Category Archives: Children

Sex Education

Over at The Other Side of Sixty  Wisewebwoman has an interesting piece about Sex and Irish Girls.

“Girl people in my time were sent out into the world with absolutely no knowledge of sex. None.”

We are the same generation, but I grew up in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. WWW, was reared in rural Cork, down on the south coast of Ireland. My experience was slightly different to hers.

In fifth year (16-17 years of age), we had a new teacher for RE & Irish, she was a nun. A total contrast to all the other nuns. She forgot all about:

Miracles, parables and prophets.
Daily prayers for purity.
‘Impure’ thoughts.
Keeping our knees covered. 😆 a couple of years before The mid-1960s – when Mary Quant created the micro-mini.
The occasions of sin – There were more of them than beads on a rosary!
Being able to slide a sheet of paper between our dancing partner and ourselves.
Not leading young men on!!!! Holy Mother of Merciful Maisie. I grew up in a houseful of men and the only thing you could lead any of them on with, was a table full of hot food!

I could go on…… and on…….!

Our 30 minute RE class for five mornings a week and the Irish classes for the week, became sex education classes. She had a BOOK.

One copy of a so called sex education book, covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper and each student in turn, was given THE BOOK to take home for a few days to read. I do not recall the title, a double layer of heavy brown paper made more of an impression on me!

Yes. There were diagrams, but so do books on car maintenance. It could have been our ‘All in the Cooking’ with lists of ingredients, or Home Economics Hygiene book (which had a chapter with pixtures that the Home Economics teacher (another nun) blushed at and skipped over every time!).

When my turn came, I brought the book home and handed it to mammy. What did she say?

“You read it first, love, then give it to me to read.”

I did.

When she gave it back to me, mammy asked if I had any questions. I didn’t.

Books like the one covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper, and ‘All in the Cooking’, talk the mechanics of the topic, not a mention of touch, feel, smell, taste or emotion. I learned all that at my mother’s side about cooking AND relationships. I learned from my four brothers: I saw them go through puberty,  from pimply chins and knobbly knees to hogging the bathroom even longer than I did! I learned what they thought about girls: the traits they liked, respected, and the dreaded ‘man eaters’ who would do anything for a free meal. I saw women like them in my working years too. At one stage I thought I understood more about how male minds worked, than my female ‘sisters’ of the world.

My brothers and their friends showed great respect for me. Yes, they teased me endlessly, but they never over stepped the mark or put me in danger. When we were out, if any of them saw me in danger or if a stranger was misbehaving towards me, they would step in and get them to back off. I treated them all like brothers and that is how I treated all the men I met and worked with, over the years.

Happy ‘push’ anniversary!

That is a greeting I found on my Facebook page this morning. It made me smile!

My youngest niece, Clare, went on to explain:

On our birthdays, me and my siblings give my mum a ‘push’ present. Happy ‘push’ anniversary!


I like the idea of a ‘push’ anniversary.

Thirty six years ago, I did do some pushing, but even back then, My Elly was in a hurry and made my job easy. She has not stopped running since.

Yesterday, was the last of our Spring Bank Holiday Weekend, and Elly took full advantage of the day off work.

She chose to return to childhood for an early birthday, playing giant jenga, bean bag toss, and sack races!

Sack race Photo courtesy of Mary Burke

Sack race
Photo courtesy of Mary Burke

Typical! That is my Elly, strolling along, while encouraging everyone else to do the hard work. :mrgreen:

Have a wonderful Birthday today, Elly, you deserve it. You bring so much joy to my life and to everyone you meet along life’s way!

Chocolate cake next weekend, me thinks!

Our Children

As the mother of a 35 year old daughter, I am proud to admit that I devoted my attentions to the first eighteen years of her life. I did not go out to work, but gave time when she was at school, to charity volunteering. We had none of the modern gadgets that are considered compulsory in the world of today, yet she was helped to progress at every level. If research was needed for a project, we took her to the library. We fed her books, as did her teachers, she loved school and made plenty of friends. When my husband died following a six year illness, I went back to work, but often felt resentment from working mothers. Being a parent is a privilege, and we need to remember that time given to children is like paying forward to the future.

Where did that come from? It was a comment I made on an interesting blog post this morning. Well worth a read, I think:

Your Attention Matters

The Spirit of Christmas

A pop star in the making, 11-year-old Fynnjan Leach-Verhoeven who suffers from Asperger syndrome has recorded a charity single in a bid to become Christmas number one.

Fynnjan wrote ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ in his head when he was bored, despite not being able to play any instruments or ever having shown any particular interest in music.

The song came to light last December in Beaconsfield, England, when Fynnjan performed the song publicly for the first time at Seer Green CE primary school’s annual Christmas concert.

It was the first time his family had heard him sing.

Now the world can enjoy listening to Fynnjan and his thirty class mates, help in his effort to become The Christmas No. 1, while helping to raise awareness and money for people with Asperger syndrome, like him.

‘The Spirit of Christmas’ will be available as a single or as an iTunes download and the Proceeds will be donated to the National Autistic Society, as well as his school’s special needs department.


Like a child I have not forgotten a promise. This is still October and I did say I would try to colour spot some photos as part of p4oi. Today I have one for you. I have posted fewer of these ‘spot colour’ attemps because they are more difficult than I first realised and take quite some time and very steady mouse control. I actually think that apart from my very first attempt that they look like I had the crayons out. I have followed the same instructions each time as far as I can. None of the layout diagrams seem to match the version of photoshop in my computer. It is enough to make anyone give up, but I have no intention in doing so!

I will learn.

This little lady I met with her grandmother as I went in search of men in skirts! A very lucky young lady indeed. This photo was taken the second time I met her that day. Earlier she was in t-shirt and shorts. Here she was sporting a new dress that granny had bought. I wish I had a kind granny to take me shopping for nice new clothes.

As I went on my way I thought of childhood, adults chatter and of promises. Sadly we remember the unfulfilled promises of childhood. Simple things that adults dismiss and say ‘Yes’ or ‘Of course darling!’ and continue with whatever they are doing and never give it another thought.

We adults often carry on a conversation ignoring a child within earshot or in the room. We think they are paying no attention to what we are saying as they play about with their toys or watch TV. They sometimes pick up half a sentence or their own interpretation of what was said and not the real message behind whatever was talked about. We can unwittingly feed them with fear, teach them language that we might not like them to use, or indeed situations way beyond their understanding.

Children Will Listen from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim performed by Barbra Streisand puts it into words far better than I can