A World of Pure Imagination


Start of the school year usually requires that I am immersed, headfirst, plunging and free falling, swimming frantically for survival into a sibilant Shakespearean sea. Romeo and Juliet for third year, King Lear for fifth year, Hamlet for sixth and repeat year. This term is no different. Head down, eyes blindly open, I am competently, happily and often indulgently devouring the imagery only visible in the works of the Bard. Frantically tape changing, rewinding and clip downloading. Tapes are so such better than CD for this type of work! Themes of kingship control my thoughts. Imagery of  disease and decay clog my breathing space. Corruption and chaos reign. This will be the course until good forces can possibly tip the balance and win in the end. Around October midterm tends to be the time a restoration of calm and order arrives to a renewed Denmark, a devastated Verona and a damaged Britain. We have lived to see a new day.william-shakespeare-67765_640

We haven’t abandoned the worlds of Othello, The Merchant of Venice or the evils existent in The Scottish play.

They are just not on our course this year. We know these turbulent tragedies boil and fizz away ominously, a pit of emotion veiled beneath a dustily ragged jacket, awaiting their time to retell their tales.

An occasional comic interlude intercepts the tragedy for fear we fall foul to an oblivion of disaster. .. this may be when my student calls Cordelia from Lear ‘Cinderella’ without a trace of irony. Ironic in itself as the play is awash with dramatic irony. Giggles are allowed in my classroom.  Often encouraged. Would you believe!lotus-563456_640

I have been verbose and verbal all week. Lecturing. Explaining. Defining. Repeating. Occasionally ‘doing voices’ at the risk of my reputation.

Not complaining.  I love it.

You couldn’t do it if you didn’t love it.

It is Saturday however and there is a lump in my throat. A pain in my ear. This is the teacher’s version of tennis elbow.  It will pass. I am used to it. It is the chaos I must experience until order can be restored.

Until my voice box becomes used to the excessive taking aloud after the considerable amount of talking to myself or small children all summer. Gentler tones not booming commands. Wheedling promises as opposed to a strict ‘no takebacks’ oral discopline. A ‘no touch’ policy replaces the abundance of cuddles that accompany parenting. Compliments, constructive criticism create a cacophonous classroom.

It had to happen. It is a yearly event.

My speech has been obstructed by the growls of onomatopoeia. I look out the window at the teeming rain but can see the glimmer of a hopeful sun away on the horizon start a slow crawl towards our home as I painfully swallow my tea. Machiavellian treachery stalking my classroom and in turn my mind has manifested into physical personal  pain. Assonance has put a cut to my gut and my mouth is shut. Speaking aloud is like slicing and severing sections of blistering, sun sorched skin. Personified. A cacophonos chaotic classroom has killed my fondness for  phonics.

Ouch. Assaulted by the alphabet.

Being back in the classroom after summer has many benefits.


I love the subject.  So much.

It is nice to have official breaks-where I can drink entire cups of coffee! It is good to feel clean. Mostly. Marker dust aside. I like my other role. I just know why Batman felt the need for two personas in life. bitmoji-20160928113450The students make me smile. They challenge me. I am ready.

One price is the voice box.  Temporary. A few choking in front of my class episodes will occur.  I will get through.

This is no tragedy.

We will march on. Life’s a stage. We are merely players. With the occasional frog in our throat. theatre-91882_640.jpg


Are you Madame Gazelle?


Gigi and I have conversations now. We argue. We talk. We make deals.minions-363019_640.jpg

These are the dialogues I can only have with a two year old. One sided (for both of us) at times. Possibly ambiguous. Inarticulate. Irrational. Surprisingly and wonderfully rational (on occasion). Magical? Always. Even the rows!

Today we went to crèche. Morning runs are chaotic and nerve wracking as I dread leaving behind something important. Worry about the drop off. Beth had tears each morning until recently. Can be harrowing for a Mam. Busy. Always, always busy.

Gigi has been emotional these last mornings and tired.  The week’s ‘work’ is wrecking her out. I feel guilty.  It is all part of it.

We pulled in through the green five bar gate. Drizzle outdoors.  I turned around and smiled at the girls. I always do to help them be comfortable.

‘Are you going to work Mammy?.

‘ Yes Gigi. To school’.

‘ No Mammy. I GO TO school. Not you.’

‘Of course. I am teacher though. I work at a school.’

‘You are a teacher Mammy? You are a teacher?’.

I can see her work her 2 1/2 year old mind around it.

‘Are you Madam Gazelle Mammy?’.

‘Just like Madam Gazelle baby’.

Gigi beamed.

We had talked. She thought about my ‘other’ life. She liked it.

These chats may seem like so little to others. For us it is amazing. We are crossing the border. Transitioning. We know the language. We are able to communicate. Everyday is special.

I had left the baby’s bag of formula and bottles at home. It got solved. We had survived. Gigi went indoors smiling, thinking about her Mammy teaching maybe.teachers-day-1636605_640.jpg

Karma Bites


I have made no secret of my love of yummies. Treats are treats. Sometimes they are a gluttony. Other times they are a necessity. 

I also try very hard to be ‘good’ and I am always very ‘good’ in front of my children.  I encourage that treats for them are healthy. mother-1647831_640Am I a saint?  Unlike that godly lady, Mother Teresa, no.

So the other day, after eight classes teaching English in a sweltering classroom on a humid day, with the thud of a sinus pain in the back of my head, swinging its rucksack as it marched cheerily alongside PMT in a war against my sanity, I needed to eat.

Problem was, I wanted cheese. Chocolate. Fizzy pop. All things that make sinus sing a louder song of pain. That didn’t matter. PMT had sinus by the neck. I needed the nasty naughties.

I tried to do it secretly.


Oh fool.

My little ladies were distracted by Dora. A plastic box of squeaky eggs. Toy phones.

I quickly began the private picnic. I had a (stale) small white roll stuffed with grated mozzarella. A small bottle of diet seven up. A chocolate mini roll.  I hid the drink and the cake. Started on the cheese roll.giphy.gif

Soon Betsy spotted my munching and demanded her crumb.

Fair enough.

Gigi began to nudge in my direction. I felt like those kids in Jurassic park as the velocirapter slowly circled a deserted science lab searching his prey. velociraptor-950447_640Over she comes. I launch to protect the drink-hiding it further into the side of the couch. As I do, I knock and spill the cheese roll. Everywhere. I dart forward to salvage what possible. The Seven up lid was loose. It is flowing away down the side of couch, escaping like my dream of eating rubbish in ‘secret’.

Less like this…
More like this!

Gigi watched the mayhem in interest.

By the way, she was standing on the mini roll.

Karma bites. Bites so I don’t get to bite anything!

Back to water and fruit. Safer.

Cheers karma.



The last Sunday of summer saw the Paper family at a joint birthday party for two lovely little sisters. They had turned one and three. We were invited to a play centre and farm for the festivities and as it turned out, a wonderful day.bitmoji-20160904072239.png

Parties with smallies are chaotic. I find that no amount of preparation (though you must prepare as no preparation at all would mean disaster) makes it smooth sailing. They are always a giggling, falling down, tantruming, thrill seeking, over eating, arguing and all singing, all dancing three hours of borderline hysteria until you all go home.

Children get a lot to eat at a party, should they so wish. Parents eat around the excitement in quick gulps.

Theshe celebrations get easier. Or maybe we get used to it. I am not sure.

I did spend the morning (pre-party) in a mild to medium temper as I worried about the day. Betsy is off form with teeth 5, 6, 7 and 8 whilst Gigi spent the last ten days being -dare I say it- a bossy boots. We aren’t allowed sing certain songs, eat at certain places or at times, move our arms in the car or sometimes wear certain socks without a telling off. We get called naughty. I have used the word ‘naughty’ to explain behaviour EG ‘Hitting is naughty. It hurts and makes people cry. Instead we smile or hug’.I have never used it to title someone EG ‘Naughty Mammy’ as I have been labelled occasionally for a minor offence against toddlers. bitmoji-20160905074443So we are working with this occasionally challenging behaviour at the moment and I was worried about how it might go down in public at a big social event for children under five.

Tearaways is a fantastic venue as it is not weather dependent. The large indoor play area keeps everyone entertained and there are many seats for the adults. The usual beverages and snacks are on offer with a menu for hot food. As we were at a planned party, we had sausages and chips or nuggets coming our way. Great!

Betsy loved the under two area. Gigi did as well. Small slides, lots of toys-then Gigi did a little exploring. It wasn’t long before she tried the biggest slide. An enclosed chute with a bend in it. Oh Lord. My heart. She traveled every inch of the play area,  climbing, sliding and occasionally crying for one of us. She had a ball. We were wrecked from the workout. Unfit, you see. Pleased to see Gigi’s bravery however at the top of a slide but cautious side when required. She also refused to go down the slide if anyone was at the bottom. Good for safety. She shouted, ‘Everybody get outta way!’very authoritatively (bossily). They couldn’t hear her over the din. Kinda glad.

I do it MYSELF



Brave Gigi was exciting to watch, nerve wracking to witness and exhausting to follow. As I watched the five month pregnant mother of the two birthday girls crawl through a tube with see through plastic casing on the top most part of the activity centre,  I realised that whether excerise or not is your thing, parenting requires that some must be done.

I followed Gigi through every inch. Took a break. Heard ‘Mammy I Duck’ and straight in to follow again. Betsy ate. Myself and Mr Paper swopped duties. Ball pits. Slides. Rope walls. He climbed them all. The call to eat saved us. And breathe.

The party tables are labelled and signed from the moment you walk in. Four long tables had already been sidelined for upcoming parties on that day. Ours was first-small children I suppose. Food had been pre-booked. Juice drinks. Gigi ate and ate. Yes, we did have a sick child the next morning. Sign of an amazing party. Betsy had food that I prepared. Five babies lined up in high chairs was very cute at the head of table. Excellent organisation by the party planners here. Adult food arrived as children are fed with much needed hot beverage action.

Weather being glorious, we finally actually went outside to see the pets. Reports of a child having been bitten by the pig in the shed making us wary, I soon saw that the pig was carefully closed in and signs warned that animals can indeed bite. 20160828_132518As long as no one sticks their hands right in , Daddy pig 980x490-peppa-pig43-jpg-993ea298would be fine.

Pigs and rabbits, turkeys and llamas,  the pet farm is suitably impressive pet wise. Gigi is at the right age to enjoy pets and is so thrilled by watching them that is adorable for us. Bringing the girls to something like this gives us a fresh joy in our local animals. Llamas too despite them being visitors !

Outdoors was a myriad of cleverly coloured and designed play areas, a pretty impressive sandpit and football field.  Of course, the ever popular fairies were also represented.20160828_133821 I was a bit concerned about one fairy house entrance however…

A bit like an episode of The Bill…

Wrongly thinking energy was on a low ebb, wind two arrived and Gigi was away.

‘Color and ducks-zoo of the new’ (Plath)

Another hour later and the promise of icecream bribed my girl away. Betsy is too much under my control as of yet but when she walks I foresee many problems when both little ladies ‘gang up’ on me at home time. Both little ladies were wiped out from fun overload.

Wrecked out, both slept on the first  purr of the engine. Icecream forgotten.

Sign of a top party! The tearaways were all ‘torn’ out. Tearaways as a fun day out gets our vote and we will return. Until the next birthday party…bitmoji-20160905075825.png

While You Were Sleeping

Illustration of a simple sketch of a girl sleeping on a white background

You see, I wasn’t to know. Who could know?  Who can predict that the big sleep was going to happen today? If only I had known! I might have made a plan. Might have ‘got stuff done’. Painted a few window ledges. Pruned a few sad looking roses. Reorganised a few wardrobes of unworn clothes. The Forever To Do List! Still to be done …

You see, I expected at least one of you to wake.

But you didn’t.

You both slept on like the peaceful angels you are.

By the time I knew it was happening, it was too late! I had casually wasted my time.bitmoji-20160827030555

While you were sleeping…

I could have weeded the flower pots.

Uncluttered a few presses.

Written a decent blog post.

Planned a few lessons for class.

Vacuum packed some old gear.

Dusted a few shelves.

Framed some pictures.

Brushed down a dog.

Ironed on some name tags.


I could have napped too.

No. None of that. I did none. Instead I squandered the time. Foolish!

I washed the kitchen floor. Again.

Browed twitter.

Ate cheesy, cheesy pasta.

Drank a WHOLE cup of hot coffee.

Insulted my intelligence watching some guy called Stephen and another called Colin on that love to hate to love show we call Celebrity Big Brother and how they are the reason why the world can be a headwreck to figure out. Stephen and     Colin have given themselves other names but I choose to call them by their actual first names.

Ate a flapjack.

Stared into space.

Listened to nothing.

While you were sleeping. I did nothing. I could have fixed the world. This time I didn’t.


Little Gems


Is there any harm looking for the moments of the day that make today different to others? I believe not! Life being a series of moments, it is only right to acknowledge some of them occasionally. Maybe I am off my rocker or maybe some of you will like to hear my little gems for today. They might help you see something tiny that was in your life today that was an unexpected gem.

There is no light bulb moment or awe inspiring thrill seekers’ experience here. You see being a Mother might be tough, but here is one benefit. The fun is in the small things. No need to pay for tickets to Springsteen (and lose a night’s sleep 😨)  when you can find happiness in your garden. Or on your telly.

We will tell ourselves that anyway.

So here are my little gems. These made me smile. Today. 24th August 2016.

1. My WW class. I love this morning class. It cracks me up. The smartpoints we have wrong. The things we do right. The leader, Patricia is a professional people person and I don’t care who knows it. A brilliant leader. Only for her, my doctor and I would be falling out over my BMI. So I smiled today. pear-1530193_640Even though I was a half pound up. The class made me laugh as we discussed coffees and their points throughout Ireland.

2. I left class and had a coffee. Had a longin’ after all that chat! I believe a coffee should always be sniffed before you drink it. For me, that is half the point of a coffee.coffee-777612_640 Just before you add milk, take a long feel inhale in your nostrils. Amazing. So I did. A little gem of a moment.

3. The Rose of Tralee. I have alluded to this bizarre  (but lovable to us Irish as it is our daft tradition ) competition of …well I can’t really say what. THE-ROSE-OF-TRALEE-2.jpgYou see the parody on Fr Ted (Lovely Girls Competition) seems too close the event to not ring true. Read Fr Ted and nineties Ireland… A nod to Frank Kelly. Anyhow, despite my adult reservations of what it stands for, the show has lovely memories for me as a child. I loved it. I wanted to be a rose so badly. I always spent that week in my Granny’s house in Roscommon. We watched together, making bets and genuinely bonding. That time is sadly past but the memory is strong. The show still makes me smile. Especially when mad stuff happens at it. Poor Cavan rose had to deal with a petitioner for father’s rights storm the stage midst her turn. I am not against the cause. It is just very Fr Ted -esque to see this particlar storming! I felt sorry for the girl as it interrupted her interview but the incident made me howl laughing and I keep watching it. Wanna see it?  Click here  I didn’t even watch the whole show. Just the funny bits. Like the stage invasion. It is still a gem that made me laugh. That and the lovely memory of competitions past in my Granny’s house.

4. Body suits.  I know. You wonder! You know those adult babygros vests with the button under flaps?  These are back in fashion. 179c1e31f479615cd2bbb77f59f9b8af.jpgI didn’t buy any. However they make smile as I remember 1992 and the ones I once had. I was a skinny twelve year old and thought them the height of fashion. No bulgy tummy worries.I see them on shelves in Penneys today and I smile.

5. My biggest gems are obviously my little ladies. Today’s post however is about little gems. So a little gem that they offer is when both make eye contact and it makes them giggle. That makes me giggle. It makes me proud, happy and overwhelmed. They did that this morning when they woke up. Sweet as an iced gem biscuit. Remember those? cropped-dscf4925-12.jpg

So you see! I can have a gem filled day without heading to Italy or having a white water raft ride! No need to shop in designer stores or hit the top theatre. Big moments can arrive in small packages. They may seem silly to some.To me they are little gems. They make the day better.

Have you any to share?

I just want to thank all people who took time to vote for fancypaper at the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. Voting is now over. I will let you know how we do! 


Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!

Featured Image -- 9772

I am reblogging this today as it is the last day of voting. Thank you to anyone who did vote- I appreciate it so much!


Well, we are all a little bit humble at the Paper house today. I was delighted that we had been longlisted in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards for Parenting blog. Shortlisted? That, I didn’t expect! bitmoji-20160817031353

I have been blogging since January. My main reason was to combat an overwhelming feeling of well, being overwhelmed. I suppose it was to combat a depression setting in. I made this website my therapy calling it An exercise in happiness: An Irish parent’s project.

They say when you feel blue that you try do something or you may have to take something. Writing being my passion and dream, I had found myself drifting further and further away from it. This parting often made me shiver. One day, probably whilst googling my millionth baby question, I stumbled onto the idea that I could blog.  Therefore I had a go. I blogged. So far it…

View original post 251 more words