Monthly Archives: June 2008

A Mis-take

Shouldn’t “misdemeanour” mean the opposite of “demeanour”?

They’re not even close.


Boy meets Gael(tacht)

Another milestone this week. Tinson2 has gone to the Gaeltacht for 3 weeks.

Tinson2 is thirteen. While any parent will love and defend their children to the ends of the earth, most of us know what they are really like deep down. And my son is the sweetest person on this planet.

He was the grumpiest, angriest baby of the three of them. It used to bother me that he didn’t smile when you appeared in front of his cot the way the eldest had, but simply held his hands up, demanding to picked up so he could get on with his busy day of crying, turning his face away from food and sticking out his lower lip. Like his elder brother he made no effort to walk, but would rocket along the floor (we have wooden floors) on his butt. Indeed, he was even better than his brother at it, as he would use one hand as a paddle and sort of flip himself along, with his bum practically coming off the floor as he galumphed along. He did try to walk one day. He got up, toddled one or two steps, then obviously thought to himself “sod this for a game of pokemon, I can move twice as fast on my arse” and went back to the backside shuffle. It was only when we were teaching his younger sister to walk, getting her to stumble along between two of us kneeling about five feet apart, that he got up and joined in, walking beside her & encouraging her.

Because by then the miracle had already occurred. He had become his sister’s great mate. To say we were terrified of what his reaction to the new baby would be was putting it mildly. He was just 18 months old, surly, often angry, and all the worst horror stories of children trying to hurt younger siblings were in our heads as my wife sat at home with our new arrival while I collected him from my sister-in-law’s. I got home and carried him into the sitting room where the moses basket (God, I couldn’t remember there what the thing was called, how quickly you forget) held centre stage. “This is your new baby sister Susan” we said. He knelt beside the basket and put his hand gently on the blanket. “Soo-soo”, he said, with a big smile on his face. I still have the photos (oh, I wish I knew enough about all this stuff to be able to publish them) of the whole thing – him in his big outdoor one piece coat-thingy, hair all sweaty because of the heat in the room, with a huge grin on his face.

And from that second on they were like twins – absolutely inseparable. I’ve already spoken about how Tinson1 became an only child again, and it’s as good as true.

Tinson2 did have middle child syndrome, though, which I realised even before I knew such a thing was a recognised problem. Older child knew more than he did, so there was no point trying to compete on knowledge, and younger child was more cute, so there was no point trying to be babyish. He developed into a child almost desperate to do eveything right, having seemingly decided that if he couldn’t be the clever child or the adorable child, he could at least be the good child. Every time he did anything wrong, like spill a drink, he would dissolve into floods of tears and say “I’m sorry” over and over again. I sure people who saw us when we were out must have thought that we beat him regularly for mistakes at home.

So this little bundle of fears and worries, who spent all his time with a far younger playmate, headed off to school. As if things weren’t bad enough for him, his April birthday meant that it was borderline as to which year he would start, and by starting him in the earlier of the two possible years he was one of the youngest in the class, continuously going to friends’ sixth birthday parties before he himself had his fifth. Occasionally he would get teased about how babyish he was, and how quick to get upset, and would arrive home in tears.

The great thing, though, is that he did have friends. His time spent with his younger sister had by now given him a kind, caring nature that couldn’t help but shine through. (I still remember how we met a barking dog on the street in Kusadasi, and how he immediately stood in front of his sister.) He was warm, helpful, considerate and, by now, very funny, and quickly established a group of close little friends. He still worried a lot about what people thought of him, and still hated to look babyish, but this grew out of him in time. One evening at the age of about ten he announced that he had to get a photograph of himself for some poster they were putting up at school. He went through a load of old pictures and eventually found one of him at the age of about two, with a baseball hat backwards on his head, and those thick baby socks on his feet. “I’ll have this one,” he said.

He finished national school and has just completed his first year in secondary. Again, he seemed so much younger and smaller than all the others on the first day. None of his friends from the BSP were going to the same school, yet in no time at all he was part of a new little group of closely knit friends. They all went to their first disco last month, so again the house stinks of Lynx (his elder brother has graduated to Lacoste), but it was more a rite of passage thing I think than any serious attempt at getting off with women (I may be the most naive parent on the planet for all I know). He had astounded us all, a family for whom changing a light-bulb counts as DIY, by taking wood-work and metalwork, and our house now contains a key-hook, a letter-rack, a tortoise, a toothbrush holder, a wooden ship, a minature sliothar and a metal shovel that he has made over the course of the year. He bought a second-hand Scalextric set at a school fair and wired it up himself. He dug out an old Nintendo 64 that his brother used to have and worked out how to fix it. I sometimes thinks he was accidently switched at birth.

And now the Gaeltacht. Interestingly, he didn’t want to go to the one his brother has gone to for the last three years, but once his brother said he wasn’t going (he has a girlfriend now) he was quite happy to go there. Again, he seemed too young, sitting all on his own on the coach with his head barely visible at the window, but apparently the older ones were discussing whether the eldest son would be coming. “Are you talking about Tinson 1?” he piped up, “because I’m his brother.”

He seems to have no fears anymore. He is sweet, kind, thoughtful and almost always good-tempered. He has a very dry, and very funny, sense of humour.

He’s just great.

Big Brother Blog (3)

They were brilliant tonight at the task!

Part of the reason I love the programme is that you get to empathise with them, and you root for them when they’re up against it, like they were in this week’s task, when first Rachel got injured, and then choreographer Dennis was sent to jail. I gave them no chance at all, and they were fantastic. We whooped and yelled in our house just as loudly as they did when they passed. We did the same last week when Dale broke the block with the karate chop.

Luke though … well, Luke makes me puke.

He’s the gurning love-child of Frankie Howard and Emily Bishop. He bitches, he gossips, he invents conspiracies, he mistrusts the nice people, and sides with the nastier ones. He’s made friends with the hapless yet endearing Bex, but says the most insulting things to her that he obviously thinks she’ll find funny.

Last week he got no nominations, this week he got a couple. Slowly the others are starting to see through him.

Sylvia’s bound to go tomorrow, which is probably as well for her own sake, since I’m scared what she might do to try and get attention next. I don’t really see why Mo was up against her anyway, he doesn’t really do a whole lot wrong.

Mario, when you see more of him, is not as bad as I first thought, but still is very full of himself. It was good to see Mikey get 3 nominations, and that people aren’t scared to appear bad in the public eye by nominating the blind guy. He’s really not a particulaurly nice bloke.

The battle of the beef-cake is quite funny. Dale is very afraid of Stuart, without seeing that he is 10 times the person that Stuart is. Wake up, Dale, he wears eye make-up for Christ’s sake.

At the moment I’d like Bex to win. She reminds me of Helen from BB2 – at the beginning her screaming & dumbness were really annoying, but as time goes on you realise that she’s a really lovely girl.

What a Bummer

Just slipped & fell on my arse on O’Connell Street.

I was waiting to cross from the middle section to the Clery’s side.It was raining, they’ve got these new metal dimples at the kerbside that are like glass, & one foot just shot forward like a man in a banana skin joke, and I fell straight backwards. I leapt straight back up again, assured a whole load of concerned people that I was fine, and continued across the road, now almost walking under a bus since the lights had now changed. I’m probably on YouTube at this very moment.

A couple of things struck me, though, besides the footpath. One was that for one second I understood all those fuckers who make compensation claims when they aren’t hurt. Just for one brief flash of anger I wanted to sue the bloody civil servant who decided to waste our money putting paving that gets like a polished floor when its wet down on the paths on the main street of a city where it rains continuously. I wanted to sue the Luas for terminating at Abbey Street for two months, or I wouldn’t have been walking in the first place. I wanted to sue Martin King off TV3 for making it rain. I wanted to sue the kind woman who tried to help me up, for making me feel old and stupid. I wanted to sue God, well, just because.

The other thing that struck me was that if this had happened a few years ago I would have landed flat on my back, winding myself to hell,  and smacked the back of my head off the ground. As someone who knows a lot about hitting the ground suddenly at speed, I am well aware of the damage I might have done.

But it these enlighted days we all have a backpack. While this does mean you run the risk of being shot by the London police, it has the advantage that instead of landing on your back you come down upon a laptop, a lunchbox, a pair of glasses, a pair of sunglasses, an iPod, a load of biros, a book and a nice soft rainmac, all wrapped up (well yes, obviously I should have been wearing it).

As a result, I landed square on the bag, did a brief impression of an overturned VW Beetle and then was able to hop back up.

I know the backpack is really just a handbag for men, but for once I was glad I had it.

Burn Baby Burn

The Book People regularly leave books into our office. One of the ones they’ve left in this time is called “101 Great Barbecue Recipes”.

This is amazing, because I can only think of three:

Cremated Burger with a dollop of Ketchup sitting on top, coz it can’t sink into the meat;

Cremated Sausage, with a skin that sticks to your lips and barbecues them as well;

Cremated Chicken Surprise, the surprise being that it is black on the outside, but is red in enough parts inside to contain more bacteria than a tramp’s socks.

I’ve never understood why people put themselves through this, usually within five feet of a perfectly serviceable kitchen.

Being Out There

I got my first comment today.

A guy called Brian commented on a post I made about an article in the Irish Times magazine about graffiti. In it, I had a go at graffitists (if that’s a word), the journalist and the editor. In Brian’s reply he had a go at me.

Fair enough. That’s what it’s all about. It did make me realize, however, how “out there” you are when you get involved in this. I’ve told no-one I’m doing this, coz I’m too shy and unsure of myself yet, and still I got a comment from someone I don’t know, will never meet, and who has just as much right to slag me as I have to slag Maser the “street artist.”

It makes me think. I’ve been doing this as a kind of venting exercise, letting off steam about things that annoy me so that I don’t end up muttering on the Luas like a loony. I’ve treated it like a private diary, and now it’s been brought home to me that it’s not that private at all.

That’s good, it will hopefully make me put a bit more effort into it. I set out to have a bit of fun with all this, but I’ve been increasingly conscious that virtually all of my posts so far have been giving out about something. I sound like Victor Meldrew on double espresso. Certainly I wanted to have a go at things, but I had originally hoped to have more cheerful posts sometimes too.

Oh, well. Still learning. And, as someone once said, anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.