The Horrid Onset Of Teething Is Upon Us

When your baby reaches the milestone of cutting their first tooth it’s certainly an exciting time. Although getting there we endure sleepless nights and some frantic ordeals trying to soothe our babies. Some babies endure some awful, sometimes very painful, swollen and inflamed gums while their teeth start cutting through and other sail through the whole process. Not forgetting they produce a barrel of drool too.

The horrid onset of teething has been slowly lurking and creeping upon us awhile now, Frankie started to drool excessively about six weeks ago. One morning last week he woke up with a grumpy appearance, flushed cheeks and then refused his porridge. He never refuses food. Ever. With all gums he’s latching and gnawing on anything within arm’s reach. I even found him chewing on the side of Kayla’s dolls house the other day.

Just as we get him in a fantastic routine he is waking four-to-ten times a night, sore, swollen and very upset. No cuddles, no Calpol, not even co-sleeping will comfort him. It’s an awful to watch, I’ve been close to tears as he wails. It’s heartbreaking. We are walking the walls trying to comfort him to no avail, he eventually sobs himself to sleep.

He’s very attached at the moment too, I cannot leave the room without him crying after me or chasing me in his walker, I think his uncle got him a super express one, he’s a pro in it. I must be in full eye contact at all times. Kayla has been feeling very left out as he needs my constant attention every hour of every day. When we eventually get him to nap, all I want to do is chill with a strong coffee but she has other things in mind.

My favourite hour of the day is when daddy walks in and I almost throw Frankie at him and escape to our bedroom and hide, that’s until Kayla assumes I’m playing hide and seek and proceeds to act like a crazed jack in the box. This tooth better make an appearance soon or I may have to get in there with a chisel myself.

15 Lies We Tell Our Kids

We all tell tales to our small for a multitude of reasons whether it’s to protect them, not knowing the answer, to avoid a meltdown or for the sake of our own sanity. If you think you have never told your child a lie, you’re a goddamn LIAR! Here is a list of the most common lies I have my kid and the ones our mammies and daddies have told us.

1. ‘If you keep picking your nose, it will fall off’

Disgusting habit, once they start, they can’t stop.

2. ‘Show me your tongue, if it’s black you are LYING!’

The trick? Only mammies and daddies can see it.

3. ‘We’re almost there’

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET!!

4. ‘I’m leaving without you’

You have to be willing to walk away and hid around a corner, trust me they WILL follow!

5. ‘We’ll come back another time’

The awkward moment you’re about to leave the park, zoo or toy shop.

6. ‘If you don’t clean up those toys, I will throw them out’

You will never throw them out but it works.

6. ‘If you go outside with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold’

I hated this as a child, I still do. Colds are caused by viruses, not from being out in the cold.

8. ‘Santa is watching you’

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! The biggest lie we have told our kids.

9. ‘I’ll tell the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, fairies…’

Need I say more?

   10. ‘If the wind changes, your face will stay like that’

We live in Ireland, the wind is always changing.

   11. ‘Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis’

This is actually a myth, a MYTH!

   12. ‘If you swallow gum it will get stuck in your gut’

In fact, it will just take longer to digest.

   13. ‘It’s bedtime’

It’s a half hour before bedtime and you trick them into an early night, no harm done.

    14. ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose’

Of course, it does, win, win, WIN!!

     15. ‘They’re all gone’

You really mean ‘I’m going to eat them when you are in bed!’.

Tappy Safety Bath Toy – Review

The Product

Tappy is a universal fit, tap guard toy designed for children from six months to six years. It protects children from bumps, by cushioning metal taps and prevents scalds with built-in insulation. Tappy is made with neoprene, meaning it will air dry and is machine washable.

The Review

Kayla likes to think she is a mermaid when she dives into the bubbles and has occasionally bumped her head and back off the tap. Her favourite colour is green so she was very excited for bath-time, to play with Octopussy, Tappy’s new name. So Octopussy was a perfect fit on our awkward tap and wriggled and danced as the bath started filling with water.

Tappy’s main objective is to protect but it’s also a great educational bath toy too, she was finding numbers and colours, counting her eight legs and singing the rainbow song. It distracts Kayla while I’m washing her hair and we have used it as a puppet to entertain Frankie too.

Kayla has great fun with Tappy, she loves pouring water and bubbles into her mouth and watches as it sprinkles through her legs. Tappy is a very pricey at €17, not something I would spend on a bath toy but in it does help protect from nasty bangs and scalds and most definitely brightens up bathtime.

Tappy is available to buy from Jojo Mama Bebe, Amazon and Tesco.

I was giving this product for reviewing purposes only. This does not affect my honest opinion.

Maternity and Infant Awards

Last month I took part in the product testing stages of the Maternity and Infant Awards in the DoubleTree by Hilton. So when I went along to the awards itself on Friday I was very eager to see how some of the finalists would get on.

TV3’s Sybil Mulcahy and Martin King presented 37 product awards and 15 people awards over four hours to very deserving women, men and children. All guests were served a scrumptious to die for, four course meal, free wine and a very entertaining afternoon.

One of the first awards presented was Midwife of the Year, and guess what, it was my midwife, and my nomination.

Maternity & Infant Awards Magazine

I submitted a nomination for midwife Catherine Manning from The Coombe, Medical Clinic. Catherine looked after me throughout the duration of my pregnancy and stay on my second child, Frankie. My pregnancy was considered high risk due to a condition called thrombocytopenia, my platelet levels dropped meaning there was a high probability of hemorrhaging during pregnancy and labour.

Catherine guided me throughout my whole pregnancy, ensuring I was not stressed about anything. She always asked how I was both feeling both physically and mentally, she genuinely cared for my well being. Catherine was compassionate, attentive, devoted and very supportive. She went above and beyond to care for me, sometimes visiting my bedside after hours. I could not think of anyone more deserving of this award.

I bumped into Aoife from Gripper Soles and Mika from MikaB Teething Jewellery.

There was some outright winners and some that took me by complete surprise on the day. Maternity and Infant pride their awards on products that are chosen by parents for parents. I’ve listed some of my favourite products and service winners below.

The Best Baby Food Award went to Organix for their apple rice cakes. I’m already a huge fan of Organix, they have a great range of products, Frankie loves the strawberry flavoured rice cakes.

There was no surprise when Aldi were awarded Best Nappy for their mamia new-born nappies. I’m currently using them, the price, quality and absorption is outstanding. Aldi also won the Best Baby Wipes Award for their mamia sensitive wipes.

Supervalu won Best Family Brand and Best Family Supermarket whilst Mothercare won Best Baby Store and the Grand Prix Award. Baby Elegance the headline sponsors won Best Travel System for the second year running with there Beep and Twist travel system and they won Best Cot for their Holly Cot and Mattress. We bought Frankie the Holly Cot a few months back and I love it.

Best Family Day Out went to Imaginosity, an educational, child-centred creative play museum. Kayla loves this place, even though we haven’t been in a while, she’s still always blabbing on about it.

I’m currently reviewing a pair of Shoobees and they won Best Children’s Shoes. Waterbabies won Best Mother and Baby Activity while Maxi Cosi won the Car Seat award.

There were so many awards presented to some tremendous companies and small businesses throughout the day, aswell as some very deserving people awards.

Check out who else won at the Maternity and Infant Awards HERE!

Overall I had a brilliant day, met some lovely people and got the goodie bag of all goodie bags, I’m looking forward to working my way through all these treats.

Operation Get Frankie Sleeping Through The Night

Last month I started over obsessing about Frankie’s sleeping patterns, ranting and raving like a woman possessed  to anyone who would listen. I was pacing the floor past midnight, he was disrupting the entire house, even Tinkerbell our lab was creeping through the house at all hours. I spent more time rocking, cradling, and searching for soothers than I did feeding, cooking and cleaning throughout the day

Kayla never slept through the night until she was nine months old, so sleepless nights wasn’t unusual. Frankie started following Kayla’s footsteps so I got books, searched the internet, tried co-sleeping and got advice from friends, family and strangers. Nothing seemed to work and I ended up stuck in a rut of answering his demands and needs immediately.

Kayla didn’t want to be around me because I was in such bad form. Her sleep was also being disrupted, one night she shouted ‘just shut him the hell up’ and another ‘just give him his bloody soother’, she was starting to resent her baby brother. My relationship was being jeopardized with my first born because I couldn’t get my little babóg to sleep at night. I did not want to play, I did not want to do leave the house, I wanted to hide behind the curtains and watch movies all day.

I was blathering over on my Twitter page and one morning a lovely lady, Niamh O’Reilly, a sleep expert from The Nursery, answered my cries. I proceeded to tell her our routine, only to discover we did not have one. Frankie was over sleeping during the day, I let him dictate, he slept when he wanted during the day, sometimes waking only for feeds or a soother. I assumed some babies slept 18 hours a day at five months. You would think on your second child you would have everything to perfection, I allowed Frankie to take the lead, responding to his demands, allowing him to eat, sleep and play when he wanted.

Niamh designed a structured routine for us and recommended to stay relatively strict for the first few days. Frankie wasn’t impressed, he was now napping in his cot, woken according to the schedule and breakfast, dinner and tea were now in my control.

Within two nights of following through with the firm routine Frankie slept from 7.30pm to 8.15am. I won’t lie I got an awful fright the first morning, I dived into his room to check his status, he was lying their cooing and content, it was so refreshing. Me and Kayla had celebratory pancakes for breakfast, we went the park, we baked cakes and I finally retained and enjoyed much needed one-on-one time with her.

Each and every day that followed we shadowed Niamh’s routine, twerking it to suit school runs and other herrings, Frankie has consistently continued to sleep through every single night apart from the day he got his four month injections.

The biggest tip Niamh gave us was his dream feed. Every night at 10pm, I give him a bottle, avoiding eye contact, with no interaction or nappy change, once he’s finished the bottle he gets a kiss goodnight, his soother and I leave his room till morning.

I was so drained, I had almost accepted I got one of those babies who doesn’t sleep. If any of you are struggling with a baby or toddler to sleep at night I highly recommend Niamh from The Nursery. Niamh helped me regain my family’s life back with friendly, responsive and practical advice. Frankie no longer dictates his routine and I’m very confident our routine will continue with a few adjustments as he gets older.

THANK YOU NIAMH!

Four Month Vaccinations

For those who have decided to give their baby their vaccinations it can be an awful experience for mam and baby. Frankie is out of sorts after having his eleventh needle on Monday morning, his four month vaccinations. Unfortunately he has taking a little reaction and his leg has become swollen and inflamed. We spent the day yesterday topped up on calpol and I smothered him in snuggles.  He is very clingy, I shower, he showers, I pee, he pees.

I drew a box around the affected area to  monitor the redness and I’m constantly checking his temperature, it’s awful to see him like this, he’s such a smiley baby, it’s horrible.

We are way behind vaccination schedule, I keep cancelling the appointments, anxiety is getting the better of me, He cries, I cry.  He had his first needle fourteen hours after he arrived, paediatricians were concerned and wanted to check his platelet count as mine had plummeted during my pregnancy due to a condition called thrombocytopenia. His veins were so tiny doctors struggled to retrieve any blood after several attempts. Luckily on day two they got a sample, we got the all clear and were later discharged. Then with recommendations from a doctor in Our Lady’s, we returned a few days later for a repeat and again thankfully got the result we’d hoped for. So within four days the little man had endured six needles, the poor little sod.

Reactions like this make me not want to give him his injections but we had a ‘whooping cough’ scare a few weeks back, he’s better protected from all those nasty bacterial bugs. Fingers crossed today is a better day and hopefully he’ll be back gliding through the house in his walker terrorising Kayla and Tinkerbell.

Our Weaning Adventures

At four months Frankie didn’t seem satisfied solely on bottles, he started to wake up for feeds throughout the night and was taking a lot of interest in our food and sucking his pudgy little hands, so regardless of recommendations of midwives, public health nurses and the likes I decided to start weaning Frankie earlier than the six months. It is advised to start a baby on solids when they are six-months due to development and nutritional reasons.

I suppose due to these ‘rules’ administered by health care officials I wasn’t very prepared for weaning, I had no high chair, baby spoons or water-proof bibs. I decided I wanted everything organic, homemade, full of nutritious ingredients although on a few occasions I have given him puree fruit pots, they are so handy if you are out and about or if your homemades haven’t fully defrosted by snack time.

It’s so true, the nutrition baby receives in their first year will impact on their eating habits for the rest of their lives. I look at Kayla my first born,  who eats dinners solely of mash, carrots and gravy. She is a very fussy eater and that is due to my poor diet I inflicted on her in the first years. It’s something I regret immensely, since then I have changed my attitude to parenting and put my her needs before my own. Over the past year Kayla has grew a love for fruit, all fruit, so her eating habits are slowly improving. If I had of introduced all the beautiful foods there are out there sooner maybe she wouldn’t be so picky.

I decided Frankie’s first meal would be a taste of porridge, something easy and simple to make, although it didn’t happen that way. The texture was nothing like my Nana’s, it resembled gloop and had the consistency of tar. He gagged, he heaved, he cried, he projectile-spat across the room, It was a big FAIL! So maybe porridge wasn’t the best decision but you have to learn these things for yourself. You have to find what works for you and your baby.

Frankie’s first spoon feed

When he learnt to swallow food we moved onto sweet potato, carrots and butternut squash. It wasn’t until I started cooking up a storm in the kitchen that I realised all his food was orange. So as the days and weeks went by, I started introducing more food like parsnips, peas and chicken all pureed of course. He took some time accepting some of the new flavours, he would spit the food allover the room but I never gave up. He loves his food; now that I’m offering a huge variety.

Frankie is six months now and I have many worries about weaning, Kayla my four-year-old was allergic to eggs, lactose intolerant and it was around this age we discovered it. The fear of him choking on finger food also scares me, it’s natural to worry but I take it to another level. I have taken a course in First Aid to ease my anxieties.

I’m also very house proud, so when it comes to finger food I tend to opt for dry food like bread and toast, soon realising I was starting to follow my old weaning habits I had on Kayla. I’ve given in to my former ways and have given him mango, banana and cheese. I’m allowing him to explore, play and make all the mess that needs be for him to enjoy it.

Weaning is such an important part of babies’ development and I’m so proud I’ve changed my old ways and allowed him to mush, squish and squeeze these new textures and flavours whether it be into his hair, ears or nose. I won’t lie the mess can be frustrating but it’s harder to have a child who won’t eat vegetables and meat than clean up a baby after a fun meal-time.

Fairy Hunting in the Woods and Finding Lost Things

We live in a house of make believe and fairy-tales. We have a fairy, Trixibelle, who comes and goes as she pleases through a door in Kayla’s room. Kayla has told me she seen her once or twice and always leaves out treats, toys and food by her little door.

Every couple of weeks we all head off to the deep dark woods with the my second child Tinkerbell, the labrador, we go climbing and exploring in search of fairies and their homes. This weekend we found the leftovers of a fairy game, Kayla claims she has seen fairies play this game before, apparently it’s very similar to big people hopscotch.

We found a huge tree similar to the pixi-dust tree but there were no fairies to be seen, they were all working hard getting everything ready for winter. Kayla explained that Queen Elsa’s magic doesn’t work outside of Erindale so the fairies must work extra hard to help make it snow so Olaf can go to Disneyland.

We even found a swing made by the tinker fairies, Kayla chuffed with life that yet again on another deep deep dark forest walk we can still find lost things.

Her imagination brings us to another world. She believes in all things magical, we cannot cross a bridge without being really quiet as we might wake up the trolls. We have no chimney so we must give Santa a special golden key so he can drop off her presents. Elves spy through mirrors when double-checking the naughty and nice list and dolls come to life when you leave a room.

I love watching Kayla pretend play, her imagination is so creative, she lives in her own little fantasy world full of unicorns, leprechauns and make believe. Her imagination is wild, I love seeing it come to life. The night before she started school Trixibelle left her a card and a little bag of sweets, Kayla is still trying to figure out how our house fairy got the card through her tiny little door, the maths just doesn’t add up. She was so happy she remembered it was her first day of school and couldn’t wait to get home to knock on the door to tell her fairy all about it.

The Star Chart

I’m just back from attending Kayla’s first school open evening. I got to witness where she sits, the colourful art work surrounding the room and learn more about the curriculum she will be absorbing throughout the year. Her teacher advised on some activities we could do at home to help with pencil grip and motor skills, literacy and maths. There was also a parenting talk by expert Sheila O’ Malley that was very interesting. I’m now rethinking my approach to discipline and how I speak to Kayla when she is upset or angry.

Her school have a star chart system, where a child gets rewarded for good behaviour, manner and overall performance throughout the day. When a child gets ten stars they get a small prize, great incentive for good behaviour, don’t you think? Kayla told me she has loads of stars, so I scoured through looking for the kid with the most stars, obviously and I couldn’t find her name anywhere.

So now we will call it the poxy star chart!

I see it, Kayla, two stars, two measly stars. Surely it’s wrong? She has the least amount stars in her class of twenty something kids. Some of her classmates are on the way to their third prize. I know it shouldn’t but I almost feel like it’s an attack on my parenting skills. Why isn’t she achieving what her friends are? Why is she lying about how many stars she is getting?

I thought she would be top of the class, teaching the new friends their abc’s in sign language, performing her ballet routine with an audience in yard, I assumed she would be top of the class, student of the month, highest achiever. It’s very upsetting; she’s clearly not settling how I envisaged. Maybe my expectations are too high, she’s four in a whole new environment where she is not centre of attention anymore. I only hope she starts to settle soon and her real personality shines through because she is a good kid, a really good kid.

If she gets a star tomorrow we can have chocolate ice-cream for dinner, it won’t change the fact she is struggling to adjust in school but it will make me feel better haha.