It’s Not All Happy Smiles, Sometimes it’s a Disaster.

Today brought me back a few years to when our twins first arrived. The early days of trying to entertain a 4 year old while juggling two small babies; my eldest’s energy and longing for my attention. Some “adventures” ending badly. And there were feelings of isolation. My photos tell a different story, all smiles and adventure. That’s just human nature, we record those memories we enjoy the most. Not the tantrums, tears, or nappy explosions (those are diapers for any Americans reading 🤣).

We headed out for a walk. It had to be a new place, the kids are sick of our usual. It had to be quiet, we are keeping to ourselves and following COVID-19 guidelines. So for a change of scenery we headed to the bog for a walk.

For all my American friends, the bog is where turf is cut, dried and brought home to burn for fuel. Ask an Irish person about the bog and the stories start flowing: long summer days turning the turf, tea and sandwiches, and lots of memories. Most have stories of working and playing in the bog as a child. A love hate relationship perhaps. It takes many trips to the bog each year and lots of work to get it all home and stacked away in their shed. Everyone seems to hate working in the bog but yet love sharing nostalgic stories.

Our walk heads Downhill, and not Geographically

We were all prepared in warm clothes and even rain gear. My girls dressed in their brother’s old blue and green rain suits, the joys of being the second and third child. Three cars stop along the quiet bog road to comment on “the three boys.” My eldest loves this, lots of laughter.

I try to avoid the buggy these days (aka the stroller to my American friends). The girls can join us walking now and it’s great for tiring them out… and honestly very little tires our twins. We were two minutes into our walk when one of the girls started the “I’m tired, up, up Mommy!”

My son is suddenly disgusted that we are walking on the road. “you said we’d walk IN the bog! It’s just another road!!!” I point to the forest ahead in the distance. My arm aches as I realise I’ve just committed to walking miles with a three year old on my left hip. “oh great,” he says as he runs ahead, “but I’m walking IN the forest, not on this road!!!!” Suddenly this morning’s happy twin is terrified “Mom he’s going in the forest with the Gruffalo!” I explain there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo but now I sound like Julia Donaldson’s big bad mouse. She isn’t buying it and even points out “Owl ice cream” ahead (cat tails growing out of the swamp). We keep walking. I move heavy child to my right hip. Keep walking.

We stop about 10 times before we reach the forest. I’m now carrying one child, a sippy cup, two coats, three hats, and the sweat is pouring out of me. The car seems really far behind us, and I have heartburn.

We reach the forest and walk down the path. He’s disgusted we can’t walk IN the forest, but doesn’t even ask as it’s full of ditches, thorns, and dark shadows. But he’s disgusted. “Let’s just go home.”

Out of the corner of my eye I can see a figure wearing a high viz vest coming toward us. Perhaps at jogging pace. As I squint and stare, it speeds up. The (jogger?) is bent over at the waist, limping, and making a desperate wheezing noise. Perhaps I’ve bought into the kids fears, I don’t know. But before they could see what was coming I had all three whisked around and walking/running in the direction of the car. The sweat’s pouring off me, and I’m choking with heartburn. My son stops suddenly “I forgot to take a picture of the forest.” (he’s loving his kid’s camera these days). Of course the camera takes four attempts to power on, and despite my efforts to move us along RAPIDLY, we are standing in a little woodland path with a slightly scary stranger on our heals.

And here we go. The stranger is upon us. She stops at the head of the path, the kids turn, the twins scream, and as I stare I realise I could be utilising my first aid skills to resuscitate this hi-viz woman. She tries to talk, hardly able. Between wheezing and huffing and puffing she reveals herself as a woman suddenly out of work and spending her time learning to run. She holds her arm out as if to signal for us to stay away… as if there was a possibility of me moving toward her with the death grip x 3 of these little people clinging to me for dear life. Now she tries to crack a smile but is obviously still in pain as she’s bent over at the waist, a 90 degree angle. The three say nothing, eyes wide. Arms, hands and fingernails clinging. I fumble with my words, ask if she’s okay, and suddenly she’s limping away, still hunched over, chatting away to herself about how lovely it is I’m “getting those three boys out into nature.”

The kids are quiet and we stand and watch, hoping she’s okay. My son adds “it’s good she’s learning to run.” And from the crook of my arm, a little annoyed voice utters “and we are NOT boys.”

The walk back to the car has got to be about three miles longer then the walk to the forest. My seven year old told me so. I’m starting to believe him. My arm is numb and I am now forcing this stubborn three year old to walk to one esb pole before being carried to the next. I’m alternating this pattern of forced walking and carrying and listening to all three complain of tired legs, cold fingers, and now it’s started to rain.

We made it home alive, my arms have feeling again, and no injuries. We even saw the hi – viz woman walk safely into her house in the distance. Success for all! And when I asked what the children’s favourite part of the day was they told me without hesitation and with enthusiastic shouts “THE WALK!”

Kids!!!! Not everything goes to plan. In fact most things don’t. I think that’s the truth we don’t see in photos or social media. Oh and next time I’m bringing the buggy.

Published by L Higgins

Never a dull moment! I was born and raised in America before meeting my Irish husband and eventually making the move to Galway in 2006. We were never known to take it easy, but life is now busier than ever with a six year old son and two year old twin girls. As a Montessori Teacher and Mom, my days (and nights) are filled with the sounds of childhood play and laughter... and of course the occasional tears. In many ways living in Ireland is very similar to life in America, and yet in others they are worlds apart. But in our house, all cuddled up on the couch at the end of a busy day, we are our own little clan of 5. I wouldn't change it for the world!

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