents" out there whose ranks we strive to one day join) letting her out of bed to roam the house instead of braving the tantrums and making her stay in our room.

It was either that or give into our baser instincts and set her free in the wild to fend for herself.

Seriously though, what do you do?

I'm at my wit's end. There are only so many sleepless nights you can endure before spiking their drinks with a hefty dose of vodka starts to seem like the way forward.

Because you see, it's not just the snot Queen who has been availing of our new night time opening hours. Tiny one as well, has spent the last few nights discovering the perks of "Life after Dark." In fact, tonight is the first night this week that she's slept through, which only makes this sudden wakening of her older sister that much harder to handle.

What's even more ridiculous are the strange bastardized rules you come up with in the wee small hours to convince yourself that yes, you still have some control over the situation.

For example: You may only wander about in the upstairs sitting room and not the identical one downstairs because somehow, in my sleep deprived mind, if I let you downstairs, I am "giving in." So long as we remain in the fun free sanctum of the upstairs, I am still a "good mother."

Example Two: Okay, we will go downstairs, but you cannot, must not, under any circumstances turn on the tv or do anything that may otherwise be construed as having fun in case it starts a horrible pattern of middle of the night wakings which I will then have to spend the rest of the holiday fixing.

Example three: No cuddling in case, like the aforementioned tv/fun ban, it starts a horrible pattern of middle of the night wakings which I will then have to spend the rest of the holiday fixing.

Example four: Okay, we can cuddle, I'm not a monster, but seriously, could we at least pretend that I am the parent here and that I have some input into what goes on?

The inmates are indeed running the asylum.

Happy holidays (yawn.)


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Hit

My father has kidnapped my fiance.

They left the house over 2 hours ago to get their tuxes fitted for the wedding. Thirty minutes later, Dad called to say that he was taking my beloved, "for a ride."

I'm just a little bit scared.

I love my partner. I want us to spend the rest of our lives together. I want our wedding to go ahead as scheduled in just under two weeks time.

Somehow, being taken "for a ride" by my father, does not seem conducive to these plans.

I mean seriously? What the hell could they possibly have to talk about?

"So, you're the one who knocked up my daughter (twice) and now keeps my grandchildren away from me for 11 months of the year..."

Yeah... That's a great ice breaker.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Home for the Holidays: Part One

Things that made me smile today:

Listening to the Snot Queen as she chased my family's dog calling "Lie - lee! Ro Ove!" That's toddler speak for "Reilly, Roll Over!" Something the poor animal will happily do when the promise of a Milk Bone (or a cheerio) is on offer.

Watching my dad lying with the tiny one after her nap. The two of them just passing the time chatting and smiling away as if they'd known each other all their days.

Hearing the Snot Queen's laughter as she and my mom played together in the snow and seeing her cheeks, rosy from the cold and her little red nose, streaming away (tasty!) It was her first time playing in that sort of cold and I think my heart would have been broken had she not enjoyed it.

Seeing my old toys cleaned up and made new again for my own children and imagining my parents watching me play with them as a child.

Putting my little sister's old flower girl dress onto the snot queen and figuring out the necessary alterations so that she can walk down the aisle in it at our wedding next month...

As much as I love the life I've made in Ireland and as appreciative as I am for all the good things it entails, it's like Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz,"

There really is, "no place like home."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nerve: i.e down to my last...



Deep Breaths...

In, out, in....


and out...


Oh my god. Packing and children do NOT go together. Neither, it seems, does "taking a break from packing to do a spot of blogging..." mix well with the under two set.

My mantra for today is, "I will not throw my children out the window." So long as I can do this, I will consider myself "Mother of the Year" material.

Deep breaths.




"Has anybody seen my sanity?"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I'll keep this letter short as the babies are sleeping, the kitchen's a disaster and there is something that smells vaguely of pizza on the hem of my sweater, but as we haven't had that gourmet delight in weeks, I'll assume it's a bit of sauce from Monday's spaghetti.

Just so you know, the girls are way too young to "get" you yet, so I've decided that this year I will be hijacking the list and making a few requests of my own.

Oh, and I assume that the old protocol of thanking you for last year's presents and requesting that you not forget the sick kids in hospital still applies? Consider it done! Also, if we could assume that good health and happiness for my family are a given, that would be great.

Now, let's get down to business....

For starters, I've been a VERY good girl this year. Despite the teething and the tantrums, the filthy nappies and the never ending cycle of changing, feeding, bathing (them, not me) dishes, sweeping, wiping and laundry that is my life, I have not sold or disposed of any members of my family. Considering that I spent the better part of the year filled with high octane pregnancy hormones, we will consider this a true Christmas miracle indeed.

Now, being a mom, I always think of others before myself. Therefore, I would like to ask for a few special pressies for my nearest and dearest...

For my soon to be husband: A pair of glasses to help him see the piles of laundry sitting hopefully on the stairs just begging to be carted upstairs and put away.

For my beautiful Snot Queen: A self wiping face and bum so as to avoid the shrieks of horror and violent acrobatics everytime she sees us approaching with a wet cloth or tissue.

For my small one: Volume Control.

For myself, I would like the following;

...A self cleaning kitchen with a self cooking oven. If I order now, do I also qualify for the self cleaning, toddler proof dishes and cookware set?

... My very own sleep fairy. I currently share the local one with at least 15 other mothers and because of this, quality and speed of service are definitely suffering.

...Vegetables shaped like rice cakes as these are the only solid foods my daughter is currently interested in...

...a holiday. Anywhere, Anytime. In fact, if that's too much, I'd even settle for a trip to the toilet alone or a shower by myself where nobody tries to clean my feet with my toothbrush.

...Speaking of alone time, I would also like an additional hour to be tacked onto each day for me to do with as I please. Failing that, an isolation chamber would do quite nicely.

...A sense of style. Mine went missing around the same time as the mucous plug.

...A puke and pooh resistant outfit which always looks great and never needs laundering.

...Calorie free chocolate biscuits which also fulfill all of my daily nutritional requirements.

...A nursing bra that does NOT GIVE ME A UNI BOOB!!!!!

...The ability to carry on a conversation without once mentioning pooh or sleep.

...Magical toilet training fairies that could come and get the snot queen out of nappies. Hmmm... perhaps we could start a breeding service with the sleep fairy...

And of course, if you have room in your sack...


Sigh... I could go on, but the kiddies are still sleeping and unfortunately, this kitchen won't clean itself. (yet!)

Thank you so much to you, Mrs. Claus and the elves. I look forward to seeing you and the Reindeer soon.

All the best,

M xoxoxox

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Losing the battle...

Today I gave an interview to the Sunday Times Newspaper.

It was about my reaction as a stay at home mother to the 2010 Irish budget released yesterday. In Particular, to the decision to cut more then 10% from the children's allowance.

A decision which was fought tooth and nail by a small but devoted group of Irish parents who over the last 8 months campaigned tirelessly for all of our nation's children.

They collected over 15,000 signatures, gave countless interviews, hounded their TD's, handed out flyers, set up websites and marched in the streets.

They also held down jobs, ran homes and generally got on with the day to day business of raising their families.

So what was my reaction?

Well, for starters, I'm disgusted by a government which values gambling and booze over it's children and those who care for them.

However, so long as there are parents out there like Irish Mammy and the men and Women of PACUB who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, I will not lose hope.

On behalf of our children,


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Photo Shoot

Oh God. I am mortified.

Seriously, I really should come with a disclaimer. Perhaps I could hand one out to people upon first meeting them. Just a little note to explain that despite initial impressions and potentially odd behaviours, I really am an interesting, intelligent and - dare I say it - amusing human being.

For the record, this is not the way that this blog was supposed to start.

Ever since receiving the initial call from Irish Mammy and then the follow up from the Sunday Times, I had planned a snazzy little intro on how myself and the family Von Snot were about to become celebrities.

How we were about to be launched into the social strata of Irish high society where we would be wined and dined and recognized everywhere we go (or at least by those who memorize the faces of anyone who appears in the parenting pages of the Times.)

No, it wasn't about "The Book" and no, the powers that be in the world of Irish Publishing did not happen across my blog and demand an interview with the grand dame herself (that would be me) and her inspiration (the family Von Snot.)

Instead, it was to be a piece about how the upcoming budget and how the potential cuts to Child Benefit would affect Irish families. We would be one of the sample families. Today was the photo shoot.

My original plan to be the hostess with the mostest - cleanest house and cutest children - was foiled when at 4:00pm I realized I'd forgotten to buy biscuits to offer the photograher along with his hot beverage of choice.

So off I schlepped to the shops with a friend of mine to purchase Fox's finest and a few chocolates to boot (or to eat on the walk home, whatever...) The plan was to be in, out and home in plenty of time to give the house a quick makeover and spackle a few layers of glam onto my weary, pallid features.

Oh, and also to remove the dirty nappy from the kitchen floor where I'd accidentally left it after the girls' nap.

However, my lovely friend, sneaky wench that she is, had the gall to invite me to hers for coffee after which she'd drive me home, thus helping me to avoid having to push 100lbs of baby, biscuits and buggy up the mountain atop which I live (for the second time today I might add.)

The decision was easy and off we went, my filthy abode (and even filthier nappy) pushed to the back of my mind.

I arrived home in time to bin the nappy and wipe down the counters. The doorbell rang as I was reaching for the mascara.

The photographer was lovely - think Jack Nicholson - with an easy nature and a dry sense of humour who wasn't phased at all (that he showed anyway) by the two children who insisted on hanging from my chest for the first ten minutes of his visit (yeah, I forgot to do that as well before he got there.)

I, on the other hand, have not had to talk to anyone of the non-mommy variety in almost two years and am lost in any conversation that does not involve poo, puke or any other such scintillating baby related topics.

I was seriously out of my depth. I wittered on about anything and everything, god forbid there be even a HINT of silence. No sirrreeeee! I blathered on and on and on... All the while, the socially conscious part of my brain was screaming, "SHUT UP YOU MORON! SHUT UP!!!!" Did I listen?


Instead, I smiled and laughed and made the kind of small talk that even my North American roots were ashamed by.

Afterwards, in the vague hope that my social awkwardness was all in my head, I asked himself if I had been over the top at all, expecting of course him to say something along the lines of, " Of course not darling! You were lovely! The perfect hostess!"

Unfortunately, not having read the script, he improvised with something that went a bit along the lines of, "Well, you did go on a bit towards the end..."

In other words, Yes darling, you have the social graces of a nimrod and should really just stick to smiling and nodding unless otherwise directed.

Oh well! At least I remembered to bin the nappy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogging in My Brain

Phew! I have been blogging like a maniac this week. Small gems of wisdom have been bursting all around me as I crafted post after post after post!

Unfortunately, I committed none of them to paper (not that I ever do, but somehow the phrase "committed none of them to internet/keyboard/computer" doesn't have quite the same ring) and as I have yet to figure out how to transmit my thoughts telepathically (the lazy blogger's dream!) it seems that all of my work was for nought.


It sucks to be honest. There were some real gems in there. My particular favourite was a poignant piece on being "touched out" and needing a break from motherhood before I bunged my entire family out on the front lawn and posted giant "Keep Away" signs on my breasts before backing away slowly from the lot of them shouting "stay back!" and then promptly running away to my real life which I'm sure is extremely glamouress and is still happening somewhere else.

Unfortunately, even if I had had the energy to write it all down, the two giant leeches stuck to my chest were a great hindrance to my typing ability.

Next up was a good old fashioned, multi faceted rant on a variety of parent/child/gvn't/boob related topics. It all started when Thierry Henri (or however the hell you spell his name) hand balled Ireland out of the world cup. Terrible? Yes. Unfair? Most Definitely. Deserving of more outrage and attention then the ongoing battle to save Child Benefit?

Ummmmmmm.... No.

Unfortunately, that's what it got. Even the Taoiseach got involved, joining forces with the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) to demand a replay from the officials at FIFA. Even now, two weeks after the bloody game, it's still a hot news item. Meanwhile, the government is moving along it's merry way with plans to make across the board cuts to our Children's Allowance and aside from a few passionate parents, no one is saying boo!

Last year, our complacency lost us the Early Childcare Supplement, despite childcare costs in Ireland being amongst the highest in Europe. This was "replaced" with a new scheme offering a free year of part time preschool to three year olds which not only can most creches not afford to implement but which has limited benefit to working parents and none whatsoever to stay at
home parents who often use the Child Benefit and ECS to supplement the income lost when one parent stays at home.

There seems to be this attitude that the cuts in child benefit are somehow going to be fair and not effect those who need it most. People seem to think that our government is going to change it's proverbial spots and look out for the most vulnerable in society (ironically enough, the very ones they are currently stealing from.)

WAKE UP PEOPLE! This is not going to happen! This is the same gvn't who brought you NAMA, who are doing their gosh darn best to save every banker and developer in the country while every month the dole queues are growing and more and more small businesses are dying without even the tiniest hand up (let alone out!) from our esteemed leader. These are the same people who have swindled the taxpayer out of millions of euros on an all too regular basis and yet never have to pay for their crimes!

AGGGHHH!!!!!! It drives me crazy just thinking about it!

Then, just the other day I happened across a fab parenting website, which was choc a bloc full of great articles on topics like breastfeeding, babyled weaning and cloth nappies amongst others. I spent a merry hour trawling through loads of great pieces but it was this one in particular which grabbed my attention. An article on "Exclusive Breastfeeding and the Virgin Gut" by Charlotte Young which explained the reasons behind WHY we are asked to exclusively breastfeed our babies for the first six months.

It discusses the physiology of the newborn gut which is considered both sterile and open at birth and which requires the mother's milk in order to a) colonize the gut with the proper "good" intestinal flora and b) only allow the mothers antibodies to slip through the intestinal wall into the baby's blood stream. It also talked about how introducing anything other then breastmilk completely transforms the bacterial composition and requires 2 - 4 weeks of exclusive feeding to return it to normal.

I didn't know any of this.

At no point during pregnancy, two years of breastfeeding or indeed through 14 years of schooling was this brought to my attention.

This of course led me to a good afternoon's mental ranting and blogging about how breastfeeding should be learned about in the schools and how we need to allow boobies to be seen as something beautiful and functional (much like the JML magic scarf!) and not as something "dirty" to be snickered at and scorned.

Of course, once I got on my soapbox, it was realllly hard to come down, so I stayed up there for a while and pondered a few more bits and pieces. Like how freely new mothers are encouraged to give the occasional bottle and the new vitamin D supplementation that all breastfed babies are encouraged to take (Read this article from kellymom as to why it's not usually needed) and what effects these sort of things might have on the health of breastfed babies.

Speaking of, my two little mooches are looking for a meal, so I'll leave off here and come back later to tell you more fabulous tales...