On the 24th of March 2014, I became a mother. At 7.05 am, my son was born by emergency caesarean section. Since that moment, my life has changed forever. It’s been a tough journey at times, but it’s also been so, so rewarding. And now he’s three. THREE. A proper “big boy”, there’s no baby left here.
So, what is he like at Three? I really liked the framework of the linky post I took part in recently with Awfully Chipper, so I’m going to use the same for him here. So, here’s a snapshot of my little boy, as he turns three years old. (more…)
I’ve lived in Cork City since 2009, meaning that this year is my 7th year here. In 2014 I gave birth to my son, which meant that I started to view the city in a whole new light – accessibility was a very real issue and I started to see just how accessible and inaccessible certain places were with regards to wielding my buggy around. I looked in envy at Mama’s whose babies were happy in a sling or structured carrier, as I wasn’t able to do the same thanks to a back injury and a disagreeable kiddo. I began to structure my almost daily wanders around where was best to have the buggy with me. It’s changed the way I look at the city, and am constantly on a search for different places to go, so in the nature of sharing the wealth, here is my guide to Baby Friendly places in Cork City in 2017.
Ah, television, the great divider of opinion. I, along with many parents, prior to becoming a mother was a “My child won’t watch it” type. All I can say to my former self is Ha. Ha. Ha. We worship at the church of Netflix some days to get by, it’s just how life is when it’s hectic and the toddler needs distraction so we can make dinner. However, that doesn’t mean I’m happy to stick him in front of just anything – there’s definitely stuff I don’t want him watching.
Since E doesn’t really watch conventional television, most of his watching is Youtube or Netflix based, which makes things a bit easier to monitor. I’ve been thinking a lot more lately about the content of what he’s watching, and after taking a look, have found a lot of options both entertaining AND educational. So, here are 9 Educational Shows that will appease both parent and child on Netflix.
The boy child is nearly three. He’s at that brilliant age where he’s a proper little human who you can actually have a conversation with. Okay, so his topics are limited and almost always come back to Fireman Sam or Paw Patrol, but we’re getting somewhere. He’s managing this whole new grown-up-toddler thing alongside his Tyrant-In-Training gig, so it’s a fine balance we have to work with. He tells me he’s a big boy (or a big girl, dependent on the day, we’re leaving him to figure it out), we’re half way to toilet training and I’m given a spark of joy each time he makes me a “cuppa-coffeee” from his toy kitchen. These are the good days.
On a lot of Christmas lists this year sit requests for new technology devices. The market has soared over the last few years and it’s led to a decrease in price and uptake in use by younger and younger users. Tablets and smart phones are incredible tools and are high on the wish lists of many young teens (and perhaps younger kids). However, they’re also something that parents can’t hand over lightly, which can create some worry when it’s number one on the Santa list. If iOS Devices (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) are on your kid’s wishlist this Christmas, here are some tips to ensure they stay safe, while enjoying their new tech.
When E was born, I was keeping an open mind when it came to breastfeeding. I’d told myself it wasn’t a big deal if I wasn’t able to do it. However, I Â found it incredible to be able to feed my baby myself. From the beginning, E was fed using a mixture of boob feeds and pumped feeds. I was advised by medical staff in hospital that supplementing his milk would be necessary to up his weight. As much as possible, I wanted to stick to breast milk as I knew it was best for baby. So I pumped. I found it incredible to be able to see the liquid gold in front of me, and ensure my baby got the goodness. It also meant that his Daddy or grandparents could do a feed, while I got some well needed rest.
I’m a big advocate of the internet and how it has enhanced my experience as a mother. Through my online communities on Facebook and beyond, I’ve met some incredible parents who have shared their experiences. I’ve made fantastic friends who I never would have met otherwise. I’ve had conversations late into the night about the frustrations of motherhood and been made to feel less like I’m going crazy and more like I belong. I have found my village. It’s a wonderful resource, a fantastic element which many people find essential to their daily lives. However, with all great power (the power of the online community), comes great responsibility, and I feel that this is something which can be easily ignored in the heat of the sleep-deprived moment.
As a thank you to the lovely readers and folks who have been liking my Facebook and Twitter pages, I’ve teamed up with Baby Elegance this week for a giveaway. As someone who spends rather too much time looking for different things to buy to make parenting a baby (now a toddler) easier, I spent rather a lot of time on their website, so was thrilled to hear from them.
Getting out and about with your baby or toddler can either be a joy or an ordeal, it depends on the day. Some days everything goes great, you’ve got that child who smiles and is happy. Others it’s more like bringing the Spawn Of Satan to Tesco, or worse, a full on trip into town. In the two and a half years I’ve had a tiny posse, we’ve definitely had a mixture of the two. Days can be made or ruined by little things – not having the stuff you need in the bag, people not moving out of the buggy spots on the bus, and one of my pet peeves, lack of appropriate changing areas. I’ve written before about my list of baby friendly places to grab a coffee or some food in Cork City, and have been told others found it helpful. Sudocrem recently ran their Baby Changing Room Awards 2016 and I’m thrilledto see some of my favourites on their list! Here are my top six places to head when baby needs changing and I’m out and about in Cork (city and suburbs).
It’s been a while since I’ve written much about the little man. It’s not that he’s not been around, he certainly has been, it’s just been manic and monotonous at the same time. Parenting seems to ebb and flow in and out of a Groundhog Day situation. We have the same routines, the same arguments, watching the same episodes of Paw Patrol until I can recite them. The more things change, the more things stay the same. He’s changing, but doing it on the sly, while I’m not looking. He wakes up an inch or two taller. He comes home from creche with new words. He’s half way to five, I realised the other day. Half way to schoolbag on his back, out the door, being a proper little person.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
It’s been a hectic few weeks with being away and trying to get back into the swing of things with E – September was a rollercoaster! However, back to normal scheduling now, so that means another addition to Mental Health Monday! This week, the very lovely Laura from Raising Elves has agreed to share her tale of trauma, depression and how it has affected her family life with the series. It’s a piece I found myself agreeing with a lot of and it summed up just so much of what being in the trenches with depression can feel like. As a parent with depression, I can see a lot of the same elements in my own life and it gave me pause to think about how it is impacting his life too. It’s an eyeopening read which I think a lot of people will relate to. So, without further fuss or ado, here’s Laura with her tale of being an awesome depression survivor!
I am not a fan of bedtime. The child going to bed, yes, perfectly happy with that (what parent isn’t?) but it’s an ordeal at the moment. No matter what kind of routine we try to put in place, it’s a bit of a non-runner. Basically my two year old has skipped childhood and gone straight to the teenage years. Refuses to sleep until late at night, is a GRUMP in the mornings and doesn’t want to listen to a word I say. I’ve not yet gone seeking a refund from the midwives in CUMH just yet but I’ve been close. However, the one bit I do like of the whole farcical routine is curling up with bedtime stories and reading together. It’s a nice time for the two of us and once I’ve got the books that I can’t stand out of the way (I’m talking to you Stickman!), it can be nice and relaxing. So, what have we been reading lately? A mesh of old and new books on the shelves, some I’ve spoken about before, but this is what the two and a half year old is loving right now (and I’m not tearing my hair out reading).
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
After a few weeks break, Mental HealthÂ Mondays is back this week. Sharing stories of parents who have encountered all sorts of mental health issues, I hope that this series will educate, reassure and work towards removing the stigma of mental illness encountered by parents. The reception to it so far has been astounding, I’ve been really grateful to so many who have taken part, and to those who have read and commented and given feedback. It’s all about opening the lines of communication, removing the elephant in the room and making it a better space for people to be able to put their hand up and say “Hey, I need a bit of help here”. If you’ve not seen any of the previous posts, make sure to check them out here.
This week, Aoife from BuggyWalksIreland is talking all about the links between physical and mental health. She discusses the links to her increase in physical activity, like going for walks, to the upward levels of calm and happiness. This is something which definitely rang true with me, as I found no greater calm than putting E into the buggy and heading off on a long walk. The fresh air, the endorphins, the lack of four walls closing in on me – it did the world of good and definitely improved my view on the world.Â So without further intro, here’s Aoife and her story for this weeks Mental Health Mondays post.
My toddler is a curious fellow, an ever changing personality. I’d point out some manufacturing flaws (the lack of love of sleep, the mess) but I did make him myself so I’ve nobody else to really blame. However, flaws aside, he does provide me with endless entertainment, a new perspective on life and some thoughts on the kind of old age home he’ll be paying for to make up for the 5am wakeup calls. Something new changes every day – whether it’s learning new words, or stringing together sentences, or managing to scoot through the entire apartment flawlessly – he’s an ever growing lovely little thing.
If I’m asked to describe him, there’s no real single word I could choose, there are too many things to just pick one. I quite enjoyed a similar post about myself that I did last summer, so here’s a look at an A-Z of my toddler, a bit of a fun idea to capture a little snapshot of him in time, right now, aged 2 and a quarter.
You know those summer days where the fates all align and allow you to actually go and do something nice together as a family? We had one of those last Friday, so decided we would head to Fota Wildlife Park and make the most of the weather. At two, E is animal mad – he knows all the noises, he knows the names and was very excited about the concept of going to see all the animals. In particular, the cows. Ahem. Once we had him corrected to realise that it would be more lions and monkeys, rather than farm animals, we were set to go!
That quote about the best laid plans of mice and men? Someone definitely had spent time with a toddler that week. I’ve got the Monday blues, looking back at all of the things I had wanted to do last week, to do this week, feeling utterly muddled.
Last week, E underwent the procedure to have grommets fitted. I initially wrote about my worries about him needing this procedure because words like “general anaesthetic” and my tiny toddler (who appears all the tinier when such things are mentioned) played on my mind. E has had chronic ear infections since he was a few months old. At times I’ve described him as a “walking ear infection”.
For all but one of these infections (and we’re into double digits), he’s needed an antibiotic or two to kick it fully – not ideal on his little developing immune system. So the procedure in my mind, while scary, was wholly necessary to rid my boy of his painful and incessant infections. As with most things in this parenting lark, I went hunting online for information, and while I found forum posts and answers from other parent friends useful, the focus on information about these things was aimed at the child patient rather than the parents. So using what I’ve learned, here’s a bit of a guide to the whole grommets procedure, in the hopes that some other parent will find it of use when trying to prepare for it with their child.
It’s decided, it’s set. Next week, after an unpredicted break of 16 months, I’ll be headed back into the workforce. Back to the (hopefully, for the next while at least) 9-5 grind. After more than a year out of the game, I’ll be ditching my comfy hoodie and walking shoes and donning my more appropriate work clothes, dropping E at creche and contributing to society. I’m headed back to being a working mother. It’s a good change.
I live with a dictator. Things are rarely on my terms, but on those of the short angry man I live with. His physical force rules the household, a fear of waking up to a variety of MMA moves on my head, the destruction of the living room a daily reality. There are days where I feel in control, but within minutes it can come crumbling down and we are under the thumb again. He practices techniques like water boarding (using a milk bottle, chewed through) and sleep deprivation, makes us ponder escape methods, ways to run away and change our identities.
Choosing childcare is difficult and time-consuming. There is a lot to be thought about; flexibility of employers and of the childcare options, cost, how your child is with strangers, proximity to childcare options and workability of it into your commute to work in the morning… the list goes on and on. There are lots of different options that may be available; childminder (in or out of your home), au pair, Montessori, creche, family friend/family member. There are pros and cons to all of them (particularly when it comes to cost and flexibility; some work out better than others!), but it will be down to your circumstances and wants as to what option you will end up going for. If that option happens to be creche, then welcome to the gang.
The word feminist is bandied around a lot, and there seems to be a lot of puzzlement about the actual meaning of the word “feminist” in a lot of cases. There are mental images of underwire on fire, talk of hairy women wanting men out of every powerful position. The words “feminize”, or worse “feminist bitches”, are bandied about and it seems that any replies to “banter” that call that behaviour out are taken in a remarkably negative way. This is the world we live in, and the world I am raising my son in.
If you missed it on Wednesday night, a rather incendiary debate kicked off on Brendan O Connor’s new current affairs show “Cutting Edge”. In response to a rather thought provoking piece from writer Louise O Neill, which spoke about how being a woman did not necessarily mean you wanted kids, Niamh Horan added her two cents. The piece from O Neill had put forward the idea that women who choose not to exercise their womb are thought of as selfish. In response to this, Horan, who is of the same age bracket, commented that in her opinion it is the parents who have their children but leave them in childcare, creches, while they head out to work, who are the selfish ones. It is, she said, the children who are suffering for their mother’s need to “have it all”.
I’ve described my son as a walking ear infection in the past. The poor pet, he seems to go from antibiotic to antibiotic, frequent flyer in the doctors office, coughing like a 50 a day smoker but a trooper throughout. I remember ear aches from childhood – there are few pains like it, and I look at him, happy and active while according to the doctor he’s suffering from a bad infection. Recently it became obvious that something would need to be done – likely grommets, and so the path to getting them done was begun. It starts with the hearing test.