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Two little humans and a big kid


JOY UNCONFINED Small hands, room-size canvas.

Diary of a home bird

Ciara Galvin

NOW I may not actually still be in my teens, but I fit the criteria in many other areas. Still living with parents? Check. Mother still does your laundry? Check. But recently I did have to step up to the mark and be an adult. I was in charge of my nieces for 24 hours. My first overnighter with two little humans in Dublin.
Back in my day, being babysat involved a video from Martin Murphy’s and some penny sweets from Farragher’s. Nowadays things are different, the kids demand Netflix, and the humble penny sweet will cost you 30 cents.
Nonetheless, I knew I needed supplies when I landed in the Big Shmoke. Off I popped to the €2 shop. Personalised balloon making, a stamper and pad, 100 non-sticky stickers and a giant lollipop full of lollies. I left feeling smug. This would keep them occupied all weekend.
Ten minutes in the door and I had all supplies exhausted. I guess I panicked. And that was before the adults even left….
When they did scoot off for the night, I made the brave decision to set up painting, which, for anyone who has kids will know is like inadvertently suggesting they redecorate the house.
At one stage, Saran had too much water on her brush and decided to wave it in the air destroying the white wall with pink splatters. Deep breaths. I implored her not to do that again, as it got paint on the wall. Her innocent reply? ‘But my Daddy paints the walls’. (He had done so the week previously, to cover up crayon and play dough remnants. The irony.)Thank God for baby wipes – the wall was soon good as new.
That evening was ‘à la carte for kids’. Sausages and spaghetti for the little one (AKA ‘Trouble’), while Saran chose pasta. I dabbled in cooking in a former life, but these were my toughest critics. Saran only eats mozzarella. Turns out Trouble is a skilled forager, happy to hoover up the floor looking for fallen crumbs. Credit where it’s due though, they played ball (pardon the pun) allowing me to watch the Ireland rugby game.
Anxious that I wouldn’t hear my little humans the following morning, I of course was awake at the ungodly time of 6.30am. What time did they arise? 8am, after a decent enough eleven-hour kip!
The morning consisted of trying to dress them and stopping Trouble from sucking paint from a bottle.
Next it was time for a nice stroll to Marlay Park. Saran suggested a picnic and off she went with Trouble, packing supplies into her school bag. I found them in the hall putting a melon, two lemons and a banana in the ‘picnic basket’. After some negotiating, she agreed that perhaps the melon was too heavy to bring.
Pushing a double buggy is akin to doing prowler sled training in the gym, so I was happy enough to be getting a session in. Once at the park, it was hot chocolate for Saran and a marshmallow for Trouble.
Mom Fail. Never give one child something without giving the same to the other. UN peace talks ensued, and the two ended up sharing, because we all know, it’s ‘caring’.
My second Mom Fail quickly followed. I didn’t bring the lifesaving baby wipes, and with two kids covered in chocolate, my two puny tissues were futile in the cleanup efforts.
A babysitter: A teenager acting like an adult while the adults are out acting like teenagers. Sounds about right.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.