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Archive for July, 2006

How was your weekend?

31 July, 2006 at 9:31 pm by belgianwaffle

Dinner on Friday was delightful.  Because he loves me and, clearly, we are made of money, Mr. Waffle had tried to book Comme Chez Soi (much posher and more exclusive than its, frankly alarming, website makes it seem) but it was closed for the holidays – as he pointed out, July 28th is a great day to get married but not a fantastic date for restaurant reservations.  Fortunately, Brussels abounds in opportunities to spend all your money on excellent food and he opted for L’Ecailler du Palais Royal  where we lowered the average age in the restaurant considerably, which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen to us so much any more, and were the only people there who a) were not Belgian and b) did not have fat bank accounts in Luxembourg.  The food was fabulous and we had a delightful evening even allowing for a little embarrassment about the bill.  It’s hard to know who was more embarrassed, Mr. Waffle for pointing out that they had inadvertently charged €111 euros rather than 11 for my dessert or the waiter who was absolutely mortified and entered into detailed explanations about how their bill totter had knocked off for the night and someone else was adding up etc. etc.

It was as well that we had a lovely evening on Friday, because we needed that rosy glow to sustain us over the weekend.  Daniel was awake all Saturday night with a temperature (cheering thought – start of chicken pox perhaps?).  Michael was awake all Sunday night for the hell of it.  The Princess wet the bed on Saturday and Sunday night (having been accident free for weeks) and refused to nap on Sunday when we really, really needed her to have a nap.  And Bill Gates is torturing us.  His latest update says that we may be a victim of illegal counterfeiting. We are not.  Our installation disk, however, which will allow Bill to check that this is really the case, in 14 simple steps, is in the cellar under mounds of baby rubbish. Bill will not let us deinstall our latest update and nor will he stop annoying us with little windows telling us that we may be victims of fraud. I suppose we’ll have to set aside a couple of hours to dig out his bloody disk.  Time when we could be SLEEPING.

And I am seriously beginning to wonder whether exhaustion is making me lose my mind.  I cannot remember anything for more than two seconds.  Sample conversation with my spouse:

Him (to Michael): Voilà un beau papillon.

Me (a little later): Michael has dropped the whatchamacallit.

Him (tending to Daniel): Eh?

Me (tending to Princess): Can you give Michael the yokeemebob, the er, the umbrella.

Him: What?

Me: It’s all your fault you said papillon and that made me think of parapluie and that made me think of umbrella.

Him: Do you want me to give Michael back the butterfly?

At least the weather has broken.

My perfect husband

28 July, 2006 at 2:42 pm by belgianwaffle

Him: Are you tired?

Me: Yes.

Him: Fed up?

Me: Yes.

Him: Did you know that today is our fifth wedding anniversary?

Me: Oh God, I forgot.

Him: I have booked a babysitter and dinner.


26 July, 2006 at 1:45 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: I brought Doggy downstairs.

Me: I don’t like you bringing him out of the house, you know that.

Her: Why?

Me: Because we might lose him.

Her: And what would happen?

Me: I would cry.

Her: Your cheeks would be profaned by a tear?

Me: Yes.

Nana 25 July 1984

25 July, 2006 at 10:15 pm by belgianwaffle

My employment barrister friend says that the law library is full of young barristers trying to give themselves additional gravitas by employing the tics of older colleagues.  Then, as time goes on, they keep up the tics out of habit.  She thinks it’s quite likely that some particular tics have been knocking around since the 19th century.

I look at my (currently still poxy, since you ask) girl and I can see that she uses my turn of phrase. When I say “would you like to do whatever” she doesn’t say “yes” she says “I would”.  Mr. Waffle maintains that this is an Irish thing in general as there is no word for yes or no in the Irish language, Irish people tend to answer questions by repeating the verb.  But this is mere quibbling.  She also has the same hand gestures as me when she’s talking. This isn’t a genetic inheritance, it’s a hanging around with me inheritance, like the barristers in the law library.  Meanwhile, I can hear myself turning into my mother.  And I suppose that my mother is like her mother, my Nana.  And I can’t tell you how pleased this realisation has made me because my Nana was fabulous and I adored her. 

Poxy – Further installment

24 July, 2006 at 9:27 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess is firmly on the mend and her spots are no longer sore. They are revolting though and falling off all over the place [“Mummy, I don’t want my yoghurt” – “Why not, honey?” – “My rash fell into it” – Delightful]. We are watching the boys anxiously for signs of spots. They had to go to the doctor for shots this morning and he reassured us that the spots on Michael’s face are just a heat rash. Our paediatrician is very nice and everything but he assumes that we know everything. “No fever, no disease, which of course you know”. Er, no, actually. “For the chicken pox, no aspirin, which, of course, you know”. Er, no, didn’t know that either. Of course, it’s not nice to be patronised by your doctor, but surely there must be a middle ground. I am reminded of a post by GP mama some time ago (which I cannot find to link) where she described lecturing medical students and asking them where their prostate was and none of them knew. She said “remember this moment, because in years to come, you will think that you learnt where your prostate was at the same time as you learnt where your tummy and your arms and legs are”.

Over the weekend the Princess developed a spot on her eyeball, painful, alarming and according to google (bloody google), potentially dangerous. On Saturday night after they were all in bed we agonised about what to do. Should we call the paediatric service in the local hospital? But suppose that they said come in and we would have to wake her up. When she had gone to bed at
MIDNIGHT on Thursday and 10.00 on Friday and we were teetering about on the end of our tether. Eventually, concern for our daughter’s welfare (just) outweighed our desire to sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Some tired doctor from the paediatric service was summoned to talk to us (who’d be a doctor?) and she said, unlike the internet “oh yeah, very common, buy some zovirax ophthalmologique”. Excellent, another medicament to acquire which she won’t let us apply, at least it may be useful for the boys or for us.

Oh yes indeed, a series of checks with our parents has revealed that neither Mr. Waffle nor I have had chicken pox. My mother waxed eloquent on mumps and measles (“you were deaf for two years between four and six, you became an excellent lip reader” – a skill I have, regrettably, not retained) but no chicken pox. By all accounts, chicken pox is very infectious and deeply unpleasant for adults. The best dressed diplomat sent me an email with what, I am sure, she intended to be cheering words: ‘if it’s any consolation, it’s much better they get it at this age. The older you are, the sicker you are. I got it in my mid 20s [and it was dreadful]… [s]o you’re saved the trauma of being the middle-aged mother of a twenty-something driven to tears and the foetal position.” Not, in fact, cheering, in the circumstances. Let us trust that our parents have just forgotten our suffering through the pain and anguish of chicken pox.

Poxy – continued

23 July, 2006 at 10:36 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: I have as many spots as there are stars in the sky.

Me: That’s a lot of spots.

Him: Though it’s daytime now and there aren’t any stars in the sky.

Me: Yes there are, you just can’t see them.

Him: That’s what YOU say, Columbus.

Happy Belgian National Day

21 July, 2006 at 11:07 am by belgianwaffle

Me: So Daddy and I will be home all day today to mind you.

Her: No work?

Me: In fact, today is a holiday, it’s July 21, Belgian National Day.  Nobody has to go to work.

Her: Not you, not Daddy, not Aunty Pub Exec…

Me: Actually, Aunty Pub Exec probably does have to go to work, it’s only a holiday in Belgium not in England.

Her: And Aunty Pub Exec is English.

Me: No she’s Irish.

Her: But she speaks English.

Me: But we speak English and we’re Irish.

Her: Except Daddy, he’s French, he speaks French.

Me: Well, he speaks English to me.

Her: Really?  I didn’t notice that.


20 July, 2006 at 3:14 pm by belgianwaffle

The poor Princess is and the rest of the world isn’t great either. Unless you count

The Middle East is awful. I remember hearing an Irish guy who was with the UN peace keeping force in the Lebannon many years ago blasting the Israelis and their agression and, you know, I read Pity the Nation as a student at the instigation of my then boyfriend (I feel I’ve mentioned this here before, but it was a hard read, alright).
On the other hand, an acquaintance whose sister lives in Israel described to me how driving round in their hired car all the young soldiers kept waving at them from their outposts (apparently you can tell hired cars from their plates – I imagine that this keeps you safer, if you’re a tourist) and I suppose that just makes me see the Israeli soldiers as vulnerable young fellas (and girls, though, I presume, they weren’t doing the waving). I suspect the inhabitants of Beirut have a different view.

The sound of elastic snapping

19 July, 2006 at 2:02 pm by belgianwaffle

It’s 38 degrees today. No air conditioning in our sunny flat. No air conditioning in my sunny office. And I am busy, busy, busy. Mr. Waffle isn’t exactly idle at work either but he’s been picking up a lot of the slack at home, while I hunch over a hot computer post 9.30 when our children finally go to bed. Need I say that both of us are up regularly during the night?

Yesterday the creche rang me to say that they would replace the cover of our car seat which got dirtied in their building works.

Me: Sorry, I didn’t see it, my husband collected the boys.

Them: But later when you saw it at home, how was it?

Me: My husband had put it in the wash. And he hung it out to dry and he dropped the boys to the creche this morning because I left the house at 7.30 for an 8.00 am meeting, so I have no idea what the damage is, but I’d say it washed out alright or he would have mentioned it.

Them: Silence.

Me: See, in our household, my husband looks after that kind of thing.

I feel that I am a cliché, running all day at work and running at home and only just managing to catch some of the balls that are in the air. At work, if I don’t write something down, I have no chance of remembering it and even then, some of my notes from the previous day can be baffling (is that somebody’s name, a new policy initiative, what?). As well as having a lot of the kind of competing deadlines that interviewers love to ask about we have a new trainee who is keen as mustard and entirely ignorant about what we do. This combination is proving a little difficult in the short term.

Yesterday, the boys were the last kiddies in the creche and the Princess was the last one waiting to be picked up from her course, the second last little soul having been picked up by her mother 50 minutes previously. The Princess was sitting on her own in a big room at a little table colouring conscientiously under the, slightly dour, supervision of a middle aged man (I suppose, it was hot and he wanted to go home). It was depressing.

Last night Michael woke up with a temperature and was up for a couple of hours. Being Michael, he was cheerful but he was hot. Since it was 30 degrees in the boys’ room anyway, I suspect that didn’t help. The Princess woke up with a temperature. Mr. Waffle took the morning off to tend to her but poor old Michael recovered so well that he was escorted to the creche along with our only healthy child and a message to them to call me, if he seemed unhappy (I called them, he was described as being as happy as someone could be with a temperature of 39 when it’s 39 degrees outside – I will have to rescue him when the Princess wakes from her nap). During the morning Mr. Waffle called to say that the Princess was very cheerful but he had taken her to the pharmacy to get something for her heat rash and they said “that’s no heat rash, that’s chicken pox”. What do you think might be wrong with Michael, people?

Reasons to buy the LRB

15 July, 2006 at 1:27 pm by belgianwaffle

From a review of a book on Wal-Mart:

“Wal-mart is about price, so much so that it has created a reification of cheapness, in which cheapness becomes a mystical quality, a Ding an sich or fundamental essence…”

And you thought it was just a supermarket.

Survival of the fittest

14 July, 2006 at 4:12 pm by belgianwaffle

R in the creche tells me that yesterday she heard a faint cry and turned around to see Daniel whacking another child on the head while, simultaneously, Michael slapped the misfortunate mite merrily on the bottom.  It’s a jungle out there.

No worst, there is none

13 July, 2006 at 11:53 pm by belgianwaffle

I had a dreadful trip. I scraped the hired car. I spent an hour or so circulating the airport but always ending up back on the motorway facing in the wrong direction in rush hour traffic instead of safely in the terminal building. When I tried to fill the car with petrol, it would only fill three quarters full. The little thing kept clicking. The man in the garage couldn’t come and help me as he was alone behind the till. I paid in three different installments, the last two being for sums of the order of 40 cents and 20 cents.

Pitched past pitch of grief

As I was complaining to the man behind the counter about this, I looked in my bag for change and suddenly realised that I had left my passport in the hotel room. An hour’s drive away. And that was assuming that I managed to get into the airport first go. I blurted out my problem to the man in the garage. “That’s the best laugh I’ve had all day”. The kindness of strangers. I drove into the airport pondering my options. I decided that I would hand in my hire car and try to change my flight and get the train back to the hotel (who had by phone confirmed that they had my passport).

Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

I was feeling a bit mournful as I handed back the car to Messrs. Evil Avis, we couldn’t care less and my mood was not improved by discovering that I would have to pay 300 euros for my tiny dent. And petrol money (“probably air in the tank”). I was lingering at the Avis desk negotiating the details with the man when I had a brilliant idea; I would try to fly home on my Belgian ID.

Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

I got into the airport. Passed through secuity feeling a little tense as I was now late and I felt that it might take some time to convince officials that I could travel on my ID. The security people stopped my briefcase and I could see them starting to huddle round the telly thing. Four men looked at it baffled. “It’s a breast pump” I said. I think the customs man who sped through my bag was marginally more embarassed than me (what, yes, ok, I’m still breastfeeding, leave me alone, don’t I have enough problems – if anyone so much mentions one word about breastfed babies not sleeping he or she will be shot).

Here creep, Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind
They did, in fact, take my ID without a blink. Until I got to Belgium where, perversely, they insisted on seeing my passport. I said I didn’t have it and the nice woman said “we may have to put you in the holding pen but I’m sure they’ll let you out shortly”. And I said “please, please let me home to my 3 small children and my poor husband who may well divorce me, if I don’t get back shortly” and she laughed and said “oh alright in you go”.

each day dies with sleep

Got home about 23.30 and remembered that I didn’t have any keys because our childminder had taken two sets to the Philippines, our cleaner one set to Poland and the publishing exec a set to London (our keys and globalisation, comments please, in your own time) and I had given my set to the royal grandparents so that they would be able to leave the house with her highness while I was gone. Rang the doorbell and woke the house. Collapsed into bed.

I suspect that I didn’t feel as badly as Gerard Manley Hopkins when he wrote “No worst, there is none” (as my mother is fond of saying “there’s always someone worse off than yourself”) but my English teacher had a special devotion to him and to this poem in particular and whenever things are not going my way it runs through my head and maybe now it will run through yours. Always the ray of sunshine spreading joy and happiness on the internet.

Rest cure

12 July, 2006 at 12:14 am by belgianwaffle

I am away for work.  Mr. Waffle is, with the aid of his parents, holding the fort.  Last night he was up with the boys 5 times between 11 and 4 and then up with the Princess who had wet her bed.  I think he misses me.

Random Family History – A trap for the unwary

9 July, 2006 at 9:31 am by belgianwaffle

I met an Irish friend for lunch recently who told me that teaching of history in Irish schools stopped at 1916 because it got too contentious after that. This made me think about the Irish civil war which took place in 1921-22 and this made me think about my family history and as, to think is to blog, here it is or some of it. As you know, this blog is not normally a place to think about such things so you may feel free to tune out here and come back another day when, doubtless, there will be more tales of small children and all the fun that goes with them.

Our friends in the North, in particular our nationalist friends are very fond of telling us that “the Southern state was founded on violence” which of course it was but it was all violence from a long time ago whereas their violence is that bit more recent. Though of course, some of us still resent the fact that the Black and Tans burnt Cork Also, in the wake of our violence, there was some serious hatchet burying. Ireland is a small island. Still, our animosities live on in our politics. In Ireland we don’t have left and right, we have what is affectionately known as “civil war” politics. Unusually, the losers in the civil war got to write history and essentially ended up in government most of the time since 1922. It’s not quite clear to me why this should be.

All of my grandparents were on the losing side in the civil war, so my parents could never vote Fine Gael. Even I would hesitate. My father’s father campaigned for De Valera in Clare in 1923 and my parents still have a rosette in the attic somewhere. My grandfather seems to have been quite a busy man in Cork during the war of independence and after. One day my aunt pointed to a set of steps and said “my father was nearly shot by snipers on those steps”. What with the war of independence and the civil war and everything, things seem to have become a little unpleasant for my grandfather in Cork so he decamped to California with my grandmother and his infant son. It was unfortunate that he chose to do so at the start of the Depression. I don’t think they were exactly on the bread line, though. My grandmother’s letters home to her sister are full of unhappiness about the quality of their maids. It’s all such a very long time ago. We have somewhere a sad picture of my father as a small boy with about 30 other small boys all holding hands except for one little black boy who’s standing off to the side on his own. Mind you, we would have done the exact same thing with the travellers in my primary school in the 1970s, if the nuns hadn’t made us hold their hands. See, the nuns, they’re not all bad.

Either because things had calmed down in Cork or because it wasn’t working out in America, my grandparents decided to come home with their now two children. [Imagine, had things worked out differently, I could have been a Californian girl, taller, tanneder and in the movies]. If you knew my father, you would be amazed that he  once spoke with an American accent but apparently he was a source of great interest in his home town and people used to ask him to talk so that they could listen to the “little yank”. A lot of Cork people went to work in England, in particular to Ford’s in Dagenham and used to come home flush with cash. They were known, somewhat disparagingly, by the locals as “Dagenham yanks”. I suppose they were pleased to have access to my Da’s authentic Orange County accent. He used to enjoy pretending to be Al Capone whose activities he had followed in detail while in the US. It was just as well that they came back to Cork because at the ripe old age of 35, my grandfather died of a heart attack and my grandmother, my father and my aunt moved in with my grandmother’s unmarried siblings. I remember going to visit them when I was a small child. We would be bribed with taytos and allowed to put the packets in the fire and rescue them with a tongs when they reached the size of miniature tayto packets, it was tremendously exciting and done in silence while my father read the paper and had a gin and tonic and my two great uncles also read their papers. One of my great aunts was always a little strange which was explained as “she had a twin who died”. It never seemed a great explanation to me, particularly when she used to wallop me on the side of the head when I had a lollipop in my mouth and cackle “oh I thought that it was a gumboil”. My aunt assures me that they all adored me but I found them a bit unnerving. My father’s maternal grandfather was quite old when he married and he remembered attending a famine funeral when he was a young boy. It seems amazing to me that I have such a direct link to the famine.

When I was rereading “Emma” by Jane Austen recently, I said meditatively to my loving spouse “I wonder whether I’d have been able to draw, if I’d lived in the 18th century”. “No,” he said, “because you would have been a scullery maid”. I was deeply indignant and checked with my mother. She told me that until her grandmother had housed and fed an IRA battilion during the war of independence, which nearly beggared them, her family had been quite well off [please note that my mother’s family’s impeccable republican credentials are confirmed by the presence of one of my great uncles in the well-known painting “Men of the South” – well known in Cork anyway – where the artist’s subjects put the heart crossways on him by turning up to pose in his studio with their guns]. My grandmother’s grandfather had had a large farm the revenues from which allowed him to build a school and pay a schoolmaster following Catholic emancipation in 1829 so he must have been doing alright. One of his sons married my great-grandmother, the last Emperor. Stop sniggering. Her maiden name was Emperor and there are no more of them left in
Limerick. I don’t know where the name came from but it is odd, you will concede. There were 11 girls and two boys in her family but the boys never married and the name died out. My mother muttered vaguely that she thought that her great grandmother’s mother was one of seven sisters who had all been married on the same night. A sort of Limerick version of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. The reasons for this are unclear, something about Whiteboys though since they were, as far as I know, Catholic, I can’t imagine why this should be.

My father says that my siblings and I were brought up too soft. It has never been quite clear to me what hardship he was hoping that we might encounter but maybe he just meant we were spoilt. My great grandmother said that my grandmother spoilt my mother and her brothers. My mother says that her middle brother was certainly spoilt terribly. When she was a baby, he went into hospital for an operation. The wisdom at the time was that children shouldn’t be visited by their parents as it would upset them. He went into hospital walking and talking and he came out 3 weeks later neither walking nor talking. My spoiling grandparents were devastated. The poor little mite was only 2. With all this spoiling in my background, is it any wonder that the Princess can wind me round her little finger?

I think that it was Saki said of some crowd that they “unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally”. I feel a bit like that myself, so I’m spreading it round the internet. Well otherwise, how will I remember it?

Advance Publicity. Please click on the links or you will be baffled. Or perhaps you will be baffled anyway.

8 July, 2006 at 1:43 am by belgianwaffle

Ever since Beth got her tube of free lubricant, I have been wondering why no one has offered to give me any free stuff on foot of this blog.  My wait is over.  I have been selected to be an independent bookshop for a day.  I am more excited than I can say.  I have told the publishing exec about this new and thrilling way of publicising a book but she seemed less than overwhelmed.  Not so, the charming and talented Ayun Halliday who has chosen to ask me to talk about her book here on August 8.  I have already received, by the delightfully old fashioned medium of the post, a copy of the East Village Inky.  And the book?  It should also be in the post.  When I receive it, I will review it fairly and impartially or maybe I’ll just force the author to answer a range of inane questions.  Choices, choices.   This must be what it’s like to be a bookseller whom, the publishing exec tells me glumly, wield all the power in the book world.  Mind you, I’m a little unnerved by the nasty tone of this exchange. 


Would you like to know the title of the book?  Oh alright so, it’s called “The Big Rumpus” and I reckon it’s probably pretty good because I see Finslippy is a big fan.  And that Finslippy, I suspect that she is a lover of fine writing and a New Yorker reader in her spare time.  I would be able to establish this definitively, if only I were going to the “she blogging shindig” but alas I am not.  Maybe it’s for the best, nobody really likes a stalker.  I digress.  Come here on August 8 and hear about the book or perhaps the hairy eyeball.

Context is everything.

7 July, 2006 at 6:14 pm by belgianwaffle

In the film “Cinderella”, the stepmother’s cat is called Lucifer. I wish that I could have explained that to the people who heard my daughter hissing at me, pretending to stick out claws and then say “Look, I’m Lucifer, Mummy”.

In other news, I’ve bought another teapot. Can somebody out there help me?

Variation on a theme

5 July, 2006 at 3:02 pm by belgianwaffle

Her:  Mummy, Molly Malone died and her “fantôme” pushed her wheelbarrow.

Me: Yes.

Her:  That’s unusual for fishmongers, isn’t it?

Me: Yes.


Her:  Mummy there were two dead flies in the hall where my course is.

Me: Yes.

Her: Like Snow White.

Me: I suppose.

Her: But, if the fly prince came, they wouldn’t be dead anymore.


5 July, 2006 at 3:02 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael can now clap hands and puts his arms up in the air when he wants to be carried.  He twists his hair around his fingers.  He doubtless does this because he wants to endear himself still further although he knows he is my favourite child.  How does he know this?  Because yesterday he saw me at different times let both of the others fall off the bed.  Alas.  Poor bruised little mites.

O favoured one, her imperial highness smiles upon you

3 July, 2006 at 10:14 pm by belgianwaffle

The publishing exec came to visit for the weekend. The Princess nearly expired from happiness. The publishing exec is officially her “favourite person in the whole world”. The Princess spent the weekend in a state of high excitement, laughing constantly (slightly manically). The publishing exec had to accompany her everywhere including to the toilet in the swimming pool where she informed her horrified aunt that she was “going to do a big poo”. I should clarify that said aunt is not the lucky parent of children herself and so is not inured to the presence of the poo of others in her daily life the way you and I might be. When the publishing exec wasn’t playing with, carrying or otherwise occupying herself with the Princess, she was cleaning the house. She can come again. Furthermore, she brought us, inter alia, volume II of the Supernanny book. I am disappointed that all of Supernanny’s wisdom was not given in volume I. I must say, though, that having had to read it, for work purposes, the publishing exec, applies it to our little girl (at least, I assume that this is where she gets her child minding tips from and that she hasn’t got little mites of her own stashed in the attic in London). And damn it, it does seem to work. It is unclear to me whether this is because Ms. Frost is a genius or because the Princess would do anything for her aunt including wearing a hat in the sun.

At this juncture, I could give you loads of gossip from the world of publishing, but I want my source to continue to feed me information so I will restrain myself. I am proud to report that she used something from my blog in a cartoon for one of her books. She quelled my delight somewhat by commenting “the book needed cartoons and I had to draw them and think up all the captions myself; they’re not very good” (who knew, just how much content an editor provides?). All I will say is that the publishing executive does a lot of celebrity biographies which she considers mildly depressing because many of the celebrities are rather young to produce meaningful biographies and the literary content isn’t maybe what she was hoping for when she graduated with her double first in English and then went on to do her thesis on the metaphysical poets. On the plus side, her employer buys her Grazia, Cosmo, Heat, Hello and pretty much whatever celeb rag you’re having yourself and pays her to read them on the job. Watching big brother is research. Do you want her job? Well, off you go and write a thesis on the metaphysical poets.

The publishing exec is the youngest member of her family. Mr. Waffle and her other brother (the piccolo cugino’s papa) were born in Montreal and Costa Rica respectively. By the time the publishing exec was born, the family had moved back to Dublin permanently and begun holidaying in Kerry. This is her parents’ excuse for the fact that their family photo albums contain many pictures of her older brothers as babies and youngsters but only one blurry snapshot of her as a baby. “We were abroad when the boys were little”, they argue “we were really photographing the countryside”. Nevertheless, the publishing exec remains a little testy on this point. Mr. Waffle, in the manner of older brothers, can be provoking. After our trip to the swimming pool, the publishing exec expressed regret that she had not taken the Princess swimming on her back “like Dad used to do with me in the Blue Pool” she said referring to a serviceable but rather unglamorous swimming pool around the corner from her parents’ house. “Ah yes,” said Mr. Waffle, delicately taking his life in his hands “I remember doing that with him in Barbados, I think we saw a barracuda”. As the baby of her family, I can’t help feeling that her mother’s proposal that when we all go to Kerry, the publishing exec should share with the Princess has not met with enormous favour.  Or maybe, she just doesn’t fancy being awoken by her niece bouncing off the walls from 5.00 am.  Hard to know.

In only one respect was the visit mildly unsatisfactory; we have a three bed roomed flat, so the arrival of visitors sees Mr. Waffle and me decamping to the boys’ bedroom. This is not ideal. I think that future visitors may have to be routed to the guesthouse round the corner. On the other hand, it was nice to see the publishing exec getting up to entertain the Princess at 6.30 am in response to incessant knocking and the odd kick aimed at her bedroom door. Come and visit us; have a little break. The problem is not so much the moving bedrooms but the fact that the boys sleep even less well than usual when we are in their room. Last night the four of us ended up sleeping together. It was very warm. Daniel is the Prince of Perspiration, the Grand Vizier of Glow, if you will, and this morning we were all rolling round in the small puddle he had created with his hot, chubby little body. Lovely.

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