30 December 2008

A Busy Day and Some Wishes

Une Journée Chargée et des Souhaits.
This was Cathal’s first Christmas. And even though he was not feeling his best on the day, he was still the star attraction, displaying all his talents.
C’était le premier Noël de Cathal. Et bien qu’il n’était pas en grande forme ce jour-là, il était quand même la vedette, faisant démonstration de tous ses talents.

He played music to accompany our meal.
Il jouât de la musique pour accompagner notre repas.

He had a long chat with his Nan on the metaphysical meaning of Christmas day.
Il a tenu une grande discussion avec sa Nan sur la signification métaphysique du jour de Noël.

Then he kept her busy with a demonstration of one of his new musical toys.
Ensuite il l’a occupée avec une démonstration d’un de ses nouveaux jouets à musique.

After that, it was time to turn his attention to Super-Grand-Mother, and play with her on the mat.
Après cela, il était l’heure de s’occuper de Super-Grand-Mère, et de jouer avec elle sur le tapis.

Then on the couch.
Ensuite sur le divan.

Even pretend-fight with her over the control of the bib.
Même faire semblant de se disputer le bavoir.

Finally Super-Grand-Dad joined in the fun.
Finalement Super-Grand-Père s’est joint au jeu.

As you can see, intense concentration on all sides!
Comme vous pouvez le constater, concentration intense de la part de tous!

Now I simply want to wish every one (family, friends, and all my readers) a Very Good New Year 2009.
Maintenant je veux simplement souhaiter à tous (famille, amis, et tous mes lecteurs) une Très Bonne Année 2009.

Personally, all I wish for is a mended heart for my Little Prince.
Personnellement, je souhaite seulement un coeur réparé pour mon Petit Prince.

Somehow, I have the feeling we are not going to be bored with this little man during the coming year!
J’ai comme l’impression que nous n’allons pas nous ennuyer avec ce petit homme pendant l’année à venir!


23 December 2008

T’is the Season to be Jolly…

Or so we are told.

I have learnt over time that this season and all its merriment can actually be quite “un-jolly”, if not dam right difficult for some.

It can be due to money (or lack of), health, and a range of other concerns that weigh heavier on the mind and heart than the seasonal hype. In fact, I have come across so many people who put on a brave smile around this time of the year, pretend to be all “happy-happy”, just not to have to answer awkward questions, or look like sour party-spoilers.

It can also be due to the people we miss, who will not be with us at this special family time.

In particular, I am thinking of my good friend Catherine’s Mum, who recently joined the Blogworld. You see, Catherine will not be with her family this Christmas as she was killed in a car crash in July 2006, aged only 14.

I am also thinking of Cathal’s other grand-mother, whose presence I miss along my Journey into Grand-motherhood. Her experience would have been of great help to Cathal and his family.

So I will not be so pretentious, or even so dam condescending, as to wish anyone a “Happy” Christmas. Instead, I want to wish my fellow bloggers:

A Peaceful

And Serene

Christmas 2008

And if happiness and joy come your way, then it’s a bonus. ;-)

20 December 2008


Cathal’s great-grand-parents arrived from France yesterday to spend Christmas and the New Year with him!
Les arrière-grand-parents de Cathal sont arrivés de France hier pour passer Noël et le Nouvel An avec lui.

The plane got in right on time so that they could be driven from the airport straight to Cathal’s school Christmas Party!
L’avion est arrive à l’heure si bien qu’ils ont pu aller directement de l’aéroport à la fête de Noël de l’école de Cathal!

Even Santa Claus was there! And he was very impressed to meet four generations!
Même le Père Noël était là et il était très content de rencontrer quatre générations!

1- Cathal
2- Cathal’s Mammy – La Maman de Cathal
3- Grand-Dad J. (Cathal’s Daddy’s Daddy – le Papa du Papa de Cathal) + Nan P (Cathal’s Mammy’s Mammy – la Maman de la Maman de Cathal)
4- Grand-Père + Grand-Mère (Cathal’s Mammy’s Mammy’s parents – les parents de la Maman de la Maman de Cathal)

! ! !

After all, Cathal knows he is worth all the attention, he is so beautiful, if he may say so himself!
Après tout, Cathal sait qu’il a droit à toute cette attention, il est si beau, même qu’il le pense lui-même !

16 December 2008

Bureaucratic Wastage

This could be also called “Mad Update on the Update”.

We are told that we live beyond our means.

That the State is short of money, that the Government needs to save everywhere it can.

To this effect, last October, our new Finance Minister, supported by various colleagues, proposed a range of cutbacks for the next year. Following on the announcement made regarding the Disability Allowance, I had taken my cue from Down Syndrome Ireland and joined in the protest with a volley of emails. As we know, the Government did a somersault on this proposal, it was rescinded, things went back to where they were. In short, the matter was closed, as if it never happened – except for the psychological impact left with people with disability and their families, but this is another story…

Image my surprise when, late last week, a full 7 weeks after my original email, I received an email from the office of our Minister for Social & Family Affairs.


“Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Social & Family Affairs has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail regarding Disability Allowance and to say that the matter is receiving attention.”


… OKAYYYYY. A bit late, wouldn’t you say?

Has the proposal not been reversed?

Imagine my surprise when I got home this evening and found in my letterbox a note from… yes, you guessed right: the same minister’s office! And it told me the following:


“Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Social & Family Affairs has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail, which was forwarded to her by Brian Lenihan T.D. Minister for Finance, regarding Disability Allowance and to say that the matter is receiving attention.”



Let’s think a second.

Someone found my email to Mary, and took the time to respond, not quite a mail shot, my full name is on it. Say that took about 3 minutes of a civil servant’s time.

Then someone found my email to Brian and passed it on to Mary – let’s say another 1 minute.

Then someone in Mary’s office personalised the standard answer, printed it (using headed paper, include the cost of that page), put it in an envelop (include the cost of the envelop), franked it (54 cent, as it’s 1 cent cheaper if franked rather than with an actual stamp – Woa! 1 cent saved! That will help!) and dropped it in the mail bag – for argument sake, let’s say 8 minutes.

Total: cost of 1 envelop, of 1 headed page, of franking, and of 12 minutes of a (probably junior) civil servant.

Multiply that by the thousands of complaints regarding the 3 main reversed and now defunct budget proposals… Mind Boggling!

Whereas all that was needed, once the proposal was reversed, was:
(= bureaucratic lingo for DELETE).

Estimated time: 5 seconds

My question is: is the extra 1% income tax I am going to pay from next January meant to be financing this kind of waste???

Mr Lenihan, if ever you come across this post (though unlikely, stranger things have happened), please respond.

07 December 2008


Winter is upon us. Temperatures below zero at night mean that, as I set off to work in the early hours of the morning, well before dawn, roads are white with frost, my fingers feel like icicles, my mind is doubly numb with sleep and freezing fog.

Why do we spend so much energy at this time of the year, more energy than at any other time? Just when we need to conserve all the calories we have to fend off the cold. Even our brains seem to switch to a lower gear – mine does at any rate. My body often has this tremendous longing for my beloved bed, and usually at the most inopportune moments of the day.

So when I arrived in Cathal’s house the other evening, and found my Little Prince soundly asleep on the couch, a theory I have held for many years was confirmed to me: From mid November to mid February (at least!), we should all hibernate. Most mammals do it, to varying degrees, so why can’t we?

That evening, all I wanted to do was to snuggle up to him and share his rest. Pity there was not enough room for the two of us!