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The truth, the whole truth 


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

THE Irish mammy is a unique creature. And who better to know an Irish mammy than her children?
If you find yourself talking with someone from another country about what scared you as a child and you mention the ‘wooden spoon’ or the dreaded question, ‘Did you leave the immersion on?’, you will met with a blank look.    
The Irish mammy tells it like it is, and, in turn, the Irish granny definitely doesn’t mince her words.
Take for instance the Halloween just gone. Long day at work and I arrive home to the female roomie for some much needed TLC, only to be told I was extremely pale.
Female roomie, ‘You’re awful white’. Me, ‘I know’. Female Roomie, ‘No but I mean you’re awful white’. Me, ‘Yes, I really do understand what you’re saying’. I wasn’t wearing a Halloween mask. In fact, I wasn’t even wearing any makeup, hence the rather ‘ghostly’ complexion. After ten minutes of reassuring the female roomie I wasn’t on my death bed, the conversation ended.
Yes, the female roomie is the quintessential ‘Irish Mammy’. She once told me black doesn’t suit me. I mean black. I must be the only person in the world that the fashion world’s most popular colour doesn’t suit. Thanks Mom.
Compliments often uncomfortably straddle the line between flattery and offence. One of my friend’s grannies once proudly proclaimed (while hugging said friend), ‘You have a great back on you, built like a man’.
Throughout history, weight was seen as some kind of marker of affluence. When the Romans were doing well they began to indulge in too many pies. The Irish granny still sees weight as a good thing. If you’ve put on weight it means you’re doing well, you’re thriving. I heard  one Irish granny describe, with glee, that her great-grandchild was a ‘happy fat baby’.
If you’ve put on a little bit of weight you’ll be told it ‘suits you’ and looks healthy and if you eat only the two spuds with dinner you’ll be asked if you’re on a diet. There’s a thin line.
Oh to be young again, when I was infamous for the two dinners a day, eating mine after playschool and horsing into the male roomie’s when he got home from work. Sharing is caring!
It’s good to see that the appetite of the Galvin bambinos is alive and well, with the newest addition to the brood, Aoibh Galvin, or ‘Little G’, partial to a good feed of spuds, while the roomies look on proudly.
The running joke in our household these days is that soon some of my niece’s clothes will be able to fit the female roomie, such is Mam’s declining waistline.
My Christmas break will involve me mostly eating my weight in turkey and stuffing sambos, just to make sure granny knows I’m thriving, of course. Oh and the dress code will be bright, for obvious reasons.

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.