Perfect Pancakes, under Pressure from Peppa.

We were early this year with the pancakes. Even though Easter is early and thus Pancake Tuesday is early, we were early-early. I dished them up last weekend.

Actually, first: Why is Pancake Tuesday associated with crepes? Why not American style pancakes?  We eat them loads without fanfare. Is that because they’re called drop scones in some parts on this side of the pond? Does it really matter what people did with their eggs and flour to get rid of them? Why were they even getting rid of them…*

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The Power Of The Treat

Treats should be doled out judiciously. They’re probably a little frequent in our house. Still, they hold a lot of power.

  • Toddler refusing to put on socks and shoes and you really need to get out the door? Promise a treat when you get where you’re going.
  • Schoolchild doesn’t want to go to their expensive swimming lesson? Treat after the class.
  • Everyone eats up a healthy dinner with minimal moaning, homework is done and place isn’t ultra-messy? Treats for all!

I won’t claim it’s the best parenting method in the world, but it gets us through. Recently I realised it’s one way traffic; I hand out all the treats. It’s time that changed.

January has been quite tough in our house. I finished up a contract before Christmas and started a new freelance job in the New Year. (Sidebar: Look! I even got interviewed for the Irish Examiner about my three day week)

working mum
Shame they spelled the blog name wrong. (Image courtesy of Office Mum)

My work hours have been rather erratic; in one role I can start as early as 7am, and finish as late as midnight. I’m delighted to not be tied to one place day in day out right now while I work out my path. In some ways I have all the control, in other ways I have none of it. I’m at the whim of employers to decide if they need me or not but I’m learning so much. Frankly, I’m way out of my comfort zone and it’s a certified good thing though you might not realise it if you saw the bags under my eyes. One highlight of January was sitting on the stairs late at night trying to explain the concept of freelance and shift work to a six year old who just could not understand why I couldn’t collect him from school every day despite having spent a lot of his little life at childcare.

The glory of a full time job is setting foot in that office each day knowing what you’re expected to do, knowing that you can do it, seeing familiar faces and catching up with your colleagues over coffee. At home everyone knows the drill too; where they’re supposed to be on any given day. We haven’t got that certainty right now so I’m making a February planner for the fridge so that the six year old can see what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Right now I’m definitely working office hours for a few weeks straight, but I’m trying to not send him to after school care five days a week. He’s got three days off for mid-term in the middle of it. He’s been invited for playdates and we’re trying to work it out so he can get to those. Luckily the three year old, though usually not very flexible at all (in fact he has an iron will) is happy to head off to his playschool and hang with his buddies whenever we send him.

Amongst all the juggling I realise how always “on” I am when I am at work: Always eager to make a good impression in various offices; always ready to learn and prove myself; work out where the coffee is and make sure I’m not stealing someones milk; getting to know some people well enough to discuss our Netflix habits and just generally trying to be comfortable in whichever hat I’m wearing that day. Metaphorical and physical hat, in case you’re wondering, I mean there’s implied dress codes to be followed too.

So dammit I need treats too, grown up ones. To this end, I dropped the little fella to creche this morning and I got a blow-dry for no reason. (I know loads of people get this done all the time but that time is long past for me what with the childcare costs)  I’m going to work soon, to sit in a room on my own for ten hours. My hair is smooth and swishy and actually lovely and no one will see it but me. But for forty minutes this morning someone looked after me and it transformed me from manic packed-lunch maker to a calm, in control and ready for the day person.

blow-dry
Proof

Next month, nails.

I’ve already used this gif on the blog, but to be honest, it bears repeating a lot.

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The Pool, The Stitches and The BB8 Cake

BB8 Star Wars

Like a harbinger of doom the by now six year old started asking questions in the car on the way to his party. Quite chirpily, he enquired “What happens if a mammy dies when a baby is in her tummy? Like, if her body stops working?” Now, there is no baby in mammy’s tummy and nothing quite so tragic befell us between our house and the swimming pool but we didn’t escape the day drama-free nonetheless.

I know what you’re thinking. Who would have a pool party for a six year old? Why would you do that to yourself? Luckily having read this cautionary tale I had checked the T’s & C’s: parents did not need to accompany the kids into the pool. That meant one hour of coffee drinking and viewing gallery sitting for us. Nice one. Continue reading

Parent, Interrupted

sleep

Nobody expects to have much me time after having a baby. We know the drill; they eat, sleep and feed and we work the other bits of our lives around them.

As they grow, some kids are little sleepy angels giving you eleven or twelve glorious hours of calm each night, seven of which you might spend sleeping and the others divided up into chores/hobbies/watching the telly/faffing on Facebook/wine.

Others kids go to bed late but when they’re there you don’t see them til a Very Reasonable hour the next morning (that’s anything after 730 in my book).

Some people have a family bed and spend many years of their lives contentedly sharing the bed with their kids. And I can see why you would – why fight unsettledness when you can just accept how things are going to go and use a solution that works for your family?

But what happens when the status quo is interrupted? My slightly wild children used to be of the ‘when they’re gone they’re gone’ variety (I’ve made them sound like a Harvey Norman sale now) and after stories, I would sink contentedly into the late evening safe in the knowledge I had time to collect my thoughts and get through my workload before the next day dawned. Continue reading

Happy New Year!

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We won’t tell them it’s not midnight if you don’t! To bed at 9pm! Woohoo!

Kids can pick their favourite character – we chose King Julien – and ring in the New Year with countdowns featuring Oona and Baba of Irish animation Puffin Rock, Care Bears & Cousins, Inspector Gadget, the Project Mc2 girls, King Julien, or Mr. Peabody & Sherman and all their DreamWorks Animation friends. (Titles can be found by searching for New Year, New Years Eve, Countdown or Happy New Year)

Press play on your countdown of choice, grab your party gear and snap and post a pic using #StreamTeam. Start your party anytime, anywhere by searching New Year’s Eve Countdown on Netflix.