It’s a pity he has tonsillitis and a cold, he would’ve loved this. Such a toddler with such a strong constitution shouldn’t be on antibiotics but they bullied me into it. The guilt. The fresh air and the tea-cakes would have fixed him up good, I know it, he’s already bouncing off the walls even though he’s sick. But nobody listens! They call me right-wing. I worry that his immune system will let any-old-anything in, now that he’s had his first taste of penicillin.
The mass. I love it. I never went before last October, not totally convinced that Catholicism has its place in the world. ‘Through my most grievous fault I have sinned’ is what they chant but I don’t join in, I’m not sure my faults are all that bad and I’m pretty sure whatever God is up there will understand. If it doesn’t I guess I’m just on my own and I’m okay with that. I just realised today that all of this doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just something people do. I moved my lips, just in case anybody was looking. I don’t know why I care though, and I’m pretty sure the others with their strained toddlers and funny coats feel the same way.
It’s what people do to be together, this, the chanting.
Today there were flasks of tea after mass. I made shortbread and made Puppychild pass it around. There were almond biscuits and cupcakes with pink stuff on top and fruitcake slices and fizzy lemonade. A party held by the choir in which I find myself betwixt… the entity I just joined because of my Grandma, because they recognised my genes and thought I’d be the same maybe. They tasted my shortbread and although it tasted good (as it MUST do being mainly a buttery thing) it didn’t taste as good as Muriel’s. I could tell. I can’t sing as well as Granny. And I can’t draw like her. But they still love me and trust me because I have her blood. Or maybe they just like new blood… I can’t tell.
I took Puppychild up to her grave afterwards.
There was a carcass up there, near her grave. It was picked clean. Some large vegetarian thing, its skull and ribs exposed, a dead body in a graveyard with no home, taking the piss out of the carved granite slabs around it. Puppychild was nervous that such a carnivore could exact such horribleness on a creature but I told her that everything would be okay, that I’d yell at anything that came to eat us. It was a sunny morning, if anything came to eat us I’m guessing it would’ve been a good death.
It’s a murky afternoon now, and I’ve no idea what do do with myself.
I feel like making something out of papier-maché. A roast chicken dinner that nobody can eat, maybe.
Or a blog post that doesn’t mean anything.
Or vegetable soup, to give structure to strained immunities.
Or I could just stare into the fridge for an hour or two.
I thought what with all this nasty budget stuff in the news and whatnot, that you might like to hear a nice story.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Shay Kinsella. He met a little girl in the 1980′s who had leukaemia, and when he found out that her dream was to visit Disneyland, he decided to sort that out for her. Unfortunately she passed away before that trip came to be. The news woke something within him;
“At that moment he promised that he would do everything he could to bring a little magic into the lives of sick and disabled children all over Ireland and so was born the “Share a Dream Foundation”. Now in its 21st year, the Share a Dream Foundation has worked with thousands of children North and South to help their dreams come true and give them a break away from hospitals, painful treatments, loneliness and fear.”
It’s a funky thing, living with someone with special needs. A cocoon is formed by gizmos… one regulates, another sucks, some blow. Wheelchairs and syringes and tubes and general accoutrements that are needed to keep a dude alive can be kind of limiting, when it gets to travelling away, especially seeing as we’ve had to sell our wheelchair van. Lack of escape can drive a person nuts, especially if you’re only eight years old. Siblings of disabled children get used to the sacrifices but I feel my daughter’s pain that we can’t just up and leave to sleepover with Auntie Mary whenever a spare weekend comes around.
Plus! There’s the fact that funding for Carers in Ireland is pretty low right now, so I can only imagine the huge amount of families out there who are in the same boat, bursting to be free of their same four walls every day, just for a day or two. I think it’s amazing that organizations like these exist, they’re the backup generator for happiness crashes in this country, running invisible like endorphins through the nerves of Ireland’s central backbone.
They offered us a wee holiday, which we returned from today.
Our hotel room was bigger than our entire house. It was a twin suite at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown with enormous beds very suitable for bouncing on, and an ice machine right outside the door. The people that work there couldn’t be doing better jobs, they have good instincts with children and ways to soothe volatile situations like soft butter on toast. The hotel had no playroom, but there was much potential for hide and seek in the foyer. We had adventures in stairwells, and searched for secret doors and leaflets to make into paper aeroplanes later on.
We went to Tayto Park yesterday, which was only a half an hour away from the hotel. Turns out the hotel does regular deals for families, the four-star sleepover and free entry to both Tayto Park and the Aquatic centre and a picnic for just south of €150. Nice. It seemed like the hotel was set in the middle of nowhere, nothing but fields, pylons and legoblock buildings for miles around but it’s self-contained perfection, really in a great spot if you’re in to family stuff. If they’re sick of children by now though, they don’t show it.
Share a Dream arranged for a fella to bring us for a tour of the park, through a teepee village into jungle territory with enclosures full of monkeys and weird breeds of cats and a falcon or three, rescued seals barked unexpectedly at the children and made them jump and giggle. The playground would have been a haven if it wasn’t so chilly, I imagine the place gets a great trade during the summer. There was a mother of all zip-lines jutting from one part of the park, but judging from the frozen people at the top we figured we’d just brave it in the gift shop and picnic beside the fire in the restaurant instead. It was a good call, I can feel it in my waters.
She’s taller in person.
Sifting for moon rocks and sapphires
“Ma! I’ve a wedgie! I really do!” Never have I been so proud.
Go on, let your toddler in here to play. You go for coffee. I won’t eat him… much.
Please, if you’re in the position to be able to give to charity in 2013, send it Share a Dream’s way. I can’t thank them enough for the break. For crisp sheets, and not having to cook for a day or two, for smiley children and fuzzy dressing gowns… everything was amazing. Amazing work for amazing children.
‘Because that’s where all the aul’ lady ghosts sit and they get angry if you steal their seats.’
‘Oh.’ Said Puppychild.
She’s new to this Mass lark. So am I. I haven’t been to Mass regularly since I was 16 and even then, that was just to eye up the local talent from the back row.
We sat three rows from the front, three empty pews before us. Puppychild wanted to sit right in the front seat but I made up that lie about old lady ghosts and that seemed to convince her. We were still at the front of the entire congregation though and that is BAD for three reasons:
Lip syncing is very important because the priest can see you very well. Seeing as the chanting has changed in the last year (for no reason) it means that I’m in bluff territory… I’m mouthing words like a Japanese bloke in a kung-fu film, but I have no subtitles. I know when to stick in the ‘Amen’s and the ‘Our Father’ but that’s it. Everything else is on a wing and an… ummm… prayer.
I can’t see when everyone else is sitting or standing or kneeling. At one point the priest looked at me pointedly and said ‘Please be seated.’ I glanced around to find that everyone had been kneeling for some time. I and my daughter were the only ones still standing, so that was fairly embarrassing.
Being at the front of the crowd, means being the last one to leave. I filtered out at the end of the posse which made me a bit obvious to the choir folk. Unfortunately somebody spotted me and recognized me as my grandmother’s grand-daughter. She was very famous in this church at one time so that means by proxy I guess I should be too. D’oh.
So now I’m in the Church Choir I guess.
I’m starting next Sunday.
I have to go and do some serious singing sinning now that I’m such a good girl.
Nope, it’s the feeling I get when I sit down at a computer. Whether it’s reading emails or writing on blogs or reading others, or just mucking about on Facebook… it’s the nervous feeling that I’ll say something stupid. It’s best to stay away, maybe.
So I do.
And then a charity thing or a training day comes along, or yoga practice, or a dentist appointment…
(no, scrap the dentist appointment, there’s not much fear of failing there, just a fear of sharp shiny things)
…and I find that as nervous as I am about confronting these appointments, the positive benefits afterwards always outweigh the nerves. It’s a proportional thing, I’m almost sure there’s a scientific equation out there somewhere to describe it.
Except that that doesn’t really apply to this blog. Whenever I write something here I always feel cringy the next day. And yet I can’t let it go.
Which brings me to my new fear of Call of Duty II. It has infected our household and if I don’t gain appreciation for it FAST, there shall be complications. This is my evening of Getting Things Done. So there shall be blood spilled, and several young Americans shall be tea-bagged by this solemn Irish Housewife, it won’t be pretty but it has to be done.
Cheers to facing fears!
(if anyone even THINKS about robbing that for a cheesy car-bumper sticker I’ll be on you like an RCXD for royalties, ok?)
The handy thing about being the overlord of the school library is the ability to make it my hovel. If there was a zombie apocalypse I think it’s the first place I’d go to hide out. I have a Lord of the Rings poster in there, not the new release one, but a graphic that was done for the book series a while back. I like to scatter odd poetry books and fact books about whales and motorbikes about the place. And cushions. Lots of cushions.
There’s a blackboard at the rear of the little library room, this year I’ve decided to chalk up an aul’ Word of the Week for the laugh. It’s difficult to decide what the week’s word should be though, it can’t be too long or too short, and must be relatively comprehensible to your average nine-year-old.
This week’s word is:
Meaning: Things to be deleted or destroyed.
To use the word in a sentence, ‘The spam comments on this blog are among my delenda today.’ It would make a lovely name for a cat, if you’re a fan of irony.
So far the past words of the week have been ‘Jagged’ and ‘Laconic’. Have you any ideas for good words? I run frequent blanks.
I leave you with a creation of Puppychild’s;
I made the skull out of scrunched-up newspaper sticky taped together, which Puppychild wallpapered over with kitchen paper and a PVA dilute mixture. When it was dry she painted it and skewered its brains with a coat-hanger and hung ripped-up plastic aprons onto it before performing her weird ritual which of course I asked nothing about.
Posted on Saturday, October 20, 2012 in Family, Jobs
When life suddenly gets a little bit harder, it’s probably because you’ve just levelled up.
I read that once but I can’t remember where. I like it though, it’s so true.
I met Digital Darragh last night, and got the honour of meeting his new guide dog. So much respect for doggy fluffiness, patience and ability to place full trust and love in one so recently acquainted. I was humbled to be in his presence. His owner nagged me to write more so here I am, writing to you. Thanks for the nudge, man.
I met them at a table quiz, it was an hour or so away, and we didn’t win but we came damn close…
… but I still don’t know how many metres are in a hectare and I do know that crocodiles don’t carry their babies in handbags.
I got back late. I got three hours sleep and spirited away again early in the dark of this morning (and met several beautiful deer on the journey) to a Cardiac First Responder course, again, far far away. That too was a lot of fun. We got to practice saving people and when we were finished and got bored, began to boycott other’s life-saving skills by pretending to rush over and love and gush concern over their dummies unconditionally because that’s what strangers do in those situations. This was on a main street outside a convenience store but we were full of the energy that homemade vegetable soup gives you so we didn’t care. We fed from each other’s mojo and indulged in hyperness and love of the job.
I’m tired now.
It’s the nice sort of tiredness though, the type that happens behind your eyes and not heavy in your heart.
My neighbour has borrowed my toddler and my energetic pre-teen is away on a sleep-over and I have peace.
I understand that it is your right to be, and that you have as much of a right to be on this planet as I do. This is why I didn’t hoover you up earlier on while I had the opportunity, for hoover nozzles far outreach the inconvenience of having to grab a stool, a pint-glass and a postcard, or indeed a hefty shoe, for that matter. I hope you appreciate this.
I just wonder…
What is it that you’ve been thinking for this past eleven hours?
I know you’re alive, for I’ve poked you in curiosity and I’ve seen you curl your forelegs in avoidance but surely you must know by now that I am not a threat. I welcome your abilities, so long as you don’t find your way into my bedroom and possibly into my mouth during the night.
Are you a spy?
Are you working for the government, or a secret intelligence of some sort?
Are you stealing my recipes as I cook?
How have you stayed so still for such a long time, casting ghastly shadows across my ceiling and making me strain my neck in wonderment? Do you not feel guilty about having done so little with your short life?
You must have gathered so much information up there this past day. It frustrates me that you have no outlet for your creativity, that your wee spider legs are too week to press keys on my laptop, that you don’t understand the intricacies of the English language. I do hope you’re not pregnant, for I’ve noticed the lack of good-looking spiders around here so I dread to wonder what took advantage of you. If you are however, no matter… I know you’ll be a good mother because you obviously have an abundance of patience which can only be a good thing when you have sixty nappies to change all-at-once.
I know that tomorrow, you’ll have disappeared. I’ll wonder where you are and that wonderment will lead to my regretting not having hoovered you up, but wherever you’ll be, I hope your experiences on my kitchen ceiling will have taught you something, if not alone how to dice a clove of garlic.
Good luck little dude,
With love from yer wan who’s been staring upward at you for this past hour, mouth ajar.
So there we were in hospital again last week, nothing serious, just a sleep assessment.
Sleep-ful wide-open mouth, Laughingboy has always been a noisy dozer. There’s a strange mechanic though behind his nose somewhere lost in the darkness that stops his flow of snoring air sometimes. A deep snore halts suddenly and creates a pregnant pause…
…it’s a pause that lasts only a few seconds but that’s mountain years for me. I stand by him chanting ‘breathe!’ in my head until his awareness kicks in and shocks him into gasping.
He finds it hard to fall into deep sleep, because of that. Frustrating cycles of falling and waking, falling and waking. I’ve learned to be aware on some level even as I sleep myself. Instinct wakes me sometimes, I wander in a haze to Laughingboy’s room some nights and find him choking. I fluff his pillows, watch him doze, and wonder.
So there he was…
Flick ze sviiiiitch!!!
… all wired up and loving life. He was such a trooper what with all those people invading his personal bubble causing him to itch and make for bumpy sleeps. All that sticky would’ve driven me mental.
I was loving life too. Peaceful room with soothing walls and quiet bleeps in distant places, I had booty from the snack machine and a good book and a chair that was almost comfortable… it made for a nice holiday of sorts.
Bent and stretched from too many chapters I leaned forward and noticed the glitter.
It sparkled from angles, I bent and rolled and admired the rainbows and it made me think of sick children, minus tonsils, running fevers, fear of needles. The sparkles were like a ghost in the room, a happy child who’s mind is taken away from its troubles, the effort a nurse makes to help a helpless kid. I couldn’t pick the glitter up on the pads of my fingers though, they were bet in to the linoleum concentrated mainly around the bed. Sparkles over the years, enemy to the mop. They were beautiful.
And the motors of machines droned, and distant stations beeped quietly and I marked my page and gave up on words.
The plunk of leather on lino echoed, and woke poor Laughingboy. He held out his hand and I grasped it and we fell asleep. I wonder if his machine found that moment, if it registered as a spike and mapped his comfort, lines falling slowly downward into stories of fantasy worlds.
If there’s one thing that scares me more than men with guns or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s social workers.
This young wan called ’round recently, jaysus the house stank. The cat had shat in the bath and the dog hair was everywhere. I hadn’t even had a chance to finish my first cup of coffee of the day, and I was fierce bedraggled answering that door. Children seemed to be everywhere, but when she walked in they lined up as though it were a staged musical… it would have been perfect if the director hadn’t been so feckin’ cranky.
She sauntered in and looked for somewhere to place her files, I directed her to place them neatly on the dog, for he was the only thing that didn’t have stuff on it at the time. She did so without batting an eyelid, fair play to her.
She wanted to find out if our housing situation was suitable for us as a family, so I showed her around our tiny kitchen (God love her) and introduced her to the chaos of the bedroom that my 7 year old girl and 2 year old boy try to share. Laughingboy’s batchelor pad was next, but given that his quarters take up the majority of the rest of the house, she seemed happy with his living conditions.
But what point is there in his having adequate living conditions when the rest of us are going insane?
We pointed out that there was a house nearby that is presently empty. It’s adapted for a disabled person, and has four bedrooms. It has a decent kitchen, in which there is room to flip a pancake which would make a nice change. We wondered if we could possibly move into it?
Social worker lady told us that no, that this house has been allocated for travellers, which means that only travellers can move in to it.
So how can I become a traveller? I asked. She laughed nervously. I laughed hysterically.
As she walked out, I noticed the screensaver on our computer… it flashed the following image;
She did a double-take.
But by then the image had moved on to an idyllic family group photograph and I presume she imagined that she’d been seeing things.
Here’s me happily plodding along in my life and expecting the usual landmark occasions such as weddings, christenings, and eventually funerals, happily accepting the happenings that happen in a person’s time-scale. We all accept and expect these things, it’s a part of life.
But then! Right in the middle, when you least expect it, comes the divorce phenomenon.
I might expect an odd divorce. An ODD divorce or separation. When things don’t work out, when people are better off apart, even for their kid’s sake. I’m in the middle of a mass-exodus however. It seems that every happy couple around me; around us, all of our friends are splitting up with each other. Where once a couple were happy to smile upon each other and adore for no other reason but to be in each other’s company, now they choose to quit without a fight.
There’s our best bud, and her lovely husband… they can’t work together. Puppychild wonders if he’s still her uncle, because he is, after all, her favourite uncle of all time. I wonder if she’ll ever see him again.
There’s our family friend, he has two small girls, he and the missuz can’t get along… will we ever get to jigsaw and push each other down slides in the future?
There’s the brother of our family bud, he got married to his fella in the ‘Dam a few year back. I did love that guy, he was different. Will I ever get to compare tattoos with him again? Those boys were to me the epitome of love, and now they’re ended. They went through so many obstacles to prove that gay marriage should be fly, but when they earned their wings, they failed to soar.
Then there’s our extended in the U.S., they had it all. But now maybe not so much, because there was the affair.
Apart from these, there are three other couples close to us that have separated within the last year.
Did nobody tell these people that marriage would not be easy? Did nobody tell them how to weather the snow? It’s not as though there’s an exam to pass in order to get hitched, getting married is a very simple affair, as long as you have the cash. Getting married means more than money though. WAY more. That certificate merits your ability to toughen the worst storms of your life, it’s harder than a master’s degree. It takes temperance, acceptability, honesty, communication. It hates stonewalling and contempt. It’s a thing of compromise, of sweet ignorance.
I’m inclined to advise friends NOT to get married anymore for that reason, so few can take it.
I don’t understand why these people don’t fight, don’t relax their minds and give it all, to weather the snow and weather the rain because when the sun shines it makes it all worth it. A thing of ultimate sacrifice, it seems all to easy to quit, even if we are in the lucky age of communication and counselling. So why bother?
Because in the end, I guess it’s worth it. A way to not die alone. Donating decades to a cause which in the end, will be worth it somehow. I hope. I hope I can weather it. I hope.