Friday, July 31, 2009

Naps and Neighbors and Noise, OH MY!

So there I was. The small one had just gone down for a nap which, if you believe what all the books say, meant a good 3 - 4 hours of slumber on her part. However, if you actually have children, you will know this to be a BIG FAT LIE which none the less will torment you until well after your kids are grown and gone.

By some strange cosmic twist, the snot queen then curled up and dozed off in my lap. Could it be? Could it really be? Could BOTH of my little angels be sleeping AT THE SAME TIME?

Not wanting to tempt fate further, I carefully stood up and made my way upstairs. Miraculously, the snot queen remained comatose. We made our way to the bedroom. Still, she slept.

As I gently lay her down on the bed, she stirred slightly, which would have been grand had it not been for three other simultaneous occurences.

1. Someone's house alarm started going off. Loudly.

2. The neighbor's children escaped outside into the rain for 5 minutes of shrieking and screaming. Loudly.

3. The neighbor's on the OTHER side started up some sort of insane DIY project which apparently involved mindlessly hammering on every single adjoining wall we share.

Like a shot, little miss was up and running, all thoughts of sleep firmly vanquished. Downstairs, the small one woke from her twenty minute doze and the tiny string that was oh so slightly holding onto my sanity snapped.

Why does the Universe dislike me so?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fun in the Sun

I was feeling motivated today. I don't know why. Maybe because for the last couple of nights the terrible twosome have called a ceasefire on the all night dance parties they've become so fond of as of late and I actually got a semi decent's night sleep!

No matter the reason, I awoke feeling almost human and looked outside to see a blazing blue sky. I immediately became suspicious and marched to the window, glancing left and right for the giant black rain clouds I knew must be hiding somewhere.

Nothing. A few puffy white ones, but no hideous harbingers of stormy Irish gloom.

Still not convinced, I marched to the back of the house and stared out those windows. Again, I looked left and right. Again, I saw nothing but a few more puffy whites dotting the blue, blue sky.

Within minutes, I had a load of laundry on the the line and another on to wash, both girls were cleaned, fed, dressed, strapped into the buggy and we were halfway across town. No destination and no reason other then the fact that mother nature was obviously having a senior moment and we were getting the weather meant for a nicer, more attractive and infinitely more deserving country.

We had to take advantage before she realized her mistake.

We walked and walked and walked and the tiny one slept and slept and slept. The snot queen still had an hour or so of madness in her to burn off so it was off to monkey maze where she played and played and played until her eyes were dropping out of her head. By the time we left the parking lot she was down for the count. Success.

So charged with energy was I from the sun, the excercise and the fresh air, that upon our arrival home I scrubbed out the bathroom and the utility room and got a start on the kitchen and supper whilst the Snot Queen went out back to search for stones.

Even when the thunder rolled and the dark clouds eventually did move in, I didn't mind. We'd enjoyed the break in the weather while it lasted. Besides which, I'd managed to get the clothes in off the line before the rains came.

Hope you all had a lovely day as well:)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Of Mice and Monkeys...

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I mean hey, we had been indoors all day, it was lashing rain, the Snot Queen had decided that naps were sooooo last week and was doing her best to injure herself on any and all hard surfaces in our home and himself had yet to get dressed which meant that we had to keep the blinds closed and live like moles (or teenage boys) lest the neighbors catch a glimpse of his skivvies.

Enter Monkey Maze. "Europe's largest indoor activity centre for kids..." On a Sunday. A rainy Sunday. Do you see what I'm getting at here?

The place was chaos. Apparently, we weren't the only ones to have this brainstorm. It was mob rule for the under 10's. We headed for the toddler area and set the Snot Queen free to wreak havoc with her peers.

Over the course of the next hour all of my emotions were pushed to the limit. Exasperation as the Snot Queen escaped the baby enclosure and made a break for the "big kids" area for the umpteenth time, Rage, as three boys who were most definitely NOT 1 - 4 years invaded the toddler zone and knocked her over (only a desire to not end up in court kept me from kicking all of their asses)Panic, as I lost sight of her temporarily in the ball pit and extreme pride as my baby managed to climb the stairs to the slide ALL BY HERSELF, a task she'd been too small for a mere 5 weeks ago.

By the time we left, myself and himself were wrecked. The Snot Queen was still going strong and tiny one, bless her, had slept through the entire visit despite having had her eyes and nose vigorously investigated by a passing toddler.

Next week, I think we'll just stay home.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dear Mom...

Dear Mom,
As I type this, you are somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps poking cautiously at the mysterious offering dubiously labelled as food that $1500.00 gets you on an Air Canada, trans - atlantic flight. Or maybe you are flicking through the fine reading material I selected for you this morning at Cork Airport. For the record, that one from Girls Aloud is looking SICKENINGLY thin!

More then likely however, you are missing your grandbabies. Therefore, I have taken the liberty of packing you a virtual suitcase to open up and dig through anytime you're feeling blue.

Item one: Unlimited supply of baby puke divided into single size portions. For those child free moments when you're feeling just a bit too fresh and clean. Open vial and toss over body part, item of clothing or piece of furniture of your choice. Works best when in situation where immediate washing is not an option and item being doused is of great value, someone else's or dry clean only.

Item two: A non stop recording of the Snot Queen throwing a major tantrum. Play this anytime you close a door, be it front, back, cupboard, fridge... you name it! Can also be used when coming in from outside. It doesn't matter what the weather or how long you've been out for, if you're coming inside, this recording is a must!

Special bonus recording!: Sounds of Small One - non stop, live recording of Small One's bowel sounds and the cries which ensue when gas attacks!

Item three: Baby Poo, and lots of it! Comes in all different shades. For extra fun, play your Special Bonus Recording everytime you come across a green one!

Item four: Porridge. Rub in hair. Throw on floors, tables, chairs... basically, anywhere there wasn't porridge before!

Item five: Selection of brightly coloured plastic toys which play a variety of tinny sounding nursery songs and lullabyes. Play on repeat. Again and again and again and again...

Of course, if you get through all of these and your heart is still a little bit blue, you can have a peek at the bottom of the suitcase in a special compartment marked "For Emergencies and Special Occasions." Here you will find Item six...

A selection of the softest kisses and sweetest smiles that money can never buy. These are given freely to you with love from your girls. Just enough to get you through until we see you again.

Christmas can't come fast enough.

We love you and miss you. It was a wonderful month.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Growing up, up and away

"Oooooh! Good Housekeeping!" I chirped. And immediately wanted to swallow my tongue. Three words I never thought would cross my lips had just confirmed my status of Mother and Housewife (Housegirlfriend?) extraordinaire.

Good Housekeeping? Good Grief! What have I become? When did I trade in my mis-spent youth for a reasonably priced adulthood?

For those of you not familiar with this monthly publication, I want you to imagine the cheapest, filthiest celeb rag around, something like "Closer" or "Heat" or "Star." Now, take out all the celebs, slash the sex and get rid of the gossip. Replace with non contraversial, clean living female role models (This month features the mother of the Jonas Brothers) and articles on such scintillating topics as flower arranging, healthy dinners and thousands of ways to tighten your tummy. Throw in a few money saving tips and heartwarming stories and there you go. Porn for the middle aged and menopausal.

And now apparently, for me as well.

When did this happen? When did I switch from "How to Look Good Naked" to "How Clean is your house?" When did I stop caring about Posh and Becks and start caring about Kim and Aggie? When did my wardrobe go from "Fun and Funky" to "Frumpy and Functional?"

When exactly did I grow up? And did I maybe go too far?

Is it possible to find a happy medium? One where "Frumpy and Functional" can become "Frugal yet fashionable?"

And if I do manage to revert from my current mental age of 109 back to my real age of 29, is there room in there for the occasional "Good Housekeeping?"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Note to self...

I just thought that I'd write myself a little note for the future in case I ever get that broody feeling and decide that three would be a good idea.

Dear Me in the Future,

You're probably wondering why you (I?) wrote this letter. After all, it's a few years down the line (I sincerely hope!) the girls are absolute dreams, Dearest Partner ( husband?) is making oodles of money and you are all living the dream in deepest suburbia. Now, with the Snot Queen about to start school and the small one not so small and having long since lost that new baby smell, you are experiencing those old, familiar pangs. You are getting mushy over pregnant women you see in the street, your eyes well up when you come across the girls' old babygros and your uterus just about leaps out of your body when you encounter a tiny baby.

You imagine the sweet smell of a newborn's head, you can practically feel the soft, warm weight filling your arms and you heart flutters at the thought of breastfeeding again. You are broody and thanks to Mother Nature and her sneaky cocktail of selective amnesia hormones, there are a few aspects of pregnancy, birth and the early days which you may have forgotten.

And THAT my love, is why I've written you this letter.

It is a Thursday in July. Don't ask me the date, It's a miracle I even know the month. Tiny one is six weeks old today and it is merely the grace of god and the fact that your mother is spending 4 weeks helping out that has kept you somewhat sane and barely alive.

The girls are taking it in turns to make you old before your time and judging by the grey hairs you've recently found cropping up in your once luxurious locks, they are succeeding. You know all those charts and books that say newborns sleep 18 - 20 hours a day? HA BLOODY HA. In the last 24 hours, tiny one has spent approxtimately 19 of them AWAKE. The other five were spent in a light doze which you would have taken advantage of were it not for the Snot Queen waking up and declaring the hours of 23o till 530 party time.

You are currently living in a perpetual cycle of feeding, changing, winding, bathing (them, not you. What, did you seriously think they'd let you shower?) chasing, washing, watching and worrying. Like a puke drenched zombie, you wander through your home randomly picking things up and putting them away in an attempt to maintain some standard of household cleanliness, all the while cycling through the same old script of phrases.

"Ah Ah! Not for babies!"

"Gentle, gentle..."


"Good girl, gentle... GENTLE!!!"

"Where's mama's girl?"

"Ssshhhhh.... it's okay, come to mama, we'll kiss it better, shhhhhhh... it's okay..."

"Time for sleepy sleeps..."


"Ta Ta to mama..."

Do you remember the feeling of terror as your 28lb toddler attempts to CLIMB your newborn baby in order to get to your lap? The horror as she lovingly pats (re: violently whacks) her little sisters still soft head or plays wishbone with her tiny toes? Have you forgotten how quickly a box of salt can be emptied onto the floor as you try in vain to boil something for supper? Do the words TRAPPED WIND CRYING ALL THE TIME WANT TO BEAT MY HEAD OFF A BLOODY WALL BUT AM TOO TIRED TO DO SO mean anything to you?

You spent the last month of your pregnancy unable to walk more then a few feet without your hips threatening to seperate. Your bladder control was pretty much non existent and not a day went by that you didn't plead with the universe to end the torture now.

Little did you know of course, what with the snot queen having been born with the aid of a high powered epidural, that the real torture was yet to come, that pushing 7 and a half pounds of squiggling, wriggling, red faced indignation out your wahoo WITHOUT THE AID OF PAIN RELIEF is far from a walk in the park and that the phrase "birth canal" is a real misnomer. It's not that big.

Your hormones are all over the place, you are still carrying an extra stone weight (hips, thighs, belly and boobs) and your hair is due to start falling out any day now. You have also learned several valuable lessons in recent weeks. Just because you escaped you escaped stretchmarks the first time around did not make you immune to the damn things the second time. Just because you have a newborn does not mean that your older child will miraculously stop teething/start sleeping/ become potty trained etc... Newborns Poo. A LOT. Unless they are constipated, in which case they cry - ALOT. At around 4 -6 weeks your newborn baby will get fussy - very fussy. Nothing you do will make them happy. During this time, they will not sleep and neither will you. Babies do not come with housekeepers.

I am not saying these things to be cruel. I do not mean to rain on your baby scented parade. I am merely being honest and presenting you with the facts as they stand so that you can make an informed decision on this matter. I could continue on and regale you with tales of teething troubles and terrible tantrums but number two is only six weeks old and I still have it all ahead of me. Even talking about it would be enough to send me into a spiral of despair and anxiety from which not even the biggest box of maltesers could rescue me.

All the best!

Your younger (and infinitely wiser) self

P.S Do we ever become a size ten or is that just another pipe dream?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Man! I feel like a woman...

So there we were, me, my mom, himself and the smallies. After an exciting morning that included the stomach chilling realization halfway home from our weekend in Kerry that we may have left the modem behind (we didn't, it was in the big bag,) my first ever car boot sale (this deserves a blog in itself,) and a trip to Argos for a mattress protector - Oh! The joys of co-sleeping... no one mentions the gallons of puke and poo you will scrub out of your bed before wising up and buying one of these miracle workers - we found ourselves wandering about Mahon Point Shopping Center.

Being that I was the only one of our quintet with any appreciation at all for the joyful art of shopping, I knew my time was limited and so made the most of it, hitting my favourite stores fast and hard before the patience of my companions wore thin and I was trundled back to real life where a trip to the grocery store is the social high light of my day.

I had finished with the ground floor and was just winding down the upper level when we came upon La senza. My heart stopped and my feet froze as my senses were overwhelmed with colour and my brain slowly took in the giant 75% off signs plastered in the window.

Like a moth to a flame, I made my way into the shop, drifting from one rack to the next, my hands sliding through acres and acres of gaudily patterned, highly flammable, silky feeling bits and bobs.

As a woman who has spent the last two years either pregnant, nursing or both, my lingerie collection has no secrets worth keeping, let alone any that are worthy of Victoria. It is a veritable wasteland of stretched out cotton jersey in black, white and varying shades of grey with nary an underwire to be found for fear of damaging my milk ducts, thus leaving me with a permanent nursing bra "uni - boob" (sexy, I know.)

The days of trussing up the girls and putting my breast foot forward have temporarily been put on hold. These days, the only padding in my bra is the kind that soaks up spills. Not that I need any padding as my breasts have reached proportions best described as epic which have the small one trembling in fear as her lunch is twice the size of her head.

I glided through the forest of floaty nighties, past the naughty negligees and headed straight
for the good stuff, a wall full of heavily discounted bras, none of which were black, white or any shade of grey, none of which had ever heard the word jersey, none of which served any purpose except to showcase my bosoms to their best possible advantage.

The best part? All of them were priced at €5.00 This meant that even though they didn't have QUITE my size, I didn't feel too guilty buying one.

I eventually settled on a blazing pink number in a shiny sateen fabric with the stiffest, sturdiest underwire known to man and after assuring my mother that "Yes mom, this is for AFTER I finish nursing" handed the clerk my €5.00 and just about burned a trail home to try on my new purchase.

Holy. Mother.

Pamela Anderson has nothing on me. After an hour or so of preening in front of the mirror and trying on just about every item of clothing in my wardrobe with even the slightest v - neck, I eventually had to give in and feed the Snot Queen who had been watching the show with great appreciation and was fascinated at the way her dinner was being displayed (It's all in the presentation you know!)

After two pregnancies and 17 months of nursing, sleepless nights and regular dousing in various bodily fluids, it's nice to know that I've still got it.

Not bad for €5.00

Friday, July 10, 2009

A moment at a time...

Ssssssh! Don't say a word. Don't move a muscle. In fact, so long as you're in good respiratory and cardiovascular health, if you wouldn't mind not breathing for a moment it would be much appreciated.

They are asleep. All of them. For at least a moment, I am surrounded by sweet, delicious calm. I can feel it washing over me like water...

(Looks down. Sees two bright eyes staring back. Cue crying.)

Damnit. Spoke too soon.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wanted: Sleep. Will pay good money.

Wanted: Sleep. Will pay good money.

It's official. My children hate me. For what seems like the millionth night in a row, I have failed to achieve more then a "light doze" at any given point throughout the night. This of course does not count the coma I eventually fall into five minutes before the alarm goes off and the endless loop that is now my life begins again.

The small one is at the peak (I hope, dear god I hope this is the peak!) of her "fussy" period. This is a time I had forgotten about. Surely the Snot Queen could never have gone through such a hideous phase, surely I'd have remembered it and solemnly vowed never to procreate again.

Well, it seems Mother Nature (that canny ol'bitch) has a lot to answer for. You know that hormone that makes us forget exactly how bad labour was - or at least remember it in soft focus? A similar process seems to be at work for the few months of infanthood as my mother assures me that YES, SQ did go through this and that YES, I did call her at 2am in an effort to save my sanity and prevent her grandaughter from being sold to the highest bidder.

Well, after this last week, I am on the verge of GIVING our newest arrival to anyone who will take her (and of course return her safe and sound when this "fussy" period ends and the infant acne clears.)

For anyone who does not have children or for whom infanthood is nothing more then a distant, fuzzy memory, the fussy period is marked by windiness (the kind which no amount of back patting can seemingly dislodge) crying and a general dissatisfaction with life which to me seems to be highly premature as as far as I'm concerned, you never have it quite so good as when you're a baby. The fussy period generally coincides with the eruption of infant acne which means your angry red infant is now an angry, red, spotty infant.

To add insult to injury, she has the most efficient digestive system I 've ever seen which means that after she finishes devouring the contents of my breasts, all it takes is a quick flip to the upright position to produce a man sized burp followed by the ejection of any and all excess milk from her tummy. Said excess milk generally ends up coating whoever is unlucky enough to be holding her.

The remainder of her meals are then forcefully expelled into an increasingly messy series of curry coloured nappies, the majority of which immediately leak onto my lap and/or the furniture.

So why do we persist? Why, if the tiny terrors are so blatantly antisocial, are the classifieds not filled with "free to good home" ads for wayward infants?

Because mother nature has yet another trick up her sleeve. Just as the gassiness, crying and general irritability reach their peak, just as their little eyes cross with the effort of expelling yet another high velocity poo, just as you realize you literally have NOTHING to wear that is not covered in some form of bodily fluid, just as you reach the end of your rope and are on the verge of placing that ad - they smile.

A great big, googly eyed, off kilter gummy grin that reaches in and grabs you by the heart, giving you the strength to get through another sleepless night.

Survival of the cutest. Infant Darwinism at it's finest.

Right, I'm off for my nap now..

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In for a Penny, in for a Pound (and a half!) of poo

Why is everything coming out underlined? Seriously, is the universe just testing my patience today? The last 24 hours have been something akin to hell, some strange "mammy hazing ritual" which every mammy must undergo following the birth of each of her children (as though being split apart by labour and delivery wasn't challenging enough!)

Nope! Instead, the powers that be have decreed we must suffer an additional testing phase to ensure that we really are worthy of being mothers. (oooh! the underlining has stopped! yay!) A period of suffering defined by niceties such as stretchmarks, hemmorhoids, teething, gas, hair loss and other fun times which further underline my belief that whatever divine power might be watching out for us is indisputably male...

The Snot Queen is teething. Again. (cue menacing music) This time though, is different. This time, not only do we have the usual suspects - pain, fever, agony and long periods of hellish, unabated screaming during the hours most people consider to be "sleeping hours" - we also have a new guest at the table. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce "Baby Number Two."

As if teething wasn't bad enough on it's own, last night, my normally placid, chilled out newborn came down with a lovely case of wind. This meant that everytime the snot queen settled into a temporary peace, instead of managing to grab a few precious minutes of sleep, I would have to roll over and tend to the squawking, red bundle of trapped wind and resentment that was masquerading as baby number two.

By 4am my vocabulary had been reduced to repeating a certain four letter word (starts with f, rhymes with duck, has an amazing number of uses!) at various volumes as a mantra of sorts, in an effort not to throw either of my lovely ducklings out the window.

At 6am, the big one's fever broke and satan released his grip on the small one. For the next few hours, we slept.

When I awoke, I discovered the snot queen had created the kind of nappy that can only be described as toxic and which over the course of the night had leaked out the sides and run down her legs to form a lovely brown pool on the sheets (which then soaked through to the mattress below) A nappy which out of sheer curiosity was placed on the scales and found to be weighing in at a pound and a half.

On the bright side, I've recieved my first ever blogger award (Thanks Jen!) Which I in turn will be passing on to some other deserving blogs including two battle scarred veterans of the sisterhood ( infantasia and living in a toybox who really needs to sort her comments setting!) and two little innocents about to bravely enter the pukey, pooey world of parenting, yup, that's right, xbox4nappyrash and wannabe dad. Congratulations guys, it's a messy, mad and at times heartbreaking world, but it is the greatest gift you will ever be given (and no, I'm not talking about the blog award, though that's pretty sweet too!)

Right, I'm off to clean the poo out of my mattress. Have a great day!