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????

 

 

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.

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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

The Cross we Bear

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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”

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

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My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

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You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen

 

 

 

I’m eating nothing!!

If you have read other posts you will be aware of my battle with the bulge. Without trying to sound dramatic, that wouldn’t be like me at all, I liken it to a serious addiction. Food is my drug of choice and I don’t know how to become rehabilitated. I literally flip flop from wanting to loose weight and swearing to make a massive effort to throwing in the towel and accepting that I’ll never be slim. That switch could happen at least four times an hour. Every time professing to anyone that will listen…. this time will be different…..and it never is.

Writing this tonight I’m in binge mode and weight loss is the furthest thing from my mind I’m having a fat food Friday and I’m loving every minute of it. Until tomorrow when I try on my jeans and I’m like 7 pounds of rice shoved into a 5 pound bag. (I think the correct  phrase is 7 pound of shit but you know… I didn’t want to be vulgar). Continue reading “I’m eating nothing!!”

Birth Story Numero Trois

There’s not a mother alive in this modern age that hasn’t shared her birth story with her nearest and dearest. In fact I’m pretty sure a lot of us have shared it with complete strangers from time to time. These stories are our right’s of passage into motherhood and we recite them like the folklore of Irish history. I know I tend to flesh mine out and I could give the Children of Lir a run for their money.

I will tell each birth story in turn but I’m going to start with my most recent birth just because I can remember it with greater ease. I can say with conviction that I am finished having children so I can reminisce fondly, safe in the knowledge that I will never have to go through it again.

This time two years ago I was waiting patiently for the birth of my third child. Having split with my partner I had to return home to my mother and it was a stressful time to say the least. Moving back home is hard regardless of the circumstances but I arrived not only with sacks of clothes but with two young boys and a bun in the oven (a pink bun by the way but ssssssshhhhhhh you’ll ruin the end of the story).  Not ones to dwell on the negative we just got on with things and tried to look forward to the new arrival as best we could. Continue reading “Birth Story Numero Trois”

Solo Warrior

We have many firsts as parents, first time to change a nappy, first time to be puked on, first time shopping for school uniforms…. the list is as long as it is varied. Well today I had a first. I probably won’t forget it in a hurry but not for the same warm fuzzy feelings that other ‘first’ memories bring to that corner of my tummy. Today I had my first, I suppose the only word for it is, altercation, with a fellow parent over one of my children.

A knock came to the door and I was greeted with a very irate man wanting to know why his daughter was upset over something that I had said to her. Yes me! Not my son but me, a grown middle-aged woman had upset a young child. Not one of my finer moments I can admit without hesitation.

Now I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of the conversation because I would be extremely tempted to fill in my part of the conversation with many phrases and quick-witted remarks that I wish I had said, as opposed to what actually occurred. I will expect plenty of private mails looking for the finer details. What I will say is that I did  speak to the children and tell them to play nicely with one another and asked them not to exclude my son.

In hindsight maybe having words with other people’s children is not a great idea…. lesson learned. This upset the child and in turn upset her father and a conversation followed where we both defended our own as you do and parted agreeing to speak to the children about their behaviours towards each other.

Of course for the rest of the evening my mind was flooded with thoughts of what had happened. My role in the events and my son’s role and how could I have behaved better and how do I help him improve his behavior towards others?

Do I stand by my son and defend him to the death….

My child would never do such a thing!

When I see a parent approaching my door do I turn my head and automatically assume his guilt regardless of the circumstances?

What did you do?

It’s one of the first times in a long time that I really felt like a single parent. I had no one to bounce the situation off of. No one to help me rationalise. No one to debrief after the big scary man came up and gave out to me. No one to have my back. No one to calm me when I swore blind that the children would never see the light of day again and no one to hug me when I felt extremely vulnerable.

The conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t come to a conclusion. I couldn’t wrap this up in a little bow and tidy it away. I realised that I don’t want to be a naive parent and pretend that I don’t think that my child is capable of being mean to others. Of course he is. Along with every other child on the planet. They are all horrible to one another at some stage. I also feel like I want to defend him to the death because he’s my cub and I’m a mama bear and if I won’t defend him who will?

I did learn that I won’t be talking to other children about their behaviors. It’s a modern approach to parenting because in my childhood days if any adult spoke to you, you did what you were told and if you complained to your mother you were told where to go. I’m not sure that it’s a great parenting development but it’s here and it’s not going anywhere. I’m also going to shift my focus. I can’t control how other people treat my son but I can help shape how he responds.

I’m off to have a vodka because this scummy mummy has had enough for one day. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the summer. I may pull the curtains and pretend I’m not here!

Be well

Ellen

 

Imaginosity

I’ve only just recently overcome the fear of bringing my wee family places by myself. All too often I have recruited family and friends with the inner feeling that I just couldn’t cope  alone. Well this day I decided I was bringing my brood up the the big smoke to Imaginosity, the children’s museum in Sandyford. I will confess I was meeting a friend up there but that was more for a catch up then the support that I had grown to crave.

Preparations always begin the night before you are going anywhere. I had gathered the clothes that I wanted them to wear and placed them in neat piles on our snack table. Our snack table is a breakfast counter but my boys could not understand the concept so we rechristened it the snack table much to their delight. They seem to be the only ones who have a snack table in their house….. course you are boys because it’s a totally made up thing!!!!!

I packed a change of clothes for each child. I did only pack one change of underwear and socks between the boys because like seriously what are the chances that both of them would get destroyed all the way down to their underwear. As that thought popped into my head I already felt like I was tempting fate. Then I thought feck it…. first one to get wrecked gets the underwear…… number two will be going commando! A few snacks in the bag and I was ready to rock.

Up and at it early I put on the face while the lads ate their breakfast. All bustled into the dinky and hit the minty highway. I was driving like the stig in a dress and totally loving life. I somehow managed to overestimate how long it takes to get to Dublin these days. We were booked into Imaginosity for 11:30 and I’m sat in the car park at 10:10.  Never fear nothing a bag of jellys and Justin Beiber on the radio couldn’t solve.

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We scrambled out of the car and made our way to reception where we signed in and got our stamp on our hands. The place was choc a block full of small children who didn’t really know what was going on. The staff made an announcement of all the little rules and no one listened. And no I’m not talking about just the children. There was one woman who spoke on her mobile the whole way through it. I had to have a word with myself to calm as I had visions of myself grabbing her phone and flinging it out the door.

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Our session began and we made our way up the stairs and a world of chaos unfolded in front of my eyes. I hadn’t put Macy down when the boys were gone no where to be seen. Every corner had something to discover and explore. A supermarket and post office, a diner and a bed to play doctors and nurses. Another floor filled with a mock news room and stage equiped with costumes and lights. Science mixed with play mixed with education.

Although the session was sold out I can’t say that it felt packed. There was so much to see and do that children moved on regularly to allow the next child their turn. The wonderful part was seeing parents role playing with their kids in the supermarket and a Dad operating the lights on the stage for his daughters production. It brought out the child in the adults too.

The session lasted two hours and mine were just about getting hungry and looking to go as it drew to an end. This was of course after my son went down the stairs and helped himself to a toy out of the toy shop. I said to him…..

‘you cannot steal a toy….you have a brother and sister…. you have to steal three!!!!!

What actually happened was a very sheepish apology to a staff member who was very understanding. Thank the lord. We headed back to the car and all the lads wanted was good aul McDonald’s. Onto google and we found the nearest one and they devoured every morsel they were starvin marvin. Loaded back into the dinky and they all snored the whole way home while I murdered Adele songs while making up my own words.

I really enjoyed the day. There was no fighting no tears and it all went smoothly. I think the big bonus of Imaginosity was how safe it felt. Bringing three anywhere is daunting but it felt very secure. We will be looking forward to our next adventure.. And I might ever tell ye all about it.

Stay safe

Ellen