Tag Archives: Kids

Is 11 the New 14?

Jacob is 11.

11. Sounds like a little kids age, right?

“An eleven year old with a dream of being an astronaut was surprised on the Late Late Toy Show with a visit from a NASA space engineer’.

You’d think, ‘Cute, that little kid had their dream come true!’. Right?

Except that Jacob is not little, in size or in typically child-like anecdotal behaviour, although he does seem to have developed a whopper attitude. What a joy.

The thing is, he’s sort of become a man and I’m not even quite sure when it happened.

He’s as tall as me and his granny, and although neither of us are supermodel height we’re still, like, average size adults.

He’s independent in a way that I wasn’t ready for – not at all interested in reading books or cooking together or, dare I say it, have a cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. He would rather eat his own schoolbag.

He’s growing up, physically, mentally and emotional rate that is so speedy, my head is spinning.

It feels like we blinked and somehow time-hopped from him building a snail motel in the garden with his sister to his needing size 10 football boots. That’s right, he’s a giant.

I’m trying not to be too emosh about it but it’s hard. Jacob was my first baby and we have been the best of buds since the day he was born.

In the ‘Wha?’ moments (you know the ones…Me: ‘Good morning honey, would you like porridge for breakfast?’ Him (blank stare): ‘Wha?’, I’m digging deep to not take it too personally.

And also to keep on loving him. Because some days, you want to take their Size 10 football boots and shove them up their…

… I’ll let you finish that sentence.

Good luck with your teens. They are going to be living with you sooner than you think.

Sharyn x


Operation: Hallowe’en

‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Yearr…’ we sing in our house as Halloween approaches.

We really do love it – from the second school is back in session we are planning our decorating theme, our costumes, the movies we will watch every Friday for ‘Movie & Pizza Night’ and genuinely, it’s pretty much all we talk about in September and October.

This year isn’t any different despite the fact that it is, well, different. We have our theme ‘The Witches’ and started building an epic cauldron from scratch which will take centre stage in the middle of the garden path.

I know I’m mad. I know. But.. Halloweeeeen!!

This is great for lots of different reasons;

A) it’s keeping the kids busy when otherwise we are, really, not so busy at all. Do you have any idea how tedious papier mache is on a large scale?!

B) When it’s done I’m going to wedge it between the posts of our garden gate so that it isn’t possible to come in and knock on our door this Halloween. It’s a Witchy Barrier, you see. Look, someone is going to try to call on doors in your neighbourhood and that’s is a fact – this is our creative way of saying ‘Bitch, you crazy?’.

Expected Completion Date: Halloween 2034

Making Halloween Day special is top of my agenda for the kids (and us!) – and it can be done with a bit of effort and some imagination. Some of our neighbours who also have small kids are talking about having a little parade of costumes up and down the road during the day which is cute. The kids will still have good reason to still get excited about costumes and face paint. If the neighbours all left treats on their walls the kids can still fill their bags and everyone feels like Trick or Treating somewhat happened. I’m going to get some Halloween choons going outside my house too, to cheer them on. Don’t worry, I won’t sing. Halloween is terrifying enough.

I don’t know if it’s very early, or if people are reluctant to bother putting up decorations in case it encourages unwanted callers on Halloween Night, but there seems to be way fewer houses with decorations up in our area.

Which is a shame, because, like Xmas, little kids love to walk around their neighbourhoods in the lead-up to Halloween and see the spookiness that other people have going on in their houses and gardens.

I say make the effort; decorate your home, drop some sweets to the doorstep of your friends and family who have kids, embrace the Pumpkin Latte and Ghosty Cupcakes of it all.

One-tenth complete. Four hours later (!)

You can still let people know that you are not available for knocking on doors Halloween Night – put Crime Scene tape across your gate, pop up a sign asking for No Callers Please. Just don’t forget all the other potential fun stuff besides just that – the little monsters are still all super excited. Let’s not let them down.

The 10 Pros And Cons Of Saying “I Do” With Two Kids In Tow

Ass Monkey and I took our sweet time getting married.

We were friends for 10 years before we finally twigged that we might actually fancy each other and then spent another 10 years figuring out how too live together romantically.

He and I are both very independent and headstrong people and really, our relationship shouldn’t have worked. Technically we should have blown it with all the bull-like head-to-heads we’ve had over the years.

But like stubborn bulls that we are, we kept demanding that the relationship work and I’m so, so glad that we did.

For out of our scrappy early days has come this deep, deep love and respect for one another which lead to our fab wedding day on December 8th.


We had such a ball getting married but really, Jacob and Eva were the stars of the show (even though I could, at times in the weeks leading up to the wedding day be heard complaining, ‘Why the F*CK didn’t we do this before we had kids?!‘)

The logistics of planning a wedding when you have two small kids were pretty bonkers and stressful at times to deal with but ultimately, the universe conspired to give us the journey that was intended for us and we really wouldn’t have had it any other way.

5 Cons To Getting Married With Kids In Tow:

  1. Visits to the family GP will increase tenfold – every time you want to do something important, like register for your wedding certificate or buy your wedding rings, a child will get sick (we still don’t have our official rings, fact!)
  2. Free time is scarce – all of your organising has to be done at 10pm when the kids are finally asleep or during that hour or two peace you get when they are in school. This will result in your house falling into CODE RED disarray, the one where even the dog is judging you because of the state of your jacks.
  3. Everything is last minute – you can’t buy them any clothes until the last minute because they won’t stop bloody growing! So you’ll dash to Debenhams a week before the wedding and PRAY that they have some decent stock left (and then you’ll hit Next, Dunnes, TK Maxx, H&M.. they’re not easy to suit shop for!)
  4. Keeping kids happy at weddings costs money – we forked out for goodie bags, activity packs, childminders (AKA The Department of Children’s Happiness), hot chocolate, kid-friendly sandwiches while the adults were having canapés, a Photo Booth.. and we could have kept going. But it really worked out because I have it on good advice that the 13 or so kids we had with us on the day enjoyed themselves maybe even more than the adults!
  5. The day-after is pretty grim – I may have had ‘a couple’ (thousand) glasses of Prosecco at our wedding and I was in a world of pain the next day. Cue all my regret about buying tickets for the kids to see Santa at Tayto Park that afternoon. Thankfully, the elves took over my parenting responsibilities for a couple of hours.

Could they BE any cuter?!

Could they BE any cuter?!

5 Pros To Getting Married With Kids In Tow:

  1. They keep you grounded – there is no time for being a Bridezilla when you have two kids who take priority over everything else in your life. If you have to cancel your hair trial because your two-year-old is getting her back teeth and has been up all night then so be it!
  2. They remind you to relax – most of my focus in organising the wedding was to keep the kids involved and happy. Adults will complain until the cows come home about anything and everything but kids will just be so happy to be together with their friends and cousins that they simply get on with enjoying themselves. We could all do with taking a leaf out of their book.
  3. They are just so excited – in the lead-up to the wedding Jacob was constantly asking questions, counting us down to the big day, checking the mail box for RSVPs and planning his very important job of bringing the rings up to his dad. We thought Eva didn’t really get the whole thing until I put a long hooded coat on one day to go out into the rain and she told me, “I like your wedding, mammy”. She got it on some level.
  4. They are so proud – I was keeping the emotions at bay on the morning of the wedding until I walked downstairs in my wedding dress to meet my dad.. and Jacob started off an unprompted round of applause in my honour. Where would you get him?!
  5. Kids truly make a wedding – there is most definitely a cut-off point where they don’t need to see Uncle Harold having a row with the bartender who is refusing to serve him triple vodkas at 1am but.. the morning of, the ceremony, the DANCING – they are a priceless addition to any wedding day.

**Thanks for all your well-wishes for our wedding day, it was the greatest of our lives. There are plenty more stories to come!**

Have you checked out the super cool new Mum’s Box yet? Go have a snoop!




How To Prepare For Travelling Abroad With Kids

5 Sleeps To Go

  1. Locate all summer clothes. If you live in Ireland, they’re probably still in the attic.
  2. Wash and dry all items. In the dryer. (See above)
  3. Return to attic to retrieve large suitcase.
  4. Realise gave large suitcase to brother on loan two years ago. Remind self to badger Ass Monkey later about why we don’t go on more holidays.
  5. Ask brother for suitcase, who informs that suitcase was in fact returned, but broken, so remember bashing it into small pieces to fit into the green bin last Christmas.
  6. Send Ass Monkey into town for a suitcase that is big enough for four people’s summer clothes, but not so big that we’d be charged extra baggage weight at the airport. Ass Monkey nods silently.
  7. Lay out all clothes on the spare bed. And top of dresser. And most of floor. It’s never going to fit into one suitcase.

4 Sleeps To Go

  1. The sun is shining! It’s a miracle. Promise to bring kids to the beach. Go to spare room for summer clothes items for all to wear.
  2. Finally cop that a double buggy is the most essential item for going abroad with a 1 and 3 year old. Ask to borrow one from a friend – inform Ass Monky of it’s whereabouts for pick up. Ass Monkey nods silently.
  3. Go to chemist for all summer essentials: sun cream, after-sun cream, baby sun cream, mosquito repellant, first-aid kit, Gaviscon, Motillium, headache tablets, Teethas, Calpol, Arret, shampoo, kids shampoo, body wash, moisturisers, hats, goggles, sun glasses, nappies, swimmer nappies, baby wipes. Reach the condom aisle but find self too exhausted to lift the box off the shelf.
  4. Have great day at the beach with the kids – return home to wash and dry all summer clothes again.

3 Sleeps To Go

  1. Everything in the house must be eaten and there will be no more food shopping. Try this combination for dinner: chicken breasts marinated in easi-singles, topped with sausage slices, with a side of peppa-pig shaped spaghetti with an avocado and mayonnaise mousse. Dessert will be mushed banana, digestive biscuits and petite flous. Eggs must feature in every meal, we must get rid of the eggs. What if they hatch while we’re gone?
  2. Pack everything into the new suitcase and stick to the ‘Seven Of Everything’ rule. If they run out of shorts, we’ll wash the shorts. In baby shampoo, perhaps. Might need to buy more baby shampoo.
  3. Vow not to have a repeat of THAT trip to Ibiza years ago and diligently pack underwear.
  4. Clean the oven and the fridge – who knows who’ll be inspecting your house when you’re gone? Also book in the window cleaner, just in case of extremely close levels of judgement.

2 Sleeps To Go

  1. Take the contents of the medicine cabinet and dump them into the toiletries bag. Realise how bloody heavy the toiletries bag and that you’ll definitely get charged for an overweight bag at the airport now. Send Ass Monkey out for two backpacks – sure we’ll divvy them out and carry them on our backs, I declare. Ass Monkey nods silently.
  2. Clean up all dog poo from garden, in case anyone might pop by to cut the grass in your absence.
  3. Leave spare key with neighbour (see above).
  4. Realise have made no provision for dog’s welfare while you are gone. Ask neighbor but they have a new cat. Reluctantly ask parents although mother is not a fan of dogs. They agree. Feel sorry for dog.
  5. Open a bottle of wine as you are so nearly on your holidays now.
  6. Order in the dinner – there is now only milk and half a tin of Peppa Pig-shaped spaghetti in the house. Feel proud.
  7. Dye hair and paint toe nails while a little bit tipsy. Be grand.

1 Sleep To Go

  1. Book self in for an emergency appointment with the beauty salon as one’s nails and general appearance is not grand. What happened to the days when one would spend weeks exercising for being ‘poolside ready’ and getting hair and tan and nails done ALL WEEK leading up to the hols?
  2. Remember am a mother now and whilst still a human being, have not had a cup of coffee alone this week, never mind had the opportunity to have a facial so just fork out the cash.
  3. Beautician comments on hair being ‘lovely and shiny’. Book self in for emergency hair appointment. It is Saturday so Ass Monkey can figure the kids out.
  4. Get home to find that entire family decided to ‘play’ in the spare room and now all packing is undone and must be re-done. Great craic. Love family.
  5. Open another bottle of wine. Sure the taxi will be here in 8 hours – it IS holiday time.
  6. Re-pack and weigh all bags when kids are in bed. We might just get away with it.
  7. Make sure to finish all open bottles of wine and spirits. Flies have a terrible habit of being drawn towards the sugar in liquor so we have to finish them in case of, you know, the plague.
  8. Drunkenly try to figure out how to navigate the double buggy up and down the hallway in pisses of laughter.
  9. Remember with horror that I did, in fact, forget to re-pack my underwear. Shove it all into my carry on and hope no one wants to search my bag at the airport.
  10. Set alarms for 4am and fall into bed. We’ll definitely wake up…won’t we??



** This Post Originally Appeared On The HerFamily.ie Website. Keep Reading HERE! **

The Rush Playground Fundraiser

Rush Playground Fundraiser Profile PicThe kids of Rush don’t have a playground, did you know that? Well, there is one up at St. Catherines which is quite close to my house and I have done one of the following each time I’ve visited it with the kids:

a) Had a row with a pack of shit head teenagers.

b) Had a row with a shit head adult enforcing ‘The Rules’ (I CAN run in and get my dog if she happens to get in by accident, I have NOT left her there to supervise the see-saw ffs)

c) Picked up broken bottles, cigarette butts etc.

d) Wished that the council would actually clean and repair it so it was a decent playground to bring the kids to.

I’m well aware that there are lots of playgrounds around the country with similar societal problems and it is so sad that it is the case. But anyway, I digress. The main town of Rush does not yet have a playground but did just finally receive the go ahead to build one at the harbour park, which is fantastic news.

As a certain amount of funding is needed to bolster the existing council funds, and as my best mate Rory Carrick and I love to throw a party, we are combining both of those things for The Rush Playground Fundraiser, which takes place in the Rush GAA Club on September 26th at 8pm.

Our aim is to host a fantastic 80’s themed night full of fun, music, HUGE amounts of laughter and 80’s tackorama. Do I have my Madonna outfit ready? Washed, aired and ready to rock, my friends ;o)

Tickets are €25 each which include nibbles, 80’s rock band Delorean and your contribution to the town’s much-anticipated children’s playground. Tables of 8 to 10 are available to reserve, if you want to make a night of it with your friends.

Click on the link below to secure your tickets and you can pick them up at the door.

Prosecc-Oh No You Didn’t!

If you’re a parent and you’ve never seen the movie The Slipper And The Rose, I suggest you find a way to schedule it into your telly watching this week. Based on the story of Cinderella, it is a fabulous UK musical version starring our very own Gemma Craven and the ridiculously handsome Richard Chamberlain. Although I haven’t watched it for years, I am constantly reminded of it these days, in particular the really very funny Fairy God Mother, who was played by Annette Crosbie.

You see, Fairy Godmother could make all of Cinderalla’s dreams come true; she could magic her from slave labourer to a credible princess in a few clicks of the finger. When Cinderella was too exhausted to go on, she could whip up a cooked dinner for fifty of the Wicked Step Mother’s closest friends with a blink of an eye. But try to boil the kettle for a cup of tea for herself when everyone had left for the ball? Disaster. Magic a new frock that she might wear herself? You must be joking.

I think being a mammy is like that sometimes. We can get everyone up, dressed and fed, lunches made, schedule doctors visits, organize play dates, family holidays and get-togethers, and more or less succeed in serving everyone else’s needs. But try and make it on time for a nail appointment? Fail. Try to look unlike a harried mother with Rusk chunks embedded on her sleeves when bumping into an ex-boyfriend? Fail. Try to do absolutely anything that could be construed as ‘Private’, ‘free’ or ‘Me’ Time? Fail, fail, fail.

Ass Monkey and I had a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge for about two months. Actually, that’s not entirely true. It did leave the fridge on occasion, under the promise that we might open and drink it. And as we were interrupted by children/visitors/falling asleep into our dinner, it has always ended up back on the shelf. I have audibly apologized to the bottle on more than one occasion. ‘I promise I will drink you’, I’d say, sadly, as I slowly closed the refrigerator door.

On Friday night last, we thought we had it sussed. Both kids were unusually knackered by 6pm, so we bathed them and got them into bed by 7.30pm – about an hour earlier than normal. Marvelous! Abandoning all notions of ironing (me) or cleaning up after dinner (him), we grabbed the essentials: a movie, popcorn, cheese and crackers, a selection box (yes, we still have one or two and they’re not going to eat themselves) and the abandoned bottle of Prosecco. ‘It’s your lucky day!’ I exclaimed, reefing it by the next from the fridge. (It’s cool, Prosecco likes it rough).

We were having a great ole time, and of course I was feeling giddy after one glass because I hardly ever get to drink and I’m exhausted all the time (= light weight). Ass Monkey had just refilled our glasses with the last of the bottle when we heard a thud from upstairs. And then major wailing from Jacob, the kind where you think something really bad has happened. You know, like that there might be blood.

I jumped up with such a fright from the couch that I knocked the two glasses of Prosecco off the coffee table and over onto the rug below. Traumatised, I kept going upstairs and found Jacob bawling uncontrollably in our bed, hands in his mouth, and that continued for an hour. He was also kind enough to wake his baby sister, who was then also awake for an hour. Also bawling.

About half an hour into the carnage, I could hear Ass Monkey pottering around, switching off lights and locking up doors. I mean, who did we think we were, enjoying ourselves?

Kids: 1 Fairy Godmother: 0


This originally appeared on the HerFamily website. See other articles I have written for HerFamily.ie HERE!

Resource: Foghlaimid Education Network

I didn’t always love school, but when I was good, I was really, really good… And I know that the benefit of a good education, and my parents’ insistence on making sure of exactly that, has really stood to me over the years.

Therefore, now, with the benefit of an oul wan’s head on me, and a smidgeon of wisdom, I just love any of these educational resources that I find to help our kids along.

Here’s a great one for anyone who is living in Cork – Foghlaimid Education Network.

Read more here: Foghlaimid on Raising Ireland

Maybe We Can Park It Over There….

You’re in town for the day with your partner, husband, friends…. and baba in their buggy. After a while either me or my husband will say “Wanna go for something to eat and we can feed baby” – so we go and check out somewhere that looks nice.
It seems more often than not one of us disappointingly says to the another “Oh, I don’t think we will fit in there”. It looks like everywhere has become smaller, crammed with more tables placed super close together and leaving no room for patrons with buggies.
When we go to town for the day, there is about three places we can actually go and sit with our buggy… pre-baba, we had a favorite lunch or breakfast spot which we can now no longer fit or we will block up the entire walk way for staff and customers.
There are places like O’Briens and the likes which have the floor space, but babies are expensive enough without having to pay for an overpriced sandwich because you cannot physically fit in anywhere else. I have been in shops, cafes etc where I have not even been able to use the bathroom because I would have to leave my baby in the buggy outside (obviosuly something I would not do). I have been in big stores and shopping centres which only have ONE baby changing room!
So why are  establishments so unbuggy friendly? Is it better to have two empty tables, then to get rid of one for a buggy to fit and have one full table? Surely in this economic climate, places should be making it possible for people to actually come in and spend their money – not force them to look elsewhere?
Accommodating a buggy should just be a given. If more places understood the importance of being a ‘buggy friendly establishment’, they would definitely benefit from any parents who know they can comfortably eat there with their family.
No Strollers

Attention Defecate Disorder

We’ve been potty training 2-and-a-half year old Jacob. It was one of those jobs that I’ve had on my long list of ‘Things To Do Before The Next Baby Comes’, which also includes things like ‘Get Ass Monkey To Fix That Leak In The Bathroom’, ‘Sort Out Jacob’s Photos From Since He Was Born’ and ‘Design A Multi-Million Euro App Of Some Description’. Thankfully, the potty training job one was happily forced on us in the end, as Jacob’s new pre-school required that he was outta the nappies.

I bought all the paraphernalia – the training pants, cool underpants from H&M, the Thomas The Tank Engine potty, the kids toilet seat-with-a-step-up-to-it from Argos, and another cool hippo seat to fit the toilet upstairs, even though I truly believed that he wasn’t ready. I didn’t. I thought he was too young and I’d be cleaning shite & piss off the floor for the next three months.

But he surprised me, and not for the first time I suppose. We’re five weeks in now, and not only will he announce ‘WEE WEES!!!’ or ‘POO POOS!!!’ from the top of his lungs whenever it is ‘time to go’, but sometimes…sometimes… he will quietly take himself off to do his business by himself without bothering us. That is, of course, until the deed is done and he shuffles back into the kitchen, pants around his ankles, proudly presenting his business in the potty to us. Obviously, this only tends to happen when we have company over and are in the middle of dinner. You’ve got to hand it to the kid – he certainly knows how to make an entrance.

There have most definitely been accidents (like just yesterday, when his ass stuck to the potty & he stood up too quickly, spilling urine all over the floor!), and he gets cutely embarrassed about those moments.  We try to reassure him that mistakes are FINE by us, that he’s doing great, and maybe mammy and daddy will keep a closer watch on things next time. The last thing I want is for him to become self-conscious and then blame me for his adult constipation in years to come.

However, like everything, Jacob is one step ahead of us in the ‘cute hoor’ stakes. Not only does he now use ‘I NEED A WEE WEE!’ as a delay tactic for going to bed at night and for our attention at 3am, he also has started calling our bluff when we’re out for lunch or dinner. I brought him to the bathroom three times yesterday due to a serious ‘Poo Threat’ that could have interrupted my birthday dessert (a chocolate brownie, of course, lest I should choose anything non-poo-featured). Every time we walked to the bathroom, locked the door and got his pants down, he’d shake his head innocently; ‘I don’t need a poo poo, mammy’. Every. Single. Time.

Something about taking my attention away from an adult conversation is clearly most attractive to our young son, and he knows exactly what he is doing. The day I don’t entertain it and refuse to bring him to the toilet is the day he’ll soil himself in the middle of Fallon and Byrne, and I’ll be scarlehfied. So congratulations, you have my full attention, Jacob.

That is the face of a PROUD MAN.

Success on the potty. That is the face of a PROUD MAN.