Reasons To Smile

I came across this linky blog post from Ojo’s World, which she is running through the month of June, and found it to be a little ray of sunshine. I got inspired to stop looking at whats going wrong on a day to day basis and take stock of everything that is going right, and everything which is making me smile.

Sleep

E slept from 8-5 this morning with only one wake up for a feed at 1, which was quick and painless. Compared to the night before which was up every hour screaming after a battle to get him to sleep in his crib, it was bliss, and I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and like the sleep I’d got may actually make a dent into the bags under my eyes (yay for a layer less of concealer needed!). Definitely a much smilier person this morning.

Sales

You have to love a midsummer sale. Especially when you’re not yet fitting into half of the pre-baby wardrobe, but the maternity clothes are hanging off you (and depressing you anyway, three months later). Due to my attitude of not being willing to spend a fortune on clothes that I’m hoping won’t fit me for very long, the sales are making additions to my wardrobe but not as much of a dent to my purse, yay. Also, there are all of the cute tiny baby clothes on sale as well. Ridiculously cute.

Sunshine

It is still Summer in Ireland, and as far as I’m aware, the Leaving Cert finished last week (now that I’ve said that, the Great Floods will descend and we’ll all have to pile onto an ark). I’ve learned my lesson from the superbad sunburn, which is now after leaving me with beautiful tan lines, have my factor 50+ on leaving the house, with E coated in the same stuff despite not a ray touching him. We’ve even gotten that bloody parasol working, since every single shop I tried was sold out of those sun covers indefinitely. Definitely a plus being able to get out and about for walks around town and surrounding areas with the buggy 🙂

Health

E got checked out this week by the Paediatrics in hospital after being referred for being a bit too small, and they’ve declared him perfectly healthy now. All ten and a half pounds of him 😀 The relief is fantastic!

Plans

This week I’ve been to a Cuidiu Mammy and Baby morning, had coffee with friends, and this morning, I am about to go sign up for a three month membership for a gym that has a creche in it for members use while working out. Getting up in the morning with actual purpose and needing to do something definitely makes a difference than waking up and having Groundhog Day, over and over again. I’m definitely someone who likes having a set out plan of things to do, a variable plan on a very variable timetable, but I like knowing I’ve something to do, people to see, somewhere to go.

iPhone

It’s back working. 24 hours in a bag of wholegrain rice, sealed in a nappy bag (A Mammy McGyver move) seems to have done the trick. So relieved!

And finally

Nespresso

My saviour. My darling. The best investment I ever made. I’ve become a convert, especially to the Vanilla capsules. Means I get to have a latte in the morning, generally when E is asleep, or on his playmat. Definitely makes nights when we’ve been up a lot a lot easier to deal with!

How about you? What makes you smile?

Ojos World

 

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iPhones Don’t Swim

My poor baby iPhone is currently sheltering in a bag of rice, trying its best (hopefully) to dry out. It decided to not heed the instructions and attempted to start an Olympic Diving career today, into a toilet. Of all places. It really is one of the most icky icky things in the world, knowing that you have to go grab it super quick, even though it was clean (as clean as a toilet can be), it really is one of those things that just horrifies me.

Initially it all seemed to be okay. I wasn’t surprised, despite working in tech support and knowing that these things are not meant to go for a swim, and likely would stop working. This was my phone. It’s been bounced off floors, walls, gotten baby formula dripped on it, and survived a car accident where it hit the road. I doubted that a little bit of water would put a dent into its spirit. 

I was wrong. First it started with telling me how loud the volume for my headphones were. When the headphones were on the kitchen table, far away from me. Then decided to sporadically keep asking me if I wanted to switch it off. I rejected its cries for sleep each time. It showed me that yes I could make calls but that I don’t have the luxury of hearing the other person, and yes I can text but only so long as I can see at all times how loud my non existent headphones are. Still though. We’re survivors here. Until the damn thing turned off and refused to turn back on. 

It probably isn’t healthy how much I feel like I’ve lopped off a limb and left it soaking in a nappy bag filled with rice.  Leaving the house for a coffee with friends and the little man earlier, and leaving it behind to dwell in its new wholegrain cell felt very strange, very cut off despite going to interact with people in the flesh. You’d swear I was in great demand with the need to be in constant contact with everyone, but its just what I’m used to now, I never leave the house without it. I’ve got my sim in a different phone now until tomorrow, but what am I going to do when it comes to taking the million billion pictures of cute things Little Man does over those few hours (ok, maybe I can cut back on that). This may be good for me. Or, you know, I’ll just supplement the amount of time I’d normally be messing around on my phone, on the laptop. Oh technology, thou art a cruel mistress.

Here’s hoping she dries out and is okey dokey, I really don’t want to use my upgrade until the new one comes out…

Paradise Weekend, or That Time We Staycationed and The Sun Shone

ImageSo at 12 weeks old we deemed E old enough to go spend some bonding time with his grandparents in Wexford without us. They raised three kids and got them all through secondary school, as of last week, so it felt okay trusting them with a baby who stays put when you put him down and generally quietens his screams if given a bottle. All grandparents have offered the break, so we jumped at the chance and off we went to Kerry, a long promised trip that we’d kinda put on the long finger when we were busy being pregnant and sleep deprived. 

So Friday, E got into the car with grandad and his uncles, roaring, inciting all of the mammy guilt (supposedly fell asleep leaving the car park but that didn’t appease my mind), I ran into town to do some last minute shopping, even into shops with no lift (shock!). New flip flops and some Penneys bargains later, and with himself getting out of work on time, off we headed on the train to Killarney. 

The first night wasn’t fantastic by hotel standards, it seemed that the one we’d chosen had decided they were going to be a rip off and laugh at us for pointing it out. However we got our glad rags on, went out for drinks and pizza, and they provided a bed to sleep in. Enough said. 

Saturday we entered Paradise. We went straight from checkout of Hotel 1 to the Lake Hotel, where we were brought to a gorgeous ground floor room looking over the Killarney Lakes, with a patio leading out to them. Said room also contained a jacuzzi bath, which had magical healing powers for over tiredness and stress. After a suitable amount of mooning over how amazing the place was, and how beautiful, we decided to make the most of this incredible weather we’re experiencing on a stay cation, and rented bikes from a place across the road from the hotel, to cycle around the Killarney National Park. Knowing I’d not cycled properly in about two and a half years, the first five minutes was like watching Bambi learn to walk – including a rather mortified need to move to the smaller bike because the adult ladies bike I’d been handed may as well have been a Penny Farthing… After we got into the swing of it though, it was bliss. I’d sheer forgotten the joy of cycling along, wind against me, the feeling of freedom and fresh air and just being at one with the world and all that. That joy continued for what the Moves app advised us was 20k, incorporating the gorgeous views of Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, and over those stunning lakes. Needless to say, I’m sore today, but oh it was so worth it. 

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The day continued as amazing as that, dinner on our patio with wine (yay for first proper drinking in nearly a year!), and just general relaxing. No worrying about whether E would wake up and cry, or having to fix bottles – there was even uninterrupted sleep! Woke up this morning only mildly feeling the wine from last night, to find a deer sitting in direct view of our patio, just staring ahead peacefully.Image

I felt a little sad coming back to Cork today after such blissful few days. Worried that back into the grind of things that knot in my shoulders of worry and panic would make its way back in straight away. But E seems happy and contented after his little holiday away from us and gave some massive smiles this evening, so I’m happy to be back. That said, I’ll definitely be back to Killarney and that hotel in particular, for a return to Paradise on a temporary basis. 

 

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Mid Life Crisis

This seems to be a bit of a rambley piece but its weighing on my mind a lot lately.

It seems a bit redundant to have a mid life crisis at the grand old age of 22. I could potentially go ahead and decide that its a quarter life crisis, thus giving me an extra 44 years to play with in the hopes of getting it somewhat right, but for dramatic effect (my ex-drama student self loving it, of course), we’ll stick with mid life crisis. 

I’m half way through my maternity leave, my baby is 12 weeks old and I’ve started looking into going back to work. Started looking into who will be minding my baby while I deal with the day to day things my job offers me (and I’ve even heard legend of uninterrupted cups of coffee! With a biscuit!). I never doubted that I would be going back to work after having him, it wasn’t something that entered my head while pregnant, that I’d become a stay at home mammy. My own mother did it after having my youngest brother for three years, so I do have memories of having Mammy at home from the age of five to eight or so. But it isn’t something that appealed to me. Having taken a basically extended maternity leave as it is, having been signed off work from 22 weeks, by the time I was en route to the labour ward I was chomping at the bit to get back to work. And facing into six months off, to get to know the tiny tyrant and to recover from his creation process. Not exactly the mixture I was hoping for. This makes me sound like a work-crazy fiend, I’m not, I just don’t deal very well with staring at the walls of the house all day. My job is something I’m good at, not something I wish to do for the rest of my days, but for the most part is something I enjoy. 

I fear the Mammy hormones, and the money matters, have kicked in, and made me doubt everything. I like to have well laid out plans (not that they get stuck to) to work with, a framework to bounce off of in my day to day life. It is for this reason that in final year of college I decided to become an accountant, and scored an interview with the partners of one of the “Big Four” finance companies. They were offering me a five year plan and I was jumping at it, despite the fact that I abhorred accounting, had stopped doing it after Junior Cert and still am bitter about it being the one test I failed in school barring Higher Level Maths (damn you Profit and Loss account). None of this seemed to matter to me, as long as they gave me my lovely five year plan and it was all set out. Jesus, what was I thinking. I did of course receive the rather lovely PFO letter from them once they realised how not made out for a career in auditing I was in interview, and for that, I am truly thankful. However, this did leave me without a five year plan, and I ambled on anyway and wound up to where I am today, working in the same job for the last year and a half in something that wasn’t my field of study in college. This all seemed fine and dandy until I’ve had time off to think, and now have to assess what my next move is, and honestly, what my next five year plan is aiming towards. It’s now not all about me anymore, I don’t have the freedoms of being able to up and leave a job and hope for the best. I’ve got rent and bills to pay, nappies and formula to buy, and to fund all of this while still making sure that I am the one E is calling “Mama”, not a childminder. It’s giving me a serious case of the Mammy Guilts and I’ve not even left the room he’s in yet. If I’m leaving him I want it to be for something that I love, or at least, will want to leave the house to do it in the morning. Unfortunately it seems that my degree isn’t much use for me there, unless I go back and top it up. I’m eligible for graduate schemes, much like my lovely five year plan for becoming an accountant, but given the feedback from others who have pursued them, it is unlikely that I will be able to devote the long hours and dedication to the role in order to succeed when he is this young, without complete neglect of the Mammy duties. 

And so I am faced with a crisis, which would likely be solved by a lovely lotto win or a rich benefactor deciding to make me their pet project. Understandably, this is a crisis which I’m likely better off having at 22 than 44, because I’m still at the very very start of my career. That opinion piece by Kirstie Allsopp two weeks ago, about how we should be having our babies younger and then going back for the career got me thinking. Yes, it is fantastic that when my baby goes to school in four/five years time I will still be in my late twenties and able to start picking up on proper career work, and that by the time I turn 40, he will hopefully be heading off to college. However, I don’t think she’s being realistic about how much more of a struggle it is to get established while balancing everything else with your career. My mam was an absolute hero and went back to study when my littlest brother started school (he’s just finished his Leaving Cert today), and for years worked and studied by night as well as minding us, her three kids under the age of 10. Until I went through university myself, I never realised how much of a struggle it must have been to be that dedicated to studying while everything else was going on at the same time. It was done with a lot of support from family members, but still, the dedication required is something I’m not sure Kirstie takes into account in her piece. Last time I checked, “My three year old was up all night crying so its not completed” doesn’t get you bonus marks in any college essay. 

I need to decide what to do with my life all over again. With everything else balanced in. Wish me luck…

The Power of Music

I never really gave much stock to the playing music to them in the womb thing. Sure, I tried it, didn’t really get much of a response at all to any music, barring a night when 8 months pregnant, stood fairly close to the DJ booth in a packed nightclub, with baba going mental to some song that was in the charts at the time. So I didn’t quite go full hung ho into the playing Mozart to E in the womb, in the hopes of him attaining 625 points the second he got into secondary school. He listened to what I listened to, which seemed to be mixture of sappy love songs, pop songs from the 90s and some Dubstep when his daddy decided that was what he should be exposed to from day one.

When he got here things were a bit different. He screamed at any U2 song until it was turned off. Lana Del Ray was my champion in the early days for calming him and putting him to sleep, with Robbie Williams vying for that same top spot. Both artists I would have listened to a bit when pregnant but not excessively. So far, so normal.

In the last two weeks, E has been on another one of his “wonder weeks”, which apparently means he can be an absolute brat and I’m not allowed be grumpy about it, because he’s learning and expanding. And learning to be a total head wreck. He’s not a major fan of being out of my arms and not even the sling is sufficing much of the time. On top of this, we’ve had a heatwave ( hello lovely Leaving Cert weather!), which any other year would mean my factor 50 slathered self would be in a beer garden/back garden after work with a glass of wine chilling out, but this year means having arguments with parasols, draping white light fabric over half of the buggy, and dealing with a grumpy warm baby who isn’t eating like normal due to the heat, and burning to a crisp myself in the process. It’s been a fun household to live in…

Three nights ago, E goes off on one. Screeches the place down, won’t feed, clean nappy, just seems to be screaming for no reason. I stick on Spotify, on comes John Legend’s “All of Me”, a song I listened to quite a bit when I was in very late pregnancy and stuck in hospital. It had been used on Grey’s Anatomy, I’d found it online and got hooked (in truly hipster form, weeks before it became a massive hit here). E was asleep before the first verse was over. I’d think it was a coincidence if the same thing hadn’t happened yesterday. This song seems to have a completely calming effect on him, especially when I sing along, which is fantastic. I think its interesting that he potentially would link it to his last days in the womb and calm down quickly with it, it gives stock to the argument that they are affected by what they can hear. Regardless, its a lovely song, and fairly fitting.

All of Me, loves all of you, all your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you, You’re my end and my beginning, even when I lose I’m winning, cos I give you all of me.. and you give me all of you”.

Long may the calming effect last. I’m trying to recall anything else that I may have listened to half as obsessively while he was in there, for fear that this will start to wear off.

Also starting to think that Mozart may have been a good idea after all…

Has anyone else found this, that music you listened to while pregnant is recognised by baby?

Summer Days!

Summer has finally hit Cork. This is noted by the lobster shade my shoulders and chest have taken on, thanks to my great thinking of leaving the suncream in the wrong bag. Not advisable, especially when you have a tiny tyrant who likes to attack with his tiny claws!

But yesterday was beautiful. One of those gorgeous blue sky days. Everything was good – we had even gotten some sleep! And so off to the park we trekked. Fitzgerald Park was recently reopened after being done up, with the addition of the Sky Garden in there. They’ve done a nice job of it, even if the main piece didn’t strike me as particularly wonderful, but maybe I just didn’t get it. 

Theres a gorgeous seating area overlooking the river that is covered over, which proved perfect for feeding little man, though the school group of ten year olds stampeding onto it did disturb a little bit. They were everywhere! Since it was such a gorgeous day, it seemed that the whole world had the same idea of grabbing their lunch at the Natural Food Bakery cafe in the park, and eating it outside – the queue was a mile long, which is great to see for a newly set up branch. We didn’t get to stay for lunch as E became rather fussy and it was easier to just keep heading on back towards town. From there we searched for something which would take the place of the stupid parasol which was not doing the job I bought it to do at all. Again it seems I was late to that party as everywhere seemed to be out of suitable covers for our travel system, but after seeing my distress on twitter, the lovely  Bumbles of Rice recommended the ShadeaBabe cover, so I think a trip to Mahon Point to Mothercare is in order. (And a sneaky trip to Starbucks while out there, oh the novelty). 

 

Long may this weather last (though I’ll be better about the suncream next time, I promise!).Image

Strongly Worded Letter to the 8 week vaccinations

Dear Vaccinations against horrible diseases I would never wish my son to get,

You are horrible folk. Yes I understand your intentions are noble. You wish to rid my son of the chance to get diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B and HiB, and then some. I appreciate this intent, truly, those are rather horrible illnesses to get and I’m plenty sure that his standard of living is for the better to not experience them. 

All of that nobleness aside, I wish ye would take a running jump. In one fell swoop I got rid of my lovely child who seemed to have developed a pattern in which he slept at night, in his own crib, easily falling back asleep, to be replaced by a demon child, but I also became, in his eyes at least, the worst mother in the whole wide world. Not only did I allow that woman in the white top to stick that horrible painful needle into his left leg, I turned him around and allowed her to do the same into his right leg, despite his very clear screams of anguish, pain and “Mammy, what in gods name did I ever do to you?”. A traumatic experience on all counts, even to the doctor, who attempted to convince the crying child that it was indeed the nurse, and not her, who had performed the evil deed. 

That lovely, sleeping child, well you’ve ruined him. We had a routine, damn you. He was sleeping, and self soothing, the whole damn kit and caboodle. Not for the whole night, I grant you, but he did naps, and then big long sleeps and he’d lie by himself and put himself back to sleep. Not only that but he was eating like he was going to be starved if he stopped, and therefore gaining weight steadily, which for the tiny scut that he is was a big achievement. After his encounter with you lot? Nada. Eating is just too much effort, barring one feed a day where he inhales about two feeds full in half the time, instead of half a feed in double the time. Sleep? While we’re somewhat managing a semblance of a routine again, over a week later, we’ve now developed a new routine – it involves being awake a lot when its dark outside. Again dear vaccines, damn you to hell. He also seems to have developed oral thrush from his immune system being attacked – whether this is your fault or not hasn’t been determined, but I blame you regardless.

I’m not anti-vaccine per say. I’m not one of those who worries that their kid will become autistic, or get some other disorder from the vaccines. I believe that it is the duty of parents to vaccinate in order to not only protect their kids from getting infected but also to protect other kids from being infected by their child, when those other kids aren’t old enough to be vaccinated yet. 

But you messed up our routine, and my sleep patterns, and my lovely, sedate, happy child. 

And for that, I glare at you, curse you and give out. And vow to send him to his grandparents after the next lot. 

Kind Regards,

A very tired Mammy.