It’s just possible that I have one or two new readers, thanks to the Irish Parenting Blog awards (hint, hint: see my lovely new badge and go check out the other great blogs); so first I thought that a good way to break the ice would be to say “Ask me anything” and then answer all the questions people might leave in the comments.
But then I decided that was tempting fate and it would look really quite pathetic when nobody asked me anything except possibly my husband saying “Do we need milk?” so instead I will ask myself some questions and answer them too. And you don’t have to lift a finger. See, I’m just thinking of you, lovely reader-person.
Hi, Maud! (See, interviewee Maud is more chipper than interviewer Maud. Interviewer Maud is quite staid and boring, but interviewee Maud keeps trying to find the fun.)
That’s not such a common name, Maud. Is it in fact your real name?
Why no, Maud, it’s not. It is in fact a totally fabricated name that I came up with off the top of my head. My totally fabricated last name is Gonne.
I see. Why would you do that?
Because Maud Gonne (this bit’s for the Americans) was allegedly a great beauty (though she always looks a bit funny in the photos) and the love of poet WB Yeats’s life, though she done him wrong and married Major John McBride instead, as every Irish Inter Cert student knows who ever studied “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” which poor Yeats insisted on laying under her feet even though she’d probably just washed them and now she’d have to wash them again. No wonder she didn’t take up with him.
But why do you not just use your actual name?
Because it’s more fun this way.
And Dash and Mabel, are they your children’s real names?
Well, no. Which is mostly why the blog is anonymous, though with Facebook offering to tag everyone without my telling them anything these days, it’s quite possibly all moot, since I do have plenty of photos of them.
And B. Is he really called B?
His name starts with B. I couldn’t come up with a clever name for him. I should call him Marathon Man, but that takes longer to type and might lead to some queries about what exactly his credentials involved.
But he runs marathons. That’s obvious.
You have no sense of double entendre, do you, Maud?
Excuse me, who’s asking the questions here? And why is it called Awfully Chipper, for that matter?
That’s lost in the mists of time. I’ve been blogging since 2003, which is when I first moved to America, and it was some time before that that I thought to myself, “If I ever had a blog, which is a thing I would never do, I would call it Awfully Chipper.” I think it’s a quote from Buffy, but it’s not the one I thought it was. I stick with it anyway, because nobody else’s blog is called it.
Why do you think Americans might be reading this blog anyway? Aren’t you as Irish as the fillet of cheddar?
I am certainly just exactly as Irish as the block of Kerrygold Dubliner I have in my fridge. Which is to say I originated there and now I live in the USA.
Why would you leave the home of your ancestors and the greenest place on earth to go and live with a bunch of hippies?
Okay, that’s just a bit rude, now. I have to consider the feelings of people on both sides of the ocean when blogging. I don’t want to offend anyone. Which is a bad way to run a blog, really, because giving offense guarantees readers. And just writing the word offense is taking sides, because the Irish would spell it offence but WordPress is putting a red line under that.
Well sure aren’t you the authority on how to spell things? And you didn’t answer my question.
I am a copy editor, sometimes, yes. I like accuracy in writing. But I don’t actually judge my friends on the grammar of their Facebook posts. I really don’t. Hardly ever.
I left Ireland for the oldest reason in the book: I followed a boy. He left Ireland first, it’s all his fault. Now I’m married to him and his job is the sort that is in a niche area that’s all but impossible to get employment in at home, so we’re here. And we have children who think they are American (it’s just a facade) and speak with an American accent (I don’t really hear it, so it’s not as weird as you might think) and have two passports each. I also have two passports now.
And are you a crazy hippie because you moved to America?
Nope. I’m a crazy hippie because it turns out that so-called crazy hippie childrearing things like low-intervention birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and extended (super extended) breastfeeding either appealed to me or to my babies and I went along with it. But as their babyhood recedes into the distance, my hippieness is no longer so obvious to the naked eye.
Are the people in America actually all crazy hippies?
Nope. In fact, they think Europeans are much crazier-hippier than they are. This worked to my advantage because I could think Americans would give me a pass for my odd behaviour because I was European, and my Irish friends and family would think I’d been infected by Americans and their strange ways.
So what are Americans like, then?
They’re people, you know. Some of them are crazy and most of them are normal. Just like everywhere else.
This is very long and I have to go and pick up the kids soon. Can we stop now?
I suppose so. If they have any more questions they can ask me in the comments, but probably they won’t.
I’ll let them know. Thanks for talking to me.
Any time. It’s been real.