Tag Archives: Parenting

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 

Back To School: Label Everything Or Die Tryin’

The act of sending your firstborn to school is much like heading back there for the first time yourself – particularly if it’s been a VERY, VERY long time since you’ve actually been a school kid (I can’t tell you precisely how many years it’s been for me because it’s too early in the week for despair).

I’ve done all the regular research that’s available to me – I chatted to other mums who have been on the Back To School train before me, I attended the induction day at the school (although Jacob was having a bit of a meltdown so I missed a good part of The Chat and left it to Ass Monkey who has since relayed precisely NONE of the information), I read all the school literature and I bought all the books and uniforms well in advance.

So far, so very unlike me. I’m not a particularly organised mum to date but for the purposes of getting the Son (Moon and the Stars) off to Big School, I was willing to pull up my school socks and put the effort in.

And then I lost a week at the end of the summer. I don’t know what or how or why it happened but when it got to the last week in August, I assumed I had two more weeks to get all the ‘fiddly bits’ done when in fact, I had only days.

Cue much panic purchasing of labels, schoolbags, water bottles and wailing over What The FUCK are we going to give him in his lunchbox?!

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On the very last night before school began, I searched high and low for the labels that I’d bought. I’d heard through the grapevine that you have to label everything – EVERYTHING – when your kid goes to school because they lose everything.

‘Even their underpants!’, I heard, and I somehow believed that mother. It was the tone she used – beaten by the Clothes Going Missing Beyond The Schoolgates Scandal.

I couldn’t find the blasted things for ages and berated myself for proving, yet again, that I was untrustworthy as an organised mother and human being in general.

How could I send my child to school without a label attached to every corner of his belongings? What if we lost a school jumper, a precious school tie – what if we lost HIM? Should I affix a label to the back of his ear?

3am and the labels were located. The iron and ironing board were dragged out and labels ceremoniously affixed to every navy and blue and navy-and-red-striped item that we had purchased for our lad to take the major leap that is the next step in his education.

Come morning and we were all up early, excited about this latest adventure.

I dressed my son on the landing upstairs – just he and I, alone in our little ceremony.

I didn’t think I would cry – I have been so happy for him to get going in primary school. I know he’s ready and I know his mind is really ripe for learning.

He placed his tie over his head and we stopped for a moment to look at each other and then he threw his arms around my neck.

‘I love you’ I told him, bursting into tears. My boy, the little man.

And as I placed his school jumper over his head, the final piece of his armour – his uniform which says, ‘I grew up overnight, did you know that?‘ – I noticed something that I will never forget.

There was an inbuilt tag on the fucking neck of the jumper – I hadn’t needed to iron new ones on at all.

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5 Reasons Our Kids Love Their Grandparents More Than Us

I have always said that I never realised how much my parents loved me until I saw how much they love our kids.

Like, they are OBSESSED with them.

We moved closer to their home two years ago and it was the best move in terms of how much more quality time they all get to spend together.

Both of my parents work so we we never edging for the ‘free babysitters’ angle (rage), but when they are around, they just love spending time with their grandkids.

My partner and I know just how lucky we are to have them nearby BUT! it doesn’t come without it’s challenges too.

Like, how do you have an argument with your dad about lodging a bar of chocolate into the tiny, grubby hand of a two year old right before bedtime, when you know he’s doing it because he loves her?

(And a little bit because he’s being a trouble-maker!)

Here are reasons why my kids have an extra-special relationship with their grandparents:

1. The Undivided Attention

There is nothing a small child craves more than attention from those around them. Us parents are constantly asking them to ‘give me a minute’ or ‘stop climbing all over me’ while the grandparents show us up with a ‘Tell me all about it’ and woo their little attention-seeking hearts.

2. The Playground Trips

I must admit, I’m not crazy keen on taking the kids to the playground – you’d understand if you saw some of the playgrounds in our area. But my parents are only THRILLED to push them on swings and follow them all around climbing frames and slides. More power to them.

3. The Feeding

From the second they walk into their grandparents house, my kids are eating. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening, they have drinks, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, biscuits and sweets being flung at them from all directions. I can’t even begin to tell you about the 7pm offers of a carton of orange juice. *face palm*

4. The Presents

“I haven’t bought them anything in ages!” my mam will exclaim before flinging a bag of Smyths toys into the room. It’s like Christmas every other week.

5. The Love Connection

There is a totally different connection between grandparents and grandkids than there is between parent and child. I used to want to live with my grannies all the time when they were alive. You can feel the warmth of their love every time you see them and that is completely priceless.

(This article first appeared on fab parenting site HerFamily.ie)

Why Talking To Kids About Sexual Safety Is A Load Of PANTS

With Jacob about to start primary school in just under one weeks time, I feel a sense of foreboding in terms of the amount of prep work I am going to have to do in order to get him ready for the real world.

He is coming from the soft, dreamy, loving surrounds of his fabulous pre-school in Loughshinny, Co. Dublin into the much more grown-up environment that is ‘Big School’.

I, along with many other parents around the country, are worried about two things: dickhead kids and dickhead adults.

While I know that every primary school does their best to keep the junior and senior infants somewhat apart from the older kids until they are a little more grown up and steady on their feet, that isn’t to say that they won’t see them and feel threatened or intimidated by them.

Since the ‘boys versus girls’ and ‘who’s the leader of the gang’ has already started in his last year at pre-school, I can only imagine the kiddie-led bullying that I’m about to hear about.

In preparation for that, I am doing two things:

  1. talking to my kid constantly about confidence and self-assertion (“you have a voice so use it!”) and,
  2. signing him up for karate classes (there will be ZERO fucking about on that front)

The other thing that I am keen to address with him before he starts school is the area around body and sexual safety.

I want my son to know that he is SO RIGHT to tell someone “No!” if he feels uncomfortable around them.

I want him to know that he should ALWAYS tell me and his dad if something happens to him that he is unsure or upset about.

So how do I get that message across without using words like ‘paedophile’ or ‘sexual assault’ with my 5-year-old?

Well, by showing him this video. It is pants, but in the best possible way:

What do you think about the video? Let me know in the comments on Facebook.

6 Reasons I Don’t Go Out On The Town As Much As I Used To

In my pre-kiddo days, I used to go out. A lot. Like, I was out more than I was in. The idea of sitting in on a Saturday night, with no place to go, filled me to the pits of my soul with dread.

I distinctly remember one weekend that none of my mates could go out so I just got myself dressed up and headed down to the local pub where I found loads of other people to hang out with instead. I may have been the original person to be diagnosed with Fear Of Missing Out.

Maybe – MAYBE – if I didn’t have kids, then age and a busy work life would have slowed me down eventually. But since the kids came along, and especially with the arrival of baby two, I’ve noticed that my Party Years have now gradually morphed into The Pyjamas And Couch Years.

Here’s what I think is going on:

1. I like my house

Ass Monkey Alan and I worked our asses off to buy it last year and so I enjoy being in it, looking at it and pottering around in it. I especially love doing that when the kids are in bed because the floors are actually pretty nice, so it’s great to be able to see them for a couple of hours sans toys.

2. I am tired with a capital T

Jacob is a much better sleeper now than he was, and Eva is a gift from the sleeping gods, but I am owed three years of sleep back from when Jacob was a baby. I would be quite content to reclaim that sleep in spa breaks or a week-long kip on a sunny beach but until there comes a time when I can do that, I am taking it now by going to bed ridiculously early midweek. We’re talking 9.30pm some nights. Yes, I have turned into an ol’ wan.

3. Babysitters are expensive

We definitely have a bit more help in terms of ‘free’ babysitters now that we live so close to my parents but because they both work and help us a lot midweek, I don’t like asking them too much. Babysitters in my area are a tenner an hour and so every hour that you are out of the house, you are panicking ‘That’s another tenner, that’s another tenner – Jesus, we’re up to €60 now and we still have to pay for the taxi home!’

Take even just going to a restaurant that is half an hour away:

Taxi fare there and back: approx €30

Dinner & bottle of wine: approx €50

Babysitter for four hours: €40

Total night out: €120.

You couldn’t do that every week, could ya?

4. I live in The Shticks

When I still lived in town last year, I could ‘nip in’ to see a play or a gig, meet a friend for dinner or hang out at an event. Now we are about an hour in and an hour back, depending on the traffic. So if a midweek gig finishes at, say, eleven, I am still looking down the barrel of not getting into bed until 1 am – and that is zero fun if I have to be back up again at 6 am for kids and work.

5. Ass Monkey Alan is a fabulous cook

When I was younger and doing that thing you do of sitting with your mates and discussing what your ‘perfect man’ would be like; i.e. have a sense of humour, know how to swim etc (that is a DEALBREAKER for a lot of women btw) – my main requirement was that any man I ended up with would have to be able to cook.. because I can, and have burnt soup. Fact. The food he cooks up is way better than some I’ve tasted in restaurants, so when I have an opportunity to have a gourmet meal in my pjs.. by jobe I take it!

6. I am already out all day

The energy that I used to have for dancing in clubs until 4 am or drinking wine until the sun came up has been transferred to daytime. From the moment I open my eyes, I am operating at high-speed: dealing with everything the kids need, making plans with Alan, sorting out the house, loading kids and bags and buggy into the car, drop-offs and pick-ups, grocery shopping, walking the dog, taking care of appointments, working, connecting with family and friends, trying to slot in a little bit of ‘Me Time’ in having a bath or just a quiet cuppa or something, making lunches and dinners..

..so when everyone else is out partying at night time, I’m in the recovery position, gearing up to do it all over again the next day ;o)

This post originally appeared on super parenting website HerFamily.ie

How much are YOU getting out at night time these days?! I’d love to hear from you!

Summer (Not Going On) Holidays Update: The Kids Are Alright

We’re not going abroad this summer for a family holiday for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there’s no way on god’s grand earth that we can afford it, what with the ole house extension taking over the first half of the year, and the ole wedding taking up the rest of it.

The irony is, that with those two major events taking place, we NEED a holiday, but we have to suck up the fact that we simply aren’t having one.

The main problem with not getting away is worrying whether you’re depriving the kids of some major life event that everyone else seems to be enjoying, and when they grow up, will they always remember the summer of 2016 as “The year that we went bleedin’ NOWHERE”?

Our two and four year-olds are fine – they’re not on Facebook or Instagram and so can’t see all the pics and vids of crystal blue waters and sandy beaches that all you fuckers are taunting me with (no, seriously, I’m not one bit happy for you).

So here’s what we’re doing instead:

Fuck. All.

Jacob has been to one summer camp, and it was a strategic placement as it was in the new school that he’ll go to in September. It had to happen.

There has also been a weekend in Roscommon, to ‘Grandad’s Farm’ over the bank holiday.

After that, there have been strolls to our local beach and forest, visits to family and friends, ice cream every time the van rolls up our street and lots of their entertaining themselves while we continue to finish up our house and garden.

And you know what? They are FINE.

So if you, like us, are staying put this summer too, just remember – after a bottle of vanilla-infused vodka mixed with a few ice cubes, a dash of cranberry and OJ when the kids are gone to bed – you could be anywhere in the whole world.

Get in.

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(Via Pinterest)

 

 

You’re A Better Parent Than You Think

I was given the great honour of speaking at a Cheerios Childline Breakfast in The Westbury last week (can someone please book me an overnight at The Westbury?! Omg it’s gorge). Anna Daly, the Cheerios Childline ambassador – and yes, even more beautiful in person – was speaking first,  followed by a woman called Gabrielle who works as a volunteer for Childline. I won’t repeat the heartbreaking stories she told us from the calls that she has received over the years, but suffice to say, the entire room of parents were pretty much crying their hearts out….

And then I had to try to lighten the mood….holy shitballs. Almost IMPOSSIBLE and so hard to try and keep it together myself! Anyway, I am hoping to host my own Cheerios Childline Breakfast shortly, to help raise funds for this amazing support for the children of Ireland. If you would like to too, you can register here: Cheerios Childline Breakfast Info

My speech on the morning was short to begin with, and made all the shorter by my being unable to stop myself from blubbing. You can read it below. And can I just sign off by saying this: the volunteers at Childline are ANGELS. I so could not do the job that they do x

 

‘My four year-old son Jacob peed on me yesterday. It wasn’t intentional, nor direct, thankfully but he’d had a little accident which he hadn’t told me about, and happily sat on my knee to eat a yoghurt. I was wearing quite thick jeans so it took a few minutes for it to sink in…and then for it to SINK IN, if you get me. 

Of course it happened in front of a friend who had dropped in for a cuppa, but I’d invited her at the wrong time: 6pm, or AKA ‘Witching Hour’. It’s that time of day when every corner of your house resembles a scene from Love/Hate, your children have suddenly turned into tired, screaming messes and you are counting down the minutes until your partner comes home and/or bedtime. 

And this friend is hoping to start trying for her first baby soon and so you sit there, with a fake smile plastered to your face, in your wee-stained jeans, sitting at the table in your Love/Hate house and lie ‘Doooo it. It’s amaaaaazing….’

Wee accidents are just wee accidents, they can happen to the best of us – and I’m willing to bet that there are a few of our preggo mums here today who have had a couple of wee accidents since leaving the house this morning ;o)

And so we don’t react to a four year old having a wee accident, we don’t want to give him a complex or feel bad, so we don’t give out. And of course we’re well used to dealing with gross stuff since becoming parents – we become immune to finding wee and puke and poo in or around our favourite handbags, on our favourite clothes…in our freshly washed hair (praying that it’s chocolate – praying).

And so we say goodbye to our friend (poor Sandra) and take our four year old upstairs where we put him into a bath and then into clean, dry PJs. Because that’s normal. And that’s my good parenting story from yesterday. But that’s not the story I remembered when Alan came home, I didn’t pat myself on the back about it. When Alan came home, I was exhausted and emotional and cried to him about how crap a parent I was yesterday, because I was grumpy and shouty and impatient and at times, unkind to the kids. I didn’t remember being a good parent. Office Mum wrote a fab article this week called First Child, about not expecting so much of our kids, especially the eldest, which resonated with everyone who read it, and I am totally guilty of expecting too much of Jacob, and then feeling rubbish about it later.

But after listening to the calls that some of the children in our country are making to Childline….I think we need to give ourselves a break….because I’m glad that my kids have us as their parents’.

The Real (Beautiful) Face Of Gay Parents In Ireland

I lost a few Facebook friends yesterday… I asked that anyone who was voting No in the upcoming referendum remove themselves from being ‘friends’ with me, and some of them did. And it has really bothered me, in the sense that I wonder how the actual fuck my gay friends and family can LIVE here, where such ill-will towards them and their equal rights are concerned. I felt bet down, abused, teetering on the edge of giving up shouting about it, and fighting for it.

And then Sinead McCrone sent me this video today. She and I were pregnant at the same time and had the exact same due date. We regularly get the girls together for baby play dates and we adore seeing them together.

So I am back in the ring. Vote For Equality. Vote Yes on May 22nd x

I'm Voting Yes

 

What Would YOU Do To Protect Your Kid?

I was in a shopping centre with the kids recently & Jacob wanted a go on one of those Peppa Pig carousels. I had a look and there were three six-year-old boys hanging out of it, reefing it around and generally trying to wreck it. So I persuaded Jacob to sit in the nearby cafe with me first, have something to eat and wait another few minutes until it was ‘less busy’.

Eventually they moved off and I sent Jacob over. Halfway there, he was intercepted by one of the six-year-olds who had returned. Jacob, in his three-year-old innocence thought he was making a new friend but I watched this other kid putting it up to him, asking him repeatedly ‘D’ya like Peppa Pig, do ya? Do ya?’

It might sound funny, but the other kid was towering over him and was being sinister. At six, this other kid already had that bullying ‘way’ about him and I knew it. I called Jacob back before his little moment was ruined, and the older kid followed him back over, continuing to goad him (the message was going to be, of course, that Jacob was either a baby or ‘gay’ for liking Peppa Pig).

So I told the other kid to fuck off.

You know, without saying the words ‘fuck off’.

He did, and returned to the other older kids and they all proceeded to point and stare at Jacob until I stood up and stared them down. Were they afraid of me? Were they fuck. They just got bored because Jacob had no idea what was happening.

I looked for their parents and there were a gang of women that the boys ran back and forth to, who were generally ignoring them. So that’s where they got their shit attitude and shit personalities from. I didn’t approach them, but had one of those boys touched a hair on Jacob’s head, you better believe that I would have.

It got me to thinking on the way home, ‘If I am so protective of Jacob now that I want to murder some six year olds, what will I be like when he goes to school?’

Hopefully, I’ll be like this dad whose video I found online. It’s very emotional and contains some very strong racist language, so you have been warned x

Introducing Eva ‘A Little Bit’

We made it! After what felt like a two-year gestation period, several hundred fake declarations that ‘This baby is definitely coming this weekend/night/day/shopping trip/dinner date’ etc; panicked tears that we had no buggy, moses basket, carseat and would never have enough time to buy them… our baby was 9 days late anyway (incidentally, maybe the givers of ante-natal refresher classes should stop saying things like ‘There’s no WAY you’ll go over on Baby Number 2’ – ya know?).

To a background of my favorite sounds: Dublin city waking up – seagulls, traffic building back up, people getting on with their day, Eva Elizabeth Fynes was born at 7.22am on the 2nd of July. She was exactly the same weight as Jacob had been – 7lbs 13oz – perfectly formed and, most amazingly – A GIRL!! We still can’t believe we have a girl!!

Al and I spent most of the rest of the day in teary disbelief, but we are in love, through and through (not with each other, with the baby. Ok, a little bit more with each other). Jacob came in to meet his new little sister that evening with Granny & Grandad and his gentle, tender kiss for this tiny new baby would break your heart.

Although we’ve been monitoring Jacob’s delayed pronunciation of words (E.G. He’ll ask me if I’m drinking a “TUP OF TOFFEE’ in the mornings), I have never been happier for him to get this one a tiny bit wrong.

‘Who’s this?’ I asked him, gesturing towards Eva.

‘Little Brother’, Jacob replied, very matter of fact.

‘It’s baby sister’, I corrected him.

‘Ohhhh’ his eyes opened wide. ‘Baby sisssster‘.

‘That’s right. And do you know what baby sister’s name is?’

‘Oh yes mummy’, Jacob replied.

‘You tell me what her name is’.

‘It’s Eva A Little Bit’.

I. LOVE. HIM.

And Eva.

I have loads of stories for you about the whole experience, but for now, thanks for all the love you’ve shown us in the last 6 days since she was born xxxx

My Kids & I xxx

My Kids & I xxx