I only went and won it!

Me, aged five years. The last time I won anything.

Me, aged five years. The last time I won anything.

WHEN I was five years old, I came second in the Miss Junior Cherry Orchard pageant. I won a stuffed parrot.

I was supposed to come first, but word on the street had it that because my sister had won Miss Senior Cherry Orchard the night before, they didn’t think it was fair to give a second crown to the same family.

So, instead, a six month old baby got the crown and the trophy, and I came second and won the bloody parrot.

Over the years though I’ve been glad of that parrot as it’s been pretty much the only thing I’ve ever won in my whole life.

Sure, I’ve won a few giveaways, a CD here and there, some bits and pieces of nice make-up, but awards and trophies have been sparse. Very, VERY sparse.

Until last weekend. Reader, after 30 years I broke my losing streak and only went and won the Best Blog Post award at last weekend’s Blog Awards Ireland event! Can you believe it? Because I couldn’t!

Best Blog Post award

Best Blog Post award

I wasn’t able to make the awards themselves (bloody Crohn’s, more on that another time) but holed up on the sofa with my laptop and Twitter, watching the awards hashtag like a hawk.

They started announcing winners around 8pm, but Best Blog Post wasn’t announced until close to midnight, so it was a long evening. I think the ‘refresh’ button on my laptop is broken. Tense was not the word.

I was psychotic.

I hadn’t expected to win. At all. But when it came down to it, I wanted to. I really, REALLY wanted to win. I was up against some serious talent, not least, two colleagues from the Irish Parenting Bloggers group that I’m a member of so I genuinely didn’t think that it would be me. But I hoped it would be.

I’ll admit that as well as biting the fingernails off myself, I also sent a prayer up to my Dad, asking for him to put a word in with the Big Guy for a little help.

I’m not so great with the prayers, so it was along the lines of ‘Dad, if you do this for me, I won’t ever tell Mam about the time you fell into a bush when you were locked and made me carry you home.’ It might not have been the most poetic of prayers, but hey, it worked!

Award blog me smilingAward blog me kissing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some friends who were at the ceremony said when my name was called out that a ‘massive cheer’ went up, which is so flattering and so lovely. I was just beyond excited to have won and so grateful.

You might remember that the first round of the competition was a public vote, so in order to even get to the judging rounds I had to get enough votes to get into the top ten, so thank you to all of you who voted for me. It meant so much.

I’m still on a high after it all and still receiving messages of congratulations and it’s all so lovely. Thanks to you all, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Big congratulations also to all the finalists and all the winners on the night too, all well deserved.

Award blog on bookcase

Award blog on bookcase close up

To end then on a serious note: I won this award because of a blog post I wrote about post natal depression. In it I said that depression is as real as a broken leg or an asthma attack. That’s still true. No matter how many times you hear that you should just ‘snap out of it’ or how many times you’re asked ‘what have you got to be depressed about?’ remember, depression is a real illness that deserves real treatment. Please, don’t suffer in silence.

Thanks again for all the votes, support and kind messages. I’m only delirah!

Well, at least I tried

My artistic ability. Nailed it!

My artistic ability. Nailed it!

WHEN I was 12 and in First Year of secondary school, an art teacher looked pityingly at a still life I had drawn for homework and patted me on the shoulder with a resigned ‘Well, at least you tried.’

She was right.

I was terrible at art. TERRIBLE. I couldn’t draw a straight line and to be honest, I couldn’t draw a crooked one either. I had no flair for it, no talent and only stuck at it for one year before dropping that module and doing business studies or some other such shite.

Anyway, my lack of artistic ability has never bothered me all that much, I never really needed to draw anything in my adult life, it wasn’t necessary for my career so I filed it under ‘What was I thinking?’ and left it at that.

Until I had a child.

When you have a child, everything changes. Obviously your body changes, your sleep pattern changes, your focus in life changes, at least for a little while.

But more than that, when you have a child, you’re suddenly expected to turn into this Earth Mother who can bake and sew and draw and watch endless repeats of Peppa Pig without wanting to stab yourself in the face with a rusty fork.

I can’t do any of those things. I’ve already discussed my complete inability to follow a recipe. I don’t even own a sewing needle and I have to leave the room when Peppa comes on.

And now my secret shame of being utterly diabolical at art has been highlighted.

The Beast is almost 18 months old now and has taken an interest in crayons and colouring and drawing. He goes almost blue in the face with delight when I sit him up in his high chair with a blank page and his crayons. His beloved Peppa has been displaced in his affections by Mister Maker, something he would literally watch all day if I let him.

He’s mad for a bit of art so he is. Ruh roh!

It’s been a bit dull and rainy this week and we haven’t been able to get outside as much so in desperation yesterday I decided I’d chance my arm at a bit of autumn art. We’d stick leaves on some paper and make a bit of a collage yoke. How hard could it be?

Nana's picture

Nana’s picture

Granny's picture

Granny’s picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We gathered leaves in the garden before scooting back in to the warmth and breaking out the autumn colours of brown, red, orange and yellow. Seán had a ball colouring in the page before I glued on the leaves and he helped to ‘pat pat pat’ them down so they’d stick tight. And really, once we got rid of the handful of slimy, icky, wet, filthy leaves that Seán insisted on bringing into the house, it wasn’t that hard!

We made two pictures: one for Nana and one for Granny, not wanting to show favouritism. Seán is an equal opportunities grandson.

Later in the afternoon Nana arrived to take Seán off for a visit and he proudly presented her with his picture.

‘Oh look! You did this all by yourself! You’re so clever to do this all by yourself. All by yourself!’ she exclaimed, staring at the picture like it was a priceless treasure.

‘Actually, I help ….’ I tried to interrupt, before being cut off by her effusive praise.

‘All by yourself! And only 18 months old and you did this! You’re a genius,’ she said, showering him with hugs and kisses, delighted with her present and sweeping him off in the car for an afternoon of fun.

I waved them off at the door forlornly. I have the artistic ability of an 18-month-old. Still, at least I tried, right?

I’m not like the other mothers – Part 56067797979

Eggy bread. The one thing he WILL eat!

Eggy bread. The one thing he WILL eat!

 

YESTERDAY I brought a whole shitstorm down on my own head.

I was accused of being a bad mother, told that I was disgusting, that it was a shame I had a child that I obviously didn’t want, when so many others would love a child.

I was told that I obviously needed psychological help. And so on.

My crime?

I posted jokingly in a group of mothers about how I had spent all day making turkey and chickpea patties for The Beast’s dinner and he wouldn’t even touch them. In the resolutely tongue in cheek post I referred to the baby as ‘fuck face’.

It was a post borne out of frustration and tiredness, meant to be jokey, meant to appeal to other mothers who might have experienced the same thing.

To be clear, I don’t call my son fuck face to his face. Nor do I refer to him as such in real life. It was this one post, in a private group of other mothers who I thought might understand.

They didn’t.

At all.

AT ALL.

I’m not like the other mothers.

The response was swift and vicious. I was vilified as an absolute monster. One woman even suggested that it was a child safety issue and that my son was in danger by living with me.

I really didn’t expect such a response. I know others don’t use bad language with the same impunity that I do and I appreciate that. I do.

But I really didn’t see the big deal, it was so very obviously a jokey not-to-be-taken-seriously post. A mother gritting her teeth in solidarity with other mothers. Or so I thought.

The Admins of the group deleted the post and the comments and removed some members as things got increasingly vicious; I left the group myself. I feel quite sick about it actually. It was a group I really enjoyed being in and had contributed to regularly, I was even an Admin myself, taking on responsibility for running the group. But I couldn’t stay after that.

I realise I’m probably opening myself up to more abuse by writing this, but so be it. I use bad language, I’m sometimes vulgar, it’s how I am.

I might not be like the other mothers, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother.

I am going out of my mind, yes?

He is hendsome, yes?

He is hendsome, yes?

WHEN it comes down to it, toddlers are basically stalkers, aren’t they?

Tiny, determined, loud, always in your face stalkers.

I can’t move at the minute without a little shadow following me. Nobody else is good enough, even his Dad, it has to be me.

Mama changes the nappies, delivers the meals, goes for the walks, provides drinks and snacks, peels the grapes, puts the lotion on its skin. Only Mama. Never anyone else. Only Mama.

Experts call it ‘separation anxiety’ or ‘a developmental leap’ or ‘a phase’.

I call it ‘For the love of all that is HOLY, I am TRYING to have a POO! Can you give me one. damn. minute.’

I am never alone. I must always be in his eyeline. If I stray out of his peripheral vision for even a single second it triggers a meltdown that makes Naomi Campbell look like a perfectly rational human being.

Sometimes it’s lovely – when we’re cuddling on the couch reading a book before bed and he’s all content murmuring ‘Mama Mama’ to himself, smiling serenely.

Not so at 3am when he drops his soother, to his absolute outrage, and Mama is the only one who can put it back. Or when I’m paying the girl in Tesco and need to turn my back to enter my PIN number. It’s not so lovely then.

Mammy Dunne had the audacity to look at him yesterday and the response was so ear-splitting that coma patients in the hospital ten miles away woke up muttering ‘keep it bloody down’.

It’s exhausting. I feel like I’m always ‘on’ and there’s an element of walking on eggshells about it too. He gets himself so worked up when he can’t see me, it’s really distressing for both him and me. So for now we soldier on, responding to his needs while repeating ‘it’ll pass it’ll pass’ on a loop.

Still though, on the brightside, at least somebody loves me and thinks I’m lovely.

I met another mother in the playground this week, there with her little boy just a few months older than Seán. I’d seen her there before, but only got the chance to speak to her recently.

‘Your boy is so hendsome, yes?’ she said admiringly.

‘Yes, he is,’ I said puffed up with pride, looking at his peachy skin, shining blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes.

‘He looks like your hesband, yes? He is not like you at all. No. He does not look like you at all. HE is hendsome. Yes,’ she nodded, taking in my scraped back greasy hair, spotty chin and baggy t-shirt.

Thanks, bitch.

So, I might look like the Wreck of the Hesperus but at least my son loves me. Yes?

It’s the final countdown

 

AS I type there are eight hours left to vote for the Best Blog Post award in the Blog Awards Ireland event happening in October.

My nerves are in shreds. SHREDS!

I initially thought the public voting section ended after two weeks, but turns out I had misread and in fact it was destined to go on for weeks and weeks.

Months, even.

Years.

Ok, so not years, but at times it felt like years.

It’s so hard to constantly ask for votes, it really is. The first couple of times were grand as people were excited for me and wishing me well, but after that I felt like one of those annoying cold callers who try to persuade you to sign up to things at the door.

Manic, over enthusiastic and in your face.

It was horrible. HORRIBLE.

I persisted however because I’m proud of the post that has been nominated and I know it deserves to be in the top ten and in the finals. I almost lost my nerve a few times, but got back on the saddle and begged, pleaded and downright cried for votes like the emotional blackmailer that I am.

Now, it’s finally almost over, thanks to the baby Jesus and all the Saints and it really is the final countdown. Voting closes at midnight tonight, Friday, September 19, and I’d really appreciate it if you could throw a vote my way.

All you have to do is follow this link, click the circle beside Beating Myself Into a Dress and then scroll down and click Vote. Thank you!

So now – altogether – We’re heading for Veeeenus, and still we staaaaand tallllll …

 

The Pigs Tale, Gorey – Review

The second of an occasional feature here on the blog where I review local restaurants. This time it’s The Pigs Tale in Gorey, County Wexford.

Pigs Tale Gorey

Pigs Tale Gorey

WE spent a few days in Wexford last week, a last hurrah before the start of the new term. We lured the grandparents down for a couple of days to babysit spend some time with their grandson and they were forced offered to take him for an evening so we could have a meal out.

They had barely made the offer when we thrust the child at them and skipped out the door, screeching away from the house at 100km an hour, lest they changed their minds.

It was a dull, cold rainy evening just before 7pm so as we stood shivering on the Main Street in Gorey we made a snap decision to go in to the first restaurant we saw, which happened to be The Pigs Tale.

“We’ll go in here,” said Yer Man pointing to the menu outside “it looks fancy, look, everything has an adjective.”

And he was right, there was lots of wilted, buttered, seared, crispy and thick going on and it all sounded delicious so up we went.

The restaurant is up a flight of stairs on the first floor, opening on to a large bright spacious room. After the chill of the evening it was warm and welcoming.

We were seated immediately despite not having a booking by a friendly (adjective alert) waiter. He almost gave us a heart attack though when he pulled up a spare chair to our table – we thought he was going to sit down with us in an ‘I’m your buddy, I’m your pal’ kind of way, but the crisis was averted when he put a blackboard containing the day’s specials on the chair instead.

The blackboard. Not the waiter, thankfully.

The blackboard. Not the waiter, thankfully.

Phew. There really is nothing I detest more than waiters who sit down with you at the table to take the order. Get away from me with your over familiarity!

He also gave us the a la carte menu and the Early Bird menu which we were just in time for. At €25.50 for three courses, we went for that.

I decided to have the chicken liver pate, while Yer Man went for the bruschetta to start. We both wanted the pork belly for main course and couldn’t wait to try it. The Pigs Tale rear their own free range pigs and make their own black pudding so we were in for a treat.

I also decided to have a glass of the home made blackberry-ade which arrived promptly served over ice and was tart and fruity and delicious.

Pigs tale berryade

Our starters arrived after a short wait, served on long slates. Sorry, I’m going to have to deduct points for that.

Ah lads. What’s wrong with plates? You remember plates, right? They have an edge on them where you can rest your knife and fork between mouthfuls. Unlike slates which are flush with the table so you’re pretty much putting your dirty cutlery directly onto the tablecloth.

Hipster slates notwithstanding, the starters were truly delicious. My generous portion of pate was soft and smooth and flavoursome accompanied by a chutney and beautifully dressed mixed leaves on homemade spelt bread. I could have eaten it all evening. I didn’t just eat it, I gorged myself, barely stopping for breath, moaning with pleasure. In fact, I’m almost sure the person at the next table said ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’

Yer Man’s bruschetta was fresh and light and tasty and he devoured every scrap. At one point he grunted at me ‘Can’t talk. Eating.’ So make of that what you will!

My chicken liver pate

My chicken liver pate

Yer Man's bruschetta

Yer Man’s bruschetta

We took a breather before the next course which was just a feast for the eyes when it was presented. ON A PLATE! Yippeee!!

Melting, tender pork belly layered with smoky black pudding, with a crispy fluffy potato rosti, buttered crisp gorgeously green asparagus with spinach, a curl of pork crackling, and a little jug of gravy that I could have drunk by the bucket. It was gorgeous, no other word for it, both of us literally licked our plates. The crowd of Americans at the next table weren’t overly impressed with our table manners, but honestly, if you could have tasted that gravy you’d understand.

MMMMMMM!

MMMMMMM!

The dessert menu then arrived on another blackboard, but we were prepared for it this time and tried to be a bit cooler about it. I went for the lime cheesecake while Yer Man decided on the brownie.

The slates were back for dessert (seriously slates belong on the roof of a restaurant, not on the tables) but the desserts made up for it. My cheesecake was tart and creamy and you could really taste the lime while his brownie was an occasion of sin. Moist, warm, deeply chocolatey, it was superb.

Lime cheesecake

Lime cheesecake

Chocolate brownie

Chocolate brownie

Service was friendly and efficient, if a bit haphazard. One waiter seated us and gave us menus, another took our order, another brought the food, another asked us were we enjoying our meal and yet another brought the bill. But sure, we got our food and were looked after so that’s really all that matters.

Overall, we were really impressed by The Pigs Tale and, apart from the slates, couldn’t fault it. Simple, good Irish food, locally sourced and produced, cooked beautifully, bursting with flavour, what more could you want?

And at just over €50 for three courses each, you really can’t beat that value. We’ll absolutely be back. And you should go too. Even if you’re not in the area, make the trip, it’ll be worth it.

Check out more details about The Pigs Tale including location, menus and pricing on http://www.thepigstale.ie

Note: Yes, I am aware of the irony of me slagging the restaurant for using adjectives in their menu when this review is littered with them. Shut up! You’re not my real Mum!

Just go the fuck to sleep

I remember when it was this easy!

I remember when it was this easy!

 

Thursday, August 14, 2014. A suburban house, somewhere in Celbridge. The night time routine has begun.

9pm: Look what Mama has! A bobba all for Seán. *nestle into chair with contented suckling baby, feeling like Earth Mother*

9.15pm: Let’s read your books now before bed. Look! That’s not my bear! His claws are too shiny. *cuddle sweetly scented baby and feel smug about picture perfect family moment*

9.30pm: Say night night to Daddy now, it’s time for bed. Oh that’s a big yawn for a small boy. Come on to bed sleepy head.

9.31pm: Sit in chair next to cot, turn off light.

9.42pm: Look at clock on phone. Wonder if baby is anywhere near asleep yet. Hear baby giggling to self.

9.52pm: *next door’s front door opens and youngster starts calling her sister*

“OLGA! OOOOLLLLGGGGGAAAAAAAA!

Mam says you’re to come in.

What?

Now, she said.

What?

I DON’T KNOW! OOOOLLLLLGGGAAAAAAA!”

10pm: Unclench jaw, attempt to relax in the dark.

10.12pm: Attempt to leave room as baby’s breathing has slowed.

10.13pm: Re-enter room 30 seconds later as baby has an absolute mickey fit because you attempted to leave the room.

10.15pm: Look at Twitter on screen so dim you almost make yourself blind trying to read.

10.20pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘please go to sleep baby’.

10.22pm: Look at Facebook, remembering to turn off volume just in time. Damn autoplay.

10.25pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth.

10.26pm: *battery is low, connect your charger*

10.28pm: Look at Twitter again. Sign at all the TV programmes you’re missing while sitting in the dark.

10.30pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘For the love of GOD go to sleep’

10.32pm: *battery is critically low, connect your charger*

10.33pm: Delivery driver arrives two houses up, leaves car door open with loud music playing. Has jocular exchange with punter at the door.

10.35pm: Spend two minutes fantasising about tracking down delivery driver and punching him in the throat.

10.37pm: Phone turns self off.

10.39pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘Just go the fuck to sleep!’

10.45pm: Baby flips over onto side and almost headbutts self against cot bars. Breathing become slow, deep and even. Wonder briefly if baby is concussed. Decide on balance of probabilities he isn’t. Cross fingers.

10.48pm: Slowly stand up from chair. Listen to heart beating like the clappers with The Fear that baby will wake.

10.50pm: Creep from room stealth like, ninja style, without making a sound.

11pm: Collapse on to sofa.