First Week Finito!

We have survived the first full week of being back to school/preschool and nursery. Woo hoo! Not only this but, I didn’t forget to pick any of them up (yet)! This is in spite of all the different finishing times.

Eldest seem’s to be enjoying P2 despite his initial reluctance to go back. I think being reunited with all his friends is the main reason. As per usual, my pleas of what did you today are responded to with his usual ‘why do you always ask that mum? How am I supposed to remember a FULL day?’. My sincere apologies son for taking an active interest in your life and your education. He also randomly had no homework all week. Whilst this should have been amazing, it caused huge confusion and fear to all us school mums who automatically figured that our kids just weren’t bringing it home. To be fair I’m happy enough to wait for bloody Biff, Chip, and Kipper. I’ve also noticed that his new teacher seems to have a laminating obsession. Which, in a way is good as I can keep them for him and they will stay in good condition, though I am left questioning if most of my school fund money is going purely on laminating sheets.

Middle has managed to keep his clothes on all week at his new preschool and not insult anyone. But, it’s early days. He did try to leave on his very first day with two toys smuggled up his jumper. Apparently they were now his as ‘I played with them the most so, I bring them home now’. He is also point blank refusing to call his teacher ‘Mrs’ and has decided she will be referred to as ‘Mr’ purely because he ‘hates girls’. I don’t know how I am explaining that one to her. So, I guess he can explain himself and she can realise what she will be dealing with going forward. I must admit that his nervousness and clinginess this week have greatly surprised me. He usually just gets on with things and is very independent. But, he has asked each day if I will be staying with him and if not, when I will be back for him. I have secretly loved this as I don’t normally feel needed by him. Today he even came up to me out of the blue and gave me a huge cuddle and told me that he ‘loved me’. This is all so alien but obviously appreciated. I have to remember it is only his first week and it will take some time for him to adjust and settle. I know he will eventually as he has already made so many new friends (boys solely).

Baby has also embarked on a new routine in preparation for me returning to a new role. Because of this, I have had to change the days I usually work and he will be staying much later than usual. On the morning of his new times, it was almost like he sensed a change was coming. He awoke at 5 am and started shouting ‘cuddles’ from his cot. I dutifully adhered. Then, before he left, he just sat on my knee cuddling into me for ten minutes. This led to me spending all day battling the dreaded ‘mum guilt’. I’m not going to lie, I may have sobbed twice because I missed him so terribly. If I had of had my car I would have been straight down to get him. But, it’s important he gets used to these long hours in advance. I wasn’t the only one pining for him either as both the boys constantly enquired as to his whereabouts. The second he came home we all fought to get to him first. You would have thought we hadn’t seen him in weeks (it felt like that). We all got some slobbery kisses, then he did his usual and started pointing at the fridge and demanding a yogurt. I have never known a child so obsessed with yogurts in my life. He would literally eat them all day if I let him.

It’s new and stressful times for our family and I do find myself getting very overwhelmed with everything I have to do each day (literally from the moment I wake up). I have tried to counteract this with CBT. But, in terms of routine, it’s just not possible. Being organised is the only way to get them all out of the door in the morning and I have to do that don’t I? One mum said to me at the school gate the other day ‘it’s crazy all this and I only have two!’. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, it’s all the same. The same stresses and worries, the same organisation, the same mad dash to the school run, the same dates to remember and, the same responsibility that probably falls solely on you. I don’t see any men reading the floods of letters that come home and dutifully writing all the important dates/times in the calendar. There’s so much for us to do each day that I’m not surprised we all have days when we want to lock ourselves in the bathroom and have a sob (and a cup of tea). Like I’ve said before, we are only human. I’m writing that across the calendar in capitals so I remember that as well as all the other important things I’m supposed to.

This also happened this week- no high chair! I’m so emotional about it. He however is loving life!

Managing the Different Personalities

I’m going to level with you. Sometimes I read back my old posts. Purely as a means of reassuring myself that I can find humor amidst the utter bedlam. Whilst reading, I suddenly panicked that people would feel I am harsh to Middle. I’m not, I positively adore his personality and I will explain why. By breaking down the different personalities I deal with on a daily basis.

Eldest is obviously my first born. We share an amazing bond. When I say to him ‘my boy’ he replies ‘my girl’ and has done so since he could talk. Total mummy’s boy. Like me, he is overly sensitive and loving. He always wants ‘huggles’ and if Middle ever says anything awful to me, he is the first to reprimand him in my defense. On the other hand, unlike me, he is very logical and methodical. Quite often he is teaching me things. He absorbs any kind of information whether it be from a book, something he has been told or, tv. If you tell him he is wrong at any time, you can await an explosion of pent up frustration and tears. Clothing too can cause the same effect. He is so particular and there are fights each day. The best thing that ever happened to him was Middle. His little brother has taught him to loosen up a little and have fun, meaning that when they are together, he takes things less seriously.

Middle is totally the opposite of Eldest. Although I did everything the same with him (co-sleeping until he was eight months old) he can take or leave any kind of affection. Mainly leave it. He is not demanding in any way and very independent. Whilst Eldest will spend forever weighing up the pros and cons of certain things, Middle will just go ahead and do them and see what happens. Having fun and being cheeky is his forte. He doesn’t take anything seriously at all. I will admit to finding this endearing if not a tad embarrassing at times. When I am having a particularly bad day, I can always rely on Middle to cheer me up. Whether it’s his complete lack of being able to stay in his bed at night without falling out, him proclaiming to ‘hate girls’ yet spending most of his days shouting ‘girls girls’ to the little one’s next door and the fact that a year later, when I pick him up from nursery, he still says ‘I didn’t pee my pants today- yeah!.’

Baby (can I even still call him that? I’m going to as technically he will always be my baby) is a mixture of both of them. Obviously, it’s hard to tell fully but, I can see his personality traits beginning to emerge. He is very loving. Even more so than Eldest ever was. Random kisses and cuddles are doled out to everyone. He refuses to go to bed each night without having kissed everyone (much to Eldest’s dismay due to the slobbery ones he bestows). But, he also has an enormous temper on him for someone who looks so cute. You can’t give one of the others something without him throwing an absolute hissy fit. Even if he doesn’t like what it is in the first place. He is also prone to jealousy which the others weren’t. If I give one of them a cuddle, he will be straight over crying for me and saying ‘cuddle’. Though, weirdly, he too can take or leave me. Complete man’s man. Shown by his obsession with daddy and papa. He rarely says ‘ma ma’ unless he is in the throes of a fit and still hasn’t got what he wants. I’ve also noticed recently that he is beginning to be quite reckless just like Middle. Flinging himself off things and realising it was a bad idea only afterward. He also picks up on any naughty thing Middle says and try’s to repeat it. Most notably, this week, he too has started shouting at the girl’s next door. Those poor girlies are going to be tortured next summer with two of them doing it.

So see, all entirely different but the same in certain ways. All with their own individual needs and wants, meaning I have to adapt accordingly to each one. I could be dealing with a clothes meltdown from Eldest whilst Middle is flinging himself off the sofa and Baby is throwing a right tantrum because I haven’t given him a Babybel (he hates them anyways). It’s no wonder I’m going slightly mental some days! Not that I would be without any of them or their personalities. The good ones and the bad.

** After I typed this I went to pick Eldest up from his first day at school and Middle and Baby from nursery. Upon getting Baby, he pointed at a little girl. The nursery assistant advised that she had just come up from the baby room and it was her first day in toddler room. I began to fuss over her. Baby danders straight over and slaps her across the face. FML. Pure jealousy from him and embarrassment for mum.**

Summer Summed Up

Well it’s official. The summer holidays are very nearly over. Whilst it has been fun (on occasions), I am ready to get to grips with our new routine. A routine that will involve three drop offs and pick ups at different locations and, at differing times. I’m almost certain I will forget to collect one of them at some stage!

Eldest is back to school on Wednesday and is not one bit happy about the prospect. ‘Are you excited to head back to school this week?’ I enquired of him the other day. ‘Of course not, school is boring and I hate it’. P2 bodes well. I have enjoyed spending time alone with him though have found it difficult to keep him entertained at times. I resorted to arranging play date after play date just so he had company. What I’ve learnt is, play dates with five year old’s are stressful. One minute they are playing nicely and the next they have monumentally fallen out over something stupid like a tv programme. ‘But when I’m at his house he just watches whatever he likes so now he’s at mine, I’m going to watch what I want’. Yeah, that’s not how it works son. I realised, probably later than I should have, that it was best to take them out somewhere and away from the house.

We’ve visited lots of fun, local places this summer. Notably, Hillsborough Castle for a tour, a week in Ballycastle exploring/swimming/non swimming and yesterday we went to the Shoreline Festival. All was going so well until eldest pleaded to go on the bumper cars. One minute in and he was crying profusely. All I could do was yell in a panic (baby on hip) for him to get to the side as I had no way of getting to him through the throng of cars. He had badly hurt himself and was frightened when people kept bumping into him. Once the ordeal was over, he was reflective in a way that only eldest can be. ‘Those adults should not be allowed on the bumper cars mum. It’s like they’ve spent their whole lives going on bumper cars and still crash into kids. Which isn’t fair as for some kids it’s only their first time on one and it’s scary. I don’t think it’s fair or thoughtful of them’. In his defense I do this when on bumper cars too. The kids are much more fun to bump into and sure, it’s only a laugh. But, point taken on board son.

Middle’s last day of his private nursery is Wednesday before taking up his free pre school place next Monday. I feel all emotional about it as he has come on leaps and bounds at it and I am worried about how he will deal with the transition to a new nursery. As you all know he does not lack personality and is also in pocession of a rather rude vocabulary. I am just praying he avoids using it for the first few weeks at least. ‘hello poo face’, ‘I hate girls ‘ and ‘you stupid’ will not a good impression make! He has also spent most of the summer randomly falling out of his bed each night. I don’t know why this is happening as nothing about his bed has changed. We all just wait for the thud now, roll our eyes and run upstairs to reposition him.

Most of all, this summer will be remembered for baby finally walking. Something that I longed for and worried about only to realise what a fool I had been. My life is now more chaotic as he danders off slowly then makes an absolute break for it running at surprising speed. For the first time with any of them, I am going to have to purchase some reins as he just cannot be trusted. He has also started to say ‘hello poo poo’ this week too. Which will further add to my embarrassment when in contact with fellow humans.

After writing all of this, I’m thinking getting rid of them for half a day everyday will be a good thing. The summer holidays were good whilst they lasted but, the fun and games are over. See ya kiddos!

** I am still working on the podcast idea and learning what I have to do. I also have to somehow get my sister free to do it**

Preparing for Back to School Bedlam!

I have been putting off getting uniforms for weeks now. Mainly because I knew how stressful the last time had been with Eldest. This time I would also have to bring Middle too who, rather surprisingly, has obtained a pre school place (for free!). I think I may still be in shock as Eldest never got one. I’m praying that they don’t read this blog and rescind the offer. If so, I’m going to go bankrupt due to nursery fees.

I planned to brave all this tomorrow. But, had royally forgotten that I had another appointment all morning. I also have Eldest’s sixth birthday party to arrange for Sunday. Bar ordering food and party bags, I am very much failing at life with regards to that. So, today it would have to be. As always, I prepared the boy’s for the day ahead. ‘When we all get ready, we will be going to a shop that sells school clothes’. Eldest rolls his eyes and shrugs a bit too over dramatically. I turn to Middle. ‘Owen, you have to also get a nursery uniform for your new nursery. Therefore you will have to try some things on’ I beseeched. He turned from his toast and advised ‘I don’t like you mum’. What?? He continued, ‘because you are a girl and I don’t like girls at all. I also don’t like nanna or anyone’. Charming! I find myself becoming more and more of a feminist these days but, of the Beyoncé kind (more laid back and purely to placate myself). I replied ‘Girls run the world Owen. I will also remember that the next time you ask me for the numerous items of which you ask me for in a day’.

We get to leaving and all them loaded into the car, off we go. Eldest insists on bringing his Nintendo Switch and, because of this, Middle must also bring something of his. This takes TWENTY minutes whilst he decides. Baby just sits in his car seat awaiting departure. The shop we must go to passes a Mcdonalds. Cue an almighty rage from all them once we have to drive past it (Nanna always makes us lunch on a Monday to ensure I actually eat). As they all whine and wail in the back seat, I approach a not so great roundabout for someone who has zero faith in their own driving ability, let alone others. Near collide with a speeding taxi driver.

Get to the school uniform shop and all enter calmly. Fabulous. Baby has even walked from car park to the front door by himself. Why was I worried? Get upstairs to the uniform part. We are the only ones there- perfect. I know what I am here for. Anything with a logo ONLY. Tell this to Sales Assistant. Off she scurries. I am trying so hard to watch that baby doesn’t head towards the stairs when I then realise eldest and middle are having an absolute field day with the shoe display. Deep breaths. This is going to end up like the vets I think. Sales Assistant returns with everything. Both boys refuse to try anything on and instead disappear into a whole display of trousers. I can’t actually see where they are. It’s like Narnia. Baby has also followed. I’m left ranting and shouting like some kind of mad woman. Out they come laughing eventually.

Eldest knows he is now at the point of no return so, tries on his uniform dutifully. Middle has to be straddled due to observing a whole display of school bags before we’d opened the clothes and trying to make a break for it. Meanwhile, a male has entered the shop with three girls. We look at each other and nod. The nod of understanding that the school shop is hell. We are in this together. As I watch him slowly loose the will to live whilst his girls try on multiple skirts and determine ‘they aren’t right Dad’ I actually think he has it worse. My boy’s just think everything is grand. I wave adieu whilst Middle shouts back ‘I hate girls, you are poo poo faces’.

Now I am sitting stamping their names onto all them. Well, what I have as, some of Middle’s will take ten days to arrive. Please don’t sew anything and look at http://www.stamptastic.co.uk . You order the ink pad and, your child’s name and stamp on all their clothing and belongings. It has lasted Eldest all year and I’ve washed all his uniform pieces daily. I also still had the ink pad and Eldest’s stamper so just had to purchase Middle the name stamp. Don’t make life anymore stressful than it has to be. I’m saying that and I’ve only managed to do the ‘logo shop’, I still have the trouser shop to do. I think I will do that one alone! I also have to try and navigate all the different hours they will all be in. Especially during Middle’s settling in period. Did I even mention the naming of the pencil case items? Arrgh, one worry at a time.

O School, School, Wherefore Art Thou School?

Are the school holidays over yet? Seriously, how long have they been going on for? I feel like they’ve been ongoing for decades now. I am starting to lose the will to live on all fronts. The only part of me not wishing them to be over is the dreaded cost of the school uniform shop. I have yet to pluck up the courage to undertake it. I really must do that as I have two sets to purchase this year. Maybe next week eh?

Eldest is driving me bonkers trying to keep him entertained over the whole summer. He hates soft play now as, ‘it’s for babies and boring’. Fantastic, considering most of the summer has been a complete wash out. To remedy this, I have been arranging play date after play date. Each play date has descended into utter chaos however due to bloody Pokémon cards. At one stage he tried to swap ALL his cards (200) for ONE card his friend had. Um, hello? I am the one who’s bought them all, I don’t think so! When we got invited to a beautiful day out at Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday (the Queen’s residence whilst staying in Northern Ireland) and, I was explaining to him all the activities we would partake in, he responded ‘this is just a way to expel my energy. Like, that’s what adults do. Just try and expel kid’s energy’. How does he even know the word ‘expel’ at five? Also, how does he get that that is in fact what we do? In the end he had the best day ever, as I expected he would. I highly recommend bringing your kid’s there during the rest of the summer holidays. The scenery was vast and breath takingly beautiful and the tour of the castle itself was so interesting. Goss: The Queen’s living room smelt of stale smoke. So maybe she likes the odd cigar whilst lounging on her sofa when she’s over here. I can see her now in her dressing gown, watching Gogglebox and puffing away! **Don’t sue me Liz**

In other news, Middle’s behaviour is becoming worse by the day! He seems to be so well behaved in nursery yet his behaviour is utterly appalling when home. No amount of naughty step is working. He seems to get a kick out of any punishment, laughing in response to me losing my sh#t. He is also up half the night nearly every night. I’m exhausted and have come to the conclusion that it’s an attention thing. Yet I am unsure what to do as all them get equal attention. I maybe need to spend a day with just myself and him, make him feel special? I also have to try and get him to stop calling people ‘poo poo face’, telling people ‘mummy pees everywhere’ (no, that’s all you son) and stripping in the garden and trying to expose his winky to all and sundry. He cannot be left unsupervised for even a second. But, he is too young to end up on any kind of register. For that, we can only be thankful. Hopefully he adjusts ok with the change in nursery come September. I pray that it won’t serve to make him even more cray cray.

Baby is walking completely now. You all know how worried I was about how long it was taking. But, he has gone from 0 -100 the minute he knew he could do it. He danders from room to room now causing utter carnage. This week, unbeknownst to me, he turned the washing machine off. He also turned the oven down two days in a row, thus resulting in our dinner not being ready on time. Arrggh! The stairs are his new playground now as he has realised he can get up and down them with ease. Much to the detriment of my nerves! I brought him to the park yesterday, without him having a nap, and he went absolutely mad climbing up everything and going up and down the slide like he had been doing it his whole life. I honestly thought he would be my easiest one when really I am beginning to realise that he may be the worst. Because, he is watching both of them and emulating their behaviour (the good but, mostly the bad). So, forget the naughty step (it clearly doesn’t work) and forget reward charts (they only work for a short period of time), this Mama needs to come up with a new plan. Do military boot camps exist for kids? Please summer holidays, will you just be over already?!!

Looking like he just knows he rules the roost
Eldest at Hillsborough Castle

Bereavement and the Boy’s- trying to find some humour amidst the sadness

I have never felt more nervous in my life having to break the news to eldest that Molly was no longer here. Knowing that with a few words, I would send his world crashing down. That, for the first time, nothing I would say or do would make it better for him. I couldn’t bring Molly back for him, nor myself.

We sat at the kitchen table, after the others were in bed, and I broke the news to him. ‘Molly was very sick and the vet’s could no longer help her. She’s passed away and is now in heaven’. He looked confused. ‘What does passed away mean?’ he enquired. Arrgggh I was trying to get out of saying the ‘d’ word. ‘It means she died son’ I replied in between sobs. He looked at the floor and calmly asked what she died from. I had decided the best and most simplistic way, was to say her heart just gave out. ‘Her heart just stopped working son’ I said whilst cuddling him. ‘She had a heart attack and is now no longer in any pain’. At this, he started scratching his head. ‘Are you ok Aden?’ I asked. This was going much better than I ever imagined. ‘You had a heart attack that day in the vets when they told you the price of the vet’s bill and you were ok’ he ventured. Oh sh*t! ‘Um, that was just a turn of phrase son, I didn’t literally have a heart attack but unfortunately Molly did’. This is when things changed. He dissolved into floods of tears and refused to even let me console him. I have never felt more terrible in my life to see him so utterly heartbroken. He cried for nearly an hour. ‘Molly wouldn’t want you to be sad, let’s talk about some good memories we have of Molly instead’ I offered.

We then discussed the varying humorous things she had done over the years and he calmed down considerably. Phew. ‘Can I get a new dog for my birthday?’ he asked once the tears had subsided. Um, no!

The next day was Middle’s turn. The second he awoke, I was straight in to tell him before eldest could break the news in an insensitive manner. ‘Owen, I have something to tell you’ I said. ‘Ok, what you want say?’ he responded. ‘This is very sad for mummy to have to tell you but, Molly has died. She was just too sick’. I looked at him for any sign of emotion. None. ‘That’s ok’ he finally said. ‘Me go to do huge poo now!’. Off he sauntered, zero f’s given as usual.

Now Molly’s ashes have been returned, it’s restarted the grieving process. Eldest will not let me bury her at all! He has been attached to the box and wants to bring her everywhere with him. At first I thought it was so sweet and loving and, it made me happy to see them reunited again. But, I have to draw the line when, the other day, Molly accompanied us to the pound shop, all around the town centre and also the barbers. I watched eldest get his hair cut mortified whilst the poor barber kept glancing down at the little box resting on his lap nervously. Did he know it was a pet? Did he think he was lugging a relative around? Who knows! I also had to beg him not to bring her into Burger King! Imagine. Middle is handling her being back home much differently. On the day she returned, as my nephew came in the door to visit us, he brazenly walked up to him and stated ‘Callum, you will never see Molly ever ever again. Molly is dead’. When asked to say something nice about her whilst we all said a few words, he responded by turning around, putting his bum in my face and blowing a raspberry. To be fair to him it dispersed the sadness we all felt. Only middle!

School Reports, Staycations and Stressful Situations

Eldest has officially completed primary one! Not only that but, he managed to do so without getting spotted battering another classmate. Hooray! On his last day he came bounding out with his school report in hand. I glared at the envelope for a long time before finally plucking up the courage to open it. When I did I was pleasantly surprised. It declared that he was good with numeracy and logic (no surprise there), that his reading and writing could do with some improvement and thus, he will need support going forward (no surprise with that one either) and that he interacts well with other children, especially boys (defo not a huge surprise). As a treat for a year well done, we decided to go to Ballycastle and stay in a caravan (my idea of hell). But, it was cheap and close. Plus, it would take everyone’s mind of losing Molly.

I don’t know what I was expecting but I was shocked when we got to the caravan and it was actually spacious and modern. I had an image of one ingrained in my mind from a Father Ted episode. You know that one were Graham Norton keeps river dancing all the time in a caravan you couldn’t swing a cat in? The site also had an indoor pool and kid’s disco running every other night. Who need’s Spain eh?

Having left our things off, I took the boys swimming. This was the first time since the utter madness that was the local pool: (https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/04/25/the-nightmare-that-was-going-swimming-alone-with-the-boys/ ). Eldest gets in no bother and heads straight for the huge slide, without the slightest hint of fear. Middle leaves the changing room and swiftly declares that he will not be getting in the water as ‘it’s too scary’. Great! Maybe I will have more luck with baby. Upon entering the water with him on my hip, he screams blue murder. To the point everyone was looking at me like I was forcing him into a pool of acid. The swimming attendant goes to get him a swim seat. This seems to make things worse. Middle has not left the steps during this whole episode and is sitting crossed armed, dipping his feet in. ‘Come in Owen!’ I shout whilst wielding gurning baby in a huge, yellow float. ‘I not’ he staunchly responds. FML- what is the point? After 30 mins, baby was still crying and middle was still rooted to the same spot so, out we all had to go.

Next we tried the park which was covered in sand. Middle runs off to have fun, yelling at random children ‘what your name is?’ and chasing girls with his standard sex pest line of ‘Hi girls!’. Eldest refuses to go in however, as apparently, he ‘hates sandy parks’. It’s only day one and I have already lost the will to live. How do you please them all at once? Hope that maybe the kid’s disco will be something everyone enjoys.

Get to kid’s disco with eldest moaning profusely that he ‘will not dance as that’s stupid and only girls do it’. Tell him that’s fine then, he can just watch. The guy running it is aptly named ‘Rob the Beard’. He seems to have a great way with all the kids but, baby is having none of Rob nor his beard and proceeds to cry anytime he even glances in his direction. Not even an offer of a sweet quells his fear of poor Rob. He spends the whole proceedings sobbing. Middle gets up and follows all Rob’s moves to every song. Giving it stacks and living his best life. Eldest observes his enthusiasm and decides to join in. Ten minutes in and eldest is throwing shapes I didn’t even know he had in him. He is also having, shock horror, FUN! Two out of three isn’t bad I guess.

All in all, the boys had such a great time in Ballycastle. Visiting farms, parks, eating the infamous ‘cloud’ ice cream and torturing girls. Middle eventually embraced the water on the last day and ventured further than the steps! Baby I couldn’t win over swimming wise but, he did start fully walking. I only saw him Gollum crawl a handful of times when he was tired and being lazy. In the end eldest finally came around to the sand also. The only downside was the boy’s sharing a room. Utter bedlam each night and routines all over the place. I am home more knackered than when I left! Aw well, it’s all about the memories and replacing the bad one for them that happened last Monday. I hope it’s worked. I am still crying every time I see anything white, sheep included. Miss you Molly x

Chilling in the caravan after a day at the amusements

Soft play fun on a rainy day

No more sand fear!

Sowing the Seed for Imaginative Play with The Field!

Baby is all about farm’s and farm animal’s at the moment. His favourite book is ‘Moo Moo’ and every night, at bedtime, he demands that I read it to him numerous times. I don’t even have to read the actual words now as his obsession has lead to me knowing them by heart. So I was very excited when Irish company, The Field, approached me to review one of their products.

The Field promises to spark your child’s imagination by encouraging imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. Create a farm scene, check! Create your own football pitch with some Lego figures, check! I had an inkling that middle and baby would love it. Middle loves to create elaborate scenes with his teddies and toys and comfortably creates different scenarios, nattering away to himself as he does so. Baby is most content at the minute when throwing multiple objects, mainly at me but, I knew the moment he saw all the farm animal figures, he would associate it with his book. Eldest I wasn’t sure about as he doesn’t often partake in imaginative play. Something that has worried me off and on. He much prefers logical play- building with Lego and creating large marble runs that take over any space we have left in the living room (sigh). Standing on multiple marbles is worse than Lego, I can assure you! Why are both everywhere in my house? Arrgggh!

The boy’s have played with the toy for over a week now and it has surprised me how well they not only interacted with it but, calmly played together. Even if baby keeps taking the farm animals off them! Eldest has actually played with it the most which has greatly reassured me after his P1 report showed he isn’t overly creative (I said that didn’t I?). Baby has thoroughly enjoyed placing some Lego men on it and playing away, as has middle. I’m loving the change from them wrestling the daylights out of each other on the trampoline. Peace at last!

You can purchase The Field at: https://www.thefield.ie/ and prices range from £27.00 (24.99 Euros) and upwards.

Baby having fun with The Field and some Lego
Even cousin had a play with it

Chasing Away the Mum Guilt

I have a confession to make. I have been doing CBT for awhile now. No, I haven’t started smoking some kind of new age cannabis oil to relieve my stress (not after a whole day spent in an Amsterdam coffee shop resulted in me mistakenly determining that I was being abducted by ISIS). Actually, I have been attending weekly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions. Because, lets face it, anti depressants are only masking things. They will never fix the negative thoughts that lead to me actually feeling depressed in the first place.

My session yesterday really got me thinking and I knew right away that it would help some of you also. I was explaining how, when I shout at the kids after a very long day, I feel awful. That I go to bed mulling it over and over and regretting why I hadn’t just taken a deep breath and got on with it. How, the next day I will apologise profusely to whichever boy got the yelling at. She stopped me there and then and asked ‘what do you do when you receive a compliment Grace?’. I was slightly taken aback. ‘Huh?’ I responded. ‘Well’ she said, ‘you’ve just told me you run a mum blog. A blog were you show that motherhood isn’t perfect. That it’s difficult, yet here you are beating yourself up. What do you do when a fellow mum let’s say, gives you a compliment?’. I thought of my besties and how they are always bolstering me. Of all the lovely messages I get from you all thanking me. ‘I feel like I don’t deserve compliments and usually list all the reasons why the compliment is wrong’ I honestly replied. ‘How do you think that makes the person who has given you it feel?’ she enquired earnestly. I dissolved into floods of tears. ‘It probably makes them feel shit’ I said, through sobs. ‘I don’t want to make anyone feel that way’ I added. She nodded.

The session continued with her giving me some homework. She asked me to write down every negative thought I have. It’s 10am as I type this and I have written half an A4 page. She also asked me to write down every compliment I receive. From 7pm yesterday, I have a full A4 page. One friend told me I have inspired her as a mother, one told me I’m great at twerking (which I’m not but, god loves a trier!) and one told me I am so good at giving others confidence. Normally I would have argued that these compliments weren’t warranted nor, deserved. Instead, I replied to everyone ‘thank you for the compliment’. Because their compliment made me feel good and I want them to feel good for having given me it.

It really is as simple as changing how you react in your own mind. Instead of thinking ‘I am a bad mum, I shouted so much today’, we should say ‘it was a long day and, we are human’. God knows we all got yelled at and we turned out ok. Well, my mum might disagree! Let’s all try and be more positive. Because, at the end of the day, if we survive each day with everyone still alive- that’s utterly fantastic! You are all doing great. You can reply ‘thank you for the compliment’:)