Parenting Manuals And New-Old Reads

I’ve laboured under the illusion this past six years that my first parenting book was the old classic What To Expect When You’re Expecting (though I really with they’d thought of calling it Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway)

It was purchased in the basement of Easons one morning on the way to work in 2009 and it should have come wrapped in a discreet brown paper bag. I was about five seconds pregnant, like 95% of its’ purchasers and terrified that anyone would know. I dipped in and out of that book all through pregnancy number one (and completely ignored it second time around).

This weekend I foraged in my sisters house for some new books for our burgeoning reader Dominic. As my eldest sibling and bearer of the oldest cousins she has the family library archives in her attic. I quickly discovered that I had owned what seems like a useful manual way for this stage in my life way earlier than I remembered…

L-R: Ted, Dominic…

By the way, the dreadful children are most definitely Irish – Pat, Maureen & Biddy Taggerty are the ruffians in question. I’ll let you know but I’m pretty sure they’ll all end up having jolly good fun and drinking lemonade with the prim and proper neighbours by the end. This bit of retro-revision for me aside, as well as some old Ladybird readers, I got him a few Secret Seven adventure books for us to get stuck into together. That lot have got to be better the last little fecker I returned to the library; Horrid Henry. As long as I can scan the page ahead fast enough to edit out any casual racism of these old editions we’ll be fine. Cheers for that Enid.

Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Since I was made redundant someone has to take up the slack round here. It’s looking like Ted really wants a desk job.

“I wanna get some work!
Push me in to the chair and get some work!”

It’s hard to put in a day at the office when your arms can’t reach the computer & feet don’t touch the floor. And just look at how messy that workspace is? Messy desk, messy mind. Someone should really clean that up…

I think by “work” he means the Sesame Street YouTube channel.

Sunday: An Infographic

Weekends are family time right? Two harmonious days of idyllic behaviour like tramping through the woods, eating healthy picnics and enjoying each others company. Yeah, not so much.

We’d a lovely day yesterday at my niece’s communion. We admired the dress, we bounced on the bouncy castle, we asked inappropriate questions in a stage whisper during the mass. Okay, that last one was just Dominic.

A day of fun and treats left two little guys overtired and ready to whiiiinnnngee come Sunday. And boy, did they ever…

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A picture paints a thousand words.

Words like betrayal, disappointment and shame…

Has your child ever asked you loudly in public why that man has such a big belly or why that lady has a beard? Yes? Well then you will understand how I felt when my child brought this home from school the other day.

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Time’s up, baby. Hand over the nappies.

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Where are those paper towels gone? Anyone seen the disinfectant spray? Ah feck, there’s another puddle over there. Yep. It’s toilet training time.  Actually, forget the cleaning up gear, where’s the baby gone? Look at him there above; stretching up, helping himself to something, well able to fend for himself in the wild for all I know.

Of course, you know what the worst approach to any develpomental milestone is? Putting yourself and a child under pressure to get there. And what am I doing? Trying to impose a not-weeing-on-self deadline on the fourth and final human member of our household. Like an eejit (albeit, an eejit that kinda needs this to happen sooner rather than later)

Number one child trained a little earlier than this guy, and it took a while but he got it okay. We also had the invaluable support of a creche for some relief on the pooey underpants disposal front. Other than that I really can’t remember much about it because the current champion floor-piddler was only about six weeks old so there was a lot of embracing of chaos going on.

So why am I doing it differently this time round? Remember back then I said I was going to be a student soon? Well I am one now, and it’s getting harder to concentrate at the level I need to when I can only start studying late at night. I remember well my last stint in college; I watched a lot of MTV’s The Real World and This Morning With Richard Not Judy (look it up). Britney Spears had just burst onto the scene in her approximation of a school uniform and I used Telnet for a form of social media (shout out DCU’s Redbrick Society!). Somewhere amongst that and pints I got a degree also.  Now the only thing standing in my way of time to study is an obstinate toddler and a load of Lightning McQueen underpants.

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So close and yet! So far.

I have a place for him in a local Montessori pending potty training. Three glorious mornings where I can get shit done while he does his somewhere else. Sure I might even get a run or a sneaky haircut/latte/nap in if I get through my lectures.

Anyway, two days in, he’s doing okay. There’s been more misses than hits, but the kind of misses that happen halfway to the potty so the intent is there and that’s good. He hasn’t quite cracked the poo either; a look of shock crossed his face at his suddenly weighty pair of pants yesterday but today he shouted “What’s on my bum?” just before the main event. That’s progress right?

He seems quite pleased at all the attention he’s getting – chocolate buttons and high fives abound. I bought him fourteen new pairs of pants today to add to the just-in-case ones purchased optimistically six months ago. So I remain positive but realistic. Fingers crossed for me eh? A toddler’s bodily function control lies in between me and my future career. No pressure.

Who needs hamsters, we have Hexbugs!

There’s not many things my kids can play with nicely together. They will fight over crayons and tiny little super hero figures and get very worked up indeed over the ownership of particular Lego bricks.

Dominic got a Hexbug set for his birthday, a wee one which nonetheless entertained them both, sometimes together but mostly separately. One single buzzy little Hexbug was not cutting it. I had to get the set out for Ted when big bro was in school and sneak it back up on a high shelf before he got home.

I posted this tweet and resigned myself to heading to the toy shop for some additional bugs; resigned because I have a pathological fear of “spoiling” my kids. If it’s not a birthday or Christmas or you don’t deserve a little something then there’s no new stuff coming your way “just because”.

Then, the Hexbug mothership decided they couldn’t stand to see a forlorn toddler and a large box of panels, pipes and FOUR new Hexbugs arrived five days later. The elder treated it like a YouTube toy reveal video, listing all the pieces as he pulled them out of the box (he is obsessed with this one kid who builds Lego kits).

They built an “upstairs” and tubes that go nowhere until reluctantly, bedtime arrived. By this time Dominic had deduced their name comes from the hexagonal panels (see: educational too!) So, I wonder are they spoiled now? Well, we’ll see if they give postman an earful the next time he arrives with just boring bills.

But for now, from us to you, thank you Hexbug!

We received these courtesy of Hexbug UK. They didn’t request a review but I want to share the love anyway. All opinions are our own. The boys’ opinions amount to: “COOOOOL!”

 

 

Because I Needed Another Challenge. A Trip To The Library.

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I convinced my children to come to the library this week – they love reading/being read to but they also love running around shouting so we don’t go as often as I’d like. They have the ability to reign it in slightly and briefly on arrival in the local library’s Junior section so off we went. Once again I had the misguided notion that I might pick up a couple of books for myself. These usually come from the closest shelf to the Librarian’s desk, grabbed by me in between the librarian stamping the myriad of kids selections, me reaching for my random reading material while stuffing umpteen books about underpants* in my bag while corralling the toddler with my left leg.  The Dublin City Library catalogue is vast, but yes, I have to pick from the twelve books within my reach on any given visit.**

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Now We Are Two And Three Quarters

With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday,  I thought it was time to paint a little picture of the second of my major achievements in motherhood. After all, Boy Number One gets plenty of airtime. So, the younger, he’s two and three quarters and it’s everything you’d expect from the terrible twos.  Terribly loud, terribly emotional, terribly cute, terribly funny.

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Selfie With A Black Eye And A Split Lip

Resilience is Ted’s middle name. As a second child vying for attention he might be a tad dramatic, but that same familial position does bestow upon him a lot of thumps. He roars and screeches, and knows well how to say “Dominic do it” when the accused was clearly in another room at the time of the incident. It must be said though, that mostly, Dominic did do it. Also, Ted gives as good as he gets.

Clingy is his other middle name. He loves me to hold him close. He loves not to walk and to be carried. He dislikes walking up or down the stairs yelling “Hold me UP! Hold me UP!” no matter which direction he wants to be brought in. I tried a toddler carrier which he tried to fling himself out of kamikaze style. No handy back-carry for me; no, he wants to be locked on my hip or my front blocking my view and preferably while I’m trying to get somewhere fast.

He loves to rock out, enjoying nothing more than giving nursery rhymes a sort of spoken-word-metal hybrid treatment, as above. He bashes his drum kit and his ukelele. He sings constantly, on the Luas and in the supermarket. And I could listen to his warbling all day.

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He refuses to show any interest in potty training. There have been tantrums over bin-bound stinkers which he would prefer back on his bum. He lies about when he’s done a poo despite the cat slinking out of the room in disgust and nearby flowers wilting.

Delaying tactics are his forte. Running late for school pick up? Ten minutes to accept the fact of wearing shoes, then it’s time to insist on climbing in the front of the car and putting on some music before getting into his own seat. Everything on his own terms.

He’s got marvellous hair. It’s thick and shiny and I’m loathe to cut it beyond keeping it out of his eyes but suncream season approaches and I nearly always give in to practicality then. Unlike his older brother, he won’t let me play with it and tie it up in bunches. The meanie. He does love to brush my hair and if I’m good, he lets me brush his. Santa put a small hairbrush in his stocking for this reason.

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This Took Most Of A Day.

He loves to “help” around the house; getting an egg from the fridge for his lunch – splat; getting his own snacks generally because I would give him one yogurt where he takes two. He likes to sweep neat piles of dirt all around the floor while I have gone to fetch the dustpan. His version of helping in the garden is the excuse I’m using for my pathetic attempts of GIY thus far…

I forgive him all of it.

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Mother’s Day. Where I Don’t Ask For Much Really.

I’m not talking about pampering spa days and drowning in bouquets of flowers. I’m not talking about jewellery and lunches in establishments with white linen tablecloths.* With Mother’s Day coming up next weekend, this is how I’d like my ideal day to go: Continue reading