Posts from the “motherhood” Category

1st Pregnancy versus this time round

Posted on 15 March, 2016

As some of you may know I LOVED  my first pregnancy. As this pregnancy moves on (I’m 30 weeks now) I’m noticing some distinct differences between my first and second pregnancy.

1) During my first pregnancy I could have been categorised myself as a keen over-sharer. I would seek people out to talk to about being pregnant. When I exhausted my family, friends, colleagues and  neighbours with details of how I was feeling about everything pregnancy related I turned my attention to strangers. A stranger might innocently comment ” Oh when’s the big day?” Only to get greeted with a barrage of information” It’s the 18th of April. I’ve been feeling really well. Well, actually I had a bout of sickness at the start ( I was sick once and liked to tell everyone!) but I’m feeling much better. We don’t know the sex but for some reason I think it’s a girl ( I was wrong) We’re getting the room ready now. We’ve done the ante natal classes in the hospital and I’m trying out hypnobirthing too. Have you heard of it? No, well  let me tell you all about it…. “. The poor unsuspecting stranger who only popped out to Dunnes for milk got a blow by blow account of my pregnancy, my birthing plan and room colour choices.

This time around I’m struggling to remember I’m pregnant. Recently, someone asked me the same question”When’s the big day?”. My head raced, I’m not getting married, who is getting married that I know. Helen is. They don’t know Helen why is this stranger asking me when Helen is getting married. What big day, what are the talking about. Seeing the complete confusion on my face they asked “When is the baby due?” Once the penny dropped  I eventually replied “Ooohhh, The 23rd of May”. Despite the fact that it’s now the middle of March I’m still insisting that it’s ages away and that I have plenty of time to be thinking baby at some stage!

2) At 30 weeks pregnant in my first pregnancy babies room looked like this …



Walls were being dry lined and painted. Vintage floor boards were sourced to replace the wonky ones. Nightly debates about colour palettes were part of the routine. We had more unisex baby grows than Mothercare, all ready to go into the newly purchased Ikea dresser.

With this pregnancy I have bought one adorable baby grow  despite the fact that for some reason we threw out most of Ewan’s old ones. This lonely baby grow  lives in the utility room under a bag of potatoes because we don’t yet have a drawer cleared for babies things. Baby will be sleeping in our room and we assume that all the pieces of the crib are somewhere to be found in the attic.

Despite the facts that we’re not in full throttle preparation mode and that the bump is significantly unphotographed in comparison to the first pregnancy I still get a little belly flop of giddiness any time I say “family of four!”.

For babies part he or she is making sure their place at the table  is being set in my mind. Wriggling, stretching,kicking and bouncing  his or her way through the day and night. Life is busy with a nearly three year old but the little life in my belly makes sure that they draw my mind back to them with their extremely athletic activities!

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Hasty 30 week snap shot!

Some news

Posted on 3 February, 2016

After months of biting my tongue I can now finally get back to blogging without the urge to blurt it all out! I am delighted to tell you that I am 24 weeks pregnant and eating constantly! We are thrilled and looking forward to the end of May with excitement and a big tinge of trepidation at the idea of suddenly being a family of four.

We had an early miscarriage at 8 weeks in June last year. It knocked the wind out of me and it has meant that I met the news of this pregnancy with worry clouding the excitement. But as time has gone on I have very slowly started to trust that it’s going to be okay. For the last few weeks I have started to feel confident in my body again.

Here are a few photos from when I was 19 weeks pregnant. I took photos then because I was having a good hair day! Plus I decided if I was going to brave maternity dungarees then I might as well commit fully and put the pictures on the internet!

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Ewan is fully on board (in theory!) When we first told him he came out with stories that I wasn’t going to have a baby I was going to have a fish. Or there was another version where he conceded I was going to have a baby but the baby would have antlers. Since then we’ve taken him to see a scan and confirmed there’s no fish or antlers. Now runs up to cuddle the bump which is both surprising and cute. He also has taken to talking to the baby in voice much like this whale voiceWe have no idea where that came from but it I hope he keeps it up!




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A farewell to naps

Posted on 10 January, 2016

Dear Nap time,

I can barely express how much I miss you. Since you left me my days feel endless, my tea is always a little cold and by half nine I’m ready for bed.  I move from painting, to play doh, to walks, to playgroups, to Lego, to books, to watching You Tube but nothing takes my mind off how much I long to have you back in my life.

You were my anchor, my sedative and adrenaline wrapped in one. After two years and 8 months together I thought we had something. I really believed we would have more time together. Deep down I knew this day would come at some point but not now, not  like this. I thought there would be some warning signs, I thought we might be able to talk it out or I could force you to stay somehow but instead you upped and left, in January. I mean January!! Of all the months you could have picked, you had to go with January, the coldest, dreariest month of the year. Oh nap time how could you.  I have no idea what’s happening in Corrie. I can’t even think of a craft projects that doesn’t involve play doh. I just need you back so badly.

I knew things weren’t going well when all I could hear is the intense rattling of the stair gate and screams of “I WIDE AWAKE, I WIDE AWAKE MUMMY, I WANT TO GET OUT OF THE GATE, I WIDE AWAKE”

But I thought it was just a bump in the road, that we’d get past it. I hoped a few words with my serious voice would see us over the rough patch but things got worse. I tried everything to keep you: bribery, corruption, bargaining.  But I guess you already had your mind made up.

Friends say it’ll get easier. They say I’ll adjust but I’m not ready to adjust I just want you back even though it looks like you’ve jumped ship for good.

While I hate you for leaving I want you to know you can always come back, even if it’s just for a day or two, even  for just twenty minutes you’ll always be welcome here. Seriously, anytime, you don’t even have to call, just show up with a blanket!

But for now I guess this has to be goodbye.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Marie

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I don’t know how you do it

Posted on 27 October, 2015

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Recently I met an acquaintance who is a full time nurse and a mum. The last time I met her I was still on maternity leave and I was still firmly  on the fence about whether or not I wanted to go back to work. So after a bit of chit chat she asked if I had gone back to work. I explained that I had decided to stay at home instead and luckily I was enjoying it so far.

What followed was an exaggerated version of something that I hear a lot. She was just more zealous than most.

It went a little something like this:

” Oh a stay- at-home Mum, that’s great, wow. Is it still just the one you have?”

“Yeah, he’s two and a half now”

“Wow, great. God I don’t know how you do it. I really don’t. I mean I couldn’t do it. God, no way. Staying at home all day; I’d go mad. Absolutely insane. At home ALL day, wow. There’s no way I could do it. Straight after my maternity leave I was back to work. I love working. God, there’s no way I could stay at home. Wow, I’d go off my game. I just can’t imagine it. Fair play to you though”.

The woman is lovely and I’m positive no harm was meant by what she said but the retort that was on the very tip of my tongue was:

” Yeah I know. I think it must be my low IQ that lets me be able to do it. I reckon I’m just dim enough that  I can stay at home all day so it works out really well”. ( Then I’d wander off absent-mindedly singing ABC to myself).

In real life I smiled politely and changed the subject.

Maybe I’m blessed with a fertile imagination but I can definitely imagine working full time and being a parent. I can imagine it’s bloody hard but nevertheless it’s within my realm of comprehension. But her response is typical of so many other responses I’ve heard where the mere thought of staying at home is incomprehensible. ” I really don’t know how you do it”. Surely it’s imaginable, they are parents after all. They parent daily, what’s not to get?

I will concede that there may be a bit of paranoia at play on my part and maybe I should take what she said at face value. Judging by the number of wows included in her sentences she is impressed. Maybe I should just think “I’m impressive, isn’t that great” But mostly I’m pretty confident that the subtext of our chat was ” My God, I can’t imagine staying at home, I’d lose my mind with the boredom of it. Being at home would rot my brain”.

I’m still deciding how this conversation is meant to go . Maybe I’m missing an obvious cue and we are meant leap into a self deprecating volley.

“I don’t know how you do it”

“Oh staying at home is easy.I don’t know how you do it”. “

“Oh work is nothing, I just don’t know you do it”.

Or should I go into an elaborate explanation of how exactly I do it.

“I don’t know how you do it”

” Well, Monday morning the day normally starts at about 7 and then …”

It’s funny how something that sounds like a compliment can leave you feeling like you are doing something insane with your life. I’m not walking on water I’m staying at home with my child.  Similarly working parents are working and parenting. Both are pretty simple scenarios to imagine.I would have thought. I’ve yet to nail down my response to the next unfortunate person who say “I don’t know how you do it” I might just go with a simple understated  “aaarrggghhh” and walk off. Classy and concise.

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Free time

Posted on 18 September, 2015

Now that Ewan is in playschool two mornings a week I have a total of four and a half hours to myself in the day time! I have admit at first I had no idea what to do with myself.  Before he started I had great plans. I would do crafting projects, I’d blog so much the key board would break. Uncharacteristically, I even toyed with the idea of going swimming!

He has now being going for a month and I have not done any of these things. Not even once. I have done some grocery shopping, made beds, emptied the dishwasher for the millionth time and tidied up toys in preparation for inevitable destruction. But don’t let me fool you into thinking I’m a regular Cinderella, I ain’t. But finding a rhythm of something that I want to do, in a limited time-frame, which is close to home and free hasn’t been as easy as I first thought. My capacity for housework is limited and it’s not something that I want to work on developing so instead I’m flitting around the place. A few days ago I tackled the wood logs lying in our back garden. 5 years ago when we chopped down trees in our garden and stacked the resulting logs with great talk of buying stoves, cutting wood etc. Last year they acted as a table when I photographed cups on top of them and other than that they haven’t been put to use at all.


So, I’ve started sawing them for firewood (No comments on my technique please!) . I tried to think of this as a meditative task. I told myself that you could imagine monks doing this to help clear the mind but really my only thoughts while doing it was that these better burn for longer than it’s taking me to saw them!

Having given up on the idea that sawing is meditative I took to timing myself instead. This suits my competitive self much better and now I’ve really gotten into it! When I started it was taking me nearly 10 minutes to saw one log. Shameful I know! Now, I can crack that baby in two in just over a minute. Maybe there’s a sawing Olympic I could train for, hmm!

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While it’s good to have fire wood and like any toddler I love being timed I’m still not sure that sawing is sustainable as a relaxing thing to do. So today I turned to food. I was served an amazing breakfast at a friends house last weekend and I realised I never take the time for a leisurely breakfast. Given that morning start at 7 usually I also don’t really feel like it so this lunch time while Ewan was gluing the table at playschool I took to making Eggs arnold/eggs royale (whatever you call it, the one with salmon!) and it was made me drool a little it was that tasty!

I may not have nailed down something structured to do with my time but it turns out messing around with logs and eggs has it’s charms.


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The NO Machine

Posted on 29 June, 2015

Lately I’ve been finding that my sentences are a loop of nos,”don’t do that” and “STOP”. The vast majority of these exclamations are entirely justified. I’ve read numerous bits of parenting advice that suggest you don’t say No continuously to children instead you tell them what they should be doing. This advice goes straight out the window when Ewan “helps” me with the shopping by grabbing a packet of sausages and making a break for it. In seconds he has eaten through the cling film to get at the raw meat underneath. As I run after him I don’t have the presence of mind to think of saying ” Ewan remove the raw meat from your mouth and put the sausages in the fridge please” and instead “NNOOOO, Ewan stop it, for the love of god come back. Arrgghhh how did you eat cling film, Ewan they’re raw, yuck,Ewan come back, SSSTTTOOPP”.

I will admit that at other times there’s no risk to him and sometimes saying no is just a habit. A No often often involves less effort than a yes. But saying no constantly gets irritating for everyone, including myself. Last weekend we took a little holiday to West Clare and I tried to let some things slide and tried really really hard to say yes a little more often.

It’s not easy. There is always a whole host of things he wants to do and a whole list of things I determine we need to do instead. He wants to get out of the car, “Sorry but No we have to get there”. He wants to watch more cartoons, “No you have to go outside and exhaust yourself because we are going for another trip in the car”. He wants to eat everything, all of the time, “No because you might actually explode”.So my plan to say yes a little more often was beginning to seem a bit lofty.

We were staying in Quilty and had an awesome view of the sea. As soon as we drove into the village Ewan shrieked “bbbbeeeeaaacchh” and pleaded to go.  I said no and we went in to meet my friend and her family who were putting us up. Over the next day and half there was a whole list of reasons we couldn’t go to the beach. With places to go and people to see it added up to no beach. One afternoon we were coming back from another long drive and he squealed “bbeeeaacch” again. I replied with “Sorry we can’t go it’s raining but maybe later”. I knew once we were in there would be little to no hope of me leaving again. I had dreams of wine, chats and sitting but then I thought again. He was strapped into the car seat more often than not and wanted to go to the beach. It really wasn’t that unreasonable a request. So I zipped him into his rain suit/ mechanics outfit, hoisted on his wellies and off we went. I sat in my rain coat on a blown out tyre someone had dumped on the beach and he had the time of his life.



Saying yes to the beach in the wind and the rain might not be sensible option but despite the fact that I was still thinking about the wine in the fridge I loved every second of it.



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Where have I been?

Posted on 16 April, 2015

High-res version

You might be forgiven for thinking that I have vanished. Well, rest assured I am alive and well.

I would love to say that I have been doing something terribly industrious and important but in truth I’ve been going filling my days with thousands of trips to Fota Wildlife Park  …


…feeding some hungry kid goats at an open farm….

IMG_0666 editedand have messing around in loads of playgrounds…IMG_0692

On the home front I’ve discovered the wonders of sticking some ginger nuts in with digestives to make a good and crunch crumble!


When I haven’t been loitering in sunny parks or crumbling I have been crafting my little heart out. My local craft shop Vibes and Scribes have sponsored me to do a crafting blog post. I’m unbelievably thrilled about this. I’m nuts about their shop so when they got in touch I squealed ! After squealing the next obvioius thing to do was to touch with my crafty friend Colette and so the planning and plotting started! I hope to have a finished masterpiece ready really soon, I’m so excited to show you:)


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How to entertain a toddler

Posted on 19 March, 2015

I picked the title for the post because this is exactly what I googled about a month ago. I was in a stage when I would look at the clock, then calculate how many hours I had to entertain Ewan for before Steve finished work and I would then proceed with panicking. I felt like I had to be a one man show all the time.

It turns out the answer is simple, let them make a mess!

The messier the better.

During the week we go to a toddler group, swimming,library story time and a singing group and the thing he gets most excited about is ten yards away. When I suggest going into the garden he literally flaps with excitement and squeals ” sticks, stones, mmmeeeessssssss!” .  Those three little words are all he wants. When I bring him to a wildlife park he will spend the time finding sticks and puddles!

When I googled  “how to entertain a toddler” I think I was expecting to find a world of hidden gems, a key activity that would entrance him for hours on end and involved no effort on my part. Although I did find this which looks amazing generally the ideas aren’t revolutionary.  When I scrolled through the blogs and forums I found suggestions like a sink of water, things with lid, putting things into other things I realised I was taking this entertaining idea far too literally. All toddlers want is to do is make a mess, explore but things into other things and be fed. For a brief time I thought that there was, or should be, more too it. But no, it turns out that a paper bag with receipts still in it ranks higher than a new truck every time!

Toddler groups are great for me because I have finally met some lovely people who I can chat easily with but for him he is happiest without all that laid on entertainment and is happy just filling his nails with mud, biting rocks and finding an “amazing stick”.  The muddiest trips to the garden bring out his best smiles.

I’m sure this time will pass and sticks will be so last week but for the moment I’m loving how simple it is to just go outside and watch him make an utter mess.

Long may it last:)


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Have you seen my baby?

Posted on 25 February, 2015

Recently, it feels like Ewan has accelerated into a fully grown toddler. He is making little sentences, he is growing at a rate of knots and he is even chasing boys and girls to tickle them! He has turned from the child who wouldn’t leave my hip at parent and toddler group to a fearless adventurer (well, kind of!).

This week we visited a play school that he will hopefully be going to in September. It was lovely and ticked all the right boxes. It has lovely staff, small numbers, outside space for stick finding and puddles but I couldn’t help have a little tear in my eye as we left even though he left with us.

My little soft cheeked toddler will be going to a place with the word school in it in a few short months. Admittedly, it also has the word play in it and he’ll only be there for a couple of hours, but still the premise is the same. He will be going into the big bad world unaided by a family member in only a few months!

The manager showed us around the garden first and as soon as we all walked  inside a little girl came straight up to Ewan and pushed him. This is the real world that I’m going to be letting him lose in. People push people, I mean come on people!!PicMonkey CollageWatching him play at home I never want to let him leave. (That is probably the most Kathy Bates sentence I have ever said!).

The more I think about the outside world the more it seems like the sensible parenting choice to build a cocoon around him, put him in a helmet  and vet everyone he comes in contact with!

While I want to say I don’t mean it and he should run free into the great unknown, right now I don’t think I can!  I’m sure I’ll get all big and grown up by the time September comes but right now I’m going to cuddle him until he’s blue and adopt a captive-style of parenting!

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Things I’ve said

Posted on 2 January, 2015

Around this time last year I wrote a post about the supposed effects of babbling to babies. This year I’ve moved from babbling nonsense to just nonsense. From the early nappy filled days of ” we are going to need a bigger bin!” all the way through these 20 months of being a mum I have found my sentences getting stranger and stranger. Along with the daily, “don’t eat that”, “put that down”,”don’t put the breakfast in your hair” I have also started to notice I find myself saying peculiar sentences I had never anticipated hearing from my own mouth” I can’t brush your teeth with a truck in your mouth”. ” if you put that car in the toilet it’s never coming out”, “take that out of your mouth and put in my hand “”Oh god, Is that snot in the sieve?”.



As he is heading towards two I’m seeing all early signs of his strong will getting even stronger. With a year ahead  bringing toilet training, a second birthday and a whole host of unknowns I’m preparing myself for my sentences to get  even stranger, the tantrums get bigger and amongst all the madness I’m pretty hopefully that the craic will be mighty too.



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