Category Archives: Parenting

What’s your Fuel?

I drive two cars regularly, one an unleaded family wagon and one a diesel hatchback with its routes stretching back to people wagons of old (the less said about that the better, don’t mention the war and all).

Everytime I fill them up I’m fairly fastidious to not mix up the ingredients. For a diesel engine putting unleaded in may not be the end of the world, but the other way another would be a system killing disaster. I’m careful with that. As any good vehicle owner is. I have seen people mess this very basic thing up and for them I wonder how they put their socks on by themselves.

The other day I had a can of red bull and I found myself wondering what the flip (I have a kid now, I can’t curse, well not openly anyway) I was doing. I mean yeah, I was tired, but then I thought about it. Why not just get tea or coffee? Why put that heart palpation causing crap eh, stuff, into my body. I’m careful with my cars, but not myself, that seems sorta stupid really.

Now I’m no Chuck Norris but it seems that since my daughter came along I am way more concerned about what happens to myself. So that’s what got me thinking about that. Realistically an engine is only going to run as smoothly as it can with the right fuel. If you really need proof then fill up with the wrong fuel at the garage the next time you’re in, see how that goes.

So, what does all this mean and what the flip am I, eh, pooping on about? Well I’m going to try something over the next month and the wife will say I’m stealing her ideas. No fast food. No fizzy drinks. No processed meals. Lots of water. Lots of proper home cooking. One coffee a day.

I’m going to see how that goes and I’m going to judge it’s effects by the following areas;

  1. How do I feel?
  2. How do I look?
  3. How much money did I save?

That alone should be a fairly good indication of the effects of giving in to the marketing and buying the red bull.

I invite anyone who reads this to try the same thing and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Good luck!

5 Reasons to Vote No

There’s a referendum coming up, just in case you didn’t know. The referendum concerns two issues:

  1. Should the age of a Presidential Candidate be lowered from 35 to 21 years of age and;
  2. Should marriage be extended equally to all persons regardless of sex.

The second one, as you would imagine, is gathering more interest. What with it concerning all people having equal rights and all. Here are 5 reasons you should vote No on number 2, maybe even number 1.

  1. You like things just the way they are: Change, why would you change anything at all? You like things the way they are. Everything in its place. Change is scary after all. The fact is that if this passes and we as a country vote Yes then Ireland will slip off the shelf and plunge into the Atlantic…FACT!
  2. Standards of Weddings: If we allow everyone to have equal rights and marry who they love then the fact is that the LGBT community will probably set the standard for Weddings impossibly high. There will be colours and themes that the average Irish man could never dream of or indeed live up to. Look at Panti Bliss for example. That chick knows how to throw a party. Imagine that. Shindigs like the country has never seen before.
  3. Increase in Tourism: Ireland voting No in this referendum will send a clear signal to the world that we are still that country which likes to segregate people, push people to the fringes of society and deny equality to all. We could see an increase in visitors from groups such as the Neo-Nazis, the KKK and perhaps even The Westboro Baptist Church.
  4. Parenting: Voting yes in this referendum might give LGBT people more power to have, raise, adopt and love children of their very own. Two people of the same sex raising a child couldn’t possibly do a good job of that. Never before in human history have we seen two people of the same sex raising a child. Nope, never. It would be a disaster. Like a Mother helping her Daughter raise her child or a Father giving advice to his Son. Imagine a child having two loving Mothers or two adoring Fathers? Awful stuff altogether.
  5. You’re a moron: That’s right. You should definitely vote No if you are a moron. If you believe it is absolutely paramount to deny equality to all people then you should vote no. If you believe that not all people deserve happiness then vote no. If you believe you have the right to interfere in other peoples decisions and who they can marry then vote no.

Ireland is on the verge of change right now. We have some very draconian traditions and laws which quite simply have no place in the modern world. Love is one of those things you don’t choose, it just happens. To live in a country where you are made to feel like a second class citizen because you are denied a basic right afforded to others must be heart breaking and utterly demoralising.

I became a father recently. My little girl is on the verge of turning 6 months old. I want nothing but happiness for her in her future. If she grows up and decides that she would like to marry the love of her life then I hope she can do so without impediment. It shouldn’t matter if that person is a male or a female, it should only matter that she loves them and that they love her.

I’ll be voting Yes in this election. My generation and the generations before me still refer to people as straight people, gay people, lesbian people, transgender people and bisexual people. Maybe a yes vote will take us one step closer to my Daughters generation just having people. One big group of happy people.

The Tank was Empty

Myself and the wife have been fairly good at keeping up the Couch to 5K, although for the sake of honesty I’ll say that the good lady has been a lot better at it than I. But hey, it’s not a race, thankfully.

This morning was odd, I just wasn’t feeling it at all. The Tank was Empty. I had no get up and go and I most definitely had that familiar anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach and it was not nice. I have gotten this in the past and I’ve just kept going and it usually went away. However, this morning was different and difficult. The anxious feeling I had affected my legs and I literally had no energy. Into my third lap I just had to stop. There was nothing there and I just had to stop.

Today is also my counselling day. The day when I head up to Navan and talk through the issues which have been taking their toll on me and indeed on the people around me. Today I felt bad, last Monday I didn’t, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Today I could talk about what was going on and see what bubbled to the service. Christmas 2012 was when I lost an important person in my life, my father died. It’s half the reason I’m going to counselling now, so I can be around for my daughter for as long as possible. Not long after going in did I start to talk about that and I did something I haven’t done in a long time.

I cried.

I cried about missing him, about what’s gone on since he died and about what he’s missing in my beautiful daughter. It hurt to bring it out, but it felt a lot better. It was like a weight was lifted from me and I felt energised. It’s amazing how what was primarily a mental block had manifested itself in such a strong physical way. I wasn’t feeling what was going on up top so my body decided to make me listen.

That’s ok though, I should listen to my body, to what it tells me. Some days you just need to stop and take it easy or you’ll be made to.

It was nice to have that revelation and to not feel crazy for still going through the grieving process even this far down the road. But then that doesn’t hold much water either. Grief doesn’t care for my time schedule. It could be twenty years later and I’d still miss him.

It’s all about watching out for the little things and giving yourself a break every now and then.

The Cat’s in The Cradle

No, not really. Although it was one of the things we were worried about when we found out that we were expecting. You never really know how animals will behave around children, especially newborns.

We rescued a kitten a year ago and to us he’s great craic, albeit a bit feisty at times. But yeah, he’s an animal at the end of the day, so we absolutely had to remember that. He’s our little Shadow. He’ll purr and rub, but you don’t really know what he’s thinking. It’s all fine and well us batting him off, but a baby can’t really do that.

So we were a little worried. If it came down to it and Shadow reacted badly towards the baby then unfortunately he’d be finding a new home. Yes, we love him, but we have to make the right choice for our little one.

So the big day came and it was time to bring home the baby. Which would also be the first day my new wife would be coming home, but that’s a whole different story. We were nervous and unsure of what would happen. We brought little Anna-Marie in, gave Shadow a treat and let him relax. Shadow reacts badly to noise by the way. Yeah, newborns, they make noise I hear (literally). She shrieked and he just looked at her and went back into his nap. So far so good.

Apparently cats can enter a loving and protective mode with kids. We were about to see that. We did everything slowly and didn’t force her on him. We were upstairs feeding her and he came up, looked at her, sniffed her and then turned his back and watched the door for us, remaining alert. He continues to do this now, he’ll sniff, have a look and then stay nearby. When she cries he comes and has a look, sees that we are there and then he’ll just standby. Brilliant, we get to keep our first kitten with our first child.

Things are working out great with him and I’m genuinely delighted. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll make him head babysitter. He’ll never be left alone with her and she’ll have to learn his limits too, when she’s old enough of course. As long as we don’t forget that he’s an animal and that animals have animal instincts then I think we’ll be fine.

Overall, animals and babies, yeah, it can work out fine. Just keep an eye on them.

An Eventful 2 Days

As some of you may or may not know I was due to marry my Love, Michelle, on Monday. If you know that then you will also be aware that she was 8 months pregnant at the time. Yes, it was risky to have a wedding that close, but feck it, we figured it would be ok.

So, the ceremony was short, sweet and lacking in babies (with the exception of my 3 year old nephew, but he is surely not a baby anymore). Everything was as it was supposed to be. We got married, signed the bits, took the photos and then headed for dinner in a classic Bentley! Beautiful! The day was going so well and we were delighted.

We made it to the venue, had the dinner, had the speeches, mingled and then Michelle headed up for a rest. This was at half 6 in the evening and we were enjoying our special day. Michelle had her usual aches and pains, or so we assumed. I got her wedding dress off so that she wouldn’t crease it while lying down and within 5 minutes her waters broke and her contractions started. 2 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds each. Yeah, it was baby time. Turns out that the day was so good that our little bundle didn’t want to miss it, despite the fact there was still 4 weeks until her estimated check out time. Eager beaver indeed.

So, we got some clothes on the Mammy to be and headed for the car. I just had time to pay the DJ and apologise to him for having to leave abruptly on account of the waters breaking. He was shocked, I was shocked, Michelle was shocked, the baby was still cracking on.

Just to clarify, I had a couple of drinks (2) for dinner and did not want to risk driving. Michelle, with her 30 second contractions took the wheel. From Kippure estate in the Wicklow mountains to Dublin. She was a hero, this is why I married her.

Our birth plan went out the windows. The bags we prepared stayed at home. I made the call, straight to hospital. We arrived and a short 11 hours later little Anna-Marie Olivia Higgins came into the world with the sunrise. In a space of 18 hours we were catapulted from single people expecting a baby to a married couple with the most beautiful little girl in the world.

I fell in love with Michelle quite quickly. I fell in love with our little girl immediately!

One things for sure, it makes one hell of a story! One hell of a true story!

More than just lifting

So it looks like I’ll be doing more than just lifting now. Well, obviously, I’ll still carry the bags. Thankfully I’ll be getting some professional guidance from Michelle’s physio/pilates/former midwife instructor extraordinaire lady in Celbridge Pilates.

Yesterday I attended a relaxation class which Adeline puts on for her pregnant clients. If you’re wondering, yes, I fell asleep and yes I snored a little (much to Michelle’s chagrin). It was nice to properly relax.

So I eventually woke up and Adeline switched off the recording. Michelle had floated the idea that I would be interested in attending her class to see how I could help and try and further understand the upcoming task. Adeline has decided to bring the Dad’s into the loop, starting in October, for Q&A and probably hints and tips. Apparently other Dad’s are interested too!

I think this will make the whole thing less scary and more manageable. I get the idea that sometimes things are out of my control. It will be good to know the difference between helping and hindering.

The Parents

I recently imparted the smallest bit of wisdom on a friend of mine, something I shouldn’t have really known, but something I learned from someone else. It felt good and got me thinking, again, because I think a lot. That’s what I’ll be (hopefully) doing for my child, giving them little bits and pieces along the way.

Then I started thinking again. I just presumed that both of my parents just knew things. They were patents after all, they should know everything! What I’m starting to understand is that they were telling me the little bits and pieces they had learned along the way. I never really gave them credit for just being people.

So now I really feel for my Mam for the pressure she must have been under and I really miss my Auld lad for not being able to share this moment of clarity with him. I’m sure he would have just laughed and patted me on the back.

So hopefully I can let my child know that I am just a person and that I do make mistakes. They’ll understand right? Nah, not at all!