Category Archives: Parenting

Our Alternative Valentines: Doing It When You Have Kids

Well, we all know how to ‘do it’, otherwise we wouldn’t HAVE kids, right?!

But if you’re a fan of Valentines (and I AM, despite being a grump about most other things), you might need to adjust your way of doing THAT each February 14th.

Now that Ass Monkey and I are an old married couple (!) we agreed that having just had two weddings in the past couple of months was probably enough romance to last us another while yet, and we’d keep it in our pants this year.

(You know what I mean)

Anyway! The kids were excited about Valentines and at 5 and 2 respectively, were very busy in school and pre-school making cards for their mum and dad.

As they were all jazzed up about it, we decided to have a Big Family Valentines Day Out to celebrate little chubby Cupid’s day.

We took the kids to The National Sea Life in Bray for the afternoon, something we’d been meaning to get to for ages.

The weather was pretty bleak, grey and windy that day but the colourful aquariums inside The National Sea Life were all kinds of colourful and gorgeous by contrast.

We’re having a blast in @sea_life_bray today. Full craic in Instagram Stories 🐠🐟

A post shared by Sharyn Hayden (@sharynhayden) on

The kids loved every minute of it and I have to say that the staff were particularly amazing. They gave every family lots of attention and answered every kid’s questions (Jacob had about seven thousand of them).

You can spend a good hour and a half visiting each section, learning about the fish and hanging on for feeding time at the ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ tank.

There’s also a cute little merchandise shop at the end of the tour where Miss Eva insisted on having a pink pirate costume to bring home. And who can deny her?

There is only one real way to be a pirate and that is IN HEELS 😂

A post shared by Sharyn Hayden (@sharynhayden) on

If you want to go for something to eat afterwards, Bray has many, many great places to eat along the seafront yet sadly we didn’t choose one of them.

Not that I am one to name and shame but someone should tell the manageress of the Shmocean Shmar And Shmill to never, ever, EVER pour the dregs of one woman’s white wine into the fresh new glass she just put on the table.

(Also, the food was shit)

But the company was TOP CLASS and I love our new family tradition for our very own Valentines Date For Four.

Tickets bought online for Sea Life are €10 per adult and €7.50 per child aged 3 – 14 years.

“WTF Is Mum’s Box?!” And Other Questions Answered..

So I’ve been quietly ferreting away with a project or two, trying to keep busy post-wedding and also trying to keep Raising Ireland as fresh and forward-thinking as I’d always hoped I would.

A subscription box idea came to me via my great friend Damon Blake who is not only full to the brim with great creative ideas but also filmed the Chitter Chatter video series for this site.

I did some research before Christmas and with the help of the technical wizard that is Sheila Pollard, quietly launched Mum’s Box in December 2016.

Here’s what we sent out in the very first Mum’s Box in January 2017

The idea behind Mum’s Box is to gift hard-working and often neglected mums with a monthly surprise box of treats. Those treats can be from a range of cosmetics, bath, skin or hair care, something delish to eat with a cup of tea or coffee, something to make mums laugh and (almost more importantly), a cheerleading squad via the Raising Ireland network that we support them for the great mums that they are.

These first few months are going to be a quiet testing ground between friends, family and supporters of RaisingIreland.com. We want to make sure that we have a product we can really stand over and be proud of before we launch it into the mainstream media and shout from the rooftops about it.

Getting the first box out was stressful! There were delays with product orders, the boxes arrived way bigger than we’d expected and there was lots of tail-chasing.

(Yes, my box IS too big – say nuthin’)

Peachy is an Irish-owned natural skincare range for mum and baby that we just adore

Anyway, that’s ok, because that’s the beginning of what I am sure is to be a very large learning curve, my favourite kind.

We have made contact with the most interesting and progressive businesses to curate really lovely treats for mums every month, with a big emphasis on Irish suppliers. A lot of them are entrepreneurial mums too, which is a bonus because we love to support other hard-working mammies!

So keep an eye on the Mum’s Box Facebook page as we chart our exciting little journey.

And if YOU are a mum with a product or business that you think would be of interest to us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@raisingireland.com.

And as always ladies.. #loveyourbox

Want to subscribe to Mum’s Box? Click on the image below to take you to the website!

*Read this lovely review from Kellie Kearney at My Little Babog if you need more info!*

8 Things You Can Do While Your Kiddos Are In The Bath

So, it’s January. And while you may have been listening to me giving out shite about that dreaded first month of the year, I do like that it forces us into a little clean-out.

I’m not talking about detoxing our livers here, I’m talking the house – the presses, the overstuffed wardrobes, the space in the attic where the Xmas decorations are going to be stuffed for the next 11 months.

Ass Monkey and I bagged up seven bags of stuff from our bedroom yesterday evening. It had been used as a dumping ground for months while we had been running around planning the wedding.

We’re talking rubbish, clothes, shoes, weird belts that he’d been hanging onto since possibly the 80’s, socks and jocks that we have no business hanging onto because they are tatty/grey when they should be white/say ‘SuperDad!’ on them – chucked, chucked, chuck.

It only took 20 minutes and felt great to get on top of it. And to make things all the nicer, the kids were in the bath the entire time. Look at that for multi-tasking!

It made me think about what you can achieve when your kids are occupied and quiet for a few minutes (although we did have to referee a few rows over rubber duckies), and I was reminded of this article I wrote for fab parenting site HerFamily.

NO, you cannot leave your children unattended while they are having a bath.

YES, you must supervise them at all times as they play with bubbles, brush their ears with toothbrushes and attempt to deliver all of the bathwater to the sitting room below.

BUT! While your kids are happily splashing around, they mostly don’t need you to interfere with their playtime in any meaningful way.

So why not let them at it, and rather than sitting on the toilet or the bathroom floor, counting down the minutes to when their little fingers officially turn prune-like, get on board with multi-tasking like a pro instead:

Here are 8 things you can totally do while your kids are blowing (or eating) bubbles:

1. Get your nails ‘did

Twenty minutes is plenty of time for a quick manicure. I can get my old chipped polish off, give my nails a quick file and rub some oil into the cuticles while the kids are doing their thing. Actual nail polish is impossible because you will literally be called upon to towel dry a little one as soon as you have one coat on. Not worth it!

2. Give your hair a boost

Whether you need to brighten up your blonde or give your brunette tresses a boost, these home treatments can be applied while you’re waiting for the little ones to clean behind their ears. Just apply, and relax.

3. De-fuzz

If you’re like me, you’ll know that the best-planned bath times for yourself don’t always come to fruition. Given that this is where I normally shave my legs, I end up having to find other convenient times to get them done if my own bath time is missed. So, lather up while you’re in there now and break out the lady shave.

4. Try a new product

Face masks, hair masks, exfoliators, eye creams, overnight recovery creams – pop them on now while you have a bit of time. Once the kid’s bath time is over and you actually get them into bed, it’s probably nearly your own bedtime too, right?

5. Tame those brow monsters

I am yet another woman who is bereft when she looks in the mirror each morning and sees the gaps where her eyebrows used to live. Why, fashionable-to-pluck-them-to-shit era, WHY?? Get them back in order, stat!

6. Massage your bags away

Not enjoying the sight of those under-eye bags every morning? Me neither. Take a few minutes and massage them away. Easy peasy.

7. Sort your socks

There is a laundry basket in my house that I try to ignore for as long as is humanly possible each week. It contains all the socks that have come out of the washing machine and have yet to be paired. No one else in our house gives a shit about this laundry basket so here and there, I drag it into the bathroom when the kids are having their bath, sit on the floor and deal with it. Painful but essential.

8. Clean as you go

I sometimes take the opportunity to give the bathroom a going over while we’re all already in there. I’m obviously conscious that you can’t use bleach and other toxic sprays while the kids are in the room, so try these natural cleaning ideas for the sinks, mirrors and surfaces. End result? Your kids AND your bathroom will be spotless. Boom.

It’s #BlueMonday today so we hope you’re doing ok and we’ve given you a bit of a laugh. Be kind to yourselves!

When Is It Time To Say Goodbye To The Baby’s Bottle And Blankie?

We left Eva’s ‘Bop-Bop’ and ‘Blankie’ behind us in Tenerife.

Accidentally on purpose, of course.

While our young 2-and-a-half year old never took to the soother as a baby, she formed a major attachment to this tatty old fleece blanket that once belonged to her big brother which she affectionately named Blankie.

Whenever the mood took her for a little comfort, she would announce ‘I’m very tired’ and dramatically lie herself down on the couch while someone filled a bottle of milk and went on the hunt for the ever elusive Blankie.

Miss Eva would then spread the Blankie out evenly over her entire body, up to her chin and covering her toes, before demanding Umizoomi from Netflix before shoving the ‘Bop-Bop’ into her gob.

She is a lady of leisure, my girl.

But we felt as though the time was nearing for her to give both of them up. Her dependency on the bottle was too frequent and besides hoping that less milk would mean a better appetite for her regular meals, we also want her to be dry overnight while we continue to potty train her.

While we were in Tenerife recently, we realised around Day 2 or 3 that Eva hadn’t once asked for Bop-Bop and Blankie and so we seized the opportunity to eliminate them from her life.

We’d been down this road before with Jacob whose source of comfort was ‘Froggy and Do-Do’ -is it us or is it them who comes up with these names, I can’t remember! – his soother and a suckable teething toy in the shape of a frog.

When we moved house when he was two-and-a-half we just ‘didn’t bring them with us’ and he didn’t once ask for them ever again. The new environment and house just never had any association with them for him so… BINGO.

Eva has asked for her little comforts since returning home, eyeballing the couch where she normally has her siesta and seeing Umizoomi on the family TV again, but we’ve stayed strong.

“Bop-Bop and Blankie minding the pool in Spain” is what she now keeps telling everyone and while it breaks my heart a little bit for her I know she’ll be better off without them in the long run and soon she’ll have forgotten about them completely.

AND she’s had a dry bum every morning so far – winning!

When did you get your kids to give up their comforters? Or are they still going? Let me know how you’re getting on!

Have you checked out Mum’s Box yet? It’s Raising Ireland’s monthly subscription box dedicated to fabulous mums! Our very first boxes are headed out next week and we’re so excited about it! Click in the logo below to take you to the site and remember: #loveyourbox

18 Stages Of Bringing The Kids To A Local Swimming Pool

Looking for activities for the kids to keep them entertained over the Xmas holiday break? Your local public indoor pool is most likely open and not terribly busy. Although – be warned – taking the kids swimming in Ireland ain’t no walk in the park!

(This article originally appeared on the fabulous HerFamily.ie parenting website)

Single-handedly taking our two small kids (5 and 2) for a swim is a challenge that I do not take lightly.

I know that I must be in the full of my health to achieve this family outing: I must be rested, feeling positive and have an otherwise flexible schedule on the day in question to ensure that it is a stress-free event.

Will all the preparation, mentally and otherwise, in the world – it never ceases to amaze me how the whole effort of going for a swim always goes completely wrong.

Here are the 18 stages of this delightful family activity:

1. Hope

You feel confident that you can master this and that everyone will not only have the time of their lives, but they will thank you for days afterwards. Hope is an asshat.

2. Excitement

You let the kids know that a trip to the pool is definitely on the cards and they rummage through their wardrobes for arm bands and swimming hats with glee. You feel completely proud of your decision.

3. Regret

As the toddler empties the packed swim bag for a third time, you wonder if you can get out of this now. But you’ve already told them and one of them has their float jacket on over her clothes, waiting by the front door. Damnit.

4. Nervousness

You mentally check all the things that could go wrong in your head. What if the water is too cold? What if the fancy wave machine isn’t working today? What if your daughter takes a dump in the pool and it has to be evacuated? Take a deep breath and keep driving.

5. First Round of Relief

You get to the changing rooms and everyone is in good spirits and happy to hang about while you get them into swimming costumes and rubber rings. You imagine it will be the same on the way back out. You are 100% WRONG about that.

6. Panic

Every square inch of the wet changing room floor is a death zone. You shove bags and towels into the locker while roaring at your kids to just. stop. running and hold onto mammy!

7. Stress

One of them just slipped on the floor anyway. You contemplate not even dipping one toe into that pool now.

8. Rage

The rubber wrist band with the key on it for the locker is half broken so it won’t fasten to your wrist. You can’t bear taking everything out and finding another locker so you just shove it down between your boobs instead. Be grand.

It won’t be this cute at your local public pool, promise (just thought you may have needed some hope!)

9. Glee

We’re in the water! We’re in the water! Everyone is happy now, we’re floating around without a care in the world. The kids are having a BALL.

10. Boredom

You look at the pool clock and wonder if they’ll know they’ve only been in for 15 minutes if you start giving them the countdown to get out now.

11. First Row

“No, we’ve only just got here!!!” your five-year-old roars at you when you give it the ole ’10 minutes, guys’. “You’re the meanest mammy ever!!”

12. Second Round of Relief

The pool staff just sounded the alarm for ‘Big Waves’ – that’ll buy you another 5 minutes or so.

13. Big Love For The Baby

“Mammy, poo poo”. Fair play to her, she didn’t shit in the pool. You instruct her big brother that you guys have to get out now one way or the other because you have to change her nappy.

14. Second Row

Carry-on and wailing from the pool to the changing rooms, no matter whether they’ve been in for 5 minutes or an hour. Threaten to never bring him to the pool ever again and mean it.

15. Regret

Yes, you will feel regret several times throughout the course of this exercise. It’s just the way it goes.

16. The Getting Dressed Dance

Getting you and two wet kids dry and dressed successfully in a slippery, and often gross, changing room at the pool is enough to drive anyone over the edge. We’re talking negotiating, ordering, pleading, re-sitting them on the bench 14 times so they won’t get their socks/bums/feet wet on the floor, shoving packets of crisps and raisins into their hands to keep them distracted, packing everything up, deflating EFFING rubber rings.. epic multi-tasking required!

17. Defeat

You pass the pool mirrors and realise you completely forgot to brush your own hair and look exactly as demented as you feel. Will you open up that backpack and search for the hairbrush? Not a hope. Carry on, soldier.

18. McDonalds

There is only one way to successfully cap a trip to the pool and that is a drive-thru at McDonalds. Nothing says ‘I’m sorry for being such a crazy mammy today’ like a Happy Meal and a thumbs-up through the rearview mirror.

What are you lot up to in trying to entertain the kids until they go back to school? Would love to hear any top tips!

Have you checked out our new monthly beauty box dedicated entirely to Mums? It’s called Mum’s Box and will be full of gorgeous gifts and treats that hard-working Mammies truly deserve. We are making our first shipment on January 20th and can’t wait to share it with you! Make sure to sign up – it’s just €20 per month! Click on the pic below for more info.

 

Parenting Fail: When Your 5-year-old Has ALL The Cavities

FOR FUCKS’ SAKE.

Ass Monkey and I tried to go away for 5 minutes (well, 3 nights to be completely honest) and we came back to a bit of a shit-storm on the kid’s health front.

Firstly, young Eva had the reddest cheeks I’ve ever seen. She wasn’t a terribly narky baby when she first started getting teeth – we’d know that they were coming because she’d drool a lot or was a bit clingy for a few days – but aside from that, there were never any prolonged periods of wailing or being up during the night (unlike her big brother).

But this time, she’s getting the dreaded back teeth and to add insult to injury – she also seems to be getting ALL of them at once.

When we arrived home just over a week ago, Eva ran for her daddy as she always does and pretty much hasn’t let go of him since. The pair of them have been up together pacing the house every single night since we came back  and we just can’t wait until this crappy bit is over.

Jacob (my son, moon and stars) ran for me and promptly let me know that he had a pain in his back tooth.

We tried to get a good look at it, mostly unsuccessfully, but we could see that it was pretty black looking back there.

My mum, who had been minding the kids, let us know that he had been complaining about it all week and she’d called our family dentist who was all booked up the following day.

But they did mention a HSE clinic in Skerries which I knew nothing about, and Alan popped up on spec with Jacob the next morning.

They weren’t entirely happy to see someone with no appointment but obliged regardless.

Our son, our 5-year-old had not one, not two, jesus, not even three – but FOUR cavities thanks to our pal, SUGAR.

Jacob won’t forget that visit in a hurry

Alan said that Jacob was pretty terrified as he had his tooth ‘fixed’ in the dentist chair (no drilling these days, thankfully) and he was given quite a positive talking to about laying off the sweets and better dental health.

I’ve always been ok with cakes and buns, particularly because we bake them at home and it’s nice to test the work afterwards (!) but there are other failures that I know are responsible for Jacob’s poor dental health;

1: Grandad And His Lollipops: The likelihood that Grandad gives Jacob 2 or more lollipops every time he sees him is a real possibility. He has been duly shamed about the holes in our son’s gob and is now throwing fivers at him instead. Win-win.

2: Relaxed Attitude About Teeth Brushing: The kids both brush their teeth in the bath, and they have a bath almost every evening – but have I been properly supervising them to make sure they are really, REALLY brushing their teeth? No, I’ve been on my phone or dressing beds or pairing socks. So WE have been duly shamed too and are operating as the Tooth Brushing Police henceforth.

See what happens when you’re a parent and you’re off trying to enjoy yourself? Disaster!

*Have you checked out Mum’s Box yet? It’s our brand new subscription box just for mums! Buy a once-off or sign up for monthly subscriptions and receive really cool discounts. We want to send mums lovely things – coz we deserve them, don’t we?! Click on the pic below for more info*

 

Introducing ‘Mum’s Box’ from Raising Ireland

We had a little idea and we ran with it.

The idea was born from my ongoing understanding that the welfare of family – and in particular, mammies – is completely neglected in Ireland.

Being a part of wonderful support networks such as Irish Parenting Bloggers has meant that I have gotten to hear and absorb the most important message that all mums need to hear; ‘Look after yourself and you can look after everyone else’.

It’s so true. Rather than push myself to my limits as I previously did, and risk being too stressed out to be the best mum I can be around my kids, I make sure to treat myself as much as I can.

I take a nap if I’m wrecked, I get cover and hoof up a hill or two for an hour if I’m uptight & I get into the bath with a face or hair mask as much as I can.

This is why we developed ‘Mum’s Box’ – because being kind to ourselves as mums is a learned thing. We need to help each other remember that we deserve simple treats such as a cuppa and a slice of cake or a nice new lipstick!

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To subscribe to Mum’s Box is €20 for a once-off box & there are reductions for multiple subscriptions available.

We’re sending beauty products, amazing skincare items, sweet treats and a novelty trick or two to keep smiles on those mum’s faces.

The difference between us and other beauty boxes is that we are dedicated to providing a support network to mum’s – a cheerleading team who will send positive messages and helpful information on parenting in every box.

There is a 50% discount for our gorgeous Raising Ireland readers – just enter ‘PRELAUNCH’ at the checkout.

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8 Pros & Cons Of Living Back With The Grandparents

At the beginning of 2016 Alan and I duped my parents into letting us live with them while we had an extension built on our house.

“We’ll just stay with you for three weeks and then we’re going to find somewhere suitable to rent for the rest of the building work” we said.

Four months later.. we moved back out.

Here’s a piece that I wrote for fab parenting site HerFamily.ie about it at the time. It is SO much fun looking back on these things!

Here are 8 pros and cons of living back with mum and dad, when you are mum and dad yourselves:

1. You Don’t Have To Do As Much Housework As Before

Pros: We do our bit, of course, but you don’t do the normal amounts of housework like you would do in your own house. You know, rearranging presses and re-homing spiders and so forth. Therefore, you have loads of spare time on your hands! I’ve read two whole books since the beginning of January, a total record.

Cons: You feel guilty about not doing more housework to help out, but you don’t want to be all ‘eh, your gaf is a bit manky’ about the situation. So you clean the loo, but not really clean it and then you feel dissatisfied with your efforts while your mother wonders were you were dragged up. Disaster.

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2. Your Dad Will Do Your Laundry If It’s Sitting There

Pros: Anytime that anyone else will attack your laundry on your behalf is a great day, especially if they also elect to pair the b*starding socks.

Cons: YOUR DAD IS DOING YOUR LAUNDRY! EUWW!

3. You Have Babysitters On Demand

Pros: You can pop to the loo, have a shower, unpack the car, all safe in the knowledge that there are at least one other pair of eyes on the kids.

Cons: The act of living with your folks works off all your general babysitting tokens. We kind of don’t feel as though we can live with them AND impose upon them if we wanted to go out for a night. Therefore our social lives are dead in the water until we can get back to our own place and return to guilting them into doing their grandparental duties once again.

4. You Will Sleep In Separate Rooms

Pros: It isn’t a ‘house rule’ or anything that we’re in separate rooms, we’ve just elected to be responsible for one child each in opposite rooms in the house. Absolutely no fear of us getting accidentally knocked up any time soon.

Cons: Living like brother and sister is not conducive to a healthy romantic relationship. ‘Alright mate!’ I said to Alan this morning as he came down for breakfast. Uh oh..

5. No One Has Any Privacy

Pros: You can’t let rip and have a row with each other whenever you feel like it, you can’t let a roar at the kids, you can’t lounge around in your PJs all day, you are forced up and out early to get out of the way, you can’t have a bad day and insist on watching ‘Extreme Makeover – House Edition’ re-runs to cheer you up ..

Cons: You can’t walk around naked, you can’t have a bath at 11 pm, you can’t get pissed and belligerent at the weekends, you can’t have a ride, you can’t make late phone calls.. and everything else above in ‘Pros’, too.

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6. You Will Save A Fortune

Pros: Not having to pay to rent another home while you are still paying a mortgage on the house that is currently a pile of rubble is SO fortunate. We have completely knuckled down and are saving every penny to make sure that we are covered for the inevitable ‘extras’ bill at the end of the building work.

Cons: There are no real cons to being able to save money, other than the boredom that has settled in on us that while we are saving, we aren’t doing much else that’s ‘fun’. We swing from ‘Let’s get out of their hair for a weekend with the kids!’ to ‘But then.. we won’t have a toilet for the downstairs loo’ and strike it from the list again. Wah.

7. Everyone Is On Their Best Behaviour

Pros: You will be a better parent, a better son/daughter, a better spouse and partner all because you’ll be putting your best foot forward 24/7 due to the constant ‘company’ that is four respectable adults living together.

Cons: You will break out in psoriasis due to the internal stress you experience in being unable to just tell someone to go f*ck themselves. (No one in particular, obviously)

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8. You Will Get To See The Relationship Between Your Kids And Parents Flourish

Pros: When I see how happy my parents are when my two kids give them the big smiles, the automatic hugs and kisses, I know that as hard as living together might be for us adults, this is a special time that we might not see again. Every time I get a bit pissed off, or yearn for my own space again, I remind myself of that.

Cons? There aren’t any for this one.

Like this post? Then keep on truckin’;

5 Reasons Our Kids Love Their Grandparents More Than Us

5 Reasons Your Family Will Love The Toucan Box

I’ve recently become obsessed with subscription boxes which is pretty terrible for my bank balance but when you find one that REALLY entertains your kids for a couple of hours, I would consider that to be #winning.

I signed up for personalised Toucan Boxes for both kids although Eva is still a little bit young – they recommend that 3 years of age is a good starting point.

Toucan Box promotes itself as giving families back quality time together and keeping kids away from the TV by giving them a box of crafts and instructions for embarking on particular projects.

I decided that they were going to be my ‘Rainy Day’ backup and so as the sun was shining on the day the first box arrived so I hid them in a drawer in the kitchen! My secret weapons were under a serious pile of tea towels.

Here’s what we love about them:

1. I’m not naturally crafty

I’m artistic and everything but I’m not great at imagining a crafty project for the kids. The Toucan Box does all that hard work for you and then you still get to feel like you ‘Parented Good’ by virtue of the fact that they DID crafts even if you had nothing to do with it.

2. They are great value

I could easily spend a tenner or so on feckin Play Doh and glitter glue at Tesco or Easons and we wouldn’t get that much out of either (and mostly, that Play Doh just ends up on the floor, right?) At e5.45 a box fortnightly and an extra just e1.45 for a sibling, I think it’s money well spent.

3. The excitement is second-to-none

Even I’M excited to know what’s inside the box when it arrives. We had pirate maps and parrots to make the first week and dragon’s masks and tails the second. We literally cannot get the boxes open fast enough.

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4. The kids feel like rock stars

The personalised aspect of the boxes is great so that the kids feel really special when they see their names printed on each box. Now they want to be Hobby Kids – GREAT!

5. I HAVE PEACE!

Once I get them all set up with their instructions for what’s needed, the Toucan Box projects keep the kids entertained for a really long time. I’m not just talking about the initial sitting down to craft bit either – but the activity books also keep them going with colouring and pasting for a few days afterwards.

I’m sold!

 

10 Reasons I Am Totally OK With My Kids Growing Up

I know that as a parent it is my inherent duty to bemoan the fact that my kids are getting older.

I am obliged to look at old baby photos or hold up little tiny babygros that they no longer fit into and wail, “Why? WHY must they keep growing?!”

And I DO do a lot of that (especially with those pesky Facebook memories that they throw up every day).

But there are also some cool things to remember that are GREAT about your kids growing up:

1. Getting themselves dressed

The Art Of Dressing A Squirming Toddler When There Are Four Minutes To Get Out The Front Door is an art I will not miss. Jacob is happily dressing himself at the moment and I am happily letting him. One down.

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2. Entertaining Themselves

Finally, my kids are starting to really play together which is giving us parents all sorts of free time to ourselves. We had our dinner and an entire conversation yesterday while watching our kids racing each other to jump on their bean bags. They didn’t interrupt us for ten whole minutes. Bliss.

3. Getting Out Of Nappies

I have been the happiest mum ever since Jacob started using the toilet himself, and as of a week ago, he doesn’t even need my help in there any more. Now we just need to getting madam fully on board with the potty training and we are set.

4. Getting Out Of Peppa Pig

My daughter is launching a Peppa Protest at the moment and we are FINE with that. I am really tired of that little piggy with her foot-stomping and her treating her parents and little brother like crap. We have moved onto Dora with her lovely Spanish and number-learning. Praise be!

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5. Choosing Their Own Clothes

We have suffered Sock Rejection for long enough – I can no longer cope with fighting with my kids over wearing things that they’re not into. Roll on the independence of choosing what they want to wear on a daily basis and owning it. Eva fully rocked a Minnie Mouse pyjama top all day yesterday and was thrilled with herself. So be it!

6. Buggy Free Time

The buggy is great and handy for lots of different situations – like a quick trip to the shopping centre if you need them to be contained, or when on hols and you need them to be comfortable and shaded by the hood and parasol. But on a daily basis, the buggy is SUCH a pain in the HOOP to get in and out of the car and strap the little ones into. Plus, I am far happier for them to be on their feet and get the exercise they need. So.. our current one is off to SVP, yippee!

7. Feeding Themselves

My kids obviously still need plenty of coercion when it comes to dinner time in terms of getting them to sit down long enough to eat it. But they are well able to feed themselves and bring their bowls over to the kitchen sink when they’re done. If only they were old enough to wash the dishes..

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8. They’re Kind Of Over Us

It used to be SUCH a panic to get out for a date on the rare occasions that we did. I used to have to wear my dressing gown over my going-out outfit to disguise the fact that I was planning to leave them with a babysitter and then literally try to escape out the front door unnoticed. These days, it’s “Are we having a party? Is there chocolate in the fridge? See ya later”. Love it.

9. Helping Out

NOT that we’re into child labour (YET) but it’s so great when the kids start helping to clean up after themselves. Jacob is starting to be really good at putting all his toys away at the end of the day (WHERE did all that Lego come from) and Eva has formed a close bond with the hoover. Staff! We have staff! Whoop!

10. Finding Out Who They Are

Every other week, we are seeing more and more who our kids truly are as little people. Jacob is becoming a real dude who is crazy about construction and mechanics, with a side order of mischief thrown in. Eva is more and more affectionate all the time and has just started whispering “I love you” into our ears.

We can wait to see what the next year will bring!

This article first appeared on fab parenting site HerFamily.ie