Category Archives: Family

Babies Say the Cutest Things

My nephew Jack is speaking endlessly. He has been talking a while but only lately has he demonstrated a repertoire of words. He now forms sentences and seeks to learn new words at every opportunity. He points at items and calls their name. “Dada,” he shouts, pointing to my brother. “Dog”. “TeeVee,” is one of his favourites, which he enjoys following a request for “toast”.

On one of his customary rambles about the kitchen, he randomly stopped and pointed above the door. “Cock,” he cried. He resumed his stroll.

A day or two later, he visited his grandparents. In his usual independent manner, he got out of the car, walked up the driveway and waited for the halldoor to open. He walked into the kitchen, expecting the usual fuss he is guaranteed to receive from his grandparents.

He pointed towards the clock on the wall. “Grandad’s cock.”

One Door Opens, Another Closes

Over Christmas, my one year old nephew was at my family home, doing his usual routine of exploring the kitchen under the watchful eye of his parents. He wobbled towards the kitchen door, placed his weight on it and wailed loudly; making it obvious he wished to leave our company. I followed him towards the door.

“Let me teach you something, Jack.”

I picked the little man up in my arms, placed his right hand on the door handle and pulled him downwards. I held onto him, stepped back, knowing well he would not let go of the door handle. The door swung open.

“And that, Jack, is how we open doors.”

Some time later, Jack again wanted to leave the room. He placed both hands on the door. I watched, expecting him to scream for us to open the door. He made no noise. He stood on his tip toes to grab the door handle. He pulled it down. The door popped open. My brother, Dáire, watched in disbelief.

“Did he just open the door? Did you see that? Did you teach him that, Stephen? Fuck ya!”

“This is my Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!” I roared with laughter. “I’ll be in Dublin if you need me.”

Three months on, Jack’s ability to open doors has developed into a recreation activity. If anyone enters the room, Jack is sure to close the door behind them. Jack passes lengthy durations of time opening and closing doors as he pleases. He leaves a room and closes the door behind him, regularly falling on his ass as he does. He toddles down the corridor towards the bedrooms, taking great enjoyment of the seven doors on his journey.

During my last visit home, Jack and his parents arrived at the house around mid afternoon on Saturday following an excursion. I welcomed them at the hall door.

“How was your day?”

“We went to the park to feed the ducks,” answered my brother. “We brought Jack to the playground.”

“Does he like the playground? Did you put him in the swing or bring him down the slide?”

“No, he didn’t really enjoy the playground so much …” Dáire shook his head. “But he did enjoy opening and closing the gate to the playground.”

Cleaning Out My Closet

Since Monday, when I decided I was coming home for the weekend, I longed for Friday, the couch and a robust glass of red. I’m back in the Midlands sans le Boyfriend for the first time in a while.

Tonight, on arriving at the house, I walked into my old bedroom. Some random objects were spread on my bed.

“Mum, what is this stuff on my bed?”

She shouted from the kitchen. “I was clearing out some things from your room.”

I get a little defensive when Mum rifles through my belongings. There isn’t much. She has a four bedroom house. I ask if it is too much to expect a few boxes of my personal effects to remain untouched. I refrained from protesting. Instead I examined the contents of some unopened boxes.

The cardboard containers, similar to archive boxes, were full of college notes – marketing, statistical analysis and business policy. They were old and dog-eared. Some notes dated back to eight years ago. Those days are long gone. I emptied the box to the floor.

“I can’t believe I still have these,” I exclaimed.

Mum joined me in my room. She watched with satisfaction.

I opened the wardrobe. In the bottom of my wardrobe were more notes, magazines, bank statements and official documents. Stacks of paper, plastic folders and A4 pads formed a mound in my bedroom. I discovered some gay magazines; Attitude, Gay Times and the now out of print Gay Ireland. The covers were raunchy. I didn’t recall leaving these at home.

I felt around inside the wardrobe and came across yet another magazine. This one was different.

“What the fuck is this?”

“What is what?” asked Mum in supervisory mode.

“This magazine, Irish Wives. It’s a porn magazine. Look at it. Disgusting! Who left that in my room?”

I’m a big fan of porn, but this magazine was just nasty. The images were authentic; these women could only be Irish housewives. A selection of mature ladies posed next to ironing boards. One wife spread her legs akimbo on a kitchen counter. The magazine was creased, giving it a much used look and feel.

“Ewwww!” I threw it to the floor.

“Are you sure it’s not yours?” Mum asked.

“It’s not really my preferred type.”

“It’s not mine either!”

“I should hope it’s not, Mum. That would make for a major lifestyle choice. Do you think it was Dad’s?”

“I don’t know,” she said, leaving the bedroom.

I thought on how the rag mag ended up in my wardrobe. Guests that stay in our house tend to sleep in my room. The magazine could belong to anyone. I speculate my brother once stashed it in my room, thinking Mum would never ransack the room of her then most favoured son.

My brother paid a visit yesterday. When we confronted him, he denied ever seeing the magazine. He was so entertained by the tale of discovering the magazine that I believe him. The mystery on who in our household possessed a penchant for real, household women will forever remain unsolved.

Foot in Mouth Disease

I was at Boyfriend’s family home on New Year’s Day. I sat on the couch nursing a woeful hangover. Boyfriend’s Dad Malachy busied himself, tidying one or two things away. While he moved about the room, I noticed how slim he looked.

“Malachy,” I said. “You’ve lost a lot of weight since I saw you last. Have you tips on how I could shed my Christmas Belly?”

Malachy continued to tidy around him. He plumped a cushion and placed it on the couch. He looked up at me. “Have a stroke,” he replied.

I stammered. “Er, no. I meant I think you’ve lost weight since I saw you a few weeks ago, not since your stroke.”

“I’ve lost no weight,” he replied.

I turned to Boyfriend, who sat next to me on the couch. I cringed. He laughed. I knew to let it drop.

Truth from the Mouth of Babes

Boyfriend spent some time at his family home over Christmas. His brother Conor was home from Bermuda for a few weeks. Conor has longish hair. The Bermudian humidity has caused it to curl into ringlets.  His friends think it resembles a perm.

One day over Christmas Boyfriend’s family were gathered at the dinner table. Boyfriend’s niece Aoife was in attendance. Aoife is four years old. Being the first grandchild in the family, she is a little spoilt and outspoken. She craves attention and generally receives it.

Everyone at the table sat awaiting the food to be dished up.

“Conor,” Aoife exclaimed in her high-pitched voice.

Conor responded obediently. “Yes, Aoife?”

“I like your curls Conor. They are very pretty”.

By now Aoife had the full attention of the family. Aoife looked towards Boyfriend, whose hair is considerably longer than he usually keeps it. It’s a bit of a mess.

“You have hair like a clown,” she said.

The congregation laughed loudly.

“Truth from the mouth of babes,” retorted Boyfriend’s father.

New Born Baby + Hangover = Not Good

As you guessed, a lot of my blog is going to be dedicated to the development of my nephew Jack.

I can’t say I’m happy that his name turns out to be the most popular boy’s name in Ireland in 2008. I’ll just have to learn more about this “unconditional love” philosophy I keep hearing about.

On Sunday – while hung-over as Bejaysis – I visited the homestead, after what I can only term a “guilt trip”. I commented how Jack is such a nice, quiet baby. Within minutes a primitive, guttural cry permeated from Jack’s mouth.

“Make it stop!” I pleaded.

The Bro investigated whether we were in wee or pooh territory.

Bro diligently removed Jack’s tiny nappy. Jack cried aloud. His tiny legs came into contact with the cool air. Bro spoke lovingly in an attempt to soothe him. Once the nappy was removed, Jack pissed in the air. The urine flew in a curved motion and splashed onto his face.

“Fuck!” cried Bro. “He’s doing it again”. He covered Jack’s face to avoid the same happening again.

Seconds later, Jack emptied his little bladder on his face once again. It made for a funny sight from the sofa across the room.

Hours later the newly-parents and Jack had departed for their own home. Mum and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Hangovers and new-born babies do not mix well.

Text Conversation with Estranged Father

MyopicPsychotic (MP) – “Happy Birthday, you old codger”

MP’s Dad – “Where’s my present?”

MP – “Same shop as the one you didn’t get me.”

MP’s Dad – “Chat later”

A Tad Emotional

This week has been an emotional one. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of two friends. I watched – almost teary eyed – as the Bride confidently walked up the aisle to her future husband. The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The reception was jubilant. It was the perfect celebration of a life-long commitment of love. I whole heartedly enjoyed myself. I could not help but constantly check my phone for news of my nephew’s impending arrival into life.

After artificial inducement, Jack arrived on Monday afternoon. Mum and Bro were understandably tired. Both were lost for words; neither was communicative. I felt excluded and distant from my family. I wanted nothing more than to get in the car and drive one hundred or so miles to the hospital to visit my nephew. Work commitments, distance and limited access to Jack did not allow me do so. I sat here in Dublin with a puss on my face, calling Mum every few hours for updates.

Last night, I received a picture of the Newborn. I swelled with emotion and pride. I have shown countless colleagues and friends his image. Jack is tiny. Despite his miniscule size, he bears my family’s resemblance. His distinct eye-shape clearly ties him with his father and me, his uncle. I will see him tonight. I know I’ll cry. Boyfriend will throw his eyes to heaven when I do. Mum will initially laugh and eventually shed some tears too. Bro will laugh at Mum and I, but he will secretly feel emotional too. It will make for a funny scene.

It’s no surprise I feel the way I do. Five days ago I joined two friends in a ceremony as they dedicated their lives to one another. Two days ago, my twenty two year old brother became a father. His twenty one year old girlfriend endured child birth to bring my nephew into this physical plain. Is it really any wonder I feel tender at the moment? A box of Kleenex would make a wise investment. I should really buy nappies too. The nappies are for Jack.

Nephew

Last night, at five o’clock, my nephew Jack came into this world. At his time of arrival, he weighed 5 lbs and 12 oz.

He’s small and is currently under the watchful eye of the nurses. Hopefully, Mum and nephew will be released today.

I won’t even try word the level of emotion I feel at the moment.

Boy or Girl

This Thursday, I will learn whether I will be uncle to a boy or a girl.

I am so bloody excited! 

Gift