That Perfect Photograph


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I have written before about how social media has turned us into a society of people who are constantly documenting our day to day lives, our most cherished moments, our big announcements & life-changing memories.  We do this mainly through photographs, and use various Apps like Instagram and PicCollage to make sure every detail looks perfect.

Position photo opp, take photo, apply filter, apply hashtag, post, await the likes and comments.

I think we are now more than aware that it can be dangerous to take this too seriously, especially when viewing others lives through their Facebook feed, and more often than not through a rose-tinted (or in the case of my Instagram shots, a Valencia filtered) lens.

This trend is especially true of those with little ones.  Cue lots of photos of kids with animals, children on days out, little angels grouped together on play dates, mummies & babies lunching.  Not a snotty nose, grubby face or crying meltdown in sight.  I am especially guilty of this, I am not writing a preachy post here, I hold my hands up and admit that when I look at photos I’ve posted of my two children, I get a little tingle of pride, and those photos represent great times and memories, and do a great job of erasing any bad moments we may have had on those particular occasions!

It used to bother me if Lylah wasn’t smiling perfectly at the camera, but now I’m used to having a temperamental three year old, it is something I’ve had to let go of.  No more true than on Malachy’s Baptism Day, in the church, when all I wanted was ONE photo of us as a family, just Chris & I with our two babies.  Lylah’s face says it all in the photo that I have proudly framed in my living room.  I look at it now and chuckle, and still laugh about my nan plying her with sweets trying to get her to smile and stop wriggling to get down for one minute!

What I’ve started to see a little more of recently, is people posting more realistic photographs of their little ones.  I’ve seen more crying in photos, more grumpy faces, and less of the “I will stand here as mummy told me to” type photograph.  And it’s so refreshing to see!

Let’s take each occasion I mentioned above.  In every one of these scenarios, as any one with children/or has hung out with children knows, there is often only one or two “perfect” moments!

Kids with animals = meltdown because they are scared of something and won’t go close enough to get into photo frame.

Children on Days out = many moments of screaming, tiredness, boredom…do I go on?

Little Angels grouped together on play dates = if you get this shot then you’re a miracle worker!

Mummies & Babies lunching = no sign of the food on the floor, the struggle of squeezing them into the unfamiliar highchair or the overpriced cake that has gone to waste!

Chris has been off this week, so we have and a few family outings and a little party at home for St Patrick’s Day.  Cue lots of opportunities for cute photos as perfect mementos of our time spent together.

I’ve posted some beautiful photos on Facebook this week of my family, but what I haven’t posted are some of the classics on my camera roll, or documented the happenings around each shot!

First, there was our day out at an animal sanctuary, which overall Lylah loved.  Lots of cute photos of Lylah looking angelic, but not one of her screaming whilst being chased by oversized Bantum Chickens!  Or moaning for about 27 minutes because she was cold and she wanted to go home and watch Kinder Surprise on YouTube (don’t ask).

Then there was our day trip to the woods.  There is a wooden carved chair at our destination that people often post photos of their children sitting on.  I wanted this photo!  Have a look at the camera roll evidence of Lylah’s progression into a meltdown.  And the smile on my face moving slowly to a grimace!  I also just about managed to save Malachy from being wheeled down the hill and off the edge.


Then there was St Patrick’s Day morning.  I wanted a nice picture of the two of them in their green outfits, sat on a flag.  Standard.  These were just a few of what we had before I was happy!




The one where Lylah was squeezing Malachy in a head lock shortly led to him toppling backwards when she let go quickly, followed by 5 minutes of crying and snot and a puffy red face.

So, you can see, not all of life’s moments are filled with picture perfect memories, but they are memories all the same and make us what we are.  It is okay to show people these, it might even make them feel a little more normal about their own lives.

We are going to Peppa Pig World tomorrow, and I promise that as soon as Lylah has any sort of meltdown I will photograph every moment of it, along with the bright backdrop of Peppa and George’s house and Mr Potato’s city, or whatever it is we are in store for!

All of that photo stress is so worth it though, when I get to capture my two looking like this…


P.S.  I often find that bribing children with Kinder Surprises helps capture that perfect “smile”


They need me…


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As a mother, your children, naturally, need you a lot.

They need you from the minute they wake up, until the minute their lights goes out, for a variety of reasons.

With Lylah these include; pulling up bottoms after a wee wee, cue “mummy, this is the hard bit!!”, making her breakfast (even though Miss Independent does get it all out and ready for me these days, she still hasn’t quite stretched to putting it all together, she is only 3 after all!), dressing her, plaiting her hair, helping her put Anna and Elsa’s dresses back on, (then off again, then on again), doing her puzzles, finding the lost parts of Sylvanian Families (they are soooo small!), writing letters, writing numbers, more post-toilet help…it goes on and on and on.

This all runs alongside Malachy also needing me, but needing me far more than Lylah does.  From the minute he wakes up, he needs me for comfort, for milk, for basic hygiene, for breakfast, for playing, for moving…he’s a baby, you get it!

Often, all this neediness can get on top of you.  Even though you know this motherhood lark is going to be demanding, you never quite realise it for real until its happening to you.  And then you get a small segment of your day, where they are maybe both napping at the same time, and there is a fifteen minute period, where no one needs you for a moment.  That moment goes far too quickly, though the rest of the day, somehow does not!

This all happens without thought.  You don’t stop and think about your every action being crucial to your children’s happiness, development, health.  You just do it, because, well, that’s what you signed up for.

Then there are times when they really need you.  And this happened to me yesterday.  It made me stop and think.

Malachy was feeling poorly, and had woken yesterday with a temperature, and after his afternoon nap, he was burning up again.  After Calpol, and whilst I was waiting for it to kick in and cool him down, he just wasn’t a happy bunny.  Nothing I did made him happier, and you realise, that although they really really need you, you don’t actually know what it is they need.  After a long snuggly feed, he eventually rested his head against me, and I began to stroke his cheek until he fell asleep.  After some tossing and turning to get into the exact right position for his maximum comfort, he finally fell into a deep sleep on me.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the same sofa, I noticed that Lylah’s head was dropping up and down.  Monster’s University just wasn’t entertaining enough, and the little lady was nodding off as well.  I got her comfy as best I could with Mally lying on top of me, and they both slept like that for the next hour or so.

There wasn’t much I could do.  I debated putting him back in his cot.  But this was a different sleep.  This was a sleep that was relaxed and comforted because he had fallen asleep on mummy.  He was warm from my body and full from the warm milk he had just guzzled.  I had made him feel better from whatever he was feeling a moment before.  No, I thought, this sleep is for us.  He wants to be comforted and to lie on mummy and cuddle in close.  Lylah was comfortable and lying against my legs.  I felt like I could burst with happiness, and was overwhelmed with a feeling of love.  They both NEEDED me.  Not in the usual, every day ways, but in their moment of tired, exhausted, poorlyness, I was needed to be a mummy, someone they could snuggle into to everything better.

It is the most beautiful feeling in the world being needed.

Why I’m falling out of love with Facebook


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Whilst I was busy hoovering my kitchen a moment ago (STOP PRESS!!), I was aware that I was muttering away to myself about a subject that has been bothering me this week.

It has to do with the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ Facebook game that has been circulating our news feeds.

Cue lots of retorts from non-mothers about why its okay to be a non-mother, further response from mothers defending their right to post pictures of their children etc etc…it goes on.

It’s things like this that really get my goat with Facebook.  It’s not a friendly place anymore.  We seem to live in a cyber world where it is okay to make someone feel bad about just about anything they choose to post on their social media pages.

Back to the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ posts.  I myself have been nominated to do such a post (I simply haven’t got around to it), and I personally don’t see any harm in it.  I have seen lots of friends posting their happiest pictures, and these have made me smile.  I’m almost certain this would have been my reaction to their pictures if I didn’t have children of my own, because, well, I quite like cute babies.  I say almost certain, because there is a small part of me that saw the posts, and cringed slightly.  There are so many women out their who can’t or choose not to have children, and posts like these do form a kind of us and them situation, whether you choose it to come across that way or not.  If I was in the no children camp, would these posts have started to upset me?  Well, yes they probably would, if children is the one thing you wanted most in the world.

There is no right or wrong here – Facebook is a place where people should feel free to upload whatever is going on in their lives at that time, and believe me that can change drastically over the years (believe me I WISH I could post as many holiday shots as I used to!).

I think my point is that we shouldn’t make each other feel bad about it.  The people on our Facebook pages are (supposed to be) our friends.  It is not a competition.  I LOVE looking at people’s drunken night out photos, because quite frankly, I want to be them.

The “Be Like Bill” posts were beyond annoying.  Again, post want you want to – it’s your page.  I have resorted to unfriending someone if they annoy me that much.  Yes, it really is that simple!  This also doesn’t mean that an unfriended Facebook friend can’t be a real-life friend.  Because, people, Facebook isn’t REAL!

So for now, my 9 year love affair Mark Zuckerburg’s brain child is luke warm.  I still love it for celebrating special occasions, posting pictures of my children and commenting uselessly about my day, and of course to share these words with you lovely people.  I just think I’ll approach it with more caution these days, and I certainly won’t use it to make someone else feel bad about their life choices and personal situation.






Vom Bears


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This week we decided it was a good idea to take a nearly 3 year old and a nearly 6 month old on a long ol’ car trip to Essex.  In hindsight, thinking this journey would be smooth runnings may have been hugely optimistic, and thinking back over the 2 day escapade, I’m surprised we returned relatively stress free and still with hair.

My friend Debbie, who I met at University, and her husband Bryn, have just had a beautiful baby boy, and as half term meant they’d be at home together as a family, we decided that we would take a two day, one night trip.  On the packing front, this wasn’t too much hard work.  A couple of changes of clothes for Chris and I, 4 each for the kids (it will become clear later just how crucial this decision was), a few toiletries and snacks, and a tank full of petrol, and we were set.  Of course, our aim was to leave nice and early, and we set our alarms for 6ish, ready to be on the road for 7am.  Forward to Tuesday morning, and we were finally ready to go at 745.

Still, we were all packed up, kids in tow, all set for our family adventure!  I was excited; I hit the road with enthusiasm, listening to a NOW album of Christmas songs at Lylah’s request.  Of course.

The first thing that struck me as we were an hour into the journey and Lylah was fast asleep, was that she may need a wee.  She’d gone before we left, but the last thing we needed was a car seat stinking of fresh and then stale urine!  A quick stop at Fleet services, and the toddler was toileted and the baby was breast fed.  Time to hit the road again.

All was going really well.  We were on track time wise, our destination being a quaint little farm, where we would meet our friends and their new addition for lunch and partake in a trail around the farm to see the animals.

With a couple of hours left to go from our pit stop, we made sure Lylah had plenty to snack on in the back seat, not wanting her to go hungry or dehydrate on this epic journey.  About an hour left to go, and we were set to have achieved a stress free journey.  Result!

“Mummy, I feel a bit sicky.  I feel sick”

“You feel sick Lylah?  You’ll be okay, just close your eyes and put your head back and you’ll feel better”

“Mummy, I need medicine, I feel sick!  I need medicine”

“Lylah, you don’t need medicine!  You’ll be okay”


What.  The…..???????

My poor Lylah was vomiting all down herself.  I was trying to negotiate fast moving cars on the M3, whilst glancing at Lylah who was covered in orange coloured vomit.  Chris was looking around from the passenger seat trying to reassure her whilst she screamed and cried.

Chris pointed out there was nothing we could do as I panicked about just how much sick she was covered in.  Then Lylah said exactly what I was thinking; “But these are my best clothes mummy!!”, still crying, with sick dripping from her mouth.  Sorry.

She did calm down a bit and at one point was pointing out the contents of her sick to us.  Look mummy, there is Pom bears!  And it’s also got some weetabix!!

About 15 minutes later we were able to pull in to a services and get her out to get her cleaned up.  Out came the perfectly packed items from the boot, so we could get the change of clothes, wipes, new shoes, in order to get Lylah not smelling of Pom bear sick.

All sorted, and the car seat cleaned up, we were on our way, when Malachy began his new favourite thing, SCREAMING in his car seat.  He’s done this for a while, but 20 mins of it when you have been in a car for 4 hours, and have just cleaned up sick does tend to try your patience.  We arrived at our destination, and as soon as I lifted him out he was back to his angelic smily self.  Of course.

After a delicious lunch and an autumnal walk around the farm, we told Lylah it was time to check into our hotel.  When we left that morning she had informed us that she didn’t want to go to the hotel and she wanted to sleep in her owl bed at home.  Rewind back to our summer trip to Devon where she told us for 2 days straight that she didn’t like holiday and wanted to go home.  However, all was well upon arrival at the Premier Inn, and Lylah thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the reception staff and setting off the fire alarm by opening the emergency exit door.

We settled into the room, when Chris informed me he wasn’t feeling too well, and I was thankful I’d packed drugs for us as well as the necessary Calpol, teething gel, teething salts etc for the children.

That evening, we arrived at Debbie and Bryn’s house, and Lylah had fallen asleep in the car, so woke up feeling a little grumpy.  You never know what Lylah you might get when she wakes up.  Tonight, we had the Lylah that instantly stated to our hosts that she wants to go home.  Delightful.  Bryn pulled out the CBeebies card and all was well again, and by the end of the evening she was making herself at home, with Bryn her new best friend, bossing him around and making best friends with their dog.  Poor Chris was still feeling unwell, and couldn’t finish his portion of banoffie pie, and anyone that knows Chris will understand that this is not normal.  I however, had 2, non slimming world friendly, delicious slices of Debbie’s home made mouth watering dessert.

We went back after a lovely evening, and I longed for a night of minimally interrupted sleep in the hotel bed.  Of course this was not on the cards for me.  Malachy woke every couple of hours without fail, and I woke up feeling like I was hungover from the severe lack of sleep.  We treated ourselves to an all you can eat breakfast and ventured into town for a play in the park.  But it was peeing it down, and the park equipment was covered in wet slippery rain.  Not that that stopped Lylah and Chris, they had a great time running around, tiring her out for the journey home.

Before we left for the final leg home, I felt absolutely brilliant.  In spite of the vom episode, Chris feeling unwell and the sleepless night, I was bright eyed and ready for the stint home, kids asleep in the back.  After a necessary pit stop 2 hours into the journey, we continued on, and were on the home straight until we hit traffic.  It was 4:30pm.  Bad timing.  We were trickling through this traffic, when Malachy decides to have one of his screaming episodes.  We took the opportunity to pull over and give him a feed.  Lylah also needed a wee, so we asked her to go in the grass in the layby.  Oh no…tantrum and full meltdown time (kicking seat and screaming style) meant that we couldn’t convince her to go for a wee in the grass.  I wasn’t convinced she could hold it for another hour or so, and I was past the point of being tolerant, and it all got a bit too much inside our VW Golf.  After snapping at Lylah that she has to go for a wee, her tantrum only escalated, so we decided to leave her be and if we have a soppy car seat as a result, then so be it.

Malachy screamed for the remainder of the journey, and the pinnacle was Chris and I singing “Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose” at the top of our voices, attempting harmonies, to a) make him stop crying and b) drown out the sound of his crying.  Lylah slept through this nursery rhyme karaoke session, and Malachy had moments of quiet, but he came out on top overall as I don’t think I’ve ever been so relived to pull into the driveway.

Lessons learned from our road trip:  Don’t feed Lylah Pom bears on a long car journey, pack lots of clothes and wet wipes, take ear plugs.

Totally worth it though to get warm cuddles with baby Thomas.

Does he sleep?

Well hello there, it has been a while. I have been fully immersed in being a mother of two, and all of a sudden Malachy is 5 months old and I haven’t written much about it! I will obviously blame it on the lack of time, energy and brain function.

I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind for the past 5 months. It feels apt to blog now, as I look back over the summer and the first few hectic months of owning two children! Plus, I have a rare bit of time to myself, whilst Lylah is at play school and Malachy is asleep.

There is so much to cover, which I will in other posts, as I try to resurrect Jugglehood along with my brain, but to start I want to cover the usual. The usual questions that every new mother/mother to a new baby, gets asked:
1. Does he sleep?

I could keep this post really short and say no and leave it at that. Then you would understand why my brain is so fried. But I wouldn’t be entirely telling the truth. Malachy does sleep, but in short bursts, not when I need him to, not much through the night, and hardly ever in the car! It’s bizarre though, because I thought I had trouble with Lylah’s sleep as a baby, but she was great in hindsight! I just couldn’t deal with it then. But being awake from 2:30 most nights and surviving on blips of sleep from that time until breakfast seems to not affect me so much the second time round. Or maybe I’m fooling myself, as there are probably numerous occasions where I could and have blamed lack of sleep. One being this morning one I strapped Malachy into his car seat after I’d dropped Lylah off at play school. I was about to start the engine, but I heard him moaning a tad, but there was something odd about it. It wasn’t coming from the right side of the car! I looked around, and there he was, sat facing forward, strapped into Lylah’s car seat! He seemed to quite enjoy it, he was sat up nice and straight and didn’t look that out of place! I swiftly got out of the car and put him in his correct seat, announcing loudly to the other mums what I’d done, just to acknowledge my stupidity! Yeah…lack of sleep.

2. Is he a good boy?

What does this question even mean? Babies are good, they can’t be naughty. Oh yes, it refers to sleep, and whether they do it. See above.

3. How is Lylah with her new baby brother?

I spent the first three months or so answering this question positively, as she was honestly fine with him, and his arrival didn’t seem to affect her at all.
However, he can now do stuff, and Lylah isn’t enjoying that so much. She finds everything rubbish, she won’t share her toys, she screams when he pulls her hair, and she hates it when his little chubby legs kick her. She doesn’t like it if he stares at her, and tried to manually turn his head around, and she moans when he wakes up with a “Mummy, he’s awake agaaaaaiiiinnnn….” So, I’d say that at the moment she’s not so cool with him.

4. What does he weigh now?

A little bit more than the last time you asked me.

These are the biggies amongst a plethora of questions that get thrown your way, and to be honest, you may get a different answer everyday. He changes all the time, sometimes he sleeps well, other times he doesn’t. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes not so. Lylah mostly loves Malachy, but sometimes I bet she wishes she could put him in the washing machine.

All in all, its been a fun first few months, and as a family, we’ve adapted to having the new one on board. But don’t expect much from me by way of intelligent conversation!


How things are different with number 2…


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Things with a second baby are so different than with your first.  Might sound like an obvious statement, but one month in, and it is is strikingly obvious to me when I look back over the first four weeks of Malachy’s life and realise how we have done things so differently this time around.  This is partly led by Malachy, as by nature he is a different baby to what Lylah was in so many ways, but also partly by us, because as parents we have approached the newborn days with a different attitude.

It’s still a world of unknowns…even though you do go into it with a certain air of cockiness and an ‘I know it all attitude’, a second baby will present many differences to the first.  For example, unlike with Lylah, the breast feeding is going really well this time, and has done from day one.  So I thought I’d got away with it scott free; he’s putting on weight, feeding well, etc etc.  But no, he has developed oral thrush, something new and unknown and which has already had an impact on his feeds.

These are a few things I’ve noticed that we’ve done differently with baby round two:

Google.  We hardly use it!  With Lylah, I recall us being up at all hours in our bedroom, the only light coming from Chris’ iPhone as he frantically Googled how to get this wind out of our little girl!  We Googled everything, from breast feeding (I saved every page I could find on breast milk storage), colic, methods to relieve colic, ‘why is our baby crying’, ‘why is our baby still crying’, and the old favourite, ‘how to stop my our baby crying’.

Going out.  I didn’t properly leave the house for some time after Lylah was born.  I was happy to stay in, dressed in PJs, feeding on the sofa and perhaps freshening up for the occasional visitor.  This time, I was taking Lylah to pre-school, baby in tow, by the end of week two, and had ventured out lots before this with Chris’ help.  A month in and we are out and about most days, Malachy just being dragged along for the ride of our pre-existing toddler routine.

Soothing.  Uh Oh, the baby’s crying!  What, you mean your second baby, who you can’t actually get to because the toddler is having another meltdown whilst hanging from her swing set?  Oh, the baby has stopped crying already and settled himself?  That’s good then!  As soon as Lylah made a sound when she was a baby, one or both of us would be there in a flash.  No such luck for Malachy, he gets to soothe himself while Mummy is pulling her hair out over number one.  This isn’t to say we don’t ever comfort him (I can imagine you’re thinking this poor child is left to fend for himself!), it’s just that it might take a little longer to get to him than it did the first time round!

Cuddles.  On the other hand, Malachy does get a lot of cuddles.  When Lylah is tucked up in bed, and we can spend some one on one time with the little man, we cuddle him, a lot!  We would never have dared done this with Lylah.  When she was settled that was it, we didn’t dare touch her for fear of her never sleeping again!

Bathing.  Washing Lylah as a baby was two person job, filled with the dread that we were going to accidentally scold her/drown her/drop her.  It was a long time before I bathed her confidently on my own.  With Malachy, I can easily bathe him in his baby bath, while Chris is bathing Lylah in the tub, simultaneously chatting away to them, with no fear about whether I’m going to accidentally dunk the baby.

Photos.  We haven’t taken as many photos or videos or Malachy as we did Lylah.  Everyone says this happens, but I didn’t think it would apply to me.  It will save the computer memory.  Please note; I have still taken A LOT!

Socialising.  I would NEVER have taken Lylah out to a restaurant/party/meal, somewhere public, at one month old.  But last night we took our two year old and baby to a birthday meal, in a restaurant with actual people, whilst attempting to have adult conversation and a hot meal.  It was pretty much a success, and just made us realise even more, that number two just takes it in their stride, and slots in to family life.

So, as Malachy continues to settle into our lives, we realise how blessed we are to have such a relaxed little boy, who seems to be becoming as much of a social butterfly as his sister!

In Malachy news, he weighs a whopping 1 stone.  Yep, we’ve started wearing his 3-6 month clothes today, and now he actually looks comfortable!

In Lylah news, today she corrected me and then asked “understand?”  She also told me I was bossy this week.  Our conversations are getting funnier and she is getting cheekier!  We also went bowling, but it was too busy so we ended up just playing in the arcade.  Now Lylah thinks that going bowling is mummy and daddy frantically trying to win her a Sven cuddly from the grabber machine.

Lylah is currently staring at me repeating ‘mum’ ‘mama’ and ‘mummy’ over and over again and the baby has just started crying.  Time for me to go!

First Smiles

Well, our baby boy is one month old today.  I can’t believe these past four weeks have gone so quickly; they have been full of amazing and special moments, as well as the expected tired eyes and lack of sleep!

Can I still say I’ve just had a baby?  Can he be referred to as a newborn?  It makes me feel a little sad that he isn’t the brand new baby he was four weeks back, but as he starts to show us his little personality, it makes me excited for the weeks and months to come.

And to celebrate his one month birthday, Malachy has been treating us to special first smiles this week.

It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Lots more of these to come!

Now we are about to enjoy a weekend together as a family, no work, just fun with our little people.

No Tea For Me…Thanks to Malachy!


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Oh Malachy, Malachy, Malachy
I’m in desperate need of a cup of tea
Preferably hot, and straight from the pot,
The perfect tea moment for tired old me.

But every time that kettle boils
My tea time plan you are ready to spoil
Your little lips they start to shake
As your little tummy starts to ache

Your achy tummy tells you its time,
along with the teapot giving you the sign,
That its time for you to have your grub
And my pot of hot tea I have to snub.

The sound of the water starting to rumble
Must make your belly start to grumble,
and prompt your regular milky fix
No time for my tea or a teatime Twix.

The sight of the cosy keeping it hot,
Means that you are allowed, but I am not,
To settle down for an afternoon snack
And signals the caffeine that I now lack.

The clink of the cup against the saucer
Means that really I know I ought to,
Put down my drink and prepare to feed
After all, its just tea, am I really in need?

On the odd occasion when I get the tea poured,
And biscuits are retrieved from the cupboard
I settle down on the sofa ready to drink,
Well then what happens, what do you think?

I’ve just delighted in the first biscuity dunk,
The gingery snap soaked as it’s being sunk,
Into the deep tea flavoured pool
The moment that awaits me is making me drool.

Just as the biscuit starts falling apart,
(This dunking lark is really an art)
I’d better eat quick, as a familiar sound,
Starts to fill the room all around.

You’re soft little cry starts nice and quiet,
Just time to continue with my ‘biscuit tea’ diet.
But the volume increases, and as the cry becomes shrill,
I’ll forget my tea, its not a big deal…

Because I’d rather cuddle you close to me
Than drink a cup of hot, tasty tea.
But how about we make a deal?
I can have one after your milky meal?

Photo on 28-05-2015 at 14.37

Supermarkets require Supermums!


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I did it!

I set myself one challenge today alongside generally keeping myself and my two children clean, fed and watered.  To go to the supermarket and buy ingredients for a Sunday roast tomorrow.

And I did it!

I could end this post there, as I am so flipping happy with myself, but I won’t, because the first outing with my two little people to our local Lidl and Sainsburys was pretty eventful.

I was pretty sure, as I arrived back home, with the newly acquired shopping haul and still with the two children (thank goodness – leaving one in the meat aisle would have been a bad first trip), that it wasn’t at all stressful and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Then as I snapped at Lylah for the fifth time over lunch at my nans, I realised that actually it may have taken a little toll.

Today started well, and I managed to shower, de-fuzz, dress, and actually put on some make up, all whilst Lylah played and Malachy stared at me, waving his arms about from his vibrating chair (best baby thing EVER).

So I confidently left the house, two children strapped into their car seats, all the necessary transport adaptors on hand, and minimal baggage in tow.  I was praying we would have no wee or poo incidents from Lylah on our outing, nor an explosive nappy from Malachy whilst strapped into the Lidl trolley.

I was maybe being a bit ambitious doing both Lidl and Sainsburys, but one was for food, and one was for the 25% off clothing sale, not to be missed when you have an ever growing toddler!

Lidl first.  The initial thing that came to my attention is just how much I need the mother and baby parking spaces now more than ever.  Having Lylah off a leash makes my stomach leap every time she walks further than an inch away from me, and I really need to be close to the trolley park if I’m carrying my handbag, the car seat and child, as well as guiding a toddler away from moving vehicles.

I couldn’t see a spare space to start with, then I spotted two older looking people getting out of their car in what I thought was the last spare space.  I was about ready to wind the windows down and unleash my fury, until a child popped out of their car.  She was a big child though, and they probably didn’t need to park there as I’m pretty confident she could’ve walked the extra few feet alongside two fully grown adults.  Luckily for them, I spotted the empty space next to them, so proceeded to park up and chill out.

Once Malachy was strapped onto the trolley, which by the way are the biggest trolleys there due to the fact they need to accommodate babies in car seats atop them, we set out on our journey through the aisles of Lidl.  Lylah was being good and staying by my side, but one downside to not having her strapped in somewhere is that she takes great pleasure in throwing whatever she fancies into the trolley!  So I spent half the excursion taking things out of the trolley!  My first main obstacle was that I kept banging into people, especially old, slow people on my travels.  I was trying to keep it swift because there are no toilets in Lidl, and this can be disastrous with a not long potty trained 2 year old.  But the constant manoeuvring and reversing meant that everything was taking a lot longer than intended.

We made it to the checkout with a full trolley, but as I was starting to pack things away, Lylah announced she needed a wee wee.  The panic in my voice came out in a shriek like tone which said “you need to hold it sweetheart, just squeeeeeze really tight, squeeeeeeeze it, and we’ll go when we get to the car”.  I momentarily panicked that I hadn’t packed the Potette, but thankfully I remember seeing it in the boot.  There were always drains I suppose, would just have to hover her over one of those if not!  As I packed the remaining items and frantically paid, I kept glancing down at the floor beneath Lylah, each time imagining a pool of wee, soaked little pink leggings and white shoes covered in yellowy liquid.  There was time when I brought the actual potty into actual Lidl, in the actual trolley, in case of times like these.  Have I become too confident in my child, who does tend to ‘p*ss like a racehorse’?!

Bless her heart, she held it all the way to the car, and without even the slightest of leaks, waited patiently until I had put the stupid flipping Pottete liner in the stupid flipping Potette (sorry, although it has saved me on many an occasion, anyone that has tried to use one will understand me), then sat astride it on the pavement and did her thing.  Phew.

Once the car was packed up with shopping and kids, I turned to take the trolley and liner full of wee wee to the trolley park and bin.  Only to be greeted by a lady (whom I’d not met before), who proceeded to tell me about her recent travels to Spain.  I don’t mind talking to strangers in Lidl car park about their holidays, in fact, its something we don’t do enough as a society, and this lovely lady obviously felt like she could talk to me just from the look of my backside bent over the boot of my Golf, but when you have two children in the car, one probably due another wee at any second, and one a three week old newborn who constantly pukes out of his nose, its hard to not need to hurry things along a little.  After a good five minutes, she went on her way, and I managed to get the trolley back, the wee bag dumped and get on our way to supermarket number 2 for some clothes shopping.

As we got out of the car in Sainsburys, I noticed the same lady strolling towards the main entrance, so I subtly hovered back in order to keep things swift before she started telling me about her next Mediterranean adventure.

This time, as there was no big shop to do, I opted to pop the car seat on top of the pushchair chassis, which meant I could at a least see where I was going, and Lylah again walked.  I forgot though that Sainsburys is a little more interesting to a child’s eyes than Lidl, and once we were in the children’s clothing section, do you think I could prize her away from the Frozen hair clips and Sofia the First tiara selection?  After a few “but I neeeeeeed it” moments from Madam Boyd, I persuaded her to leave with some half price hair clips and a sun hat in tow.

Then as we left the cosmetics aisle, Lylah insisted, at the top of her voice, that she push Malachy and not me.  When I tried to assist her in the steering, she went into mini meltdown mode, and I had to assure her that I was simply “helping you push him the right way” whilst actually pushing and steering with one hand so she believed she was doing it.  I should’ve gone straight to the nearby checkout right then and there, but my favourite raspberry cheesecake was calling me from the chilled bit by the bakery at the far end of the store, so we had Lylah ‘pushing’ Malachy for quite some time, just so I could get my cheesecake fix.

We were served by the lovely Sue, and Lylah was her usual friendly self whilst sat on top of the checkout, showing off her hat and baby brother.  Its moments like this that make the stress of these things all worthwhile.  You would never know from her cheeky little grin that just moments earlier she was emptying her bladder in Lidl car park.

We bundled into the car and I was hugely pleased that it was all over.  Lots of money, a panicked wee wee, a nice conversation with a stranger and a lot of struggling with heavy things later, and we were done.

Next time I’ll do it when Lylah is at pre-school.


Welcoming Baby Malachy to Jugglehood


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There are moments of peace and quiet, the baby settled and Lylah enjoying playing with something for more than 20 seconds.

There are moments where the screaming from both of them is so loud I literally don’t know who to deal with first.

There are moments full of love and overwhelming happiness, where my little family is all together, cuddling on the bed, giggling and playing, and most importantly, not crying.

There are moments when everything is so chaotic that pulling my hair out seems like the only reasonable option.

This is day 6 after Chris going back to work, although today doesn’t count, as he has a day off.  But days 1-5 have been…interesting.

I should firstly officially give my baby boy a Jugglehood announcement.  Baby Malachy Christopher Boyd arrived with us on 30th April 2015, at 12:14am.  He is absolutely wonderful, and if you’d asked me in the first 2 weeks (funnily enough while Chris was still at home with us), then everything was going swimmingly, and I was finding the whole experience of 2 children surprisingly calm.

I have been feeling great, he is feeding really well and gaining weight, he is sleeping between feeds with very little fuss and Lylah responded really well to our new addition and adores her “baby brudder”.  Then Chris went back to work…

To start with, things were going well.  I’ve basically worked out that as long as one is a) asleep or b) occupied for more than 5 minutes, then I can deal with the other one.  It’s the needing me both at the same time scenario that I’m not quite sure how to deal with!  It can’t be that hard, I know a lot of people with 2 or more babies, and they all make it look so easy!

I can deal with the night feeds, I can deal with the tiredness, I can cope with the 2-3 hour feeds, I can even cope with the reality that with baby number 2, there is no going back to bed after their early morning feed while they sleep on, because of a certain two year old shouting for their Weetabix!  But I am struggling to manage the double screaming episodes.  The tantrumming toddler (who has become so defiant since daddy’s return to work that I feel stupid for thinking that she had adapted to the whole scenario like a dream) VS the new addition (who is so cute and cuddly that it surprises  me when he screams so loud and shrill that it hurts my ears).

The first episode occurred on day 1 of daddy’s return to work.  Lylah needed a bath, but I didn’t have the time to give her the whole bath time fun we normally have, so we opted for a quick shower while Malachy was settled in his chair watching the fun.  She went in okay, but then the showering fun turned quickly into the mother of all tantrums when she refused to have her hair washed.  Amidst this tantrum consisting of throwing herself around the slippery shower tray and crying so hard she was starting to cough and choke, the baby started to scream.  Just out of the blue, no real justifiable reason that I could see or think of, just screaming.  This made me panic beyond reason, as my instinct was to go to him and calm him down.  But then I had the realisation that if I did this I would be doing a couple of things.  1) Lylah would probably slip and injure herself and 2) I would be going straight to him when Lylah was clearly in need of the attention.  Agree or not with giving your attention to a tantrumming toddler, but in the time when a new sibling has been introduced to the environment they are used to, I have felt that ignoring her tantrums may have a longer lasting negative effect.

Anyway, I had to leave Malachy to cry, which was hard, but he was strapped into his chair and I could see that he was safe, and I managed to calm Lylah down.  The miracle was that as I was sorting Lylah out, Malachy just stopped crying and fell back to sleep!  And then it was all fine and calm again.

These daily blips are, I suppose, only to be expected, but they have increased my stress levels and I’ve noticed that in 5 days, my grey hair count has gone up.

But with time, this will be a breeze.  2 children?  Easy…she says!

Welcome to Jugglehood, Malachy Boyd.  I’ve got a feeling this is going to be fun!