Friday, 11 April 2014

What would Jesus do?

A few years ago when I was back from pissing away the paltry savings I had accumulated from my twenties on a round the world trip,I had a vague plan that I would get my shit together(read life) by the age of 34. This entailed getting a career on track,having my own house, remaining in a loving, committed relationship and generally being happy with my lot in life.Today is my birthday and it's my last one before I turn 34 so I am officially old. Not a little bit old, very old. So very old that I am now closer in age to Jennifer Aniston than Lawrence, while unfortunately looking like neither. So gnarled and wrinkly that I have now outlived my teenage idol Kurt Cobain by a whole six years.I am now in the age of Christ- I have been on this earth for as long as Jesus Christ was, which is a terrifying thought.
I always knew this day would come but I imagined I would be in a better situation lifestyle wise. While I'm lucky enough to have an amazing partner who balances me out, buoys me up and puts up with my craziness and have been blessed with two fabulous daughters, I thought by now I would have achieved a bit more when it comes to work, that I wouldn't cower in fear when asked the dreaded question

"So, what do you do?"

I want to be able to say writer and acupuncturist but having made not much money from either venture in the past few years, I have a choice. Either stay poor and be a less than shining example for my daughters or return to a job I have no love for,one that I thought I had left behind but my inability to garner any semblance of a career path indicates otherwise. I'm no longer really early 30s, I'm now (gulp) mid-thirties. Isn't it about time I had my own house?Isn't it about time I could answer any probing career questions with a confident and happy answer. Isn't it about time I had some semblance of success

I've got kids now and perhaps more importantly I've got daughters.Its important for me to show them that I make a financial contribution to the household. Also I have discovered that all stay at home and no work makes mummy go a little cray cray. Well a lot cray cray to be brutally honest.I need adult interaction and even if the job I'm returning to may rank as one of the least enjoyable ones there are out there,it does provide me with human interaction in abundance. Plus it will enable us to buy a house. This is also important as having our own place will enable me to feed my inner artist.The dream of having our own place that we can decorate ourselves exactly as we like it is one that is too powerful to ignore. Images of purple living room walls, a lovely garden and shelves dance around my head-so many shelves. Mummy loves her storage!

Also a birthday is a chance to make changes, like another go at the new years resolutions that have been cast by the wayside. I now have 365 days to make these changes, to put things right before I get another free trip around the sun and my mantra for this coming year for me,in the age of Christ is going to be this-when faced with difficult decisions, I am going to dig deep and respond with-

"What would Jesus do?"

What does this mean exactly?Well I'm not the most religious of people but I've always liked the historical  figure of Jesus Christ, and while I don't believe that he is the son of God, I do believe that about 2000 years ago, there was a dude called Jesus who lived in present day Israel and lead a good life, inspiring others to do the same. So me doing what I believe Jesus would do means I'm going to attempt to be a better human being-be kinder to strangers, be a more patient mummy to my kids, be a more thoughtful friend and daughter. Make little changes which I hope will lead to big ones. And work on the bloody career path. Because all those hours spent in a job you absolutely hate can't be good for the soul.

Still from the movie Dogma.

So this time next year,I won't say hand on heart that I intend to have life some way sorted-the procrastinator in me hears that 36 might well be an acceptable age to get ones shit together!-but with a little luck I may be on the way to a more concrete foothold in life instead of the ever changing quicksand landscape I seem to find myself sinking into. Oh, and would a workplace with decent coffee be too much to ask?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Mini Expressive Artist

Mini loves to colour and paint,as do most toddlers I imagine.She rarely sticks to the paper and instead likes to go "off piste", covering walls,floors,table tips,window sills,basically any surface that's not designed to take markers or crayons.

She's now added a new dimension to her plans to fill the house with an artistic flair(read increase Mummy's workload) with a splash of colour on her clothes.
So there you go-customized t shirts from Mini.Get yours here first-the wardrobe staple that will see you from the office to the pub this Spring/Summer.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Mini Free Spirit

Today I'm going to post one of my favourite videos of Mini.It's short and simple and shows her bombing it down the big slide at the local indoor soft play centre.Its something she's been able to do for a few months now.She's quite the daredevil and I love to see her being so fearless and independent.It's something to remind me of her zest for life and also something to help me embrace her free spirit and determination,especially when her wants seem to be in direct contradiction to my own.
Like when she won't hold my hand when we're out on walks,when she refuses to be strapped into the car seat,when she rejects any notion of getting dressed-even though we're already running late,when she throws herself on the couch in protest at my request for her to turn off the TV,when she throws herself on the ground in protest at not being allowed to run away in the opposite direction to myself and the buggy on a busy street or when she refuses food that isn't bread or potato based at dinner for the millionth time.

With all of these things I will endeavour to take a deep breath and ponder this video of my free spirited independent little lady in an effort to remind myself how lucky I am to have a daughter like her,even though I may not always think like that as a parent battling against the will of a determined toddler. And hey, there'll come a day when she won't automatically do the exact opposite of everything I ask right?Right??


This post is linking up with the always inspiring Small Steps Amazing Achievements at and the fab linky #pocolo hosted by the lovely +Victoria Welton. Go on-post, comment, love-you know you want to.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A mum who...?

Mother's Day is upon us again (who else feels like this year is zipping by?) I always thought Mothers Day was a nit naff, a bit of a hallmark holiday until I realised it proceeds the card making company by a good few centuries. Its roots lie in religion and it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, hence its travelling position on the calendar.

This year marks the third year that I celebrate Mother's Day as a recipient rather than participant only. I was in Easons yesterday browsing for cards for my own mum,taking note of all the descriptions printed on the front-special mum,best mum,kind mum,wonderful mum and it got me thinking-

What kind of mother am I?

First off, I'm known by a whole host of names.Sometimes Mammy,sometimes Mum,often maman and recently I have become Bawboh for reasons only known to my first born.
I am not a very creative mum-I harbour lofty ideals of making fabulous arts and crafts with the girls.Maybe someday this will become a reality but for now it's just paint on paper and chalk on blackboards.
I'm a mum who never misses an opportunity to shower my girls with kisses, feeling what I lack in technical ability, I make up for in affection.
I am not a very patient mum and I shout and lose my temper a lot more than I should. I'm trying desperately to address this situation and change it for the better,but like most aspects of my parenting,it's a work in progress.
I am a mum who always takes the time to read a bedtime story even if my children aren't listening because I feel I owe authors and storytellers so much and it's surely payback time.
I'm a mum who's trying to have it all and not really succeeding thus far but wondering if any mum out there truly believes she's found the right balance of work,family life and what you do in between?And if there is can she sell me her formula?
I'm a mum who's learning every day,learning to bake,learning new responsibilities, learning to slow down,learning to enjoy my time with these fab little creatures who I call my daughters.
Most of the time I think I'm doing a crap job but then I wake up to a scene like the one that greeted me this Mother's Day and I feel like I'm supermom.

And what kind of children am I mother to?

Well I make dark haired girls of blue eyes flecked with hazel and framed by long,full black lashes.Curious girls who are full of smiles and chat. Girls who seem to have limitless amounts of energy,for whom sleep is not an option even after hours of being on the go.
Girls who are stubborn and determined and free spirited.
Girls who remind me of me,even though I won't always admit it!
Little girls who have big personalities.
Little girls who I am so lucky to have as daughters this Mothers Day and hopefully for many,many more to come.

So Happy Mothers Day to all the mommies, mammies, mums, mammas and moms out there. And also to the grannies, nannies, mammies and nanas. And a big thanks to the daddies who make us feel like we are doing a great job, even though we may feel at times like nothing could be further from the truth.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A mother by any other name

Sometimes it happens with a child with Down syndrome that it will seem like they are not progressing further in acquiring new language or motor skills for ages,that they are stuck at a certain point.It can even feel as if they are going backwards in their development. We're at one of those backward slides at the minute. Mini has fallen back on screaming to make her wants known.Ill be honest it's very frustrating for me as until recently she was using her signs very well and the words were starting to really come close to what they should be sounding like.

This is of course just a phase and one that should end with a whole new leapfrogging into a new plane of development. This phase has also brought with it some interesting language changes.Papa is still Papa, and Mini Mini is still baybee or sometimes even Eh-weeze but for some reason,I am now Bawboh. The glorious "mamma" that I had waited over two years to hear has disappeared. And like with every incorrect pronounciation your child makes,you acknowledge you have understood what they are trying to say and then correct them. The daily exchange over this new word with Mini goes a little something like this-
"Yes here I am sweetie, Mama."
Me getting slightly exasperated-"Mama!Mama!"
Mini (voice growing louder) "Bawboh!Bawboh!"
Me tapping my chest,"mama!"
Mini thumping her chest "Bawboh!Bawboh!Bawboh!" before finally collapsing on the floor in giggles, shaking her head.

I feel as though on some level she's screwing with me but for now I have no option but to answer to this and for this year's Mothers Day, I shall be "Bawboh". Of course coming from Mini it's super charming and sweet and in a world full of mammas,I least for now,I am unique.

What cute names did your little ones have for you before they mastered the all important "mamma" and "dada"?

This post is linking up with the fab linky #pocolo hosted by the lovely +Victoria Welton. Go on-post, comment, love-you know you want to!!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

And then you were 3

My darling Mini, you have turned 3 this week.You are no longer my baby, but a big girl now.
I remember when I was 3 and I cried for days when my parents decided I couldn't go with them on a weekend away to London.I was disgusted as I was wholly convinced that I was a big girl at 3 and thus deserving of a trip to exotic London. You have already been to London,Brussels and France on a number of occasions and even as far away as the Canary Islands. 

What have you learned since you burst onto the scene 3 years ago?

How to open your eyes and see the world.
How to walk and talk.You speak four languages-English,French,Irish sign language and your mother tongue-Mini-ese.I'm impatient for the day when we ll be able to have a full blown conversation in a language I can understand but I'll really miss the day when the Mini-ese is no more.
How to sing, and dance like there is no one looking even though all eyes in the room are upon you,
How to laugh, giggle and get everyone else in the vicinity cracking up with you.
How to open doors and cause your mother heart failure as you break for the border, re busy road.
How to brush your teeth( even though you don't always like it) and how to comb your hair (which you like even less)
How to say hello and wave goodbye.
How to clap handies.
How to turn off lights-you particularly like the game of plunging the living room into darkness when I am breastfeeding your sister or am otherwise incapacitated.
How to model and take perfect photos( this is one thing you definitely did not get from your very unphotogenic mother).
How to be polite with your  enthusiastic "peeze" and "TANK YOU!"s
How to sing your nursery rhymes and count to 10.
How to turn on the TV and operate the remote-this were skills that were acquired early!
How to paint and draw mini masterpieces sometimes on paper,more often on walls,doors and other boring,plain hard surfaces that you know are just begging for a bit of colour and life to be breathed into them.
How to pull off your socks and shoes-in all types of weather-freezing cold or pouring rain,you don't care,barefoot is best!
How to blow bubbles and blow out the candles on your birthday cake.
How to speak Spanish after only a week's holidays in Lanzarote-ok, it was only one word-Ola- but it charmed the locals.
How to use smart phones and tablets with ease and how to look suitably perplexed when the same swipe action doesn't work on TVs or digital cameras (yet!).
How to take my breath away with the force of your hugs.
How to blow kisses and plant big smackers on gratefully accepting cheeks.
How to be a super big sister.

All these amazing things you have learned in three short years. And what have I learned?

That kids don't come in perfect little packages corresponding to any parenting manual out there. They are all unique individuals with their own unique gifts and challenges.
That I am truly never alone-not even when I'm in the toilet. Particularly when I am in the toilet.
That it's ok to eat custard creams for breakfast and blueberries for dinner just not every day!
That babies don't really "do" socks.
To forgive and forget-every day you wake up I see in your face a fresh beginning. You are no longer mad that Mammy refused to give you another episode of Peppa Pig or Papa wouldn't give you another biscuit after the 3 you'd already chowed down. Kids don't hold grudges and neither should we as adults.
To celebrate the victories, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem.
To slow down and enjoy every moment with you as we will never get a chance to experience these particular moments again.

I heard Bob Geldolf give an interview years ago in which as a father of four,he was asked for the best parenting advice he'd ever received.He responded with this-you need infinite love and infinite patience. I got the infinite love part down-that was instantaneous,a bolt of lightening that lodged you in my heart where you will never leave.
I'm working on the infinite patience bit-it's not always easy. I'm not a very patient person and I'm truly sorry for that. But I'm learning, just like you. Every day we are on the road to discovery and you've been an awesome co-pilot.

Happy Birthday darling Mini-here's to many, many more years of adventures together.