Stand Up, Don't Touch

Recently I have been hearing myself repeating the same two phrases over and over again:


Everyday, at various locations:
"Honey, please don't sit down in the doorway, people are trying to get past. (under my breath) Stand up!"

On every outing:
"Come, on lovelies, we're not sitting down on the pavement, we have to walk a little bit more. (firmly) Stand up!"

At the shops:
"Over this way now, pet, come look at the 'insert something enticing to kids here'. (pleadingly) Stand up!"

Most public spaces:
"Watch out! That lady nearly fell over you! (mortified) STAND UP!"

Every public bathroom:
"DO NOT SIT DOWN ON THE FLOOR THERE ARE GERMS!!! (not even trying to keep calm) STAND UP!"

If I'm not urging my children to remain upright, I am urging them to keep their sticky little hands to themselves.

In the bakery:
"Please DON'T TOUCH the (unpackaged) bread, other people want to buy it!

In the supermarket:
Please put the large jar of mayonnaise down GENTLY! Don't touch!

At craft fairs (we've been at a couple of Christmas ones lately):
Please stand back from the (lovingly handmade, beautiful and expensive) nice things. Don't touch!

On every outing:

Some days, all I feel like I do is tell them what they can't do.

Some days, they drain the well of my patience until it is almost empty.

Some days, I put them to bed and sit back with a sigh. A temporary wave of relief washes over me. I am relieved that the day has ended and that we have all survived.


Sometimes, later that night, as I lift Lile to bring her to the bathroom, still tangled in dreams, she will sleepily say something wonderful like:

"Mama, I wish I could take the colours out of my feet and build a tunnel to sleep in"

And sometimes, when Sábha starts losing it at a birthday party, I will take her out into the hallway to calm down. If we're lucky, it will be dark, save for a flickering candle and Sábha will say:

"Look at that light, Mama. It's bumping like my heart"

And it is those tiny moments and a million others like them, that fill the well of my patience until it overflows once more and washes away the earlier frustrations.

It is those small happenings that remind my weary head that my heart continues to bump for them and them alone.


A penny for your thoughts?