It’s May, it’s the season. I wondered where the children in my daughter’s school made their first communion. Upon enquiry, we were told that they were likely to change the venue as this year the church had been double booked for a funeral. I’m not sure whether you have to be catholic to find that funny.
Archives for June 2010
Our daughter eats with her fingers. The boys aren’t actually too bad, and she has good days, but, broadly speaking, her dining habits leave a great deal to be desired. This drives my husband bananas. Mealtimes are rendered hideous by his desiring the Princess to use her cutlery (in increasingly cross tones) and her subsequent ire. She firmly believes that attack is the best form of defence.
The other night she had a friend at dinner. A friend who is a full six months older than her. The friend startled us all by eating rice with her fingers (something, even the Princess wouldn’t try). I am hoping that witnessing these exciting table manners will make my loving husband a little less exacting on the whole table manners front. Tell me, do your children use their cutlery?
I bought sweet peas in March and grew them on the windowsill. They thrived. I planted them out two months ago and put up netting using garden staples. I was assisted in this process by three small children with hammers so it was more traumatic and less effective than I would have liked. The sweet pea all died. I was gutted, but then, some, miraculously, came back to life; they climbed, they thrived, I watered them and cooed over them. I got excited at the prospect that I might actually have flowers.
This morning, I drove into school with the children and Mr. Waffle. When I got there, I realised that I had, idiotically, left my briefcase at home. Mr. Waffle dropped me back home. I decided that I would cycle back into work. Mr. Waffle went about his business. I went in the side gate to pick up my bicycle. I cast my eye over the garden and, to my horror saw that the netting had come adrift, decapitating my sweet pea and leaving them trailing miserably on the ground.
Time was marching on but I felt it was vital to attempt to repair matters. Whether my employer would have shared this view remains, thankfully, a moot point. The back door was bolted, so I thought it would be easier to reattach the netting with the heel of my shoe than going round the front, letting myself in and getting a hammer. This is why, when I should have been in my place of work, I was standing one legged in the mud hammering with a shoe. There is a moral here somewhere. You will be pleased to hear that, as of this evening, the sweet pea is recovering.
Also, and unrelated, email from my husband as follows: “I see a letter in today’s Irish Times suggesting that we are a sitcom (Single Income, Three Children, Outrageous Mortgage).”
Attentive readers will remember that out childminder is leaving us in the middle of June. In our wisdom, Mr. Waffle and I have decided to try to mind the children ourselves until September. If we hire someone now, we will have to pay the person for August when we will be on holidays, so it is almost cheaper for me to take a couple of weeks unpaid parental leave and hire somebody new in September.
My very obliging employer has allowed me to work full time until our childminder leaves and take the one half day I would have taken each week (more parental leave) later in the summer. Are you still with me? So, normally, on Wednesdays I collect the children from school. They have a shaky grasp of the days of the week (regular morning question – is today a school day?), so I thought that they would not notice when I didn’t appear today. Well, it turns out that the Princess has a very good grasp of the days of the week and she was expecting me and, boy, was she upset when I didn’t turn up. She was gutted the childminder tells me. She told me herself – “Mummy, I trusted you, how could you lie to me? I cried and cried and turned into a tomato on the street. I was so sad and it was so embarrassing.”
In other heart-rending news, she took me aside and whispered, “Mummy, we have a school tour but it’s very expensive.” “How much?” I asked filled with foreboding. “I know that you are very worried about all the money we have to give to the banks, Mama (a reference to the collapse of the Irish banking sector about which I have been complaining rather than our mortgage repayments to which I am resigned) and I saw that Daddy had to pay €100 to the school this morning for the creche (after school care for the boys who finish an hour earlier than herself), so, if we can’t afford it, it’s ok.” “Oh sweetheart, of course, we can afford it, how much is it?” I said. “Mama, it’s [dramatic pause] €24.” The poor mite, I do feel sorry that she worries about these things though, it doesn’t really seem to have given her an appreciation of the value of money.
And in slightly related news, this popped into my inbox this afternoon:
ESRI Research Seminar: “Part-time Working and Pay Among Millennium Cohort Study Mothers”
Venue: ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2.
Time: 4 p.m.
Speaker: Prof Shirley Dex, Professor of Longitudinal Social Research, Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), Institute of Education, London.
How interesting, I thought to myself, I might take a couple of hours off work and go and have a listen. Except of course, I can’t because, ironically, I will be minding the children. Perhaps you’d like to go yourself.
I live in a small country. Pretty much everyone in Ireland knows everyone else.
Whenever my husband and I watch the news there is always at least one pundit/reporter/other person whom one or both of us knows. This evening, for example, there was a man from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign talking angrily about the Israeli attack on the flotilla coming into Gaza. “Oh” said my husband, “he was in college with me.” Pause. “He’s Jewish.” However, Mr. Waffle’s moment of the match this evening came when his bicycle (tied to a railing) was visible behind a reporter for several seconds.
Let me tell you another story. I met some new people through friends one evening. We were all chatting quite happily when one of the women I hadn’t met before (v. glamourous, pretty, beautifully made up, terrifying heels, long blonde hair) asked me what I thought of a topical political issue. I gave my view. She gave her diametrically opposed one. We discussed. She got crosser and crosser. Though her concern was legitimate, many of the facts she adduced to support her argument were wrong and I told her so (ever tactful). Our common friend, seeking, I thought, to give the conversation a safer direction, asked what we thought about Bono telling Ireland to meet its development aid targets while moving part of U2’s business to the Netherlands to avoid tax. As my friend said, “Where do they think governments get their money from? They get it from tax revenue and it is hypocritical of Bono to preach that revenue should be spent on development aid and then moving his tax payments elsewhere.” Although this was old news, I felt that it would give us some common ground as who would defend U2 in these circumstances. But no, this other woman mounted a spirited defence of U2’s tax affairs. They gave huge amounts of money to charity, they still paid a lot of tax here, other companies outsourced to minimise their tax liability, Ireland used the same trick to draw in revenue from other countries. My friend remained implacable, I was with my friend. Feeling that matters were getting quite tetchy, I jested “Ireland is full of begrudgers.” “Are you one of them?” she snapped at me. Of course I am but, you know, nobody likes to be called a begrudger. “Do you work for U2?” I joked. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”
Have I mentioned before that everybody in Ireland is only 2 degrees of separation from Bono?