Monday, June 6, 2011

Because Debauchery Loves Company...

There are certain skills in life I know that I need to attain. The ability to drive for instance. At 31 years of age with two small children and a husband who is soon going to install a meter in our car and start charging me for all the journeys I politely request that he take us on, the ability to motor myself about would indeed come in handy.

Likewise, it would also be great if I could ever get around to finishing off all those skills I started to learn and then abandoned in favor of newer, more sparkly skills. Like Knitting. I can do the basic stitch but that's about it. No matter how many times I get people to show me how to cast off, I never actually go home and practice and instead just continue to annually pick up a set of knitting needles and with the best of intentions knit what basically amounts to nothing more then a really long scarf destined to never ever leave the knitting needle as I have yet to figure out that final, crucial step.

Tonight however, I learned a new skill. A skill which when combined with my complete and utter lack of self control, can only lead to self destruction of the highest order.

Tonight I learned how to make a personal size chocolate cake in 3 minutes. In a mug. In the microwave. Add another minute of melting chocolate and suddenly that personal size chocolate cake became an ooey, gooey, heavenly piece of rich, chocolatey, melt in your mouth heaven.

I wish to god that I could scrub this knowledge from my brain.

But since I can't, I will happily implant it into yours. And remember, not only is it delicious, it's also quick, easy to clean and ridiculously simple to make... Enjoy! (and don't forget to make the chocolate sauce after to pour on!)

Take a mug or large microwavable cup.


4 T. flour

4 T. sugar

2 T. good, unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix dry ingredients well.


1 egg

3 T. milk

2 T. vegetable oil

3 T. semi-sweet chocolate chips ( or broken up good chocolate)

1/2 t. vanilla

Mix really, really well in cup. Microwave for 3 minutes on high. Remove and enjoy!

(Recipe found at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My first Guest Blog! Life on the Road...

Yay! I've been invited to do a series of guest blogs over at in order to chat about my ongoing series of nation wide booklaunches/coffee mornings and all the fun that goes with it! (Waking up the girls at 6 am for a 2 hour car journey in which they refuse to nap and spend the entire time complaining that they're "stuck," - ummmm, no, you're strapped into your carseat, there's a difference - and then having to clamber into the back seat to re-stick them when they eventually free their arms and become "unstuck." Yes... fun.)

To check out the first installment, go to

or else, just click here. Thanks! See you soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Grand Re - Opening...

It is very, very, very late. My eyes are pretty much closing as I type and I am this close to curling up on the kitchen table and calling it a night. However... That being said, I couldn't go to sleep until I'd introduced my brand new, snazzy dazzy website to you.

Yes, I realize I already kind of introduced it in my last post, but that was the "old" website. This is the shiny, new, post makeover website. The Gorgeous, lovely, not so pink and tacky website that has tested the bounds of my husband's love for me and made me realize what a patient, kind and good man he really is (not to mention handy with the old html!)

You can check it out here. I'd love to know what you think.

For now though, it's off to bed. Night!

Maria x

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dads to be? Take Note...

Okay, so there were A LOT of amazing stories and experiences that I wanted to put into the Mammy Diaries, but unfortunately, in order to make it so that people could afford to buy it AND still pay their rent/make their mortgage repayments, there was quite a bit I had to leave out. HOWEVER... (Drumroll please...) I have a bit of news.

I have a new website. It's not 100% finished yet (although it is online and it is working thanks to my lovely husband who doesn't mind at all having me leaning over his shoulder going, "hmmmm.... no, not like that, more like, you know... no, not that either... Could we try it in a different colour maybe?") but we're working on it, and we welcome suggestions (well, I do anyway, not sure how keen my husband is to have the virtual folk joining me in the backseat web designing party.)

One of the things that thrills me about this, is that it means I now have an outlet for all those stories that will, thanks to the joys of technology, no longer go untold.

For the moment though, until we sort out the kinks and build a nice little base of viewers, I'm going to be sharing some of those stories here. The first one, tonight, takes place in a little city called Cork and gives ample reason why pregnant women are to be listened to at all costs...

Taking the long Way...
For weeks I had been preparing a list of what I needed for the hospital. I researched websites, read books, everything. I finally packed the labour ward bag and the main bag at around 32 weeks. I bought duplicates of the toiletries and other everyday essentials so I wouldn't have to open the bag again. I then asked my husband to put together a little bag of what he might need and add it to whichever bag was appropriate. Much to my annoyance, he didnt bother doing this.

I strapped a teddy bear to the car seat and asked him to practice opening and closing it because it's a bit tricky and I said he needed to be sure so that there would be no hassle on the way home. Of course he didnt do this either.

Finally, I asked him to plan our route to the hospital. He laughed at me and said, “do you think I don't know where CUH is?”

We live in Douglas where my husband was raised and I said that it might be late at night and it could be very stressful so could he do a trial run or at least think about it. I asked him to visualise the route he would take and consider things like rush hour, road works, traffic lights, lane changes and other delays so he could drive on autopilot when the time came. He has a tendency to do silly things like take wrong turns when driving so I was particularly worried about this.

I was very calm at the time of labour and was on the phone to the hospital for a few hours on and off, so all was fine when we went to drive to the hospital. It was 3:00am. There are two entrances to our estate and one has a series of speed bumps so my hubbie said we'll take the other exit to avoid these. I didn't take much more notice as I was still timing contractions and in pain. About five mins later I asked him where we were.

He had turned out of the estate which was his usual route to work and then just switched off - we were half way to the city centre.

I said to turn around and he replied that at this stage it was the same either way. I didn't get mad because I didn't have the energy and I knew he was more likely to do something stupid. To make a long story short, we drove through the city centre at 3am on Fri 28th December, a huge boozy night on the tow. We had to drive through swarms of drunks trying to flag us down thinking we were cabs.

My genius husband then decided that the lights at Dennehys cross took ages, but he knew a back road through some estate so he turned in there but the road was dug up and we went over a series of huge bumps and ended up getting caught in two other traffic lights. I was in too much pain to speak!

When we arrived at the hospital, he dropped me at the main door in I went. I was feeling a little better so he went to park the car. He didn't know that there was a car park underground and went all the way to the main car park about a 5 minute walk away. Had he done a trial run he would have known this.

I sat alone for 20 mins getting contractions on and off, it was hell! No nurse came out to me as there had been an emergency. Some poor girl had arrived by ambulance and all I could hear was scream after scream. It was awful as I was already terrified enough. Paramedics were running all around the place and she had a group of people with her, all really upset. She gave birth there & then in the emergency room. I think it was ok cos I heard the baby and saw the smiles but I'll never forget listening to her. I hated my husband so much for not being there for me, I was shaking with fear.

Eventually he arrived. I was furious and asked where the hell he had been?!?!? He said the car park was ages away and he couldn't carry all three bags so he had to "rejig things around.”

Basically he had never packed the stuff I asked into either of my bags. Instead, at the last minute he'd thrown a pile of his stuff into a third bag. As he couldn't carry all three at the same time, he had stood in the car park and re-organisd all the stuff I had packed weeks earlier to avoid this very situation arising.

I'm still so angry at him now remembering it. I never said a word until a few weeks later. I still have no sense of humour about it and I often wonder if this will come up in marriage counseling in years to come! Talk about letting me down, what really makes me mad is that I anticipated it coming and flagged it to him but he just ignored me.

Oh, and on the way home from hospital he had trouble with the car seat...

Thursday, March 31, 2011


IT'S FINISHED!!!!! After nearly three years of writing, talking, editing, learning, compiling, reading etc... I am so happy to say that "Mammy Diaries" has been released and is available for purchase here

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poo; Of People, Birds and A Bear of said Name...

The tiny one is sound asleep, tucked under my arm.

My Headache has been reduced to a dull throbbing.

The Snot Queen and her daddy have long since retired to bed and the radio is playing a mad mix of sounds that are supposed to be ambient and chilly - outie but instead just sound like church.

Time to rehash the best and worst bits of my day...

The tiny one has been making a lot of noise about poo for the last few months. For a brief spell last November, she even got into the habit of doing a poo in the toilet each day for about a week. So this morning, after three weeks of house arrest and a not so charming deposit on the white carpet in the spare room after her bath yesterday morning, I decided to take a gamble and leave her nappy free for the day with the potty nearby if she wanted it.

There was much initial excitement and plenty of 'trial sits' where she'd call out "Baby Poo!" run and sit on the potty for five or so seconds, announce she was, "All done!" and proceed to gaze expectantly into the empty potty, wondering where the hell the poo had gotten to.

The morning continued on as normal with the exception that the Tiny One's daily poo seemed to be taking a holiday. No worries though, it was just an experiment after all.

Then the Snot Queen announced that she had to poo and that she wanted to do it on the potty.


The second her bottom touched the potty, all hell broke completely and utterly loose. The tiny one was in hysterics.


Thinking she might get a kick out of seeing a real poo in the potty, I took her over to see it when her sister was done.

I thought wrong. Very wrong.


At this point, the Snot Queen wandered off to a quiet corner to read a book and get away from the poo shrieking madness.

The Tiny One followed. And as is normal behaviour for an upset child at naptime, she was quick to transfer her outrage to a new target.

"NOOOOO LILY BOOK!!!!! BABY BOOK!!!! MOMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!! BABY MOKIES (*code word for milk. A little less obvious then her previous cry of "BOOBIES!!!")

She then proceeded to turn towards me and walk smack into a kitchen chair.

Just when you thought the meltdown couldn't get any worse, it did...

It was about this point that I decided enough was enough and called out the magic word, "OUTSIDE!!!"

On went the nappy. On went the clothes. On went the boots and out we all went into the garden where the girls jumped off their escess energy on the trampoline and I cleaned bird poo off of the garden furniture and hung out a load of wash on my freshly made clothesline.

At some point, the Snotzer disappeared back indoors, but I kept calling out and she kept answering so I assumed all was well.

Beginner's mistake.

I went in a few minutes later to find her happily playing away in the bathroom with both taps running and a good inch of water on the bathroom floor.

I'm actually quite impressed with how well I handled the situation. There was no shouting, no swearing and no tears (after 3 weeks of isolation I'm pretty well institutionalized at this point.) Instead, I calmly closed the door on the floodlands and through on a Pooh Bear video, thereby buying the little darlings a reprieve and myself thirty minutes of sanity in which to restore order to the disaster zone that was once my house.

Floods dried, muddy floors mopped and children fed, we had just cracked into the play dough when a miracle occurred.

An imposing figure in head to toe motorcycle gear appeared in the doorway to the kitchen.

Daddy was off early.

And now I am off as well, to bed.

Good Night! x

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Croup...

Dear Croup,

GO AWAY!!!!!!!


Mammy Diaries x

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Pox Stops Here...

All in all, I have to say that last week's run in with the vomiting bug wasn't that bad at all. The not so tiny one, despite not being able to keep down her food for nearly a week and living pretty much entirely off of the old booby milk, didn't lose so much as an ounce and at no point did her spirits ever flag or did I ever worry for her well being.

No. The illness itself wasn't that bad at all. What did drive me loopy though, was the isolation. That lovely period called quaranteen where you don't step foot outside of your house for fear that you infect someone else's child and become known as "THAT MOTHER." Where your days all roll into one long Barney filled blur and the soundtrack to your life goes something like this;





It was also pissing down rain most of the week which ruled out even the tiniest hope of going outdoors and maybe, just maybe, catching sight of another adult figure somewhere in the distance. At one point, I was NEARLY tempted to answer the door to one of the political canvassers doing the rounds...

For an entire week, my world revolved around vomit. Cleaning it out of the sheets, the towels, the floors, the clothes and the girls. When I wasn't mopping up bodily fluids, I could be found refereeing fights over who had the ____________ (fill in the blank with the name of any object really, it doesn't matter, they probably fought over it at some point!) first and who pushed who and why eating butter straight from the packet is not a good idea.

In short, it was a loooonnnngggg week.

However, eventually, it ended and on Saturday night we celebrated our puke free status by going to a wedding. The girls had a ball. Having had no company but each other and myself for the past week, they went mental at the sight of other children and danced the night away in that insanely energetic way that only the under 5's and the overly chemically enhanced can.

Monday found us at our weekly Mums and Babies Coffee morning where once again, the girls partied like there was no tomorrow, as though something was about to happen that would have us locked indoors again for the foreseeable future...

Something spotty...

And itchy...

And highly infections...

Yup. You guessed it, the Snot Queen has the chicken Pox and we are back in quaranteen again...

The fun never stops.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear Rota Virus...

Dear Rotavirus,

We hope you enjoyed your stay at "Chateau Tiny One." Of course, seeing as how you stayed here for nearly a week, I can only assume that the accommodation was to your liking.

A few small matters in relation to your bill;

As you overstayed your welcome... I mean, remained here past your expected check out time, we have had to tack on an additional late fee as well as charge you for the extra 2 night's stay.

Your visit also put a strain on our already stressed housekeeping staff who will now require a weekend's rest, including several treatments at a spa of my... I mean her choosing. Chocolates would also not go astray. This has all been included in your invoice, as has the isolation pay I simply must insist upon as we have been unable to leave the house or partake in social activities due to your presence.

On a similar note, you managed to dirty just about every towel, blanket and sheet in our home. The children's (and my own) wardrobes were pretty much decimated! Our laundry machines have been running steadily since you arrived! I sudder to think of what the utility bills will be like this month! I'm sure you agree that it is only right and just that I send you a copy of them when they are issued and that you pay a portion to cover your share of the financial burden.

Overall, having reviewed your actions of the past week, it is our recommendation that in future, should you find yourself in our area again, that you also find yourself alternate accommodation.

Yours Sincerely,

Mammy D

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taking the Tiger Mom by the Tail...

I was going to come on here today and write about the tiny one being sick for the last few days. Tales of riding the vomit comet and nappies so vile that I will never look at curry the same way again.

Instead, I am going to write about something else that has sickened me. Something that shakes and disturbs me and makes me worry for the type of society we have become.

A few weeks ago, I was forwarded an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior ." In it, Amy Chua,a mother, Yale Law professor and author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," explains why she believes that extreme discipline, shame and subordination are the key ingredients to raising "successful" children.

She has called her daughters "garbage," said they were, "lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic."

All of course, for their own good.

Growing up, they were not allowed to have sleepovers or play dates, to get less then an A in any subject or to play an instrument other then the violin or piano, which of course, with daily three hour practice sessions, they would excel at.

They could not be in a school play, nor could they complain about not being allowed to be in a school play. They were not allowed to watch television or play video games or to be anything less then the best in any class they took part part in.

To the Tiger Mother, failure (or even mere mediocrity) is not an option. Success is the only way.

But what exactly is success in the eye of the Tiger Mother and where exactly is the logic of the Tiger Mother coming from?

China is one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world.

Although technically outlawed in 1996, human rights groups say brutality and degradation are common in Chinese detention centres.

In China, there are 68 crimes which are punishable by death, including among them bigamy, gambling and computer hacking.

Internet forums are strictly monitored - this week for example, the Chinese government has outlawed the broadcasting of recent events in Egypt, where the people are trying to overthrow a repressive government - and the word "Democracy" has been banned on most chinese web browsers. According to wikipedia;

"n 2005 reporter Shi Tao was sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years for releasing an internal Communist Party document to an overseas Chinese democracy site after Yahoo! China provided his personal emails and IP addresses to the Chinese government.[15] Skype president Josh Silverman said it was "common knowledge" that TOM had "established procedures to... block instant messages containing certain words deemed offensive by the Chinese authorities."[16]"

The "one child" policy, limiting each chinese couple to a maximum of one child, is believed to have created a huge rise in the number of gender specific abortions being performed as well as in the cases of female infanticide, claims which are strongly supported by china's lopsided ratio of 118 males being born to every 100 females.

But hey! If those kids are kicking our asses at Maths and sciences and if they have toddlers who can rattle off a Mozart Symphony as easily as the snot queen sings "Twinkle, twinkle..." then it's all worthwhile, isn't it?

In a society where democracy is a forbidden word and where people who question or criticize the government are locked up, killed or simply "disappear," is it any wonder that degradation and extreme discipline are valued tools in the Tiger Mama's toolbox as it is only through shame, subservience and extreme discipline that such regimes can survive.

But surely those tools have no use over here in the so called free world.

Surely we, the enlightened west, the so called "free world," can see all that is wrong with this way of thinking!

Apparently not.

In an ongoing poll by the Wall Street Journal of close to 35,000 readers, when asked which style of parenting (Permissive Western or demanding Eastern) they thought resulted in happier, more successful kids, 62.4% believed the Tiger Mother's regime to be the answer.

I only wonder if those readers have ever wondered exactly what the cost of such success truly is...

In the words of Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D:

Children Learn what they Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Three Cheers for Kisses!

The tiny one is 20 months old and until two nights ago, still fed to sleep. As I'm training as a doula, about to have a book published and hoping to go to a midwifery conference in Germany this fall, I thought it might be handy if someone other then myself (and my boobs) could send her off to slumber.

Not being one for controlled crying, I wanted to find a different way of helping my little monster fall off to sleep. I'd read somewhere about the whole "kissing" them to sleep thing. Unfortunately, not being the most diligent of students, I forgot the bulk of what I'd read and only remembered that it had something to do with kissing your baby at increasing intervals until they went to sleep.

So I lay her down and told her quite seriously that it was bedtime and that now mama was going to kiss her three times and she would then fall asleep. I leaned down and studiously delivered three quick kisses to her cheek.

She started to giggle.

I kissed her again.

She giggled louder.

I kept kissing her.

She started in on some pretty serious belly laughs.

The serious side of my brain, the side that reads sleep studies and understands concepts regarding dim lights and silent rooms, was horrified! Surely I was winding the child up and she would NEVER settle!

But the other part, the part that truly believes that by wishing on the first star of the night, my book has a better chance of being a success and that my children will be happy and healthy all their lives, said that perhaps this laughter, much like the crying that I did not want to do, would eventually wear her out....

That all of this wrestling and laughter and tickling and kissing combined with the dim lights and warm blankets might just maybe help to put my baby to sleep....

So we kissed and we wrestled and we tickled and we laughed...

I told her made up stories about "Spencer" (her favourite character on Balamory. )

I sang the alphabet, always a sure hit with her big sis.

No Joy.

I tried Twinkle, Twinkle. Again, a regular chart topper of the snot queen's.

Still, Nada.

And then, I hit pay dirt.

I started to sing softly... "What 's the story in Balamory, wouldn't you like to know?"

She lay stock still and looked up at me, eyes wide...

"What's the story in Balamory, Tell me and we will go..."

She smiled dreamily...

"La la la la la la la la la la la la la, Baaa Laaaa Mooooorrrryyyy"

Her eyes began to close....

A few minutes and several verses of my hap hazard version of the Balamory Theme song later, she was down for the count.

No stress for me and more importantly, no tears for her.

Even better, she fell asleep happy.

So for anyone out there wondering if their breastfed baby will ever fall asleep without the boob, there is tear free hope indeed :)

Forget controlled crying.

For us, it's uncontrolled laughter all the way.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's been a Loooooong time!

It's been a loooooong time. A really long time. So long, that when I started to type "" into my address bar, nothing happened.


I typed in M. I got loads about motorcyles (my husbands a biker. Rrrrrrawr!)

I typed in Ma. I got suggestions for mail and maps (we use those a lot)

I typed in mammy.



My laptop had forgotten me.

There's something really sad about being forgotten by your computer. It's like running into an old friend who you haven't seen in a long time. An old friend with whom you've shared some pretty hard core memories and who you've trusted with your inner most secrets, the deepest, darkest parts of your soul only to run into them on the street unexpectedly and have them give you that confused, insincere smile that says "I have a feeling you're going to try and sell me something or ask me to donate money to a worthy -ish cause that I reeeeally don't want to donate to but am too polite to tell you to f"£k off and leave me alone because to be perfectly honest, I have no interest ion speaking to you, letting alone giving you my money, which I've already earmarked for a quick cup of coffee on my way home, so please, make this less painful for both of us and GO AWAY!" (Seriously, I could never be a charity collector, I'm not nearly hard enough.)

Anyway, let's just say that it's pretty upsetting.

I suppose I owe you a bit of an explanation, but I really don't know where to begin.

Have I been a bit overwhelmed at times by my gorgeous, wonderful babies who insist on knowing exactly when the front door has been left unlocked and making a run for it leaving me running down the road after a 20 month old fireball who is giggling maniacally at her newly acquired freedom and her mama's rapidly escalating adrenaline levels?

Partly (big partly actually. The child is fast and has no fear.)

Have I been more then a little bit consumed by the whole natural birthing/breastfeeding movement and yet afraid to blog about it for fear of offending friends/family/anyone who doesn't feel the same way?


Have I been working on "The Book" and figuring that time normally spent blogging could be better spent getting the blasted thing banged into shape?

Hell yeah! I'm aiming for a flipping launch date of April 2nd and still have piles and piles of work to go!

So yeah, I've been busy. And then time just went on. And on. And on. Until I didn't know if anyone would even care if I didn't blog again.

And then I got a letter.

And another letter.

And another.

And another.

(You see where this is going...)

And then this evening, as I was replying to a post on my favourite parenting site, I realized I wasn't just replying to the post, I was blogging...

So here, for your reading pleasure, I give you my reasons for enjoying co sleeping, as replied to mydennis's original post entitled "Cosleeping" on
*For the unitiatiated, dd1 and dd2 are internet speak for dear daughter 1 and dear daughter 2. DH = Dear husband.

I loooooooove co sleeping. Like a lot of you, I was totally against it when I was pregnant on my first daughter. I had slept in a cot, My brothers and sisters had slept in a cot, and my babies were going to sleep in a cot. In a separate room. With black out blinds and a white noise machine for comfort. My husband's plan of having the baby in our room for the first little while horrified me. The bedroom was OUR space! We needed to nourish OUR relationship too! What if the baby got older and woke up in the middle of the night and woke up (in it's cot of course) to see us having sex?!?!?!? YUCK! What a turn off.

And then I had dd1. Everything I ever thought I "knew" about babies (I used to work in creches and as a nanny) went out the window. WHOOSH went the blackout blinds and WHOOSH went the thought of a white noise machine. WHOOSH went the nursery and finally, three nights into my hospital stay with my new born baby girl tucked up tight inside my robe, WHOOSH went all my beliefs about babies, independence, and cots.

7 Months later, we were pregnant on Dd2 so obviously, somewhere along the line, WHOOSH went the idea of sex being off the menu with a baby in the room!

Three years later and we are four in the bed. Well, beds, to be perfectly accurate... Our room is now one giant wall to wall bed with a King size in the middle and a single smooshed on either side.

I love co sleeping. I love being surrounded by my family in the night and hearing all of their different breathing sounds around me. From Daddy's rattling snore, to my oldest girl's gentle purr and my youngest's - so quiet I sometimes hold my ear to her face to make sure they're there - breaths.

I love being there for them if they wake in the night, that they never have to cry because I hear them long before. I love watching them wake up in the morning. Dd1 wakes with a smile, rubs the sleep from her eyes and pushes back her fringe before telling us the same story every morning, "I was asleep, and then I woke up!"

I love watching dd2, generally a little less impressed then her sister to be awake (she takes after her dad in that respect!) but she quickly shakes it off and after a quick cuddle and feed, it's off to find her big sister and then time to play.

To be perfectly honest, I can't imagine a better way to wake up...