It isn’t something I write about often, my pain. Mostly because I don’t want to make this blog about my parenting journey into an eternal journal of whinging, but also in a slight denial aspect that if I don’t say it exists then it might go away any day now. That’s not been a successful venture yet, so I’m led to wonder what can be the harm of being honest in this, my little spot of the Internet. For the past two years, I have been parenting with chronic pain.
The child will be two on Thursday, full on toddler mode, though on any given day he’s going on 15. He’s become a lot more vocal in the last few weeks, definitely a lot more assertive about what he does and doesn’t want, and knows how to communicate these needs to you. Loudly. Repeatedly. Alongside a chorus of “Mam. Mam. Mam”. Family have been asking for ideas for birthday gifts for him, to which I’ve really been drawing a blank (what do you give the toddler who has a tonne of toys he likely forgets he owns?), but then I started thinking about all the things he’s made sure I know he wants over the last week…
The internet is full of lists of absolute essentials when it comes to new babies and baby products. From some of those lists, it seems that unless you’re in possession of every one of them, you’re next on a list for child services to be checking out your home. When I was pregnant and newly Mammied up, I read all of these lists. I allowed them to colour my purchasing choices. Jaysus, some of them were diabolical choices.
I did have common sense to avoid some of the “essentials” – take that, tummy tub (it’s a bucket, for crying out loud) – but a lot of them were definitely trial and error and trying to ignore the receipts for the things which just weren’t worth the money or the effort. However, there were some baby products which I absolutely couldn’t have done without, and would recommend to any new parent to make life a million times easier (or, you know, a little bit better) during the early days and up to the toddler years. Here are my top 5 baby products that I couldn’t have done without.
Moments that aren’t your proudest as a Mammy? I’ve had a few of those. My most recent being the realisation that the only possible solution to my screaming toddler, in pain, grabbing his ear at 9pm on Sunday night was to shake that bottle of Calpol (like it was a polaroid picture) to get the remaining almost 3ml out of it and praying to all and any gods out there that it would ease his pain and that it wasn’t another blasted ear infection. I wouldn’t mind, but the chemist below my doctors knows us by name and I’ve a strong feeling would nominate me as customer of the month. But, in times of need (and after closing time of any shops or chemists that would sell infant painkillers) it seems that the mountain of bottles of Calpol or Nurofen that we’ve purchased over the last two years has vanished into thin air, leaving only the dregs at the bottom of one bottle, and thankfully (mercy of all mercies) one purple syringe to get the stuff into him.
They say that to become a better writer, you need to read constantly. Right now, much of my reading is online, as I’ve less time for actual book-reading. The things I search out are generally to do with my own circumstances, so parenting blogs feature heavily. As I love a good list post, here goes – five parenting bloggers that I think you should watch out for. These are bloggers who I follow religiously, whose posts make me laugh and cry and have all of the feels, and who have definitely paved my way in parenting and blogging about it in learning from their experiences. If you’ve not checked them out already, you’re definitely missing out and you have a lot of reading to do.
Throughout my time writing this blog, I’ve tried to promote events which were on in Cork for parents (and parents to be), things that would make it easier for those of us with kids to get out of the house and meet other people who are in our shoes. I’ve written about Toddler and Parent Mornings in the Library, Cuidiu Coffee Mornings where sanity is regained over a cup of coffee, and random events in between. This time however, I’ve gotten a little bit more involved.
I was thrilled to be approached a little while ago by the organisers of this new Coffee Morning For Mums event, which is being held in a shopping centre not a million miles away from my regular stomping ground, Douglas Court Shopping Centre. From experience I know that being at home with baby/babies can be quite lonely and isolating, and it can be difficult to meet others who are in your shoes too – so when the idea of a coffee morning which will also have informative talks for Mums was mentioned, I thought it was a great idea.
The boy is not yet two, so in my mind, cannot officially enter the terrible twos. He doesn’t care for this lack of decorum and has jumped right in, two feet kicking and a roaring tantrum thrown in for good measure. We are not amused. Toddlerdom has officially kicked in, and we’re getting it in stereo: he’s learning everything new about the world around him, and while some of it is lovely and charming and fun, we’re learning very quickly that LIFE IS HARD WHEN YOU’RE ALMOST TWO.
It is tempting to look at the clock and wonder if realising that it is happy hour somewhere means it’s okay to open the wine at this hour. Damn you toddlerdom.
The world can be an awful place. Drivers speed up as they come to a massive puddle on a rainy day, soaking the mother with the buggy who forgets all about her child’s propensity to learn new words as she screams in frustration. The much needed coffee after a sleepless night tastes horrible and doesn’t help with an already stressful morning. The ever present guilt with every bite of chocolate, the knowledge that the jeans are a little tighter and knowing that these thoughts will hurt you most when you’re already feeling down and out. The rain, always the bloody rain. There are days where I just want to go under my duvet, curl up and not come back out. Read More
Since E’s Daddy has started going away for work, I’ve started noticing a definite move in his favouritism between the parents – where I used to somewhat get a bit more of the love and adoration (probably thanks to me being the one who made dinner, to be fair), since we’ve started having a whole lot more one-on-one time he’s rapidly gotten rather bored of me. His reaction to Granny dropping him off after a sleepover at hers the other day was to freak out at the thought of being left alone with me. Harsh, kid, harsh. You need a thick skin to parent toddlers, that’s for sure. It’s so damn easy to be made feel like the Worst Mammy On The Planet (trademark pending) by someone just higher than two feet tall. This week though, I think I may have earned a little bit of the wrath. Read More
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! Read 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.
Last week, I was asked to contribute to an article about becoming a mother at a younger than average age. It stemmed from a statement made by an obstetrician that encouraged women to start their families younger in an attempt to lower the amount of high risk pregnancies which occur more frequently after the age of 30. At 23 with a 14 month old, I definitely fitted into the “mother at a younger age” category, so I said my piece and went to get some photos done with said toddler for the paper.
I’ve got a 13 month old. Every morning, I get woken up with a combination of a sloppy kiss and a Krav Maga move with a “mamamamamamamama” (roughly translated as “Woman, I may have had you up half the night but it is time for my morning bottle NOW”). I’m a lucky lady; even if some days I look back at my before life, which is seeming more and more of a foggy picture, and think about the lie ins, the not needing to ask someone if I wanted to go somewhere, the random nights out and the unbroken sleep. You may be seeing a theme on the sleep thing. Read More
So unless you’ve been living under a rock, yesterday the English royal family welcomed a new baby, a little girl, and the media attention stopped focusing on when Kate was going to drop the baby, and started on what she was going to name her. There are bookies filling up with odds on different names, from the traditional to the not so traditional (I’m not sure Daenerys Windsor will quite work out so well). Twitter feeds are wall to wall royal baby. I must admit, I’m a bit curious myself. A name is interesting; its rarely just a passing whim when you’re imposing it on your child for life. So what is involved in name selection? It’s really not as easy as some people make it look… Read More
As I’ve documented a few times on this blog, I am a c-section Mama, my bubs was evacuated via the sunroof, no natural birth here. It wasn’t something I had planned (not that the Irish system allows first time mothers to do that anyway, in my experience), but having not planned for anything I feel that it was definitely an experience less traumatic and mentally punishing than that of women who had hoped and wished for a natural vaginal birth. It’s something I’m happy to talk about; as I see it, my birth experience was no different to that of anyone else. It’s got the drama (monitors beeping madly), the long waiting (24 hours for a bloody gel to start working), a hazy blur of things going on (everything from the lovely gas and air stage) and the ending, where a rather tiny orange little person emerged from where he’d been growing inside me and became my son, the boy prince who could have guest starred on Geordie Shore, such was his lovely orange jaundice. Read More
As I have said previously, none of my peer group of close friends had had babies when I was pregnant, or indeed had my own baby. This left me at a distinct disadvantage with regard to planning play dates or even just socialising – the best cafes (newer, hipster, slightly better coffee) always seemed to be inaccessible and as cute as they did find my son, the lack of conversation on his part (and the lack on my own, between only having baby things to talk about and being distracted by him) was definitely a deterrent. I noticed them pull away a bit and so was left in a bit of a twilight zone. Enter the Mammy and Baby groups. Read More
I am mother to an eleven month old. And I am not a bad Mammy. But it seems that I spend my days berating myself and telling myself that I am. This I know and I do it anyway. I’m not the only one.
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… Read More
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.
I recently read this article in the Irish Times, which declares that having a third child doesn’t make parents any happier. The headline made it sound so negative; as if it was declaring that a third child was a bad move, that it wouldn’t be the happy experience that was the first and second child. The mother in me can see reasons for this, the economics graduate in me sees the reasoning behind the research; both are different reasonings but can be considered equally as valid. However, sensationalist headlines negate the good behind the research, which is a shame really. As much as I’d like an excuse to tease my littlest brother (the 3rd child) about being unloved (Ha, the favourite more like), that isn’t what the article was saying. Unfortunately it seems from the backlash I’ve seen online that most people haven’t looked into the research and just seem to be going on the headline. Read More
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.
I’ve written before about how fantastic I’ve found online parenting groups in helping me to muddle my way through the early days of raising my little boy. I’ve found them to be incredible sources of wisdom about the little things and places where I can gripe about how many times he was up last night and not get “Well, you knew what you were signing up for”. There have been many days where I’ve read blogs written by fellow Irish Parenting Bloggers when they’ve expressed their frustration or written about their days of everything going wrong and I’ve laughed hysterically or cried along with them, thanking every god out there that it isn’t just me, it isn’t my child and I’m not a bad Mammy because it is happening to other people.
I failed my theory test by one question the other day. The fact that it was one question is what annoys me most about it, but I’m confident that next time, when I haven’t been moving house for the previous week while learning to cope with a five month old practicing drop-and-rolls constantly, I’ll manage it.The theory test was filled with questions that for some of them, had nonsense answers – the obvious ones, I grant you – Option D for one question about what to do when an elderly person is crossing the road when the light turned green suggested to shout at them to move along and keep driving. It was also filled with questions that had multiple answers, i.e. the real law abiding answer, and the how everyone does it answer. It got me thinking; what if there had to be a parenting theory test?
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.)