I made a vow after three wet days in a row a few weeks ago that every dry day of my maternity leave I would bring the boys out for a run in the fresh air. It’s been lovely, we’ve been to the town park and playground lots of times, and the one across the road in our estate, to the beach in Duncannon, to Wells House, to Courtown Woods and to the new park in Askamore. They’ve burned off energy and had great fun.
Today was lovely and bright and most importantly dry, a rare enough occurance in Ireland in November, so I planned to bring them somewhere after school, we discussed it and were trying to decide between the playground or the woods when things started to dawn on me.
I was tired, so was Ciarán after a long first week back to school. Cathal was crabby and Laoise just wanted to be held. So I rolled with it.
There has been too little sleep this week in this house and that has led to too much shouting (from me and them), too much foot stamping, too many toddler tantrums and tears. We all needed a break from it.
So this afternoon I sat on the couch and held my babygirl. I suggested to the boys that we take down the make and do box. Cathal spilled glue everywhere bringing me his creation (paper and glue were the main ingredients). I didn’t shout, I laid Laoise down and I mopped up the trail of glue with a baby wipe. Ciarán made a butterfly. They sang to each other, seriously, they took turns singing while they worked.
I was still on the couch, snuggling. Cathal sat beside me and presented me with a book- we read “Mouse moves House” and then “Hen’s Pens”. Ciarán soon joined us, initially on the edge of the couch but he soon snuck up to the action.
Then, they started getting restless. So I suggested a talent show. NOT a talent contest that would require winners and losers and tears, a talent show. They emerged from the dressing up box, one wearing a superhero cape and practising his flying and general jumping around while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, the other in his pirate garb doing a medley from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” while breakdancing. They just loved it. And I didn’t shout.
I put the oven on for their favourite Aldi pizza which was on the table minutes later, gave them a juice each and fed Laoise. Quick and easy. Cathal knocked over his juice as he tried to balance it on a megablock. I don’t think he has a future in engineering. But I managed not to shout.
I sat on the couch a lot of today. The house doesn’t look any messier than it did at this time yesterday. (Don’t for one moment think that I am suggesting that the house is tidy, just not any messier than this time yesterday, it’s a low standard to reach)
It was lovely. They said that they had had a brilliant day. I was starting to feel smug. Then I gave them their jelly and icecream “Friday treat” and an exchange began that ended in Ciarán threatening to “slap me on the head” because his brother got the green bowl that I should have known that he wanted and telling me that I was the meanest Mammy in the whole world.