This week I have mainly been…. dealing with deck chair disasters

If it’s even remotely dry, my kids will be outside. I love them being outside for two reasons mainly. Firstly, I don’t have to listen to them (obviously) and secondly, I can calm down on the obsessive hoovering habit I seem to have developed lately. Why can’t kids ever just get everything into their mouths?

All was going so well. I was succeeding in getting my head showered and they were having fun. Routine checks were occurring every few minutes due to middle’s propensity to scale and climb fences. Suddenly baby awakes from his nap in living room, having a meltdown of epic proportions. Go and grab him. Upon returning to the kitchen I hear eldest screaming “mummy” and the lovely neighbour next door trying to soothe him through the fence with “deep breaths, your mummy will be here soon. It’s ok darling!” Eldest had only managed to get himself completely stuck in a deck chair. To the point it had collapsed around him and he couldn’t even move. Arrgggh, two minutes I was away! Five minutes later and I was still trying to retrieve my first born from the jaws of the chair, all whilst next door observed through gaps in their fence.

So, the next door neighbour now thinks I am the most irresponsible mother to ever walk the planet and I’m almost certain eldest will now have an irrational fear of deck chairs going forward.

If this is any indication of what summer will be like, I may get reacquainted with the hoover.

Eldest on left and deck chair that ate my son in background

 

The nightmare that was going swimming alone with the boys

“Lets go swimming Mummy” my eldest said to me the other day. “We haven’t been swimming in ages” he added. We really haven’t I thought. Wonder why? Ok, I said. Let’s all go tomorrow with Owen and let daddy have some peace.

The first thing that should have put me off was the ‘packing of the bag’. Goggles could not be located, one armband was missing and the swim nappies had vanished into thin air. ‘Goggle gate’ caused an almighty meltdown from the eldest. Apparently they are the main thing you need when swimming in non existent depths! Minus goggles and swim nappies (armband located), away we went for a relaxing afternoon of swimming at the local leisure centre.

I remembered the second we started the changing process, why we haven’t been swimming in so long. Utter chaos. Eldest (4, coming 5) harped on and on about getting dressed first and middle one (2) kept opening the cubicle door exposing me to all and sundry. With half the room having observed both myself naked and, an escaped toddler charging round the room with only his top half on, we were finally ready to enter the pool.

The hell did not stop there. It merely got worse. The pool was writhing with bodies and swim floats of varying shapes and sizes. Full scale operation to even put a foot forward. Middle son (2) then suddenly spots the slide. Away he goes up and down it, becoming increasingly reckless with each go. After flinging himself down it a hundred times, he then decides that it would be great to pretend to go up it again but, this time, run at the speed of Forrest Gump over to the adult pool. I don’t think I have ever ran so fast in my life! I imagine it would be the same speed I would have ran if someone had called out “free wine in swim lane four”. Having given me a near heart attack, it appeared that this had solely been a test run. He then proceeded to do it a further four times, even with me positioning myself in front of the slide for maximum stoppage time. Eldest found this whole thing utterly hilarious of course and was very vocal in his encouragement of middle ones antics. An hour later and, exhausted, I proclaimed it was time to go (oh dear god, I now have to get us all dressed again).

Strip eldest and middle and place them in shower. Shit! No towels. Tell them to stay where they are whilst I hot foot it back to locker to retrieve said towels. Get to locker only to see that the two of them have now exited the shower and are proceeding to do the ‘winky dance’ all over the changing room. Grab towels and throw them back in shower. Dry and dress eldest then, tackle middle one. Go to dress self only to discover that eldest has emptied whole swim bag onto a huge puddle on the floor and all my clothes are drenched. Think how death must be better than all this.

Get to cafe and wonder why the hell these places don’t have a bar in them.

Note to self to re-read this the next time someone even mentions the word ‘swimming’ to me.

Baby perfectly expressing how I feel after that ordeal

 

An introduction to my brood, including the only other female in our house

It always astounds me how totally different all of my boys are. I don’t know why! I guess because they are all boys I expected them to even be somewhat similar. How wrong I was! Here’s a little bit about them all. Maybe you will all understand now why I just try not to lose my shit each day:

 Aden – Four nearly five 

Leader of the pack- majorly switched on, can buy you and sell you. Has an answer for absolutely anything. Prone to insane outbursts if he doesn’t get his own way or if you dare put any kind of clothing on him incorrectly. Mega smart which leads to him becoming bored easily. Extremely loving and a complete mummy’s boy. This is highlighted by the fact he still comes into my bed at 3am for ‘huggles’ and Hubby has to begrudgingly go into his bunk bed. No sign of this ever stopping, running joke in our house is that he will be twenty and still doing this. Survives purely on gallons of milk and chicken fingers. This is not even an exaggeration.

 Owen- Two going on eighty

My pint sized dictator and second in command. Absolute mad man who knows no fear. Risk taker by nature, he will literally climb and jump off anything, no matter what it is or what height. Fiercely independent, can take or leave you depending on his mood. Didn’t say ‘mummy’ for so long but quite happily said Luigi and Pikachu. I am not overly sure if this kid even likes me half the time. If I am gone and come back, he will be so excited to see me. Then take my phone, go watch You Tube and ignore me. Loves his food- will eat his dinner then proceed to help himself to everyone else’s. To the level that when we were debating Ethan’s name as a family, and put all our preferred names in a hat, he then ate the name upon picking it out. Values his sleep, including two hour naps after lunch and still sleeps through. This is kind of amazing in fairness and would automatically qualify him as favourite, if he hugged and kissed me more.

 Ethan- Four months 

Baby of the gang. Not really sure what his personality will be like but I can tell you he is the happiest little baby ever. Smiles for everyone. Loves my singing which automatically makes him my favourite (ssshh, dont tell the others). Prone to extreme explosions and projectile barfing. Approach with caution at all times. Loves his bottles and beginning to sleep really well- long may this continue so I can stop resembling the walking dead.

 Molly- Twelve 

The only other female in my house. Probably the most testing out of all the living things I have responsibility for. Humps everything that moves (despite being done), barks at anyone who breathes and walks you instead of the other way round. Lately appears to have developed a huge flatulence problem. Fits right in with the rest of my farting brood in her defence. **Was once in possession of the doggy equivalent of an ASBO due to her barking**.

This week I have mainly……. been trying to infect my children with Chicken Pox!

Somehow my beautiful little six month old niece has managed to contract the ‘pox’. We are not quite sure how this happened, but happened it has! Whilst others might view this as an impending doom type situation, I have decided to embrace it whole heartedly.

The second it was confirmed as pox, all my kids were loaded into the car and brought to my sisters: “hug Izzy boys, get super close”! Two of them have yet to be custodials of said virus, so, this couldn’t be more perfect. I will tell you my reasoning:

Currently, I am off on maternity leave. It may seem highly irresponsible, but I need these kids to get them asap so I can be at home, nurture them and apply calamine lotion. I did it for them! Pretty soon I won’t be able to take weeks off to attend to them. That’s technically frowned upon when you are a robot. Your child has chicken pox? Can’t go to nursery? That’s your problem, not ours!

Really thought I may be a genius in my forward thinking but one of my sister’s friends had the same idea. Our gorgeous girlie has never been more loved or sought after!

Status presently: no pox. Hugging session arranged for tomorrow to ensure maximum exposure. Go get you some pox sons! ** may live to regret this decision **

Have kids they said, it will be fun they said…………………

 I love my kids, they are my life. However, why does no one pre-warn you about some of the awful aspects of new motherhood? Okay, you always get the standard “Aw, congratulations, you may say goodbye to sleep from now” but what are the things you REALLY need to know? I shall tell you brutally and honestly (as always) : 

  1.  The best thing about having a baby has to be the drugs you will receive in labour right? Think again. It’s like the midwife has suddenly morphed into some kind of pain med withholding psycho. Birth plan, what birth plan ? Forget that, what she says go. Gas and air will be your new best friend as this is deemed entirely acceptable. It will in no way alleviate any kind of pain but will make you say some unbelievably stupid things. You will also have to fight to get it off your birthing partner as this seems to be the only advantage of them having to be there.
  2. The no sleep aspect starts immediately after you have that baby and are still in hospital. Men usually think their work is done by this point and find it a good time to catch up on the sleep they missed whilst holding your hand looking both petrified and helpless.
  3.  Even when you do get a chance to catch up on some much needed Z’s, it’s like some kind of alarm goes off in the ward ‘WARNING- NEW MOTHER DOZING’. Cue a multitude of nurses traipsing into your room, the hearing specialist and, of course, the obligatory Bounty photographer. Yawn- say cheese!
  4.  Hospital stays post baby now last 48 hours at most. So ignore your mum and gran when they tell you how good it was to get a rest after- that isn’t happening! The baby will stay with you even after you have just birthed it. You are in and out faster than Usain Bolt running the 100m. Might as well start as you mean to go on, with zero sleep whatsoever.
  5. Your partner or husband may have driven like a normal person prior to you arriving at hospital but, upon leaving, he will have turned into your eighty year old grandad and drive at 20 mph the whole way home. The responsibility of having to carry the precious cargo that you have harboured for 9 months will hit him at this point only. You, on the other hand, have been fully aware of this fact for 9 months.
  6.  Stitches hurt A LOT, not only will you be walking like John Wayne after a bar crawl but you can say goodbye to doing a poo for at least a week. That one thing you never even thought twice about, now becomes a daily battle of you trying to psyche yourself up to um, take the plunge. In extreme mind over body cases, this can only be remedied with a full pack of Senokot (other brands are available).
  7.  Those parenting classes that you dutifully attended mean absolutely nada. Someone talking you through the birthing process whilst wielding a fake pelvis and shoving a doll’s head in and out of it, in no way prepares you for what is in store once you are in agony in the birthing suite. 
  8.  When you have just returned home it becomes apparent that you may be the first person ever to have had a baby. I call this the ‘Beyonce complex’. Ever wondered how your mum’s friend from university days is doing? No? Well you didn’t have to as you are about to see her and everyone else who has ever lived. It’s like you have just given birth to Jesus and everyone has felt the need to show reverence.
  9. No one brings food or anything that contributes to your immediate survival when they visit. This is a vital mistake as, in the midst of new parenthood, you somehow forget to eat. All the screaming and panic to decipher what is wrong is unrelenting and serves to block out your hunger. You may die if no one visits and cooks for you, insist on this.
  10. The postman/woman has the unfortunate privilege of suddenly seeing you in various shocking states- leaking breast milk down your dressing gown included. Don’t be surprised if he or she stops leaving you post all together.
  11. Babies poo a lot, unlike you at the minute. The first ones are the worse and you will find that colour and consistency become a major talking point and cause for concern. You will inspect it and ask anyone who will listen “is this normal?”, “but it resembles mustard!”
  12. When your baby is finally peaceful and sleeping soundly, you should be doing the same surely?  Well, suddenly you cannot settle as you are overwhelmed by the real possibility that your child may not be breathing. You get up, check, go back to bed only to repeat the process every ten minutes. Meh, sleep is for sissies anyway.
  13. Leaving the house just to nip to the shops becomes a full scale mission. Your change bag becomes the main focus of your life. You will be so concerned with making sure you are equipped with bottles, nappies and that it’s in the car,  you may actually forget to bring your baby.
  14. You feel immense pressure to attend any baby group in existence. When you actually go to one you realise it’s a competitive event designed purely to pit you against fellow mums. Did you really need to know Sarah’s baby is sleeping seven hours a night whilst yours is up every hour? These are best avoided if you value whatever sanity you have left.
  15. I could go on but, all of the above is totally worth it. Babies are amazing and this stage goes so quickly. Enjoy it as much as you humanly can, whilst being postively knackered of course:)

Netflix picks of the month for parents and kids- April

 Who doesn’t love a bit of Netflix and chill? For us, this only happens when the kids are finally in bed and it’s usually interrupted multiple times. But this is what we have managed to watch this month:

The Defiant Ones’s 

This is a four part documentary series exploring the relationship between Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine. I wasn’t sure this would be for me despite loving hip hop music, but it was so good and really interesting. It not only follows the making of their business relationship but how they got to where they are today. Eminem makes an appearance as do many other big stars. Totally worth a watch even just to salivate over Dr Dre’s beach side home! 4/5

6 Balloons 

This is a dark comedy drama, dealing with the issue of heroin addiction and how it affects the family unit. It won’t be for everyone due to the subject matter but it is really gripping. Starring Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) and Dave Franco (21 Jump Street) the cast is stellar and the acting is good. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is one to watch if you don’t mind doing some sobbing on a Saturday night! 3/5

Girls Incarcerated- Young and Locked Up

The hubby didn’t watch this- wasn’t his thing. But I managed to binge watch this one successful night the kids stayed down! It is a eight episode documentary following inmates of Madison Juvenile Correction Facility in Indiana, America. The inmates are as you would expect them to be- tough, feisty and broken. The staff work very hard to show them the errors of their ways whilst they are under their care and the crew then follow up with the girls upon their release to ascertain if they have stayed on the straight and narrow. I could not stop watching this! Mainly because you become so involved in each girls story that you have to keep watching to see what happens to them. It can be sad in places but ultimately causes you to be reflective about your own life and your children’s future.  4/5

Kid’s picks 

My eldest boy (4, nearly 5) has sat with me and compiled his favourite discoveries on Netflix this month. Here goes- over to Aden:

Super Monsters 

This is a super cool TV show that boys and girls will both like. It is about normal humans that turn into monsters and other things when it gets dark. The characters are really good and it is really funny. It learns (grammar son) you to help out each other when sad things happen and teaches you to be a good friend. Very colourful and lots and lots of episodes which is sweet to the beat (must talk to hubby about this saying).5/5

Horrid Henry- The Movie (2011)

I love the Horrid Henry TV series sooooooo much (mummy doesn’t share the same enthusiasm)!  I love it because Henry is very very naughty but also very very funny. His brother, Peter, is so perfect and good. I am soooo glad my brother isn’t like that and is naughty like me. This is the movie version and I thought it was super great to see Henry as a real life person instead of a cartoon person. It was funny and Henry did lots of singing and dancing in it. The people who do the acting looked really like the cartoon people too which I liked. Henry is naughty to Moody Margaret lots in it and Lazy Linda is still very lazy and does nothing but sleep. Other boys who like the cartoon will like this infinity Mummy. 5/5 (There’s a theme occurring here, isn’t there).

Yo-Kai Watch

This is kinda amazing Mummy because it is like Pokemon but actually, it isn’t even Pokemon (wow). The guy Nate has a special watch that makes him see creatures and the naughty things they are doing. The creatures are all super weird but have cool names. Nate has to try and catch the bad guys so that they stop causing trouble to humans. There are millions of episodes and this means you can watch it forever, maybe until you even die. I like how Santa brought me my own Yo-Kai watch as now I can pretend I am Nate. The Pound shop has also started selling the medals for it and if I am good, can I get one as a treat? 5/5

Living with three boys- my tips for survival in a testosterone filled world

When I was younger I often pondered what my life would be like when I was 30. Like everyone, I imagined I would be married, maybe own my own home and have a kid on the way. Well, I am now thirty two years old. I am married and do have my own home but, somehow instead of the one imaginary kid, I have managed to obtain three. Not just three, but three boys- yikes! Here are my tips for survival when surrounded by testosterone in mini form:

  1. Always, always check the toilet before sitting down. This is not a suggestion but a rule. Why I hear you ask? Well, you thought things were bad living with a man, now there’s more. More men means more pee on the seat (and everywhere surrounding) and more chances the toilet seat will be left up. In fact, of course it will! So unless you want to find yourself legs akimbo whilst half in the toilet bowl, heed my advice.
  2. Boys seem to think their manhood might disappear between one minute and the next. So they are very thorough at checking that this has not occurred. Oh that’s dedication I hear you say! Yes, I agree, but it becomes rather hard to explain when you are at a family dinner or say, the doctor’s surgery.
  3. Between 6pm and 8pm the ‘witching hours’ occur. This mainly involves being so overly tired that the only remedy is to batter the life out of each other, jump off sofas, batter each other some more, cry, then finally agree to go to bed.
  4. Farting and anything gross appears to be customary. It also seems that doing said gross things in people’s faces is the preferred method. Brace yourself.
  5. Bath time is a war zone and in my house is accompanied with the ‘winky dance’. This involves the oldest two standing up, slapping them then diving into the water in convulsions. I have observed many dance crazes in my time but, I can assure you, I sincerely hope this is one that doesn’t catch on.
  6. Lego, in any form, will become your nemesis. Come to think of it, so will the instructions. Time to rewire your brain to cope with more logical tasks and wear slippers 24/7 to avoid Lego related injuries.
  7. Be prepared to spend your life at the washing machine and invest in some shares with Surf. Boys like to get dirty, the dirtier the better. It’s a rule that they must come back home resembling some kind of dog let loose in a muddy field.
  8. If like me, you end up having more than one boy, be prepared for the onslaught of public sympathy.  The gasps of “oh three boys, you must have your hands full” is all I ever hear. It’s like it is the worst possible scenario for most people. One is acceptable, more than that and you are some kind of martyr.
  9. Brush up on some new male hairdressing terminology. No longer will a number 2 mean the same thing to you.
  10. Finally, be prepared to be their Queen. Their be all and end all. Get ready for lots and lots of cuddles and kisses. The love that little boys have for their Mummy is endless and, for ages, they aren’t afraid to show it. So, enjoy every second whilst it lasts 🙂

The Ulster Rugby trial, my concerns as a mother and why I’m happy they were sacked

I’ve struggled with how I feel about this case from day one. The moment it even appeared on my radar, I was horrified. My first thought went to my boys and how I would feel, as a parent, if they had behaved in the same way. Secondly, my thoughts wandered to that poor girl and what a huge thing she has faced personally and publicly to highlight her plight and make a difference to someone else. Even if they were found not guilty, she has still done this, and I hope she realises that.

When certain evidence was made available to the public, I found myself even more shocked and appalled. The WhatsApp messages specifically were they proceeded to talk about women as ‘Belfast sluts’ and bragged about ‘spit roasting’. This panicked me. Mainly because I am raising three boys, well, attempting to. Would I expect them to ever talk about a woman in that way? Hell no! I would hope I’ve raised them to treat women with respect. I expect they will be ‘lads’ about certain things, but to speak in that manner after an encounter- over my dead body!! Upon discussing this with my husband (who I always assumed was unbiased and slightly with it) he was of the view that they are just young guys with huge egos. “These men have girls throwing themselves at them everywhere they go. So of course they will act that way”! and, this is my favourite one  “girls like that go to VIP parts of nightclubs with the sole purpose of attracting a famous person and sleeping with them”. I was quite taken aback by that last comment and, slightly enraged if I am honest. Who replaced my husband with this sexist person ? Alas, I am always up for a bit of debating so this presented a great opportunity. I argued that his point didn’t make sense. Belfast nightclubs are not the place where celebrities are certain to be found. The most famous person you usually encounter is local radio host Pete Snodden. He must have half of Belfast throwing themselves at him if that’s the case! We also have no idea what this girl looked like as her identity is protected. I asked what made him think they weren’t just being those type of men that go to these places with the sole purpose of attracting girls, expecting to have their way with them and never taking no for an answer? He looked at me blankly then stated “well, all those types deserve each other”. I said both were merely people making assumptions based on the way someone looks or which part of a nightclub they were sitting in, its not a true reflection. I then asked him seriously if, our boys all become famous sports stars, he would be ok with them acting in such a way towards women. He very quickly replied no. So it’s not ok for your sons to embarrass you in that manner but the rest of mankind can? I thought us women were meant to be the confusing ones!

I think Ulster Rugby have made the right decision to terminate both Jackson and Olding’s contracts. Ok, maybe it was a decision based purely on the fact that Bank of Ireland threatened to pull their sponsorship as opposed to the #ibelieveher movement. But it’s happened and I feel it will make a huge difference going forward. Not only to little boys who look up to these men but women who run their boys back and forth to practise and actually follow rugby. It had to be done. So as much as people droned on about everyone accepting the verdict of not guilty, they should accept the decision to kick them out of the team. I for one would rather my boys looked up to someone who is capable of showing respect and compassion to everyone whilst also being an exemplary athlete. This means so much more than purely being good on the field. It shows strength of character, as well as physical strength . The ultimate role model.

I do believe her and I stand with my fellow ladies in condemning their behaviour that night and in the following days. As more truths seep out it becomes even more shocking to me that this verdict was reached. More blood on Paddy Jackson’s bed that his solicitor asked to be withheld from the jury as ‘he had no intention of explaining where it had come from’ to Olding’s semen being found on the victims crotch. I’m utterly astounded that these facts were allowed to be hidden. What an awful precedent we are setting in this country for those affected by rape! I am certain that this will deter women coming forward in future. I can’t help but think, in a way, it’s good I never had my longed for girl as I would be so embarrassed trying to justify and explain all this to her. No, you cannot have an abortion in Northern Ireland, it’s illegal, even if you have been raped. Not that they would believe you anyway, no matter how much evidence you presented. It’s so Irish, it’s laughable- and I’m Irish.

Welcome to my blog!

Having toyed with the idea of documenting the insanity that having three boys tends to bring, I have finally bitten the bullet. Maybe it will help someone who is having a stressful day just being a mummy, maybe it will purely be something my boys can read when they are older and laugh at, it could even just be a means of self therapy. Lets see eh?