Tag Archives: IKEA

Odds and ends

Another Amazon parcel just showed up on the front doorstep. It’s addressed to me, but I have no idea whether it’s something I ordered or something someone else is sending to me. It might be gift-wrapped inside the box, but the only way to find that out would be to open it.

So I think all these boxes are just going to go under the tree as they are, and on Thursday morning we will open them all and distribute presents as appropriate. (For now, they’re out of sight in the basement, because Mabel is not quite able to manage the temptation of presents under the tree for any length of time. I know, because I put two things there that are not even for her, and she peeked at one of them.)

That’s a great plan for saving on wrapping paper, but in fact I think I’ll have to get B to investigate them all instead, because some of them will be Santa presents and need to go in or below stockings. Even though Santa has been thoroughly debunked so nobody would care, but I need some sort of delineation here.

I have absolutely positively bought everything I need, though I do still have to find some marzipan for the almond icing on the Christmas cake, because I draw the line at making from scratch something that nobody in the house even likes. But you have to have it, because otherwise the royal icing doesn’t work. Last year I found it at IKEA, but it doesn’t seem to be there this year, so my search continues.

(Sigh. I have no attention span. I wrote that and then went to the IKEA site to see if marzipan would be listed. Then I was distracted by a list of product recalls, read that, and clicked away again without looking for marzipan. Then I spent several seconds more than you would think necessary staring out the window while I tried to remember the phrase “attention span”.)

I’m now on hold on the phone to IKEA. I might be here a while.

B and I went to the movies last night (Mockingjay Part 1) and I think Mabel took a while to go to sleep for the babysitter. As a result, she woke up grumpy and has refused to get dressed all day, thus avoiding any attempts to get her to leave the house. I think she’s not being intransigent so much as recognising her limits, so I sent B and Dash to the zoo for the lights display and Mabel and I are hanging out at home. She’s been happily gluing beads to pictures and adding to her massive pile of Harry Potter illustrations, so I think it was the right call.

Bead art

Mixed media, right?

IKEA will have no more marzipan for at least three weeks. Time for plan B, then.


I needed a storage solution for all the stuffed toys. Mabel has amassed a large number of stuffed toys, because she likes to put families together. This means that one stuffed dog/horse/cheetah is not enough: the more the better, but at least three or four so there can be a mommy, a daddy, a little sister and a big brother. Aw.

So the stuffed toys were growing out of the red box we had them in and proliferating all over the already laden shelves.

Toys overflowing from storage boxes

On a trip to Ikea I spotted the perfect thing: light, flexible, see-through, inexpensive laundry baskets. We got one for the playroom and one for Mabel’s bedroom, but after the one upstairs migrated downstairs several days in a row, I’m putting up with just having both of them down here all the time.

Isn’t that great? Don’t you think you too should use an Ikea laundry basket as stuffed toy storage?

Stuffed toys in laundry basket

Because then your children can chuck the stuffed toys all over the room and pretend they’re caterpillars turning into butterflies.

Children in laundry baskets
(This is curiously reminiscent of the bottom picture here. They’re a little bigger now.)

Live and let die

As we rounded the gentle curves of Dublin’s M50 this afternoon, death was on the children’s minds. In the abstract, probably because we visited an old graveyard in Waterford two days ago and pottered around reading the interesting headstones in the almost-rain.

(Personally, I liked this one, which went off in a big old name-dropping tangent about her brother who had sailed with Captain Cook, even though he wasn’t buried there at all:

[This Stone was Erected in memory of M[iss] Mary Dinn of Passage E. a mark of her burial ground and in memory of her Father Nicholas, her Mother [indecipherable], her Brother Martin, her Sisters, particularly of her brother William Dinn (alias Doyle) who sailed round the globe with Capt. COOK  and was present at the death of that Great Circumnavigator at [illegible] and who died respected and regretted at Stoke near Devonport in England in June 1840 (?), having spent a long life as a warrant Officer in the Service of his Country.]


(Speaking of tangents. Ahem.)

This weekend I travelled the length and breadth of half the small country for bloggy meetups, wherein I was lucky enough to meet some of the Lovely Irish Bloggers (not their real name) and put names to faces and faces to blogs for Musings of a Hostage-Mother, Mind The Baby, Mama.ie, Proper Fud, and the currently-on-hiatus And My Baby.

As we drove back from today’s assignation, during which my most accommodating spouse had taken the children to IKEA, because why not, it’s like a little home from home with ice cream, we listened to the Bond theme tunes CD I had put on in the car as a tiny nod to his great service to the blogger good. So at the start of each track – or preferably just before the start, since they were playing in film order – he would announce to us all which song it would be and by what artist.

(You know the way some fathers wait impatiently for the day they can show their sons (or daughters) Star Wars? Well, Dash has seen all six Star Wars movies (in original airing order), but what his father is really waiting for is the day when they can both sit down and appreciate the full oevre of Connery through Craig, including Lazenby for completeness.)

In between these public service announcements, the children posed the following tricky questions:

Mabel: How do the dead people get into the coffins?

Dash: So, do people who go to church believe in ghosts except that they all exist in another universe?

The first was more easily answered than the second, which I think we are still working on.

(Edited after first posting to correct the date of death on the gravestone to a much more likely century. Sorry about that.)

Duvet vous?

The baby has stolen my blanket.

By which I mean that the four-year-old has taken the supersoft espresso-brown blanket that lives at the foot of her parents’ bed for the express purpose of keeping me, her longsuffering mother, warm at night – because I run about ten degrees colder than everyone else in this house, apparently – and is currently snuggling her tow-headed little self under it, fast asleep and away with the fairies to boot.

Not to mention the fact that she has a perfectly good duvet of her own, from Ikea, inside a very attractive duvet cover, also from Ikea, and additionally a big bright red fleece blanket purchased in Target not two months ago because she wouldn’t wear her coat in Chicago. So she’s sleeping on top of the red blanket, under the brown blanket, shunning the duvet, and sentencing me to another night of being just slightly not warm enough in bed. (This is the third night in a row.)

The things we put up with.

Meanwhile, in the parental bed – don’t worry, I’m not going into any salacious details: this is about linens – the sheet war is being waged with all the silence and indignance two tired parents can muster over such things. See, there’s a sheet under us, and a sheet over us, between us and the comforter. Raised as we were in a part of Europe that came late to duvets, but not as late as America, we’re not entirely used to the top sheet – but I really like my down comforter, and I’m not going to wash it every week, so that’s why the sheet is there. The sheet is turned down over the comforter when we sleep, but somehow – due no doubt to my inept bed-making skills – it doesn’t want to stay there and tends to flip up over our faces. I can deal with this. I calmly flip it down again. But B gets all pissy with the sheet in his sleep and ends up with it mangled and twisted and generally not where it should be.

At some point in the night, inevitably, I come back to bed from my sojourn in Mabel’s room, and, as I slip myself into the half-warm bed, I notice that the sheet on his side needs fixing. I pull it up and flip it neatly back where it should be. I suspect he thinks of me as the midnight sheet nazi. In turn, I grumpily wonder, every night, why he can do physics for the government but he can’t work a simple bedsheet.

Luckily for all of us, there are more important things in life, and by morning we’ve forgotten it all again. This morning I dreamed that I tweeted to Mabel the fact that it was 5.15 when I left her bed, and then regretted it because it was bound to wake her up.

Happily, she didn’t get my tweet because she stayed asleep for another hour, and all was right with the world.

Eggs over easy

Today, 9.30am:

I am hit by the incredibly obvious revelation for the day. If we’re really stopping at two kids, then we’re done with having babies. That phase of our lives, which was so all-consuming, so entirely absorbing, so eternally life-changing, that required special furniture, special adaptation of everything, right down to where I keep things in in the kitchen (nothing dangerous, spillable, or breakable low down), is behind us.

You put the high chair in the basement and you think, “Hooray, more space in the kitchen.” But you don’t think “That’s it. Those years are over, and everyone was right, they were so short. And who am I now?” until later. Like, until today.

Today, 11.45am:

Looking around the cafe in IKEA, I start to say to myself that I really want another baby. Then I catch myself in time. “I really … must be ovulating.” Yup.

Where’s Freud when you need him?

Mabel’s having a bit of a penis obsession. Again.

Yesterday we had friends over for a playdate. Mabel took off her clothes and tried to show them her penis. I hid under the table.

This morning we went to Ikea.

Mabel: Peenie, peenie. I want a peenie. I love your peenie, Dash.
Dash: Mabel, say peenie again.
Me: Stop it. Both of you. Dash, you know better.
Dash: Mabel, don’t say peenie.
Mabel: Peenie, peenie.
Me, darkly: Nobody will be getting any ice-cream.
Mabel: Ponnie, ponnie.
Me: That’s fine.

[Five minutes pass; we are almost past the checkouts and at the double-edged sword of ice-cream.]

Dash: Mabel, don’t say poopy.
Mabel, with glee: Poopy! Poopy!
Me: No ice-cream, then.
Them: […]

Ice-cream is consumed. Lunch is deferred. Once again, I resolve never more to darken the hallowed Swedish doors.


The good thing about being thousands of miles from your loved ones at Christmas (sniff, sniff) is that at this point, when all around are wringing their hands and declaring to Facebook that they’re not remotely organized, will never be organized, and vow to be super-duper organized next year, you can sit smugly with your tea and muffin and bask in the glow of having it all in hand.

No doubt a large whale will now fall from the sky to crush me in my insufferable cockiness.

But, fingers crossed and stuff, I’m not too disorganized. Cards were posted, with photos, to the lucky few recipients. The parcels to Ireland went off last Wednesday – two days before the Post Office’s deadline for international mail, but up to the wire on my own personal last-chance-to-queue-up-child-free timeline. (And boy, I’m glad I did it child-free, especially when I discovered that the large box I’d so cleverly packed everything in was now too big for the regular customs form and needed a special iron-clad extra-information form to be filled in. I was also glad I’d covered up the graphics and lettering on the box I’d snaffled from outside the supermarket with plain paper, as I heard the woman behind me being told that she couldn’t mail that ex-wine-bottle-box as it was with all that other stuff visible on it. Well, you would feel a little silly if your presents all ended up at a vineyard in California.)

I have procured marzipan – from IKEA, of all places – to commence icing the Christmas cake, the children’s presents have arrived from far-flung Amazon (not the river), and I even have something for my husband that’s a tiny bit more imaginative than a CD and a book. (It’s not even a book and a sweater, so there.) I am counting the slippers I bought him yesterday in Target as part of his present too, even if he did ask me to buy them, they were not wrapped up, he’s been wearing them since last night, and  – oh yes – I don’t bring home a paycheck so I suppose, technically, he pays for everything. But I totally was going to get him slippers for Christmas because I knew he needed them, so it counts, right? I’m just so thoughtful and concerned for his cold feet that I didn’t want him to have to wait another day for them. Or even have to go to the bother of unwrapping them.

So that’s how organized I am. We also have a tree, though there will be no presents under it until Christmas Eve, because three-year-olds are not known for their self-restraint. What we don’t have is any actual plans for the day, or any of the days surrounding the day. I don’t know what we’re going to eat or who we’re going to see or even what I’m going to wear (which is really a moot point if we don’t see anyone). Maybe we’ll spend Christmas Day in our pyjamas, eating muffins and drinking Prosecco (just the adults, I promise), and watching cartoons.

That doesn’t sound so bad, really.


Hot buttered cinnamon toast (from the good bread place, not just the normal stuff) and tea is a perfectly reasonable Halloween lunch, right?

On a not-entirely-unrelated note, I’m thinking of bribing Mabel with Halloween candy to wean her down to just a couple of times a day instead of all the “I want mumeet while I’m watching TV before dinner” times. That’s good parenting right there, I know it.

Dash is off school today, because for some reason even though Halloween is not an offically sanctioned holiday, it warrants a day off. We dropped Mabel at school and went to IKEA, because that’s where the fun is. He got a chocolate milk, I got bacon and coffee. We failed to buy a rug for the guest room.

No wonder my mother always says I was no trouble at all. A single child surrounded by grownups is light-years away from two siblings ratcheting each other up to high doh every single second. If it hadn’t been for the sinus headache boring a hole in my left eye-socket, I would have had a really nice morning hanging out with my big grown-up (kindergartener) son.

As it was, we had to go home quickly so I could take a Sinutab and make a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. Blech.

The mother of invention

As you may remember, Monkey likes machines. He likes dismantling machines to see how they work, and he likes inventing machines that accomplish marvellous things, mostly to do with his long-held ambition of flying. (Not aeroplanes, mind you. Much too pedestrian, if I may mix my adjectives. More along the lines of jet boots and rocket packs.) He’s taken to telling us that he’s about to make something “magnificent.” He just needs a moustache to twirl.

I long for the day when his machines are made of intricate Lego Technix and do not involve a parent until they get to the admiration part: for now, they are either tedious verbal explanations that never end, or things that his father is required to construct out of cardboard.

 Jet pack, by Daddy, last November

So “When I’m a grown-up, I’m going to invent…” is a common refrain around here, and of course Mabel has picked up on it. She too will be inventing all sorts of things any day now.

Me: Mabel, when are you going to start using the potty?
Mabel: When I’m a grown-up, I’m going to invent a machine that goes to the toilet so I don’t have to.
Me: [Deep sigh.]

Yesterday she told me she’s going to invent a new bottom. Presumably one that doesn’t need to pee.

At school last week, one of Monkey’s friends was very scared by a thunderstorm overhead. Monkey related this to us in the car on the way to IKEA (it appears, by the way, if I may digress here for a moment, to be so long since I’ve been to IKEA that I totally forgot my usual route and ended up going a different way, finding the road blocked by flooding, having to go another different way, and vaguely wondering why it seemed to be taking much longer than usual; the clear lesson here is that I need to go more often) and my children proceded to have an argument over who would invent the better machine to comfort the boy in question.

Monkey: When I’m a grown-up I’m going to invent a machine that puts a force field around him to protect him from the thunder.
Mabel: No, I’m going to invent a machine with arms and legs to give him a hug.
M1: No, my machine.
M2: No, my machine.

I was touched by their concern, and managed to defuse the row by pointing out that they could put Mabel’s machine inside the force field and thus use both at once. Co-operation.

No logo

I had another Ikea-related epiphany the other day. This one had nothing to do with yogurt, or sofas, or even utensil holders: it was more of an editorial epiphany, really. As I typed “IKEA” in an e-mail, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder why I wasn’t saying “Ikea” instead.

Thinking that a company name should be capitalized (or otherwise accessorized) a certain way just because that’s how the company’s graphic designers decided its logo should look is a particular bugbear of mine, and yet here I have been doing exactly that for as long as I’ve been writing the name of a particular Swedish furniture superstore and all-round place of wonder. I don’t write Macy*s or GAP when I refer to those fine establishments, so why on earth have I been writing IKEA in all caps?

If you want a better say-so than mine to reference for how to treat logos like real words, look here. This man knows what he’s talking about. (And yes, I stole my Macy’s example from his piece.) 

In my defence, if there is such a thing, perhaps its foreign provenance lulled my subconscious into thinking that it was an abbreviation: Ideal Kitchens Ever After, or maybe something more Scandinavian, like Inbyn Knappa Ekarp Aspelund*, perhaps. Maybe it thought it was the initials of the nice man who started the shop: Ingmar Knut Edgar Allenpoe**. Or maybe it’s just that after looking at the damn website and everything in the place and driving by the enormous sign so often that my two-year-old thinks anything written in yellow on blue says “Ikea,” the logo had worked its insidious magic and subjugated my sensible inner editor. For shame!


So then, in the interests of completeness, I went to Wikipedia and looked up Ikea. And lo! and behold! It feckin’ well is an abbreviation*** after all: the I and K are for the bloke who started it, and the E and A are for his farm and its parish. Thus meaning
(a) I was right all along
(b) I can go back to writing IKEA now
(c) I don’t have to worry about whether I should go back and correct all the instances of IKEA heretofore appearing in the blog
(d) but this entire post is somewhat pointless

Ah well. You live, you learn, you buy some nice reconditioned Danish teak mid-century modern instead.

*Yes, those are actual Ikea product names.
**No, that is not the actual name of the Ikea founder.
***There is a completely different editorial issue at stake here which I really don’t wish to get into, about whether it’s an abbreviation or an acronym. And if it is an acronym, as I think it should be since it’s pronounced as a word rather than individual letters, then I might have to return to my original stance, blame the graphic designers who are taking over the world, and start a single-handed campaign to have it spelled Ikea.

I knew I didn’t want to get into that. You wouldn’t believe how many times I changed my mind in that last paragraph.