Archive | December, 2009

Splishing and splashing

31 Dec

The turtle is a water baby through and through. Every puddle, hose and drop of water has to be inspected, splashed in and even drank! Yet, for the past few months I couldn’t get him into the bath, not for love or money. Paddling pools were no problem. Baths? Baths were the work of the devil. The only thing that would work was for me to get in first and show him what “fun” it was. A lukewarm puddle of fun. I couldn’t even put in enough water to cover my toes. Awful. But he would get in eventually. And have a whale of a time, while I sat there shivering, wondering why he wouldn’t get in himself.

Well, we have turned a corner. He climbed into the bath himself this morning and stayed in there for half an hour. He would still be in there, blowing bubbles and drinking the bathwater if Mammy hadn’t let the water out.  Watching a small child splish and splash around in the bath is almost as good as being a small child yourself, splishing and splashing like a little maniac. Seeing has he has been sick today was his first bath in what seems like weeks and weeks and weeks, but what can only have been about ten days. And he did have a “bath” in the sink in the interim – his hair was so matted I had to cut some! Yes, curly hair is cute, but matted it’s just yuck.

Obviously baths in the sink are the best kind, because you get to play with all kinds of mad things that Mammy has left lying around in arm’s reach. Silly Mammy.

It’ll do in a pinch, but I’m glad, oh so glad, he’s willing to clamber into the bath again. Without me.

Say a little prayer

30 Dec

Whenever I hear of the sudden death of a child my heart freezes and cracks just a little bit. Now that I’m a mother it’s worse, so much worse. Not only can I imagine what that mother is going through, my mind inevitably goes to all of the horrible things that could happen to my own little turtle. Two of my own sisters died of SIDS (one a year older than I am, one a year younger), so I am the daughter of a worrier. Making me a worrier. More, I think, than your average first time mother.

I heard yesterday of the death of a little two year old girl, suddenly and unexpectedly, and I have been thinking of her and her family since. I don’t know them. But I feel for them. If you could, say a little prayer for Faith and her family.

It’s weird

29 Dec

How is it that when you have a husband at home all day, even one that is willing to help, you get nothing done? Nothing. The few hours he was at work yesterday (strange after Christmas before the New Year limbo working hours) I was able to do two loads of washing, change the sheets, sweep and mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, and wipe down all of the cupboards (except for the very top bit which I couldn’t reach, but still). And finish crocheting a hat. All before noon.

I wouldn’t mind but almost all of them were things I would have liked to have done before Christmas – Santa doesn’t like to leave presents in dirty houses, you know – but with a small sick child, I wasn’t able. With a small sick child and a husband there to “help”, I doubly wasn’t able. It’s weird.

Thank God he doesn’t work from home, that’s all I have to say.


28 Dec

I got my sewing machine! Yay! Her name is Gertie.

I didn’t  get the chance to take her out of the box until last night though, what with the turtle being sick and all of the playing with trains that had to be done (the morning wake up call in this house is still “Train. Train. Go! Go!”)

So I have figured out how to wind the bobbin, what the bobbin is actually FOR, and how to thread the needle. I have given all of the different stitches a test drive and, as yet, I am not overwhelmed. All I have to do now is learn how to sew straight and work out the whole pressure thing on the foot pedal, so there’s less whizzing and more actual sewing.

I’m excited and want to start making something right now. However, I know what I’m like so I’m trying to pace myself. I will practice on random scraps until I am a little more confident. That way there won’t be a mad dash from the gates only to collapse in a heap miles and miles from the finishing line. The hubby is already talking about getting me a desk/table for sewing/crafting and everyone knows you can’t abandon things when furniture has been bought. That’s a rule.

It’s nice that he has confidence in me, but the pressure might become too much……….wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Christmas quantified

27 Dec

This was our first Christmas together, as a family, in our own home. We were together last year in Ireland, but it was a bit bittersweet because the hubby was only there for ten days and we still had no idea when the turtle and I would be able to join him – having thought it would definitely be before Christmas (we didn’t get here until May 1st).

So I made it clear that we would not be travelling to Ireland or South Carolina, under any circumstances. Nor would anyone be welcome before or during Christmas. Good thing too, seeing as the turtle was sick  (he still is a bit, but not too bad, so long as he doesn’t cough up a lung).

Christmas Eve, I spent the morning finishing the turtle’s stocking, which didn’t come out too badly even if the snowman does look like the fella from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Then we went for a wander around the shops. Luckily it looked like rain, so the outdoor Mall was deserted. That evening we went to one of the hubby’s colleague’s houses for dinner. There were loads of kids there, so the turtle had a whale of a time. Unfortunately they insisted on keeping the door to the pool open because it was hot, so we had to leave after about an hour. We were terrified the turtle would fall in. We came home and I made the stuffing for the turkey while the boys watched The Grinch. Once the turtle was in bed, we helped Santa put his toys together and wrapped them (I think from now on we’ll leave a big sack for Santa to put his toys in, it’s an awful waste of paper, even if the turtle does love ripping them open).

Christmas morning wake up didn’t come until 7am! The best present ever! Because of course we stayed up way too late. Anyway, we brought the turtle and his stocking into our room. He was delighted. He would have been entirely happy with what he got in his stocking – squishy Thomas toys, some generic trains, cars, a packet of buttons and an orange (“Ball!”) He was trying to hold onto everything on the way down the stairs. Naturally we went a bit overboard – the way you do when you have only one child. Still though, he loves his garage and his trains, and his cars and keyboard. Not to mention his books.

Once the present opening was done I put on the turkey and called Ireland. They were all freezing. They had a white Christmas! I was a bit jealous until my mother told me the gas line kept freezing, so she had to keep going out, to throw boiling water on it. Cooking the dinner was taking her an age. All of a sudden sunshine and humidity didn’t seem too bad, even if it didn’t feel like Christmas.

When dinner was an hour or so from ready we went out for a walk. The turtle fell asleep almost immediately. And stayed asleep for FIVE hours. Five hours! Luckily we decided not to wait for him to wake up. The hubby and I had a traditional Christmas dinner together. Then we fell asleep for two hours, waking just before the turtle. When he woke up, the turtle was in great form. He ate more turkey than his father had, sadly eschewing all of the vegetables and the stuffing. He didn’t do too badly though. We played cars and trains for the evening and had a great time.

I hope that this will be how Christmas will always be. Calm, chilled out and relaxed.

We must have done something right, I’ve been dragged out of bed every morning since with cries of “Train, train, go, go!”

All will be right with the world as soon as he gets rid of his cough. There’ll be no stopping him then.

A busy Christmas

25 Dec

I’ve been busier this year than any other. Making things! Me! And most of them didn’t turn out too badly. They’re all hanging up. Proudly. And so they must be shared.


22 Dec

The poor turtle is sick. Coughing and choking. Enough snot to feed a small country. And just generally miserable. The doctor reckoned it might be a touch of pneumonia. Pneumonia!! Saying that is one way to get parents to sit up and listen. I thought it was just a cough and a head cold. I still do, a bit. No amount of pointing out things on x-rays will really convince me different. Denial, I suppose. But how do you get pneumonia in Florida? I think he only thought it was pneumonia because under the vaccination regime over here he hasn’t had all of his shots for it. Doesn’t matter that he got those shots in Ireland, and over there it’s just 3 shots. So, here we are struggling to get antibiotics into him, hoping, praying and wishing he’ll be better for Christmas.
Seeing a small child sick and miserable is one of the most heart breaking things in the world. But at Christmas? These things aren’t supposed to happen at Christmas. It makes everything worse.
Still, it’s nothing a steady diet of Sesame street won’t fix. Right?

Salt dough craziness

21 Dec

There really should be a Salt Dough Ornaments for Dummies book. There probably is. I just never bothered to consult it. I saw some really cute ones, for $5 each, mind you. And I thought “$5 for salt, flour  and water! For goodness sake! Surely I can do this myself!” Then I thought we could all do it together. It’s like play-dough, right? Christmasy crafty quality family time. Excellent. So I cursorily browsed the t’interweb, paying very little attention to what I read. Off we went to the shop to buy all purpose flour – the one thing I did absorb was that self-raising just wouldn’t do. And do you know, I came home with self-raising, which was already in the cupboard, AND I didn’t notice until later. Much, much later. 20 hours in the oven later. Oh well. I’m not sure if the lengthy drying time was to do with the type of flour or the fact that we made door-stop sized ornaments. More suited to being paper weights than hanging from a tree. The dough kept clinging to the rolling pin. Like sh*te to a blanket, as my mother would say. So we gave up on the rolling pin and just pounded the dough flat, much to the amusement of the little turtle. So they ended up thick. Granny-sized sandwich thick. Oh well. They’ll probably be completely dry by next year, then outlive us all. Next year, the right flour will be bought and the salt dough will be rolled wafer-thin.  Cute, professional-looking ornaments will result. And maybe a few clunkers because things can be too perfect.

Meanwhile, just to prove I’m not entirely inept, look at these lovely cupcake/muffin things I made.Deliciousness. They were supposed to be for a “Dessert Social”, but we couldn’t go. The turtle is sick. “Maybe a touch of pneumonia.” Waaaah!!

Doing nothing

17 Dec

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m doing nothing. I don’t think any other mother is either. After all, we’re “doing the most important job in the world”. I have a happy, healthy little boy. He can walk, talk, feed himself and sometimes go to the potty. Not bad for a 17 month old. Yet the things I do all day, the things we “achieve” are not tangible. What do we have to show for a twelve hour day together? Nothing. And when I get asked “What did you do today?”, the answer escapes me. I can’t put words on it, so I end up saying “Nothing”. Could anything be further from the truth? Probably not. Yet I don’t have words for it. And I can’t “show” anyone what I’ve done. I think this is why I’ve started crafting. At the end of the day I can say “Look what I did”, in a way that I can’t with child rearing or housework.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction. I suspect seeing the turtle grow into a kind, responsible, intelligent, caring man will be much more satisfying but that will take a couple of decades. For now, a couple of hours of knitting or crocheting will have to do.

Hopefully, one day, motherhood will be valued and explained. Then I’ll be able to leave my knitting needles down and “do nothing”.

Christmas traditions

15 Dec

I have been wondering about this. What shape will our Christmas take? I would like the turtle to grow up and be able to say “In our house we always…” but I can’t fill in the blanks just yet. I’m a little stumped because I know we’ll be moving around a fair bit. So “We always went to the beach” might be nice, but it won’t always be possible. So things will have to vary from place to place.

In our house, we always

  • put the tree up on December 8th and took it down on January 6th – this is one we’ll be doing
  • wrote letters to Santa and “posted” them up the chimney, we even addressed them! – we won’t be able to do this, chimneys won’t be a constant, but we will be able to write letters, and maybe Santa will be able to send us a video reply every year, if he’s not too busy
  • went to visit the relatives on Christmas eve night, picking up and dropping off presents – we won’t be able to do this, but maybe we can open any presents that come in the mail on Christmas eve morning
  • woke up on Christmas morning with the wonderful knowledge that Santa had been, because we could feel the weight of our stockings on the end of the bed – hopefully Santa is still fairly nimble and will be able to get in and out without the turtle knowing
  • went to Mass on Christmas Day – this one we’ll do. Definitely. There’s too much “Happy Holidays” going on over here for my liking, no mention of what the holiday actually is. I had to search high and low for a book with the Christmas story in it for the turtle. High and low. Grrr!
  • spent Christmas Day together as a family, stuffing our faces and watching the tv for the most part, but it was the one day that no one went anywhere (except Mass) – this is another one we’ll try and do. There’ll be no shopping or any other kind of madness on Christmas day

Some other things I remember is that we were always in a Nativity play and that we only ever got to see Santa once a season, not every weekend. I’m not sure I’ll be able to rustle up a Nativity play on my own, unless I have a lot more children, and soon. That was always the school, but maybe the Churches do them over here. And there will definitely be only one visit to Santa.

Some new things I would like to do is have hand made ornaments and cards, activities we can all do together, although seeing as the cards will be posted internationally I may have to set up that little sweatshop some time before Thanksgiving and I’m not sure I’m that organised.

Mad lights outside, more and more every year! Nah. We have nearly enough now, and I’m pretty sure a neon Jesus standing beside a blow-up snowman will not Christmas make.

I shall have to talk to the hubby, see what makes Christmas for him. Maybe together we’ll be able to make Christmas for us all.

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