21 activities to keep the kids occupied this Easter

 

The Easter hols are here and thanks to recent snow days and a patron saint’s bank holiday, the novelty of having the kids at home may have worn off before it’s even begun!
So to keep your troops occupied and your sanity in check, I’ve compiled a list of cheap or free things to do over the coming two weeks. May the force be with you through it all!
1. Cinema clubs – the old reliable, especially for those rainy or cold days. Many cinemas have morning screenings of kids’ movies at a reduced rate over the school holidays. Some even discount their popcorn and fizz for an extra treat!

 

2. Picnic at the park – make hay while (and if) the sun shines. Lunch outdoors is an adventure of its own. Throw in a football or take in a playground and the kids can burn off some energy while you’re at it.

 

3. Write a family newspaper – as simple as it sounds. Assign all kids in the house a story to cover relating to your family or what’s going on that day. Then add some phone-taken photos or some drawings to accompany their articles and voila – you have your equivalent of “The Hogan Times” and the bonus of something for “show and tell” upon their return!

 

4. Visit the National Museum – There’s loads to see and entry is free! Thanks to school projects there’s sure to be several things that catch your children’s attention and it’s a pretty enjoyable visit for parents too. You can find more info at www.museum.ie

 

5. Playdates –  Have some pals over to keep your troops occupied. There’s always the chance the favour might be returned over the course of the holidays, giving the double bonus of another day’s fun for your child and a bit of breathing space for you.

 

6. Go swimming – An activity everyone can enjoy, that’s not weather dependent or overly expensive. And it might tire them out a bit too!

 

7. Visit some relatives, or invite some over –  With the restrictions of school and after school activities it’s hard to find the time to visit relations who might live that bit further away. If cousins are involved, the visit made or received is sure to cause even more excitement.

 

8. Board games – Always fun and often overlooked in favour of the computer type. And the great thing is that all ages can get involved!

 

9. Treasure hunt (indoor or outdoor). Draw up the clues and hide them inside or outside the house and let the kids do the rest.

 

10. Build a fort – Timeless fun and a great way to keep the kids busy on a rainy day. And if you’ve a few kids, build two. They can visit each other.

 

11.  Games from our youth – Remember how much time we spent outdoors growing up, wary of going indoors to use the bathroom even in case you weren’t let back out again?The games that kept us occupied for hours would no doubt do the same for our own children. So why not teach your kids how to play them? Hopscotch, Red Rover, Crocodile Crocodile, What time is it Mr Wolf, Rounders, Kick the can, Balls and Skipping – to name but a few!

 

12. Home baking – Most kids love baking and even those of us with limited baking skills can help our littles to make fairy buns, rice krispie buns and maybe something more. Happy bonus –  dessert is sorted!

 

13. A walk on the beach – Even if it’s raining. Skimming stones and wave dodging are fun, rain or shine for the bigs and smalls in the family

 

14. Trip to the library  – to browse and borrow books or to enjoy the
different activities that regularly take place there, details of which can
usually be found online.

 

15. Write a letter – To a grandparent, other relative or friend because who doesn’t love receiving mail that isn’t a bill.

 

16. Make sock puppets – Get crafty and creative to the best of yours and their ability. And then afterwards, do a puppet show

 

17. Visit a pet farm – Kids generally love visiting animals and a pet farm gives them the opportunity to get a little bit closer. Have a scour online for some in your locality. There’s lots of cheap and cheerful ones – and even some free ones too.

 

18. Play doh – messy, get everywhere, maddening stuff – that the kids just love!

 

19. Go out for muffin – a treat in a cakeshop always goes down well. (And the muffin is bribery to behave ;-))

 

20.Get everyone to do a self-portrait, make a collage – One to treasure and frame.

 

21.  Have a karaoke competition – because, ahem cough, cough, you can have the craic joining in too.
Kids Easter Artwork
Kids Easter Artwork

 

Lessons learned on the parenting frontline

The first week of the school hols is over and high-fives all around, we survived it – relatively unscathed, well kinda. And we’ve learned a few lessons that I thought I’d share. The sort of things that it’s handy to know as we navigate our way through the remaining, approximately thirty five weeks, or thereabouts, of the school holidays.

1.   Never leave the house without babywipes. It’s just asking for trouble and without them, your child’s first port of call with their snotty nose, carrot stick orange-coloured mouth and chocolatey hands will be your cream jeans – if you’re daft enough to wear them on an outing with the children.

2.  Never wear your cream jeans on an outing with the children

3.“Live food” for reptiles in the pet shop is actually live. This will bring about two types of reaction in your children. Those who think it’s really cool will want to touch it. Those of a more sensitive disposition will continue their emotional meltdown well after you’ve arrived home. Steer clear of the live food for reptiles section in your pet shop.

4.Always ask your four year old what’s in his pocket before checking for yourself. Sometimes it’s a spider.

5. Small children cannot be distracted from asking relatives about their boobs. It’s best just to answer.

6.  If you are trying to gauge the weather and the likelihood of rain – hang out a load of washing. Expect imminent downpour.

7.  You will never have enough food in the house and they will always be hungry- always.

8.  Small children don’t do “appropriate” very well. If they know they correct name for genitals they are quite likely to shout it very, VERY loudly and only mildly mispronounced, in the park with maximum audience attention. For example “Mammy I can see your dagina through my binoculars”

9. The row over who pushes the lift button can potentially see your 4 year old escape in a lift alone if you don’t wedge yourself between the door very quickly. Your four year old will not be as traumatised as you.

Have a great second week!

 

 

20 things to do with the kids this summer

School’s almost out for summer, and while the break from routine is welcomed here and the prospect of owning our evenings again very much appeals, there is a real need to find something to occupy the troops at least some of the time.

The biggest challenge for me personally is not actually the
numbers, but more the age span. Finding something to keep everyone occupied isn’t easy. So with “compromise” as our word for the summer, here’s a few suggestions of things that might help to keep your own troops busy and mean that “I’m bored” doesn’t become the soundtrack of the next nine weeks!

1.       Picnics
Make hay while the sun shines! The recent spell of good weather is enough to put anyone in the form for taking lunch off site. The reality unfortunately is that the weather in Ireland is never guaranteed, so when the sun comes out, you need to take full advantage. The picnic needn’t even involve huge preparation – Some croissants, fruit and maybe a couple treats picked up in the nearest supermarket for the last minute dot com parents amongst us, means that taking advantage of the weather can be decided on the day. If you’re lucky enough to live near a park with a playground, there’s a double attraction, but if not, there’s sure to be a green area somewhere that you can take advantage of. Food and an outing on one go – a double win

2.       Beach fun
This one needn’t be dependent on the weather, though of course it’s always nicer when the sun shines. Sea and sandcastles on a fabulous day are great fun, regardless of age but if grey skies come to play instead, then wrap up, bring old shoes or flip flops, skim stones through the waves and run to the edge and away again, playing the “don’t let the water touch my toes” game. Just as much fun, if you join in too!

3.       Childhood games.
It’s definitely worth teaching the kids to play some of the games that you enjoyed as a child yourself. If they manage to rope in some of the neighbourhood kids – there’s near guaranteed longer hours of fun. Rounders, bulldog, kick the can, “crocodile, crocodile”, What time is it
Mister Wolf, skipping, hopscotch.  The possibilities are endless – and free!

4.       Cinema clubs
 
      Many cinemas run kids clubs in the morning time, offering the opportunity to see relatively new releases, at a cheaper price. A good option for the very rainy days.

5.       Visiting time
 
      The summer hols can be the perfect time to visit relatives and cousins who live a little further away. My kids love visiting and while some recipients aren’t as good as others at hiding their horror at the prospect of our invasion , family ties mean they have to get over it, or at the very least have a lot of believable excuses ready. Persistence is the key here!

6.       Have visitors
And the counter side of that, is invite people over. Playdates, cousins, family friends. Invite people to yours. The troops here love having visitors and different playmates too.

7.       Go out for a treat.
 
      Another one that can be a good option for days when the weather is not so great. Take the kids for a bun, ice-cream, hot chocolate etc. It’s great “motivation” too and downright bribery to get them to behave ahead of the event. To make everything run smoothly, particularly if your numbers are up like mine or depending on the age of your kids, speak to them before you go. Lay down the rules about not running around, fighting etc. Take their orders, ahead of time where possible, so that no time is lost once you arrive and opportunities for “energetic” displays are limited. And remind them, that if they’re really good while they’re there, you might be able to do it again in the future.

8.       Swimming pool.
      
      Not dependent on the weather, but definitely one for consideration on those less sunny days, a trip to the pool has the advantage of exercise, excitement and tiring them out!

9.       Rookie Lifeguard training and Lifeguard courses.
      
      And speaking of swimming – one for the older children are the training and lifeguard courses that are run in many swimming pools, including throughout the summer. Something to do and a fantastic life skill to have. Another upside is the future summer job opportunities that will become an option.

10.  Visit to the pet farm.
      They’re everywhere, and some are cheap as chips for entry. Kids love animals and at pet farms they can often get that little bit closer.

11.   Build a fort
      Indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. The time taken to create the masterpiece is great. The time spent in it – even better. Cushions, blankets, basically whatever you used as a kid yourself. The same still applies!

12.   Home Baking
      My domestic goddess skills are sorely lacking but even I can stretch to fairy buns and rice krispie cakes – and the kids love doing it. What’s even better is, if you have older kids like me, you can defer responsibility for the creations to them. My eldest three love baking too, and are very happy to lead the charge with their younger siblings. Everyone gets to break an egg, or stir the mixture, or add the flour. Each child gets to add the most important icing at the end. A messy one, but an engaging one and dessert of all colours is the end result!

13.   The Zoo
A slightly more expensive one potentially, but who doesn’t love the zoo?

14.   Get creative
 
      Another rainy day activity. Get all the kids to draw a picture of themselves or each other and make a collage.

15.   Home cinema,
      Rent a movie. Draw the curtains.
Get some microwave popcorn and snuggle up on the couch together. Bliss

16.    Trip to the library
      I’ve a few bookworms here and few who are not quite as enthusiastic but everyone loves to go to the library to choose a new book. A cheaper alternative for the ones who practically devour books in rapid succession and a great way to encourage those who need a little more persuasion. Even those who can’t yet read, like to choose one for their bedtime story. It’s also worth checking out the local library for events that take place there over the summer hols.

17.   Give everyone a choice.
      Let everyone suggest a “reasonable” idea of something they’d like to do over the summer. As long as it doesn’t break bank and is practical and manageable, have an individual child’s suggestion day. If everyone has their turn, there’s less risk of complaints and resistance from the other children.

18.   Bring a friend along.
      The same activity on a different day, with a friend this time – effectively means it’s a different activity in your child’s eyes and everything is so much cooler and more fun with a friend. That goes for adults too. Consider teaming up with a kindred spirit and hit the park, playground or beach.

19.   A water fight.
      Fill the water guns. Stock up on water balloons, and take your position. Everyone loves water fights and even more if they have the opportunity to soak their parents too. So join in the fun, not because you’re an overgrown child of course –but because you’re trying to keep then kids happy 😉

20.   Board game marathon
      Another rainy day activity – though they can be taken outside if the sun shines too. Get out the board games and set up the teams and let the battle commence!

Facing up to things

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a “winging it” sort of gal. I have accepted, particularly as my numbers have grown, that much is out of my control, so, planning a little, and hoping for the best mostly, is a more realistic course of action when it comes to raising my children. This goes somewhat against my natural, more cautious nature, and my liking to “insure my insurance” so to speak, but I’ve found that it’s the most pragmatic approach to outnumberdom and beyond.

In some Spiderman movie or other, one I’ve seen countless times but during which, I have perfected the art of zoning out, the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” is brandished about a bit. The same phrase could be tweaked to parenthood – “with great parenting  comes loads of washing, loads of worries, a need for a degree of omnipresence, lots of poo, no sleep, and a requirement to rethink your whole working life”. The tweaked version definitely applies to me. In between my winging it episodes, I’ve been adopting an “ostrich head in the sand” approach to my other job- but the tide is coming in.

“After the confirmation, after the communion, after the holiday, after the book manuscript is submitted to the publishers, after, after, after – there has always been an excuse. But all these afters came to pass and so with a heavy heart, I drove into work last week to firm up a return date.

And actually, it was great. It was great to see friends and to catch up with their news. It was great to have a cuppa (or two) in peace, and drink it while it was still hot. It was great to be Jen for that little while and focus fully on conversations rather than frantically realise that there had been no sound from the three year old for a while, which could only mean trouble.And it was great to discuss a return to work timeframe that suits all and to realise that for now, I can focus on the children and the upcoming book, which by the way, has a title – “The Real Mum’s Guide to Surviving Parenthood”.

So onwards and upwards. This ostrich has abandoned the sand. The return to my day job is in the pipeline. Juggling it all again will be a challenge. It will be chaotic, and it will be full on, but there’ll be coffee breaks and kindred spirits – and it’s a part of life. Unless of course, my lotto numbers come up in the meantime, then I may rethink things.

 

For now, we’re rolling towards the school holidays. Summer tests, school tours and a goodbye to primary school for another child, will fill the weeks ahead. I plan to make the most of these summer hols in particular, and enjoy every moment that I can, before the new, routine of old, takes over.

When the three year old tells you, he has news…..

 

The Easter holidays have been a very different affair this year. Normally when the children are off school, we try to go somewhere each day, just to get out the house.These trips can vary dramatically in terms and ranges of excitement, but once they know they’re going somewhere and once cabin fever isn’t allowed to set in, I tend to have more civilised children on my hands.

This Easter things had to be different. With barely any time left,  until my book manuscript needs to be submitted, everything is on a very tight schedule. The sort of schedule that hyper children and snot filled babies and threenagers, don’t care much for – and that “wingers of it” , like me, struggle with.

Spotting the rising chaos and recognising the challenges in hand, I managed to convince my mother to take three of the older boys for a few days. Younger children are more content with shorter outings and with a teenage daughter still here, I knew that we could manage the resulting change to dynamics a little more easily. Everyone stood to benefit, except my teenage daughter, according to her. My undying gratitude isn’t sufficient it seems, but we’re finding that feeding her coffee slices at random and frequent intervals over the course of the week is helping to cushion the blow.

With three of the boys missing, the house has seemed so much quieter. As child number five, stepped up to the role of “biggest boy in the house”, we realised that it’s a role that he quite enjoys. It hasn’t made much of a difference to child number 6 though. He knows the power of the dark side.  He remains very happy in his own personal role as “destroyer of things”and “family streaker”.

This morning as my hubby loaded the car and prepared to take the remaining troops with him, to collect their brothers, a very “peachy” smelling three year old entered the dining room. As I sat at my laptop, typing away furiously, I heard the words that every mother dreads to hear –especially from the mouth of a threenager.

“I have some good news and some bad news, mum”, he said. I looked up in a panic and could see immediately that there had been an incident.

“What’s the good news?” I asked, “Eh, eh, – oh yes, I found a charger” he replied.

“And the bad?” I followed, swallowing in fear.

“This, eh, fell on my head” he said, producing a now completely empty bottle of conditioner from behind his back, and looking at me in staged shock with his green eyes aghast.

“But I smell really, really nice” he added for consolation.

Much later than planned, my husband left to collect my other children.

Week two should be interesting…….

Surviving the mid-term

Mid-term is here and a welcome break from school runs, school lunches and most of all homework beckons.  The prospect of a week that belongs to us is very appealing and romantic notions of quality time spent together with less shouting, cajoling and/or threatening pleasantries fill our heads, well mine anyway.

Of course the reality MAY be somewhat different. Bearing in mind the “challenges” that all this quality time together, possibly during a rainy, cold week, may bring, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help make the experience more enjoyable – and hopefully ensure that everyone is still on speaking terms at the end of the week!

1.   Take a breather: Spilled juice, upturned bedrooms, sibling rows, home phones down the toilet and constant calls of “mammy, mammy, mammy (or daddy, daddy, daddy) can cause a marginal increase in our stress levels.

      Walk away and literally breathe. Big deep breaths for just a few seconds or minutes, enough time for you to feel more at one with the world and less likely to scream like a banshee. It will hopefully stop a knee-jerk reaction punishment such as grounding or no electronics time, that only you will ultimately pay the price for, over a loooooong day.

2.   Get up earlier: Yes every school morning, you have to literally drag them out of bed but at the weekend and school holidays, they’re first up, playing the recorder, ransacking the kitchen as they “prepare” breakfast for themselves and generally causing mayhem!
      Getting up before them means that you can get yourself sorted first rather than in the midst of chaos, where you’re chasing the baby who has swiped your deodorant and finding your missing bra on the three year old spiderman costume wearing enthusiast. Managing to get dressed before they’re even awake means you’ll be ready to leave the house without any (ok, as much) of the drama.

3.   Leave the house: And speaking of leaving the house – leave the house. Go somewhere, anywhere. Escape the confines of the four walls. Even if the weather is not great, wrap up, wear wellies and get out. Go for a walk, along the beach if you’re lucky enough to leave near one. Visit some poor unsuspecting friends or family members. Visit a pet shop. Have a picnic, in the car if necessary. Go for a muffin. Go to a playground. Check out the kids club at the local cinema. Something small every day – and it doesn’t have to cost much, or anything. It’s about getting out and not letting cabin fever set in.

4.   Playdates: Because after all, who doesn’t want to look after even more children over the midterm! But seriously though, having a friend or friends over for your own kids is not only great bribery, it gives you a break from the “what are we doing now?” question that you are in all likelihood facing every five minutes otherwise. And, if the weather is good you can chuck them outdoors. Then, when you return them to their parents later, while polishing your halo, you can explain that they had plenty of fresh air and spent a very limited time on electronics.  Win, win!

5.   Stock up on wine and chocolate: No explanation required.

8 thoughts every parent has, three weeks into the Summer holidays

8 thoughts (some of which I may have voiced) every parent has three weeks into the summer holidays

1.   The sun is out hurray.  The school holidays haven’t been so bad this year. Oh I love the sun.  It’s so much easier to do things with the kids when it’s glorious like this.  I could get used to this weather.

2.   I’m such a good mother- the kids haven’t spent hours on the ipad or Wii.  They’ve been outdoors enjoying themselves. Well done me.  Technology is not rearing my child.  Wow, I can’t believe the fun they’re having with this paddling pool.  Best 15 euro I’ve ever spent.

3.   Oh for feck sake. Can no one dry their feet before they come inside?  The kitchen floor is covered in water and grass. Right, I’m getting everyone showered now.  I think they’ve had enough of it anyway.  Time to put the paddling pool away for the day. Oh you don’t want to come in? Ok so. Suppose we should takeadvantage of the sunshine. I love this weather

4.  I’ll keep an eye and make sure they don’t go inside again until they’ve dried their feet. Someone could slip on the kitchen floor.  The dog looks very hot. Hang on – one, two , three… six . Damn! Someone has gone inside …. Who owns these swimming jocks in the middle of the kitchen?!!!

5.   I wonder have they had enough fun yet?  Need to get them showered and get the dinner on. Oh for God’s sake has he no trunks on again? Get off the trampoline and put some underpants on now!!!

6.   Right that’s it.  Time to go in.  Last two minutes – I mean it now.  I’m counting to 120 in my head.  Where’s that water coming from? How did you turn that tap on?  Put down the hose! Aahhhhh my washing!!

7.   Ok, in now! This second! – shower time.  No you can’t go back in after your shower, not today. You can the next day. Because I said so. No, no, no. You can play on your ipad.  Well what about the Wii then? WHY IS THE KITCHEN FLOOR SOPPING AGAIN???!!!!!!!

8.  Oh my God, how can we be less than three weeks into the holidays?  How am I going to get through it? I’m putting a scissors through that bloody paddling pool.

                                                                                                      ………or is this just me?

 

Car journeys ain’t what they used to be.

Last week we set off on our family holiday to West Cork.  Packing took an eternity as I tried to locate 56 pairs of socks, jocks and pants, not to mention ordinary items of clothing, for the kids alone.

My own personal packing was done in about 5 minutes flat as the laden down car practically reversed out the driveway without me. With every available space in our red bus filled, and a bum on every seat, we set off on our marathon journey.

Car trips have taken on a new meaning since the children’s arrival.  Gone are the days of leisurely drives.  Nowadays it’s all about bribery and distraction and trying to make sure child number six doesn’t swipe child number seven’s soother en route!

 

We had set off in the evening time, after rush hour traffic and after the children had been fed their dinner.  The hope was that the younger children might doze on the way and we could carefully lift them into their beds when we arrived, where they would sleep peacefully for the entire night and wake up wholly refreshed the next morning, full of the joys of life.  That’s one of the fascinating wonders of parenthood.  Even though you know there isn’t a hope in hell of something happening you still dare to dream it might.

And so the early part of the journey began with my husband and I nodding in agreement that they were definitely getting tired and they’d most certainly drift off any moment now. And as the miles passed we knew they were definitely just about to go to sleep.  And after we stopped to let some of them go for a wee, we knew that that was obviously all that was keeping them awake and their now empty bladders would mean they’d be fast asleep before we knew it. The conversations directed at us from the back of the car however, suggested sleep wasn’t on their minds just yet.

“Do you know that beavers’ teeth keep growing?” the five year old informed me “and we better get there before midnight because that’s when the mud monsters come out”. “This city is upside down” the three year old exclaimed, in spite of the fact that there wasn’t a house to be seen, never
mind a city! “I’ll really miss you when you die mum” the five year old continued, “I think you’ll probably be 109” “I think Ireland might be a planet sometimes” he added. This comment was enough to bring the seven and ten year olds in on the conversation. “Ireland is not a planet” they roared in unison.

Undeterred by his brothers, the five year old continued “yes I think it is a planet, but I don’t think foxes are real”. The seven year old wasn’t entertaining this notion at all “of course they’re real” he said “I’ve seen one” “Yes, but he was probably trying to sneak up on you like a mud monster” the five year old replied. “I love Spiderman” said the three year old. “I’m going to be a daddy when I grow up” said the five year old, “not a mummy, because I have a willy, like Spiderman”. “I love Spiderman”, said the three year old once again.

I attempted a little gentle persuasion to encourage the younger children in particular to go asleep and said that their daddy and I would carry them into bed once we arrived. “But we’re not tired” the five year old protested “we just have itchy eyelashes.”

Finally, at 11:30, we arrived, and all seven children were awake. As we left the cramped confines of the car, we realised, not for the first time in our lives, that we were very sadly deluded.  The kids had no intention whatsoever of going to sleep anytime soon.  They ran excitedly into the house we had rented, running up the stairs in heated debate over the sleeping arrangements.  It was a long car journey, but an even longer night……

 

Last Day Of The Hols

The Easter holidays drew to a close here yesterday in pretty
busy style.  We had visitors in the shape
of my parents in law and my sister in law with her family.  Our nine year old returned from a friend’s
sleepover after having far too much fun to sleep and so was in the sort of form
you’d expect from a walking demon.  Our
teenager went to the last disco before her Junior Cert which started at 8
o’clock so obviously she had to start getting ready from 2 o’clock, (that
certain shade of tangerine they all like to be, takes a while to take hold) while
the “in between” kids played happily with their cousins without any regard for the
Department of the Environment noise pollution guidelines.
While eating we were treated to a floor show by my two year
old who is well capable of using the toilet but preferred to show the accuracy
with which he can aim at the potty , the sort of accuracy you tended to see
from the person who answered the questions on bullseye.  The five year old meanwhile imitated Dusty Crophopper,
complete with sound effects and actions from the Planes movie which was being
shown simultaneously on RTE and the seven month old looked on bemused but
definitely not fazed by the whole spectacle. It was a lovely afternoon.

When everyone was gone home and most of the kids were in bed,
all that was left to do was wait for my daughter to come home.  The baby, who doesn’t rate sleep, kept us
company and greeted his sister with a big smile as she came in the door.  It’s an almost surreal feeling sometimes to
have a child old enough to go to a disco and have a child so young he needs
propping up with cushions on the floor. It’s funny to have children who keep
you up at night for very different reasons.

Today, much to my kid’s disgust will be about getting ready
for the return to school tomorrow. 
Trying to reel back in bedtimes which have gone more than a little askew
over the last couple of weeks and making sure everything is ready for the week
ahead.  I have loved the break from the
routine, the freedom from homework and afterschool activities and the
reclaiming of our afternoons.  There has
been lots of fun had and far too many rows too but all good things must come to
an end. Now how to convince them that the return to school is not all bad……
#atleasttheresagrandstretchintheevenings #mamatude

Cousins

The Easter weekend was a hectic but mostly fun time here. Saturday, or Easter Eve as my children like to call it, involved tearing our house apart and trying to put it back together again ahead of visitors that we were expecting on Easter Sunday. Kids ran every direction possible, except towards us, hiding in the hope they wouldn’t be asked to do anything, and developed a selective deafness as we bellowed their names and most unfairly asked them to put their shoes in their rooms and hang up their coats. The mere suggestion they might do something further to help us prepare for the next day, resulted in protests of ruined childhoods, exhaustion and a general breach of child labour laws. Needless to say their protestations fell on deaf ears! In typical Irish style, I peeled what felt like a thousand potatoes and two tonnes of carrots to go with the roughly ten other types of vegetables that we had for the next day. I was almost drowning in vegetable skins but sure, you know yourself, you couldn’t have anyone going hungry.wink emoticon
Sunday morning saw excited children swap carefully chosen eggs and soon after the countdown to their cousins arriving began. When the cousins finally arrived the noise decibel levels went through the roof and hyperactivity of levels rarely seen before, kicked in. Its occasions like this among all the excitement and craziness that I am reminded what is truly important to my children. While they were looking forward to seeing what eggs they would receive, most of the excitement was reserved for the arrival of their cousins.This was what really made the day for them.
I love to watch my children together. I think they’re pretty close (that’s not to say they don’t kill each other frequently too) but they look forward to seeing each other after school and when one gets back from a playdate or an overnight stay with their grandparents. I have always taken particular comfort that they’ll have each other as they grow up but I suppose that will largely depend on whether or not they make the effort. I really believe in the “monkey see, monkey do” theory. It has come back to haunt me on plenty of occasions when my kids have reacted as I have, or said something that I have said (and definitely shouldn’t have!). The same I believe will apply to their involvement and contact with each other as they grow up, and go on possibly to have their own families. As adults they will have influences other than their original nuclear family in their lives. I hope they will remember the fun that they had with their cousins and grandparents and consider it high on their list of priorities and try to recreate the same fun for their children. I hope they will recognise the importance their parents placed on their own siblings and remember to be there for each other. Mostly, I hope they’ll still be the same (mostly) close knit bunch of lunatics that they are today.