Archive for family

I Hate Jokers

I’m not a big fan of practical jokes.  I like jokes.  Just not practical ones.  That’s why it’s so surprising that myself and Mr. Claire ever got together.  He is a giant child.  He jumps out at me from behind doors to scare me.  Leaves fake spiders lying around.  Gets all imaginative and constantly thinks of new ways to freak me out.  He also lies.  He tells me stories and I go, seriously?  And he laughs, saying, no, of course not!  Arsehole.

Thinking back to our first few months together, I really don’t know how I put up with him.  One day he rang me up in a really weak, pathetic voice and told me he had been knocked down by a car on his way to work and was in hospital.  I was completely freaked out and he waited until I was on my way out the door to visit him before he started laughing his bollox off.  Toerag.

On our first day…I must tell you that story sometime, it’s an odd one…we had been to the pictures and erm, got together before having something to eat together.  He was in work that night so we didn’t have long left together.  I was 19 at the time.  He puts on this really guilty looking face and stares at me.



“I have something to tell you…”

Uh-Oh.  “What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry.  But.  I’m only 16.”

“Excuse me, what did you just say?”

“I’m only 16…”

“Are you taking the piss?”

He shakes his head mournfully.  I throw up in my mouth a little.

“What?   WHAT?!”

“I”m sorry…”

 I have tears in my eyes at this stage.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were only 16?!”

“Everybody lies about their age.  I thought you did too.  Are you sure you’re 19?  You look very young.”

I showed him my i.d.  I kept waiting for him to say it was a joke.  But he didn’t.  And all I could think of was, he can’t be 16, he has man hands!  I felt so sick.  I was crying.  He had this wierd look on his face and I didn’t know what to do.  16?  Gross!!  I can’t express just how horrified I was.  My younger brother was 16.  He had lots of 16 year old friends.  The thoughts of going out with someone that age was completely sickening.  He had to go so I walked him to his bus stop because I couldn’t let a kid wander around town alone, right?

We get to the bus stop and he starts laughing.  He falls around the place laughing.  There is such a look of unbridled glee on his face that I just stand there in silence waiting for him to finish.  “I’m not 16, you idiot!  Haha the look on your face!  That was classic!”

I tried to glare at him, tried to force myself to punch him in the face but the truth was I was so relieved that I hadn’t gone out with a 16 year old that I couldn’t be angry at him.  Although I did make him show me his i.d.  I never really believed that he was 19 until I saw his passport a year later.  Only then did I really feel secure about it 😉  For the record, he loves reminding me of that story, telling other people about that story and claiming that he is my toyboy.  He’s younger than me by five months and that story still makes me feel sick…He’s such an arsehole 🙂


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Getting Lost at Home

Yesterday was the freakiest day ever.  We had planned on going Christmas shopping early with the kids as well as bringing them to see Santy but Mr. Claire changed his mind because the Little Man didn’t have his haircut.  Not that it would make much difference even when the child’s hair is cut it still manages to look moppy.  So at the last minute, he asked his family to babysit while we went out shopping for the kid’s toys and clothes for Christmas.  They agreed (they don’t see the kids often) so we set out on the long drive there.  They live in the next county and it usually takes about an hour and a half or two hours at most to get there.

So, we started driving, I kept saying that I had a baaaad feeling about driving that day.   The car started its new trick of cutting out every time he braked and he soon realised that the traffic was…not good.  So he does what every man I know does.  Finds a different way to go.  Why is that most men can’t sit still in a bit of traffic, they have to keep moving?  No matter how long it takes them, they won’t just sit there and wait for a couple of minutes, they have to try every single alternative option.  As long as they’re moving, they’re happy.  Even if the moving consists of reversing and turning around only to end up in the place with began!  It’s very annoying because without fail, it takes longer than it would have if we had just waited.

So after about 20minutes of ducking and diving around traffic jams, Mr. Claire decides to go a brand new way.  And gets lost.  Can I just say that it is hard to get lost between Dublin and Kildare.  I hate asking for directions but I was willing to stop by some coppers and ask them the way.  “No,” he growled back at me.  Sorrrrreeeeeee!

Eventually (after quite a few false starts) things begin to look familiar to him and we find ourselves on  the right route to Kildare.  Then the heavens decide to open.  The rain lashed down on us.  I have never been scared in a car with Mr. Claire before but I have never experienced anything like yesterday!  The cars in front were unleashing waves of puddles that were lashing against the windscreen.  You should have seen his little face concentrating.   Bless!  Mucky water continuously spraying against the windscreen does not equal safety.  And myself and the Little Man weren’t improving matters by singing, “We better run, run, run, the storm is on it’s way,” over and over and over again.  Mr. Claire retaliated by refusing to play any cd other than Garth Brooks for the whole day.  I learned my lesson…

So at about 5pm we finally got to his mother’s house.  He made us walk through mucky grass to get to her front door.  Toerag.

We dropped the kids off, as usual, the Little Man was ecstatic at getting away from me while the Princess screamed her head off and had to be forcibly removed from my person.  Free at last, Mr. Claire and I frolicked to the car jumping for joy.  We went to Newbridge and bought the most amazing clothes for the Princess.  She’s so freaking cute in them.  Not the point!  A right dozebag pulled out in the middle of the road right in front of ongoing traffic.  I thought Mr. Claire was going to get out and be all bionic man and chase the car down the road in a rage.  He was really pissed because we missed crashing into the back of that eejit’s car by inches.  A chorus of beeping made that car shoot down the road away from everyone.  We went to Naas and bought toys in Smyths.  It was a bit crap.  I’m very disappointed.  I can’t get the stupid boys version of the Little Tykes camera I planned to get him.  Everywhere only stocks poxy pink ones.  Do they think boys don’t like taking photos?  Toerags.

The dinner Mr. Claire had promised me that morning ended up being in a chipper but it was lovely so I’m not going to complain.  Anyway, we set off from Naas to Kildare Town.  From where Mr. Claire used to work to where Mr. Claire used to live.  And he managed to get lost.   Again.

I don’t fecking know how the hell he managed to get lost between Naas and Kildare Town.  I don’t know how many miles apart they are but they are close and it’s like one straight road through!  Even I know my way and I am shit at directions!!  We ended up on this long arse road that went on FOREVER.  In the wrong direction.  I started getting the feeling that we would never see our children again.  He had this horrible look on his face that plainly said, “please don’t start bitching at me right now, please!”

We eventually get ourselves off that road and discover we are miles in the wrong direction but at least we can find our way back.  So we drive through all of these poxy, bendy, twisty lanes with no light whatsoever and what does the fecking car do?  Keep cutting out, leaving us for a couple of seconds each time in the pitch black!  It was scary shit.  Mr. Claire is a great driver and managed to avoid crashing but it was a close call a good few times yesterday!  If I had been in the car with anyone else, I would have gotten out and walked.  I have never been scared in the car with Mr. Claire before but disaster was chasing us yesterday!

 We got back to the kids in one piece.  His family wouldn’t even believe me that he had gotten lost in Naas.  It’s seriously unbelieveable…Then when we had arrived home, his brother rang to see if we were okay because a truck had overturned on the road we had just driven down.  All in all, a creepy day!  All that to get some bloody Christmas shopping done!  We got home at around 11pm, exhausted.   But at least we’ve started getting things in for Christmas.  We got our boxes of biscuits and tins of chocolates as well as our boxes of crisps.  It wouldn’t be Christmas without those! 

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Sins Of Our Fathers – Part One

Nature vs. Nurture.   Nurture vs. Nature. 

I know most of what I write is basically…fluff.  But my interests do lie in other areas too.  I can enjoy cartoons AND reading about genetics whilst maintaining the same I.Q.  But don’t worry; this post is going to be a bit of fluff too, phew!  But as per usual, it’s a long one, run now, while you have a chance!  By the way, I wrote this yesterday as a draft because I thought we were going out but we don’t seem to be – I’ll just use this draft anyway.  The reason it’s called part one is because there are other things I want to get into that are related to this post but it was getting long so I thought I’d do it another day.  Plus, I don’t have the heart to talk about that stuff yet.  Call this a prelude to the real deal.  When I’m ready for that, we’ll talk 😉

 Becoming a mother has made a couple of things come to the fore.  How much of a part does genetics play in the adults our children become?  Personally, I think that both nature and nurture can play a part but in the long run, nurture is what counts.  At least that’s what I hope.  When we were children, one of the biggest threats my mother had was “you’re going to end up exactly like your father’s family.”  My mother loved my paternal grandfather (he died when I was 6months old but before that he looked after us when my father did not.  He had no illusions about the type of children he had raised.) but she wasn’t so keen on the rest of my father’s family and I can’t say I blame her…for a variety of reasons. The neighbours raised eleven children because my paternal grandmother couldn’t get up out of the bed every day.  My mother has no sympathy for this and can’t understand it but I can because if I allowed myself, I would have the exact same tendency to give up and hide under the covers.  I hadn’t seen that woman since I was around four or five yet when I had my own children I felt the urge to react exactly as she did every now and then.  Okay, to a lesser extent but maybe if I had eleven children, the postnatal depression that I went through would have been much more severe.  Is it genetics that made me feel like this or is just “one of those things?” 

As I said, my mother liked to threaten us with the idea of bad blood, how if we weren’t careful, we would become just like the people she despised.  She did her best to raise us so that we wouldn’t, I’m sure she did, but she made a fatal error by implanting it into our heads that no matter what we did, we would end up a certain way.  I have to admit, I was terrified that I would be a crap mother (just like the women before me…) but I felt like I couldn’t do the same things that they did.    I don’t have it in me to be those types of people.  Or do I? Sometimes I hear my mother’s voice when I speak and that scares the crap out of me.  I should have learned from her mistakes, right?  I know I’m not the best mother in the world.  I’m not good with the cleaning and at any given time, at least one of my children is covered in some sort of unidentified gunk but I love them.  I mean really, truly love them, unconditionally.   I don’t love them because they are good, or say cute things, or have blonde hair, or remind me of me, or can be easily persuaded.  Growing up, these were the things that earned love and these were the things that I didn’t have on my side.  When I was a kid, I had to deal with a lot of crap and a lot of fucked up people.  I have their genes so I’m always aware of how fucked up I could be too. 

Basically, my maternal grandmother is pretty much an alcoholic, a nervous wreck and a bit of a spoiled brat to be honest.  I love her but she’s not very good with responsibility and although she’s much better now, when I was a kid, she wasn’t very nice and I didn’t like her at all.  If she wanted to do something that you didn’t, she could get very mean.  She was the youngest child and the one allowed to mess up a lot.  Her mother raised my mother until they fell out, then she worked constantly, leaving my mother at home alone. 

Side Note: I often felt like I was the adult in that house of spoiled brats.  When I was a kid, it was me that my mother told she was having a miscarriage, it was me that was told we had no money to pay the bills so we weren’t going to have heat or light, it was me who had to come up with ideas to fix things, it was me who took care of my younger brother and the two baby cousins my mother was supposed to look after in the mornings, it was me who had to listen to her cry and freak out, it was me who had to take the brunt of everything and it was me who had to make sure that NOBODY found out what our life was like.  Not one person in my life (save my aunt) could take responsibility for themselves or their own actions.  I was a very young, naive little girl and I had a lot of responsibility that I shouldn’t have had.  I make sure my children get to play.  A lot.  Because I feel like I never had a childhood.  Maybe I had children for selfish reasons then…hmm…that made me think.  What gets me now is that everybody pretends that things aren’t as bad as they were.  Or they skim over them by saying it’s in the past.  Yeah it is, but things were worse than what I even make them out to be. 

Her sister looked after her and although I idolize my aunt, I recognize that she could be domineering and bossy at the best of times.  The both of them together were far too controlling on my mother who manages to be responsible and irresponsible at the same time.  She can look after everyone else except herself and her money (and her children to be honest).  She was an only child and she is also a spoiled brat.  She was not a good mother and although she too is better these days, back then, she was going through a certain amount of mental problems that made her incapable of looking after us in a healthy way.  I still can’t believe that she was allowed to look after two children alone but the past is in the past.  She didn’t start to drink until she reached her 30’s but I think she too will end up on the route to alcoholism.  Her husband is extremely unhealthy and as he is the one keeping her together, when he dies in the next couple of years, she will probably fall apart. 

My father’s family is full of problems.  My father himself is more than likely an alcoholic.  The last time I saw him, I was around 16 or so and he definitely had a drinking and drug problem then so I doubt much has changed to be honest.  My younger brother drinks way too much and takes drugs.  He won’t admit either of those but we both know it.  I think he has a death wish (I’ve met more than one person in my life with one) and like both my parents in their 20’s, he has attempted suicide at least once.  When I get a phone call in the middle of the night, my first thought is that something has happened to my brother.  But my point is that most of my close family don’t know when to stop when it comes to alcohol. 

So, I am fully aware that I am predisposed to a drinking problem and I am sure that in the past I have had way too many drinking sessions.  It is a social thing here.  People think it’s weird if somebody doesn’t drink.  I think I’ve met one or two people in my whole life that are teetotal.  Of course, I’ve been caught up in it too.  I drank a lot as a teenager but slowly lost the habit as I got older.  I don’t think I have a drinking problem though.  I had half a glass of wine last night with my dinner but before that I can’t remember the last time I had a drink.  At the moment, it isn’t something that I need to do to enjoy myself, I get up and dance even when I’m stone cold sober so it isn’t necessary for me to enjoy a night out.  In saying that, I fully plan on getting drunk on Christmas evening so maybe that’s a contradiction.  Anyway, the point is, I tend to hold back.  I know my limits.  I don’t like getting completely drunk and not knowing what I’m doing.  That is not my idea of a good time whereas I think with the others; they drink to forget about the bad times.  Whatever it is, I hope that I’m the one to break the cycle.  My partner’s family has some of the same problems so I admit; I fear that my little ones could follow the same path because it’s in their genes. 

I am different to the rest of my family (when I say family I’m talking about the maternal side) in a lot of ways.  My mother always made me different by saying I didn’t look like them, didn’t act like them, wouldn’t turn out like them.  I was often left out of everything, was often left behind, wasn’t included in treats, that sort of thing but looking at us all now, I seem to be the only one that’s happy so maybe nurture does have something to do with it, maybe if I had been included, I would be exactly the same as the rest of them.  I can’t complain about that one 😉 

I’m probably not being very clear or concise here (what a surprise) but I was left to myself a lot as a child.  The only thing my mother really instilled into me was good manners and the fact that we were a respectable family.  Not one person in her whole family touched heroin (which was the drug epidemic in their time) or got locked up or did anything “bad” yet her son, her golden boy, grew up to become a cokehead.  She can’t understand how the bad one (me) could grow up to become first a hard worker who never got fired from a job to secondly a dedicated mother when the good one (my bro) grew up so messed up in the head.  She thinks it should be the other way around.  If he had a different upbringing he might not be so messed up.  He’s so confused right now and he can’t seem to keep himself on the right track for long.  It’s like he’s pressed a self-destruct button and just can’t stop himself.  Instead of getting help, he hears, “I told you, you’d end up like your father!”  That ain’t going to work any better than it did when we were kids. 

I know that a lot of what I saw as a child has rubbed off on me.  I am a spoiled brat.  I know I am.  I don’t really know how to stop being one…and I probably am a bit mental myself, but never to my kids 🙂 My mother always says to me that I have the same expressions as one of my father’s sisters (I don’t remember ever seeing her) so obviously genetics has a part in things.  But I do believe that it’s how we raise our children that counts the most.  We can’t raise mini-me babies but we can do our best to make sure that we don’t pass on our crap for them to handle.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping and maybe by blogging about things, I won’t be carrying that shit around for my kids to pick up on…

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A Broody Little Christmas

I’ve spent the day in a Santy hat…of course it’s only 11am or so, I really shouldn’t be complaining.  We put up the tree last night and now suddenly it’s Christmas.  The word tree can be a bit misleading.  It’s a crappy 3ft piece of plastic pretending to be a tree.  It looks pretty though…if the lights are off.  Not because you can’t see it but because the fibre optics, lights and decorations look really well in the dark.  They do.  *nods sagely*

December is really having a wierd effect on us.  We argued over what tree to get yesterday.  What size, what colour, what price and we weren’t even in the same building.  He kept asking me what I wanted, I kept telling him what I wanted and he kept disagreeing with what I wanted.  “Get whatever the fuck you want then!” I shouted at him before hanging up the phone.  He got the one I wanted.  *looks sheepish*

Is it just me or does December make everything irritating?  I think he’s worried I’m pregnant I’m so hormonal at the moment.  I just want to get a move on with everything and he’s all lacksy daisy about it.  I don’t want to do everything on Christmas Eve this year!!  Speaking of being pregnant, I want to be.  He doesn’t want me to be.  Hmm…that’s never happened before so I’m not quite sure what to do about that. 

This time last year I was around 6/7 months pregnant and I was huge.   Nobody thought I’d make it past Christmas, I was seriously ginormous.  Before I gave birth, my skin was starting to wear very, very thin it was so stretched.  Christmas four years ago, I was going through unbelievably bad morning sickness and I spent Christmas day alone.  I couldn’t keep down water at that stage, it was horrible.  So I’m not really sure why I want to be pregnant again when I think about things like that.  Although I’m very sure when I look at my children play together.  Another one would fit in nicely.  I can see Mr. Claire buying me a puppy instead.  He doesn’t like how I look at babies on the telly.  Not my fault I’m permanently broody.  I actually think there is something wrong with me.  I’ve been broody since I was 12…:)

 With that thought….have a great day 😉  I know, I really have to stop talking about Christmas…and babies…and Christmas.  I keep planning on talking about other things but it always comes back to “see above”.  Okay, I want a baby for Christmas.  A puppy would be nice but a poor second.  What is it you want during the holidays this year??

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Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody, Everywhere…

Hmph, couldn’t post this morning because Mr. Claire needed the net to download an update for the Xbox.  Yes, I come second to the Xbox 🙂  Now back to today’s announcement… 

Mornings can go a couple of different ways in my house.  The Little Man or The Princess can wake me up.  The Little man does this by jumping on my head or stomach until I need to die or pee.  The Princess does this by screaming her head off as if she is stuck in between the bars of her cot and in excruciating pain.  Sometimes they don’t want to wake me up for various reasons.  The Little Man could be on a rampage and passing biscuits on to his baby sister to keep her quiet about the whole thing.  It’s a team effort. 

On days like this, I get woken up in one of two ways.  One could be the sound of Mr. Claire’s horrified voice shouting saying, “For the love of God, LIAM!!” followed by the sounds of Liam running as fast as he can into the bedroom before jumping into my bed and putting his cold hands and feet all over me in an effort to hide.  This scenario can be built up to by the sound of Mr. Claire’s disgusted voice shouting saying, “Oh, Jesus what’s all over her face?  Isobel!  NO!”  Cue frenzied double-checking that it is in fact chocolate and NOT poo all over her face.  The relief doesn’t last long for poor Mr. Claire, I’m afraid because at some stage he has to look at what damage has been done while we were asleep. 

Alternatively, my beautiful sleep is disturbed by a strange noise.  It could be an odd tap tapping noise, the sound of tearing, a rather loud squeaking or a whole array of other noises.  The Oh, shit, no, sensation starts to kick in relatively quickly.  Half asleep, I KNOW that my son is no longer asleep, I KNOW that I don’t want to look at what he is doing but I KNOW that I have to stop it right now before it gets worse. There are many sights that could await me once I grudgingly pass by Mr. Claire’s pretend snoring body with a deadener to the arm and the sight of my daughter’s four shining white teeth amongst a mouthful of brown drool.  I enter the crime scene kitchen. 

Flour/sugar/pasta/rice/coffee/ripped up tea bags/baby formula could be strewn across the floor in cleverly constructed mounds.  Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends will all be stuck in one of these mounds and poor Thomas will be the scruffy hero attempting a rescue.  Usually a couple of these mounds are mixed with broken eggs and yoke while others are overflowing in about 2litres of milk.  This is so we can’t clean it up as quick.  It is really hard to clean up raw eggs mixed with dried up gunk (or else we’re just not doing it right). Parts of the floor will be pulled up, most of the battery powered toys will have the backs unscrewed and their batteries replaced.  He is quite good with a screwdriver.  Something somewhere will be dented by a hammer of some sort.  Kitchen towel, toilet roll and Kleenex will be floating in the air.  I sort of imagining him running free around the room with a look of glee across his face and pieces of paper in his hands twirling elegantly in the air.  It is art. 

Every single toy will be out of the toy box and covering the doorway for a couple of feet in every direction so that no matter what you do, you have to stand on a toy to clean up.  Sometimes, the tap will be left running and a mini flood will occur – this is probably a river to wash the filthy trains in after they have been rescued.  Things are better since he’s been potty trained though,  he used to take his nappies off too but I won’t finish that story. 

Of course, all this hard work and effort makes a growing boy hungry.  So he will have to feed himself at some stage.  Think of chunks of butter everywhere but the bread.  Jam sliding off the table.  Packets of cheese and ham overturned on the floor.  Twenty pieces of bread on a plate, each with one bite taken out of them.  That’s before he even pours himself a drink.  Anything that was placed so high up that even I can’t reach it, is somehow, magically, on the ground. 

Today wasn’t too bad, maybe he’s taking pity on us at last.  He managed to get behind a huge television stand/cabinet thingy and take out a Transformer we had been saving him for Christmas.  Firstly, I do not know how he found the thing, secondly, I do not know how he managed to get behind the cabinet, and thirdly I do nott know how he managed to get the toy open because I struggle with it.  But he managed all three.  He also managed to get his hands on three board games.  I hate when he does that because you can never find all of the pieces again.  Never.  So, he decided it would be fun to take all of the cards out and throw them up in the air, watch them all fall to the ground and then go make brown sauce sandwiches.   

Brown sauce sandwiches.  What a connoisseur…I can’t go into my kitchen for longer than five minutes today because the smell of brown sauce is sickening me.  I hate brown sauce; it’s a Mr. Claire thing.  Obviously, it’s a little man thing too considering he’s making sandwiches out of the stuff.  Bleurgh!  It tends to be like a treasure hunt in the mornings, trying to figure out exactly what has gone on before I woke up. 

I wonder how he manages to wake up first every single morning no matter what time I get up at.  It’s a talent.  If I died and nobody realized for a couple of weeks, my son would be well able to look after himself and his little sister.  He sometimes makes toast, I’ve caught him trying to make bottles for her before, there is nothing he won’t try.  He even cleans up sometimes 🙂 

Today, he didn’t want to clean up.  Mr. Claire told him to clean up everything and then he was going to go straight to bed.  Little man knows it’s an empty threat and fluthers around the place regardless.  Mr. Claire joined in on the cleaning while I judged the damage on the Princess.  I’m thinking she had a brown sauce sandwich too.  I told my son to either clean up his trains or else throw them in the bin.  He tries to throw them into the bin…Plan b, Mammy, what’s plan b?  I did the countdown.  I say, five, four, three, two…I don’t quite know what happens at one, we’ve yet to get that far.  I have no idea why it works because even I don’t know what happens at one but it does the job so I’m not complaining.  I’m aware that my parenting skills leave a lot to be desired but whatever.  Both kids are happy and healthy…maybe it’s down to the brown sauce sandwiches?

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I’m a Planner, Baby…

Just have to say that there is one thing about this blog that always manages to amuse me.  Every single day I log on, there are some really wierd ass searches.  Like…she forced me into a nappy.  I feel sorry for people who search for swinging couples only to find my, mostly moany, blog.  One of my favourite things about blogging is seeing what people search for.  It’s great.  I wonder if, when I search for things and find a completely irrelevant blog as the answer, does the blogger think, wtf? why were they looking for that here?  I’m a boring searcher by all accounts.  I look for things like how to fix my f&%king blog when I’ve changed the template by myself.  That sort of thing. 

 I just want to pat myself on the back a little bit.  I finally made a bit of a plan for Christmas and it turns out that for once, I’m not going to be searching down the back of the sofa for a euro on Christmas eve.  Nice one…   I’ve even been saving up for the last few weeks, oh yeah, uh huh.  But then I realised that there’s one significant difference this year.  I’ll have 500euro in the month of December that I didn’t have before.  I do not like my Government but some of the things they do come in handy at times.  Such as the Childcare Allowance.  Regardless of your family situation, anyone with a child under the age of five receives 250 euro four times a year.  I have two which gives me 500euro four times a year.  It’s supposed to give people an incentive and a bit of help paying for childcare so that more families can have two incomes or can get themselves off various benefits.  A grand a year?  Deadly idea. 

But then you remember that childcare can easily cost more than a grand a month per child so it’s not that helpful after all.  But it is a bit of a lifesaver in December as I’m discovering this year.  Funnily enough, paying childcare for two youngsters even with the Childcare Allowance tends to defeat the purpose of working for a lot of people so I won’t be leaving the home until my babies are in school.  Another lifesaver in December is the monthly Children’s Allowance that anyone, regardless of their circumstances, caring for a child under 16 (or up to something like 21 still attending school or college) gets 160euro a month.  That’s 320euro a month for me, sounds great but it’s going towards my ESB bill.  My electricity bill is a killer.  It’s over 200euro even in summer, including the weeks I housesitted for my mother.  I live in a very cold, expensive shithole 🙂

Before anyone bitches about me for spending the Children’s Allowance on myself, just about everything that goes through my hands gets spent on the kids – the lump sum at the beginning of every month is just easier to hand over to pay for a bill than me saving up, trust me, I can’t be trusted to save…

Back to congratulating myself on my Christmas plan…

We’ve pestered most of our family members into telling us what they want. 

Brother Number One (who still hasn’t accepted his 21st birthday present from two months ago…):   “Nothing.  I’d be much happier if you didn’t get me anything.”

My Mother (on behalf of my little 10 year old brother):   “A game is too expensive.  Just get him 10euro credit for the new phone I’ll be getting him for Christmas.”

My Mother (on behalf of herself):   “10euro for my paypal account.”

 Me (after I tore my hair out in exasperation):   “Ah, come off it!  For f&%k’s sake, just tell me what yis want.  For the Love of God, TELL ME!”

Them (with evil grins on their faces):  Repeat above statements.

I know they’re trying to be nice.  I know they keep telling me I have my own kids to look after but that is not the point!  His family aren’t shy about giving a list, I’d just like a little bit of help with my side, just a little.  What is my mother like asking for 10euro into her paypal account for Christmas? 

So, I made out my own list of what to get them.  The people I haven’t got a clue of will be getting vouchers, yes vouchers.  Particularly as one younger member of his family asked for money to gamble with on Stephen’s Day.  Not bloody likely – that’s Mr. Claire saying that, not me.   Who is a hypocrite by the way because he won money on a racehorse at the weekend…

But I picked a certain amount of gifts for my babies too, didn’t go too mad.  Not really.  I have a rough idea of how much I’ll need and I think that I’m going to make it through Christmas this year (without panicking or freaking out too much).   If you ever spent Christmas near me, you would know how much of an accomplishment this is.  🙂  Can’t wait to send Mr. Claire out go shopping!

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My Three Year Old’s Lickle Gang

Going to get this done while the kids are distracted.  If they see me, they will attack the laptop…

 My son did his last speech therapy session today, well, for now that is.  He’s never actually had any “proper” speech therapy.  He’s been part of a Talk Time group for the last 8 weeks with four other kids.  They’re his little gang, they’re so sweet.   Not one of them can understand each other but they still all go straight to the toys when they see each other and play together.  My kid shows them how to build blocks and when they should knock them over.  He’s very specific on the timing of the destruction…The girls try and make him play with dolls but he gives them this “Are you kidding me?” look and they go back to the blocks again.  🙂

But to be honest the therapy didn’t help, except that he had company.  They still haven’t given me anything to do with him at home that I wasn’t doing already.  In some areas, he’s a lot better than the other kids but that’s only because I’ve been at home with him every day working on it.   Not everyone gets to do that.

There an odd group of kids but I hope they get put in a group together again.  He had really started coming out of his shell.  I hadn’t realized how shy he was until we went to the group.  He’s even shy with his Daddy sometimes.   He’ll start singing and dancing then realize that someone other than me is in the room and stop and cover his face.  It’s a shame because everyone else is missing out, he has the funniest little bootie dance ever 🙂

He’s gotten a bit more confident, he even started taking part in some of the songs at his group but all three of the boys are in the background of the two girls quite a bit.  The three boys are shy, it’s so strange.  The girls are always first to do anything.  One of the girls is so intelligent, it’s unreal.  But, she’s….wild.  It’s very hard to keep her attention on anything for long but when she does she can do exactly what they ask straight away, much faster than the others.  I get the feeling she’s playing up for her Mammy’s sake rather than anything else.  She definitely understands everything we say, I think she’s a handful but she would probably make the most interesting playmate for my kids 🙂

 The second little girl is sweet and sort of motherly.  She’s the one who puts dolls to bed and things like that.  She’s the little Mammy of the group.  She likes to do what the others are doing too though.

 One of the little boys isn’t going to get anything out of it because his mother hates the group even more than I do.  Seriously, I thought I was going to flip out at the first session because it was such a waste of time and I am desperate to help my son before he goes to primary school.  That boy’s mother obviously thinks the same thing and her son is so shy that he finds it hard to take it on himself to get involved.

The last little boy is my little pet.  He is much taller than my son but he is the most gentle 3 year old I have ever come across.  He’s so quiet, he doesn’t try to talk much but he’s always smiling and shyly taking his turn.  My kid always tries to cut in front of him, he’s such a pushy bully!

Anyway, that’s the little gang.  They make me want to be a speech therapist when I grow up 🙂  To be honest, I’d forgotten how much I love working with kids that aren’t my own, even crazy three year olds!

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