Browsing Tag

Princess M

Being Mommy, School

Because they are Irish

February 12, 2015

IMG_0837-0

 

I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but Princess M is more than halfway through Naíorna  (kneen-ra) or pre-school.

In Ireland preschool is for the most part privately run.  Each child is entitled to a government funded free preschool year, through the ECCE scheme.  Most children avail of this free 15 hours per week pre-school roughly between ages 4-5 ahead of starting Primary School when they are 5.

We’ve opted to send the Princess to a Naíorna which is a pre-school taught in Irish.  We hope next year she will attend a Gaelscoil which is a Primary School taught predominately through Irish.

To some, sending the Princess to Irish school may seem surprising.  In fact, some may argue that being fluent in the Irish language may be irrelevant and useless….unless of course you are Irish.

Not to mention, it remains to be seen how her American mom will get through homework.  Irish is a difficult language to learn as an adult English speaker.  Not that I am making excuses.  I have every intent to try & so far I am able to keep up with the days of the week, numbers 1-10 & simple phrases.  But the truth is seeing the written Irish word will be daunting of that I am sure.

Since before she was born I have wondered how I would adapt and cope with the differences between education systems here when the time comes.  Now as we officially embark on the journey of formal education, I have apparently shoved aside everything that is familiar and comfortable to dive in the deep end.

While we have no current plans to move back to the USA, that door will always remain open to us & it is possible we will be uprooting the kids at some point during their schooling.  With that in mind so many people have asked us why we are bothering with Irish?

As a trained speech-language pathologist I could argue the benefits of learning a second language through immersion at a very young age.  I could site smaller class sizes and innovative teaching methods.  But if I’m honest none of that really matters. When it comes down to it there is only one real answer why we are sending the kids to schools taught via the Irish language…

Because they are Irish.

There will be many uncertainties & challenges that these years of education will bring for our family, but language probably won’t be one of the big ones I’m guessing.

Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir.

Being Mommy, Uncategorized

The Great Doll Debate

September 17, 2014

Today is Princess M’s 4th birthday.  FOUR. That is a big, proper, kid age.  There is nothing childish about 4!!

Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion around the gift.  For her first birthday Mom & Dad bought her an American Girl Doll….and not just any AG doll, the MOLLY doll that has since been retired.  The doll had been safely stored at Mom and Dad’s house for about two years; waiting for the flight where we weren’t weighed down with hand luggage so that we could bring her back as a carryon.  Last Autumn when the King returned to Ireland on his own he gallantly carried the doll with him.  It has been hidden on the top of a wardrobe here ever since.

So as the birthday approached the King and I had much discussion of whether or not it was time to give her the doll….

The box says 8+.  Just about every parent of an American girl knows the cost of the doll and how precious the bloody hair is.

We have watched the Princess play endlessly with her dolls and babies.   We wondered for how long would she be truly playing dolls.  8 seems so far off.

I even did the ultimate in research and googled it….and it turns out there are two sides to the ongoing (sometimes heated) AG doll debate.

If we gave her the doll we agreed we would have to turn a blind eye to any throwing, tattooing, haircutting and general neglect/abuse that may occur.  We had to decide if we were ok with the doll being loved while all real collector value is  lost.  We had to vow not to be precious about the doll…and to be honest we weren’t so sure  we could.

Ultimately it was one last birthday gift from Grandma & Grandpa, after a long year of missing them and the hope that playing with the doll might offer a comfort to us all.

Tonight mom is either up there cursing us for giving a 4 year old such a costly doll, or she’s keeping a watchful eye over two new friends sharing one toddler bed.

IMG_0925.JPG

Either way, I’m sure Mom would agree in hindsight the pyjamas would have been a good buy!

Being Mommy

It’s Raining….It’s Pouring….the kids are going crazy

February 2, 2014

And quiet frankly so am I….

It’s been a long, wet few months in Cork and once again the city is underwater this morning.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/cork-city-quays-break-banks-at-high-tide-29970680.html

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/cork-city-quays-break-banks-at-high-tide-29970680.html

We’re in recovery from a recent bout of whatever is going around and having spent the entire weekend indoors we may quite possibly kill each other if we don’t get out today. Honestly, if we don’t get out for a bit everyday I find we are all cranky with each other.

I’m guessing the tail end of Storm Brigid (why are we suddenly naming our storms by the way) will rule out a walk or the playground today so it will be another indoor adventure for us.

My God I am sick of all the indoor play centres. It seems we’ve been touring the lot lately and I can’t take any more…not to mention they’re getting expensive.

This morning I stood at the window drinking my coffee and looking at the rain outside thinking “How am I going to occupy the Princess today?”

We’ve really had to get creative with our adventures lately so I thought I’d share some of of Princess M’s favourite ones.

Obviously these all what we’ve done in Cork but most of them can be adapted to anywhere really…

Grocery Shopping
I know what you’re thinking. The chance to do the weekly shop on your own is like a freaking holiday. I totally agree.

Outside of the weekly shop, a trip to our local supermarket can be an event around here. The Princess ‘writes’ her list usually of what we need to bake something or make something nice for lunch. We go to what she calls the ‘fun shop.’ They have those kid size shopping carts and on these adventures I actually let her use them. They also have self-scanning & she loves to scan the items, bag them and pay herself. I’ve found this adventure works best only when I have nothing to get myself and the Princess can really take charge. You’d be surprised how much time we can kill wandering around the supermarket at her pace on a rainy day.

Go for a Cuppa
Maybe I’m raising a coffee drinker, but the Princess loves to go for a coffee. Our favourite spot is a coffee shop with a big font window and high chairs (what 3 year old doesn’t like sitting on high chairs). We sit sipping our coffee and milk and play I spy or make up princess stories about the people walking by. The Princess loves these outings and I hope the Prince will enjoy a cuppa and some pirate stories all the same.

The Library
This is an obvious, free option and in our house we can’t get enough of the library. We even venture out to other nearby libraries just for a change of scenery. The great thing about a library is you can get so much mileage out of one trip. We can spend hours in the library looking for and reading books. Then when we come home we read and sometimes even act out the stories. Then suddenly its time to get ready for dinner & daddy will be home!!!

Visit the Pet Store or Garden Centre
The Princess loves our local wildlife park and farms which are all great for those dry days, but when it’s wet and I’m desperate we visit one of our local pet shops or garden centres.

Whether it’s fish, chickens, or furrier friends, the Princess loves going for a look and a chat with the animals. With two cats and a dog at home she knows that we have more animals than we can handle so she’s happy to just visit and get a special treat for our furbabies back home.

Muddy Puddles
Like the Princess’ favourite pig Peppa, sometimes there is nothing better than throwing on our Wellies and finding the biggest, muddiest puddles to jump in.

Princess M jumping loves Muddy Puddles

Princess M loves Muddy Puddles

Disclaimer:
This all makes me sounds like “Mom of the Year” which of course I am. However, I hate reading blog posts that make me feel ‘less than’ or inadequate…which I totally don’t intend to do. In the interest of being completely honest, Princess gets far more screen time than she should especially on rainy days. And I’m not going to apologize for that because quite frankly I’m doing the best I can and I happen to think that’s ok.

But if you have any great ideas to occupy my Princess on a rainy day please share!!!!

Being Mommy, Living Abroad, mixed culture family

Lunch, Dinner, Supper, Tea…. It’s all really very confusing.

November 11, 2013
Irish Bangers and Mash

Irish Bangers and Mash (Photo credit: cobalt123)

This is what has been happening in my house lately…

The King goes off to work in the mornings and its hugs and kisses all around.

We say “Have a good day Daddy!”

and he says

“You too, I’ll see you at dinner.”

And it’s all smiles and happiness.  We usually have a quiet morning playing, baking (and yes sometimes t.v.) or whatever in the house because the Prince goes for a GREAT nap mid-morning.

All is happy and for the most part calm in our little corner of the world until around noontime when this happens:

Me: “Are you hungry Princess?”

Princess:  “Yes Mommy”

I then proceed to make a mostly nutritious lunch when all hell breaks loose and I get this:

“I’m not hungry!!!!”

“I don’t want that”

“Daddy, daddy, ….DAAAADDDDDYYYY!!!!!!!!!”

“Where’s DADDY?!?!? I WANT DADDY?!?!?”

And the battle begins and continues (albeit intermittently) for the next 4-5 hours depending on the day and when Daddy is due home.  Of course she does manage to eat…she has to refuel for battle right?

I am ashamed to admit that by 5:00 I sometimes find it hard to find any joy in my darling daughter who up until recently has brought me nothing but joy.  Ashamed, I look forward to the days she goes to pre-school and I am most certainly now looking forward to returning to work myself.

But most of all I feel like a failure.  What happened to all the fun we were having?

Since she has turned three she has becoming increasingly independent and strong-willed.  For the most part I can roll with it & keep reminding myself how much this will stand to her as a young woman some day.  But this lunch time crap is a whole new level.

However today, in a major “A-ha” moment,  I think I might have discovered the root of all this drama (and trauma to be honest!!).

In Ireland the main meal of the day is called dinner (like most places).  But the thing is, dinner can be very interchangeable.

For example, sometimes our Sunday dinner is at 2:00….most always it is when we are visiting the King’s family for dinner.  Sometimes we have it at 5 or even 6 if we have plans during the day.

Growing up the King most certainly came home to a ‘dinner’ after school everyday with an evening tea or light meal.  Come to think of it my Dad always talked about growing up similarly and had a light supper most evenings.

I grew up in a house where dinner was almost always at 5:30.  Dad worked and we had our dinner when he got home and we ate it all together.

Now, while I am on maternity leave, if the King finishes at 1:30 I almost always have a ‘dinner’ ready at 2:00 or 3:00 even during the week. That is if Princess B has no after school sports.  We usually then have a light tea or supper then at 6ish (I still struggle to call a light evening meal tea.  To me tea will always be a hot drink).  In our house we try to always have dinner together.

At pre-school Princess M has “small lunch” or what I would call snack at 10:30 and “dinner” at 12:30.  The pre-school dinner is indeed a well balanced, 4 food group, hot meal.  So yes, it’s dinner.  But even on those pre-school days she still comes home and we have dinner together as a family at 5ish.  We always call it dinner because the King and I have only eaten a lunch that day.

Today,  when she asked me at about 10 this morning what was for dinner I told her chicken because that is what I am making this evening.  When I put soup and a sandwich in front of her at noon.  She ‘lost the plot’ as the Irish say, and screamed she didn’t want lunch, where was dinner. WHERE WAS DADDY??!?!?!?!?!

And I finally got it…to Princess M, dinner means Daddy is home.  Because the only thing that is really consistent about dinner is we are usually eating it together.    And sometimes this dinner in the middle of the day.

Even though I was feeding her a lunch she liked. It wasn’t good enough because in her little world it should be dinner, right now so Daddy would be home.

And it is traumatic when your king isn’t there when you are expecting him to be.

So after an afternoon of frustrated tears and me trying to explain the whole three meals of a day thing,  things are calmer.  For today anyway she is ok knowing that dinner will be served at 5:00 and King Daddy will be here for it.  She was even ok to eventually have lunch with just her and Queen Mommy (and the Prince).

So now the King and I will have to regroup and decide on if we are going to change our semantics or what.

Just as I was thinking my kids wouldn’t grow up feeling like third culture kids since they are Irish and will be able to identify with the Irish culture,  perhaps having two parents of different cultures really will pose its own challenges for them…..

Living Abroad, Missing Home

A 3rd Birthday!

September 15, 2013

Princess M turns 3 on Tuesday. Three.

Like any parent, the King and I feel awe and wonder.

Awe at the person she is becoming and wonder at the quick passing of time. Time started speeding up the second we first held her it seems.

We celebrated in Ireland today surrounded by family, much like years past. But this year we were lucky that my parents were in attendance.

It was loud.
It was chaotic.
I barely got a chance to talk to my parents.
Or my in-laws for that matter.

Grandma & Grandpa sang happy birthday along with the rest of us.

They watched her open presents.

We all sat patiently waiting for the King to open the Doc McStuffins toy Grandma & Grandpa got her before she would open anything else.

They laughed and chatted with my in-laws.

It was a special day.

And they did it from 3000 miles away over FaceTime being manned by my brother-in-law so I could do the typical mommy duties (i.e. pick up wrapping paper).

Later on, when everyone was gone, the IPad was put away, and I was busy tidying up the kitchen, I suppressed the sadness in the absence of my family so far away on yet another special day. I tried desperately to not think of what I…we…..were missing because I choose to live an expat life.

Then I heard Princes M talking to the Prince about her birthday party and naming everyone who came….I heard her name her Nan, and Grandad, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even Grandma & Grandpa!!!

My heart warmed in that moment. I realized to the Princess, Grandma & Grandpa were very much a part of her birthday….just as much as her Nan and Grandad were.

While it will never be the same, the Princess in her very nearly 3 year old wisdom sees only that she is loved very much by both sets of Grandparents.

And that is all I could ever ask for.

Steve Jobs you are undoubtedly an angel in heaven. Thank you Steve. Thank you Apple.

R5EGH6VADU2X