My doll called Finn

You cannot beat the feeling of opening something new. I love opening new cartons of milk and new make up. I love unwrapping presents and ripping the tags off a newly purchased outfit. I’m 36 and the excitement is palpable. I can only imagine how a child feels. They don’t have the restraint that we have to control that urge to squeel with delight. Of course some items are more squeelable than others.

Case in point I got offered the chance to experience a new kind of toy on the market. I had to take a few deep breathes as my adult restraint system temporarily failed me. This was a doll called Finn. I suppose I should really explain. My middle son is named Finn. This was a doll called Finn. What’s so special about a doll I hear you ask? Well I’m about to tell you!

IMG_boxed doll and outfit
Lottie and Finn

My son Finn is a wonderful boy full of warmth and mischief. He is kind and generous with a ferocious temper if pushed but that makes him a interesting person to watch grow. As a family we have noticed that Finn is curious about everything. This has even extended to the toys in the house that would be traditionally considered girls toys. He has tried dresses, lipstick and hair bands. Equally he loves guns and archery and all those activities that we class as boys activities.

Therein lies the issue. The marketing of toys to divide them into boys and girls can put off a boy picking up something he might love to play with just because it’s perceived to be for ‘girls’. So when I came across Lottie Dolls I was so impressed. A doll that is gender neutral. Now by this I don’t mean that the dolls have no gender, they come as both boys and girls. What I mean is that the dolls are not covered  head to toe in pink tulle and adorned with lipstick and high heels. The boy doll Finn is not an action figure with a six pack and super powers. They are dolls based on real children. They have child like bodies and wear child like clothes and I just love them.

When my son saw the box he was instantly impressed with the doll because it had his name on it. I know not every child will have that treat but once that novelty was over the thrill of his new little friend remained. Nobody would even think of buying a five year old boy a doll but if they saw the way my Finn carried Finn Junior around for a solid week they would certainly change their minds. He dressed him and undressed him and repeated that hourly. As a mother I noticed how easy it was to change the clothes which was great because he didn’t need my help. The small exception being the socks as is the case with real life Finn also.

The day after Finn’s arrival in the house I had to hide him up on a shelf to avoid him being ripped asunder by the other two. He sat up their until his buddy came home to take him away with him on any number of adventures.

From a mother’s perspective I loved that he had a doll that wouldn’t necessarily bring with it snide remarks. The resemblance to a real child was refreshing, I didn’t need to address feminist issues of make up and body image which would arise from my constantly questioning child. To top it all off it’s an Irish company and knowing this was a home grown treasure made the joy all the better.

IMG_Finn on couch with boxed doll

 

 

If you want to investigate these wonderful characters you can find them at on the  Lottie Website and in store at Art and Hobby Shops

Lottie, Finn and Friends get a big thumbs up in this house!!!

Child you had one job…. where are your thumbs????

 

 

Godparents

First world problems

There’s a hash tag going around #firstworld problems designed to acknowledge that whatever it is that you are giving out about is actually not really a problem at all. Well I have one such first world problem that actually bothers me.

I don’t have a god child.

Big Deal

I know it’s beyond ridiculous to even think about but being honest it really makes me sad. I swear I do have more important things to be worried about.

In my defence of my harmless pondering. In our family god parents are a big deal. It’s viewed as a huge honour. I know the concept it rooted in religion but as a gesture it’s saying to that person. I would trust you with my child. That’s a pretty big deal. There are people in my life I wouldn’t trust with a sandwich.

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Is it me?

At this stage I can’t see that I will ever be asked. Most of my friends are finished with their baby making days or even if they weren’t there are sisters or cousins or life long friends that would be way ahead of me in the line.

When my mood gets low I used to wonder what was wrong with me that no one saw fit to ask me to stand for their child? I’m unreliable and fickle or maybe before I became a mother I may have seemed irresponsible but truth be told it’s just a mixture of circumstance and bad timing.

Worth the wait

I see my sister with my children and I am really in awe. I don’t know what it is to love a child that isn’t my own. I can’t comprehend choosing to get up and spend time with a child. Like……. I have to love my own…… I’m pretty sure it’s part of the deal!

My sister has no children (so I’ll never be an aunt either ) but I really believe she couldn’t love them anymore even if they were her own. I’ll never experience that relationship. My children have cousins but I have no relationship with them because of my break up. Pity cause I’d be such a cool aunt. Even if I do say so myself.

I suppose my opportunity to experience that love of a child that isn’t my own will come when my own have children. If they are blessed I’ve heard that grandchildren are amazing. You love them like your own but you get to hand them back at the end of the day. Obviously I’ll be waiting a while. But from what I hear it will be worth the wait.

 

 

 

Line lover

It took me almost 35 years to find a hobby I enjoy. I’ve started many things and promptly lost interest. That’s my usual progression but The Line Dancing has stuck. Yes you heard me right Line Dancing and before you break into the chorus of Achy Breaky Heart and ask me if I have cow boy boots ( I don’t YET) it’s not what you think it is.

There is of course a massive country influence because that’s where it started but it has progressed to include modern routines to chart songs as well. It’s really good fun and great exercise too. So the club were heading off to England to a social weekend of dancing and I decided to join them. I haven’t left the country in 8 years and that fact alone shocked me. What shocked me even more is the amount of preparation I had to do to get away for two nights.

It started months in advance with the weekly saving for my fare and spending money. Gone are the days of where I’d book it all on the credit card and worry about it when I came home. When you have little ones depending on you for like food and stuff you have to be a bit more responsible.

The beauty regime pre travel was nuts. I got the hair done, I got fake lashes, shellac and a spray tan… perks of my course. I exfoliated and moisturised I buffed and polished and it took a couple of weeks for me to head off looking pretty much the same as I always do.

me and dee

Then because the children were being minded by family on the Friday and going to their Dads on the Saturday I wanted to have the house nice ( passable ) for my sister to sleep and I needed to think ahead to the Saturday morning and have everything ready for her to send them off. I was a bit stressed that I’d forget something because well I tend to forget things.

Then the packing for the airport. Trying to compress my make up was a week long job in itself. We were only bringing carry on and then all your liquids had to fit into this one little tiny bag. I mourned for the eye cream that I couldn’t squeeze in. I apologised to the toner that had to be left behind and vowed to bring it on the next trip. I was distressed.

I managed to pack for me and for them and to leave the house organised by my standards ( low low standards ) I left instructions and directions and before I even stood foot on a plane I was exhausted.

group

This is where the divide between men and women becomes apparent to me. Take away the fact that I’m on my own. Let’s just imagine as I often do that I have a loving, extremely attractive,well built, tattooed husband who likes to bring me out dancing and who plays guitar and…… Hang on I got a bit distracted there….. What was I saying? Oh yeah… Let’s cut it right down. When men go away they only have to worry about themselves. When women go they have to think of EVERYTHING.

Exhausted as I sat on the plane I got a little anxious. It was bizarre it’s not like I’ve never been away from the children but it was almost as if leaving the country was a bit more serious. I actually cried after take off and was mortified. My emotions were haywire. I felt such guilt because I was going away and not bringing them. Then I made the huge mistake of telling The Sun that I was going on a plane. They’ve never been on a plane. Silly silly silly Mammy.

Once I had let my extremely practical and honest friends talk sense into me I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed my weekend away. I learned a few things. I learned that I’m shit at line dancing but am going to try harder because I really do love it. I learned that a tan makes everything better… fake tan of course. I learned that it’s ok to have a life apart from your children. In fact it’s essential. I came back in fantastic form and grateful for my children and grateful for the support I had  that allowed be to go.

The next trip is to Latvia in August…… I started prepping yesterday. Honest!!!!

 

from behind

Deep Thoughts

Some blog posts come naturally, they flow and I could write them in twenty minutes at the most. For some reason this one is tough, I just don’t know where to begin. My natural tendency is to write about topics from a light hearted stance. However there is little humour to be found in the subject of mental health.

Even to say the words. I have mental health issues. They get a little stuck in my throat somehow.

I am not ashamed.

I’m an open person I wear my heart on my sleeve but somehow that sentence doesn’t fit me? There are a number of reasons for that.

I don’t really fit the stereotype. The perception is that I’m outgoing, confident and full of the joys of life. Well there was a period in my life that none of those words could have been used to describe me. I can’t remember the first time I felt depressed. It started with bouts of crying. I’m a girl sure  that’s just hormones. I was either pre menstrual, menstrual or post menstrual. But that was the point. There was no end to it. I felt sad all the time. Continue reading “Deep Thoughts”

Phoney

I have an aul gra for mass generalisations but I think it’s fair to say that we would all be fairly lost without our phones. The phone is no longer a privilege of the wealthy but really an everyday necessity. From 8 to 80 everyone has one. Some people even have two. The way we communicate with one another has changed so much. Could you even imagine writing a letter to someone and having to wait weeks maybe even months for a reply? Everything these days is about the instant fix we really don’t like to have to wait for anything and our phones afford us that luxury.

You can chat or text anyone anywhere in the world. Now grant is most of us are texting our other halves to stick the kettle on or to bring some toilet roll upstairs but the potential is there to text someone in Brazil, if you knew anyone in Brazil. Continue reading “Phoney”

The Cross we Bear

kyle-oakwood

I recently attended mass. I can’t say that I am a regular attendee but this was a mark of respect for the anniversaries of a number of family members. The children were with me this particular weekend so it was time to don the best clothes and put our best foot forward and I was looking forward to showing off my beautiful little family. This enthusiasm was soon dampened when I found out the anniversary mass was at 9;30 in the morning. Three plus myself all to be suited and booted and up and out for that hour on a Sunday. We were not off to a good start!

My darling sister said she would help by taking one of my wee cherubs over on a sleep over so that I only had two to suit and boot.  See who ever said that prayers aren’t answered?

Off we headed to mass and when we parked up on the college road the eldest refused to get out of the car. Did I mention that it was raining? Continue reading “The Cross we Bear”

Other Mothers

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Hellloooo Yes i’m talking to you. You dear other mother that is listening to me right now. I would like to address this strange dynamic that you and I, as mothers, have with one another. We both have children. Whether you gave birth or someone else gave birth for you or you took on a child, we are both now blessed in our role as mother. This role might involve one or more children but the title remains the same. You might have a partner or a husband or mulitple sexual partners that you call on from time to time but again we are both mothers. You may have a job or a number of jobs or you may be a stay at home mother but guess what yes at the risk of being predictable we are both mothers. So now that we have established that we are part of the one team. Why is it we compete and compare?

When I had my first son I had a feeding schedule that I adhered to at all costs. I was rigid to a fault. If I broke from my routine the universe would surely implode. I was totally convinced. I did it by the book and was doing everything ‘right’. Then guess what I discovered?  My besty who I genuinely consider to be an excellent mother had her own feeding schedule and it was so different to mine. How could this be? Continue reading “Other Mothers”

bedtime battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. Continue reading “bedtime battles”

The Raging Roads

I love to go for an aul drive. Hit the minty highway as my Da used to say I have happy memories of my Dad letting down the back seat for us to sleep after a day trip to Dublin. In those days Dublin seemed a lot further away. It wasn’t something you’d do on a whim. It took planning and time and you’d make sure the neighbours knew you were going because who knew if you’d come back. I remember my father triple checking, the oil, and the wheels to set about on our adventure to the big smoke. We knew we had hit Dublin when you’d see the big ball and then the McDonalds sign on the long mile road. Kilkenny didn’t have a McDonalds at the time so it was as good as being in a foreign country.

My grandfather used to bring us on a drive out the Kells to buy batch bread and as we picked the middle out of the loaf there was this bridge he’d drive over at speed and his head would hit off the roof and our arses lifted off the seats and we just thought he was the coolest most daring Grandad anyone had ever! So in essence all my childhood associations with driving were fantastic. None of us had car seats it was squeeze in as many children as you can. My Uncle even had a hole in the floor of his car that we’d all fight to sit over so that we could watch the road fly by. We knew no danger.

We are not the worst in the world for deaths on our road and we have greatly improved. In the year I was born there were over 500 deaths down to 165 the year before last but the reason I thought to talk about driving and roads has got to do with the way the deaths are reported. It’s only recently that I heard a news report mention the actual road itself. I drive the road from Kilkenny to Abbeyleix a lot and there are large sections of road without so much as a cat’s eye to guide the way. It’s so dark that drivers who don’t know the road really well crawl at a snail’s pace which can be equally as dangerous as driving too fast.

We are a wet country… it rains a lot!!!! But it seems to come as a shock to our roads when a drop of water hits them and instead of letting it slide off and soak in somewhere. the roads like to gather the fallen rain in large amounts. Are they worried that driving windy roads in the dark with no illumination wasn’t enough of a challenge… they thought let’s throw in a few water hazards while we are at it.

They say that driving while tired is nearly as bad as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But once you get on a motorway in Ireland you could hit France before you could find somewhere safe to pull in and get a rest. There are various junctions in Kilkenny where the road markings are wrong or contradict what I learned in my rules of the road book all those many years ago. It really frustrates me.

The placements of pedestrian crossings are just laughable. At one junction you have to turn right from being perched on a hill only to turn to be hit bang in the face with the possibility of a mother her six kids and two dogs trying to cross the road.

I get that we are all human. Most of us have made what could be classed as a silly mistake, taken our eyes of the road or pulled out when we shouldn’t have but the state of our roads are a disgrace. Road markings are missing unfinished or simply worn away. I sometime wonder if the people who plan and construct the roads have ever been in a car in their lives. To prevent accidents you have to put the best of precautions in place. Sometimes it just feels to me like the roads are being designed to be against us.

Bedtime Battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. No the bedtime that I speak of is that of my three adorable children who, when it comes to going to getting them asleep, I like to refer to them as the spawns of Satan.

As a rational adult I cannot come to terms with the fact that at 7, 5 and 3 the children do not realise that every night without fail they have to go to sleep. I try to get across to them that this whole sleeping craic was not my idea. It’s not something I’ve conjured up to wreck their buzz or just be mean. This is a biological necessity.  When seven o’ clock arrives it’s like a shock to them that they have to go to sleep. It’s like it’s crept up on them unexpected like a big scary spider and the screams and protests are just as loud as if a big hairy one dropped onto their chubby little faces.

Now before the suggestions come flooding in I have tried many techniques. I have tried staggering the bedtimes starting at 7 with the youngest and working my way up to the eldest. Well sure I was putting children to bed for hours. It was like Groundhog Day from one child to the next, the teeth brushing the story telling the rubbing and me all the while doing my best not to fall asleep with each one. I’d start at 7 and I think I was still at it come half nine on more than one occasion.

I tried the whole bath and bedtime routine. Drops of lavender in the bath and nicely warmed towels all designed to soothe and relax. Well not my three reprobates. The water touched them and like gremlins they came alive.  They were drinking the bathwater and splashing each other and wriggling out of my hands like eels as I tried to wrestle them into their pyjamas. It was exhausting.

At the moment I’m at the stage where I’m turning off the electronics a half hour before bedtime to see if it will wind them down and prepare them for sleep. Paired with a story and lots deep breathes I can’t say that it’s getting any better. Macy has to have one story because she’s in a separate room and then to get the boys to agree on a story I’d need to employ a skilled negotiator and all the while I’m deep breathing to stop myself from putting a whole in the wall with my bare hands.

I’m sure it’s the same in every house with young children. But on a serious note I hate putting them to sleep when my last words to them are negative ones spouted out through gritted teeth. Every morning I explain to them how their behaviour was unacceptable the night before and how tonight has to be different and everyday they vow to do better and every day I believe them.

I’m studying at the moment and I need the evenings to get some work done or catch up on the housework and the longer it takes me to get them to bed the less time I have to get the things done that I’ll never have enough time to do anyway.

It’s not all about me despite what you may have heard. The Children need their sleep. I see such a difference in them when they have had a few nights of good quality sleep. It’s when their bodies grow and repair. It’s also the time that their brains organise all their thoughts from the day. Knowing my three the thoughts that they organising is new and inventive ways on how are they going to thwart their mother at bedtime tonight.  Is it 7 o clock yet? No? Great because I need time to prepare for tonight’s battle. Wish me luck.