Party tricks

Yesterday my five-year-old picked me out an enormous black ‘crystal’ necklace from the local discount shop. It is hideous, and one of the most beautiful presents I have ever received because he is beside himself with the joy of giving. The three of them were taken out to buy me a birthday present last night, […]

Mud song

I was in the countryside yesterday, visiting a relative. There was a cherry tree. Pots and pots of muddy things, seedlings of vegetables like radishes, kale and carrots. Scallions stood in a row like soldiers, their tart green tops fading into pristine white bottoms, nestled smartly in the warm brown earth. There were large, unidentifiable […]

What do you know?

‘My mind is back now,’ said one of my boys last night, bounding up the stairs after a lengthy tantrum because I’d switched the TV off. Interesting, I thought. How the hell did you know that you’d lost your mind when you went to that electric, crimson place of no reason? Then I just said, […]

Three boobs

I sometimes look down at my belly and a character comes to mind from one of those old Seventies American cop shows. He’s an amalgam of them all: a good guy, he likes doughnuts with his coffee and he says things into his walkie talkie like ‘Mac, we gotta prawblem heeyah.’ Because postnatally (oh alright, […]

Notes on mortality

I had some conversations about death with my middle son today. Our neighbour’s grandmother had died, and the funeral is today. They love this neighbour, a young man who babysits often and plays the best, weird indecipherable superhero games with them. So the boys were concerned about him, and very interested as to where his […]

Beach speech

We found a little cove today, an inlet somewhere along the Wexford coast. I’d let the boys be adventurers and explorers, knowing that the hundred metres or so of rocks stretched out before their childish eyes like a vast, undiscovered planet. They forged on ahead, bravely leaping and slipping and climbing, their tiny legs goose-pimpled […]


I want to tell you today about the first time my first son smiled. Every parent probably has a gooey story about seeing that first smile. With my other two sons, the smiles seemed to happen in increments. It sort of seemed like they had always been smiling. Maybe they had been doing it with […]