Colum Mooney Photo by: April Drew

The Irish Homecoming - No bark, but lots of bite! - a trip to the park that will not be forgotten


Colum Mooney Photo by: April Drew

“Why weren’t you looking?” I was asked in a not-so-friendly tone.

“I was tired,” I grumbled.

Anyway, I parked up the car and went to work. I work as a sign language interpreter traveling the length and breadth of Ireland when needed. This particular Monday I had a job in Limerick.

I was a little disheveled. The hair wasn’t combed very well earlier in the morning, the make-up was slapped on and I forgot the perfume. I threw on a forgiving oversized purple dress (I think it may even have been an old maternity one) and an old pair of boots.

I got through the morning (after two Diet Cokes) okay. I had an hour off for lunch and I needed to move my car from where I parked it. Apparently clamping was a given if I overstayed my time limit.

The walk to the car was approximately 20 minutes. I had finally woken up. The air was fresh and there was a slight nip in it.

As I strolled briskly I could feel several people look at me funnily as I went by them. I really must look a mess I thought to myself, not really caring though. I was about a minute away from the car when finally a nice young thing approached me and said, “Excuse me, but I just want to tell you you’re dress is stuck in your knickers.”

“Whattttttt,” I screeched in mortification.

I quickly looked down at my right side, and sure enough the purple old rag dress was nicely tucked into my knickers and the whole word could see my right leg all the way up. A quick pull and it was released back into place again. Could I be more embarrassed, and it was only lunchtime!

I thanked the young girl and scurried off in the direction of my car. Embarrassment turned into laughter and for the remainder of my foot journey to the car I couldn’t stop myself from giggling. I then got looks from passers-by. I’m sure they thought I was missing a few shillings.

I returned to work for the afternoon and for the most part (aside from missing two steps and tripping up on an indoor stairs) it was incident free.

When I returned to day care to collect the children I was met with a few scornful faces.

First they informed me that both kids were sick – there was a bug going around the school -- and it was probably best “to keep them home tomorrow” and the news got worse.

One of the staff pulled me out of Colum’s ear shot and said he had an incident with one of the other kids.

How many incidents could the Mooney family have in one day I thought, before asking what they meant?

“Well, I’m sure he didn’t mean it but he was playing with one of the other boys outside and he bit his leg,” the room supervisor said.

“Oh no, he was bitten again,” I said.

“Oh no April, Colum is okay but HE bit the boy in the leg.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then the apologies started.

“Oh my God I’m shocked, especially after what happened him in the park,” I mumbled.

“I’m so sorry.  I hope ye disciplined him for it.”

They didn’t.

“We’re sure he was only fooling around and didn’t mean it, or maybe he is teething,” she said.

And there it was, the effort to make me feel better. They knew full well that my little man was being a right brat. He knows that biting a human is totally out of order but he did it anyway.

I continued to apologize and they accepted it over and over again.

I’m sure Colum’s little victim went home crying to his parents on Monday night about the bold little boy at the crèche who took a chunk out of his leg -- okay I’m exaggerating again -- but I hope when it comes to going back to day care that the little boy won’t be afraid of my son.

So there you have it. The words “they all do it” to the father that day in the park came back to bite me, too!


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