Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Park days

Today we had a wonderful day, woke up after, ooh, 5 hours sleep? (Thanks, Facebook habit, though there's no one on after about 2am, I'm still there, checking for updates) The sun was shining, the weather was warm. Me and Da Boyz had breakfast out in the garden, on a picnic blanket (small patchwork quilt I made 3 years ago - it deserves its own post), eating brown bread (smug mama made it yesterday) with butter and jam. We watched ants and woodlice on the path, toyed with the idea of painting a rainbow, then blew bubbles instead.
I ran off leaving them with Dada and had a quick read of my magazine in bed - oh the luxury. Almost fell asleep, then decided to wash instead, I think it was sometime last week when I'd showered last. I'd got to the stage of leaving my house in my gankers (tracksuit only to be worn at home - amalgamation of "manky" and "gammy" I think) so I was definitely letting things slide.
Once washed and dressed, I applied some black mascara and left the rest of my face bare. I should look into tinted moisturiser for the summer, but I kinda think it's a waste of money. I'll probably water down my existing foundation instead. I blowdried my fringe for  about 15 seconds, holding Noah back with my left arm, and as you can see from the photo it needed 15 seconds more.
Charlie and I decided to go to the park.
Dada helped me get the 2 boys into the car, handing me changes of clothes, nappies, sun-hats etc as I fumbled out the door with an enormous bag, getting fuller by the second.

Rough Park list: (after keys, money, phone)
Picnic blanket

Optional extras:
Spare clothes
Bread for ducks
Kite (Tesco have mini ones that fold up into a keyring for about 1.50)
Don't bother with a book, you'll never get to read it if you have a child under 5.

We stopped off at a greengrocers and bought a huge amount of lovely quality fruit for 10.76 euros. We got (stop me if this is boring you): One pineapple, six large Pink Ladies apples, a punnet of strawberries, 10 satsumas, 8 bananas, I think there was something else, but I've forgotten, I'm boring myself here.

Back in the car with Noah already on his second strawberry, leaves and all, we sang the song we always sing going to the park, we "composed" it when Charlie turned 2 and I got my bike with the baby-seat:

"Dogs bark... in the park
Cats crawl... on the wall
Birds fly... in the sky
Everybody loves the park, park, park

Picnic time and ice-cream time
Do you want ice-cream, do you want strawberry sauce,
Do you want chocolate sauce, do you want bananas
Everybody loves the park, park, park" (Anything goes as long as you have a repetitive ending)

Once in the park we fed the ducks. No, I'm not that organised (actually the stale bread for the ducks is in a bag marked "Ducks" in the freezer, and it was the last thing on my mind while bustling out the door) Charlie threw them stones. Then I spotted some bread on the path, so he threw that instead.
Noah waved at the ducks.
We looked at water on leaves in a flowerbed, looked at a statue of a (freaky, larger-than-life-size) bronze baby curled up in a  flower, we looked at a fountain, then we were at the playground.
I'd brought a smaller quilt I'd made a couple of years ago, when one child was not enough, nor running a business, I then decided I'd make and sell baby quilts. I made some...
It folds up into my bag, only taking up the space of a jumper (want one?) I put it down in some shade, and took out the fruit, Noah ate almost the rest of the strawberries, I'd say I had four and Charlie had three. I did Charlie's suncream, and he ran around exploring the equipment he was too small for last summer, but perfect for this year.
Being a "chem-phobe" I never put suncream on Charlie as a baby. I'd just cover him in long-sleeved tee-shirts and leggings, hats, etc. If he was in less clothes, I'd limit his sun exposure/cover him up after a while, and we don't do sun holidays. This is the first year he's wearing short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts in the sun for any length of time, so he's getting suncream, and he doesn't mind it at all.
Noah and I ate fruit, and watched the action. He looked like a vampire baby covered in red dripping strawberry juice, his hands and top pink. Other parents laughed at him, that's how crazy he looked.
Charlie wanted a go on the swing, so I left the picnic blanket, and all the heavy crap from my bag (did I mention I'd left the nappies in the car?) and joined him at the swing. Noah and he swung side by side, me trying to eat their toes, and them laughing at me. I wish I'd brought my camera. Then we were playing by another climbing thing, Noah having great craic getting up and down off some mushrooms (God, I hope I'm not writing that in 15 years!)

I moved our "camp" to the new area, in the sun, by the front fence of the playground. We all ate cupcakes (too buttery, way too much butter, maybe I'll weigh ingredients after all) Then Noah was doing a poo. Oh yeah, EC's gone out the window this week, with one thing and another, I've been a bit demotivated. It needs constant supervision, and attention, and with him crawling, he's just peeing all over the place, so I need to think about that a bit. That or just rip out the carpets and be done with it.

So Noah pooed (poohed? too Milne. poo'ed? Too odd. poo-d? no, wrong. pooped? too American) and I wondered what to do with the poo. The nearest nappy (in the car) was a 5 minute walk in the mid-day sun, it would have meant bringing a moaning Charlie too, hoicking all our stuff, etc etc. So I put my hand in the empty plastic cupcake bag, dived into the nappy, and returned triumphant, my prize bagged, and binned. Well, if dog owners can do it...? (You'll be glad to hear it was a nice solid one, very little trace was left.)
Oh ye of the weak stomachs, I'll change the subject now, and get back to the mundanities of our day. So Noah crawled around the playground, I texted a few friends (I am now officially "that" mother, never off her phone) and enjoyed the "break" with both of them occupied. A boy of four came over to talk to Noah, got a mouth exam with two little index fingers, then gave Noah a hug. I chatted to a few parents,  listened to hundreds of admonitions from parents, child-minders and grandparents alike, and enjoyed the sun.
A mom asked me did I have a spare baby wipe. I took great pride telling her I never remember them, I usually just lick their faces clean. Her expression was one of polite disgust!

Things I heard today (many ad nauseum):
Be careful
Watch, you'll fall
Mind the baby (I never tell a kid to watch out for Noah, they always do)
Eat your sandwich. Put. it. in. your. mouth.
You're thirsty? Eat your sandwich first.
Get down off that!
Give that back!
Are you getting up or down off that? Make up your mind.
Sit down properly.
Mom: Do you want a drink? Boy (4): No. Mom: Why, because it's a pink bottle?
Me: Charlie I have one rule in this playground - don't play in the gate.
Charlie (nearly 4): Mom, the government make the rules of the country, not you.

Then it was time to go, to collect Dada after his work in town, a walk by the canal, a sandwich in a cafe, shopped in Tesco for way too much food, and home for dinner. What an idyllic day. Hope you all enjoyed the sun too.
Thank you so much for all the validating comments about my blog and my writing. I have been so buoyed up by all the positivity. We mamas are great when we stick together!

Niamh x


  1. Love Charlie's comment re: "The government make the rules in this country, not you"! Feckin brilliant! .. On another note, I take it you feel that people 'admonish' to frequently?! I know that you didn't actually say that, but from the way you wrote it I kind of guessed... just wondering what your view on it is! Niamh S.

    1. Hi Niamh, I know, I sometimes think I tell Charlie too much, and it backfires on me!
      Re: Admonishing (or nagging as I like to call it!) I've wondered about this for a while, as it seems to be the background noise in all child-parent relationships. Parents do it unthinkingly, and it's a kind of insurance, so when (if) the kid falls, the parent can say "I told you so". I read a great book recently called "Do not disturb" about letting your children play freely (and safely too of course) and it really opened my eyes to how much we overprotect them and give them unnecessary fears. It's a self-fulfilling philosophy - if we tell them they'll fall, they probably will because we've given them that seed of doubt in their ability. I think we need to strike a balance and only warn them if they are posing a danger to themselves or someone else, and let them explore a playground or wherever without a constant hovering parent. I should probably do a post on it as I've obviously got a lot to say!


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