When kid’s get sick…. FML

Baby has been ill from the weekend. Infact, it has been a royal barf fest for days now. Not only that but, he hasn’t slept. As always, when they are sick, responsibility seems to fall to one person and one person only- mum. Whether you are a single mother or, have a partner, chances are it will be left up to you. Mainly because they want you and, only you but, also due to the fact that men can magically sleep through hours of high pitched screaming and projectile vomiting. Do you think that’s an evolutionary thing or a purely can’t be arsed thing? Answers on a postcard!

Being two nights minus sleep doth not bode well for anyone but, it especially doth not bode well for a day full of terrible two navigating/defusing and school runs. As hubby sauntered off to work wishing me good luck, I wanted to scream. After a night spent on the sofa, blissfully dreaming, he positively skipped out ala Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Arrgghh!!!

He had no sooner stepped out the front door when middle who, I had somehow managed to dress despite being half asleep, decided to remove every item of clothing, bend over in my face, smack his belly then, his bottom and yell “belly, belly, bum, bum!”. The view was most certainly unpleasant, I can assure you. What is wrong with him? I decided the only way forward was some lazy parenting. Paw Patrol and Netflix it would have to be until I managed to get baby resembling some kind of presentable human being. Middle settled, I bathed baby. Five minutes after removing him from the bath and, dressing him, he simultaneously managed to barf and explode at the same time. Why God, why? Refill bath and repeat process. Right, one clean baby (for now), maybe I am winning again. Attempt to dress middle again only for him to remove all the items as fast as I put them on him. “Be naked then, I can’t face it anymore!” I wail to him. His response? Maniac laughing followed swiftly be the new, standard saying, “you stupid mummy!”. Naughty step it is (repeat this ten times). Like where are you Super Nanny? How do I apply? Deep breaths….

School run completed, homework done and, dinner on, I eventually calmed. Baby was napping, the sheets were all washed and, I was finally in control again. Thirty minutes later baby was awake and crying. Upon retrieving him, I was confronted by the sight of my freshly washed sheets re-barfed over. Fan-f#cking-tastic! By the time hubby came home, I was getting to the rocking back and forth stage. “God, why are you so moany?” he implored. BIG MISTAKE. “Why? Why?. Maybe because I haven’t slept in days yet still had to do everything I normally do. Maybe because I’ve spent all day dressing a toddler only for him to get on like he is auditioning for the Full Monty every thirty minutes. Maybe, because of this, I’ve had to stare repeatedly at an arse all day whilst being declared ‘stupid’. Even after all this, I am now making dinner for you”. “Sorry I asked, I just won’t talk then” he responded terrified. Acceptable answer.

I decided I would go bath baby for the third time but, get in with him to try and force myself to relax and unwind. Ten minutes later the bathroom door flies open and middle dives bombs head first into the bath with us. Maybe not then………………

 

This week I have mainly been….. surviving Christmas and becoming demented with middle!

We officially survived Christmas- yeah! Even with me being in charge of cooking the Christmas dinner. Winning! This was the very first year we have stayed at home with just us. No rushing about trying to get out the door with presents and various items of food to bring to others houses. The boy’s got to spend all morning playing with their toys and we got to set our own pace for the day. There was a slight hiccup on Christmas Eve when middle decided to keep getting out of bed. This resulted in me staying in with him until eldest woke us at 7 am by flying into his room and yelling in both our faces that ‘Santa had been!’. Rude awakening if ever there was one.

Since Christmas Eve, however, middle has continued his sleeping shenanigans. I don’t understand where this is coming from. He was always my dream sleeper. Infact, that was his most redeeming feature what with the no fear and recklessness. Now I put him down and, two minutes later he has come back downstairs. I don’t even look at him and march him straight back to bed. He cries then, repeats the process. The whole thing is made worse by the fact that before you even bring him to bed, he looks at you then, rather seriously states, “me don’t get out of my bed all night”. So, he knows fine rightly what he is doing. The night before New Year’s Eve he was actually quiet for 45 mins before eldest went to bed. Weird. Upon trying to put eldest to bed, however, it became clear that middle was at the bottom of eldest’s bed. Not only this but, he had ensconced himself under the actual mattress protector and fitted sheet to best avoid detection! How does he come up with these ideas? On New Year’s Eve we must have put him back down at least thirty times before 12 pm. At one stage he snuck downstairs, raided one of the cupboards and, emptied a whole bag of desecrated coconut all over my kitchen floor. I imagine the scene that greeted me was not unlike a normal day at Pablo Escobar’s house. I didn’t even realise I was in possession of desecrated coconut. What do you even need that for?

These antics have continued to get worse and we really have tried everything. I’ve been manically scouring Netmums at all hours and trying every bit of advice I can glean. Nothing will break him- nothing! I am now dreading him going to bed each night as the fight can go on for four hours (like last night). Even at that, he went over until 3 am then immediately resumed his earlier antics. This of course served to wake up the whole house. I am slowly losing the will to live here. On the other hand, I’ve come too far and been too strong to back down now. Anyone any tips?

More of this please middle and less of the opposite!

On a lighter note, upon me explaining to eldest that Christmas was now officially over and, there would be no more presents from relatives as he had seen them all, he looked wounded then said: “I am so excited for Easter now then”. Oh to be five!

 

This week I have mainly been….. nativity attending (the joys!)

Aw the annual nativity. What can I say about the annual nativity? Well, with your first, each year of the nativity brings something new and wonderful. The first year they sit there looking both bewildered and petrified, the second year they clap sporadically, the third year they know the words to songs and, the next year they may even have a speaking role! Eldest followed all these stages. My particular favourite was his third year at the nursery nativity. He was a camel and sat right at the front of the stage. His dad couldn’t attend that year as he was in Dublin with work but, we figured he wouldn’t be missing much judging by the previous year. Well, how wrong we were! Eldest took his role as the camel that year tres seriously. Dancing to every song and singing his heart out. All we could see from our seats was the camel head he was wearing thrashing up and down as he headbanged to songs about Mary and Jesus.

This year was middle’s first nativity. All he needed for it was a Christmas jumper. Assuming I probably had one somewhere, I didn’t buy one. On Friday I realised that whilst I did have one, it was aged two to three. Now middle is two but, his build ensures that he fits better into eldest’s clothes than even he does. It would have to do. Off we went with him looking like some kind of Christmas attired Daffyd Thomas from Little Britain- belly and all! He is off with me on Friday’s so I would have to bring him beforehand to join his classmates. With eldest this handoff never went well and he was always raging he couldn’t stay with me. Middle couldn’t have cared less at all and sauntered in without even glancing back at me.

We had really good seats as we had arrived so early. Nanna and papa were in attendance too. Now, I’m not sure if they just did not trust middle (no surprise really) but, he was placed at the very back and, in a corner. We could not see him at all. I tried moving to the back, the front and, still I couldn’t see him. Eldest who hadn’t given a s#it for the whole performance asked to go see him at one point. When he realised that he couldn’t see him no matter where we stood, he began to cry hysterically. Baby had been due a nap and was quite restless throughout. No sooner had the last song finished and, the place was quiet for a second, he blew the loudest raspberry I’ve ever heard. It literally echoed off the walls. Que a whole room of parents looking at me whilst I turned all spectrums of red! In his defence, it was a totally honest review of what we had just witnessed.

Eldest has his nativity on Wednesday. Yeah- not! First he was a bird then, a sheep and this week he is saying he is a shepherd. I have no clue what he is actually going to be. Maybe he was so bad at being a bird then, a sheep that he has been downgraded to the shepherd role? According to him he is the only one not speaking. He is also not feeling his costume either as, it is ‘stripey’. When eldest doesn’t like items of clothing he disregards them without care or thought as to who is there. I can only but hope he keeps them on throughout and doesn’t go all Magic Mike on me. If there is a God, he will surely spare me any further nativity embarrassment.

Baby is still crawling in that weird one-legged way. I don’t know whether to start being concerned now. Obviously it was a right laugh to begin with but, even when I move him to the proper position, he reverts back. He can move surprisingly quick this way and is maybe just being lazy like the rest of my brood. This morning he spoke for the very first time. Did he say “ma ma?” No, he referred to himself and “ba ba” was his choice of first words. It’s going to be fun having three of them blabbering on about utter nonsense from the second they wake up. Much preferable than the remote control thrown at my face, however. Got to find positives.

This week I have mainly been…. attempting to get into the Christmas spirit!

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy Williams. Well, Andy, I bet you didn’t get inspired to write that whilst trying to put your tree up with a crawling baby pulling down everything you’ve just done and a toddler and five year old running around the living room knocking lamps out of each other with sections of your tree. In my humble opinion Mr William’s, Christmas is the most stressful time of the year.

To be fair we have had quite a festive week. On Thursday I brought the boys to the local garden centre which has the most amazing Christmas displays. I was under the impression that middle wasn’t really getting any of it. Upon arriving however he went absolutely bonkers screaming at every Santa decoration “me want a fire bike!”. Guess he does get it then. The same cannot be said for the concept of an advent calendar, however. Had I of known the number of meltdowns I would face every morning when trying to explain he can only open one window, I wouldn’t have bothered. “Me open another one mummy” he states matter of factly. When I tell him he can’t, he falls to the ground screaming “more chocolate!”. Give me strength. On Saturday we also went to the local council’s nativity play which is always a cheap day out before tackling the Christmas decorations:

Middle ten minutes into putting the Christmas tree up. In hindsight, he had the right idea.

I’ve started to ramp up the threats of calling Santa anytime one of them misbehaves too. Namely with middle who has taken it upon himself to remove his pull up pants and pyjama bottoms halfway through the night. As you can imagine, this is resulting in him yelling for me that he has wet his bed at all hours. “We do not remove our pull up’s at night, we call mummy and tell her we need to pee!” I have been begging. Now the second I even mention ‘bedtime’ he is pointing, shaking his head and saying “me don’t take my pants off again”. He then proceeds to still do it. First poo flinging and now this! This child really does dance to the beat of his own drum. Eldest never did any of the above and wouldn’t even have contemplated doing so. I have no idea how to navigate this one, he really should have come with a manual. He has cut out his afternoon nap now too and is finding it rather hilarious to sneak up the stairs when baby is having his and waking him. FML. His only saving grace this week has been his highly cute rendition of Jingle Bells accompanied by some rather unsuitable headbanging. I’m thinking this is what he will be singing at his nativity on Friday which, should be an experience.

I feel like I’m ready for it to be over and it’s only just begun. My bank balance reflects this mantra with three of them to buy for this year. Bah humbug!

 

This week I have mainly been… date nighting in Fermanagh!

Don’t you just love Wowcher and Groupon? If it wasn’t for them, I doubt I’d ever get to go anywhere. You can’t deny someone a bargain stay after all! We booked a deal to stay at Lusty Beg Island about four months ago then, did our usual and forgot about it. It was only when we received the ‘warning, your voucher is due to expire’ email did we finally get our arses in gear and book it. Booking is the easy bit, finding someone to look after three, mental boys for the night is the hard bit. As usual, eldest and middle had to be split up in order for us to sell the idea of babysitting them for a night. Once anyone has looked after them both together and, witnessed the obligatory 6pm-8pm battering session, they refuse to do it ever again. Eldest was packed off to my sister on the promise of a ‘sleepover’ with his cousin and the other two stayed with nanna. Freedom beckoned. But first, a cheeky Nando’s because, why not?

We arrived at 3 pm, drove the car onto a little ferry and, were transported to the most beautiful little island. So picturesque. After checking in and obtaining our key, we went to explore our room. It was perfect, even if it only had a shower and no bath. Is it a mum thing to want to have a bath in peace once you get away from your sprogs or, just a Grace thing? I’d no sooner sat on the bed when I received a Whatsapp from my sister advising that eldest had been awarded ‘star of the week’ at school. I burst into tears. He has wanted to get star of the week ever since he started school. Every week he has become increasingly frustrated when he hasn’t. “Maybe you would get star of the week if you refrained from glueing your artwork to your face?” I helpfully offered last week. Either something clicked or, she is just running out of children to award it to but, he did it! Trust this to happen the one day I don’t pick him up from school. I know how excited he would have been to tell me. Mum guilt began to set in. Only one thing for it- wine! After a few glasses, the guilt subsided. I could always make it up to him the next day. Off we went to play a game of pool in the hotel’s game room. After a few vinos, the game was rather one-sided I’m ashamed to admit.

We had the most amazing steak and dauphinoise potatoes for dinner, overlooking the lough. Perfectly relaxing. Next, we headed back to our room for a few more drinks (yes, we are that broke these days). Come 10pm the two of us were royally merry. “Let’s go to the bar and ask if they will make me a big bowl of dauphinoise potatoes” I demanded. “At this time?” hubby replied. “Yes at this time! When a girl want’s potatoes, she wants potatoes! Failing that surely they will have Tayto”. Begrudgingly, hubby retrieved his coat. We entered the bar, approached the barman and, asked for some potatoes. “Um, the kitchen closed at 8pm” he responded dumbfounded. “We have Tayto though”. Some people just get it. Tayto in hand, we found a table. It appeared we were the only ones there. That is, until I heard a lot of giggling and four girls came hurtling around the corner. They then joined our table. We got chatting and,  they were all fellow mummies and fellow mum’s on tour. I shared my Tayto and they shared their fishbowl gin. Hubby sat there quite obediently whilst not just one, but, five women proceeded to talk utter shit to him. I have never drunk gin before and, now I know why!

Waking up the next morning to check my phone, I was confronted with a smashed screen. “What the? When did I do that?” I panickedly asked hubby. “I have no idea, I don’t even know what time we came back to the room at” he replied. “You may also check if you have your engagement and wedding ring as I vaguely remember trying to stay awake whilst you repeatedly emphasised how your finger has got fat this week and they no longer fit” he added. I had been thinking that all week in fairness. I leapt up to begin the search. No wedding ring. Gin 1, Grace 0. Eldest may have been bestowed star of the week’ but his mum has been titled ‘twat of the week’. Middle has also disowned me upon returning as my phone is ‘broken’. All my worries that he loves my phone more than me, have just been proven. Never again (until next time I get some freedom).

Star of the week- this would happen the one day I don’t collect him from school!

This week I have mainly been…. realising how in for it I actually am – EEK!

This week I suddenly had an ‘oh shit’ moment. A moment when I realised how hard things are about to get for me. Don’t get me wrong, three kids are mega hard work but, up until now, I’ve felt relatively in control. After all, I had thought one child was hard, two even harder but, when baby came along I didn’t notice a vast difference. Ok, admittedly it added an extra five minutes of getting in and out of the car which, was already a rigmarole. I was also thrown back to the days of being up all hours feeding with no hope in hell of a nap to recoup. I also mustn’t forget the whole getting three boys dressed (when two much prefer to be starkers most of the time) thing either but, baby couldn’t move anywhere whilst all this was occurring. He was also extremely quiet most of the time despite the other two going bonkers around him. This week that changed. After him being sick all last week and, hospitalised on Friday, he’s been feeling much better. Back to his usual self, smiling continually and giving me lots of big, slobbery kisses. He also appears to have acquired his energy back, much to my detriment.

Having finally managed to potty train middle, I am thankfully back to only having one in nappies. This has been amazing and I had been feeling rather smug (I won’t lie). That was until baby decided he was going to roll continually whilst I attempted to diffuse his up the back explosions. “Stay still!” has been my new yelled saying this week, followed swiftly by hysterical shrieking of “it’s going everywhere!”. Why has he decided to move suddenly? We had a much calmer relationship when he adhered to the proper nappy changing etiquette. He is also now into everything and, I mean everything! Namely middle’s potty. It’s almost like he lies in wait until middle does a pee, appears out of nowhere and empties the whole thing over himself and my floor grr! For someone who gets about with a weird, one-legged crawl, he can move surprisingly stealthily and quickly. I am at my wits end entirely with his potty shenanigans and, back to bleaching my floors continually. His voice has also made an appearance this week, which has resulted in him and middle having what can only be described as constant scream off’s. Said scream off’s tend to occur  (quite loudly) at 6 am every morning. This is generally followed by baby throwing both my phone and the remote control at my face. Who need’s an alarm eh?

As if all that wasn’t trying enough, eldest has now decided that he wants nothing to do with baby. So, when he suddenly appears in our room, (like something from the exorcist) at 2am, he is refusing to lie beside him. Instead, he insists on lying horizontally at the bottom of the bed. So on one side I have a baby punching and kicking the living shit out of me and, a five-year-old at the bottom continually scratching his nails off my legs. If my mum tells me one more time how bad a night’s sleep she had the night before, I may seriously lose my shit.

In conclusion, if you have two children and are toying with the idea of a third, DON’T do it. It’s all well and good until the last one decides to become mobile. After that, it’s just utter craziness and f#ckery. You were warned.

 

This week I have mainly been….. going on a date night and basically sleeping through it!

I don’t know how it happened but, somehow I turned thirty-three on Wednesday. I feel like this is the perfect stage to begin lying and knocking a few years off myself. So, from now on, I am thirty years old (forever). I feel much better now I’ve made that decision.

When hubby asked me last week what I would like for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only (no, not that- please!). What I asked for was a meal in peace. A meal that I didn’t have to prepare and cook myself, a meal that wasn’t interrupted numerous times by a crying baby or, middle and eldest battering each other, a meal that someone else was responsible for tidying up after and, most importantly, a meal that I got to eat whilst still hot! That was the only thing in the whole world I could think of that I didn’t just want but, needed. How times have changed! I also told him that I wanted no part in arranging childcare or anything and, he would have to do it all. Men can plan things without thinking about the logistics of who actually cares for your children whilst you do what they’ve planned.

He managed to rope his two sisters into looking after them (thank you E and S). We debated going hardcore and heading into Belfast. On the day in question, however, we had been up all night with two coughing, barfing kids. So we decided to head down the road instead for an Indian meal and some drinks after. Two hours before freedom and, I was having a breakdown. So many things to organise and do. Make them dinner, PJ’s left out, baby changed, bottles made in advance and, I somehow had to find the time to look presentable. I got halfway through my to-do list and was questioning if free time is even worth it. When someone is doing you a huge favour, you want to make life easier for them in any way that you can.  I started to get the dreaded ‘mum guilt’ also. What if one of them was sick again? How would they react to someone else putting them to bed? What if baby missed me?

We headed out at 7 pm for our meal after I had staged a huge hissy fit over having nothing to wear (this wasn’t even dramatic, I literally have nothing to wear). We got to our table and, I suddenly realised I had nothing to talk to him about bar our children. Nothing! All our conversations revolve around them and their day. It’s almost like we have lost ourselves in the daily stress fest. But, sometimes you need to be shown that so that you can work to amend it. Free time can highlight many things.  In the end hubby ate so much that he felt ill the rest of the night. He also started drifting off at the bar at 10 pm. I wasn’t for going home as I knew the kids were settled and asleep. I ordered a cocktail. Then I started to feel sleepy. Come 11 pm we were debating whether we should move tables as one had a sofa and we could maybe go a nap. “Should we just go home? I’m wrecked” hubby begged. “But it’s freedom!” I implored. “Freedom is all well and good when you are rested and up for it, I just want to go to bed” he replied. I thought for a second then, had to concur. I was royally knackered and no amount of Red Bull would ever fix it! Kids! Maybe next time we get a night out, we can just nap. Forget date night, nap night is the future!

When you have children their every need and want consumes you. You get so used to being ‘mummy’ that you can lose you. I do everything for my kids and, enjoy doing so. But, somehow I have to get ‘Grace’ back. I’m not quite sure how I go about that. But, I’m working on it. Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?

This week I have mainly been….. a complete emotional mess as eldest start’s school!

I have been saying to anyone who will listen how much eldest was ready for school and how much I, as his mother, was ready to get rid of him for a few hours each day. I’m aware that sounds rather ruthless but, it’s been a LONG summer. I knew I would be emotional, he is my first born after all! I just had no idea how emotional I would actually be.

On Tuesday morning we met with his teacher for a chat. I couldn’t bribe anyone to mind eldest nor baby (middle at nursery) so, they all got dragged along.  The teacher asked him if he would like some pegs and boards to play with outside the room as we talked. I filled with immediate dread! He is attached to my side anytime we are together. “Yes, ok” he surprisingly responded. What?  We discussed his level of independence in terms of getting himself dressed, (when he can be arsed basically) any issues he has, (the feeling of certain clothing deeply distresses him) and, start times and finish times etc. It was at this point only that it hit me- the little baby boy I held in my arms only five years ago, was starting school in a few days time. I came home and immediately sobbed my heart out for an hour. I kept looking at him and thinking ‘I’m going to miss him so much’. He has been my little buddy since I took him out of private nursery, at Christmas, in order to give middle a go. If I thought Tuesday was bad, I had been wholly naive- as Thursday morning was to show me.

There was a minor drama about his school trousers, which I expected. But, on the whole, he was relatively excited to get dressed. When I eventually stood back and looked at my little boy, decked out in the togs that will define him, my eyes began to brim over. After the obligatory front door picture, we rather frantically set off as a family to deliver him to school. As he let go of my hand to walk into his classroom, I literally felt like my heart was breaking (I’ve started to cry again whilst typing this -fml). He turned back and gave me the biggest hug and kiss, knowing full well that it was harder for me than for him. “It’s ok mummy,” he said. “See you soon”. He really is so thoughtful and loving which, of course, made me want to cry even more. It was strange coming back home and it just being me, middle and baby. Middle was loving being able to play with eldest’s toys without them being taken off him immediately. This kept him quiet and not peeing everywhere- the only bonus! When I went to collect him at 12pm, a bundle of nerves, he had got on great! Since he has been able to talk, we have always spoken about the best part of our day and, the worst part. I got this from the Kardashians, not a parenting manual, ashamed to say. “My best part was all of it” he stated. “What was the worst part?” I enquired. “There was no worst part mummy, I had a good day”.

This is the beginning of a big journey for him. A journey where he may not like the rules set for him and, knowing him, will try and rebel against them. A journey that will teach him new and amazing things and, show him how intelligent I already know he is. A journey where he will make friends and, probably lose some along the way. I can only hope and pray that he never lets himself down, nor I for that matter. Because, ultimately, I am more nervous than him. I want it to be a great experience for him and one that helps shape him. I want it to be a happy time for him and, I want him to thrive. I also sincerely hope that he doesn’t send his poor teacher round the bend like he does to me all day.

To all the pessimistic, moaners who harp on every year about the endless start of school pictures. To you, I say this- do you remember the excitement, pride and nerves you felt at your child starting another chapter each year? Do you ever think that maybe it took one full hour to get that child into their uniform so, therefore, it’s more than a big deal? Surely all the above warrants a picture, never mind where it’s taken. If you can’t be bothered to even consider all those factors then best to avoid Facebook for a week. Thanks!

In other less passive aggressive news, middle is alternating from being the perfect, potty trained child to a rampant defecator on my floors. I am going to have to take shares out in Domestos at this rate. He is testing my patience ten fold.

Daddy had to get into the door pic! All ready for his very first day of P1

This week I have mainly been…… staycationing in Drogheda! What did we think of the D Hotel, Dublin Zoo, Tayto Park and Funtasia? Also, what I thought about being mum shamed…..

This year we booked not only a trip to Eurocamp in Nice but, a break to Butlins in Scotland. Each time it got closer, I got cold feet. I just couldn’t face the prospect of getting a toddler and a baby on a plane nor a boat for that matter. Coupled with hubby now running his own business and, being super busy, it just didn’t seem like we would ever make it away. But, after a stressful few weeks and, eldest starting school next week, we decided something had to be booked and fast!

We had previously visited Drogheda when eldest was a baby and stayed in the D Hotel. The reason being that they had a great deal on in terms of bed, breakfast and trips to local attractions. The Tayto park is just a twenty-minute drive away and Funtasia Waterpark was just around the corner. On hindsight, eldest was much too young for all these places at the time. But, memories were still made and, what crisp addict doesn’t like visiting anything named ‘Tayto’? We decided that Drogheda ticked all the boxes. A few hours drive so, not overly stressful travel wise. Lots of places to visit with the kids, therefore they would be royally knackered. Win-win! We went to our go to hotel and prayed it wasn’t going to be too expensive. Three nights bed and breakfast in a family room, tickets to Tayto park, Dublin Zoo and Funtastia – £560. Not only this but, the hotel was now running a kids club 6pm-9pm. I have never been so excited to read a sentence on a website! This is what we thought about the hotel itself and, also, what we got up to whilst there. 

The D Hotel- Drogheda 

We picked this hotel mainly because we had stayed before, but, also due to the activities included in the stay. I have never stayed in a family room before, so I was slightly excited. Would there be enough room for all of us? Would we survive without killing each other due to the restricted living quarters?

Upon arriving, we were told that children would receive a kid’s pack and also ice cream. This didn’t happen. This may have been due to us having to grab our Dublin Zoo tickets and get there right away. But, it still didn’t happen even upon checking in. We had to ask later on that evening and were given the packs but, no ice cream. Our room was amazing, very spacious with a king size bed and two single beds. Also, a huge tv and rather swanky twirly grey chair that the boys loved! Although perfect space wise, the room itself was so unbearably hot. I am not even exaggerating. You could open a window sure, but the window was positioned right behind the single bed and, was six floors up. It also opened quite fully which made me a nervous wreck what with reckless, mad middle. A fan was provided and we had this on the whole time though, middle found it hilarious to turn it off continually whilst we all sweated buckets.

The hotel itself is totally geared towards children. This is a lovely touch. Because of this, you will see lots of other families around and your children will more than likely meet some friends. They have the kid’s club (which operates during the summer holidays) and they also show a different kid’s movie each night on their middle floor. I was slightly disappointed to discover that they no longer have their kid’s game room. This is advertised as part of their deal and proudly displayed in the lift. They need to change this as the boys were really looking forward to seeing round it. Breakfast was beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel and eaten so much for breakfast! Continental options and, a full Irish breakfast option. Eldest loved getting hammered into the coco pops each morning and middle just loved eating everything in sight. Baby enjoyed his toast and also some yoghurt. Mum and dad had a massive fry everyday which was epic. We also ate in the restaurant one evening and, I was highly impressed. Hubby is very fussy and, even he said his was delicious. Service was slightly slow and, if we had been dining with all the kid’s, it would have been difficult to keep them entertained and quiet. But, overall we had a good experience. I do just think the hotel should specify that, for most of the attractions included, children under three usually get in free anyway. We were leaving places with tickets as middle didn’t have to have one anyway. So if you book, take into account the ages you are booking for as, the family package could end up costing you more. This is what we got up to:

 

Dublin Zoo- Pheonix Park (one hour drive from Drogheda) 

We arrived on Friday morning, grabbed our tickets from the hotel and immediately drove to Dublin Zoo. This was because the Pope was visiting at the weekend and the zoo was going to be closed for the duration. I have never been to Dublin Zoo before. I don’t know how I have reached this age and never been. Middle loved it. Everything was “animal, wow!”. It was easy to walk around- no huge hills, unlike Belfast Zoo. The animals were varied and their enclosures vast. They also looked very healthy. The tiger was the biggest hit. Middle royally lost his s#it at the mere sight of it! Some of the bigger animals, such as the giraffes etc were quite difficult to see through the glass. That would be my only complaint. The entrance fee is 18.00 euros per adult and 13.20 euros for over three’s. Kid’s under three get in free, which is good. Parking is a right nightmare. I would recommend parking just outside the Garda headquarters. We had been told this by a friend but, hubby being hubby, refused to listen as he assumed that was a fast track to getting clamped. But there were lots of spaces outside it and the zoo is a two-minute walk away. **Hubby made us park miles away when middle was surpassing his naptime- fab!**

Tayto Park- Ashbourne County Meath (20 minute drive from Drogheda)

We visited here the following day and left straight after breakfast. The last time we were here, with eldest, there were a few rides, some animals and restaurants. Upon arriving, however, we were greeted by the sight of the biggest wooden roller coaster you have ever seen! Eldest was utterly mindblown and repeatedly screamed: “I cannot wait to go on that!”. The hotel had given us our entrance tickets before leaving. There was a separate queue for those that had tickets already or, had pre-booked. It’s definitely essential to do it this way as the other queue was colossal. Kid’s, and, queues to get in somewhere does not a good combination make. We were informed at the ticket desk that we could purchase wristbands for 17.50 euros. This would give us unlimited access to all the rides. We bought three, one each for us and one for eldest. We figured middle wouldn’t be able to go on as many things so we would buy some tokens for him just. This proved to be a big mistake. We began to realise this at the very first section of rides. Eldest was too small to go on any of them, even with an adult and, he definitely could not go on the rollercoaster. They should really state the height restrictions for everything before you get to the ticket desk. There was a section for younger kids in the park with a selection of rides. We weren’t overly impressed, however. Most had a twenty minute queue time at the least, only for you to go round once and be instructed to get off. Bearing in mind we had a toddler with us, I found it stressful trying to stop him running out of the queue when he got bored and restless. Kid’s don’t get the concept of having to wait either. We really should have researched the quietest time to visit- so entirely our fault. Other than the rides, the boy’s loved the big play park, the water play areas and the animals (yes, there are tigers, elephants and meerkats to name a few). Entrance price for Tayto Park is 17.50 euros at peak time and the wristbands are also 17.50 euros (adults and children). Children under three do get in for free but, you will need to purchase a wristband or tokens for them to get on the rides. My advice is if your child is under 1.2 metres tall, (this is the minimum height for the biggest and best rides) just buy tokens when inside the park. If all your children are under 1.2 metres tall, buy one adult wristband and tokens for children. You will need to accompany them on all the rides anyway. Also, note that at busy times, waits for the biggest rides and, even the kid’s car ride, will exceed an hour, if not more. Maybe you can bring wine to make it more bearable?

Funtasia- Drogheda 

This is a waterpark in Drogheda and a five-minute drive away from the D hotel. I didn’t get any pictures of this part. You can’t in swimming places anyways but, I doubt you want to see hubby in his swimming trunks! We decided to do this on the last day as we urgently needed a rest day in between activities as the kids, and us, were beyond shattered from all the walking we’d done. I decided to sit this out with baby. I knew from going before with eldest that, it is not a place for babies. There are lots of slides, even more water guns and also, a toddler specific area. The boy’s loved Funtasia unsurprisingly. They would have loved it even more if only I was in too and they could have driven me mental shooting me with water. It was slightly awkward for hubby trying to go down the slides with both. This three kids thing is proving to be a right hassle when we go to places like this. Hopefully it gets better once baby is up abit. Tickets for Funtasia are 12 euros per person. They do offer family packages however. Kids under two also get in free.

All in all, it wasn’t Spain. It was still highly stressful but, we had a lovely time and memories were made. Just to see middle’s excitement at having his own hotel bed, how elated he was to see all the animals and, hearing eldest say “this was the bestest holiday ever” made it all worthwhile. The only downside of my whole time away was a comment I read after posting this to my page:

I was told by a particular reader that ‘No one should drink alcohol while looking after children. In my opinion, it is irresponsible’. I appreciate everyone’s opinion and, we are all entitled to have one. But, what a mum shaming thing to say to someone? This is the exact reason I started this blog. Why can’t I have a glass of wine with my dinner whilst on holiday? Why can’t I unwind for thirty minutes after spending my whole day at an amusement park with my children, queueing for kid’s rides and looking like a right knob on a mini ferris wheel? Had I have asked hubby to take my picture whilst I sat with a full bottle of vodka and a straw, I would have accepted that comment entirely. When are we ever going to start building each other up instead of tearing one another down? This is why mothers feel that they are never good enough. Whether that is having a glass of wine with dinner or, not breastfeeding. Arrgghh! Deep breaths and move on. My children’s happiness and healthiness will always speak for me. I have also co-slept with all my three children until they were eight months old. So, everyone can lose her sh#t about that too!

This week I have mainly been….going school uniform shopping for the first time!

This week I decided to bite the bullet and finally take eldest school uniform shopping. I won’t lie, I had been putting this task off for as long as humanly possible. Firstly, I had the irrational fear that he would grow a size up in the mere space of a month. Secondly, he is so fussy about every type of clothing (see previous post: https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/07/10/this-week-i-have-mainly-been-worrying-about-eldest/). What better day to do it than his birthday when he was so distracted by all the new objects he had been gifted. I also figured the threat of taking them all away again could work to my advantage- result!

Off we went to the local supplier with Yoshi in tow. This was my very first time ever school uniform shopping. What I learnt was, kid’s hate trying stuff on. Also, uniforms come in very weird sizes and are insanely expensive. Five to six was a good fit but, they have to do him all year. The next size up was seven to eight. What? I instructed him to try the bigger size on. “But I’ve only just become five today, I’m not seven!” he protested. “You needn’t think I am spending all this money for you to grow out of them in a month, try on the bigger size now!” I thundered. He begrudgingly obliged. Well, they were huge on him. The frugal side of me was thinking ‘meh, that’s ok, he will grow into them eventually’. The motherly side was thinking ‘it’s his very first time going to school and trying to make friends. Best not to have the clothing wearing him instead of the other way around’. I went with the five to six knowing full well that I will be frequenting the same shop in a few months time to buy the seven to eight version of everything. We purchased anything that had the school logo emblazoned on it but, I was not buying his trousers etc there. Instead, I dragged him to Tesco’s. Two pairs of grey, reinforced knee, trousers for £7! I bought a few sets, some shorts also, his school bag and lunch box. I was hair swishing like Beyonce around Tesco’s just knowing how well I had did with the uniform financial management!  I had socks in my hand too but, decided to leave them back and go to M and S for some seam free ones. I already know he will go insane at the roughness of the trousers each morning so, I have to make it easier for us all somehow. I am going to cry so hard on his first day then, probably get over it relatively quickly when I am not running around getting him things every two minutes. FREEDOM!

In other news, his party went well. It was a lot calmer than any party previously has been. I imagine this was mainly due to my sister in law coming early to help hubby with the cooking. The only issue was when hubby thought it would be a right laugh to put magical candles on eldest’s cake. He quickly blew them out then, decided he would like to remove them for better access. They then re-lit! I have never ran so fast in my life. We have also both been tortured to build all the Lego sets he received. “What was your favourite present?” I enquired the other day. “The special coin great grandad got me” he responded. So a limited edition Paddington Bear coin is much more riveting than Lego, games or anything else? As hubby said, it will be excitement overload when great grandad gifts him some stamps at Christmas!

Middle is being a complete angel with the potty training one day then, the next day, having numerous accidents. I am currently at a crossroads as to whether I continue or, give up entirely. I never faced this with eldest as he just seemed to get it. Middle does get it, he just get’s distracted easily. I’m going to adjust my attitude, be more relaxed and, see what happens. I have to think how he thinks!

Baby is just loving life and being happy as per usual:

I took him swimming for the very first time on Wednesday. He had a little sob to begin with then proceeded to conk out in the swim seat for the whole duration! I must take him swimming daily if it has that effect.