Category: My Blog

The iPad is on the Naughty Step

photo (25)

Kayla has been playing with my phone since she was about one, swiping through photos, taking selfies and now at four she can navigate through passwords, buys apps and understands the purpose of the internet.

Kayla could spend hours, and I mean hours on end playing dress the fairy, feed the doggie and doing some Barbie’s make-up. She become totally unresponsive when on the iPad, she gets sucked in and loses control of the real world.

Children develop and learn through social interaction. Whilst playing with touch screen devices, PlayStations and the likes young children are struggling to learn basic motor skills. Electronic play is hurting kid’s brain development and stunting their social skills. A friend recently told me she heard a child had to be re-educated on how to hold a pencil as he had weak hand muscles due to overexposure to an iPad. Imagine a junior infant been taught to hold a pencil again so he could write his abc’s, it’s crazy.

I found Kayla on YouTube last week, not in her account with videos I think is suitable for her to watch. She was on the iPad without my permission, flicking through recommended clips that I did not think were appropriate for her age. Not only did she spend four-minutes on the naughty step, but I banned the iPad for a week, myself included. I made the iPad available to her, leaving it lying around the house, I left the internet on and it took me long enough to realise the house was very quiet.

Kayla became ratty and irritable as she suffered withdrawals from the iPad. It’s not the first time either, so now I have now limited her usage. I’m trying to show by example, I’m constantly on my phone. She doesn’t understand why it’s okay for me, but not for her. So I’m limited access by switching off the internet and not leaving devices at arm’s reach. I’m going to started making her earn time with the iPad too. I introduced more educational games and story apps. Playtime can be more productive and I have now specified what apps she can use.

It’s so different for our generation of children, Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, the modern day playground is almost virtual. Social media is crucial to our generation of children but it’s our job as parents to make sure that technology is being used wisely. Digital technology can be an excellent educational tool if used appropriately. We don’t need to deprive them of technological intelligence but I refuse to allow screen based technology erode her little brain.

So There Goes Student Of The Month

It’s week four in big school and Kayla has settled considerably well, or so I thought. Today while collecting Kayla, the teacher called me aside and asked for a ‘chat’. Like that I was sent to the bold corner, standing aside while all the other mummies and daddies collected their children.

Obviously thinking is everything okay? Did she fall? Was she upset today for some reason? Now as the next class of twenty something children get called name by name, the teacher approaches me ‘we had an incident today, didn’t we Kayla’. Teacher then proceeds to tell me my ‘little angel’ had hit not one but two other children in her class today.

So my darling as if butter wouldn’t melt daughter was a bully today. As someone who was bullied for years through small and secondary school, one thing I cannot stand is a bully. Teacher witnessed Kayla hit another pupil, unprovoked. I’m very disappointed and shocked to say the least.

Her school have a very strict anti-bullying policy; it was something I read through with a fine tooth comb. The schools I attended had awful approaches to bullies, almost leaving me more vulnerable for speaking up through my childhood. I’m happy it was dealt with abruptly, it proves bullying is totally unacceptable within her school. Fortunately for her she will get away with it this time, as both incidents happened in the one day, next time there will be consequences.

Maybe she was a little frustrated, maybe the other kid done something when the teacher wasn’t watching, we will never know. Anyways she has only got her iPad back after watching videos on YouTube without my permission, looks like it’s going to be gathering lots of dust again. She seems very embarrassed with her behaviour and genuinely sorry, only time will tell, so hopefully there will be no more incidents like this in the future.

                                                                          

Tummy Time of Torture

Frankie spent his first two weeks on his tummy flaked across my chest like most babies, during that precious bonding time. Over the next few weeks as he became more alert he decided he didn’t want to be face down in my abdomen, so then tummy time became no more.

At my last Public Health Nurse appointment, the nurse pointed out the obvious that Frankie was getting a flat head. She nagged for at least ten-minutes about how important tummy time was; motor skills this, muscles development that. Let’s just face facts, he HATES it.

Now as a result of despising tummy time he has yet to roll over from his front to back whilst on a flat surface, he is six months next week. He will sit up on his elbows for all of two minutes then he proceeds to plank the floor, kicking and screaming.

I’ve tried it all, couple minutes here, couple there and couple feckin’ everywhere. I make a shrine for my little babóg, surrounded by colourful toys. I’ve got on all fours, flopped about like a fish singing twinkle-twinkle many a times. One day he even grunted at me, pretty sure he clenched his fist in a temper too. How dare I put him on his tummy?

We have tried this…

Tummy Time

and this…

Tummy Time

and this…

photo 3 (6)

So I get how tummy time is an important aspect of the larger concept of free floor time BUT every year with every new baby there is a new technique to raise your baby. Personally I think tummy time in just a new-fangled idea to make up for the fact that babies spend way to much of their days on their back. Tummy time wasn’t a major concern four-years-ago. Kayla NEVER had tummy time, ever, she’s fine, and her motor skill and muscles developed just like any other kid.

Today I have decided to stop forcing tummy time on my little man, he doesn’t like, and I don’t even know why I tried for so long. Frankie is sitting up aided by a couple of pillows, he is able to support his own feet and loves bouncing around in his swing. His motor skills are developing just perfect too. He can pick up and grab any object in his path and manoeuvre it into his dribbly mouth. He can even hold his own bottle; bet you my PHN’s baby can’t do that. And we are signing, which is great for motor skills and muscle development, not that he has returned a sign yet but he recognizes them and he will sign over the next couple of months.

Tales of a Tired Mom

After many challenges, questions and occasional tantrums with the small, bedtime can be quiet frustrating in my household. Last week it was an utter success but unfortunately it was replaced by a week-long of sleepless nights from sundown to sunrise with thanks to my two nocturnal children.

I woke up one of the mornings to find Frankie naked from the waist down and Kayla in his cot changing his bum. With the happiest grin, thinking she was the cleverest, smartest, greatest kid in the world, I refrained from screaming, I got up went the toilet counted to ten returned and took over what she had started. Not a wipe left in the 60 pack and they are all face down in his sheets. Lovely, thanks Kayla you’re the best (sic). The two of them smiling and cooing, whilst I looked on as if I had escaped from an asylum after another sleepless night.

Last week I considered giving them up for adoption. They spent four of seven nights acting the complete bollox, here is a recorded timeline of one those nights…

7.45 Story time with the four-year-old.

8.05 She goes straight asleep, success!

8.15 Feed baby his last bottle.

8.30 Babies bedtime.

8.37 Baby cries, race up the stairs to put soother in mouth.

8.39 Breathless, sits on stairs for a few minutes.

8.42 Boils kettle, makes coffee.

8.50 Baby cries.

8.51 Trying to avoid eye contact with smiling baby.

8.52 Tuck in, soother, kiss goodnight.

9.01 Baby falls asleep.

9.03 Clicks kettle, mammy time.

10.30 Bedtime; creeps back into room, don’t breathe, get into bed.

10.41 Baby wakes up for soother.

10.50 Baby coughs.

23.04 Baby falls asleep and snores heavily; surprised neighbours cannot hear.

23.10-23.20 I fall asleep.

00.07 Four year old wakes up – to warm.

00.13 Now she’s too cold.

00.14-00.20 She falls asleep.

01.36 Baby wakes up – doesn’t know what he wants.

01.45 Falls asleep *snores (pokes baby to try stop snoring).

02.30 Baby wakes; I let baby cry it out.

02.50 I give in, bottle time.

03.56 Loud bang followed by four-year-old calling for mammy.

03.57 Tucks her in, rubs back (she fell out of bed HAHA), kisses goodnight.

03.59 She now needs to go the toilet (WTF, considers telling her she has a mattress protector).

04.00 Carries child to toilet, wipes bum, washes hands, tuck’s in.

04.06 Find four-year-old creepily loitering around bedroom door.

04.07 I allow her to co-sleep.

04.10 Baby wakes up.

04.15-04.25 Everyone asleep and snoring.

06.05 Beep Beep… BEEP, stupid van reverses up the road (I consider throwing rocks from the window).

06.40 Neighbour slams door leaving for work (considers throwing rocks again).

06.41 Everyone’s awake.

07.00 Daydreams about adoption, running away and working nights.

I’ve yet to meet a mom who hasn’t had their fair share of sleepless nights. I choose to be a mom; I choose to have two children, i do love them, it comes without saying. My god its hard work, if you’re not wiping butts, wiping up sick you’re nursing a boo-boo. So dear friends and family STOP judging me on my high level of caffeine intake, telling me I look tired, and do not judge my appearance. I am tired!!

First Day of Big School

You would think after co-writing a blog on preparing your child for big school, I’d have bells on a week in advance. No, I found myself panicking at 9pm the eve of her first day with a permanent marker scribbling her name on ever stitch of school clothing. Kayla awoke the next day questioning who had been doodling on her uniform, then proceeded to protest her hatred for it. She detested the colour, the skirt was to short (I’ll remind her of that one in a few years) and the tie, she despised the tie. Unfortunately for her she had to wear it.

photo 3 (5)

After about what felt like an hour helping her get dressed she lost a bloody butterfly charm off one of her shoes; FML. I now spent the next half hour searching the whole house for this stupid butterfly, damn you Dunnes Stores!! Eventually I found it, but this was no good, she want it fixed five minutes ago. I somehow calmly reassured her, nobody would notice, nana’s magic kit would sew it back on that evening, she soon overcame her fear of a fashion fail on the first day. It is day five and we are still waiting on nana and her magic kit.

Her daddy and his family came over for some photos. Poor Frankie was dumped with the neighbour; after all it was her big day. We both walked her to school. It was a picturesque moment; she skipped holding both mammy’s and daddy’s hand. It actually brought a tear to my eye. Two years ago we couldn’t bear to be in the same room. Both putting aside our difference for our little princess, she smiled, giggled and I enjoyed every moment of it. Then she realized she was walking for longer than three minutes. She had now endured the longest walk of her life.

Kayla is loud, very loud. She really likes the sound of her own voice. The fear of the unknown shut her up for just a tiny second as she sat down in her classroom. Teacher had announced it was time for parents to leave, my throat dried, the horrible lump appeared, trying to hold back the tears as she waved, then completely ignored us as she concentrated so hard a putting her build-a-blocks together. I did however notice that the blinds were shut, a pointless manoeuvre I had planned, to peak through to see if she was settling ok; again, not taking any of my own advice. I did cry, for just a minute. I soon realized how peaceful it was at home, an hour in school was just not long enough. It was bliss. 

Upon collection she declared that she wouldn’t be going back to school the next day and would be found watching movies, in her pajamas and eat ice-cream all day. Somewhat of a routine we had encountered through the summer. 

I spent the hour on her first day wondering if she missed me, if she needed help, if she needed a hug. Reality is my baby isn’t a baby anymore; my independent, energetic, beautiful little girl is growing up. 

Things I've Learnt Being A MAAAmmy

1. You will no longer laugh at the parents of hurricane hell raising children on Channel 4.

2. Counting to three will be your most commonly used phrase.

3. You will spend most of your days with a howling resident on the bottom step of your stairs.

4. You question how people in bungalows discipline their children.

5. You prefer cuddling and kids movies to hitting pubs and clubs.

6. Your home will be covered in valuable pieces of artwork that didn’t cost you a thing.

7. You will sneak sweets like it’s a contraband substance, soon mastering ramming anything that tastes good into your mouth and be able to exchange conversation with your small normally.

8. It doesn’t matter how many books, magazines and articles you read about caring for your child, every child is different and they all progress at their own pace.

9. Everything you do is an adventure.

10. Showering with a locked door behind you is a luxury.

11. Children do not understand why a mammy would ever want to have any privacy.

12. You will inherit ‘shower schizophrenia’, a constant belief your baby is crying whilst you shower.

13. You often finish up showering with only one leg shaved and have you will have a frequent presence of unwashed conditioner in your hair.

14. You may have an audience whilst showering, shouting the most awkward of questions.

15. You will never wear white again.

16. Children have one level of volume, LOUD!!

17. You are easily manipulated by puppy-dog-eyes.

18. Your washing basket will never be empty.

19, If you mop the floor, it’s guaranteed they will spill something.

20. You will spend most of your days threatening to throw away their toys, if they don’t clean them up.

21. It is perfectly acceptable to sniff a childs butt in public.

22. You can do almost anything with one hand.

23. You will re-define “sleeping-in” to any time past 7:30am.

24. You will have impeccable packing skills.

25. That it’s very rewarding to have a purpose other than yourself.

26. You will realize how amazing it is to watch children grow. Observing the confident-creative little people they become.

27. You will be wiping butts for eternity.

28. There will be a never ending trail of mush, crumbs and spills.

29. An early night is going to bed the same time as your children.

30. You will use baby wipes to clean almost everything from random spills to your whole bathroom.

31. You will have perfected the straight that’s-not-funny face when it’s actually quite hilarious.

32. You will never judge a stranger on their child’s behaviour. If anything you will sympathize.

33. Bedtime will become one of your favourite times of the day.

34. You need caffeine to get through your day.

35. Children get inhuman bursts of energy at bedtime

36. Silence is not golden. Never trust a quiet toddler.

37. Your food always looks tastier.

38. You wouldn’t change anything.

A Little Rant on Katie Hopkin's

Potty mouth Katie Hopkins is at it again. You may remember her from when she appeared alongside Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning last year – the one judging CHILDREN by their names.

Kayla for instance is a ‘common’ name. That name you hear ‘screeching’ across the playground. I’m pretty sure Katie would not allow her adorables to play with my fun loving, clever and very intelligent little girl. The one who everyone says is one of the brightest kids they know. She hasn’t even started school yet and she can read words, write her own name, add numbers and can shine out on stage, dancing at ballet recitals in the Helix at four years old. The abc’s and 123’s have been rolling off her tongue since she was one one. But Kayla (the name, not the child) would be too common and not bright enough to role in her play group.

Frankie on the other hand is up there with the Oscar’s, Oliver’s and Alfie’s. He would probably be aloud play. Yet his personality is yet to be completely discovered. Who is to say my little man could have a learning difficulty or even have an attention disorder? Yet he is already being judged by name. How can someone could judge a child over what their parent has named them is beyond me! It’s something they have completely no control over.

I feel sick to my stomach hearing the latest comment, ‘Hannah the perfect name for a dyslexic kid’. My mam is dyslexic, when she was in school there was no such thing as a special needs assistant. She had no choice, she had a tough upbringing with no extra attention to help her battle the spelling and grammar demons which she later learnt to adjust into her life. Back then teachers would just brand you stupid. This made her work harder, prove people wrong. She was super strict when it came to me and my brother’s education. My arm could be hanging off and I’d be still sitting there waiting for the school day to end before getting it stitched back on. I had full attendance for six-years running.

Someone very close to me, a teen, could not read or write their name up until a few years ago. How it has messed with their head and made them feel worthless. How someone can judge someone based on their intelligence or slag of someone with dyslexia is beyond me . Would you slag, or comment on a child who had a physical disability? No! Nothing but a bully.

How someone can judge, criticize or comment on any kind of disability repulses me. Real education is based on good example. I’m trying to raise my children open minded. Women will marry women, men will marry men, and everybody has different skin tone, religions and cultures. You do not judge somebody if they have ginger hair, tattoo’s or if they are plus size. I’m teaching my child to define a person by their character, their personality, on how they treat people not by their appearance, their background and especially not by their name.

We are rearing the next generation of children who thrive on the basic tools we teach them. People need to change their egoistic attitude towards others. We need to inspire, mentor and lead by example as parents. Not judge others on their names, disabilities, race, gender etc.

Rant over!

The Sibling Rivalry

So today Frankie wails that ‘pain cry’, that noise that hits the bottom of your spine. You drop whatever is in your hand and proceed like Usain Bolt to comfort, to nurture, to investigate what the happened. You find your eldest jump back in fear, muttering ‘I dunno, I was just giving him his soother’. At this moment, I now know to check for marks, bumps, scratches or teeth marks. Yes you read it right, teeth marks. Why you ask? Because Kayla is jealous of her baby brother, the sibling rivalry has landed.

Kayla was one of the first people to meet Frankie, this was important to me. Frankie was supposed to be Katie. Katie was the name Kayla chose for the baby in mammy’s belly. To some extent Kayla did not like Katie. She was the one preventing mammy from jumping on the trampoline. She was the one who made mammy tired and sleep all the time. She was the one who made mammy a hormonal raving lunatic. Everybody assumed I knew the sex, a girl obviously. Kayla would point at bump and announce mammies having a baby, her name is Katie.

In matter of fact, Katie was a boy. Me and my girl-friends were super sneaky at a re-date scan and told no one, not even Dadog. We shopped blue on the sly, stashing in random no go areas around the house. My friend Sue also had an imaginary cousin who just had popped a boy that weekend to be exact. I cannot remember if we named this baby. Anyways we bought him a lot, he was spoilt.

As any mam would, I tried to prepare Kayla. She was having none of it. She already has a brother, why would she need two, she would reassure me. Her father and I are separated and he had a beautiful little boy Charlie last year
.

I explained to Kayla about the approaching birth, I got animated books in the library, the arrival of siblings, the big sister, how to help mammy. I encouraged her to feel baby kick, talk and sing to my bump. I had never ending headaches with the amount of times she sang ‘twinkle-twinkle’ into the micro-phone (my belly button). Katie would summer sault to the sound of her voice. As my belly grew, I involved Kayla with everything. Getting my hospital bag ready, putting the crib together and even brought her along to my combined G.P visits.

Unfortunately I had a few complications, I have thrombocytopenia. I hemorrhaged which led to a couple over-night stays in hospital. Kayla did not like when Katie did this to me. Kayla did not like the idea I was not at home with her. Kayla started to resent Katie.

Then one day in March, two -weeks early Katie became Frankie. Kayla was excited to come see me and her new brother. She had a cuddle but we knew she was disappointed. She suggested swapping him with a mammy in my ward.

I became an over protective mummy, I snapped be gentle, whispered be quiet, pulled her away from hanging over the moses-basket as she almost knocks it down. She accepted her new sibling. She helped with all the nappy changes, picked out his outfit for the day and helped make bottles.

Kayla was involved in everything so I’m rather shocked when she ha sudden bursts of aggression. Frankie clearly did nothing to physically hurt her, emotionally she was broken. She did not deny his existence. She enjoyed the special attention from visitors. She enjoyed having mammy home all day, every day. But unfortunately I could see cracks and slight resentment creeping in. Frankie got to sleep in my room. Frankie got lots cuddles. Kayla did not have my full attention anymore. Kayla was no longer my only baby.

Naturally I tried spending extra one-on-one time with her. We made jig-saws, watched girly movies and went through photo albums of her as a baby and toddler. I let her unwrap any present Frankie got. Kayla is spoilt rotten and everyone dotes on her, I think she got more presents than Frankie in his first week.

Then one day, I left her to mind Frankie, for two minutes, while I went upstairs to get a blanket.  I thought I could trust her. Whatever she did to him, it hurt. I never heard a scream like it from a baby in all my life. He was six-pounds in weight, not an ounce of fat to be seen. She tried to reassure me ‘he just started crying’ until I exhausted all options and checked his nappy. There it was, a red raw mark on his thigh. The fury, the angry, the utter disbelief raged through my body. I almost wanted to hold her down and do what she did to him. I wanted her to feel the pain she occurred to Frankie. I obviously could not do that, so I asked what really happened.

I encouraged her to tell me how she felt. I gave her as much attention as I possibly could. I involved her with every aspect of bringing Frankie home, to helping out, naming and even bathing in the first few weeks. She had a hidden streak of jealousy that only arose when left alone with my little man.

Just as I thought she was adjusting, learning to trust her again. Boom, like a happy slap to the face – she bit him, in the arm this time. The cry melted my heart. The incident melted my brain. Why would she do such a thing?

At this stage Frankie is smiling, cooing even sharing a bath with her. She just gets these sudden urges of being in control and hurts him, for no reason, whatsoever. When I’m feeding Frankie, I feel she is trying to hijack all my attention. Don’t get me wrong, this has only happened three-times, although once is enough. She just gets these sudden urges to hurt him. Whether it is attention seeking, power or sudden outbursts of jealousy I shall not be leaving her alone with Frankie until I can trust her behavior has changed. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, the sibling rivalry has landed.

Frankie's First Spoon Feed

Weaning Frankie

Some were along the past sixteen-weeks I lost a week of Frankie’s life. I’ve been telling everyone he was only fifteen weeks old over the past few days. It can only be ‘baby-brain’, it is excusably forgivable.

So Frankie turned sixteen-weeks yesterday and with him waking for night feeds the past couple of nights for a full bottle and gulping eight seven-ounce-bottles a day. I decided to start weaning him onto food. It is highly recommended to wait until after seventeen weeks to start spoon feeding. Although the exact time for introduction will depend on your baby.

I chose a time he was not too hungry to introduce him to spoon feeds. Trying to find the right consistency as first foods should be smooth thin puree without any lumps was pretty straight forward. I added water to Odlums Organic Porridge Oats, cooked it on the stove then blended it with my hand blender in a cup. Some foods may need to be sieved to remove lumps or fibrous parts. You can use expressed breast milk or formula to make up feeds too.

A lot of people have been questioning why I chose porridge oats instead of the usual prepacked baby rice, so here’s why: Baby rice is bland,tasteless, yet it’s sweet. This may influence babies later food choices, they are high in sugar and are highly refined, stripped of most – if not all nutrients during the processing stage. It’s then fortified with synthetic vitamins and they cost a fortune compared to a large bag of oats.

With preparation for introducing spoon feeds underway, I added the puree to my Squirt. A baby food dispensing spoon for convenient one handed feeding that I purchased from the from The Goodie Gallery. I propped Frankie up in his bouncer, with a large cushion behind to support him as I hadn’t purchased a high chair at that time.

His first spoon was hilarious. I slowly introduced the spoon to his mouth, allowing him to suckle from it. The facial expressions were priceless. One minute he was horrified, he gagged and next he smiled (when he thought his ordeal was over).

All babies gag when their weaning. I remember panicking on Kayla, this time I knew what to expect. It can be a scary experience for some first time mums watching your child gag. It can almost look and feel like their choking but this is completely normal for babies as they adjust and learn how to swallow. Babies need time to learn how to swallow food. Frankie spat out his first few spoonfuls a couple of times, but this does not mean he doesn’t like it. He is just getting used to spoon feeding. Babies may reject new tastes and textures initially, it will take several tastes before a baby will accept new flavours. Always retry any foods that baby refuses.

 There are many suggested ‘Stage 1’ foods suitable to be introduced during the weaning process. Pureed vegetable like carrot, sweet potato, spinach and turnip are perfect. The more flavours you experiment with from a younger age, there is less chance of a fussy eater in later years. Peeled and pureed fruits such as mango, avocado, plum and apples are great weaning foods too. Eggs, fish, chicken and meat can be introduced once they are well cooked. Avoid stock cubes, gravy’s and jars of sauces as they have high sodium content. Try avoid adding salt to any of babies dishes too. Some baby companies do organic stock cubes so keep an eye out when doing your weekly grocery shop.

*********

I will keep you updated on how we get on as I begin to introduce more foods over the next few weeks.

 

30 Things I Would Tell My Best Friend About Having A Baby

Having A Baby | Thing's I Would Tell My Best Friend

Having a baby is the most beautiful natural and wonderful process in the world but not many tell you the truth of what really happens during and post pregnancy. Whilst some lucky mums-to-be are blessed with a ‘glowing complexion’, bypass on the heartburn and get no strange weird cravings at 3 am. There are some things your friends and family forgot to tell you. We normally only share all the pretty things about being pregnant and having a baby so here is a list of things I would tell my best friend about having a baby.  (more…)