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Sep 15

Child protection policy overkill

Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

I’ll start by going off on a tangent. They made child-proof caps on medicine bottles so that children can’t open them, right? I was on duty recently where an Emergency Medical Technician who is all of 25 years old couldn’t open a bottle of Calpol. My own kid, who is all of 3.5 years old, has no problem with this whatsoever.

Some rules can be very intelligent but not very bright at all.

When children are involved with an organisation and you are in charge of them (i.e. their parents aren’t around) these days you must be very careful. You must not take photographs of them, even though a rare opportunity my present itself where a butterfly suddenly decides to a-light on their baseball cap and you itch to capture a moment of rarity.

You must make sure that if a child is going somewhere, they must be accompanied by two adults of each sex. You cannot drive anywhere with a kid on your own, even if the parent gives you verbal consent. You must not be on your own with a child at any time under any circumstances which is weird for me because I prefer the company of kids. They have a lovely energy. Does that sound creepy or is this over-sensitisation?

This rule presents problems on First Aid duties.

“OMG look! It’s a candy floss stand! I’m there! Can I go?” and.. then… she’s gone.

Is a child on its own in a wilderness of people worse than a child with a responsible adult in a wilderness of people? No, apparently not…but I broke the rules when I ran after her anyway for I had no time to find a random man. I accompanied her to the floss stand, and chastised her for running away, and told her she couldn’t buy floss even if it was with her own money.

How much of a bitch am I?

It’s the skill of putting yourself in their parent’s shoes I guess. Maybe she had a dinner to go home to… either way she was here to work and not enjoy herself, and act responsibly for the sake of the uniform. I wish times were different. I would have acted differently if that were the case, but that’s probably my inner child speaking.

Like, for instance; last month I went on an Emergency First Responder course. Another member from my division went with me, but his eighteenth birthday isn’t until November so he is still very much a minor. I gave him a lift to and from the course which is miles away and definitely not accessible by public transport so his parents were very glad to have me take the ache from their back of having to separately transport him, and gave me a lovely ‘thank-you!’ card to express this.

However, what I did was to break the law entirely according to my company’s policies.


So now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a grey-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses. He was a quiet man, who loved hard work especially if it was to be carried-on outside. He disliked working with others, those lazy people who loved more than anything to lean on their shovels and speak nasty of others while dragging out days and wasting time. So, he requested every job to be his own, and this was granted to him because he always performed dutifully and put love into every job he did.

One day, this man was pulling weeds from a wilderness beside a playground. He had been working for five hours but he wasn’t tired, he was only just beginning.

The playground in question was a playground frequented by special needs children, from a special needs school just up the road. I know it well, for I bring Laughingboy there sometimes.

A child had wandered.

It had found itself in the adjacent carpark and when its teachers cottoned on to this and raised a fuss, the child locked down. It floored, and would not budge from said floor for love nor money. It lay, and it screamed if anyone should come close.

The gray-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses approached said kid with his wheelbarrow.

“Are yeh hopping in, or what?”

The child obliged. It climbed in, and allowed our gardener friend to transport him effortlessly back to the bus. The teachers were thankful. The kid’s friends were thankful. I’m pretty sure that the kid’s parents would have been thankful too, knowing that they couldn’t be there to help and that thankfully there was someone with a bit of brightness to him that helped out on their behalf.

However, what he did broke the law entirely because it wasn’t policy. He could get sacked for it.


There are too many loopholes and scenarios to comprehend. I know that there are monsters out there, and so does ‘the man’… but how far does child protection have to go? Will future babysitters need to babysit in pairs? Will teachers need to teach in pairs even though the school budget doesn’t allow?? I know there’s a happy medium, I fear that we hit that happy medium about ten years ago, but now it’s just gotten silly and I’ve a feeling it’s about to become a whole lot sillier yet.

Please help me to understand?

Feb 1

The Loser

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013 in Arty Farty, Philosophy, Rantings, Something to think about

Well sure, now and isn’t it a while since we played a game?

– I don’t like your games, I always end up being laughed at.

Well isn’t that the point, to have a laugh?

– Not if I feel bad about it, no.

But if there isn’t a loser, there can’t be a winner, can there?

– I agree, but what does losing mean if it’s all the time?

It means you haven’t found the game you’re good at yet.

– Find me a game that I’m good at and I’ll play with you so.

Sure I don’t know what you’re good at, will we just play cards?

– I don’t know how.

I’ll teach you! You’ve a face like a tomato, you need something fun.

– I don’t want to be taught, I just want an easy life.

Sure if you can’t be taught then how will you learn?

– Eventually.

How’s about we get a grip?

– That’s easy for you to say. You’re not me!

Yes I am.

– Fair point.

So what will we play?

– I don’t want to play anything, I just want to watch TV.

Let’s play ‘what happens if you only have a week left to live!’ What would you do?

– Sleep.

That isn’t true. I bet you’d get a degree in Metaphysics or something.

– You have a lot of faith in me!

That’s because I am you.

– Is that what you’d like to do?

Not really. I’d go out and go crazy.

– That’s kind of pointless though.

So is sleeping.


So what will we do?

– Write a blog post?

What about?

– nothing.

What’s the point in that?

– I dunno.

So let’s play a game!

– Let’s play ‘leave me alone’? I have things to tidy.

You’ll go crazy if you don’t play.

– I think it’s too late for that.

So you think you’re already crazy?

– Maybe.

But if you were crazy then you wouldn’t realise it so therefore you’re not crazy.

– Shut up and leave me alone.


– I hate you.

I’m your inner child, you have to listen to me or I’ll broken your face.

– Fair point. What are we playing?

Let’s play ‘Hide and Seek’. I’ll go hide and you have to find me.

– That might take a while.

I have all the time in the world. You love me though, I know you’ll find me.

– Eventually.

I hope so.

– Me too.

Nov 17


Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 in Arty Farty, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

Not a fear of sneezing, apparently.

Nope, it’s the feeling I get when I sit down at a computer. Whether it’s reading emails or writing on blogs or reading others, or just mucking about on Facebook… it’s the nervous feeling that I’ll say something stupid. It’s best to stay away, maybe.

So I do.

And then a charity thing  or a training day comes along, or yoga practice, or a dentist appointment…

(no, scrap the dentist appointment, there’s not much fear of failing there, just a fear of sharp shiny things)

…and I find that as nervous as I am about confronting these appointments, the positive benefits afterwards always outweigh the nerves. It’s a proportional thing, I’m almost sure there’s a scientific equation out there somewhere to describe it.

Sarolta Bán

(image by Sarolta Bán)

Except that that doesn’t really apply to this blog. Whenever I write something here I always feel cringy the next day. And yet I can’t let it go.

Which brings me to my new fear of Call of Duty II. It has infected our household and if I don’t gain appreciation for it FAST, there shall be complications. This is my evening of Getting Things Done. So there shall be blood spilled, and several young Americans shall be tea-bagged by this solemn Irish Housewife, it won’t be pretty but it has to be done.

Cheers to facing fears!

(if anyone even THINKS about robbing that for a cheesy car-bumper sticker I’ll be on you like an RCXD for royalties, ok?)


Aug 31

How to wreck your social worker’s buzz

Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 in Family, Rantings

If there’s one thing that scares me more than men with guns or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s social workers.

This young wan called ’round recently, jaysus the house stank. The cat had shat in the bath and the dog hair was everywhere. I hadn’t even had a chance to finish my first cup of coffee of the day, and I was fierce bedraggled answering that door. Children seemed to be everywhere, but when she walked in they lined up as though it were a staged musical… it would have been perfect if the director hadn’t been so feckin’ cranky.

She sauntered in and looked for somewhere to place her files, I directed her to place them neatly on the dog, for he was the only thing that didn’t have stuff on it at the time. She did so without batting an eyelid, fair play to her.

She wanted to find out if our housing situation was suitable for us as a family, so I showed her around our tiny kitchen (God love her) and introduced her to the chaos of the bedroom that my 7 year old girl and 2 year old boy try to share. Laughingboy’s batchelor pad was next, but given that his quarters take up the majority of the rest of the house, she seemed happy with his living conditions.

But what point is there in his having adequate living conditions when the rest of us are going insane?

We pointed out that there was a house nearby that is presently empty. It’s adapted for a disabled person, and has four bedrooms. It has a decent kitchen, in which there is room to flip a pancake which would make a nice change. We wondered if we could possibly move into it?

Social worker lady told us that no, that this house has been allocated for travellers, which means that only travellers can move in to it.

So how can I become a traveller? I asked. She laughed nervously. I laughed hysterically.

As she walked out, I noticed the screensaver on our computer… it flashed the following image;


She did a double-take.

But by then the image had moved on to an idyllic family group photograph and I presume she imagined that she’d been seeing things.

I imagine she went home for a stiff one.

Jul 6

In which I ramble on about stuff because I feel like it.

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 in Rantings, Strange and Unusual

It’s been a long day. It’s bucketing rain outside, I know, because I battled M50 drivers today for the privilege of being the fastest driver out there with the quickest reaction times. Drum and Bass music tends to do that to a lady. The amount of fender-benders I saw! I pointed and laughed and zoomed away with my ABS brakes and threw caution to the wind because I was in that sort of mood.

The power keeps flickering.

Three weeks of rain in two days, they say.

It’s sodding July!

It’s been a long day. Laughingboy is in hospital with a zombie virus. I know it’s a zombie virus because my husband caught it off him and the symptoms are… deathly pallour, creepy moaning, resistance to sunlight and the overall telltale sign… arms outstretched searching for my blood. Or my attention. Whatever. It could be man-flu though, the symptoms are very similar.

I’ve hidden the other children somewhere safe. But now I can’t remember where that is. Oh well.

So anyway, now I’m going to tell you about the last day of library duty.

As soon as you read the words ‘library duty’, I’m sure you switched off to a certain extent, but I can assure you that this library is like no other library because first of all, it’s a haunted library (and I have this theory backed up by a very up-standing member of the faculty staff so I know my suspicions are true) and second of all, the frequenters of this library are very, very small.

I’ve been volunteering at the school library for three years now, and it’s strange… although the night before I’m bricking it, the experience itself is actually kinda nice. The enthusiasm that some five-year-olds have for books is pretty inspiring sometimes. And also it gives me the excuse to say that I DESERVE that quart of scotch afterwards.

On the last day of term, however, it’s different.

It happened two weeks ago.

The last day of term, that is.

Forty five children. Junior infants, Senior Infants, and first class children. All packed into this tiny room full of precious books and maps and posters about chickens and Lord of the Rings.  Normally they have this kind of bored and frustrated sort of air to them, which is when I like to drum the enthusiasm of the written word into them.

But this day was different.

It was like their parents had fed them with Nitro-Glycerine for breakfast.


I had a heavy-duty encyclopaedia on-hand, just in case I needed to clobber the overly enthusiastic ones… I swear the teacher wouldn’t have noticed, she was dealing with a dislocated shoulder at the time. In fairness though, some of those shelves take a lot of climbing so injury is to be expected!

Fiachra approached me with a book on trains. He is all of four years old.

“You already have eleven books out, kiddo! This is the summer holidays, you can’t be taking books out, you should be returning the ones you’ve already kept for so long!”

This statement went over his head like a giraffe’s fart.

“I want de trains.” he replied.

“No!” I says, “this library day is different, I’m not giving books out… sure the whole library will end up in your house and your mammy will give out to me!”

The lower lip started to quiver.

I readied my encyclopaedia.

It was when the principal of the school herself appeared to quash the confrontation that I backed down. I did admit that the aforementioned library ghost liked to screw with library tickets to make librarians such as myself to THINK that such kids had oodles of books out when they did indeed have not, so I caved, and gave the kid his train book. As the last of the ankle biters left the room, said library ghost sent the entire shelf of ‘read it yourself’ books tumbling to the floor.

Or that could have been me.

I’m not sure.

Either way, the bottle of Jack Daniels that day was totally deserved.

May 17

My sweetest downfall

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Family, Music, Philosophy, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

So there you have it! Gots me an x-ray today that says I don’t need no nasty support pins inserted into my buggered wrist. Turns out wrist is not so buggered! I started popping some homeopathic Symphytum 6c a few days ago and the weirdest thing happened… it worked. The cracks on my distal radiator have faded to thin wee lines within a week. But of course that could be a coincidence. Whatever. Four weeks left of no driving.

This wrecks my head.

No driving.

Or does it?

I’ve been pardoned from all sorts of things. Previous stresses have just… melted away. The flu that’s been farting around my chestal area has disappeared. Stressed-out-woman-flu. Gone! Baths are a pain in the ass with a fibreglass arm, but I can’t bite the nails on my right hand so they’re kind’a pretty now. Ying and yang.

I can’t look after the Accidental Terrorist in his post-operative state, though, that’s a bummer. He has to spend his birthday this weekend in an old folk’s home. I haven’t found the silver lining in that one yet, besides an opportunity for bets on aul’ones in wheelchair-races down hill-slopes.

A spare xbox would definitely cheer him up though, and I’m sure as hell not giving up mine!

Not looking at anybody.


But the worst thing of all is that I have to give up Laughingboy. He’s booked away for ten days, umpteen bags are packed in the hallway. Nebuliser meds, feeds, kangaroo bags, tubes, syringes, baby wipes, funky rocket pyjamas… he’s been there for most of the week already, he came home yesterday temporarily and I missed him.

I put Florence and the Machine on for him and spun him ’round on his roof hoist sling even though I’m not supposed to and gave him a head-scratch with my new nails. He’s a sucker for a head-scratch.

As I tucked him in, I did the usual under-cover sweep of arms and tubes to make sure one would not reef the other causing eruptions of stomach gunge (as you do), and as I did my hand was grabbed. Laughingboy has never really done that deliberately before. He squazzed my hand tightly and gazed into nowhere and purred quietly, his gaze fixed on something out the window. Or the window itself, or a far away galaxy maybe. I stayed until he loosened his grip. The chicken nuggets got slightly burned, but it was worth it. He’s going away tomorrow, I’m going to miss him so much, the sort of hurt I wish they could put pins in.

May 4

Keep on keeping on.

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 in Family, Jobs, Rantings

Maybe it was the Accidental Terrorist’s worsening spinal condition and impending stream of surgical confusion coupled with the erratic swings of his emotional state caused by the masses of weird chemicals he consumes to control his pain. Maybe it was the worry that Laughingboy stops breathing at night time and investigations into his sleep apnea aren’t being investigated quickly enough. It could have been exhaustion from the parent’s committee and its efforts to raise such huge amounts of cash at the cost of mine and its other member’s time and energy, or it could have been the looming bills and the bank letters that go with them that state the bleedin’ obvious fact that there isn’t enough money in any of our bank accounts to cover same. I would thank them by hand-grenade by return-post, but I don’t have any hand-grenades. Two-year-old’s tandrums. Demanding daughters. Nothing for dinner. No fuel for the car. Old shoes with holes in.  Not being able to have a peaceful crap on my own. The fact that our house has possibly been condemned. The beckoning but ultimately evil bottle of scotch whiskey…

Maybe it was all of it all at once, triggered by something irrelevant such as running-out of firelighters, or the cat crapping on my duvet. Something snapped, either way.

Whatever it was, it led to my sitting in the middle of a rain-soaked field screaming from the pit of my soul for some sort of answer, or release, or solution. It felt good, and one can’t exactly go about doing that sort of thing in front of one’s children without eyebrows being raised and strange kiddie questions being addressed to teachers the next day, hey.

Fields are great inventions.

Fat old Wouldye dog didn’t care. He just chased butterflies and relished the sniffings. I felt happy for him.

I stood up eventually, and found a river by which I stood for quite some time.

It amazed me. I felt so jealous of it, the way it just kept on flowing. No matter what was placed in its path, it just kept going with an unstoppable energy. Determination. And it seemed so enthusiastic with it. Gushing. Rushing. Pushing to get there. Uninterrupted flow.

I drew energy from it, and wondered what drove it, besides obvious gravitational pull. There was something else, something that I was missing. Natural order perhaps. Where the hell is my natural order? What is pulling me to an end? What have I got to be so enthusiastic about?

I wish I was a river. I wish I could see my purpose and be so determined. I wish something would pull me, and not have me struggle towards it. And what is it? And where does it end?

Rivers don’t have questions, they just are.

I wish I could just…


Oct 7

Half a job

Posted on Friday, October 7, 2011 in Family, Little known facts, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

Story of my life, innit?  This blog’s looking like my teenage diary, large gaps filled with absent memories, a half-assed diary of mystery. Still, I’m glad I still have them both, as haphazard as they are.

I’ve learned exactly half of Xtreme’s song ‘More Than Words’ on the guitar.  I spent half the time in college that I was supposed to. My house is semi-clean, semi-cluttered. I’m a half a job, a quitter, a loser even.

But that’s good, right? If there were no losers, there’d be no winners. You can’t have night without day, hey.

If I’d been more commited, I would’ve told you about Laughingboy’s brush with botox last month. Not just for those with more money than sense, the stuff happens to be quite useful it seems. I was only too happy to have them inject poison into my kid, in fact.

He mutated earlier this year, you see, from a little boy into a strapping young man. His schoolteachers panicked and swiftly ordered larger equipment to handle him, I rushed out to buy big-boy clothes and meanwhile Laughingboy suffered.  Nature would have it that a child’s bones grow first, but their surrounding supportive tendons can take up to a year to catch up.  Cruel, isn’t it? Seems Mother Nature’s a bit of a half-a-job, too.

That’s what the botox was for, to relax those muscles, to make them sleep and stop hurting while his cells multiply.  You should see the difference it’s made! No longer frog-legged, no longer squirming in his wheelchair, he’s his old Laughingboy self again, but taller.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I’m so glad he lives in the 21st century.

Jul 30

Fickle Picky Ickle Friend

Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Family, munchies, Rantings

It happens occasionally that Puppychild gets to have a friend for dinner at our house (with some fava beans and a nice chianti) and from experience I’ve learned that the simplest foods go down the best where five year olds are concerned.

So, I served wholemeal spaghetti with tuna and sweetcorn flavoured with a wee blob of butter and a squitch of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of fresh cream. Then I made a mistake. I added a sprig of well chopped parsley.

Puppychild’s friend pulled a grimace when I placed her little pink bowl of food in front of her. She poked a finger into the depths of her spaghetti and withdrew a teeny speck of green… she looked as though she were about to vomit.

“Wha is dis?” she waved her green speck at me.

“It’s parsley” I explained, “It tastes lovely and it’s very good for you, there’s only a tiny bit in there though.”

“I don’ like ih.” she folded her arms in a huff and shoved the bowl away with her elbow.

“But how do you know you don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it?” I implored.

“I just don’ like ih.” She began to tweeze bits of sweetcorn from the food, but only the sweetcorn that had in no way come within any distance or association whatsoever with the horrible, terrible parsley.

Babyled“So what’s your favourite food at home?” I asked.

“Kebabs” she replied.

“Your mummy makes kebabs?”

“No from de chipparse” she replied.

“You like kebabs from the chip shop?

“Yeh s’yummy.” She assumed a hangdog pose, lower lip thrust forward… it was that look that small children make when they’re trying to convey to you that they’re so cruelly starved they’d happily eat a leper’s arse through a hedge (as long as it didn’t have parsley on it).

“But kebabs are full of all sorts of artificial crap, spurious stuff out of cans opened by men with hairy fingers and sweaty arse cracks, you big pink freak!!”

That’s what I didn’t say to her. I just made her a ham sandwich instead which she ate happily and when the children had finished eating, they rushed gaily outside to eat grass soaked in dog pee and to dig up worms and slugs.

Children are so weird.

(img found spuriously via Public School)

Jul 28

Almost happily ever after

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Family, Rantings

I’ve been trying to fill out this questionnaire for what seems like years now, and again here I am having become distracted by the lure of the internet… it just seems so silly, is all. It’s asking me questions about a good buddy of mine, I’ve known her since secondary school and they’re asking me intimate details about her life, her habits, her weaknesses, and any racial opinions she might have. So silly.

She’s been unlucky in love in the past, this girl. She has a herd of children by different fathers who diddled her over in their various ways but finally, finally she found an amazing fella who not only fell in love with her, but with her children too and that’s something that isn’t exactly easy to do. She married him, and is living her happily ever after with their dogs and their white picket fences and the future is finally rosy.

Except there’s one thing darkening her horizon, the fact that she now has to adopt her own children.

How bizarre is that?

This is what the questionnaire is in aid of. She’s declared me as an unrelated friend of the family and it’s now my job to let the Health Board know that she’s fit to raise her own children. It’s making me feel really uncomfortable. I mean, I know that her husband likes a few cans after a hard day working, but should I mention this? Should I keep it strictly corny and gush about her well adjusted children and not mention that her toddler eats out of the dog’s bowl occasionally?

It just seems so silly. I could write whatever I want and it might not necessarily be true… they know we’re friends, I’m not about to dump her in it am I? Perhaps they have someone tailing me to see if I’m a stand-up citizen, perhaps there’s someone else out there filling in a dumbass questionnaire about me.

Questionnaires, red tape, paperwork… I don’t know why I’m even worrying about it. It’s not like anyone will end up actually reading it, in all probability. I just feel sorry for their family. All they want to do is live, and love each other under the one surname, but they have to parade themselves and confess their weaknesses to do so.

At the same time you have crack head parents smacked up on gear on trains with sweet little children in decrepit buggies who have no ounce of security in the future, totally escaping the radar. Where’s the sense in it all, at all at all?