Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

THIS Is The Real Reason That Mums Don’t Take Showers

Concussion. That’s why. Your two-year-old daughter’s potential concussion. Fml.

‘Twas a morning that was going well, last Tuesday.

Ass Monkey left for work early, the kids and I had brekkie, cleaned up and got back upstairs to get dressed without any major upsets.

The calm in itself should have been warning enough that something disastrous was about to happen.

With both of my little ones dressed and the ole ‘Hands, face and teeth’ routine complete, I ushered them to my room and stuck the TV on while I had my own shower.

“Don’t jump on the bed” I warned. We had gotten a new base for the bed the previous week and the kids had been enjoying testing it’s durability by bouncing on it, off it, over it and all around it.

“Jacob, you are the Chief of Not Bouncing On The Bed until mammy gets back. I’ll be two minutes. Watch Diego”.

He wasn’t really convincing me that he was listening so I chucked out my instructions another 17 times before leaving for the bathroom.

“Don’t jump on the bed. Don’t jump on the bed. Don’t jump on the bed”.

I was in the shower all of 30 seconds when Jacob came in, crying.

They had been jumping on the bed, he said, and had bashed heads.

He looked so scared that I ran, soaking and in my nip, to my room where Eva was crying that kind of a cry where you know something has gone really wrong.

She’s normally a tough little thing but on that Tuesday morning, she wouldn’t stop crying and wouldn’t let me put her down either. It was some job trying to get the suds off and get myself dressed.

On the way back from dropping Jacob to school Eva vomited all over herself in the back of the car so I did an instant detour to the doctor’s surgery. Bang on the head + vomit = not a great situation.

Our local GP was great – he saw her immediately and said she had a mild concussion, to administer Calpol and Nuerofen for the pain in her head and to monitor her for the next couple of days.

Ass Monkey and I got zero sleep that night – between just being worried about her generally (I slept beside her in her bed) and her own inability to sleep (concussion can throw out a sleep pattern for a few days), it was one long night.

She seemed pretty ok the next day and went to preschool who said she was fine aside from a slight spike in temperature. She had also taken a little nap and we put that all down to the lack of sleep the night before.

That evening we were out shopping for a shirt and tie for my dad for the wedding and went for a bite to eat afterwards. Our childminder called just towards the end of the meal; Eva had thrown up twice.

We were in the city centre so zoomed back to North County Dublin to grab her and take her to Temple Street.

The staff in the hospital are absolutely fantastic and we discovered while we were there that not only did Eva have the concussion from the day before but also has a urinary tract infection (UTI) which was the cause of the temperatures and the vomiting.

That kid was having a SHIT week.

We all got home and into bed at around 5 am armed with a dose of antibiotics and pain killers and had another couple of rough days (and nights!) after that where her temperature still spiked every few hours.

She’s back to herself as of around Monday or Tuesday this week and I’m only short of putting a helmet on the kid to keep her little head safe.

I haven’t had a shower without either Alan being around to keep an eye on them or with her having a nap since. That’s the end of that!

(My advice if your kid bumps their head? Take absolutely no chances – take them to the doc straight away and into hospital if you suspect anything is awry).

**Read More On The Signs Of Concussion On The HSE Website**

 

7 Things That Happen When You’re On Steroids For A Week

My skin has been a bit of a problem since, oh.. FOREVER.

I am of that 30% of the population in Ireland that suffers with psoriasis and eczema and wishes there was a cure other than being told to ‘try not to stress’ (gah!) and ‘have you tried sunbeds?’ (gerrup outta that).

My flair-ups have been particularly bad twice in my life thus far: the year I sat my Leaving Cert and had a part-time eating disorder was one and the second is now.

Or, more accurately, since Ass Monkey asked me to marry him.

I’M SAYING NOTHING.

Anyway I’ve been ignoring it somewhat and hoping it will go away by osmosis but I found myself in trouble at the beginning of this week when I woke up to find angry and swollen patches all up and down my arms and chest.

In fact they were SO sore that I thought I had the shingles so I popped off to the doc.

‘Dermatitis’ says he. ‘Is there a chance that you could be pregnant?’

WTF.

‘No’.

‘But if you got pregnant would it be the end of the world for you?’

Silence. He stares at me and I stare at him. He wants me to pee into a jar and now I don’t want to in case he knows something I don’t know. Are swollen armpits a new pregnancy symptom that I haven’t heard of yet?

I peed in the jar. Aside from acute dehydration there was nothing to worry about, especially Knocked-up-itis.

(Note to self: discuss The Snip with Ass Monkey)

Dr. Drama prescribed steroids for the week anyway to get the dermatitis under control and we’ll head for blood tests next week to see if there’s anything else going on.

Anything else, besides, you know, wedding.

Having not ever been on steroids until now, I can tell you it’s not an experience I’d like to repeat. I’m wrecked but fucking wired all week. Double-wrecked with a crazy constant impulse to clean everything, if you know what I mean.

Here are the 7 likely outcomes for you if you ever find yourself popping 8 steroids a day for any reason:

  1. You won’t sleep. Well, not really. You will really, really want to sleep because you know that you need it but when you get to bed, you will lie in bed awake and think about all the things you should have said to that bitch in school when you were 15 until 3 am.
  2. You will agree to mad shit. Like to throwing a random dinner party at 6 pm on a Wednesday. Which makes no sense because YOU HAVE KIDS.
  3. You’ll be aggro. I’m a bit shouty-snappy at the best of times but The Snap has been strong this week. I had to get out of the house and hoof up and down a hill on Friday to shake off the excess negative energy. I probably should have joined a professional swim team for the week.
  4. You’ll be hungry. I have a good appetite but I couldn’t STOP eating this week which isn’t great when your wedding is in 6 weeks and you’ve been sooo good up until now. #theresalwaysmonday
  5. You’ll go to award ceremonies. Well I’d most likely go to an award ceremony even if I wasn’t on steroids (who wouldn’t!!) but you especially run when your book has been nominated for an award AND you’re on steroids. And when you don’t win, you feel fine because YOU’RE HIGH AS A KITE ANYWAY.
  6. You’ll attend hen parties and not even drink. I did. I did that yesterday. And I even drove a few people home afterwards. Who needs cocktails any more huh?!
  7. You’ll sort shit out like a boss. The house is clean, we finally have curtains, even the bastarding ironing is done. I literally couldn’t sit down, not even for a second.

If I thought the little pillies wouldn’t make me need a second wedding dress by December, I might even consider staying on them.

For more on matters of health and wellbeing, read on!

Six Weeks Too Short

Can We Talk About The Housework?

We have a busy, messy house and white tiled floors to go with it. BRILLIANT COMBO. We have our dog, Pearl, who drags who-knows-what through the house on her paws, we have four year old Jacob, who loves the combination of muck and water probably more than anything else in this world, we have one year old Eva, who likes to fire porridge, peas, biscuits, spaghetti – you name it – from the height of her high chair onto whatever she can hit below. Then we have Daddy Alan, Mr. Engineer who comes home from work covered head to toe in dust and dirt from a busy day at Dynamic Cater Care. Part of the work uniform is a pair of humongous work boots that he likes to keep on him until he gets up the stairs to get changed…..don’t mention the war.

Then there’s me, I am a hoarder of bits of paper; bills, receipts, newspaper clippings, recipes on the backs of envelopes, things that I’m working on or things that I’m hoping to get a read of ‘later, when I get a sec’. On a whim, I’ll decide to sort out the attic and drag half of it’s contents onto the landing below, only to be called away by a crying child, a dash to the school, or a call at the door, and I might not get back to it for weeks…..don’t mention Alan’s war with me ;o)

Laundry has taken over our lives. It’s everywhere, it’s unruly; you think you have it under control until the day you open the hot press door and it physically attacks you, the bastard.

‘Have I any work t-shirts?!’ Alan will call from upstairs, just as I’m eyeing the damp pile of washed clothes that he has taken from the washing machine the night before, and casually dumped on the floor by the back door.

‘Oh you have’, I’ll call back. ‘But the magic laundry fairy didn’t intercept their neglect and get them up onto the clothes horse to dry so it’s another topless day for you, darling. I shall inform the neighbour to get their camera phones out when you’re ready to leave the house.’

There has been great chats this week online about how much housework we all do, and how we keep on top of it. I know I could spend every single minute of the day on housework and laundry if I so chose to, and I still wouldn’t want anyone to drop in ‘just yet’. There would always be one more thing that would make it better, isn’t there? If I could just get to wash down those seat covers…if I could just quickly wipe down the kitchen windows…if I could just Fabreeze the smell of stale milk out of this room…..

And the thing is, it’s so BORING, isn’t it? I know it has to be done, and no one wants to look like they’re living in squalor, but we’ve got to sort of get a grip. I mean, who are we really doing it for? I know I’m not cleaning the house for Alan’s benefit, because he never notices (although he does like to tip the cleaning staff in hotels ‘for doing such a great job’ – *coughs*. He could easily owe me 74 thousand euros in back payments at this point).

I definitely keep the floors clean for Eva’s sake – she is walking and everything now, but she still lands on her bum quite a bit and still plays with her toys not he floor, so that gets done every day for her. But the rest? The dressing the beds first thing and the scrubbing stains off walls and door handles and rearranging shit that does not need to be rearranged and the power hosing of the fooking high chair??? Ok, the high chair is completely manky, not even the power hose is sorting that shit out…. but who is it for? For myself? To prove my worth as a woman and a mother and a home owner? But who really cares?

The answer is: nobody. Nobody cares. Sure, someone will notice if you’ve got a pile of dirty nappies sitting in the corner of the living room, or if the contents of your jacks should carry a health warning so let’s not go there. But let’s try this: why not cut your time spent sorting out your house every day IN HALF this month. Just do it. And spend the other half making Witches Hats with ice cream cones and melted chocolate instead.

Which you will then have to clean up after. Oh I see your point.

d0401db9899f8bb36c002190a31721f2

The Lube At Dublin Airport

The clever and sexy people at Durex magically knew two things about me this week, 1: that I am off on holidays very soon and, 2: that I have decided not to have any more babies (more of that later). And so they sent all of this to my house:

Durex Products

I have an extremely nosy postman, as in, he sometimes looks at me expectantly at the door as I sign for parcels as if I’ll open it in front of him, or declare ‘Oh I know what this is! It’s the BROS back-catalogue I’ve been waiting for!!’ (As if I’d share that kind of excitement with anyone…)

Anyway, he lived another day without embarrassment at my hands. I mean, I’m not embarrassed about condoms, lube and massage oil, but you’d be surprised how uncomfortable I might get unwrapping them in front of the local postie. One who knows my da..

Anyhoo, as one is not currently on the pill (and we all know what kind of situations I get myself into under those circumstances), I was thrilled to receive my stash and I fully intend on using it!*

And guess what? Oh yes, that’s right, they’ve offered to send another stash to one lucky, soon-to-be-sexed-up reader of Raising Ireland in a giveaway! All you have to do to enter is:

1. Like Durex on Facebook.

2. Like Raising Ireland on Facebook.

3. Don’t get pregnant ;o)

*Comp closes at midnight on Friday August 21st*

(*Disclaimer: If I get pregnant on holidays, I promise not to hold Durex responsible. Mortified explanations will no doubt appear in the next book: ‘I Forgot To Bring My Condoms: An Honest Diary Of A Third-time Mum’ ;o) )

 

What You Bleedin’ Looking At??

We visited Loughshinny beach a couple of weeks ago, that’s in North County Dublin for all you who are unfamiliar. It’s a five minute drive from our house, and we’ve managed to get there twice in total this, er, ‘summer’. Eva was still getting over the chicken pox so we weren’t staying too long – it was more an effort to get us out of the house than anything.

The beach is so small that I knew we could get away with not bumping into too many people who might stare at us in that judgemental way they do, because it looks like there’s something wrong with your kid. Alan said he had it with Jacob in the playground when he just finished with the chicken pox too, and was still covered in spots – parents looking at Jacob, then back to Alan, then back to Jacob, then, you know, moving away...

It has occurred to me though, that most parents understand that when the spots are out, it means that the contagious part is generally over. (I know this is gross, but essentially, when they’ve crusted over, you’re in the clear). And so I wondered if perhaps the paranoia is our own? Maybe those parents are looking at us with sympathy, because they’ve been in our shoes, because they know what we’ve been through. Maybe they’ve moved away to go and write down the name of some excellent cream that will help with the scarring from those bastarding spots, and we just didn’t hang around long enough to get it. Right? YEAH RIGHT.

But there was a woman at the beach that day, the day I brought my heavily spotty post-pox child, and my mildly spotty post-pox child. And that women had a son with her who was severely disabled. And she was blowing bubbles into the air for him and he was delighted and made all of these very loud, very happy noises.

And I looked, and I smiled, and I walked away. And I want that woman to know: I wasn’t staring to be a judgmental other mother: I was staring because I thought that you were the best mother I had seen that day. You rock.

IMG_2697

Six Weeks Too Short

I have been spending a lot of time with my dad lately. I mean, it’s kind of hard not to, what with him being the financial advisor for our company, and our moving house to right around the corner from him last year.

Aside from that, he had a knee replacement operation almost six weeks ago and part of his recovery is to get out for short walks. Guess what the distance is from his house to mine? That’s right, a short walk. So we’ve been having a lot of lunches and chats.

Yesterday, we were talking about his upcoming six-week check up this coming Friday and how he mistakenly assumed he’d be miles more along in his recovery by now. In the lead up to the operation, all of the medical staff he was dealing with kept mentioning this magical ‘six weeks recovery’ that he took on board very literally. He thought he’d be dancing around with his brand new knee by now, back driving, cycling etc. But the truth is, that notion could be quite another few weeks away. In fact, he got himself online and read a few forums where other people said it took them six months to a year before experiencing complete recovery and that seemed more realistic to him (I told him he should start a blog for his peers – ‘Tommy’s Knees Up’ anyone?!).

I think this realisation is probably the same for anyone who has just had a new baby. Everyone talks about this ‘six weeks’ mark after giving birth, that you’re suddenly supposed to feel ‘right’ by then, you’re physically recovered, you can get back to exercise, you have bonded with your baby and incorporated them into your daily lives at this point.

And I think that’s bollox. Eva is now a year old, and I am just getting back to normal. I am only this week back down to pre-baby weight (not necessarily pre-baby body, am signed up to some pilates classes for that!), I am just getting to put the baby car seat away and the formula away and moving on a bit to the next phase of her life where she progresses to a little wobbler. I feel like I am starting to open my eyes a bit and take stock of the craziness of the past year so that I can figure out where we are at. The house is upside down, my wardrobe and car and bags and office and computer and photo files are upside down, I haven’t seen enough of the girls or had much of a social life and I certainly haven’t had much time to myself to exercise or recharge. So I’m looking forward to getting on top of all of that, while enjoying the next stages that the kids are at. I’m looking forward to getting a little bit back to being me.

So if you’ve just had a baby and you’re busy wondering when you’re supposed to feel ‘normal’ again, don’t rush it. Give yourself a year, please do, a full year. Take more time if you want. Take all the time you please. But six weeks after giving birth? No way, it’s not nearly long enough x

12c7ac6247ac7df5c64fb73bd231cdfa

Surviving The Night Terrors

Jacob had night terrors pretty consistently for about a year and a half – it started when he was maybe one-and-a-half to when he’d just turned three. If your kid has never experienced one, first of all, I hate your luck (!), but here’s what it means: You hear your kid crying 1-3 hours after they go to sleep, you go into their room to see if they need a drink or a wee, they start screaming in a possessed-like state and that carries on for anything from ten minutes to two hours. Screaming. Non-stop. Hitting you, lashing out, non-stop, while you wonder if everyone in your area has contemplated calling child services.

I read a lot about night terrors when we realised what we were dealing with and most articles said to sit somewhere nearby to make sure he wasn’t hurting himself, don’t wake him up and ride it out; that he’d grow out of it. So we did that, for a year and a half. We were absolutely shattered but without any real practical advice from anyone, we just sort of accepted it as our reality.

When Eva came along, the terrors got worse. I would just get Eva to sleep, and, hoping to catch some Z’s myself, Jacob would almost immediately kick off. He wouldn’t let Ass Monkey in the room with him at all when he was having an episode, I was the only one who he would scream the LEAST amount around. He was still screaming of course, just not as badly. Then his screams would wake Eva, she’d start crying agin, then I’d have to feed her, then because I hadn’t slept for fucking ages my breastfeeding was suffering and my brain was suffering and…we were all suffering.

Jacob’s night terrors stopped on account of one, all or none of these things happening (who can really say, they just stopped all of a sudden):

  1. We contacted a €300 sleep therapist.
  2. I started crushing half a tablet of camomile into his milk before bed.
  3. My friend said a prayer to her deceased mammy for me.
  4. We cut out his day time nap.
  5. We re-instated his day time nap, but only for half an hour.
  6. We started giving him milk and cookies before bedtime (he used to only want juice, a big dirty habit we’d gotten him into).
  7. I moved Eva and her moses basket into our room with Daddy, because being awake for five hours on the trot with my two kids while he snored was not part of my life plan.
  8. Did I mention the sleep therapist? Don’t worry, we didn’t pay the money in the end. But just like bringing a car with a ‘funny noise’ to the garage that disappears as soon as you get there, Jacob stopped having terrors THE DAY AFTER I sent my enquiry email.

Anyway, I came across THIS ARTICLE ON NIGHT TERRORS today from Lucie’s List, and I wish I’d seen it last year when we were in the thick of it. I haven’t tried the product, I haven’t a clue how it works, or if it works, but if you are dealing with a toddler who turns in to the Exorcist at 10pm every night like ours did, then I’m sure you’ll try anything too. Good luck!

IMG_3443

 

Support #Daddyandme

Daddy, dad, da, pops, father, pater, papa, old man – whatever you call the man who brought you into the world, the time to remember him is fast approaching on Father’s Day, June 21st. Irish charity Anam Cara is asking people to share a special picture of themselves with their Dad using the hashtag #Daddyandme on social media, and to nominate three friends or family members to do the same in order to raise much needed funds.

Fathers’ Day is a particularly difficult time for those Dads who have been bereaved of a child or children. The aim of the #Daddyandme campaign is to raise awareness of the difficulties bereaved Dads face. This June, Anam Cara is asking members of the public to take part in the #Daddyandme campaign and donate €4 by texting SUPPORT to 50300 to raise funds to provide support services to Dads and families who have experienced the death of a child.

International rugby player and #Daddyandme ambassador, Mike Ross said: “As a Dad to two wonderful children, I dread to imagine how I would even begin to cope with the loss of a child. I experienced first-hand the impact that this can have on a family when one of my brothers died eighteen years ago. Not only did I have to deal with my own pain but I also had to witness the impact that it had on my parents and our family unit. Anam Cara provides invaluable support to families at this traumatic time and I’m asking everyone to get behind the #Daddyandme campaign and to help raise funds for this worthy cause.”

Anam Cara is also producing an information leaflet aimed at bereaved Dads, as part of a larger resource pack for bereaved parents. This is in the final draft stage and once published will be distributed to counsellors, social workers, emergency rooms and funeral homes. Unique in that it is written by bereaved Dads themselves, it offers practical guidance through this most devastating of experiences.

Nearly two thirds of Irish people know someone whose child has died but the intense grief associated with the loss of a child lasts much longer than society realises. It’s estimated that in 2014 alone, 2,100 families suffered the loss of a son or daughter.
How Can You Get Involved?
1. Share a picture of you and your Dad on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and include the hashtag #Daddyandme. The photo could be a recently taken selfie or one from the archives!

2. Tag and nominate three friends or companies to do the same

3. Donate and include the following text information in your post or tweet – ‘Text SUPPORT to 50300 to donate €4 to Anam Cara’*

Daddyandme

A Model Vagina

We moved house last year and haven’t had great luck with finding a new family GP. The first one we tried out was a bit silly – the doctor for my antenatal care, plus those first couple of new baby visits was located up not one, but two very narrow flights of stairs. Whatever about dragging my heavily pregnant and dementedly overdue ass up there, expecting a new mum to haul her broken lady bits AND the baby in the wretched car seat (what is the situation with them being made of lead?) is criminal.

Then, of course, there was the time they charged me €90 for a fifteen-minute visit with Eva because I also asked them to sneak a peek at a rash on the back of Jacob’s knee. The reluctant toddler probably let them take a look at it for all of a second – ok, maybe two seconds, but did it warrant charging this new mother an extra €45? It did in its hoop.

So we moved to GP Number Two and I had it on good advice that this one was very family-friendly, had an open door, no-appointment-necessary policy and that they used their discretionary fee-charging powers with caution. I said ‘Brava! Sign us up’.

Our first visit was for one of Eva’s vaccinations. It went fine; I asked the nice lady doctor if she would check Eva’s chest while we were there as she’d had a constant cough, and she obliged. We left reassured that nothing sinister was at work.

Our second visit was for Eva’s next vaccination. Again, all fine, and when I brought up the cough (which was still lingering months later), I had a prescription for a baby-adapted inhaler somewhat flung at me. Mmmm…sure I let it go. Maybe she was stressed, maybe someone puked directly onto her shoes that morning just as she was leaving the house, you know?

I had one final question for Lady Doctor, since I was there and all, so I chucked it in.

‘And one last thing’ I ventured.

‘Did you want to have a consultation?’ Lady Doctor snapped.

‘I, er…what?’

‘I mean, I am happy to do Eva’s vaccinations and everything, but if you need a consultation, I will book you in.’

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m about to have a confrontation with someone who is in a position of ‘higher authority’ or ‘greater status’ than I, I like to try to look the part. I like to look like I can match them, that I can whip out some jargon from my legal studies diploma or my years in customer service and deliver it with force and a full face of make up. Unfortunately, on THIS day, I was wearing ‘that’ tracksuit (you know the one), hadn’t a scrap of make up on and hadn’t slept in…what is it now, oh yeah, three years.

Anyway, you get it. She was in head-to-toe professional garb and was giving me grief, and I looked like an extra from Shameless. But on this day, I dunno, I wasn’t really having it.

‘Oh I’m sorry’ I responded. ‘I actually just had a question but did you want me to pay you in advance for it?’ (I know, eek!)

Strangely enough, Doctor Lady was taken aback enough to backtrack a bit, and started mumbling and stuttering that I should go ahead and ask her that question.

No, no, I protested, getting my fleece on (it goes perfect with the tracksuit and is has the added benefit of being baby-stain-removal-friendly), I’d go back out to reception and make an appointment and schedule my question in.

No, no, no, she insisted, go on.

‘I was just going to ask your advice on the Mirena coil?’ I shrugged. ‘But it’s grand, another time’.

I was halfway out the open door, car seat on one dead arm, wailing just-vaccinated-baby in it, trying to keep my dignity whilst noticing that my tracksuit bottoms had what looked like a piece of encrusted Rusk stuck to the hem.

‘The coil!’ she trilled, ‘of course, no problem’. And, as if by magic, she whipped out a cardboard cutout vagina and started spewing out all sorts of information on how the coil is inserted etc. I couldn’t tell you a word of what she said, because I was genuinely trying to suppress my giggles.

I would nearly have changed doc a third time, but for that panicked cardboard-cutout-vagina display alone….I totally forgive her. What a comeback ;o)

57f522423b028792be844be2c749d590

***This article first appeared on the HerFamily.ie Website***

***Going on hols this year? Bringing the kids? ARE YOU SURE? Read THIS first!!***