I am “So it’s Results Day” Mum

Although it is many moons ago, Mammy remembers getting her Leaving Cert Results.

Mammy was certain that the contents of the little brown envelope were going to change her life. Had Mammy’s life REALLY depended on the contents of that little brown envelope, quite frankly, I’d be living an utterly dreadful, mediocre and half-arsed attempt at one. πŸ˜‚

Because the results printed on my little scrap of yellow paper were quite awful, if I’m very honest. The only mark I remember (or tell anyone about!) was my A1 in Honours English. Go figure. As for the rest of them? I’d say the examiners only passed me so that they wouldn’t have to read my verbal diahorrea again the following year. πŸ˜‚I’m not exaggerating either.

But the other grades didn’t matter. The A in English was all that mattered to me, both then AND today. Yes, I got into college, but not until I had spent a week back in the brown uniform 😣😣 convincing myself that I needed to repeat. It wasn’t until the second round offers and a trip to meet (attackπŸ˜›) the Dean of the English Department in Coleraine, that I finally got my place on the degree course. (I might have only been 17, but I was a stroppy one!πŸ˜‚)

English was all I loved. It was all that I wanted to study and, as the little brown envelope told me, it was apparently all that I was good at… All that I was good at THEN. At 17. Turns out, I’m good at a whole load of things. I just didn’t get to take exams in singing, dancing, shopping or eating. The Big LC recognised my ability to understand Shakespeare and write stories off the top of my head, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) know how strong I was at things like organisation, being a friend, laughing or pulling pints. So I was crap at French. Biology for me ended after the section on photosynthesis. But although my math grade was dismal, I challenge you to find ANYONE who can work out a % as quickly as me when I see the word “SALE”. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So there. Now, almost 20 years on, I’m a teacher and of COURSE I value the Leaving Cert. I love teaching the course and I try my best to encourage my Babbies to give it their best shot. But I also know that they are teenagers. That they have a LOT going on. That some of them have things going on in their lives that are a WHOLE lot more important that exams. 😒 That whole some of them will give it their ALL for 2 years, on the day of the exam, it might just not happen. And sometimes, that at 18, they’re just not quite ready for the ridiculousnpressure of the state exam.

For a whole load of reasons, tomorrow is a huge day for our young adults. But that little brown envelope is only that. An envelope. Despite what it is inflated to be, it is NOT the most important piece of paper in the world. Yes, the letters and numbers inside it will have an immediate effect. Yes, some doors will open and yes, some doors will close, but what is written on the page does not define them.

The Leaving Cert does NOT know our children. It doesn’t see the kindness. It doesn’t measure their ability to change things. It can’t recognise their skills as motivators, or thinkers, or makers, or doers. It does not define them, nor should it. And as parents, yes, some of us might be disappointed tomorrow. But mostly we should be proud, because regardless of what is on that page, they are OUR children and they have done their best and we must remind them that they CAN do whatever they want. Because WE know what they can be.

There are ALWAYS options and sometimes, the path that they are so determined to be the ONLY one for them right now, was never the right one for them…it usually takes a few years for them to realise that however. But they will. πŸ’•

So tonight, tell them how brilliant they are. And leave them under NO illusion that no matter what words and letters are on that piece of paper tomorrow, that you are and will always be proud of them and that you will help them to get to where they want to go, may it be straight through the college door or in a longer, roundabout way. But all roads lead ahead. And before they know it, they won’t even remember what was printed on the page!

It might be almost 20 years since I opened my little brown envelope and had my heart broken in a million pieces, but trust me, everything happens for a reason. πŸ˜‡ Tonight, I send love to all of the young people (especially my own Babbies😘😘) and to all you exam parents whose minions face the brown envelope tomorrow.

And remember, that little brown envelope does NOT hold the key to their future. They hold that key already.

It’s right inside them.

And no piece of paper can change that. XXX

I am So not ready for Back-to-School Mum

Mammy is super-organised…

Mammy has started her Christmas Shopping.

Mammy has started thinking about next year’s summer holidays.

Mammy has started making plans for 2 or 3 significant birthdays in the family next year.

Mammy has thought so far ahead, that she has hotels AND Babysitters booked for the 2018 weddings she KNOWS she will be attending.

This is how THIS Super-organised-Mum rolls.

What Mammy HAS NOT started however, is thinking about the dreaded HELL that is “Back-to-school shite”.

Mammy HATES this time of year more than you can ever imagine. The Back-to-school Shite now starts in the middle of MAY… Before ANY school finishes up for summer break. May… As in MAY, the 5th month of the year and 4 whole months BEFORE Septemeber? Wtf?

When we were kids, the grey and navy skirts and shirts and lunchboxes and tin mathematic sets with the map of Ireland didn’t appear in the shops until the end of July. And by then, we’d had our weeks of sunshine, siblings, Zig & Zag and nothingness, and we probably didn’t MIND starting to think about the S word.

But now? NOW, Mammy wants to find the store managers who have signed off on putting Back-to-school shite on the shelves in mid-MAY. I want to find them and I want to HURT them. 😠 I want to poke them in the eyeballs with the metal tools in the tin mathematics case… (they’ll be more useful to me now and they were in 1989.) I want to beat them over the head with a cheap plastic-lasts-until-halloween-lunchbox, Snap their noses with elastic neckties and then lock them in a container with nothing but copies of Ann & Barry and Sugradh…but NO PENCIL. 😈😈

But Mammy is a sane and calm lady who would never entertain such thoughts. Since June 1st, I have been increasingly flummoxed by the status updates appearing on my timeline from other ACTUAL Mums who have the Back-to-school shite done and dusted already. I have hovered my finger over the “unfriend” button in some cases, wondering if Bookface would entertain my proposal for an “unfollow until September 1st” button. πŸ˜›

Now, if YOU have all the stuffs for all the minions sorted already, good for you. I’m not feeling jealous, or inferior or intimidated by your organisation skills AT ALL. πŸ˜‚ (There is a slight chance that a psychologisty person MIGHT argue that my anger towards the aforementioned shop owners, and my annoyance at the Super-organised-Mums, stems from my own insecurities and weaknesses being highlighted to me by the clever forward thinking Back-to-school Experts.)

I would argue that NOPE, my anger and flumoxing are perfectly justified. Maybe it’s because I have had to do the Back-to-school shite for 32 CONSECUTIVE years. Since starting teaching, I have managed to avoid thinking about it until the ACTUAL night before school starts, when I sob into my grapes, knowing that summer is over and I have to now dress in something other than my gymgear and that makeup will have to be used every day.

But now, as a Mammy, I DO need to get everyone else organised a few days earlier than when it was just ME going back to school… But, I MEAN a FEW days earlier. I refuse point blank to go near the dark, bleak section of the store until AT LEAST the final week of her holidays. I convince myself that I am more clever than the Early-Back-to-school-organisers, and I browse through what is left over on the shelves of synthetic smelling geansaΓ­ and pleated skirts, because at least there is no chance of Mini-Me taking a growth spurt between the Back-to-school shite being bought and her putting them on. πŸ˜… #lazymammywin

See. Clever Mammy. (And pleated skirts? The Gobshite who invented those little bitches needs to be locked into the container WITH the shop owners along with 2000 of those skirts, an iron and an ironing board…)

So go on. Sicken me… Hands up who’s all organised already? πŸ˜™

I am Stoopid Feckin Waddles Mum

This is Waddles.

Waddles is the class teddy.
Waddles gets sent home with the minions in turn.
Mini-Me brought Waddles home for the SECOND time this year, just a few weeks ago.
I’m only getting around to writing this now, because I was so fricken TRAUMATISED by Waddles…
🐧🐧THE WRATH OF WADDLES…🐧🐧
The first time Waddles came home was painless and quite enjoyable. Β I now know that the little twit was luring this Mama Bear into a false sense of security. Β He came, we snapped some pics and she drew a picture of her playing with Waddles…
Easy.
So when she bounced off the bus a few weeks ago, clutching Waddles to her little self, I wasn’t too bothered.
“LOOKIT MAMMEEEEEEE. I GOTTED WAGGLES!”
“YAAAAAAAAAAY” said Mammy.
“We has to write sentences about what we do wif him AND draw a pitchur,” she adds.
“YAAAAA…aaaaaaaay…”
I had planned a relaxing evening… I now knew that this was NOT going to happen. 😭
You see, getting Mini-Me to write a sentence I imagine to be akin to getting Donald of daTrump to write his own speeches, all by Himself.

She needs prompts, she needs guidance, she needs “motivation” , she loses concentration every 3 seconds and she needs to constantly correct her mistakes… It’s HARD.
So imagine the chills of horror that went through me as she completed her homework and I opened the schoolbag to see the diary of Waddles…
And just like “Christmas Card-gate” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚, I realised just how PERFECT the writing of the other kids in her class is in comparison to hers. Β  The few entries before her blank page, looked better than some of my 6th years’ handwriting!
Feckitty, feck, feck, feck…” I muttered to myself as I rescheduled my whole evening.

She did go outside and had great fun with Waddles, before starting her “few sentences”.
An hour and a half…YES…almost 90 fricken minutes after she started, we had eventually managed 3 semicoherent sentences. Β I was so knackered and mentally glooped that I ALMOST didn’t correct her mispelling of her last word “trampailΓ­n” which looked more like “tampon”. Β I should have left it. Β πŸ˜‚
By the time we had finished, everyone was grumpy, dinner was cold and Mammy wanted to put Waggles in the oven.
She went to bed that night, happy as Larry, hugging the googly eyed little shit as if her life depended on it.
And then I went back to the kitchen, happy that the whole evening had been worth it to see her so happy… Did I heck! πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯

I went back to the kitchen, poured a large glass of grapes and greeted The Him with “Waddles is a Prick” when he came in the door.
So there we go.

The Wrath of Waddles. πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ (I MAY have added the horns to portray how I see him… πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)
I’m actually palpitating slightly here even remembering it if I’m honest.

I’m obviously not over it.
#yesigetthatitsgoodforthembutstill #wrathofwaddles

​I am Scratching Already Mum

Lice.
Dirty rotten little shits.😠


How many of you are scratching your head already?

Even thinking about them has me ripping the skin off my scalp.
Two days…yes… TWO DAYS after Mini-Me started school, I received a phonecall from another S-Mum to let me know she’d already found the nasty little feckers in her Minion’s hair.  

She’d already treated the whole house and was just letting me know as our two little Darlings love to hug, they do. πŸ’–
(Scratches…)
My reactions included:
1. Serious testing of my “It’s Soooo OK, I’ve got my shit together” face.

2. Immediate scratching of my own head.

3. Instant scrutiny of Mini-Me’s head. (Thankfully, no nits!)

4. More scratching.

5. Instant gratitude to my lovely Hairdresser for making me buy Lice prevention spray and warning me to NEVER let her out the door in the morning without a spray. (Thanks Ciara.)

6. A bit more scratching.

7. Checking her head again JUST to make sure.

8. Calling my Mammy to ask if I would see them or if they’re invisible to the naked eye, in which case my friend who owns a telescope was going to be getting a visit!
I’ve NEVER experienced head lice.

I have fond memories of the metal comb on a Sunday night after bathtime each time “The letter” came home in one of the schoolbags to announce the arrival of lice to the classroom.  

Thankfully, we never actually got them so I can honestly say that the phonecall last week, 

FREAKED 

ME

 OUT.😣
I went straight to the chemist and actually BOUGHT the treatment, just to have in the house, because whatever day I spot the little pricks in her hair, I don’t want to have to go through the trauma of leaving the house to kill them. I shall be Super-exterminator-Mum and I shall DESTROY them withing 3 minutes.
In the local chemist, I quietly asked for “Calpol, teetha…Oh! And whatever you use to treat lice please.”

(Scratches.)
“How many heads are infested?” nice lady asks. (Scratches head ever so subtly.) 
“Oh noooooo!” High-pitched immediately panicked voice. 
 She can’t POSSIBLY think we have nits.  I can’t have people thinking that! 😣😣 

Dammit, I should have gone to a huge chemist where no one knows me and no one cares what you’re buying, (Like when I used to give a shit who sold me “the pill” years ago! Anyone else? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)
  “It’s just to have it in the house incase. They’re in the classroom apparently and I just want to have it in.”

I then heard myself rambling on about my hairdresser warning me to use the spray yadda yadda and how THANK GOD I had listened etc…you know, as if to PROVE that I wasn’t lying and to justify buying something so terribly uncouth as lice treatment.
“I used to do that too love!” Said one of the other chemist ladies.

Well thank the Lord and his Donkey for that.  πŸ’–
Because I’m OBVIOUSLY not the first Crazy Mum to buy Lice treatment BEFORE there are even lice!
And I will OF COURSE need it at some stage, and I shall be the S-Mum sending the text or making the call.
And I am grateful to the Mummy in question for giving me the heads up…boom…πŸ˜‚

 (It probably didn’t cost her a thought as she is a fablisly experienced and not-crazy-first-time-mummy-of-a-school-goer and knows how much of a silly NOT-big-deal lice are and she’ll probably roll her eyes when she reads this!) 😁
It’s just another first for this scratchy Mummy.

And at least now, I am READY for the little feckers.

But I still won’t say “Bring them on”, because I’m already scratched out at the THOUGHT of them!
Go on, admit it.

Comment below if you’ve scratched your head even ONCE while reading this. πŸ‘‡πŸ˜™πŸ‘‡πŸ˜€
(Scratches.)
Happy sunday night Scratching! πŸ˜™πŸ˜™

I am Start-getting-organised Mum!

​So it’s time to get organised!
Tonighy, I am too exhausted to be wittiful or funniful, but I do hope to be slightly helpful. 😚
I started using this techniqueπŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ when Mini-Me began attending NaΓ­onra last year.  
Mornings are very stressful in every house, and while this won’t guarantee peaceful Little-House-on-the-Prairie scenes of family love and  peace and zen, it REALLY helps.
I put her clothes, clean vest, pants and socks in to each one and used the bottom drawer for shoes.  

Now that she’ll be in a uniform, it’ll be the underwear really, and her PE gear will be in whichever day she needs it.  

If you can get them into the habit of putting their shoes in once they are taken off, it saves THE BIGGEST NIGHTMARE each morning…the “GO AND GET YOUR FECKING SHOES!” debacle? (Drives me insane! πŸ˜‚)
I was desperate to get some calm and routine into our house, so thought it was worth a try.

It was.
It helped HER to take a little bit of responsibility for herself.  πŸŒŸ

 It helps instil an understanding of the days of the week as well as word recognition. 🌟

  It makes them feel grown up and most importantly, it made ME get organised!πŸ˜‚
For the first few weeks, I was Mary Fricken Poppins on a Sunday night. πŸ˜‚  It didn’t last long, but I did remain in the habit of making sure that the drawer was full at bedtime each night. 

And it really did make mornings SOOOOOO much more relaxed. (I ALMOST bought one for myself! πŸ˜‚)
Right now, it’s full of bibs and cloth nappies and God Knows What, but tomorrow we are going to make colourful new labels, because in fairness, compared to these πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ two aesthetically pleasing examples, my white decorated with a Sharpie attempt (top right! 😣😣) is a bit shite isn’t it? 


So try it!

These drawers are easily found, and already in most homes, and to be honest, sticking labels on the wardrobe or chest of drawers they already have,works just as well!  

 Get them to help you make the labels so they have ownership of the whole project.
Kiddies are clever and love structure.

Mammies are desperate and love calm.
Give it a go and let me know how you find it? Or share YOUR tips for Magically-Mayhem-Free Mornings?
S-Mum πŸ˜™

I am Scheme in the Sunshine Mum

Scheming, in the Donegal dictionary, can also mean to intentionally avoid going to school.
Playing truant, mitching, scheming…take your pick.
Last Monday.Β  I schemed school.
Well, technically, Mini-Me schemed school.

But honestly Teacher, it was my idea.

I didn’t even have to open the curtains at 7am to know that the sun was splitting the rocks in that wonderful way that suggests that today was going to be a scorcher.Β  It may only be March, but the little weather-predicting farmer in me, just knew that it was going to be fantastic.

I looked at the clock.Β  I looked at the clothes I’d laid out for her the previous night.Β  I looked at the blue sky and I knew before I’d even allowed the thought to articulate in my mind, that the blue sky was the only one of the these things that mattered.

My girl was not going to school today.Β  She was going to scheme.Β  With me.
We were going on an adventure.

I let her dress herself in whatever the heck she liked.Β  She chose her favourite dress-up dress; lilac and sparkly and hideously ‘Little Miss’ Pageanty, blue leggings, her gold glittery welly-boots and a multi-coloured hand-knit cardigan that we usually keep for shopping trips.

She added the final touch…a huge pink flower headband and Peppa Pig hat..and announced “Now, I’m perfect!”
And she was indeed perfect.

image

We wrapped the Princess into her pram, sloshed on some suncream and packed a “picmic” of apple juice and Gingernut biscuits.
And off we went on our adventure.

We’re blessed to live in the absolute sticks…Β  I mean, if you’re looking for our house, you must first find the “back arse of nowhere” and take the third left.Β  We’re on top of that hill past the house with the fancy stonework.Β  If you start going down hill again, you’ve gone too far.
Sally SatNav would need three bottles of wine to find us.

It’s Heavenly.Β  We live on the family farm, a full field away from where I grew up.Β  So today, I decided it was about time I took my girls on a trip through my childhood haunts.
We wandered only a mile down the road and back, but we went so much further than that.

image

We went back to the 1980’s.
Mini-Me saw the tree in the hedgerow that Mammy used to climb with my best friend Roald Dahl, which no longer has the full covering of foliage that used to hide me from my sister and brother.Β  (A Neighbour broke my heart when I was 14 by getting too happy with the hedge cutter.Β  It was never the same and my hidden reading den was destroyed.Β  For the record, I haven’t forgiven him yet.Β  I’m looking at you Mr. Bellybutton.)

We stood in the deep mud at the gate to the potato field where we used to spend a fortnight “scheming” each Harvest. (“Slave labour” some might say, but what memories we have.Β  I swear that there is no better taste than jam and clay sandwiches with tea in a plastic flask cup.)

image

We looked at the fields where we used to tie the long grass together and run through it, playing ‘Trippies’.

We found a magic stream… a newly dug drain, but humongously exciting.Β  it required the immediate throwing in of twigs.

image

I showed her the gate the the Fairy Kingdom which lies at the border between Dad’s farm and the next.Β  The old gate has been lying in that spot, above a busy babbling stream, for over 30 years.Β  It’s rusted, ruined and utterly convincing as an enchanted gate.Β  It only opens for Fairies in the moonlight…of course.

image

We saw the enchanted tree in the middle of the neighbour’s field.Β  That’s where Pixie Hollow is…obviously.

We saw the “Jungles”; the messy, overgrown batch of whin bushes where my siblings and cousins and I had the most spectacular adventures as children.

And to top it off, as we munched our bickies and drank our juice, Mini-me realised that we were surrounded by glimmering fairies! (Midges…but hey!)
Oh the excitement.

When we returned home, she was buzzing from the fresh air and the fun.Β  I was buzzing from the nostalgia and from the realisation that while it may not be quite as safe as it was when we were children, my girls will have the same opportunities for imagination and explorations as I did.
They’ll play in fields.Β  They’ll get wellies stuck in mud.Β  They’ll have adventures in jungles of whin bushes and they’ll hide up trees with their favourite books.
And where my Mum used to sound the car horn as our signal to haul our behinds back to reality for bedtime, I’ll probably just text them to come home.Β  Because times have changed.

But what hasn’t changed is the fact that sometimes, you have to simply turn away from routine and convention and go have fun.
And you can’t measure, grade or assess how much a child can learn from simply going on a walk outside with Mum or Dad.

So for one day only, I was Scheme in the Sunshine Mum. (and it was awesome!) πŸ™‚

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