27 November 2009

Pre-Weekend Madness

Things have been quite depressing in Ireland these last few days.

The rain and the subsequent devastating floods in the West and South are beyond belief. Lush green rainy Ireland has surpassed itself this time – I heard earlier this week that the whole Shannon river system received in 3 weeks one third of the average annual rainfall. No wonder the rivers have spread themselves so far, wide and deep! It’s a national catastrophe. I am so grateful the little nest I call home is dry and warm…

Then the report yesterday on more child abuse at the end of the Catholic clergy, and this time the denunciation of systematic cover up by the so-called Princes of the Church, often aided by the Garda themselves. As with the Ryan report, I felt physically sick…

Do I need to mention the looming and dreaded Budget 2009, less than a couple of weeks away?

And I will not talk about this bloody French “handball” that denied Ireland a place in the Word Cup – and before you ask, Yes I ALWAYS cheer for Ireland, and Yes it was so, oh so unfair, and Yes I much prefer Rugby to Soccer ANY TIME, and NO I will not talk about it again. So there!

And we are getting into the heart of winter, getting up at night, leaving home in the (so- called) morning in the dark, getting home without having seen sunlight. I do not like winter.

Added to all this Doom and Gloom, I have a sinking feeling that my addictive remission is slowly but very surely slipping away from me: you see, I am “a bit” of a perfectionist, and over time this has turned into the very dangerous disease of Workaholism. I had been very good for the last few years, but for almost a year now, as I enjoy what I do more and more, and see more and more good results from it, I am allowing myself to be sucked in… Let’s just say that very long days, and fiddling with ideas, and documents, and spreadsheets on my work laptop over the weekend are becoming the norm. The ensuing stress signs are pocking their little spikes at my brain and they are not nice.

So this morning I was not happy about tearing myself from my warm bed. Why couldn’t it be Saturday instead of Friday? My body was doing all it could to fight it, my brain was not much better, a totally fuzz. Even the scolding hot shower did not jolt me – I take Very Hot, not cold showers, I HATE COLD! Even the taste of my Xtra Strong coffee in the Xtra size cup, the smell of which should be enough to shake anyone, could not do it.

So there I was, trying desperately to focus and apply my make-up, and to do it in the proper order (… I kid you not!) when a strange sound came from the radio. By the time the DJ had explained what it was, I had laughed so much my stomach hurt, and I was not only awake, but my natural optimism had been returned, the day ahead looked bright, indeed the whole weekend looked promising.

This “sound” came from a clip available on You Tube. I later found it and watched it several times…

And I am still laughing.


So, in the happy sharing spirit I now feel, here it is. Enjoy, and Happy Cheerful Weekend.

22 November 2009



It’s official. We are friends. And I am not the one saying it!

C’est officiel. Nous sommes amis. Et ce n’est pas moi qui le dis!

The younger we are, the easier it is to show our emotions. It is when we grow older that we learn to hide them (for all kinds of reasons) or to minimize them. However expressing our feelings at a young age can be a difficult task. Emotions are felt, where as feelings, to be expressed, imply conceptualisation. That is in itself a complex process.

Plus nous sommes jeunes, plus il nous est facile de montrer nos émotions. C’est quand nous grandissons que nous apprenons à les cacher (pour toutes sortes de raisons) ou à les minimiser. Par contre exprimer nos sentiments à un jeune age peut être difficile. Les émotions sont ressenties, alors que les sentiments, pour être exprimés, doivent être conceptualisés. Ceci est en soit un processus compliqué.

I spent some time in Cathal’s home yesterday. At one stage he and I were taking a well deserved little break from all the playing and “messing around” we had been immersed in. Cathal was sitting on my lap facing me. We were both silent, just quietly looking at each other. And then, very gently, Cathal’s right hand took hold of his left and shook it firmly once – the Lámh sign for “friends”!

J’étais chez Cathal hier. A un certain moment lui et moi faisions une petite pause bien méritée après nous être immergés dans pleins de jeux et de chahutages. Cathal était assis sur mes genoux, tourné vers moi. Nous étions tous les deux silencieux, nous regardant calmement. Et alors, tout doucement, la main droite de Cathal a pris sa main gauche et l’a secouée une fois fermement - en langage par signes qu’il apprend c’est le signe pour «amis»!

The important thing for all communication to be effective is that the message must be received and understood as it is meant when it is transmitted. So I decided to carry out my own check on this. I asked Cathal, refraining from signing to ensure I did not influence him, “Are you and I friends? Are we friends?”

L’important pour que toute communication soit effective est que le message soit reçu et compris comme il est destiné l’être au moment de la transmission. Donc j’ai décidé de faire ma propre vérification. J’ai demandé à Cathal, en faisant bien attention de ne pas faire de gestes pour ne pas l’influencer, « Toi et moi sommes amis ? Nous sommes amis ? »

And there was the sign again, right hand holding left hand, shook firmly once, but this time accompanied with a beautiful wide smile…. We are friends! We are friends! And Cathal has shown me yesterday that he can not only give his opinion on our relationship, but he knows exactly what he is talking about, because it was perfectly in context, as a conclusion of a very nice time spent together.

Et re-voici le signe, main droite tenant main gauche, secouée une fois fermement, mais accompagné cette fois d’un radieux sourire… Nous sommes amis ! Nous sommes amis ! Et Cathal m’a démonté hier que non seulement il peut exprimer son opinion sur notre relation, mais il sait exactement de quoi il parle, parce que c’était parfaitement en contexte, à la fin d’un bon moment passé ensemble.

To come back to the subject of emotions, I am always struck by the speed at which Cathal’s face can change: within a few seconds, every emotion, everything he is thinking can show, and there is no half measure. Here are some examples taken recently, in the order the photos were taken, and all within 2 minutes:

Pour en revenir au sujet des émotions, je suis toujours étonnée de la rapidité avec laquelle les expressions de visage de Cathal peuvent changer : en quelques secondes, chaque émotion, chaque pensée s’y affiche, et il n’y a pas de demi-mesure. Voici quelques exemples pris récemment, dans l’ordre où les photos furent prisent, et tout cela en moins de deux minutes :

Pretending to sulk, yet finding it hard not to let out the fun side of things at the same time (I recognise another family member in this little face…) – Faisant semblant de bouder, mais ayant des difficultés à ne pas laisser échapper le côté drôle de la situation (je reconnais un autre membre de la famille dans ce petit visage…)

Protest – Protestation

Oh, I am so cute! – Oh, je suis si adorable !

Interest – Intérêt

Joy – Joie

Sulking again (When will you ever stop taking those photos?) – Boudant de nouveau (Quand vas-tu arrêter de prendre des photos ?)

My favourite of the series – Ma préférée de la série

Cathal has shown enormous progress in the last two weeks, and yesterday I could barely believe my eyes as I was watching him playing by himself or interacting with us. There is no doubt that lately a lot of things have suddenly clicked into place in his little head. Most importantly, I can see that the enormous work, time and energy spend by his Mammy daily (and the Dad) are really bearing fruit. Bravo!

Cathal fait démonstration d’un énorme progrès ces deux dernières semaines, et hier j’avais du mal à croire ce que je voyais en l’observant jouant seul ou communiquant avec nous. Il n’y a pas de doute que récemment beaucoup de choses se sont mises en place dans sa petite tête. Mais le plus important est que je peux constater que le travail énorme accompli, le temps passé et l’énergie dépensée tous les jours par la Maman (et le Papa) portent vraiment des fruits. Bravo !

01 November 2009

Precious Moments

Moments précieux

Every Wednesday night Cathal’s Mammy and the Dad go back to school (apparently all to do with Cathal, and communications, and all that…) so Cathal and I can spend some time together, without the parents around… Yeah!

Tous les mercredis soir, la Maman et le Papa de Cathal retournent à l’école (apparemment cela à pour sujet Cathal, la communication, et tout ça…) et Cathal et moi pouvons donc passer des moments ensembles, sans les parents… Youpi !

We take this opportunity to catch up on all the news of the last few days, on all the gossip, on all each other’s exploits. We continue chatting over diner, after which Cathal demonstrates to me his latest discoveries. Then it’s bath time, followed by a story read and commented upon, one or two lullabies (in French), a big hug, and bed… preferably before the parents come back, but this is not always the case! ;-)

Nous en profitons donc pour faire le point des nouvelles depuis les derniers jours, des racontars, des exploits de l’un et de l’autre. Nous continuons la conversation pendant le dîner, après quoi Cathal me fait démonstration de ses dernières découvertes. Puis c’est l’heure du bain, suivi d’une histoire lue et commentée, une berceuse ou deux (en français), un gros câlin, et le lit … de préférence avant que les parents ne reviennent, mais ce n’est pas toujours le cas ! ;-)

Pure pleasure!

Un vrai plaisir !

You talking to me? Tu me parles ?

Reading to Marvin, the cat. Lecture à Marvin, le chat.

So, you listening to me? Alors, tu m'écoutes ?

Pretend sleep. Faire semblant de dormir.