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Miscellaneous Michael Related News

15 February, 2019 at 7:54 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself and Daniel observed recently that Michael has all the advantages of being the youngest and none of the disadvantages. I realise that this is entirely true. He exercises the prerogative of the youngest child to cunningly manipulate his parents while suffering none of the disadvantages of having to go to bed early or be excluded from things his older siblings enjoy. Truly, he is a brilliant child.

We had his last visit to the public health dentist recently. Technically he should have finished at the end of primary school, two years ago but he is young to be in secondary school and the dentist is kind. All is well, this really is the end of it though. He is still losing teeth. I nearly choked on one recently. It was a molar lying on the coffee table near a half empty packet of popcorn and it looked like a popcorn piece. The life of a parent is not an easy one.

Michael is still playing hockey. There are very few boys and he is mostly with large gangs of 12 and 13 year old girls which doesn’t seem to bother him. Mr. Waffle was with him recently when they were doing some drill he couldn’t get the hang of; he did eventually and he declaimed to the assembled girls: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings/Look on my works ye mighty and despair.” I wondered how the girls took it but Mr. Waffle said that they seemed to be indifferent.

Small Victories

16 January, 2019 at 3:20 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself said to me the other day, “I am so glad that you sent me to my school, I would have hated to have gone to an English language school”. I think that the effect of 10 years of education through the medium of Irish has finally had its effect.

I can only hope that her brothers eventually feel the same but thus far they remain resolutely unconvinced. Alas.

The Biter Bit

15 January, 2019 at 3:41 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Why did people let Draco do what he did?

Mr. Waffle: Draco Malfoy or, do you mean Lucius Malfoy?

Michael: No, I mean Draco the tyrant.

Mr. Waffle (beginning description): Well, I suppose he was a little bit draconian.

Daniel: Dad, he was Draco, he was literally draconian.


Culture at Christmas

30 December, 2018 at 8:33 pm by belgianwaffle

The children are a bit old for the pantomime and we didn’t fancy/refused to pay for any of the theatrical offerings available over Christmas so for our Christmas outing we went to the cinema to watch a screening of “Love Actually” in the cinema. Michael and Daniel strenuously objected to going but afterwards, Michael, at least conceded that he had quite enjoyed it. “But,” he said, “it was weird the way that all of the women were just goals for the men and not people at all.” Except for Emma Thompson we agreed. My work here is done.

Attempting to explain my deeply reprehensible choice I said, “Yes, I know it is unsatisfactory in a number of ways but it’s of its time.” Herself replied “You can’t say that about a film that was made in 2003!” It’s hard to argue with that. I still like the way the bodyguard sings “Good King Wenceslas”. If you want a comprehensive analysis of all the ways in which this film is profoundly unsatisfactory, I can direct you here. Do not click on this link if you ever want to watch that film again, it will ruin every bit of it for you, except the bit where the bodyguard sings “Good King Wenceslas”.

Civic Engagement

24 November, 2018 at 2:54 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael is on the student council at school and he and his fellow student reps went to a Dublin-wide event in Croke Park. He hadn’t intended to go for election to the Dublin-wide council but when he got there, he threw his hat in the ring. He didn’t get on but it is a big thing to speak to a conference centre full of people and I am really glad that he gave it a go. I said that he could try again next year. He said that he might, he doesn’t seem very pushed either way. How I would love to have myself his levels of Olympian indifference.

An Instructive Morning

18 November, 2018 at 7:24 pm by belgianwaffle

So the first reading at Mass this morning was a source of mild amusement for Michael and Daniel. Well, definitely for Michael.

A reading from the Prophet Daniel

At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people…

And the second reading was of interest to all, that St. Paul, it’s how he tells them:

Christ on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him.

A footstool indeed. I hope your own Sunday morning offered up similar nuggets of interest.

Michael at 13

17 November, 2018 at 8:16 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael was 13 on September 27. This birthday post is a bit late. There’s been a lot on.

Michael loves to read. He continues to enjoy the Economist when other offerings are not available but, as a rule, he prefers fiction to non-fiction. He has a slightly annoying habit of picking up a book and launching in to it just as you are about to start in on it yourself but his parents are sustained by the smugness that comes from having a child who likes to read the same kinds of books as they do.

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Other hobbies include playing games on his phone which he definitely regards as a hobby but I wouldn’t call that a hobby as such. He’s still playing hockey which he really enjoys (being Michael he wouldn’t go to training, if he didn’t) and he was quite excited when they were due to play hockey during PE one day at school. Sadly, his schoolmates, who play more hurling and camogie than hockey, did not fully grasp the rules and he returned home outraged because they had been kicking the ball around the field and raising sticks above their shoulders. He is still doing drama which he likes as well. He has games club after school on Tuesday where he plays Dungeons and Dragons type games with other enthusiasts and a saintly teacher who will surely get his reward in heaven. He also still likes playing cards and board games if he can persuade the rest of us to play with him.

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Despite eating almost nothing he has shot up over the past six months (shout out to toast and honey which appears to be all a growing boy needs) and is now almost as tall as me. It’s only a question of time before he passes me out. He is still very skinny so it is hard to find trousers that are both long enough to not flap around the ankles and tight enough at the waist to not fall down. He basically has the figure of a super model.

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His voice has broken and it’s quite deep although not as deep as his brother’s. He’s still losing teeth (how is this possible?) but I think he may, at last, have lost the final baby teeth.

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He cycles in and out to school and is still alive. I have to say, although I am getting less nervous, he still has to go an approved route which is longer than his preferred route. He does not love this.

He and his brother are great friends. Although they can really annoy each other, they have lots and lots in common and mostly they are having slightly incomprehensible conversations about video games and dungeons and dragons. He gets on reasonably well with his sister but he has managed fine in her absence for the past couple of months occasionally forgetting that she is in another country rather than holed up in her room.

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Unlike his brother and sister he is not particularly competitive and is inclined to let things go. These characteristics (which do not come from me, I fear) make for a charming companion but not for someone who is particularly driven. He is never happier than when he is left at home to do nothing. These are categorically the best kinds of days for Michael.

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In general, he loathes outings but he is resigned regarding them as part of the rain that must fall in every life. He did comment to me once, in a moment of bitterness, that in his view there is no such thing as fun for all the family.

He seems to be well settled in school. Academically he seems to be grand and his dyslexia (which happily doesn’t affect his reading but manifests itself in spelling problems) seems to have improved enormously which is great. He’s learnt to touch type and his fingers seem better at knowing what to spell when typing. Spell check doesn’t hurt either. Socially, he knows the drill and what is expected of him and he seems to be popular with teachers and fellow students without caring even slightly what they think of him so long as they do not impinge on his comfort. He ploughs his own furrow our Michael.

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He is the world’s most sentimental 13 year old. “A Muppet Christmas Carol” is his favourite film and he and I are looking forward to sitting down together and watching it on Christmas Eve. I recently made the very significant mistake of giving some of his old toys to his one year old cousin. Poor decision. He is bitter. In my defence I would point out that he has not played with these toys in many years. I won’t be doing that again. He was utterly unimpressed by his aunt telling him that his 10 year old cousin had looked out some toys for the one year old. “If that’s what she wants, that’s fine,” he said shooting me a venomous glance. As I say, he is not one to modify his behaviour to meet societal expectations.

He continues to be endlessly charming and obliging. I find him delightful and although his siblings believe he is a shameless manipulator (“weasel” is the word I think I hear his siblings hiss at him) even they have to acknowledge that he is generally a peacemaker who tries to intervene when other family members go to war. When he is annoyed though, he is utterly terrifying and, as it is very rare, we take it seriously. When he doesn’t want to do something, it is far easier to stop doing it than to insist. He doesn’t use this power often but it is almost invariably effective. Currently I am persevering in sending him to a French class on Friday evenings which, crucially, I have paid for already for a term. He will finish at Christmas and it is hard to know who will be more pleased, him or me.

Overall though, things are good, I think. He seems happy and, better, in general, he is good at knowing what makes him happy which is a gift I would quite like to have for myself. He is the only person who rushes out to greet me when I come home from work and my heart does leap as he rushes out to the door, arms outstretched shouting, “Mama, Mama, you’re home!” I’m not sure that will last forever, so I suppose I should enjoy it while it does.

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