Javier Unpronounceablesecondname

Javi joins Derek this week to talk about life in the trenches as dad of a newborn and the changes he expected and those that hit him like a ton of bricks. The title is an ode to the first time he introduced himself to Derek when they became friends.Javier Unpronounceablesecondname

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If my child comes out to me then I have failed as a parent

“If in a few years my child comes home and tells me that they are gay I will 100% accept them”.

Said among a group of parents, with those listening, nodding along emphatically. Loving your child unconditionally is the heart of being a parent. So why did this statement raise my hackles? For good reason.

I often get irate when people say to Olivia that she will have a little boyfriend or that Thomas will have a little girlfriend. For me, it is, even at this tender age, telling them that relationships should come in one form.

Derek, takes a no-holds barred approach. He corrects anyone who implies just one gender. And when discussing with Olivia about her future he will say things such as ‘it is important to be kind to your boyfriend or girlfriend’. Simplistic perhaps, but we both strongly feel it is important that from the word go both our children are made aware that romantic relationships come in many forms.

We both have close friends who are in same sex relationships. We have both watched and endured seeing friends struggle with coming to terms with who they are. Then having to watch as they ‘come out’ to friends and family. In most cases before they even had a romantic relationship.

We have heard stories of how this news was received either as a shock or anticipated news. Stories of how the news is then communicated to the wider family circle. Until finally everyone knows. And after all this, often at a later stage in life, they can finally get on with approaching a romantic relationship, comfortable and ‘out’.

The friends who have had to go through this are now helping us set an example of Olivia and Thomas about relationships – and all the forms it comes in. Olivia has never once asked us why two men or two women are together. She gets the basics. They love each other. Two mummys and two daddys have children when they love each other. That is all the information she wants or needs. Any over-explanation implies there is something different about a family set up.

And so yes, if my child comes out to me then I personally have failed in being the type of parent I want to be. Simply because I never want them to ‘come out’. I hope they will be comfortable and secure in who they are, their understanding of loving relationships and of our love for them, that one day they will each come home and just introduce us to their girlfriend or boyfriend. Just that. This is who I love. No trepidation, no big announcement, no fear. Just love.

Karen

Aoifes journey

This week on Parenting Pobal, I was privileged to be joined by my friend Aoife. We have known each other going on five years and met through the village I often talk about here, my Rollercoaster Group I joined while expecting Olivia. My Queens.

As such we have experienced a lot of highs and lows together – the highs of Aoifes pregnancy after Cadhla, the lows when that pregnancy resulted in the birth of her son Oisin, sleeping, the bittersweet high of her pregnancy with Senan and her pregnancy with bubs now due in a few months.

I can do no justice to describing her story so I hope you listen in.

If you have been affected by any issues in this episode, below are links to organisations who can help.

Listen to the episode here: Aoifes story

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Panicky Party Parent

This is a daft post, I’m just going to throw it out there at the get-go. It is a post based on my own personal experiences which, now that I’ve got kids, has translated into a stupid, baseless, fear.

The fear of nobody showing up to a birthday party.

See my birthday is at a somewhat awkward spot in the year. Aside from my family, the only person whose ever really made a big effort to make me celebrate it is Karen. For years I generally just let it pass without so much as telling anyone about it. I’d take the day off work so as not to work on my birthday, but other than that rarely made any fanfare about it.

All because, at least to me, it seemed that outside of my family nobody really cared if my birthday happened or not anyway.

But now I’ve entered into that stage of life, parenting life no less, when your little bundles of migraine-inducing joy are getting invited to parties. Which is great to see, it has to be said. Olivia has been to at least three non-family birthday bashes and all the kids were genuinely delighted to see her. She dove right into the crowd and was as much stealing the limelight from the birthday child as she was attending their party.

Her own birthday is approaching in a little over two months. For the last few weeks she keeps on telling us who she will invite to her birthday party. Last year we just kept with the low-key family stuff. But this year we decided that clearly we don’t have enough to drive us around the bend and booked a slot in a nearby playcentre that Olivia loves. The idea will be closer to the time we’ll invite her friends from creche along to it.

Which is were I’m starting to panic. But, like I said, it’s a stupid panic based on no evidence. Yet still, I worry.

What if nobody shows up?

Now, Olivia will be four (woah, hold on a second while I actually process that. When the hell did that happen!!!) and still is lucky to have a childlike view of the world. You get sweets, life is about playing and mean people are only the ones who hit you too hard during a game. So, if on her birthday it is just herself, her two cousins, and her lil brother she will be delighted with life and none the wiser that no kid she invited actually showed up.

But I’ll know and I genuinely thing it might break the lump of coal that pushes the black sludge around my veins in lieu of a heart and blood.

It’s stupid parenting panicking at the highest order.

She is more popular now than I will ever be in my entire life. She could invite the entire creche and the other kids would definitely show up. Hell she could invite the entire village and I’d say we’d be hard pushed for rejections.

It is just the fear in the back of my head. A fear that all parents no doubt have when making a similar step into the parenting world. A fear based off the fact that while the children view the world as sunshine and lollipops, parents are old and weary of it all. They know the world sucks balls when it wants to. They’ve read the stories online about nobody showing up to a six-year old’s birthday party because, at the heart of it, kids can be bastards just like adults can.

Olivia has about ten kids in creche that she regularly plays with. The staff there tell us that she and four other kids are a little gang unto themselves. If those four kids showed up and nobody else I’d be delighted, because it means that my fears are unfounded.

But if we go and invite them and they say they will come, then don’t show up….oh boy. Short of a valid death cert to get them out of attending, I will make it my personal mission to show up to each and every one of their next birthday parts and shit in their birthday cake.

Because, while I may be a panicky parent I am also a parent who is more than willing to teach any kid that hurts my little one’s feelings that the world can suck from an early, possibly insane, age.

– Derek

Baby Brain – The Quiz Show

They say that we are currently in a ‘Golden Age’ of television. Which is a fair statement I reckon. I remember growing up and the types of shows that I liked to watch (sci-fi, spy, fantasy) were few and far between because nobody really watched them. Then along came reality t.v., cheap brainless crap that took a shoestring budget to make and catapulted idiots into the limelight for fifteen seconds. But in recent years we’re getting some really good shows to watch. Even if the last season of these shows tends to be utter garbage (I’m looking at you Game of Thrones).

Although somehow, like the cockroach of the entertainment industry, reality shows have no fully died off just yet. Honestly, I thought Love Island was a joke until a person in work talk about it at lunch so much that I wanted to pull out my eyeballs and strangle said person with my own optic nerves.

But one type of show that has always survived through the different generations is the quiz show. Everyone loves a quiz show. Prizes that can never be won because the studio is basically Vegas, ensuring the House always wins. A bunch of common people like you and me randomly teamed up, or dragging their family along, to take on the big boys and win. Who doesn’t love a good quiz show?

As I was making breakfast for the two nippers this morning (omelettes no less, which they took a bite of and then declared were yucky) I let my mind wander a little about quiz shows. Not sure why, as Karen will attest I am quite insane and my thought process tends to verge on the chaotic rather than just the random.

Like in Taken, when Liam Nesson is telling the gangsters that they have disrespected him and ‘for that the price has gone up 10%’ – he does that like four times. Do you reckon that is a compound interest situation or does he just keep adding on 10% of the original amount?

Anyway as my mind didn’t focus on not burning the house down I struck upon an idea that I reckon could be a great quiz show. So great, in fact, that I figured I should document it here and claim a patent before somebody else goes and steals my idea.

All good quiz shows have two competing teams of normal people (that way the belief that somebody other than the studio wins is real and people at home can cheer on their favourite side). They also should have knowledge that the viewers at home are more than likely to have as well. There is no point asking about how to calculate gravitational distance between planetary objects if Nancy from Cork works as an accountant and has an online degree in art. You want the questions to be things that Nancy from Cork will potentially have the answer to. An answer she will scream at the telly as she is swept up in joy of the game.

You want your show to generate conflict on and off the screen, so that the masses watching will shout at the ones on the show at how stupid they are for getting the answer wrong.

What will the majority of people currently have a shared educational knowledge on?

Children’s shows!

Think about it. If you can’t name all three P.J. Masks are you even parenting, bro? What about being able to sing the entire second version of ‘You’re Welcome!’ from Moana? Can you tell your Tru from your Chip? Do you actually know what Potato is?

The questions basically write themselves and the scary thing is there are so many that you’d never run the risk of repeating one. It would have people jumping off the sofa, dropping both bottle and baby to the floor, as they scream at the top of their lungs ‘It is Iggle Piggly you dope!’.

I’m telling you, I’m onto something here. Baby Brain – the quiz show that gets adults to answer questions about nonsensical things. Mainly because we’ve actually started to forget what having conversations with other adults about grown-up television is like.