Parenting

The anti-climax of the first haircut

haircut

We are a hairy family. I wish there were a more elegant way of saying it, but there isn’t. We are not Teen Wolf hairy, people don’t have the urge to scratch behind our ears, but in all the generations I have met there hasn’t been a baldy amongst them.

My son has inherited this trait. He was born with a fine head of hair, he lost that and has now grown back a flocculent masterpiece that even Fabio would be envious of. This is the sort of hair that if styled right could get a person elected President.

Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time in my life for styling a 10-month-old baby’s hair. I haven’t time to style my own, and I certainly don’t have time to style his. I see other little boys in the playground with their long pre-Raphaelite golden curls trailing down their shoulders, and think I think ‘if only their Mammy had a little girl, there would be no need for that nonsense’.

I am a short-back-and-sides sort of lady (despite falling for a long-haired rocker, but that is a story for another day) so as soon as my son’s hair started to tuft over the top of his ears, I got out the hair scissors and ‘feathered’ it so that it sat behind his ears. However, now that his fringe is in his eyes and curls are slipping down the nape of his neck behind his shirt collar, it’s time to call in the professionals.

At 10 months very few hairdressers would consider cutting his hair because at that age his skin is very thin, he moves at unpredictable angles unexpectedly and is fascinated by anything that touches his head and wants to look at it. This makes for a very difficult client. However, I eventually tracked down a lovey hairdresser with two young sons of her own who agreed to give it a go.

I sat in the hairdressers’ chair, my son on my knee; I amused him and she chopped away. That was it. After months of searching, enquiring and asking she was done in less than 5 minutes with no drama. If we were in a reality TV series this event would be edited out. The result wasn’t breath-taking, it was simply shorter. He did not lose the strength of Samson or the top of his ear, just the ends of his hair. We dusted him off and went home, with an arrangement to come back to her in a few months’ time.

An anti-climax or talented, experienced hairdresser? Either way my son no longer looks the unkempt lead singer of a Brit Pop band, so the tale ends quietly and happily.

This post originally appeared on HerFamily.ie

6 signs your son is plotting against you

plot

For the most part, it’s me and him against the world. We are Winnie the Poo’s Kanga and Roo (wherever Kanga goes, Roo goes too). However, like a newly rich billionaire still married to his high-school sweet-heart, I get the impression that, although he is currently satisfied with his set-up, he is only biding his time until he can upgrade his Mammy-Model.

There are a few little tell-tale signs that he is plotting his way out of this family and into another:

1. Plans to lure in another

No lady can pass us, anywhere, without my son beaming up at her, gurgling sweet-nothings. If the lady happens to be blond, then all the tricks come out – clapping hands, coughing for attention, handing over his half eaten sticky rusk (at ten months his repertoire is limited). It’s as though he has figured out he wants a Mamma in his life, but maybe a blond one would better suit his lifestyle.

2. Plans to ditch the current model

It’s an old trick but a reliable one, if he stays awake for several consecutive nights, Mammy eventually breaks and call in reinforcements; the Grandmothers, at which point he will sleep the whole night through. This is a two prong approach because not only does it cause the Grandmothers to give unsolicited sleep advice to the Mammy which makes her want to kill people because she is so tired, it also makes Mammy question if she is a little crazy and was maybe doing something wrong.

3. Closing the door behind Mammy

My son is a speedy crawler and loves to be playing on the ground, so as I do housework, he crawls around with his toys and generally amuses himself. However lately he has found a new way to amuse himself; he will wait until I leave the room then quickly crawl over to close the door behind me, and then jam his fingers under the door so I can’t open it again. This can amuse him for hours, especially if I get stuck climbing in the window to rescue him – that slapstick is a level even Mr Bean couldn’t reach.

4. Wild hysteria when the hairdryer is switched on

This is a plot to keep me indoors, because this hysteria only ever seems to coincide with a planned night out – there aren’t enough nights out to test this theory fully, but I think I have seen a correlation. I think there is a level of subterfuge here which borders on genius (evil genius obviously, but genius nonetheless), because on one level it appears as though he loves me and doesn’t want me to leave, but on another level it’s almost as if he can smell the crazy and thinks ‘if I keep her locked in this house for just one day more, I think she will actually crack’.

5. Pushing wheeled objects through the banisters onto the stairs as I am carrying bundles of laundry

This, I feel, lacks the panache of some of his other tactics, but it is nonetheless effective, efficient, and it has the added benefit of ‘looking like an accident’. Touché son.

6. Playing up for the Health Nurse

My son can crawl, stand and is starting to take some steps. He won’t eat solid foods and he can’t sleep properly, but forward motion is not one of our difficulties, until of course we are called somewhere official for assessment, then it’s as though he is made of jelly. He rolls his head around my shoulder and wails at the top of his lungs while snots and tears merge in a river of destitute agony. He looks like an advertisement for Barnardos and in his head he has got to be thinking ‘no health worker can ignore this, I’m outta this family, smell ya later Mammy!’. Unfortunately for him our lovely Health Nurse has seen it all before – she gives me an encouraging talk and tells me to come back next week when everything will be fine. I swear there was a look of sheer disbelief in my son’s eyes as I was allowed leave that office with him still in tow.

This article originally appeared on HerFamily.ie

What to buy the newborn that has everything?

newborn

First things first, and let’s get this out in the open, we’re among friends here, it’s always nice to get a present – any present.

This article is not about gift giving – it’s about the moment later on when I think to myself, “What about me possessed the giver to bequeath unto me this item?” And, “Why did my friend think the one thing I needed in my life was .. [insert noun here] : oversized jumper, set of perfumes, half a flipper set, a purple toaster, three quarters of a dairy milk – whatever?”

This article is not so much about giving gifts, as it is about receiving them and, in particular, receiving gifts as a new parent. A new parent often has enough going on in their lives without having to work through all the iterations of analysis to understand what the presents mean, and what they are supposed to do with them. So to make things easier for all of you I have compiled a list:

1. Food

The best present you can get new parents really hinges on one question: when are you likely to see the young* couple post-birth? If you are one of the select few who are likely to see them at home in the first few weeks following the birth, then there is only one gift to bring – food that either cooks itself or has minimal effort attached.

By this I mean a homemade lasagne that can be microwaved; store-bought or pre-packaged prepared meals that only need to be thrown in the oven for an hour; a pre-washed and prepared salad with two slabs of meat that just need to be grilled. Basically anything that will give the new parents the sense of a hearty homecooked meal with minimal time and effort.

2. Sophie and Calgel

Food aside, this is the next best present: one is an overpriced piece of rubber and the other is illegal in this country, but together they represent all your teething-problem solutions. The Calgel numbs the pain and is suitable from six months and over (other teething products in this country are only recommended from around two years and over); while Sophie the giraffe is chewable from all angles and easily washed after being flung across the room. These items are essential to ease the pain of emerging teeth.

3. Pre-washed teddy / blanket / accessory

Very few new parents have the time or interest to exchange or return gifts, so there is no need to leave the tags on. Anything that goes against a baby’s skin or into their mouth needs to be washed before use. God knows if the item was lying on some rat infested factory floor before being packaged, shipped and sold, so unless you know exactly where it’s been the whole time, it needs to be washed.

Pop anything you buy into a 30 degree slow-spin wash with some non-bio detergent and stick a label on it to let the mum know that you have done so. That way the baby will be able to use it straight away. Not only have you given a great gift, but you also have not caused extra laundry – kudos to you.

4. Handmade clothes from natural fabrics

Not all babies come out standard sized…. stick with me. Some have long legs, others short arms, others short torsos, some big heads. Mostly it’s not noticeable (especially in the start when all babies wear are baby-grows, cardigans and hats), but eventually, when you have rolled the sleeves up for the millionth time, or had to cut the feet out of every baby-grow, then you start to wish you could get clothes that actually fit your young one. This is where handmade clothes come into their own – knitted cardigans that are long enough in the body but shorter in the arms, crocheted jumpers that have wide necks that can stretch over a head easily. Check out Grandma Knits For Baby on Etsy for a great selection (shameless plug, but honestly totally worth it).

5. Bibs & Dribblers

It is not possible to have enough of these. Babies are constantly emitting some sort of drool, snot, vomit, sick-up, what-have-you. Gifting someone 20 or 30 of these is not excessive – although I warn you the soft ones are only sold in packs of three, which makes them pricey little buggers. Comedy ones are cute, but easy to get on and off Velcro ones are the overall winner here. (Plus, comedy might be a strong word for these greeting card witticisms.) Wash as above before gifting for extra points.

6. Style appropriate outfits

Be it your style or the parents style; rockers get Megadeath t-shirts, county fans get a plaid shirt, ravers get neon pants with led lights on the bum (people who are too young to remember these social categories, even vaguely, are too young to be having kids). These little outfits are cute and funny on their own, but if the parents are getting baby photos done, then they come into their own. Try to avoid ‘Mommy’s little whatever’ or ‘Daddy’s special what-have-you’ etc – it’s too cutesy.

A tip on sizing: Most babies grow fast, and a few show up bigger than the ‘newborn’ size, so at the very least get 0-3 month clothes, however, lots of people like to get clothes a lot bigger and I think that is a great idea – just be careful of the seasons – there is no point in buying a winter baby a snowsuit in 6-9 months because it will be summer by the time they are in that size. Try to get something that is good for all seasons.

7. Something for Mum

Although most mums are happy for the baby to be the focus of attention, it can be nice to get a little token for the mums too.

  • Bath-soaps and lotions are an old favourite; just avoid anything strong smelling that might interfere with bonding.
  • Foods that she loved pre-pregnancy, which turned her stomach during the pregnancy, might be fun to try again – just be mindful of foods that should be avoided while breastfeeding if she is taking that route.
  • If you are close to the parents; an offer of an hour’s sleep could be nice, or staying with the baby while they take a walk, get a coffee, pack bags and plan to leave the country, whatever.

*If you are young enough to be the parent of a newborn, you are young enough to be called young, we will have no ageism here.

This article first appeared on HerFamily.ie

Speed dating for Mums – would you go?

speeddating mum

An article on HerFamily.ie asked if there was a speed dating event for Mums would you go?

Emm….. yes! Because it’s hard to make friends in later life, let alone make one as a Mum.

However I have one caveat; before we start can everyone agree that just because we had babies around the same time, and live in the same area, it doesn’t mean we actually have anything in common or should be friends?

Of the friends I collected in life very few of those friendships were based on geographical location or similar stage in life. Sure, we may have met because we both happened to be working in the same place or attending the same college but usually the true friendship didn’t develop until after the fact; when we no longer conveniently bumped into each other, when an effort had to be made to see each other, that’s when the friendship was truly formed.

Like relationships, friendships take work. Sure, you can have the friendship equivalent of a booty-call; a pal you call because you want to go to a particular event or club and they are the only ones that might be interested, but I would class those as acquaintances rather than friendships.

Friends are the ones you can talk to for hours on end, about everything and nothing. Friends are the ones that on the surface you don’t appear to have that much in common with, but you may share similar outlook on life, you have a similar humour and your personalities gel.

Good friends usually end up being life partners, even if they are not your actual life-partner.

So if friends are so like romantic relationships (without the obvious and the romance) then it makes sense to me that we should make these friendships in a similar way that we meet romantic partners nowadays. It makes sense to me that we would have sites akin to dating sites where Friend 1 ‘seeks buddy interested in goofing off at the shopping mall and trying on clothes they would never wear – true fashionistas need not apply’. Or where Friend 2 ‘seeks buddy to discuss deep and meaningful novels while checking out the tight butts leaving the gym across from the coffee shop – must enjoy eating too much chocolate cake’.

That makes sense to me, and speed dating for friends is a natural evolution of that. I love the immediacy of having five minutes to see if there person sitting opposite has anything interesting to say, and no weirdness if one of you says ‘I just want to be friends’.

Having made new friends in adult life, I have to say it felt the same as dating. I took the bold move and asked a possible new friend out for dinner. She accepted, thank god. I have to admit I was less concerned about what I was wearing, or how my bum looked in the jeans, than I would have been going on a real date, but I was no less concerned about the conversation drying up, or what we would talk about, or if she would think I was funny or interesting.

As a Mum though I do find it harder to make friends, because there is that added awkwardness about whether to bring the baby or not. If I’m bringing my son, then we have to look very hard for child friendly coffee shops or venues, and this usually means a day-time weekend meeting for an hour max, before the coffee shop boots us, or one of the babies kicks off. If I’m not bringing him, then why does it matter if my new friend is a Mum or not, surely it just matters that they are funny and interesting?

So I would like to go one step further with this speed-dating proposal, I suggest we have it open to all, parent or not, to see if there are any more potential friends out there. Unlike life-partners, which I do believe is firmly a one horse town, friends, I can’t have enough of!

Working Mum’s Guilty Pleasure

I returned to work the last week in January, when my son was just 7 months old, and like every parent my feelings about it were mixed.

On one hand, I was delighted to be back in the corporate world. I have a good job which I enjoy. I don’t save lives or improve the environment, I don’t save whales or better mankind, but it is a useful job, and I am good at it. It brings me a sense of achievement and accomplishment. I get done what others struggle to do, and I do it with style. I’m not defined by it, but I like my job.

Then the other side of the coin swings around to punch me in the gut. As a new Mum, when I say those things out loud I think ‘that is selfish me talking’. That is me talking about what I need to feel like a happy human in the world, and really I should be thinking what my son needs to be a happy human in the world, and the guilt starts.

I feel guilty that I enjoy talking to adults, moving things along, helping on projects, more than I enjoy singing the Wheels on the Bus to my son for the hundredth time that week. I enjoy getting a lunch hour where I can walk the dog, listen to my podcast, chat to a friend or have some alone-time, and I feel guilty enjoying that time without him. I enjoy challenging my mind, stretching for solutions and I feel guilty because I know I was getting bored as a stay-at-home mom.

But is all this guilt fair? When I look at my son and ask – does he really miss me for the eight hours I am without him? Does he feel abandoned without his Mama around him 24/7? The answer comes back; probably not. In fact, as crushing as it is to admit, he seems totally happy without me.

Sometimes I’m a little put-out that he seems so happy without me! – but really it’s not surprising. He is a happy, healthy little wobbler. He is not a helpless newborn, I think I would feel very differently if he was, but he is at a stage where he is playing independently, is getting social with others, and so long as he has someone giving him love and attention, it really does not matter that it’s not his Mum.

So, because he seems happy as he ever did, I put the guilt in a box labelled ‘unhelpful feelings caused by outside pressure’ and allow myself be happy to be back at work.

I know this is not most people’s reaction to returning to work. Most people say that they hate being back away from their children. And for people who have to commute for long hours and for whom returning to work means that they will not see their baby awake during the week, I can understand how this separation is gut wrenching. But I think a lot of new Mums feel compelled to say they feel bad being back in work, because if they say they are delighted to be back it sounds like don’t enjoy motherhood, or worse, don’t love their baby as much as all the other mums who are distraught to be back.

Also, and I am going to say this plainly despite the controversy it might cause, but I also think a lot of women would rather not be in the corporate world. They have reached a stage in their life where they do not get a sense of fulfilment from their jobs, it is not where they want to be and they would rather be at home with their children. Unfortunately however they have bills to pay and they need to work, and so they do, but it is not where their heart is, and so this adds to the pain of leaving their children for the working day. Even if I could afford not to work, I think I would anyway. I do not think that is true of every woman (or indeed man) in the workplace.

Now, before I get a series of angry responses to this post, I want to raise one point: most Dads, if they are lucky, get two weeks paternity leave, and then they go back to work because someone has to pay the bills. Are they bad Dad’s for doing so? Aren’t they ‘leaving someone else to raise their kids’? Aren’t they ‘abandoning their children to baby-farms’? Most of people would say no, because they are leaving the baby with someone loving and safe while, as a responsible father, they are going out to the workplace to ensure they can provide the best possible for their family. So why is the same standard not applied to mothers?

Working Mums spend hours researching, interviewing, testing, comparing childcare options to find the best. Not just the ‘best for them’ (whatever that patronising phrase means), they find what they believe to be The. Best. Very few Mums (or Dad’s!) compromise when the safety or happiness of their children is in the offering. They go to work knowing that they have left their baby somewhere safe and loving (otherwise they would not leave them there), and now they are going to do their best in the workplace to ensure their family reap the rewards, just like the Dad’s. So why the double standard?

The New Old Mac Donald

old mac donaldOne of the most popular nursery rhythms for stuffed toys to sing my son seems to be Old Mac Donald and his farm. While I understand the link between a stuffed dog singing of his mother land, from whence he came, there are really only so many animals on the farm that make different and distinct noises. You have your horse, cow, sheep, chickens, birds, fish (because you are starting to get desperate) and that is sort of it – lambs make pretty much the same noise as sheep, goats sound alarmingly like horses, chicks sound like regular birds, you might throw in a cat and a dog because the child you are singing to is beginning to doubt your agricultural credentials if you can only name 6 farmyard animals with their noises, but otherwise that’s all your average city-dweller can name. In a flash of brilliance you might say the farm is also a zoo, so that gives you a lion, snake, monkeys, but then you are stuck again because the elephant sounds very similar to the goat and the horse, as does the jaguar sound similar to either the lion or the cat, and who knows what noise an ostrich makes.

So I decided to approach this problem from another angle. Suppose my son does grow up to be a farmer and emulate this Old Mac Donald, he is not going to be the slack jaw’d yokel sitting on the fence watching the animals go by, god no, he is going to be in farm management, running the show. He will need to know more than the noises the animals make, he will need to know the noises the humans make too.

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had a casual labourer, e, i, e, i, o.
With a curse word here and a swear word there,
Here a cuss, there a cuss, everywhere a cuss word.
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had an accountant, e, i, e, i, o.
With a ‘I don’t think that is a legitimate deductable’ here and ‘You can’t put that against VAT returns’ there,
Here an addition, there a qualification, nowhere talk of off-shore accounts.
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had a mechanic, e, i, e, i, o.
With a ‘it’s not lookin’ good boss’ here and a ‘when was the last time you had it serviced’ there
Here an added extra, there a query about your insurance,
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had a vet, e, i, e, i, o.
With a ‘gosh this elephant sounds just like a horse’ here and a ‘small question about his lineage’ there,
Here a query on its feed, there a check on its poo, everywhere enquires on its origins,
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had an AI guy, e, i, e, i, o.
With a ‘that’s a fine lookin’ heifer you got’ here and a ‘just lift the tail for me’ there,
Here a quick push, there a quick shove, all the time watching for a tear in the gloves,
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.
And on that there farm he had an HSA inspector, e, i, e, i, o.
With a ‘that hedge will have to be cut’ here and a ‘talk me through your slurry handling’ there
Here a livestock inspection, there a check on the overhead electrics, everywhere vigilance against hazards,
Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

I find once I get into this level of technical detail my status of being the most knowledgeable agri-expert in this particular suburban playground is never questioned again – nor does any child ever ask me to sing the song with them again – curious.

The New ‘If You Are Happy And You Know It’

clap handsI have what can only be described as a first world problem. My beautiful, adorable son loves to be sang to sleep. Awwhh. He likes to drink his bottle or suck a soother, lie in my arms and drift off to sleep. So cute.

A beautiful idyllic image, until you zoom a little closer to the situation and realise that (1) I cannot sing AT ALL so am probably turning him tone deaf with every passing nap-time and (2) he takes about a half hour to get into a really deep sleep from which he won’t wake when transferred to his cot.

(2) is the real problem area. I don’t know the words of many songs and those that I do are either have a banging beat making them unsuitable for lullabies or the modern lyrics about love-making make them unsuitable for my six-month old boy. That leaves me by and large with nursery rhymes which for the most part are about 6 or 10 lines long and take about two minutes to sing, so that is the same verse every two minutes for a half an hour until he goes to sleep. In some countries this could be used as a form of torture, and that fact that it comes in my off-key, occasionally squeaky voice adds a new level of horror. After six-months of this I am willing to tell anyone anything they want to know just to make it stop.

So I started to improvise. With the view that ‘every day should be a school day’ and knowing that nursery rhymes in the past have been used to prepare children for the world ahead of them I started to prepare my son for some of the appropriate actions to express emotion:

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it, and you really want to show it.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

So far so good. The next verse his singing dog told him was ‘If you are excited and you know it wag your tail’. Now I have an awful image of him at that weird pre-puberty age, seeing a girl that he likes and frantically waving his hips and arse from side to side, because he is excited to see her. Not a great start for any young man, so we changed it.

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

 
Then I thought this might also work out as a subtle sign language between us, so that he will be able to tell me what is going on with him in company, without actually having to say the words.

 
If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

 

Then I thought, this might be an ideal time for a safety lesson (can never have enough of them subtly planted throughout his childhood).

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

And then I thought I could put in a few actions that would be important later in life.

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

And his Dad interjected with a little advice from the family firm

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If they’re crap and you know it and you really want to show it,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

But I thought let’s not make his whole childhood a bit of a downer, let’s focus back on happier times.

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

But remembering we are trying to put him to sleep I usually go back to:

 
If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

 

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

But as these sleepy times are never without their little moments
 

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, really hard,

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, twice for emphasise

If you are cross and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot.

 
But as we always get there in the end
 

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep, and no one better wake ya,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

 

 

At this point I lie him down in his cot, put on the monitor, creep out of the room and search for wine. It’s 12 o’clock somewhere, right?

The New ‘ Wheels On The Bus’

wheels on bus

Lullabies have long been used to prepare children for the world outside their nurseries. ‘Oh dear what can the matter be’ is not just about the inevitable confusion that arises from sending a young man ill prepared into a haberdashers store – it’s about young men been taken against their will to fight in the American Civil War. Ring-a-ring-a-rosy is a prime example of society’s way of remembering an awful event in history (the Black Death) and passing this memory on to our children through the hive mind.

Ring a ring a rosy (the red swellings that were the first sign you got it)
A pocket full of posy (a perfumed handkerchief people carried to ward off the dying stench of their loved ones)
A tis-shoo, a tis-shoo (you are getting sick now)
We all fall down (dead)

Knowing the meaning brings new horror when you hear bands of school children singing it at the top of their voices with glee.

With this in mind, while singing (butchering) The Wheels On The Bus I thought I would take the opportunity to prepare my son for his inevitable bus going journeys. As a veteran of the public transport service I feel I have a lot of life advice to hand on to the next generation.

We did the first three verses that everyone does – wheels on the bus going around, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish and the horn on the bus going beep, beep, beep. At this point my technical knowledge of bus mechanics ran out, and if I am honest, my son’s genes mean that the odds are stacked greatly against him being a practical mechanically minded person, so we moved inside for a look in there.

The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’.
The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’ so we avoid them if we can.

The drunks on the bus smell really bad, smell really bad, smell really bad,
The drunks on the bus smell really bad, so we open a window if we can.

The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, graffiti their names, try and burn the lino,
The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, that’s why they’re the undesirables.

Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, sit down the back, sit down the back,
Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, so we don’t sit there.

Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,
Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, and the Mammies pretend they can’t hear them.

The school kids on the bus shout and scream, shout and scream, shout and scream,
The school kids on the bus shout and scream, all day long

The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension,
The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, all day long

Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, avoid all eye contact, try not to touch,
Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, and wish they were somewhere else

Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick,
Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, so don’t sit downstairs at the front

Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, pick your pockets, pick your pockets,
Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, so make sure your wallet is safe.

Kids mitching school always get caught, always get caught, always get caught,
Kids mitching school always get caught, so make sure you don’t do it.
{This is more of a life lesson that a bus story, but it cannot be repeated enough}

In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, near the window, where it is not too hot,
In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, so try to go there.

If the bus is packed you will have to stand, try and find a pole, or sit on the stairs,
If the bus is packed you will have to stand, and that’s the worst journey of all.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll drive him to school when the time comes.

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