Christmas is a magical time of year. It might only be mid-November, but the rush has already begun to get everything perfect and to start picking up gifts. When there are kids in the house, the holiday can become all about them, and less about the adults in the house. They definitely deserve some love too. If you’ve got friends who have recently become parents, or have been cohabitating with tiny humans for a while, here are a few suggestions for Christmas gift ideas they’re bound to love.
That time of year is rolling around again all too quick. The evenings are getting darker, the clocks have gone back, you’re having to put the heating on. And the toy ads, oh the toy ads are INCESSANT. On one hand, it’s great to have the Santa card to pull out when your three year old is having a meltdown about nothing at all. On the other, the pressure of getting it right and making it a lovely Christmas that everyone will remember happily is quite another. Advent calendars are something I remember from childhood as being great for getting into the festive mood (those and the Folens annuals!).
However, in my childhood, they were the chocolate-a-day type, which in our house will not go down well. It’s not that we don’t like chocolate – as my waistline will attest – but more so our lack of wanting to give chocolate to the three year old. He doesn’t react well to the sugar, it makes him crazy, and the festive season is crazy enough. So, for parents like me who wish to dodge the chocolate bullet but want to take part in the Advent Calendar joy, here’s some of the best store-bought sugar free (ie not confectionary) versions for kids I’ve seen.
This week, a news story hit that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has begun to use a robot for educating their students on the physical elements of childbirth. The news video included some (debatably creepy looking) footage of the robot in practice. Lucina, Ireland’s only “birthing mannequin”, has been purchased for €75,000 to benefit the surgical education of the future doctors taught in RCSI. The reaction to this news story has been mixed, to say the least. Some are horrified at the idea of a robot being used to teach doctors how to work in a childbirth setting. Others find it a genius idea which will likely improve outcomes for future patients as the educational tool will prove beneficial to the doctors in their training. So, what exactly is the reasoning behind the robot, what is it likely to teach that our current system doesn’t have, and is it all a bit of space age nonsense?
In late September, the three of us jetted off on our first family holiday as a trio. As it was Eliott’s first time on a plane, we decided to not go too mad – or rather, we decided to throw caution (and everything else) to the wind, and opt for an 18 hour flight each way and headed to sunny South Africa. It was a wonderful trip, one which I will definitely be writing more on, but it was definitely an educational trip in more ways than one. I feel incredibly lucky to not only be able to go on this kind of trip myself, but also to expose my child at the age of three to a whole different world of things – different weather, different cultures, foods, experiences. We stayed in Durban while we were there and found it to be overwhelmingly child friendly. I would thoroughly recommend it for people with kids, as it’s got so much for them to do, and playgrounds at every corner. However, if you’re thinking about traveling to South Africa with kids, there are a few things you need to have with you.
Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.
There’s a song in the movie Mamma Mia which might have drawn a tear or two since becoming a parent. In the middle of the movie, Meryl Streep is watching her fully-grown daughter prepare for her wedding, and singing this song as the scene plays out. The song itself, “Slipping Through My Fingers” was written about ABBA members’ Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog’s 7 year old daughter. It sums up the feelings of watching our kids grow up so fast and not being able to grab them back in for a cuddle on your lap, or a snuggle to sleep to keep the baby days going. It’s gorgeous, and right now, it feels very apt for the stage I’m at with Eliott.
It’s World Breastfeeding Week, which means it’s time to celebrate all that is good and great about supporting women feeding their babies. It’s not something I feel particularly well-experienced in to write much about. My experience revolved around 9 weeks of supplementing, of panic and of not enough support – not exactly a ringing endorsement. There’s definitely a lot I’ve learned since that if there’s another baby will be put into practice to make it a better experience for everyone. However, in celebration of the boob-tastic women who fuel their kiddies themselves, here is a stash of breastfeeding resources which I have found to be EXCELLENT when it comes to all things boob.
Childcare is often declared to be the second mortgage of many homes. Personally, it makes up almost as much as our rent per month, and we only have one child. It’s a major outlay and can really have some families in a bind as to whether both parents working is actually financially worth it. The price of childcare differs dependent on your needs and what form parents use – au pairs, creche, montessori, in house childminders, childminders in their own homes, grandparents and family members. So, how do we ensure we have affordable childcare?
Childhood and teen years are somewhat through a different lens these days. The impact of introducing technology into their hands at a young age has been to change their technical ability, but also opened a whole world up to them that previous generations could only dream about. At our fingertips, we are literally able to find the answers to life’s big questions (Thank you, Google), speak to others around the world and discover things we never would have known about before. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube – they’ve opened our eyes to a much wider world. It’s an amazing powerful thing – but, with great power comes great responsibility!
I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately to fill the void of shows that aren’t on over the Summer. I’ve been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy since the early days and though I fell away from it for a while, I’m straight back in there now. It’s the perfect mish-mash of funny, serious and damn heartbreaking. I’m invested in these people like they’re real, they’ve been a part of my life for a decade.
While re-watching, I’ve noticed in some bits that they’re referring perfectly to how life with a toddler is. So, here’s 14 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to parent a toddler.