I’ve got a five-year-old son. Half a decade has gone by since he entered our lives and turned everything upside down. It’s hard to believe, even seeing it there written down (and having heard it on a loop all day, he’s been telling everyone he’s five now). Far from the five-pound baby boy who was so tiny that even the premature-baby clothes we had to rush out and buy were swimming on him, he’s now big and bold, and a fully formed personality. He’s off to big school this September, which is approaching so much faster than I’d anticipated. The quote “The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short” is definitely one which is resonating more and more with me as time goes on. We’re thankfully mostly rid of the sleepless nights (these days I just blame academic deadlines rather than a screaming baby or a toddler who refuses to sleep in his own bed), but we’ve still got weekends where it feels like forever until Monday morning and creche is open again so that I can hear my own thoughts without also hearing “Mammy, if these two Pokemon are fighting, which one is going to win?” on a loop. Still, though, five is big. Five is a long time to be a parent, trundling along and learning on the job.
I used the same format for the last years birthday post (and the year before), a snapshot of his life at the age he’s at now, which is nice to look back on and see what has changed, and what has stayed the same. So here we go, Eliott at five: a Snapshot. (more…)
I’m a big fan of podcasts for when I’m driving or just pottering around the house. I listen to a variety of things, lots of true crime, some political and some just inane. Other posts I’ve written about podcasts I listen to seem to have been popular on here (especially my true crime podcast posts), so I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of what I’ve been listening to of late, in the hopes of passing on some of the ones I’m evangelical about recently! I’d also love to hear recommendations from others. I am always looking for something new to listen to on my travels.
When you have a baby, people are full of advice. Actually, once you get that stick to turn blue and start to tell people, the advice is free-flowing. You can’t eat this, you can’t do that, and if you’re not doing that then YOUR CHILD IS DOOMED. As you can imagine, most of this advice is unsolicited, and a fair portion of it isn’t exactly welcomed. As a first time mother at the age of 22, I felt like I had a huge luminous sign above my head saying “SHE HASN’T A CLUE”, based on the amount of absolute strangers popping up with advice on how to raise my child. (more…)
The Irish Health System is a flawed system, there is no empirical evidence at all to show us otherwise. We have seen a medley of errors causing pain and suffering in numerous ways over the past few years. However, sometimes, we do SOMETHING right, and one of those things is the Drug Payment Scheme. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it’s definitely something that everyone should sign up for because it may save you from financial woe in the future.
Here’s a bit of a look into what’s involved, who is entitled to it and how to get yourself sorted out with the Drug Payment Scheme. Hopefully it is something you will never need to use (the majority of users don’t hit the cap each month) but if you’ve got a house of kids, a chronically ill family member or simply want to prepare for the worst, then make sure to get this card into your purse.
I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately while I’ve been off work. 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 22 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to be a parent to a small child.
As the man in red is just about to pay a visit to houses worldwide, there are quite a lot of young people looking to be in possession of new Apple iOS devices, iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads. All of which they’ll be working with skill while lots of parents try to figure out how exactly they’re doing what they’re doing. As much as we want to protect our kids from everything that could possibly harm them, or from making mistakes that they will regret, in the era of the screenager, it is a seriously tough job keeping track of absolutely everything they get up to. There are however some safeguards which you can take to make sure that your child is safe in their usage of this technology, while remaining relatively hands-off and allowing them to embrace the age of technology (while ignoring you as they beat their high score in Candy Crush Saga).
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!
Parenting is a learn on the job kind of gig. There’s no training course, no book, no YouTube series that will prepare you for how full on it all is. I read a LOT when I was pregnant, and through the sleepless nights of feeds and windy babies. But the experience itself is something that you have to live through – which sounds like one of those things THOSE parents say, the ones we all resent “oh you just don’t know, you don’t have kids”. It’s life in a war zone. A beautiful, funny war zone that will leave you with scars and tears but laughter lines and good memories too. I learned a lot about life, about myself and about the whole keeping-a-human-alive thing. So, what would I do differently on a second baby?
The word “Pacing” has come to mean something different to me since being introduced to the Chronic Pain community. Prior to that, I had linked it very much so with parenting – pacing up and down corridors waiting for news, pacing up and down the house with a crying infant. In the chronic pain/illness world however, pacing is a coping strategy, basically “to pace yourself”. It’s a skill that can be quite difficult to get the hang of. In essence, you find out what your limit is, and then figure out your schedule to what you can do.
And then parenting comes along. Boom. My toddler DOES NOT CARE for pacing. Parenting and pacing are not the easiest of combinations to master.
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.
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.
Happy Monday! This week for Mental Health Monday, the lovely Jen from The Medicated Mommy has agreed to share a piece about her postpartum depression. This one is a bit different – she’s writing about the reasons that she is thankful for her postpartum depression. It’s not exactly the first thing you’d think of being for postpartum depression – it’s certainly far from the first thing I was and am – bitter, angry, annoyed being ahead in the line. It’s a really great piece which was eye opening to the things that can be brought out from it, and I’ve definitely started looking on my own experience in a different way.
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.
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).
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.
Parenthood is a life changer, no two ways about it. Things that you took for granted before you had children get viewed in an all-new light, through bleary eyes and caffeinated dark hours. It’s a fantastic change, filled with lovely moments that will last in memory. Soon, you’ll start to wonder what life was like before the little pet came into your life and changed everything.
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.
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.
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.
As parents, we want to make our child as happy and as secure as they possibly can be, every hour of every day. There’s only so much we can do, aside from keeping them warm, fed, clothed and loved. Some things we can’t quite control. Recently E has started having night terrors, which are definitely out of our control, and definitely make me feel like an absolute parenting failure for not being able to prevent.
It takes a village to raise a child, says the old African proverb. From the first days of becoming a parent, professionals insist that you use the support structures around you; generally, family and close friends, as it can be a tough adjustment, especially while coping with sleep deprivation. What if your support structure isn‘t around if you don‘t live near family or don‘t have friends who understand what it’s like? This has become increasingly common in modern Ireland, as people move away from family for work or college, friends have emigrated or moved on for work or relationships, and you are left home alone with your newborn, wondering where that village has disappeared to.