The Way We Think Now

My little doll has a mind of her own. A two year old mind. One that is confident and brave, fearless, innocent and pure at every moment.

A beautiful, smart, adventurous, quick mind that makes me marvel every day. One that wants me to be a better person.

Sometimes too…one that makes me want to be a more profound person. I consider myself a quick thinker, yet Gigi requires me to think quickly differently. saying-1501262_640

She also gives me timelimits. You need to puzzle out her little requests. Fast. Being her Mother doesn’t mean I get special treatment in this respect, no concessions or extra added bonus time! Oh no! She is fair as fair can be (another reason she would be a good politician see My daughter, the dream politician. We all get the same 15 seconds (less depending on time of day), regardless of who we are in her world, before she is frustrated. Toddler style. I have some brains. I think. I have the ability to logic and apply rationale. I thought. I have met my match however. This is largely due to the baffling logic (to me) Gigi applies to situations on occasion. If I were more profound, possibly I would cotton on more quickly. .. possibly. There is no Bachelor in Gigi’s Logic or Diploma in Toddler Thinking. I am on my own here!

Mostly I can see what she wants from me but then on the other occasions, when  ‘Toddler Boss ‘ is in charge I get me warnings.bitmoji-20160727072713

Like this afternoon for example. She was eating lunch. Lots of lunch. Gigi likes lunch. After sweet potato and chicken, a small yogurt and bowl of fruit pureed, she asked me for ‘keg’. ‘I need keg Mammy’, over and over as I scratched my head. Cake?? Why would she want cake?  She doesn’t really know what it is. It is never here. Why is she looking in the fridge?  I asked myself the million questions trying to solve the puzzle that so many parents do on a daily basis, try to work out their toddler’s clingon version of words. I wonder how many people all over the world were doing something similar at that time? Scratching their heads in confusion as their little person tries so desperately to be understand. Anyhow, turns out she meant eggs.  Did you get that already?? Took me a bit longer! My own logic told me it couldn’t be eggs as we were on the dessert. Gigi’s logic doesn’t care about courses. Eggs after yoghurt? Why not? It put me in in mind of my first philosophy lectures in college where they tried to teach me to question everything and I dutifully wrote down every word they said as gospel. Thereby questioning nothing. Our lecturer (a friar) blew my mind by asking us to think about civilisation and how we eat meals, what order we eat them in and why we want new plates for each course etc. It felt as if he were criticising this method of our civilised world. It took me 15 years to realise that I think civilisation rocks and I don’t feel we should plop our trifle into our lasagne. I was a very nervous 17 year old boasting cripplingly low self-esteem and self-worth. A by product of my earlier education. It took Gigi two years to realise the opposite to me. She would eat whatever, whenever the mood takes it and it was up to me to order this tiny chaos.  As I pondered ‘deep’ philosophical questions, inspired by my daughter, in the meantime she had settled for a quarter piece of Liga. Which brings me to the real reason you are reading about this non event.  Gigi’s logic.foto_1_liga6mnd

Liga lives in a larder press. On top of a fresh box, I had laid the last packet from the old box on top. For those of you who don’t know Liga, it is a rusk and  come in plastic wrap with two portions in each wrap. Gigi wanted to open the new box. I showed her the piece we should use first. No, no. I was told off. I needed to open the new box.  So here is one of these ‘pick your arguments wisely’situations where I chose not to fight. Just let it happen. I opened the new box. She then took the older packet from me, wedged it into the new box  (corners being mashed right and left) took a minute to pause, then took it out again saying ‘here Mammy!’handing it to me to open.

She wanted the action of taking it out of the box.

What? I really didn’t see that one coming.bitmoji-20160727074229

Or the other day. I put her water bottle in the fridge. She saw it there. I got dragged over by the little hand of power. We opened the fridge. ‘No Mammy’, she raised a dictatorial finger. ‘No. Don’t put water there. Not there’.  She carefully and clearly pointed with her ‘teaching’ finger into the space on the drinks’ shelf. ‘Don’t put there. No. Not there.’. She was very in command. Very pleasant. Very clear. Super Nanny eat your heart out. I was in no doubt as to where not to put her water bottle.512bD02Z0EL._AC_UL320_SR260,320_

I still don’t know why!

In moments of clarity, I can clearly see reflections of me in her ways, my mannerisms and my way of thinking mirrored in her actions. You can see where I am going here…

Then again maybe you can’t. Thereby proving the theory that us parents are probably the baffling ones. Baffling each other all the time but thinking we are crystal clear!

How much I learn from my Gigi.

The water bottle is still in the fridge by the way. It is OK to be there today.

I am nowhere near figuring out this logic!

Perhaps message me via water bottle Gigi? In your own time.




National Theatre Tour and Afternoon Tea in London town

Who doesn’t love exploring somewhere like London? Random stalls and street food, history on every corner and in every crack in every wall.

Friday brought a magic stolen day in London with a friend from college days. This is a girl who can make me laugh, talk and brings me to a very happy place. We were getting a chance to have some real fun! I really couldn’t believe we actually had gone. A cheap flight was booked about six weeks ago with a vague possibility of going but times were tough in the Paper house (Why is Everyone Crying?) And I really thought I wouldn’t be leaving. I know some of you might be getting deja vu…didn’t she rabbit on about similar feelings like that before? ? Yes I did!  I didn’t think we would get away to Castle Leslie either but we did indeed. It is possible that all mothers for this. We all plan for cancellation and getting to go is just a bonus.

In this case, we went.

And really, everything on tour was coming up golden.ScreenShot2012-05-04at113336AM.jpg Connections seemed to wait at terminals just for us. Tubes glided in at our whim. The sun shone. Music and gigs played in parks. People smiled. We were really there.

Our friend was working until four, so we had a full day to fill. Both of us having lived near London in the past, we have already seen the Tower, Big Ben, Covent Garden and all the galleries so we had a massive opportunity for new explorations. London is a time eater so you cannot over plan. We chose afternoon tea. Much research into many teas at hotels, shopping centres and favourite places brought me to the tea and tour at the National Theatre. Great value at 35 pounds, you receive a fantastic tour (thanks to Sarah our professional, highly informative and passionate guide) and then a lovely tea i20160715_143427n the House restaurant overlooking the Thames. I cannot fault this experience. If you love theatre, then it is a must. Who doesn’t love tea and little delicacies? Win win!

We got to spy on rehearsals for The Plough and the Stars, being produced due to the centenary of the Easter 1916 Rising. (I assume!). The theatre is quite unusual at first sight. Not my cup of tea (no pun intended) but I was convinced as to why it was built like that by the end of the tour. Not meant to be attractive in the way Victoria theatre etc is, you are meant to be free of all aesthetic distraction in order to focus on the art on stage completely. The interiors remind me of the Canal Bank or the O2 theatres in Dublin. Modern and purpose built, it isn’t conventionally pretty.

Classic interior of an English theatre. This is Wells in Norfolk.
A whole new style of exterior.

I wasn’t allowed photograph inside but you can imagine the grey insides of a multi story car park with theatres free from chandeliers, ornate excess or box seats. Royalty mingle with the common folk here. We were shown much of the interiors and backstage including the impressive factory workshop, churning out purpose built props and backdrops. The National theatre is composed of three actual theatres, the Olivier, the Dorfman and the Lytteldon. We did not see the Olivier as productions for Young Chekov season were bring rehearsed. Passing large trolleys, a quick peep would show you the labeled and itemised props for The Seagull or an equally classic play.We were shown secrets behind the illusion, warned not to lean against walls as everything was not as it seems and joyed at the sight of a horse prop from War Horse  dangling overhead.

The Dorfman (named after a very generous donor) is intimate and modern and we were lucky to see the most amazing set in full glory for Sunset at the Villa Thalia. Realistic to a fault, what looks like a concrete front yard is in fact a styrofoam base. This theatre has ‘clever’ chairs that sense body temperatures and can also ‘tell’ you when they malfunction. Lights worth thousands are everywhere. We are told there is no wiggle room for props here to be vaguely real as you are so close to the stage from all sides. You need to perfect the props to a fault. They have recently experimented with innovative sensory theatre too, soaking rugs in beer to give the sense of a typical British bar or even roasting a leg of lamb onstage, leaving a salivating audience living and breathing the atmosphere.

You can see I loved the tour…

Even better, when it was over we went upstairs and were handed Bellinis.(champagne with peach puree). Luxury. The actual tea (the drink) menu was extensive but I wanted tradional breakfast tea. My friend had a flavoured tea. The meal itself was themed (yes a theatrical theme!) quirkily naming courses and making ordinary ingredients more exciting.

So much fun. Such a treat! Especially ‘A Taste of Honey’ cake and a really unusual but delicious pie named after Sweeney Todd. Don’t panic- it is just pork.

A little ‘interval icecream’ with an edible purple flower rounded off the experience perfectly. Cross the bridge and you can have a tipple in Gordon’s Wine Bar, following in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling.20160715_170346-1.jpg20160715_153437

Time then to hop on the train and head out to Finchley…

Harry Potter style!

I recommend this tour to any theatre lover. You will not be disappointed and tea just makes it extra sparkly! Don’t forget the theatre is on Southbank (get tube to Embankment and walk over either bridge, and enjoyable experience in itself) then you can wander the Southbank until the tour starts.

So much to see and experience in this part of London. Watch out for the urban beaches appearing everywhere too. My friend was particularly loving the deckchairs that seemed to appear just when needed all over the city. Who could fault such loveliness?

A lovely day.

So this Mammy had a wonderful time in Southbank and had another two lovely days to come.

Missed the babies and their Daddy though..!



Five reasons to be happy today

Ever feel like you don’t count your blessings? I do. Feel like I have blessings, I mean, but often don’t count them.

As this whole blog is meant to be An exercise in happiness: An Irish parent’s project, today I will write about that. Today is about the blessings.

Five reasons to be happy today!

I would like to invite  you to do the same…should you wish!

  1. Betsy. My first reason to smile today is because my second born is passing a huge milestone. Betsy is happy in the crèche. Betsy is my beautiful, smart, chuckling cherub, only eight months in this world and taking it over day by day with her charm. She started her induction this week as she will join the big crèche with her sister at the end of August when I return to teaching. Gigi found settling very tough but I am happy to say that Betsy is enjoying her time, largely due to a proud sister who has been acting as her protector and bodyguard!  It is a weight off.bitmoji-20160713065506
  2. Weight Watchers. I am sticking like glue to these classes as I find them vital to my losses. The people are enthusiastic. Lively. Honest. I always leave wanting to do better next week. I am on the no count programme (hate new smartpoints programme) and I  think it is a million times better. I will wear the dress again! bitmoji-20160712080044.png
  3. Success. Mr Paper is doing magic without cigarettes. It has been so hard for him to quit and I am desperately proud of him to keep fighting. I know he can do it this time. It is brilliant.

    No sinking here…all swimming!
  4. London Baby! It is official.  I am travelling with an old college friend to meet another old college friend in Finchley, London…this weekend no less. We will have time to catch up and have fun in London town. I can’t wait because I can relax about the trip finally. I can relax because I know the babies will be fine with their dad and nannas.

    Feed the birds…tuppence a bag.
  5. Shiny, happy people. Really, I mean healthy, happy family but who can resist dropping an R.E.M song title when appropriate? We are all doing well. Eggshells!we can deal with. Why is Everyone Crying? Not so easy. Thank God but recently we have slightly less crying. The evil teeth or whatever gremlin is causing her tears is hibernating and we can enjoy life again. tourism-1213802_640.jpg

Have you five reasons to be happy today?  I find sometimes they are hard to feel when the day is difficult. Today I can see the sun.bitmoji-20160713114315.png

My daughter, the dream politician.

Today I place the argument before you as to why my daughter would be better placed in government than MANY  of those already there.bitmoji-20160703072237

The political world that I observe from my couch is a bit of a floundering dinghy ridiculously tumbling closer to jagged edged rocks at the moment. It may be safer if it were fully out to sea, but actually it is in sight of land. The potentially fatal rocks are in between. The lighthouse keeper has just gotten his Netflix updated and cannot be trusted. Hence the dodginess of the situation.

Ireland had a hung Dail situation for weeks in late Spring and are only getting their act together now. It was a ridiculously frustrating and petty situation to be an armchair politician for. I got so annoyed at their inability to work together, to be cohesive and put the real issues before their petty grievances. At least they have moved on now. They can argue pointlessly again and not actually aid the difficulties in our health system.

Let us now move to Brexit. What a powder keg that is. Lying there. Awaiting flame. The people of the UK are confused. Personally I worry how it might affect Ireland, in particular the farmers. I know that it is creating discord and smashing harmony amongst the population in daily life alone. I just hope the situation realises itself positively to end.brexit-1477302_640

There is also the big kahuna. What in the name of Lord is going to happen in the US? The most powerful politician in the world. It matters so much to so many that the US leader be a right one. We are left on tenterhooks.

I wonder at these politicians.

I wonder about the skill set required to be one of these ‘politicians’. They often appear so light in goodness, humanity or the ability to communicate.

No one sensitive or kind need apply.

They can thrive on dominace. Power. Dirty tactics. They are even ruthless. Machiavellian. In order to represent the people, you must leave your ability to be human at the door. It is impossible to know the right choice. Crazy hair or coiffured hair?there_ive_said_it_house_of_cards-gap.jpg

OK so maybe the right choice is obvious in some cases. ..!!

Then you have my daughter. 27 months old. Never ran for government. Only represents the Peppa Pig Party but has plenty of skills that I feel a politician should have. Is it possible that my two year should be held as an example of what the world needs?

Shall we see?

Gigi’s skill include…

  1. Negotiator Extraordinaire.  Me: It is bedtime Gigi. Gigi: I need story.  Me: Just one. Gigi: Cinderella. (I read it). Me: Now time to say night night. Gigi: I need story. Me: We just had one. Gigi: Just one. Please. Then night night. Need Tiger. (Adoring smile)  and so on until there are five stories. (Who can refuse reading The Tiger That Came to Tea to that winning smile? 

  2. Expert at Deferring/Avoiding Tricky Topics of Debate Me: Time to clean up. Gigi: Why? Me: So we can go have dinner. Gigi: Where Daddy go? Me: Milking cows (thinking, where actually did Daddy go?) Now let us tidy. (She claps and sings the clean up song. I put away toys) Gigi are you helping me?  Gigi: Mammy,  I need din-din. Me: I know. We need to clean first. Gigi: Where Daddy go? (I think yeah, where is he? In my distraction, I tidy. By now I have done all the cleaning and we can eat. She is playing with her toy buggy.).

    Smarter than you think. There is only one dodo here.
  3. Boundless energy. Can run around the kitchen island fifteen times without losing breath. How many politicians do you know who can do that?girl-46698_640.png
  4. Passionate about what she loves. Gigi: Where my Peppa?  (plaintive howl). She cuddles her to bursting point when found. This girl fights with determination for her beliefs.
  5. Endearing, Lovable and Kind. Says ‘I luh you!’in sing song tone all the time. Cuddles anyone she knows. I think she would never refuse a handshake. No bitterness.  No cynicism. Just plain old fashioned good hearted.all-you-need-is-love-194916_640
  6. Well turned out . Always in the finest duds. A politician/toddler should always look the part if we are to have confidence in them! Yes, I judge Mick Wallace for the way he dresses to represent his voters.

    Mick Wallace1
    Independent TD for Wexford.
  7. A friend to all. My daughter sees no ages, colours, genders, religions or cultures. She just sees people who might be made smile. Can we all say the same? compassion-651448_640
  8. Honest and Truthful. She has no problem telling me when the dinner I made is ‘yucky Mammy’ or ‘licious’  Mammy. She wouldn’t skirt the issue. She would tell us when the country was broke before we really were in trouble. Dig intended.
  9. Excellent follow up skills. For example, I mentioned eggs the other morning. A good thirty minutes later she came up with her bowl, hands palm out in questioning manner, ‘Where are eggs Mammy?’. This is what you want. Not someone who allows promises to help the flood victims in Ireland and casually forgets all about it. You want someone to put it to them! Where are the EGGS!0-kxR9EIDkmO17SeNN.jpg
  10. Commands a room. My girl can keep a room enthralled with the smallest gesture. She makes clapping hands seem as beautiful a sight as a dawn sunrise over Macchu Picchu. A politician needs the ears of the people and needs them to want to listen. Just like my Gigi can do.machu-picchu-43385_640

So would you vote for someone like that? Someone you know for sure has all those qualities?  Sure, she is a bit young and inexperienced…

But I believe my point is made.bitmoji-20160703072715.png