10 Things You Might Start Saying If You Move to Northern Ireland

After spending 3 months (today!) here in Northern Ireland, we’ve learned a bunch of new ways to say things! Some of these are said all over the UK and some are specific to Northern Ireland. Either way, we didn’t say them before we came but now they’re becoming part of our regular vocabulary.
1. Wee
This is such a wonderful wee adjective and it is used to describe anything and everything! Obviously it means “small”, but it’s not always used to refer to small things. I’ve come to realize that it’s used in the same way Americans would say “little”.
Look at her wee dress! My wee man is 6 months old. We took a wee drive up the coast and had a wee ice cream. There’s a wee parent/toddler group on Thursdays. Would anyone like a wee tea or coffee? We’ve also heard people refer to their children as “wee’uns” (wee ones).
2. In Good Form
This phrase is used to talk about someone who’s in a good mood, usually a child. Recently a friend was telling me that her child had stayed up late but was still “in good form”. I think it’s more than the kid just being in a good mood; it means the child is generally behaving well too.
3. I’ll Say to Him
This one I love because it is so literal. This might be something Americans would say but (at least in the Midwest) I’m used to hearing the phrase “I’ll tell him”.
“I’ll say to him now about dinner on Saturday.”
4. “would be…”
I think we all know the common uses for would, like “He said he would do his homework.” and “We would always go to Grandma’s for Christmas.” But here in N.I. I’ve noticed an additional use that seems like it’s interchangeable with the present tense. Instead of saying “I’m hungry too”, people say “I would be hungry too.” Or, “She would have brown hair” to describe someone who currently has brown hair. People ask us, “Would you be in Northern Ireland until December?” …yes, we would be! (we are!)
5. Aubergine/Courgette
These words may look French to the average American and it turns out, they are! I was recently served tea in a cup with a round purple vegetable painted on it and I exclaimed, “Oh! An eggplant!” Everyone looked at me weird and that’s when I learned that, here in Northern Ireland, it’s not an eggplant but an aubergine (OH-ber-zheen). That makes an ordinary eggplant seem extraordinary doesn’t it? And another, courgette (coor-ZHET), which turns your average zucchini into something fancy.
6. “So they are/ So he does”
It seems that everyone we know ends their sentences with a wee recap of what they just said. My son loves to ride his bike so he does. They’re going away for the weekend so they are. I’m cooking dinner tonight so I am. It’s also used in the negative (“He doesn’t work anymore so he doesn’t.”) and in the past tense (“We used to have a cat so we did.”). This is one of my favorites!
7. Surname
This one is a simple enough adjustment for us and is used to talk about someone’s last name. I just like saying it because it sounds so much more proper than “last name”.
8. Trousers
This one’s important. In my American world, trousers are pants. In Northern Ireland, pants are what you wear underneath your trousers. Our friends say, “Oh we know what you mean because we watch American TV!” But still, I don’t want to get caught telling someone I like their pants 🙂
9. “What age is he?”
This just means, “how old is he?” and is often used in conjunction with “What do you call him?” (What’s his name?). Both of these are easy to transition to and i quickly adjusted my small talk with other moms to include these phrases.
10. “Half Ten on the 15th of May”
Telling time here in Northern Ireland is a bit different. Instead of ten thirty, you say half ten. 7:15 is not seven fifteen, but rather “a quarter past seven”. And 1:35 isn’t one thirty-five, but “twenty-five to two”. The date is also switched around from what I’m used to. My birthday isn’t July 26th, but the 26th of July! Most of the world positions their months and days like this, so it’s really we Americans who are doing it backward!
So there you have it! Our updated vocabulary. This list doesn’t include words that are just pronounced differently like fillet, vehicle, or tomato, or the whole host of baby-related words that are different. I could write a whole separate post on those!

A Toddler’s Morning

I wake up and the house is quiet.  My nightlight is still on, but I don’t need it anymore because the sun is looking in my window.  The house is way too quiet.  I need to make a little noise because I think sometimes that I might forget how if I don’t practice.

“DADDY-O DAAAADDDYY-O” I start to sing.  My mommy and daddy have told me I have a beautiful voice, and they’re always trying to get me to sing for my grandparents so I expect they will be so happy to hear me this morning. I keep singing, getting louder and longer until my door squeaks open. It is the very person I was singing about! The door’s squeaking always surprises me. “Daddy, you scared me!” I say and giggle as he climbs into my big boy bed.  I love to snuggle Daddy in the mornings, and I love it when the prickles on his chin make me laugh! We snuggle for one million hours, and Daddy starts to snore a little bit. I hold his face and ask, “Daddy, can you talk?” With no response, I decide to go find Mommy and brother.  (Brother is usually awake after I poke him in the head a few times.) I just have to step softly on Daddy’s prickles so they don’t tickle my feet. I jump to the floor and run for the door. I am so fast! I can’t help it, I try to whisper, “quickly, quickly”, and head for Mommy’s door.  I reach for the door and Daddy picks me up.  I try to squirm down, but he’s really strong.  He asks me if I want breakfast. “Yeah! Yeah I do want breakfast! I want cupcakes and crisps!” I say it as nicely as I have ever said anything. Daddy is silly, he thinks I am yelling at him, so I show him what yelling sounds like.

I start to eat eggs and bacon and potatoes and then I see a toy car and I go get it. Obviously I am still eating, because there is food on my plate, but Daddy tries to take my plate to the kitchen.  He thinks I am yelling again, so I show him again what yelling sounds like.  Then I hear my brother! He’s awake! He’s so little and fun and I love to lay on him and roll around with him and play with him! He is just my size.  “Daddy, my brother is awake!” Daddy gets my brother and I am so excited when they come down the stairs.  We both start laughing! I try to help my brother get down from Daddy but Daddy thinks its time for me to finish eating my breakfast.  We finish our breakfast and then play on the rug. I zoom my cars and blocks past my brothers face so fast that he giggles.  We are all wrestling on the mat and then I hear the stairs squeak.

I am so excited! My Mommy is coming! “I’m Mommy’s boy!” I shout. I jump into her arms and bury my hands into her beautiful long hair.  I pull it and rub it on my face.  I am so happy!

Daddy says something to Mommy that sounds like, “Can you believe it’s only 7:45?”

On Being Perfect

A lot of people think I’ve got my life “together”. Maybe I do, maybe i don’t.
But as it turns out, I fail every single day.
I’m the girl who once drove off with a glass casserole dish on the roof of her car and, yep, it shattered into a thousand pieces in the middle of an intersection. One time I walked into the bedroom only to catch my 5 month old who was LITERALLY FALLING out of his swing because I didn’t buckle him in. I usually wait until dirty dishes cover every available counter space before i start washing them. I get irritable with my kids and seem to lose my patience every single day. Sometimes I feel like I try so hard to be perfect that my imperfections stand out even more.
You know what I’m starting to realize though?
No one is perfect except for The One.
I’m so grateful for God’s perfection because it’s super hard trying to be something you’re not. Understanding His perfection helps me to accept his grace in my moments of failure. It also encourages me to show grace to my own kids when my fuse is running short.
Because you know what else I’m starting to realize?
Raising kids is just as much about teaching yourself how to be a good person as it is about teaching them. 11108219_3411021752966_6257950281463444392_n
Sometimes (a lot of times) i need a wake-up call to notice my own self-centeredness. It’s not just my kids who are being selfish, but me too. It’s not just my 2 year old wanting his way RIGHT NOW, but me too. It’s not just the baby wanting to be fed RIGHT NOW, but me too (I get hungry).
Just as Christ set himself aside to love us, so we must also set ourselves aside to love our kids and show them grace.
I’m not perfect. God is.
He shows me grace. I (am learning to) show my kids grace.