An Ode to Mother’s Day

It comes around just once a year,
A day of celebration,
And recognition of all that mums do,
Beginning with creation,
Though granted, they didn’t do it alone,
The dads made a contribution,
But it’s not the men who are pregnant 9 months
Coping with added weight distribution,
Till the end of gestation when baby emerges
Through a design, quite flawed by dimension
Think melon and nostril and you’ll get the picture,
And the pain’s probably also worth a mention,
Or out through the tummy, a passage created,
With the flick of the surgeons sharp knife
Means a longer recovery, but baby’s here safely,
And the scar fades a lot through your life,
The sleepless nights follow, the boobs grow impressive,
To proportions never imagined before,
And the nappies keep coming, and the teething and tantrums
Toddler terrors, threenagers and more,
Cut knees to be treated and bumps to be kissed,
The scrapes keep a coming no matter
As the walls they are scaled and the trees, just a challenge,
And your furniture is left all a tatter,
Redesigned kitchen walls, and phones down the toilet,
Surprises, you find every day,
Need to hide all your treats, cos the kids they can sense them,
And eat them all, much to your dismay,
Then there’s homework and projects, all needing attention,
But kids are resisting so much,
And you feel you’ll go crazy, as battles continue,
Over English and Maths and all such,
But on mothering Sunday, all is forgotten,
You’ll think of how lucky you are,
When the cards are presented, and the pictures drawn carefully
Loving messages sent from afar,
Cause no matter our age, or the age of our children,
A mum knows how lucky she is
Though the hours are long and the terms need some tweaking,
We know being a mum is the biz.
Still on mothering Sunday, appreciation is welcomed,
And mums could all do with a rest
It’s just twenty four hours in a very long year,
So enjoy it mums, cos you’re the best!

It’s nearly that time again….

Two days to go before the old routine returns.  I’m still in a place that fits the Fianna Fail slogan of yesteryear –  “a lot done, more to do”. Half the books are covered, most of the twistables have been painstakingly, individually labelled (for all the difference it will make) and I know where the majority of the uniforms are.  All I need now, is the motivation to finish the job in hand.

I always quite enjoy the first day back at school.  The children aren’t quite as  resistant as they will be a week later. There’s a nice buzz around the school yard as parents and kids alike catch up with each other after the long summer break and “new school year” resolutions are made. There’s a definite Pollyanna feel to the whole day.

I will admit that the house will seem quieter when I return from the drop, especially this year as child number six, my resident foghorn, starts Montessori. Child number seven, no doubt will be confused for a while, when there are no brothers or sister to play with. I, in the meantime, will surely find it strange to look out my kitchen window without seeing Captain America, from the corner of my eye , run by without any trousers on, followed in hot pursuit by Spiderman, identifiable only by his calls of “I’ll shoot him with web” as Spiderman, in this house, often prefers to go completely au naturel.

It will be an adjustment for a while and I will definitely miss them.  Not having to resolve a hundred arguments a day will help ease the pain. My neighbours will doubt miss hearing my gentle tones, ones they have become very familiar with over the course of the Summer, as I lovingly called to Spiderman to stop bouncing on the trampoline and come inside immediately to put on some clothes.

All good things must come to an end and so Summer 2016, I bid you adieu. It’s back to early starts, homework, school lunches and after school activities.  What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, the saying goes. I wonder does that apply to school projects too……

Invasion of the party boys

By the time you’re reading this I will be drowning in a sea of 9 and 10 year old boys as the first birthday party of the weekend takes place.  The banners have been purchased and blu-tacked to the wall.  The party bags are filled and waiting for distribution and there are enough chicken nuggets and pizza in the freezer to feed an army. The only thing still proving quite a challenge are the age 10 balloons which are still sitting on the mantelpiece, refusing to expand no matter how hard I blow into them and may quite possibly result in me having several burst blood vessels in my eyes if I persist.

No amount of gentle persuasion or, out and out bribery, could convince my two birthday boys to share a party so the house will most likely, over two days instead of one, resonate noise levels not heard in these parts…. since last year anyway. My own personal saving grace is that tomorrow’s party also entails a trip to see Captain America, Civil War. As my baby still requires frequent access to my bosoms, I can bow out of this part completely guilt free.  Never have I felt so glad to be restricted!

I can dawdle and ponder my good fortune no longer, as the first lot of party attendees arrive shortly and the balloons still need to be wrestled with. Time to batten down the hatches and get ready for a boy invasion. May the force be with me!

What’s that in the toilet?

Over the years my children have put various items down our toilet.  Mobile phones, plastic bath ducks, Iggle Piggle and one of my husband’s ties (which was used as a fishing rod) have all met their watery end at the bottom of our lavatory. We had a new one today though.

There was a lot of activity going on in our bathroom this morning and not just the usual meeting of minds that regularly takes place there, when one of my younger kids needs to do a poo. In a house where most of the children have no mute button, silence is always treated with particular suspicion. Upon further investigation it appeared that there was every reason to be suspicious.

My five and two year olds were found examining the toilet bowl where some mushy type something or other was floating in the water. “What’s going on?” I asked “Whats that in the toilet?” Two guilty heads looked at each other. “It’s a breakfast waffle” my five year old replied. “And how did it get there?” I asked. “It popped out of the toaster and landed there” he said. “So it popped out of the toaster, flew up the stairs and landed in the toilet? I asked. “Yep” he replied nodding his curly head in earnest honesty. “It’s in the toilet” my two year old added, just in case I wasn’t clear.

“Don’t worry mammy” the five year old said as I muttered in disgust “I got most of it out with daddy’s toothbrush”…….

Morning Chaos!

The mornings never quite go as I’d like, or hope.  While I have visions of six children and a baby in his highchair sitting around the breakfast table laughing gaily as they eat breakfast in a relaxed and cheery fashion the reality falls very short of this.  It takes five or six attempts to gently rouse my children from their deep slumber every school morning, the sort of deep slumber that never seems to occur at the weekend, before the fishwife in me leaps out and starts roarin, “GET UP NOW OR YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!” We’re not off to a good start.

As the kids trundle down the stairs some more happily than others, there is shoving and shouts of “leave me alone” and “maaaaaaam he’s annoying me!” Meanwhile I’m rushing around the kitchen calling random children’s names to come and collect their cereal toast and juice.  My ever independent two year old insists “I do it mineself”. I can see what’s going to happen but I can’t stop it….

I mop up the orange juice as quickly as I can before he takes notions of “jumping up and down in muddy puddles” and move quickly to console my snot filled nose bubble blowing baby boy who is grizzling miserably in his high chair. Like his father, he is not a great patient! Next I move on to trying to cajole the troops up the stairs to clean their teeth before they head to school.

It is quite incredible the amount of distractions that can be encountered en route to the bathroom.  Several more fish wife impressions later they’re down the stairs and almost ready to leave the house.

My final morning battle begins and a disagreement ensues as to whether or not a coat is necessary.  My insistence it’s freezing is shot down as ridiculous, but, as I am mammy, they have to do what they’re told.  To the tune of “hurry, hurry hurry” most of the kids put on their coats and get ready to head out the door.  In scenes reminiscent of Home Alone 2 I do a head count and realise there’s someone missing.  It’s the curly haired one.  I turn around to find him coatless, standing about three feet away from the coat rack , holding his hand out.  “Why are you not wearing your coat” I say, in a less than calm fashion. “I’m getting it” he replies, “I’m just using the
force”. I look at him for a few minutes incredulously…….…….before I burst out laughing.  Ah well, at least the tension is gone and tomorrow is Friday!

 

 

Sunday, Sunday

Sundays here, like most houses I imagine, are normally hectic. They usually involve huge amounts of housework, shopping and washing, getting ready for the week ahead. Sunday nights are spent locating missing pieces of uniform which were supposedly put in the wash but somehow turn up wedged down the side of someone’s bed and finding odd shoes whose partner has seemingly grown legs and run off. Bath-time resembles a factory assembly line and there’s always a nasty surprise to be found when one of us goes searching in the school bags for a beaker or lunchbox that didn’t quite make its way to the kitchen sink the previous Friday! Sundays have become both exhausting and boring to be honest. 

This Sunday, however, we decided we were going to “do something” and headed into town with the troops. Definitely not a task for the fainthearted, but we loaded the mom-mobile and headed off. In spite of a few grumbles from the boys in the middle, fearful that an afternoon of shopping awaited them, we actually had a lovely time. Granted it took a good ten minutes to unload the car and assemble buggies (and restrain the toddler) but it was lovely to all get out as a family and do something different to the usual chores that take over our Sunday. The weather was lovely so it was nice to wander around and soak up the busy atmosphere. I even got a giggle out a few people that I saw counting as we passed by them with the kids! We returned home with a big box of doughnuts and the promise of a hot chocolate to go with them. 

It wasn’t an overly eventful day or an especially exciting one but it did feel like a day off. It felt like a break from the mundane and it did serve as a reminder of the importance of taking time out to spend quality time together instead of always being caught up in what has to be done. They say very few people on their death bed look back and think “I wish I had done more housework”. While there’s a need to be practical too, I am going to try to remember this more. The kids won’t remember whether or not the house was immaculate when they get older, but hopefully they will remember some of the things we did together. It’s easy to forget this in the craziness that is life. In the meantime you’ll have to excuse me. All my slacking off today means I have an important date with my ironing board this evening!

We returned home with a big box of doughnuts and the promise of a hot chocolate to go with them. It wasn’t an overly eventful day or an especially exciting one but it did feel like a day off.It felt like a break from the mundane and it did serve as a reminder of the importance of taking time out to spend quality time together instead of always being caught up in what has to be done. They say very few people on their death bed look back and think “I wish I had done more housework”. While there’s a need to be practical too, I am going to try to remember this more. The kids won’t remember whether or not the house was immaculate when they get older, but hopefully they will remember some of the things we did together. It’s easy to forget this in the craziness that is life. In the meantime you’ll have to excuse me. All my slacking off today means I have an important date with my ironing board this evening!

Playdates!

Friday is generally playdate day here. Sometimes my kids go to their friends’ houses, sometimes their friends come here but, because I haven’t quite mastered the skill of managing to farm them all out on the same day, there are generally always other children here on a Friday afternoon. It can be a great way to see how your children mix with their peers. It can be a fantastic bribe (or threat) during the week to get them to focus on their homework, eat their dinner, put their underwear in the wash basket (tick as appropriate). It can also be a great way to keep the kids occupied on a Friday afternoon or, depending on the child who comes over and his/her effect on the group dynamic, throw the afternoon into excited chaos!ng the week to get them to focus on their homework, eat their dinner, put their underwear in the wash basket (tick as appropriate). It also can be a great way to keep the kids occupied on a Friday afternoon, or depending on the child who comes over and his/her effect on the group dynamic, throw the afternoon into excited chaos.

Playdates have changed a lot here over the years as the children have grown up. Obviously we still have a lot of younger kids coming over for the younger children but the older kids don’t have friends on playdates anymore. They have friends over to “hang out”. It can be very funny to observe a cool “meeting of minds” taking place around the dining room table over pizza as my daughter and her friends discuss important things in life, such as the Kardashians, who’s meeting who these days, and other stuff that I couldn’t possibly be cool enough to know about because I’m mam. What’s even funnier is to see my daughter’s reaction when the two year old walks into the dining room and interrupts the deep and meaningful conversation to proudly declare “I’ve done a smelly poo in my potty! Want to see?” After initial looks of absolute horror the girls burst out laughing and my daughter takes her brother’s hand and says “sure baby, show me”. 

Meanwhile, in the sitting room, where the potty has taken pride of place in front of the T.V., boys have gathered from every corner of the house, some related, some not, to admire what has been produced. No looks of horror here! Then after the two year old has been congratulated, everyone returns to what they were doing. It’s like feeding time at the zoo when the kids and their friends are called for their dinner and excited chat takes place around the table. I have to admit I love that part! Collection time involves a mad search for shoes which were discarded literally everywhere, as soon as the kids came into the house. Most recently, one child went home with different shoes, my son’s shoes, not noticed by me or the other child’s mother for several days! In our defence, there were a lot of black similar sized shoes, to wade through. 

Finally when everyone has gone I collapse on the couch, promising myself I’ll check out the playroom later, when I’ve built up the courage, to see what damage has been caused by the human tornadoes that went through it. Playdates are great, but nothing beats the feeling after when you know the kids are happy and the weekend’s really about to start. Good luck to all the mammies having playdates this afternoon!

Homework

I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the kids being on their Easter holidays. Yes there will be 7 kids to occupy. Yes my head will be done in come day three when the crappy Irish weather means we’re trapped indoors rapidly running out of ideas as to how to occupy them all without needing to remortgage the house BUT the freedom from making lunches and sorting uniforms and having to be somewhere at a certain time, I just can’t wait. Most of all I can’t wait for the break from homework and the battle involved!

It can be like a warzone here some evenings. I have five lots of homework to contend with. It’s enough to break even most hardened Marine! The “fun” starts when the kids get home from school and after their snack they get a “gentle” encouraging call from me to take their places at the dining/kitchen/playroom table, depending on whose turn it is to sit where. Five minutes lapse and I realise no-one is where they’re supposed to be so another “slightly less gentle” call to take their places is issued. Cue row number one. “I don’t want to do it in that room/ sit beside him/her”. Finally I have them sitting down and homework started and within two minutes there’s another call “Mam, I forgot my Irish book”. I suggest numerous places in the bag it might be and eventually it turns up, on the table, having already been taken out. 

Peace returns to the galaxy for all of five minutes when there’s another call, “he hit me”, “she’s laughing at me” or the best and most frequent “he/she is annoying me”. The source of annoyance here can be something as trivial as breathing. My usual threat of no dessert after dinner quietens them all down again for a while. The two year old comes into the kitchen laughing “I funny, I funny” and I look up to see he has swiped his sister’s glasses and she hasn’t even noticed that they’ve gone missing. Eventually comes the onerous task of checking the homework to discover half the stuff hasn’t been done yet and there’s a note in someone’s journal for something that HAS to be in by tomorrow and the bloody shop I need to get it in is closed. Stress levels are high and the project hasn’t even been started yet…………

Hi Everyone. I’m so excited to introduce my new blog . As a mum of seven life is hectic, crazy and certainly never dull. My house isn’t always pristine and the beds aren’t always made by lunchtime but it’s a house filled with love, laughter, tears and the odd tantrum wink emoticon . I wouldn’t change a thing! Looking forward to sharing the journey and chatting with you all. Surviving and enjoying parenthood with a little mama-tude! -Jen ‪#‎parentingblog‬‪#‎mumofseven‬ ‪#‎mamatude‬