Kid Con

Our latest episode of Parenting Pobal is live!

This week we ramble about our recent family day out at Dublin Comic Con.

Kid Con

If you enjoy listening to the podcast please give us a share with friends or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Derek and Karen.

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Latest episode of Parenting Pobal is live: Sausage A Bitch

This week we chat about how we prepared Olivia for the arrival of her baby sibling.

We talk about books to read that help kids understand about the arrival of younger siblings, along with a brief chat about The War (When Karen locked Derek out of the house after a late night at work)

Nobody mention The War.

Sausage A Bitch

There can only be one Highlander

The latest episode of Parenting Pobal is live. This week we are talking books books books and also a small segway into Highlander.

There can only be one Highlander

We chat about a lot of different books in the episode. Some are ten a penny and easy to come by, some are a little bit quirkier so we have listed them here. We find Skerries Bookshop amazing. Anything Paddy doesn’t have he’ll have for you quicker than Amazon.

The Princess in Black

Those of you who know Olivia or have been following us a while will know she is a huge fan of Superheroes and likes to get her Princess vibes on every now and again. These two worlds rarely collide in books or childrens games, that is until the Princess in Black.

Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

Where’s my cow?

Not your average children’s animal book that’s for sure.

At six o’clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, Sam Vimes must go home to read Where’s My Cow?, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy. There are some things you have to do.It is the most loved and chewed book in the world.

But his father wonders why it is full of moo-cows and baa-lambs when Young Sam will only ever see them cooked on a plate. He can think of a more useful book for a boy who lives in a city.

So Sam Vimes starts adapting the story. A story with streets, not fields. A book with rogues and villains. A book about the place where he’ll grow up.

Why I love my Daddy

This was a Father’s Day present for Derek but it quickly became a book shelf staple. What I loved about it is the reasons are actual words from children so Olivia and Thomas really relate.

Everyone’s daddy is the best. And who better to tell the world than children themselves?

Goodnight stories for Rebel Girls

We are big believers in working to instill a belief in Olivia that she is equal and that she can be or do whatever she wants to when she grows up and that kindness to others is what is most important.

What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

Other books we mention include Ten Little Superkids, The little boy / girl who lost her name, We’re going on a bear hunt, The day the crayons quit and the science for babies series, so far we’ve gone through Astrophysics for Babies, ABCs of Science and Rocket Science for Babies and all three are now very well worn books.

We also touch on books that are useful for help children transition into pre school and primary school as well as books that deal with big emotions. Triona from Mammy to Munchkins did a fantastic take over on Karen’s Instagram on this recently and for really good recommendations you should follow her, The Family Edits and My Higher Shelf.

Finally, one for the Mummys and Daddy’s, grab a comfy chair and a cuppa to sit and enjoy the velvety tones of Samuel L Jackson reading Go the fuck to sleep watch it now, thank us later 😆

No links in this post are affiliated.

Don’t Feed The Trolls

I’m at that point in my life were I have been creating content for roughly ten years now. Not good content, granted, but still content. The problem with that, in this day and age, is that producing content is like a giant flame to a bunch of asshole moths.

Or rather moths that just like to be assholes.

You get them in all walks of life. From comments on the content that literally are just meant to be harsh to posts about the content tearing it apart in petty and cruel ways for no reason other than they want a quick like or two.

In general it is all water off a duck’s back with me. I’ve grown up taking barbs from people my entire life, mainly based on being a ginger. Since sometimes people can’t waste a bit of brain power on a decent insult.

At least give the insulted something to appreciate when you insult them.

Any road, why am I waffling about this? Well because recently the Karen has been experiencing the darker side of the internet since she has become a content producer.

Bloody good content, as it happens.

See along with doing this site…the Instagram…the podcast…and the Twitter, she also runs her own personal Instagram account. On it she mainly posts parenting stuff as well, but from a mum perspective as oppose to the joint affair Parenting Pobal is meant to include. Sadly there are some folk out there that just don’t like to see people do anything good.

Trolls.

Not the cute, cuddly, Anna-Kendrick-voiced kind that sing songs and have great hair. Rather horrible asshats that sit behind their keyboards and phones and leave comments that are designed to do nothing else but hurt people.

This happened last night, in fact, when a person left a particularly nasty comment on Karen’s Instagram. It actually upset her quite a bit, until the wise ginger (it’s okay if we call ourselves that) explained to her how to ignore the asshat.

See back in the day before the Internet everyone will have known or heard about a person to avoid in their local town or village. A particular individual who was just nasty for the sake of being nasty. A venomous asshat. The psychological reasoning behind these people is that they are wired to take joy in hurting others on an emotional level. But they were few and lonely, maybe needing a hug but that isn’t something folk will volunteer to do on account of the asshat-ery.

But then along comes THE INTERNET and suddenly those people have entire new platform for their barbed comments. They maybe be the same mindset as the lonely folk back in the pre-Internet days or they could have just been sitting on the fence and now they don’t have to worry about being punched in the face in real life because they have the safety of the Internet to hide behind.

You know the sorta person I’m talking about. Proper cowards. People not brave enough to attempt to create anything so instead they spend their time destroying what others are doing.

It took a while, but I reckon Karen finally saw sense to what I was saying. That her being upset by what the Troll had said was exactly what they wanted. It was feeding them and just like the ugly donkey at the petting zoo you should never feed the animals.

It’s actually an important thing to bear in mind as parents of children in the digital age. Bullies now aren’t just the kid who punches you in the head anymore on the way home from school. They are some snot faced little shithead who logs onto <insert popular social media here> and then posts content designed to hurt. Devoid of the empathetic impact such online posts have…because they don’t have the stones to be that mean in the real world.

I’ve always lived by the view that a bully won’t stop until one day you turn around and punch them really hard in the face. Sadly that advice isn’t something that is going to work when your bully is throwing digital digs at you. I guess all that can be done is to highlight that what these dicks are doing is allowing their jealousy to come front and centre because they have no other creative outlet. We as parents have to teach the littles to ignore it as best they can, while also making sure they don’t stop creating what they love in the first place.

To the Troll, if you end up reading this. Look in the mirror. Are you alright, hun?

-Derek

How Parents Take Phonecalls

One universal, undeniable, truth about becoming a parent is that your life changes in ways you cannot even fathom. Yes there is all the awesome stuff mixed in with all the madness, but nobody can sit you down and say that X, Y and Z are going to change when your kids arrive.

The same things don’t even change for everyone. Some folks might continue to play golf every weekend (great way to ruin a walk, by the way) and others may find their clubs after five years and wonder what they used them for.

The hilarious thing is those aspects of you life that change which you don’t even think will change.

Like making a simple phonecall.

Before we had Nugget and Jellybean phonecalls typically went like this between myself and Karen.

Derek: Hey.

Karen: Hello, how are you?

Derek: Grand, work is a bit mental. Wanted to check if you want to watch that movie tonight?

Karen: Sounds lovely, gotta run. Love you, bye.

Derek: Love you too, bye.

But that is before kids. The following is an only slightly modified transcript of a call that happened today.

Derek: Hey, honey. How’s you’re day going.

Karen: Hey, baby. It’s going … no… no…don’t hit your brother. STOP HITTING FRODO. FRODO! SIT! SIT! We’re just back from….OLIVIA NO PUT THAT DOWN…Rush we went….NO NO NO NO DON’T DO THAT….hold on one second.

Phone is put down on a counter. Footsteps walk away.

Karen in the distance: Get over here now. Give me that. Frodo stop. Olivia will you put that down. Watch your brother. Thomas…come to mummy. Oh why are you crying. Up? You want up? FRODO STOP! Oh Olivia he didn’t mean to knock you over. Okay Thomas I’m just going to put you down for a second so that I can give Olivia a hug…

Sounds of children crying and dog barking. Something falls over and bangs on the ground.

Karen in the distance: FRODO!!! Okay Olivia I have to pick up Thomas now…you run inside there and get an apple.

Sounds of footsteps approaching the phone.

Karen: Hello? Who this?

So there you have it. Nobody tells you that having a simple two minute conversation with your other half becomes utterly impossible. Unless you don’t mind those conversations becoming conference calls with tiny terrorists.

Poor Frodo doesn’t even get a look in. He just wants his doggy naps.

– Derek

Let’s talk positive childcare

I sit here watching the much-talked about RTE Prime Time Investigates: Creches, behind closed doors and I feel compelled to write this.

Tulsa need to be held accountable and the system has completely failed those parents and children. However I think in the interest of showing a true representation, RTE Prime Time should have showcased best practice, gone undercover in creches that ARE doing the right thing.

Knowing how many viewers would be tuning in and knowing he likelihood of huge numbers of working parents watching, RTE as the national broadcaster had a duty of care to show both sides.

I debated even watching the piece. Working parents absolutely kill themselves with guilt every day handing kids into childcare…whether or not this is by financial necessity or by the choice that you would like to continue to have some work outside the home.

I want to preface the rest of this post by saying I have the utmost respect for those who are working stay at home parents. I will be honest and hold my hand up and say I could not do it. I wish I could be selfless enough to work 24 hours a day seven days without any time alone even to pee.

My passionate pee fans as I sit on the loo

Work for me is something I choose to do. A differnent kind of taxing, a different kind of challenge, for me, the difference, the change, is as good as a rest. The change from being a full on Mummy, for me, allows me a chance to recharge and then be the best Mummy I can be on those days I have with Olivia and Thomas.

What allows me to do this, to keep my foot on the career ladder, pay bills, help keep a roof over our head and mentally help me be the best Mummy I can be, is the amazing, wonderful group of people (in my case, women) in our creche.

We painfully researched, visited, questioned and interviewed creches, childminders and even au pairs. We do not take the decision to have someone care for our children while we are in work lightly.

We have had the most wonderful experience. I won’t waste this post raving about a creche that readers might not even live close to but I will say the two wee ones go into creche every morning, either running or waving us off as a second thought….even Thomas, my little sticky plaster, as I call him.

Mama’s Boy

In the evening I get a play by play of the adventures of the day from Olivia, activities, games, outdoor fun, even turning a delivery box into a car that they got to decorate and ‘drive’. Molly the Dragon who hides every night and they have to find her in the morning, photos of slow cooked beef and veg stew, paint stained hands and feet brandishing personal art pieces at the end of the day. Children interrupted mid play (and also mid sleep with their blankie in the sleep room) during those unexpected early pick ups which we never have to announce. Cuddles, kisses, hugs and appropriate discipline (hello fellow fans!! hands are not for hitting fans). Happy kids, with lots of stories of how much they have done and seen.

Thomas in crèche
Olivia meeting the Lollipop lady at road safety
Outdoor fun is possible all year round
And, in Olivia’s words, road trips throughout the year, this one from the trip to sing Christmas Carols in a local nursing home
Drawing time is a big hit
Baking is a regular occurrence…. much to the sadness of my (lack of) waist line

Tonights show while it shines a light on the categorical failing of Tulsa in not following up with identified issues, I worry it coule scaremonger working parents. I am not for one second condoning the behavior carried out by these specific creches. Nor am I saying Tulsa go far enough in their protection, inspection and holding childcare providers accountable.

What I am saying, is that those childcare facilities are not the norm. Childcare is a vocation. Those who work in it are called to work in it. They are those you can see working in a childcare and education setting from an early age, they are drawn to it, born for it. They are the people who selflessly care, teach, play with, comfort and love your child when you are not there.

To those who do this for Olivia and Thomas while we work, I salute you, I thank you and we appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

Thomas enjoying his endless cuddles

To those parents who are concerned, talk to your childcare provider, research your childcare setting before you place your child there, ask the questions you need to ask (see my Instagram for those accounts who have excellent research questions) and if any any stage you are concerned, talk to your childcare provider and if you are not happy with the action taken, put your child first and take them out of the setting and report the setting to Tulsa

Trust your child and trust your gut. Both are usually telling you what you need to hear.

For new parents, please look for the positive stories, this case is not the norm and once you do your research, ask questions, ask friends, neighbors and family for recommendations and feedback. Childcare can be daunting, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be frightening.

Karen and Derek

For our golden eggs

They come home with sand filled shoes, paint stained fingers and minds full of stories and adventures from their day.
They have built spider houses in the garden, met the Lollipop lady and he sto, look and listen, and chased ducks on visits to the Mills.

There have been visits from Wooly Wards Petting Farm, a Gardai, Santa and his elf and daily hide and seek with Molly the Dragon.

There are cosy naps when they are tired and cuddles when they feel overwhelmed, lunches, breakfasts and snacks so healthy I envy their daily grub

There are drawing sheets the length of the room and colouring while dressed as a dinosaur in a pink Stetson declaring the game is rocket ship space heroes.

There have been days of chats with carers, when they have been out of sorts, discussions to make sure we are all on the same gentle parenting page. There are have been tantrum tips shared and biting bits helped while talking about kindness to friends

These people are those who walk our parenting path with us. These people are our childcare providers.
Not every egg is a bad one. Most in fact are golden. Thank you to those golden eggs we have looking after Olivia and Thomas

Karen