This year will be my second Mothers Day. I live in hope that it will run more smoothly than the first, as last year it was my first day out of hospital, I was a fish out of water and wasn’t taking to it very well. This year, I’ve managed to adjust to being a Mammy, adjust to the sleep deprivation, and get on with it, so I’ve got high hopes. I’ve got even higher hopes of 11 month old E learning to read so he can see this list and choose from it wisely. In the essence of the day that is in it, here are a few ideas for spoiling your mother/the mother of your child this Mothers Day.
The tiny tyrant is on the move. It started with rolling (NEVER to be ignored on the sofa), then a rather pathetic attempt at crawling where he drags himself along the floor, and now it’s gone to pulling himself up to standing. He is immensely proud. I am having mini heart attacks. (more…)
I see an awful lot of 5.30ams these days. Previously, I would have looked on this as a time only acceptable from the other side; no sane person would ever willingly be up and awake at that hour, out of warm cosy bed and dealing with the freezing cold morning. These days however I come equipped with an alarm clock that can’t be silenced, as much as I shush him and attempt to grapple five more minutes of sleep, he is in control of the sleep and having gone to bed at 9pm the night before, he’s happily all done with that. Really, I should start going to bed that early myself… (more…)
This is not a broody post. Promise. This is also definitely not an indication that another sprog will be entering the equation any time soon; no siree, we are a family of three and happy that way for the foreseeable (20:20 vision) future. The things I do not miss about being pregnant (a much longer list) have certainly made that one definite – that and the fact that I’ve yet to discover the sleepful nights, no nappies part of this parenting craic, nor proved myself able to keep something alive for more than a year. That’s definitely a goal I should attempt to meet before deciding the first one went well so another would be grand. It didn’t work out so well for any plant I’ve ever owned (god love that aloe vera, it takes effort to kill those…) but he seems to be faring well. Anyway, point made, this is a broody but not broody post, inspired by a pregnancy announcement by a lovely blogger friend of mine.
It’s done. We’ve managed to complete a whole week without a nighttime co-sleep. While this was indeed helped by the fact that Nanny and Grandad took over for the weekend while Mammy and Daddy got some well-earned party and date time, it’s done. It’s an achievement.
Speaking to a friend of mine the other day over tea, I was informed I’d have to make a list, when her time came to join the mammy-hood, of the essential things she’d need to have. I myself made use of many of these lists, including this one from the lovely Sinead at Bumbles of Rice. There are so many of them all over the internet, that you spend your pregnancy looking at, and worrying that you won’t have enough, or that you have too much (the more likely one). These, however, were my absolute must-haves; the survival kit which made life easier, which is definitely what you want when your world has been turned upside down by a tiny (cute) tyrant.
Ah reading, my old friend, the thing I used to do before my spare time was taken up with blogging, and singing “Ali Baba had a big farm” (to myself, sans child, before cursing myself for singing the bloody thing again). I was one of those children who literally devoured books – under the covers with a torch after bedtime, hiding them in school books to finish a chapter, even my go-to place in a toy shop, if lost, was the book section. I saw myself as a bit of a Matilda, minus the dysfunctional family and the magical powers, though I always envied the magic powers. Though life is now taken up more with watching things, and writing things, and saying I’ll get around to reading things, there is no denying that there is no better relaxation than curling up with a hot cup of tea, a duvet and a book you’re looking forward to reading.
In internet circles, I find myself surrounded by some of the most amazing inspiring people on a day to day basis. I interact with them in Facebook groups, on twitter, people I’ve never met in real life but have spoken to on a regular basis for the best part of a year. They are strong, courageous women (mostly) who have found themselves able to speak out about things that aren’t normally talked about; things considered taboo. Lately I’ve found myself wanting to say things in the same vein but have found myself afraid, not knowing exactly what to say, or how to say it, or whether I should say it at all. From authors who I really admire, the lovely Marian Keyes, to fellow parenting bloggers Karen and Suzy, these women have made me feel as if it is okay, which is exactly why I’m writing this now.
Today is the second day of August, the eighth month of the year. It’s almost a year to the day that I found out I was pregnant last year – that has simply flown. I sit here now with my gorgeous little man in my arms, accustomed to sleep deprivation, able to make up bottles with one hand and no longer disgusted by much of anything that may get on my person – dealing with baby explosions of all types will do that to you. Back then I was pure terrified – 21, not feeling like a grown up at all, much less a responsible one who would be in charge of making sure someone else had a good life. (To be fair, not much has changed there. Mammy guilt is ever present.)
I live in Cork City Centre, so spend the vast majority of my days wandering in and around the shops and side streets, wielding my not-so-tiny buggy with the tiny man inside. Generally we seem to follow the same pattern, occasionally meeting others for lunch, wandering around shops and looking at more things to clutter up the already overly-populated house with. (Homewares are my kryptonite. Especially the tiny tiny dishes). Some shops make it easier than others for people with buggies, or children in general to come in. There are a few clothes shops in particular inaccessible due to the lack of a lift, or awkwardly narrow aisles – and yes, I have been that Mammy trying to balance the display I’ve just hit with the buggy, hoping and praying that it won’t come crashing down. Dorothy Perkins, I’m looking at you.
Where I’ve found it most awkward however is actually going for lunch, or for coffee, with tiny humans attached. Pre-baby, I could text around and organise a coffee without a thought for where we should go – sure, all we needed was two chairs, they didn’t need to be comfortable or easily accessible, and a lot of the time my shortness was the only obstacle holding me back from the high stools. These days, the priorities are a tad different. As bad as pulling a display in a shop down is, places with hot food and beverages become ultimately dangerous if there isn’t enough room or they aren’t properly accessible, and so planning a coffee date with friends becomes something of military precision – especially if you’re looking for somewhere with decent coffee. However, over the last few months I’ve found a few places which have been absolutely fantastic and baby/ buggy friendly.
When I was in college, this was a sports bar. In its current form, it is still a bar but during the day serves a rather interesting menu – their sweet potato chips are to die for – and are extremely buggy friendly. There are two small steps (not the worst for the buggy steering by far) upon entrance, and they’ve always been quick to offer help with this. Theres a choice of different seating arrangements, we’ve always found an area down the back perfect for lunch with the buggy, or if its a nice day, which it has been quite a bit this summer, the outdoor area is absolutely lovely and is complete with a shaded area perfect for hiding away small eyes from the sun. They also serve Cork Coffee Roasters as their coffee, which is fantastic, as Cork Coffee Roasters themselves have the most anti-buggy set up I’ve ever seen (narrow, narrow cafe always overcrowded – its tough to manoeuvre even without a buggy) but have rather nice coffee. Quite a nice find.
If you’re down that end of the city on a weekday before 4pm, Cafe Gusto is a lovely little pit stop. While having more reduced opening hours than its Washington St sister, it is infinitely easier to get around with a buggy and it is possible to sit on the high stools and have room for the buggy behind you. Alternatively, as with the last choice, if it is a sunny day there is a gorgeous outdoor area looking out onto the River Lee where you can sit and while the hours away. Their pastries are also lovely (Pre-diet me recommends the carrot cake with one of their lattes for a super happy experience).
It’s in the dead centre of town, serves a brunch until 4pm with the nicest sausages I’ve ever found in Cork, and you can browse baby clothes and makeup downstairs to your hearts content. I’ve been a fan of this place long before tiny tyrant came along, but it was only when I became one of the buggy wielders than I realised how good it was. There are lovely wide aisles, room to place buggies beside tables without getting in anybody’s way, and if you’ve got older kids as well as having a kids lunch special, they’ve got a somewhat play area corner. Do watch out for the predatory Pixi Foto reps who will tell you your child is gorgeous and ploy for your money (unless this is something you’re interested in).
Another place perfect for tea and cake. I have also seen staff members being called to assist customers with their trays if they have a buggy with them – its not happened to me as I tend to leave the buggy with the other person while I go up and grab, but its good to note. My only downside to this place is that it taught me the fast way how to precisely steer the buggy – their lift exits off into the homewares department, into the many breakable crockery sets – I really do wonder about the thought behind that, putting narrow aisles with lots of expensive breakables in a place thats meant to be more accessible.. but apart from that, its a fab find.
Dunnes Stores Cafe
Another department store cafe, this one is on the top floor of the shop. It’s easily accessible via lift (or at a push those flat escalators). They’re absolutely lovely here and I’ve always found them really helpful. This one is definitely dependant on time of day as around lunch time it is packed, and can be difficult to find a place to sit with the buggy. However, when its not bursting at the seams full there is plenty of room. They drop food to the table if they see you with a buggy, which is fab and means no trying to wrestle tray and buggy.
Having used this as a pit stop many a time to feed tiny man, I’ve also been approached and asked if I’d like a top up on my tea or the food re-heated once I’d finished feeding, absolutely no rush on anyone to move on out as well which I found with some other places. Sandwiches, tea or cake readily available for reasonable prices as well.
Perry St Market Cafe
I’d never actually come across this place before another Mammy recommended it to me, it opened late last year in what is apparently a former night club, but is now serving as a rather lovely cafe. Big wide aisles mean this place is a hit with the buggy brigade as seen on any of my visits in there, as well as friendly staff and massive portions. Their main menu varies from day to day, but the real crown in their jewel is their dessert counter – absolutely unreal. Food is a bit more expensive than in other places mentioned, but I’ve not been disappointed yet.
Bodega has been a brilliant haunt of ours with a buggy in tow. As well as being accessible and having a changing table, they’re also really accomodating and kid friendly. Whether you’re looking for brunch, a scone and some tea or just a place to sip a coffee while baby naps, it’s got it. Make sure to get one of the comfy sofa-style seats and you’ll happily spend the afternoon!
This is one of our newest discoveries but I absolutely love it. The Good Day Deli is in the grounds of the gorgeous Nano Nagle Place and serves delicious food and coffee, while also being completely buggy accessible. It’s also in great grounds where older kids can roam about safely, allowing you to have your coffee in peace!
Those would be the top few places I’m likely to be found, buggy parked, coffee in hand. Have you got any suggestions? Leave a comment and share the wealth of knowledge!