7 Things I Had Forgotten About Having A Small Baby

Baby Ivy

I treated this baby’s imminent arrival with a small amount of been there done that jadedness. There was barely anything I didn’t know because hadn’t I done it twice before? And it’s true; I’m not nervous and there’s been no shocks nearly four months in – but I had definitely suppressed the memory of these seven things that go along with having a new baby in the house.

 1. The Early Starts

We got lulled into a false sense of security for a couple of years pre-baby. The boys were big enough to get up and watch tv for a while on weekends before one us parents dragged ourselves out of bed at a civilised hour (which is about 830am fyi). Now, 3.5 months into new babyhood we’ve suddenly hit the early starts. She’s fallen into some sort of routine and it involves waking at 530am. And chatting loudly at that time. To coincide with this change I have purchased a cup holder for the buggy. It says ‘No Hot Liquids’ on the box. Listen up health and safety people; if you don’t let me put coffee in there, the only cold liquid going in will be a G&T. Continue reading

Leaving Home

Last night, 2100

“Mammy?” he calls in from his room.

For fifty minutes I’ve been lying down shoving a boob in his sister’s face trying to get her to sleep; now she’s just about drifting off and he expects to hold a conversation through the wall with me.

“I’ll be there in a sec” I stage-whisper through gritted teeth.

“Did you know Martin McGuinness died?” he calls.

“Yes!” I hiss back in disbelief, not at the famed Republican politician’s death but at how he thinks this is a good time for this conversation.

“Yeah two weeks ago Mammy” he calls back again.

Last night, 2115

I creep out of my room and am four steps down the stairs when he calls me: “Mammy come here”

“What is it love?”

“Can I show you a magic trick?”

GO TO JAYSIS SLEEP CHILD.

Today

This isn’t unusual behaviour but today is a big day for him and I think he’s a bit over excited. It’s his very first non-family sleepover, and it’s not even just in a friends house; it’s with the Beaver Scouts and it’s happening in the den in preparation for later camping trips.

All grown up...
All grown up…

Last week I decided that he deserved better than the manky old sleeping bag in the attic that has frequented festivals and dusty floors for about 15 years now. I mentioned in passing I’d ordered a kid size new one for him. Each day he enquired as to its whereabouts, its colour, what would we do if we didn’t arrive…

It arrived. He rolled it out and he had a go in it on the living room floor. He pretended to be a mummy, scared his brother, wouldn’t let him have a go of it and it all ended in tears, predictably. Then we spent 15 minutes trying to get it back into the bag it came in.

He has been trailing round the house after me, listing the cereals they’re going to get to choose from on saturday morning. He has mused on what ‘mascot’ he’s going to bring. FYI, I think he’s chosen Icy.

Picture courtesy of world.ty.com
Picture courtesy of world.ty.com

So that’s it. My biggest boy is going out into the world, without an auntie or grandparent there to creep into in the middle of the night. Surrounded by his peers; some of who will be clutching their soft toys and wishing they could sleep so the night would pass quickly, some of who will be bigger and braver and giddy. Hand on heart I’m not sure where he’ll fall on the spectrum.

One thing is for sure; I’ll be sleeping with the car keys under the pillow ready to spring and get him if he needs me. He won’t need me. Dib dib dib.

me and my boy
Practising our duckfaces.

It’s Not Perfect

keepon-keeping-on

It’s not perfect.

Not entirely dissatisfied with life.
Not entirely dissatisfied with life.

But there’s days that run smoothly with only a to-be-expected level of whining and hitting and tears. If you’re four and you’re asked to drop what you’re playing with and get in the car to pick up your brother then it’s okay to give out a little. And if the pirate ship that you painstakingly made out of eighteen pieces of Duplo breaks when you bring it in the car, well it’s fine to shed a few tears about that. I let those cries wash over me and placate any way I can in order to get things done. Continue reading

Snapshot

Colorful house

My very favourite Irish-in-America blogger, Awfully Chipper, made this Snapshot post of hers a linky recently. So in much the same manner (as that’s how linkys work, duh) here’s a glimpse of where I’m at right now.

Listening to: 

The Moana and Trolls soundtracks with the kids. Which are both really great; and yes I’m softening in my old age.

Lots of morning radio, I flick around from serious news chats to zany twosomes and none of it really floats my boat but it’s the time of day I like some form of adult company.

Maeve In America
Love her.

Podcasts are my preference while I make dinner. Some of my favourites are Maeve In America, This American Life, One Bad Mother, Answer Me This and An Irishman Abroad. There you are now, as a reward for reading this far you’ve gotten some recommendations.

Watching: 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, River, Call the Midwife (all on Netflix) Celebrity Masterchef Ireland (TV3), Gogglebox (C4/TV3), Catastrophe (C4)..okay I feel like I’m watching a lot of tv now. Breastfeeding though right? That’s what you do.  Speaking of, this is my favourite song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I identify greatly.

Movie wise, we watched Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping on sunday night. If ever there was a film to help you ignore a bad case of the Glenroes (which is end of weekend fear, for those of you not Irish) this is it. Watch it.

Playing: 

Referee, and, at being an adult.

Reading:

Narrow Road To The Deep North book
I am NOT reading the one on the right, my husband is.

Loads – my favourite time of day is reading in bed with the baby just settled or feeding. Currently The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan. It’s beautiful and terribly sad.

The last two books I read were The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, and Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright.  The latter was originally called Tony & Susan but renamed to match the film adaptation. The book traumatised me so even though my boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal starts in the film I don’t know if I could handle watching it.  The former is unexpectedly enjoyable. I mean, I expected to like it, but not as much as I did. I do love a good book by an intelligent comedian (like, say Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Sara Pascoe, Maeve Higgins, Mindy Kaling… sense a theme there?)

Looking forward to: 

Colorful house
Stop fucking raining and being freezing.

Starting to run again. Mentally I’m almost there, but there’s a few things standing in my way. They are cold dark evenings, my husband getting in too late from work and there not being a window for me to leave the house alone, and the fact that little Miss requires boobs on demand an awful lot in the early evening. But I have a new sports bra and a new armband for my music so eh, half way there eh?

Drinking: 

coffee
What my breastmilk probably looks like.

Too much coffee. A tonne of water.

Wearing: 

Tops that lift up, vests that pull down. Skinny jeans. Runners. I wish I had a better flat shoe wardrobe actually. 2017 goals maybe?

Eating: 

Everything. At the start of February I swore March would be Moderation March. Like so many of these thing vague promises at self-improvement it has not come to pass so far.

Working on:

Getting some sort of routine in place. Not for the baby so much as me and the boys. It’s a long old week when no one knows what’s going on.

Permanently frustrated by:

Demands for food and screen time. I can feel my patience and my willpower eroding every day. My children are champion naggers, which may well translate to tenacious ambitious adults. That’s what I’m clinging to.

Enjoying: 

My baby. More than I anticipated.

Owning a tumble dryer.

Fia cafe buckwheat granola
Chocolate Buckwheat Granola. Oh yeah.

Going to as many of Dublin’s smashing cafés on weekday mornings as I can with said baby. Ones I would wistfully read about but not ever get to because of the mad pair.

Not enjoying: 

The relentlessness of school runs. This is definitely the bit I am most happy to pay someone else to do when we’re at work. The four year old holds the balance of power here – the drop offs and pick ups go well or terrible mostly depending on his whims. And woe betide me and the h-anger I face if I don’t bring a snack for the seven year old at the end of the school day.

That’s it. Knock on over to Awfully Chipper for her Snapshot and more.

The Big Sleep

So many people ask: is she good for you? Well, no, she’s a baby for me. This is what she does: feed, poop, sleep and lately, chat and smile a little.

They don’t come out preprogrammed to make a parents life a joy or a misery; either all smiles and sunshine or rubbing their hands together with clear evil intent. The latter would be impossible: have you seen a newborns relationship to its hands? They’re surprised by the very existence of their own hands about 94 times a day, they’d never get it together to offer an intention with them.  Continue reading