19th June 2014 Helen 12Comment

I do like the sunshine. I really do. It’s lovely not having to pack three layers of clothing per child before leaving the house.  Nicer still that we can go wandering around every afternoon so the house is partially less trashed than normal.  And it’s also lovely that the kids are collapsed in little exhausted heaps by 8.30 every night.

But… whole parts of my body denaturate at temperatures above 21 degrees. It’s kinda sticky hot. And I’m a little grumpy.  This is my pathetic justification for stepping in from the brilliantly lovely sunshine for long enough to write a list of my bugbears of Summer.

Bugbear No 1.  The garden

This is the fortnight of every year where I resent my spring-time self for not planting loads of lovely flowers that would magically appear – in spite of my terrible gardening skills, right at this very moment and provide a brilliant splash of colour, while making my garden look about three times bigger.So too I despair that I am not actually a semi-professional farmer ‘living off the land’ i.e. a small, north facing garden in suburbia.

Soon this feeling will pass and I will realise that, like much else in life, I’m perfectly matched with what I have.

Bugbear No. 2  Plastic

In a desperate attempt to occupy Spidey and Yoda I have bought every plastic outdoor toy that has even half a chance of keeping them busy within the confines of a small garden. There are bowling skittles, balls, buckets, spades, diggers, hoopla, bean bags, a ball pit, play mats and, of course, the mandatory paddling pool. There was a sand pit but it ‘disappeared’ one night in mysterious circumstances that have never been fully explained, but which may prove that I’m not that selfless a mother afterall.Fed up of looking at all these bits and pieces lying around the place I went mouching for a kiddie friendly garden storage box today.  Needless to say the only affordable options are plastic. So now my garden is roughly 72% polymer.  If the temperatures keep rising and things start to melt, we may have a situation here in Marino.

Bugbear No. 3 The kid’s clothes

The summer heat is exacerbating some fairly dodgy fashion taste.

At the best of times, Yoda’s style icon (were she to actually listen to anyone) would undoubtedly be Twink * and right now she is in her element. There are flouncy hats, pink sunglasses, strange long-sleeve-dress-and-shorts combos, a 100% acrylic Aurora dress. Today her nails were painted. She’s not (thankfully) all about the pink. She’s more ‘mostly pink with a hint of Miss Havisham‘. It’s all very ….. ‘twinkish’.

* Though it’s highly unlikely there are people who aren’t familiar with Ireland’s premier panto queen, this is ‘Twink’. (She’s on the right.)

A Twink

I wish I could say better things about Spidey.  Most of the time, his inspiration seems to be drawn from Colin Farrell in Intermission – with the iconic tracksuit bottom and jumper combo but less the sovereign rings, thankyouverymuch.  Though he is at last emerging from a phase of refusing to wear most clothes, Spidey’s Summer seasonal trends involves Batman T’s, ‘tracksuit’ shorts, red painted toe nails, socks and sandals.  A real style medley.

An extreme take on the jumper and tracksuit fashion phenomenon, compliments of Mr Farrell

Woodie, at least, is rocking some stylish rompers.  But only because at 13 weeks old and he hasn’t discovered tracksuit bottoms.

Bugbear No. 4  My clothes on my body

Having a baby in March is kind. You can wear skinny jeans and longish tops and actually look fairly trim – well trim enough for someone who just pushed an actual person into the world.

No so as the temperatures rise – and the muffin tops with them! Small Summer tops are wrecked by inch thick bra straps. Though the baby pounds have pretty much melted away, not everything is where it once was and whole parts of my body have yet to find their way home.   The access demands of a 24/7 muncher are the enemy of anything other than purpose built feeding tops and a few button down yokes that are kind on the torso.  Occasionally, miscalculated wardrobe choices give rise to incidents of partial nudity as a semi-topless mummy forgets to ‘put it away’ before running around the park after the other two. In my defence, I hide what I can.  It’s not a modesty thing. Just a last stand against the loss of all dignity.

To ‘sexy’ things up I’m at that glamorous post natal stage where I lose a toupee of hair every day. Throw in a good squirt of suncream and most days this means I  have a hairy chest.  The old maintenance regime needs a little kick in the arse too. Today Spidey was rubbing my leg (not for any particular reason you understand!) and casually commented that they were ‘thorny’. This just a few days after herself pointed out that my hair was ‘going brown again’. Thanks for the feedback kids. Much appreciated.

Bugbear No. 5  Soddin’ Water

Not since the days when we were a one-child house, did daily baths feature at kiddy bedtime. However, the endless smearing and spraying of suncream mixed with dripping ice lollies has these little munters sticker than Sticky McStickerson, so lo and behold, daily washing is back on the ‘to do’ list. Crap.

The other day I delighted the kids with the announcement of endless hours of water play in the garden.  I imagined the toys getting washed, flowers getting watered, everyone having a great old time. In reality, the second the smallest drop of water hit their togs there was high pitched whinging and arguing.  While wishing I’d plonked them in front of a cartoon while I had a cup of tea, I tried to explain the essence of fun, play and generally messing about.  They ignored it all and insisted on a change into dry clothes. I am raising a gang of kill joys.

Between the daily baths, the paddling pool and the washing of sticky sweaty lotion covered clothes, I’m about to do a u-turn on my principled support of water metering. I may yet ring Joe Duffy – but then again he’s another year-round bugbear of mine.

So there you have it, my moaniness is vented.  What have I missed? What’s the thorn in your sunburnt side?  What gets under your lotion lathered skin? Tell me I’m not the only wilting flower out there…

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12 thoughts on “Well the sunshine’s all very nice BUT here are my bugbears of Summer

  1. Having this glorious weather for maternity leave seems fantastic, until you realise the fun that comes with trying to keep Junior out of direct sunlight and cool but not cold, while not looking neglected at the same time. Add a mammy who burns using factor 50, with a sun allergy in the mix and what do you get? A summer spent in the fridge aisles of Tesco and M&S…

    1. Oh I know L! Tragically if I tried cruising the chiller aisles I’d have the two toddlers hanging out of the fridges and eating everything in sight!! I seem to occupy a spot just inside the back door – a safe distance from the paddling pool but within close enough proximity to spot who belts who first, while still able to give razzers to the little fella in the jungle!

    1. Naomi. I’ve often wondered how that very annoying plastic toy disappeared just the night before the recycling bin was collected. In the absence of a verifiable theory I’m using this as evidence of a temporary sink hole / leprechaun / temperal anomoly.

  2. Twink! Hilarious! I have one not far off that ‘style’ herself. The kids feedback made me laugh out loud – but it’s the suncream stickiness I agree with most. My children look like something out of Oliver Twist every evening. The grime! Loved everything about this post!

    1. Thanks Sadhbh! Having met both of your girls I rated tham as waaaay more stylish than Yoda – but maybe that was a good day! This year I plumped for half price Soltan spray cream (30SPF) largely on the basis that it dries quickly and is less sticky. So far the results are actually not bad!

  3. Helen that is hilarious I’m nearly crying with laughter especially the clothes reference and Intermission. As for the sand pit it must be a Dublin phenomenon as I’ve heard of 2 similar occurrences! Hope you’ve found a cool corner in the garden . Xxx Maria

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