First day of the Hols

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Today was the first day of the summer holidays, everyone finally finished yesterday and we now enter the long 2 months of the summer. In America, Canada, Spain you can be fairly confident of what the weather will be like. Ireland it’s a different story, its normally slightly warmer but not always dryer than winter. So we have to make what we can of the good weather when we get it.

My wife was off to Naas last night for her sisters birthday and she stayed over, so I had the kids for day to myself. Much to my daughters disgust, when we all woke this morning at 7:30, I made her get changed immediately. No lazy Saturday lying in front of the TV for hours. By 9 we were out of the house heading over to Oldbridge Houseso I could do my stint helping out at the Oldbridge Parkrun. I must say my three kids were great. The older pair made friends with other kids being minded by their dad while he managed the race and their ma ran it. The youngest was grand for a while and then started to get bored in the buggy. So I let him out to play in the grass. He decided that he wanted to climb back into the buggy again. Instead of sitting in the seat, he stood on it held onto the bar at the front and tried to walk his feet up the back of the seat. His first attempt rolled the buggy, but his second was more successful.

After a quick snack for us all, and a run to the shops for some food for a picnic we were back in Oldbridge for the Country Fair which is on this weekend. And the kids had a great time. It started off with the kids decorating plant pots and planting flowers, which they got to bring home. They really enjoyed it.

Planting flowers at the Oldbridge Country Fair

Planting flowers at the Oldbridge Country Fair

We then had some lunch and were joined by friends from St. Mary’s Parent & Toddler Group and we watched the Musket demonstration before going on a long walk around the park doing a tree trail questionaire which kept the kids really engaged (well Aoife and one of the boys, the rest enjoyed the walk) and we made it back in time for the story telling with Delphine who was fantastic with them.

Oldbridge Country Fair Story time with Delphine

Oldbridge Country Fair Story time with Delphine

Soon after that there was a flower arranging workshop at which point I thought I’d like to go home, but my daughter was insistant that she wanted to do it. As Felicity was staying for it with her daughter, I took the boys off for a walk around the food tent and to see what else was being exhibited. When we got back they still hadn’t started so my two boys played while Aoife arranged the flowers with assistance from the others, and I’ll admit made a good job of it. It was her first time doing flower arranging and to my horror started asking where we could get the green stuff and flowers as she wanted to do it again on her own this time. I think she was disappointed that I didn’t know of any classes she could go to but I’ll have to keep her out of the garden centre for a while.

Flower arranging at the Oldbridge Country Fair

Flower arranging at the Oldbridge Country Fair

The kids were really thankful that I’d got them up and out early this morning. We left at 9 and didn’t make it home till 4:30 in the afternoon. And all for the cost of a picnic, 2 bars of chocolate and a tea & Scone. A really cheap and excellent day, we’ll hopefully be back tomorrow for day 2.


Changing times

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Sunday signalled the run in to the annual change in our house: the summer holidays are on the way.  Sunday started it because it was Father’s Day. We have a new niece, my sister-in-law had a baby girl a few weeks ago (while we were enduring minding her other kids but that’s another story), and so we opted to head down to see them, and to meet with the father-in-law for lunch, it was Father’s Day after all. Besides, I’d been txt’d and informed there was a bottle of wine for us as a thank-you, so I needed to collect that.

We had a nice meal and headed back to the in-laws for a cuppa, while the kids played a bit before we went home again. Naturally I got further evidence that I am turning into my own dad, by falling a sleep on a chair in the dining room. It wasn’t even a comfortable chair, which shows how knackered I’ve been recently with the baby not sleeping properly.

Monday was a gorgeous day, my oldest son was graduating, from Montessori School. They had songs to sing, poems about their old school and new. It was wonderful and did bring a tear to my eye, which I naturally blamed on my hay fever.

ImageNow my wife has started collecting boxes and I had to bring home two of them from her classroom as she prepares to change year group in September. 

And that’s it the summer is coming, as my daughter said this morning, they had 7 1/2 days left of school, 6 1/2 now. And I’ll go from my regular Monday-Friday routine, running, cleaning, P&T groups, collecting the kids, shopping etc. into a new unstructured week not really knowing (a part for the odd appointment or imposed engagements) what I’ll be doing day-to-day.

I’m fairly organised, I like routine and being able to know what I am doing and when. Every morning I give a few minutes thought to what I want to achieve each day, I know most of what I am doing the rest of this week, for virtually every hour. My wife hates the idea of planning a head much. She doesn’t like the possibility that she would plan something and then it wouldn’t happen, or perhaps would not happen as planned.

So I’ll be forcing myself into a new routine, aiming for earlier nights, and earlier mornings so that I can get out for a run at around 6:30-7 am to give myself that start in the day as I won’t be able to do as much later on. Luckily most of the other things I’m involved in are not on over the summer either so I don’t have those distractions from my family. I have some things planned to do with my kids over the summer, places to go, and a break away with my wife for our 10th Wedding Anniversary.

We also have a few days away with my whole family, in a house, outside Ballymahon. Now anyone reading this in the US, England or anywhere else don’t feel left out wondering where Ballymahon is. Most people I’ve told about our trip, has asked “Where is Ballymahon?” This is usually quickly followed by “Is there much to do there?” So you are not alone. Oh and the answer to the 2nd question is NO!

So I am actively using the next few weeks to develop ideas, plans to fill my summer holidays. For days which are good, I’ll have some options, for rainy days I’ll have others. Things to do with the kids and some for myself, business idea development, look for a paying job, I want to get 3 (maybe 4) speeches done before Christmas when Toastmasters starts back in September. I have lots of books to get read and I’m sure my wife has lots of things she wants me to do over the summer that she hasn’t told me about.

Right it’s 10:30. I’m off to bed and I’ll see if I can get out for an early run before school.


Dad’s in the Irish Times

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One of the ambitions of I would say all bloggers is to have someone read what they have to say. Well I had a very interesting experience a fortnight ago when someone asked me if they could include what I had to say in an article they were preparing for one of the main national broadsheets.

Now who would or could say no to that?

Sheila Wayman was preparing an article on Fathers in the delivery room for their Health + Family supplement which appeared in this morning’s Irish Times.

It’s interesting to read other peoples experiences in something which is very common, but amazingly special and unique in every case. The role of the father is an interesting one, to some degree we’re an extra body that needs to be worked around, an external examiner looking at everything that is going on and in my case someone who’s at serious risk of fainting when the epidural was being installed in my wife spine!

Beingaoifesdad.wordpress.com blog Epidural photo

Just looking at this churns my stomach

But we do have an important role as well, to provide support for our wives or partners, to do whatever running is needed for her and to be there for our child when it arrives. I wonder wither we’re all up to the task though and wither Dad’s wouldn’t benefit from having a more experienced hand around. It is daunting, especially the first time. I was 32 when my first was born, I am generally very confident and I found it an intimidating experience. How do dads in their twenties or even in their teens cope? When my first was born there was a young lad, his girlfriend was in her teens and after several hours of labour she was rushed into the operating room for an emergency section. I saw the young dad-to-be walking the corridor outside, on his own, terrified.

Aoife and I just home from Hosiptal

Aoife and I just home from Hosiptal

In another case I’ve heard the mother had an awful time with some of the midwives while she was in labour. Perhaps if her partner had been older, had someone with more experience with him then he may have had the confidence that Rob, mentioned in Sheila’s article, had to speak up on behalf of his partner. Her experience of labour may have been less traumatic.

It would be interesting to read the other responses from Rob, Lorcan and Diarmuid, particularly to the question: Did you feel useful or did you feel excluded during the whole process? Explain why. And to hear what their other recommendations are for dads-to-be.

Daniel Oakes, a male midwife from Dundalk talks in the main article and is looking at the idea of running “beer and babies” evenings for experienced and dads-to-be to give us a space and time to talk. This is a great idea, and one I’d be interested in. In NY there is a NYC Dads Group who arrange meet ups for dads with their kids. In Drogheda we’re actively trying to encourage dads to come along to St. Mary’s P&T Group so that they are not left to survive on their own. But there is a physiological barrier which dads need to get over before they go to these kind of groups; they need to feel respected as dads and that they have an equal role and right as mothers to be parents.

Is it safe to say Sophie’s Wrong?

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At the weekend Sophie White, “The Domestic” writer in the Sunday Indo’s Life Magazine discussed her despair at not getting a second look now that she’s a pram pushing woman. Men on the other had are converted into magnets getting more attention than ever before once they head out with the buggy.

Man Pram

Man Pram Do men get noticed more than women?

Now I don’t wish to deny that men pushing a buggy do get noticed… its a novelty thing, we’re the minority, but to say that women don’t get noticed are in no way invisible. Now I may be putting my head above the parapet in saying this but I for one do notice. However in this new sexual equality environment I doubt any man would be willing to make it too obvious for fear of being accused of being either a pervert or on the hunt.

The fact of the matter is that I am married, but I’m not blind. As a SAHD I see notice lots of women out on the school run and I enjoy talking to mums at the school, shops or the P&T groups because I like talking to people. If they are nice looking, pleasant to talk to or simply good “Craic” then all the better.

It may be Sophie, like me when you’re out with the pram you’re focused on making sure you don’t crash into anyone, that your child doesn’t throw away another shoe, eat their socks or trying to prevent an older child from running off again; to notice if anyone is coping a sneaky 2nd look at you. Although I doubt I’m even getting a first other than to think who let that edjit out with their children?

Image courtesy of http://www.themotorreport.com.au/56995/skoda-reveals-man-pram-to-celebrate-octavia-rs-unveiling-video

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