Slave To Elave

It’s not a generally held viewpoint, but I hate the summer. Don’t get me wrong- I love the fact that we can all dine alfresco, get the paddling pool out and relax but, there’s one main reason as to why I hate summer- eczema (yes, that again!).

Eczema can be worse in the summer or winter. Myself and Middle’s always seems to get worse the second the sun emerges. The thought of putting suncream on his skin when it’s so broken, fills me with utter dread. Also, as it’s on my hands too, I fear for myself. I’ve literally been going through psychological warfare with suncream for a month now. As stupid as that may seem!

Last week, the lovely guys at https://gardinerfamilyapothecary.com/ sent me some of their Elave products for us both to try- suncream, aftersun, moisturisers and bath products. I always go into these things expecting little….. boy, was I wrong! The packaging highlighted everything from the outset- organic, no sulfates, paraben or alcohol. All the things that typically exasperate any skin condition. This was looking promising.

Luckily for us, it was the best day weather-wise fell the following day. I braced myself to tackle Middle with the suncream. He usually starts crying immediately and runs like the clappers when he sees me brandishing any form of cream. I explained that this was a new cream and would help his skin whilst playing in the sun. No tears from him nor myself upon applying- that’s a first! At one stage he even asked if I could put some more on him!

We’ve used all the products for a week now and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. The suncream is amazing. We spent all day outside and no burning whatsoever. Both our skins felt hydrated and not at all irritable. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t fare the same way when at the beach but that gave me the opportunity to try out the Elave Aftersun on her. She too was impressed but I didn’t want to part with the bottle (sorry sis/auntie me me- I hope you slept ok and have forgiven my selfishness).

If you or your little one suffers from any kind of dry or sensitive skin condition, please try these products. I won’t be buying anything else after having used them. I love how they are organic- but, what I really like is the fact they actually work!

To all my fellow weary, homeschooling mums, check out their Sensitive Daily Skin Defence cream also. I’ve been using it after taking my make up off each night and my face is as smooth as Baby’s backside! Who needs botox?

You can buy the products at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, delivered right to your doorstep.  At the minute they have a fab offer on their two Sun Safe Essentials bundles at £35.99, a saving of over £5.50.  Both bundles contain Botanical Aftersun 250ml and Hand Sanitiser 100ml, with the adult bundle also containing an SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen and the baby/junior bundle also containing a Paediatric SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen.

Follow Elave Skincare on Instagram @gardinerfamilyapothecary; on Facebook at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com; and on twitter at GF_Apothecary, so you can keep updated on all their latest products and money-saving offers.

A miracle in tube form!

Lockdown Log continued….

Day whatever (have lost count of days)

Have five kids six and under to look after whilst my midwife sister goes to work. Wake up already dreading the day ahead. It’s hard enough to keep three boys entertained daily let alone one more plus a girl. How will I even homeschool? Decide that homeschooling can royally f#ck itself today as keeping them all alive is surely more important. Start the day with Joe Wicks to expel their energy. All receptive to begin with. From yesterday however, Eldest has suddenly started ‘working out’ after watching something on YouTube. He therefore performs Joe’s workout whilst weight lifting Baby’s trike. All of us struggle for space to perform said workout and, at one point, I realise that my two-year-old niece can do push up’s better than me. Send them outside afterward so I can puff and pant like the unfit person I am. Call them back in to watch Maddie Moate’s science show. She has found some poo in her garden apparently and we should all be riveted by this. Kids all watch it for ten minutes. Kids all f#ck off. I am still watching however as seemingly I have gone mad and can’t stop watching until I am certain which animal said poo belongs to. Oh, it belonged to a deer! Close YouTube whilst realising it’s obvious Maddie has no kids as she is very relaxed and happy 24/7. I hate her.

Next day

Feeling bolstered by the fact I kept five kids alive yesterday, including two two-year-olds. This surely warrants me receiving the Victoria Cross? Make breakfast, get them dressed and attempt some worksheets. Middle laments the fact that he can’t do them. I tell him he can. He glares at me and tells me, quite matter of factly, that I am “an idiot”. Resist the urge to reply. I mean, what would a teacher do? Deep breaths. Eldest has navigated his sheets himself and all is in order. But, he has chosen a maths-related worksheet and that’s his strong suit. Make him do an English one. Well, what a bad idea that was! He’s now crying and so am I. We cannot ‘English’ together. Some things never change, lockdown or not. As if that’s not bad enough, I appear to be unable to bend down to pick things up. Which is not okay when every bit of Lego they own is over my whole downstairs! Have a slight panic that this could be some kind of unreported symptom of Coronavirus. Remember that it is more than likely Joe Wick’s fault. Good looking man- very bad on the body however (I imagine his wife would say otherwise). I think you might have to shove your workouts for the foreseeable Joe and I will stick to making your rather epic chicken and leek pie! #Foodoverfitness.

What day is it even?

It’s the start of a new week, hooray! NOT! Even worse, it’s raining. What the hell do I do now? Eldest has now taken to walking around brandishing the trike and the quad to “make his muscles bigger”. He is six. Yes, six! Tell him he needs to calm down then remember the Tae Bo obsession I went through at fifteen. Was so obsessed, I was tae boing from the living room to the kitchen (to eat a burger probably). This whole experience is showing me that they are so like me. Middle is correct, I am “an idiot” and should never have had kids.

What day is it still?

It’s 3pm and I have retired to the bathroom to have a sob and some tranquility. The door is being pounded by one of them. “Mum, Mum, come out! My tooth has fallen out!”. Quickly pull myself together. Open the door to be greeted by Eldest brandishing his tooth like he’s Charlie from Willy Wonka and has just won the golden ticket. Dissolve back into tears. His first tooth gone! Why am I crying over a tooth? Tell him the tooth fairy will visit tonight. He keeps asking when he can go to bed. That one loves money, especially when it isn’t his own! All to bed and hunt out £2. Pour a glass of wine.

Next day

Eldest awakes. He informs me that the tooth fairy has been. Thank god she is still classed as a key worker! He tells me he will put his newly acquired funds in his money box. Watch whilst he does this. Realise quite swiftly that there is a £10 note in it. “Where did you get that from?” I ask whilst seething. “Oh, I took it out of your purse the other day, hid it in the photo frame so you wouldn’t find it, then transferred it to my moneybox”. This kid has been here before. Not even starting with coins but stealing notes! I had been scratching my head the last few days wondering where on earth I’d spent that. Realise a good life lesson for him right now is to steal from the rich as opposed to the poor. Download Robin Hood onto his Kindle.

Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..

Coronavirus Chaos

I couldn’t even have dreamt this happening. That’s coming from someone who once had a highly questionable dream about David Cameron and Nick Clegg. If I could have divorced my own brain after that, I would have. I will never ever be able to look at either the same way again, especially Nick Clegg. (shudders).

It all seemed to happen so fast, I think I’m still in shock. I imagine you are all the same. We’ve gone from thinking “it will all be ok” to “holy sh#t the schools are closing!”. I won’t lie, I had a monumental breakdown once that was announced. Firstly because this is unprecedented and, secondly, because I have zero faith in my own ability to teach Eldest from home. He gets so frustrated even doing his homework each day. If I dare to rub something out, he throws an absolute fit. Once it’s finally done and dusted, the two of us have to socially distance ourselves until he succumbs. Usually when he needs some milk. Guess we were prepared for that part at least.

Middle I am worried about for different reasons. He will be four when he starts P1 in September. So he will already be at a disadvantage. I’m so lucky I had his parent-teacher interview last week and no issues were raised in terms of his capability bar scissor work. Which I’m rather ok with because Middle + scissors sounds like a nightmare combination! But, on the other hand, he is a sociable child and I imagine he will miss that aspect enormously. Even if everyone is an “idiot” and he “hates girls”. He doesn’t seem to act this way when I’m peeping at him through the window however and tells me continually that he has three girlfriends. Contradiction much?

Baby is terrible twoing (as per last post). I took him to the park today only to spend thirty minutes dealing with multiple meltdowns that his hood wouldn’t stay up! We were the only people in the park. Maybe that say’s more about me than anything. But, there is no way I can keep three boys couped up in the house. They will batter the daylights out of each other and I will be locked in the bathroom sobbing or rocking in a corner somewhere. Mental health is so important during all this too.

I don’t know how I will fare, as I’m sure you don’t. But I kind of figure that we’ve given birth and kept them alive up to this point. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to be highly stressful? Yes. Will we require lots of wine? Probably.

The lack of clarity around everything children related, be it with schooling and the effects of the virus itself, has been disastrously managed. They have left a nation of mothers in a state of anxiety and panic. I’m still unsure as to whether my own mother should see the boys. Mainly because of the mixed messages and statistics that are slowly being released. My sister is also a midwife which will add to any decision that has to be made.

It’s a frightening time for all of us in every aspect. I will be making a point of sharing anything I think might help us. Anything that will relieve some pressure. If you have something you think might help someone else, message and I will share. If you run a business that is having to rethink how you are operating, message and I will share too. If you are royally losing the plot, message and I will lose it with you! Disclaimer: I will definitely be losing the plot! #Mumpower

Terrible Two’s Time……

I had totally forgotten this stage. You know the one were your cute little baby suddenly morphs into some kind of irrational dictator?

Eldest let me off entirely lightly with the tantrums. I still remember the two times he had one. Mainly because one of them focused purely on me having the audacity to enter the living room when, according to him, “you stay in the kitchen!”. Sexist much? I now realise however that he has always struggled with expressing certain emotions. He has more tantrums now through frustration than he ever did when younger.

Middle had a delayed reaction to the terrible twos and decided to embrace them precisely at the moment he was turning three. He would throw utter fits anytime we left soft play, the shop or any other establishment he was enamoured with at the time. It got to the stage where I would just say “that’s fine then. I’m going home. If you want to act that way, you stay here”. I would then waltz away expecting him to get up in a panic and run after me. He never did and instead lay on the floor until I had to forcibly remove him. Never underestimate Middle, as I always extol.

Baby is my only one who gets jealous. I don’t even understand why as he actually gets the most attention out of all them (especially as I spend most of my time getting him yoghurts and cleaning him up afterwards). Even Eldest cuddles and kisses him which is primarily an honour reserved for me only. But if any of them dares to mention the word ‘cuddle’ or ‘kiss’, he is straight over to me like someone has just shouted: “Tesco just got more hand sanitiser in!”. So the dramatics were always apparent and I really should have thought I would be in for trouble. I just didn’t factor in how much. This weekend alone he has gone off on an almighty wobbler for the following reasons:

  1. I dared to make him hold my hand when crossing a road. So infuriated did he get, he threw himself down in a rage and into a massive puddle. He then proceeded to get more raging because his clothes were “wet”.
  2. I refused to let him bring three teddies out with him. Looking after three boys is stressful enough without having the extra responsibility of Peppa (f ing) Pig, Mickey Mouse and Nelly the elephant! So outraged was he, he deployed the stiff as a board act whilst I tried to put him in his car seat. I’m sure most of you ladies are familiar with this one. It’s as big a fight as trying to get a Conservative MP onto Good Morning Britain to placate the nation.
  3. I had the sheer nerve to ask him if he wanted a banana. When he said yes and I handed him said banana, he then decided he didn’t want one and went into a kicking and screaming fest on the kitchen floor. This mama left him to it.
  4. I opened his yoghurt lid halfway to make it easier for him. What a savagely cruel person I am.
  5. I put him in the bath. Pretty sure the neighbours thought some kind of murder was occurring the way he was getting on.
  6. I confiscated half my cutlery drawer off him that he somehow thought was acceptable to walk around brandishing. This caused a breakdown of Britney proportions (I can say that as I’ve been there, minus the hair shaving).
  7. He asked for “uce” (juice) and when I dutifully adhered to his request, he then decided he wanted “mulk” (milk) instead. Cue him flinging said juice on the floor, the cup then opening and my floors becoming a sea of diluted orange.

So I hope I have prepared/reminded some of you of what lies ahead or what you have finally escaped from. I mean, he’s still cute and all that but dear god he is driving me bonkers. Someone keep the hair clippers out of my reach….

Resolving To Fulfil My Resolutions

As the clock struck twelve last night, I turned immediately to Eldest and embraced him tightly. “Happy new year!” I yelled at him happily. I then found myself bursting into floods of tears, seemingly out of nowhere. Tears that wouldn’t stop flowing at that! I was unsure at the time if this was due to the fact that I had permitted Eldest to stay up for the first time or something else. Upon reflection today, however, I think it was due to 2019 feeling like the worst year of my life.

Earlier that day, as I drove the boys to visit my sister, I raised the subject of resolutions to Eldest. “What do you hope to achieve in the new year then?” I asked. He looked at me entirely nonplussed. I thought for a second. “Ok then, mummy will go first” I said, clutching the steering wheel. “In 2020 mummy would really like to feel happier. Mummy would also like to shout at you all less, do lots of fun things with you all and devote more time to the things she enjoys doing too”. I looked at him expectantly and reposed my earlier question. He turned to me, looking stern and replied, “in the new year, I’d really love Owen to stop being such an idiot!”. I dissolved into giggles. I think that may be more far-reaching than my resolution to devote more time to myself son! One can hope though.

After visiting my sister, we spent the drive home holding an impromptu 2019 awards ceremony. The winner for the best farter went to Middle (totally deserved), Baby won the biggest demolisher of yoghurts in 2019 (I think I might contact the Guinness Book of Records as I’m pretty certain he could feature in it) and Eldest awarded himself the best at everything trophy (methinks this was a slightly biased vote). “What award should Mummy get?” I asked. “The best shouter in the world award!” Eldest replied whilst laughing into his hands (see, hence my resolution). Having accepted my award, whilst feeling a bit embarrassed and sad, Eldest suddenly turned to me and said, “only joking mum, you get the best mum in the world award, even though you shout sometimes!”. I may have sobbed for the duration of the drive home.

This year has been shit to put it blankly. Utterly shit. It’s been that way due to depression and the mindset I suddenly found myself in. It’s been that way because I finally lost the will to fight against it. What is the point? I tried everything within my power to wage a battle against it this year. It won, I lost. It will always be the victor and I somehow have to try and figure out how I adapt and prosper with this being the case. In 2020 I have faith that I will. If I can’t shout, I have to find another way to channel my energy. I’m ready for the fight depression.

I just wanted to leave you all with the most important thing I learnt over Christmas. You can put yourself into debt buying presents and fulfilling their lists but, the most important thing to them is quality time spent with you. I daren’t look at my bank account and haven’t for weeks now. Eldest got everything he asked for and more yet, when I sat with him colouring one afternoon, he did nothing but talk about it. So impressed was he with my effort, they promptly got stuck on the door to his room (scroll to bottom for pic). This is an accolade usually reserved for posters in magazines alone. Every time I’ve walked past his door today, instead of going mad about the mess (and shouting), I look at those pictures and remember what’s important. He better not take them down anytime soon or the shouting may return………………

To all my readers, I hope you had the best Christmas and have a fantastic new year xx

Pride and place!

Walking In A Winter Wonderland At Enchanted Winter Garden

We were very kindly invited to a preview night of Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens yesterday. I have never been before. Mainly due to the fact that I am a disorganised person in general and always leave it too late to get tickets. But my sister goes every year and I’m always so jealous of the festive pictures she manages to get. If I had of got myself in gear last year, I would have had a lovely December picture for the calendar I print for my mum each year. Who am I kidding? Three of them looking at a camera simultaneously? A mum can but dream…

Baby was mesmerised from the second we set foot inside. The whole place is awash with colour and lights. At every turn there was something new to see. You want flashing fairies- sorted. You want a huge ferris wheel- sorted. What about a festive train ride that takes you direct to Santa’s workshop? Well, that’s sorted too! There was a multitude of rides catering to all ages. Baby seemed utterly petrified of them all however, bar the train ride and ferris wheel. To be fair he is at that stage where anything that involves him having to leave my side makes him get on like I’ve just sold him to a stranger!

They have an array of food choices too. Slightly expensive however, so empty their money boxes before going (just kidding, as if I’d ever do that). A burger at the stall we chose cost £6 and a kids meal £5. The food was delicious however and the portions big. I noticed too late that they had a fire pit that you could toast marshmallows on (at a cost). That would have made the perfect Christmas dessert.

Baby loved going on the “choo choo!” to visit Santa. This was great as it served to build up the excitement, for me more than anyone. Inside the workshop, there were lots of animatronic displays to observe whilst they eagerly awaited their turn to meet Santa. Baby wasn’t overly fussed on St Nicolas and got on the same way he did about some of the rides. I mean, if I was going to sell him to anyone, surely he should be happy that I was selling him to the CEO of the biggest toy factory in the world? He did come round however when offered some chocolate buttons.

I can’t even begin to describe this place properly and give it the credit it so rightfully deserves. It truly is magical in every way. At every corner, you are greeted with a new scene and different characters inhabiting them. All that whilst basking in beautiful surroundings and shimmering lights.! I totally felt like I was at that London one you see plastered all over social media at this time of year. A PSA to Simon Cowell: have you considered visiting Antrim this Christmas instead?

The only downside for me was Eldest and Middle not being there to experience it. I know they would have loved it and I would have loved seeing their reaction to it also. It’s definitely something you should do with your whole family. Unfortunately, they were too busy screaming “oh yes he is” to May Mcfettridge at the panto. Once home, Middle was positively fuming when I showed him my pictures. He growled at me “if you don’t take me to that place next year Santa will bring you no presents as you are a bad girl”. Don’t worry son, this mamma isn’t being put on any naughty list. Well, hopefully Santa hasn’t seen what mummy did to your money boxes (oh no she didn’t)……

Enchanted Winter Garden takes place from Friday 6th December to Sunday 22nd December and is open from 4:30pm – 9:30pm. Tickets cost £4 per adult and £2 per child (children under two are free) note that these prices are if booked in advance. A family ticket is £15. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.enchantedwintergarden.com If you don’t prebook, prices are £6 for adults and £4 per child. So pre-book! Note that the event will be closed Mon 9th December to Wed 11th and also on the 16th and 17th (the fairies need to recharge their batteries). Check out my Instagram for even more pics and things I don’t post on Facebook : https://www.instagram.com/youandmeplusthreex/

Meeting Santa
What? No yogurts on the menu?
Wanted to go on this so badly but Baby had other ideas…
You know I like to tell you prices for prep purposes!

Nightmares

Last night the kids were sound asleep and I had just settled down to take my make up off (after tidying up their carnage). Suddenly I heard a familiar sound. Footsteps up above. Footsteps that for someone so small, should resemble a ballerina pivoting on a cloud yet sounded like an elephant trapped in a jumper. They all have their own sounds and I can tell who it is immeadiately by footstep sound alone. Middle was up!

Upon his descent from the stairs, it became apparent that he was highly upset. “What’s wrong I asked?” whilst scooping him up into my arms. “I had bad dream” he informed me through sporadic sobs. “Oh no! Come and tell mummy” I soothed. He sat calmly on my knee and began to divuldge his dream. “A really bad guy was trying to freeze me mummy!” he advised. “He turned off all my lights because he was so bad” he added. This is quite apt as he has spent two weeks now turning on every light in the house no matter what the time and I have found myself yelling “it’s like Blackpool illuminations up here!”. Yes, I have become that kind of mum. “Dreams aren’t real Owen” I reassured. “They are just your brain playing tricks. Plus, mummy would never let anyone hurt you let alone freeze you” I added whilst cuddling him. He gave me a kiss, looked at me square in the eye and said “the only way to defeat the bad guy was to throw cake at him. So, I think we need to get cake tomorrow mummy”. Um what? “You know, incase he comes back” he stated seriously. Nice try son!

Meanwhile Baby has morphed into a complete and utter nightmare himself. His new thing is throwing every book we own down the stairs, many of which are unfortunately hardback. I’m no sooner bending down to pick them all up when he’s lobbed a Pokemon encyclopedia back down, near knocking me out in the process. No amount of telling off is working as he finds the whole thing hilarious.  His only redeeming quality is the fact that he has started asking to hold Middle’s hand and the two of them dander away together. So cute! There’s nothing better than seeing them actually be loving towards each other. Whilst Middle brings out Eldest’s less serious side, Baby brings out all of their loving/caring sides.

This week and next, we are nativitying. Going by my kid’s past record with these, I can only but hope that all of them pass without any kind of drama or embarrassment. Eldest is highly annoyed that he has been cast in the role of shephard again, Middle is point blank refusing to sing the songs he has been taught as he wants to sing exclusively about tacos and Baby will probably spy me and cry the whole time. I will of course keep you updated on how we fare.

Baby Baby Baby Oh/Mad Middle/Toy Car Gate

Yes I have used a Justin Bieber song lyric as a blog post title. The shame! But it’s totally fitting (I promise).

It was 2am on Tuesday morning and Baby had awoken from his cot. As usual, I gleefully transferred him into my bed for lots of cuddles and kisses. As he lay there, greedily guzzling some milk, I stared lovingly at him. Come 3am I was still staring at him (stalker much?). He looked like a proper little boy and not a baby anymore. I found myself getting all emotional and sentimental. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding his little 6lbs frame in the same bed, glaring at him in disbelief that he was finally here. Where has the time gone? I can’t be dealing with this!

If there was a pause button I would hit it right now, at this exact stage. I love it when their personalities are starting to shine through and they still need you but are becoming more independent. He won’t let me open anything for him these days and insists on trying to dress himself (all of which have varying success rates). He is becoming highly vocal also and his dictation is clear and concise, mainly when voicing his extreme displeasure at his brothers “NO, bro bro!”. This is the worrying stage however as it’s when you start to consider another. How bad could it really be? I imagine very very bad indeed if I end up being a mum to four boys, which is exactly what would happen.

In other news Middle has me entirely exasperated this week. I picked him up on Wednesday from preschool and he was more subdued than usual. He also looked quite sheepish in hindsight. I buckled him into his car seat and off we set for home. “How was your day?” I implored. “Um it good” he replied whilst fiddling with the bottom of his trousers frantically. “What are you doing?” I asked. He threw me daggers then dissolved into giggles. “Me have a car” he replied whilst wielding a black toy car that had seemingly emerged from the bottom of his trousers. “Where did you get that from?” I replied alarmed. He looked at me like I had just uttered the most stupid question ever. “I took it from nursery because I want to play with it at home in my room”. Oh dear god! I pulled the car over and tried to explain the concept of stealing to him. Whilst doing so, he continued to retrieve a further eight cars from every crevice of his trousers! “How many do you have Owen?” I yelled. “Lots AND me have more in my jumper too” he answered proudly. “You can’t just take things from nursery Owen, that is wrong! The other children need to play with them. How did you even manage to smuggle so many up there?”. I asked this for a reason. Mainly as he hadn’t placed them in his pocket like a normal person but had blatantly shoved them all up the bottom of his trousers. “I wait until no one looking and I just put them up there one by one” he answered matter of factly. Surely this was the least inconspicuous method he could have deployed? His trousers are cuffed at the bottom and super tight! How no one managed to observe his shenanigans is beyond me.

Upon returning home, I confiscated his contraband and hid them. I then had to message his teacher and advise that she has a thief in her midst and one of whom was showing zero remorse for his actions. Whilst reprimanding him he kept repeating “but where my cars so I play with them?”. He was not receiving the message at all that what he had done was wrong.

This kid- he literally dances to the beat of his own drum all whilst I scramble to fix the situations he gets himself into. I am also having to strip search him before we leave nursery now as I don’t trust him one iota. So I reckon three kids is more than enough and Baby can stay as my baby. Imagine trying to keep on top of two Middle’s? Um, no thanks!

Why I Agree With NI Entering A New Era (finally)

On Tuesday something amazing happened. Northern Ireland entered a new era. An era that others have been experiencing for quite some time now. An era of equal rights! I debated posting this as I am aware that it’s such an emotive topic but, I have to adhere to my mantra of being honest in terms of the blog. I share my opinions weekly so, why not with this too?

Love is love, irrespective of what guise or form it takes. I spent most of my teenage years in the Kremlin (not with Putin for outside readers but, a gay club in Belfast) and I can tell you, these were the best nights ever (despite the horrendous hangovers). Watching my friends feel comfortable and free to be themselves, when they felt they couldn’t in any other establishment, was part of this. I realised pretty swiftly that I took it for granted, as a heterosexual, that I didn’t have to hide my identity everywhere I went. We have a same-sex marriage in my family also and I am in awe of these two individuals daily. They are a shining example of what a marriage should consist of. They support each other, are loving and share equal responsibility when it comes to their children. All whilst facing scrutiny that I never did. I am a firm believer in live and let live. If it’s not affecting you, why are you bothered? Many have an issue with this but didn’t kick up a fuss when some woman married the Berlin wall. I would rather someone be their authentic self than feel pressured to marry someone of the opposite sex and have children because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. It’s not what’s right, it’s what’s been wrong all along.

Now the second contentious issue- abortion rights. I believe a woman has a right to choose and strongly so. I also believe that more education in schools is essential with regards to contraception and what an abortion entails. Being fully informed is half the battle. Shying away from even discussing it just exasperates something that many find difficult to decipher here. Having an unwanted pregnancy, no money, having to inform your family because of this and then travel to England is a horrendous experience. Knowing that it is illegal here only makes the decision even more difficult. Because it’s all you’ve grown up knowing. To say that it is being used as a ‘form of contraception’ shows nothing but ignorance. Any woman from Northern Ireland, who has traveled for a procedure, has spent more time than anyone else thinking about their decision. They’ve had to have multiple consultations over the phone, arrange travel and navigate their way there. It’s not just an ‘ok, we’ll book you in tomorrow then’. There is also the cost of paying for the procedure itself which is highly expensive. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I will always respect others but, I think it’s essential that people are made aware of the actual process when making such a monumental decision. Maybe you are struggling with mental health issues, maybe you have nothing to offer a child at all and maybe you are in a relationship that is just downright dangerous to bring a child into. As I type, there are 3,019 children in care in Northern Ireland. 85,000 children live in poverty and 2,431 are actually classed as homeless. Why don’t we focus the same energy on fostering and adoption? Because, in certain cases, when you have no choice and essentially no voice, this is what tends to happen.

Not everyone will agree with my stance and I fully respect that. The world would be a very boring place if we all had the same opinion right? I mean, mum shamers wouldn’t exist for one thing! Debates are a great thing. Hearing other’s opinions is a great thing. It challenges us to think differently. At the end of the day, we agree or disagree. It’s all good……