Mini breakthrough

You know those ideas that come to you on an idle Wednesday afternoon? The ones that appear out of nowhere with a bang, crash, wallop and make you sit up, drop your cup of tea all over yourself in excitement? The ones that also make you wonder how on earth have I not realised this before?

For over 3 long years now, we have struggled night, noon and morning to get decent food stuffs into our eldest daughter. Basically, if it ain’t white, she don’t wanna know about it-pasta, rice, waffles, chips in all their plain, stodgy glory are all she goes for at the dinner table. Her one saving grace is she loves fruit.

Well today, Mini ate kale, spinach, celery, avocado and carrot. No word of a lie. Well, perhaps, ‘ate’ is the wrong word. Consumed would be more accurate. ‘Drank’ even more so. The magic solution? It’s been staring us in the face all this time. Or rather pleading with us silently from the back of the cupboard-our blender, the kitchen implement that hasn’t gotten so many outings since the babies came along (previously it was dubbed our Cocktail Maker).

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Mini endings?

New years often come with new beginnings. For me, it’s always been a pensive time-a time to focus inward and see what is working in my life and the lives of those closest to me, and what needs to be cast aside. I started this blog as a way of dealing with what I felt was a hammerblow of a diagnosis after my child was born with Down syndrome. I was desperate to let people know that she was still amazing, despite her disability. As I wrote, and as she grew, I realised that I really didn’t have anything to fear about. Down syndrome isn’t about disability, it’s merely a different way of seeing the world. Even after nearly five years, I still don’t always get that.

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Christmas 2015-mini blessings

What can I tell you about Christmas 2015? I could talk all about how amazing it was to have it in our very own house for the first time. I could wax lyrical about how well behaved everyone was,both small and large members of the family, and how it was the first Christmas since circa 1986 that there wasn’t a major bust up.

Happy families.No really!

Happy families.No really!

I could confess about how I didn’t feel one bit guilty about prodding the minis awake at just after 7am (I had been unable to sleep from about 5.30 onwards-who’s the bigger kid, eh?).

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Beneffito and Land: Motivational Board Game Review

Sometimes I feel like I have the most ill-disciplined kids. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this but it doesn’t make it any less stressful when my two darling daughters kick off. There are battles to get dressed in the mornings, battles over their desire to watch TV for hours on end and perhaps the most hateful of all, battles over what food they choose to put in their mouths! I am constantly on the look out for any weapons that I can add to my parenting arsenal to try to tip the scales in my favour. I was delighted to get the chance then to review Beneffito and Land, a motivational board game from Plukkido, designed to provide creative solutions to solve all-day issues in families with young children (recommended ages 2-7) by harnessing their imagination.

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Mini words of wisdom

The inevitable happened last Sunday night. We were warned. By family members on both sides. By friends. Hell, even by total strangers who at first glance knew of the all consuming love our youngest daughter holds for her beloved stuffed animal, a rabbit by the name of Byla.

We think his name comes from a combination of the word ‘bunny’ and the French word for rabbit, ‘lapin’. Wherever Mini Mini goes, Byla is never far behind. They play together, eat together, watch Paw Patrol together, go to the toilet together (gross I know!) and crucially sleep together. I have witnessed Mini Mini waking up in a daze before turning to her rabbit first thing in the morning and proclaiming how much she missed him before smothering him in tiny kisses. FYI neither myself nor the Frenchman have yet to receive such love and affection. And if the pair do become separated all hell breaks loose.

We normally manage to find him fairly smartly before the banshee wailing of our second daughter brings social services a knocking. Sunday night was different. Bedtime with not Byla. We searched high and low. No sign of the little furry fucker. I gathered up all the other “bylas”-we have many other stuffed rabbits in various shapes and sizes-none was accepted. Eventually she fell asleep, her pillow wet with bitter tears of separation from her one true love. The mammy guilt was off the chart that night let me tell you!

We spent most of the next day searching for Byla all the while cursing our inability to purchase a back up bunny. Sure, we’d probably have to work a bit to recreate the rather pungeant odour and misshapen form of the original but that would be nothing compared to the hours we were losing dismantling the house and everything in it trying to find the missing bunny!

Every so often Mini Mini would forlornly look up from whatever task was at hand-destroying the walls/ making shit of the living room/jumping on her parents’ bed to lament the passing of her adored Byla. I was dreading another night without him. How could I go through another bedtime struggle with her flailing around the bed and those big fat tears falling on my arms as I rocked her back and forth, trying in vain to offer the comfort she was desperately seeking but that I couldn’t provide.

But then salvation came in the form of the Frenchman suggesting the one place we hadn’t looked. In all the commotion, we had forgotten that Mini Mini loves to crawl in under the part of my wardrobe that I almost never visit anymore; where my good dresses are. She loves to climb in and gaze up and the sparkles and the sequins of the flowing ball gowns and strappy numbers; a real girly girl.

And there hidden in the shadows was Byla. The reunion was a beautiful thing to behold but it’s something I never want to see again! So if there’s one piece of advice I can give to other parents out there, this is it. If your child has a stuffed animal he or she loves more than life itself, for God sake do yourselves a favour and buy a replacement!!It may just save your sanity! And give you some more glorious hours of sleep-we all know how precious those babies are!

The procrastinator's guide to handing in an assignment

Part of the plan for #Make2015mybitch saw me re-entering third level education as a *cough!* mature student. Yes, I’m back in the University of Limerick as a full time student! Reality, how’d you like dem apples?? Some things have changed drastically in the intervening 12 years since I last skipped out of college clutching a swollen liver in one hand and a pretty useless Humanities degree in the other.

Going to college first time around, my personal grooming was immaculate. Make up perfect, each outfit carefully chosen and hair always styled. These days I’m lucky if I remember to check my clothes for any toddler puke or snot trails. Make up doesn’t get a look in! Ditto hair-just scrunch some product in it and I’m out the door. College second time round has me very well acquainted with the library-a place I had never even set foot in before the final exams of my degree. Then there is my 100% attendance of lectures this time around. It’s like I actually want to learn!!

Mais plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. 

But as the last leaves fall from the trees, I’m reminded that some things never change, including my round the clock thirst for pints and craic ( is there a better way to pass any time of day than shooting the shit with like minded individuals over tasty alcoholic beverages?) and my procrastinating state of mind. Here is the Procrastinators 50 step guide to handing in an assignment.

Step 1-Put on the kettle.

Step 2- Raid the remnants of the year’s Halloween candy.

Step 3- Make a cuppa.

Step 4- Get comfortable.

Step 5- Read the assignment.

Step 6- Make another cuppa.

Step 7- Check Facebook.

Step 8- Check submission date for assignment.

Step 9-Make list of Christmas presents to be bought.

Step 10-Make a cuppa.

Step 11-Raid husband’s secret chocolate stash.

Step 12-Print out assignment instructions as too much screen time is giving you a headache.

Step 13-Check Facebook.

Step 14-Highlight key information on assignment print out.

Step 15-Spend the next hour rubbing out highlighter toddler doodles from every wall surface in your house.

Step 16-Recheck submission date. Put this into Google Calendar.

Step 17-Print out month when assignment is due from Google Calendar. Circle submission date.

Step 18- Check Facebook.

Step 19-Message classmate to see if they’ve started assignment yet. If they respond positively, proceed to step 20, if not, stare into space for an undeterminable time.

Step 20-Make a cuppa. Open new pack of biscuits.

Step 21-Go to library. Take out a load of books to help complete assignment. Never read them.

Step 22-Look up Ryanair website for cheap flights when last assignment has been handed in.

Step 23-Freak out that you won’t be able to complete this or any other assignments on the course. Head to shop for more junk food to calm your nerves.

Step 24-Start assignment.

Step 25-Reward your first 500 words with an extra big cup of tea and first three episodes of Jessica Jones.

Step 26-Check Facebook.

Step 27- Check submission date again. Divide days left by remaining word count.

Step 28-Finish first season of Jessica Jones.

Step 29- Spell check assignment.

Step 30- Wonder will new Star Wars films be any good. Spend next half hour having Harrison Ford on a loop in your head proclaiming “You can type this shit George, but you just can’t say it.” Wonder if George Lucas  handed in his assignments on time.

Step 31-Spell check the assignment. Move some paragraphs around.

Step 32-Write another 500 words. Re read opening 500 words and realise they’re absolute muck so delete as appropriate.

Step 33- Write blog post about procrastinating about handing in an assignment.

Step 34- Browse Netflix trying to fill the Jessica Jones shaped hole in your life. FYI-Daredevil is NOT the answer!!

Step 35- Complete first draft of the assignment.

Step 36-Congratulate yourself by having a night out.

Step 37-Remember that hangovers in your 30s are so much worse than those of your 20s and lose a whole 24 hours as you go into recovery mode.

Step 38-Ask lecturer for an extension.

Step 39- Complete 2nd draft of assignment.

Step 40- Spend 3 days doing your bibliography cos Harvard referencing makes NO sense and was created by sadomasochists.

Step 41-Spell check the assignment.

Step 42-Move some paragraphs around.

Step 43-Make a cuppa.

Step 44-48-Spell check the assignment.

Step 49-Submit assignment.

Step 50-Breathe!


The procrastinator’s guide to handing in an assignment

Part of the plan for #Make2015mybitch saw me re-entering third level education as a *cough!* mature student. Yes, I’m back in the University of Limerick as a full time student! Reality, how’d you like dem apples?? Some things have changed drastically in the intervening 12 years since I last skipped out of college clutching a swollen liver in one hand and a pretty useless Humanities degree in the other.

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The light at the end of the mini tunnel

Something happened last week. Something truly amazing. Something I didn’t envisage happening for at least several more years. It all started when the Frenchman blew one of his tyres out on the way to work. He managed to make it the last few kilometres to park up just outside the kitchen (and we wonder sometimes where the minis get their stubbornness from!!). All well and good except he would need a lift back in the evening when his shift finished.

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How could I possibly be expected to handle bed on a night like this?

Sleeping and small children. It can be a real minefield. On the one side you have parents exhausted from the day’s working outside and inside the house facing off against tiny time dictators who will let you know exactly how they feel about any impending plans for sleep. I’ve written before about how Mini loves sleep.And how she started sleeping the night from about two months old. And how we were smug faced parents full of pity for the poor bastards other parents whose offspring were still (gasp!) waking during the night. Then we had her sister and that wiped the smugness from our faces fairly lively.

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Netflix-heart warming movies for the cold winter nights

It’s here again. One of the most confusing times of the year-the end to Daylight savings time, or the start. Fucked if I know. For weeks beforehand they warn us. In newspapers, on blogs, on the radio. Cos time is such a confusing concept. We can just about deal with the 24 hours of the day as is, but add a 25th one and we just can’t cope. And for parents, it’s even worse.

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