It’s strange how these things go. Through the 40 (37 in my case) weeks of pregnancy on a first baby, time drags, it slows down, yet once that tiny bundle is placed in your arms, time races forward as if to make up the difference. It’s a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time, though some of those endless sleepless nights feel like the clock is going backwards. I’m suddenly the owner of an 18 month old, a boy, not a baby, and I’m terrified to blink again in case he heads off to college while I’m not looking.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts; life has gotten a bit hectic lately with all the moving, the broadband battle and solo parenting while himself was working across the water. Now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can at least manage to sit and take a minute to figure out what exactly has been keeping me sane this month! Instead of doing a weekly roundup as part of the linky hosted by the fab butwhymummywhy, lets make this one for the whole month, my September Little Loves! (more…)
Consent. It’s the hot topic word of the moment, being flitted around the media, around the twitter sphere, with differing opinions from many people from many walks of life, stretching over different generations. The publication of Louise O Neill’s “Asking For It” has sparked a debate that isn’t going away any time soon. More recently, Hollyoaks has run a successful campaign peering into what exactly consent is, and what it isn’t. The concept should be simple; do both of these people want to have sexual intercourse, or any sexual contact with each other, and are they of a mental capacity to make such a decision? However, as we all know, nothing in life is simple, nothing is ever black and white and it is in the shades of grey where we find our current situation in Ireland.
The concept of rape culture is something that was probably first highlighted to me around the time of the furore around that “Blurred Lines” song – it’s not that my life had been in a massive bubble from it, but rather it had never been pointed out in such a way that it had a name, that it was a thing, not just a part of normal life. Things previously seen as “banter” or “just being lads” began to be framed in a whole new, less rose tinted, light. I consider myself extremely lucky in this regard, that it isn’t something that had hit me personally, that it wasn’t something on my radar. I remember being horrified hearing the details of the Steubenville case, the victim blaming, where society didn’t look at the horrific acts suffered by the victim but rather the damage to the reputations of these “promising young men” and the ruination of their futures, as if their “indiscretion” shouldn’t be something they needed to face up to, and one girl shouldn’t get to ruin their lives. This wasn’t the first case in the US in recent years where this was the premise; Savannah Dietrich from Kentucky, was assaulted and recorded in 2011, and faced her “justice” as her attackers having their records expunged by the age of 19 and a half, despite her having to live with their actions for the rest of her life, then faced potential incarceration herself for breaking a gag order by naming them online as her attackers. As a long term fan of shows such as Law and Order SVU, I’d seen time and time again the “ripped from the headlines” stories where girls and women who had been violated were unable to win a case against their attacker as much of the time, it came down to a “he said, she said”, and often, she wasn’t believed. It wasn’t until the Slane Girl debacle, almost a year after the Steubenville case that we got to see it hit our shores here, the difference in attitudes and the ruination of reputation and impact of social media in how we perceive sexual conduct in society. There were no Slane Boys, there was no shaming of them for their actions which were equal to that of the young woman involved. Instead we saw a public “slut-shaming”, photos going viral over social media, a drunken mistake displayed to the world and in an instant ruining a reputation and a life. It is with these cases, and others like them in mind, that Louise O Neill wrote the powerful “Asking for It”.
This week I turned twenty four. An age that I used to think would be one where I’d have my life together, all figured out. It seems like a properly grown up age, doesn’t it? On paper, I guess I do have that life together. I’ve found a very lovely man, with whom I live in a very lovely apartment, with our (not biased at all here) very adorable toddler. I even work for a company who while I won’t go as far as describing them as very lovely, do treat their employees with decent conditions and some rather lovely perks. I’ve been to university, attained my degree and an education on top of it which didn’t happen in the classroom or lecture hall but rather in the rainy cold mornings spent working towards something Student Union related, or the late night “tired and emotional” chats enjoyed with Lennoxes chips. I live in a city which I now consider home (not quite “home home”, but getting there) after six years here, it’s given me my accent, my love of tea and my life as it currently stands. As far as things go, it’s not a half bad way to be at 24.
I didn’t learn to drive when everyone else I knew did – most of the girls in my year by sixth year had their car/the car they shared with a sister or other family member, some even so skilled they’d gotten rid of their L plates and were happily scooting around at weekends, heading off gallivanting to nowhere in particular. I spent many an evening the summer after my Leaving Cert driving around Waterford and south Kilkenny, for no reason rather than just something to do, somewhere to be, blasting out Rascal Flatts “Life is a Highway”. Soon after, I moved to Cork city, and the need to drive vanished. It became something other friends who didn’t live in the city did, sure it was small enough to walk everywhere and I was now blessed with the presence of regular public transport. It is amazing how grateful for crappy public transport a rural upbringing can make you.
Six years, three house moves, numerous job changes and a toddler later, I am a defeated woman. It is time, nay, TIME for me to get my ass into gear (not literally) and get behind the wheel. (more…)
I’m sitting writing this in my new apartment, praying that my data package from my iPhone holds out (how much data could a blog post take up?) since we’ve been informed that our broadband provider won’t be sending someone around until at least next Monday. I’m surrounded by most of our belongings, some unpacked, some still in boxes – the remains in the other place which we still have the keys to until Thursday. The joys of moving house.
It’s been a long journey here, and the settling in period isn’t proving any less stressful. It’s like a pregnancy in a way, now we’re into the fourth trimester of the house move, we’ve the shiny new baby apartment, and we have to figure out the best way to do things from here. I’m about as good at house hunting stress as I am at pregnancy (i.e.: crap) so I am very, very glad it’s over and done with. I didn’t realise just how much of an issue our toddler, loud and lively as he is, would be with certain landlords. One even refused to outright say it, but did attempt (very blatantly) to talk me out of living in her house – and berated me for my lack of driving skill in the process. We didn’t get the house we intended to get, we are in apartment land again, but we’re now on the ground floor in a lovely professionally run place so I’m happy. (more…)
I admit, my knowledge of politics in the Middle East, and the horrific atrocities which are happening in the name of civil war and fundamentalist misinterpretation of religion is sparse. This is partially by choice; I try, as much as possible, to see the world as a place where there is good, and if I were to fall into the rabbit hole that is seeing past my rose tinted glasses, I would have difficulty in doing so. I have a basic knowledge of what is going on, growing by the day, but this week I have had to take pause, as has much of the world, thanks to an image which has started a very necessary conversation about people. People just like you and I, parents, children, siblings, grandparents. These people are someone’s children. That baby, a child of just three, is the same as any child of yours or mine. (more…)
I’ve written before this week about how my newsfeed and everything around me is screaming “Back to School”. It being almost the start of September, that is to be expected. My inbox is also being bombarded with back to school emails, both from companies that I really should unsubscribe from thanks to the levels of junk mail I wind up with, and press releases which I don’t think my toddler and I really fit into their target market. I’ve noticed a resounding theme – everything is being marketed as “Back to School Essentials”, in some ways a “you-are-terrible-if-you-don’t-have-it” item. What are we talking about here, books, schoolbags, lunch boxes? Not exactly. So I’m calling nonsense on these essentials, which if you check out my list you might agree with!
When I started this whole blogging thing, it was an outlet for me, a diary of scribbles to let out all the feelings (and there were MANY feelings) that pregnancy had given me. I was huge, and trapped inside thanks to an inconsiderate storm which clearly didn’t understand that I needed chocolate and to escape my apartment. I certainly didn’t envision that 18 months later I’d still be writing, but not only that, actually having work I’ve written getting published in a magazine, where people would actually read it. I know, crazy. (more…)
It’s getting to the time of year where all the shows I’m looking forward to seeing again are about to hit our screens – I’m anxiously awaiting the return of “Shondaland TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday)” lineup as it’s got Grey’s Anatomy and my new favourite, How To Get Away with Murder, as well as other favourites such as Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU. However, in order to bridge the gap until mid-September, I’m relying on my old faithful Netflix, and she is not disappointing in the slightest. These are my Netflix Picks this month to tide me over, adding new obsessions to the pile while it’s at it! (more…)
We’re not in back-to-school mode at the Rainy Days house; thankfully E is quite settled in his creche having now properly made the move to the Waddling Ducks room – no longer the youngest – and being there throughout the summer. It does make such a difference that he is not only happy to go there each day, but that he genuinely seems to have a good relationship with the wonderful creche workers who keep him entertained, safe, fed, and nurtured throughout the day. He’s gotten to the stage where he is happy to run in the door, not looking back apart from to wave me off as if my presence would be ruining his fun in his Mammy free zone.
However, my entire Facebook feed is taken up by Back To School – it appears that everyone around me is a couple of steps ahead. Tearful goodbyes, last minute dashes for forgotten lunch boxes and grumps about itchy uniform socks lie ahead for much of the people whose lives I watch go by on my Facebook feed and in the blogs I’m a regular reader of. At the same time, a wealth of knowledge is emerging from some of my favourite parenting bloggers, many of them Irish, on a variety of topics around going back to school, or starting for the first time. I thought a roundup was in order, to have the best advice all in one place available to anyone who is looking at a tiny uniform or a little schoolbag and wondering “How exactly does all this work?”, so I’ve put together a little something today. Hopefully you will find them useful – and get to discover more amazing parenting bloggers in the meantime! (more…)
I’ve got a problem. The toddler clothes, they make me want to spend far more money than I would normally justify on clothes. The fact that they’ll fit him for a grand total of three weeks is besides the point. There are so many animal prints, how could I leave out any?
I’m trying to be good at the moment, while also wanting to satisfy the part of me that fawns over these ridiculously cute (and functional, I have kept some form of common sense!) tiny clothes which cost me more than my wardrobe does in a year (sigh). It may be down to the fact that it’s not yet hitting the colder weather – sure, the Irish weather can’t decide whether or not it’s adopting a monsoon section to the year, but it’s still sticky warm and summer-clothes-only climate. I’ve restricted myself thus far to a wishlist, a “I’ll get that in a few weeks when I’ve got birthday money/payday/less self restraint” collection which will fill my child’s wardrobe with gorgeous animal prints, beautiful colours and more-cute-than-functional designs. If you’ve got a little boy, most of these clothes are from ranges which start at newborn and go up to 24 months – hopefully you’ll see something you like too! (more…)
The very lovely Simply HomeMade Mum has tagged me in her “Blogger Interview” post, so as a bit of fun I’ve decided to join in. So without further ado, if you’ve ever wondered these questions about me, you’re about to find out some new fun facts (disclaimer: may not be fun.) (more…)
Insomnia is never really a welcome friend to any house. I’ve never been a big fan of it – I like my sleep, comfy and duvet covered. It went without saying that the sleep deprivation caused by the installation of a baby into my life was tolerated (barely) but not loved. So when I finally manage to get a child who is sleeping (not sleeping the night, but sleeping in blocks that feel like it’s a full nights sleep) and I’m stuck staring at the wall at 3am, that’s really just a bad joke. One that really, really isn’t funny.
Last week I started having some slight breathing issues where simple things like walking and talking would make me so dizzy I had to sit down and stop, or risk falling over. In typical form, this initially happened on a treadmill, mid-physio session. Because, where else would you fancy almost fainting? Off I toddled to my GP, who after a quick listen to my chest announced my athsma had decided to flare up for the first time in a few years and I’d have to be on a course of steroids for the week. Grand, as long as it stops the forever dizziness, all was good. Or so I thought. I hadn’t weighed in the thought of how steroids affect sleep – something I’ve definitely learned a lesson from this week. (more…)
On a Monday morning in August each year, the pressure cooker which has been boiling the brains of thousands of Irish young people for the whole long, rainy Summer comes to an end. At six am, offers are made via the Central Applications Office to different courses in various colleges and universities to the thousands of students who have applied many months in advance. Some will get the course of their dreams. Others will be more disappointed. Some will have a basic idea if they are home safe or not by now, going on the results which they received last Wednesday. Others will be more unsure, the points of some courses are known to be unpredictable, and even some of the more predictable have in the last few years gone their own way on the morning. Today has been that day, the day of the CAO results offers.
I’m having a rather unusual Saturday morning here at the Four Walls, Rainy Days house – there was sleep, lots of it, uninterrupted in fact. The joys of E being taken off to a sleepover at his Granny’s house on a Friday night – we got to have a lovely date night, a chance to celebrate some good news we got yesterday, and topped off by a lie in! Who knew this was possible in parenting? Apart from that, it’s been a pretty okay week, a couple of health bits gone bad (thank you athsma for showing up to join the party), it’s been nice having Himself home and getting to do things as our little family of three again. Here’s a bit of a round up of what’s been going on and what we’ve been loving this week – my contribution to the Little Loves linky (from the fab butwhymummywhy) which you can see more of here. (more…)
We in Ireland are in a strange system of living at the moment. Our society, for the most part, is secular, and has been becoming more so this way in the last 20 years than ever before. Our media has been filled with tales of horrific abuses within church-led organisations, regressive attitudes towards things like reproductive rights and same sex marriage, and somewhat of a wall being put up against changing to fit in further with our new century views within the way it has always been. Ireland is known through the world as being a Catholic country, a religious state, despite the fact that our percentage of Roman Catholic citizens has been dropping (a drop of 3% to 84% of population in last census, 2011) and attendance at churches is hitting all time low levels. There is, for the most part, a great deal of separation between Church and State – the two major ties remaining being the health system (in particular reproductive rights issues) and our education system. (more…)
There are certain websites which should definitely have taken on the Netflix tactic of asking you every couple of hours if you’re really sure that you’re still watching. Youtube is definitely one of them. While yes, this is basically a tactic to guilt you into going outside into the sunshine instead of watching yet another episode of House of Cards or The Good Wife, it may be worthwhile, if at the detriment of stopping you from discovering the joys of the underside of the internet. I fell in this evening. My findings are a mixture of joy, fun and general “how did that get online?”. (more…)
I spent the long August bank holiday weekend in the South East of Ireland, visiting family and making the most of the toddler spoiling and the potential for extra sleep. While our journey there was far from straight forward, the weekend itself really did have some truly lovely moments. (more…)
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve gotten to do one of these – life has been rather hectic around here with himself away with work, and our going up and down to Waterford and Wexford. We’ve also had some rather not-summer-like weather which hasn’t inspired much in the way of happy thoughts – it’s as if August took a holiday of its own and left November in charge, rather unfairly! Despite all of that though, there have been some good points, so as a form of a round up of the last few weeks, here’s what my Little Loves looks like this week!
I’ve been changing nappies on a daily basis for the last 16 months. I’ve become somewhat of an old hand at it, there are no more pee on the sofa incidents, and it becomes less of a two man job as each day passes. So, you’d wonder how after 16 months of dealing with changing nappies multiple times a day, how I would still forget to pack the basics in the bag. I’m in need of a one-stop-everything-in-one-place solution – I blame the sleep deprivation! (more…)
I don’t know whether this is the same for everyone or not, but during my pregnancy, it was preached to me from my 12-week appointment how important it would be to breastfeed. The midwives were encouraging and full of information, and leaflets outlined the various benefits that breastmilk would give to the newborn babies. That said, I never found them to be overly pushy or preachy, they did leave it up to the individual, but it was not left as something vague just how much breastfeeding was expected of each mother to give the best start to their child in life.