Down is Up

Like the majority of dads out there, I remember the day my son was born.

the manIt was a nice summer compared to Irish standards, and the rain had washed away the grey clouds from the previous day.  The missus was busy with the tiny girl (our daughter who was born a year earlier) and I had been looking forward to a little DIY in the garden, which could be dangerous given my lack of handy-man genes – but that’s the glory of being a homeowner.

The mother-in-war was visiting, again, to inspect how we were getting along with the baby, and also to ensure that the pregnancy of our second child was going as planned too.

Suddenly my South American flower said she felt a little uneasy and that she needed to go the hospital to get checked.  The baby hadn’t really moved for some time and she was getting worried.  We still had over a month to go, so we assumed that it was just a routine check-up.

At the hospital, the doctors did several tests, kept both mother and child monitored and instructed her to get some needed rest.  The baby was fine, but they needed to be 100% sure and the overly friendly elderly midwife instructed me to go home and get some clothes, to which I only dared to obey.

Continue reading Down is Up

Gotta Bump!

There’s some magical about pregnant women.  There’s something sexy about your wife/partner when she’s pregnant, at least that’s what I thought.

Here’s another brilliant video that explains it a bit better.  This guy captures in a funny video 🙂

Girl with an attitude

We had baby #3 some weeks ago. The oldest ones are almost five and six years old. So, it has been a while since we had a baby in the house. It’s great having a baby again. But it’s at the same time tough having kids, especially three kids. It’s mainly because you are on the go all day and we’re unfortunately not getting any younger..although I still look young & beautiful. My wife and I spend most evenings on the sofa – just like so many new parents, after a long day running around the place chasing the kids and working. At times, it appears as if we are part of the sofa, just sitting in each corner staring emptily at the TV, watching some bizarre reality show.  It doesn’t matter what’s on, as long as it doesn’t require any thinking.

My wife has been fantastic at looking after all the kids, while I’m off “relaxing” at work. As a results, my Latina beauty is completely wrecked after a long day. So, it is understandable that she wants some time away from the mad house. I leave the house screaming every morning, having lost another battle with the kids, seeking sanctuary in the corporate World – not that it is much safer there, but I can at least lock my office door preventing the Morgul warriors from entering my castle. Sometimes I wish I was Gandalf, so I could cast a spell on the kids during breakfast warfare, transforming them into little angels eating their food and getting ready for school … sorry, slightly distracted.

So when my wife asked me to mind the kids (ALL THE KIDS!) for a few hours. I of course agreed. The sad thing is that she actually only went to our daughter’s school, PTA meeting. So, it wasn’t some piss-up with the girls watching Chippendales or a late night clubbing. I have no doubt that she would love to go out, but she can’t venture too far off during the breasfeeding stage. It’s not sexy to be lactating while dancing! She also falls asleep anywhere and everywhere too.

She fed the baby one last time before she left and the baby was sound asleep…I thought! The other kids had already ascended to dreamland, chasing imaginary creatures and battling flying donkeys. The usual battle of getting them to bed had been easier than expected.

I kissed my wife goodbye and legged it into the living room. Yuhu! It was my time to watch my movies, and no, no adult movie .. too much dialogue. I could watch some brain dead zombie movie or a fast paced action movie. It was my first evening looking after my gorgeous daughter, while my even more wonderful wife went out for a couple of hours. What could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, she would only be gone for two hours! That’s nothing!  I can handle this.  I’m a man and a father and a World War II veteran that survived in the jungle on cow pooh and nettle leaves (so I told my daughter…). So, no problem.

She had prepared a baby snack-box; pumped her Dolly Parton attributes dry of milk, just in case the little pumpkin would wake up an demand some food. So, feet up – TV on – “Diary of the Dead” playing – Sleeping Beauty on my arms = idyllic.

Looking at my baby, she was smiling and snoring, just like her mum. Suddenly, her smile changed into the lip.  This is a trademark of all our kids. When they get sad the lower lip pouts.  The lip is normally followed by tears.

Just as the zombie was screaming and gurgling in a George A Romero classic scene, the princess in my arms twitched and opened her eyes wide open.  I initially got a fright.  Slowly, the little beauty turned evil on me for no particular reason.  Her gorgeous face changed into a Hulk-ish muscle smile and her eyes flamed up.  A roar like no other erupted from her lungs, which made the windows rattle.

Initially I assumed she wanted a bottle.  Most babies eat and sleep for the first while, but this was different.  I gave it to her, but she refused it by clutching her lips/gums or made vomit sounds.  This was a behavior I’d only witnessed once in my life, when my wife was just about to give birth to our first daughter.  Was it the a genetic modification that caused the girls in my family to turn into a Hulk-ish creatures?

I tried to relax her by walking around the house looking at pictures and dancing.  It must have been some sight from the outside; she screaming, me dancing and crying at the same time.  She was kicking me in the chest. She was clearly NOT happy.

  • Perhaps she had a dirty diaper? No luck!
  • Tried a nice bottle of warm milk again – No luck!
  • Walked the house again – No luck!
  • Placed her in the buggy – No luck!
  • Picked her up and tickled her – No luck!

My nerves were shattered and I was now afraid that the other kids would wake up crying too. Maybe the neighbours would call the cops? Even the dogs were retreating. They could obviously sense a distrubance in the force.  It had only been 7 minutes since my wife had left.

After 20 minutes of non-stop battles, she was winning of course, I gave up and I called my wife. Stressed out, I asked her to come home immediately and hung up, not giving her a chance to answer.

She was home within 5 minutes, phew.  She picked up the little “angel”, gave her a cuddle and kiss and within seconds the little monster had turned to a gentle little lamb, with the biggest smile ever.  I could have sworn that she winked at me and smiled!  Just like Chucky at the end of the movie.  Another battle lost!

Within minutes, she was laughing and happily sucking my wife’s breast for refreshment.

The Power of 3 – Is 3 really the magic number!!

The number 3 (three) has been around for thousands of years, and it has slowly evolved to becoming a magic number.  Strangely enough, you come across 3 all the time and  people reply with “3, is the magic number”. (That is actually a song by Blind Melon whose lead singer died of an overdose.)  Several World religions refer to 3 as being magical, such as Christianity / Holy Trinity, Buddhism / Three Jewels and in Islamic rites certain formulas are repeated three times and others thirty-three times.

A few facts about Number 3:

  • 3 is the mystical number that shows up repeatedly in mythology and fairy tales: 3 fates, 3 muses, 3 graces, 3 tasks, etc.
  • 3 is the base for any rock band; drummer, bass and guitar/vocal
  • 3 cords is all I know on the guitar
  • 3 is the basic structure of stories: a beginning, middle and end.
  • 3 Godfather movies (2nd is the best)
  • 3 stages or drunkenness; smiling, wobbly and out cold
  • 3 seasons in Ireland; winter rain, summer rain and the rest of year rain

However, this blog is NOT about the history of the number 3, but…

3 comes into play when you have kids and when you sing about the 3 Blind Mice or if you decide to increase the population of your family by having child number 3 – which we did.

Who ever claimed that having 3 kids is easy should be shipped off to a Siberian work camp or be forced to walk with 3 mental dogs at the same time … for the record, we have 3 mental dogs (when it comes to going for walks). I have attempted to walk them and as a result, my left arm is slightly longer. My 2 fingers on my right hand are still squeezed together. I have also developed a minor limp after having damaged my heels from trying to stop the dogs from taking off.  Where the hell is Cesar Millan when you really need to whisper (or scream) to the dogs?

For some reason we decided to reproduce (yes!) and had a beautiful baby girl in April 2010.  We now have 2 girls and 1 boy, which equals 3 kids.  Most of the time they are a trinity of angels, but at times they are demons in action.  So, the question you might ask is why we have deliberately given our kids the upperhand in the household?  Well, we have 3 dogs, so now we have a kid to walk each dog. At least at some stage they will- when they are older of course.

Despite what scolars might say about the evolution of a child’s brain, kids are clever and scheming individuals. They will from an early age know what to do to please or test your emotions.  Having two kids was fine.  You were able to hold a kid in either hand, keep them separated in the car, teach them to share a Twix bar or using a see-saw.  And your partner can take one child while you take the other.  Adding the third child to the mixing pot creates this unknown element or spice that is completely unpredictable.  It’s like driving with your wife, you never know when she’ll punch for something the other drivers did or if she’ll get clocked speeding.

It is almost impossible to fit 3 car seats into a standard SUV.  We bought the car for one main reason: having a nice spacious car for the family.  Our two oldest kids are using booster seats and the baby is using the baby seat.  So, each unit has a large base.  Having all three kids on the back seat, sitting close together for periods longer than 3 minutes, normally results in open warfare.  Hairs, food, spit and foul language is exchanged.  It is also shared with the adults in the front row!

Kids in numbers do not behave in a predictable manner.  You should in theory be able to ask the oldest kids to entertain themselves for 30 seconds, while you change the baby’s nappy.  Again, 3 becomes important.  Once, as soon as I opened the diaper, and my hands were in a delicate area (especially since the baby suddenly lost control of her bowl movements), the two older kids revolted.  They quickly ganged up on me and accused me of not taking time to play with them. A few seconds later they ended up bashing each other with a selection of toys.  Meanwhile, the 3rd “innocent” baby girl smiled at me as she released a mustard like liquid over my fingers!!  I quickly removed my hand, only to spray some pooh on a nearby dog.  Shortly after, the room had a scent of baby pooh, wet dog and my sweat.

The scary thing is, you can almost see the kid is plotting against you.  They stare at you and take advantage of the situation, where you are least likely to engage with them or correct them.  A bit like raptors in Jurassic Park. They test the weakness in the fences.  As an example – the other morning, when we had finished breakfast, my son walked around the kitchen/playroom area, playing with his Woody doll.  I began to dress the baby, which included a nappy change, and had the baby half undressed.  Suddenly, my son stopped and looked at me with a smile on his face (I’m certain he winked too).  He gently spread his legs over one of the toys and peed on it!  My daughter just looked at me and rolled her eyes and said “I told you dad. He had to go!”.  The thing is, she hadn’t said anything.  And, to finish it off, the baby sneezed and milk/snot particles sprayed over my hand and face.  Wow, can’t wait for lunch!

Putting them to bed, which should be a more relaxed (zen) and a less stressfull experience, normally involves me running after my son with a diaper (still uses night diaper), demanding that my daughter gets her PJ on while my wife is breastfeeding the baby.  These sessions last anywhere from 3-30 minutes. In the end I’m covered with toothpaste and water.  Finally, the kids crawl into bed and they start calming down. That’s when we start reading books.  When the two oldest kids are almost in the universe of Naboo, the little angel baby starts to cry.  Not just any cry, but a cry that sounds like a car alarm…and the kids wake up again!

As soon as the kids are farting and snoring again, I sneak downstairs to clear the kitchen from the dinner battle. I feed the dogs and start another load of washing (dishes and clothes).  Once my husband duties are done, around 21.00 (9pm), I use my ninja skills to jump in front of the computer to surf the web and update my facebook page. I might even play a few games.  I have a cup of coffee in the sofa with the missus, just before heading to bed at 21.45.  Remember, I have the early morning feed between 04-05 (am).

I survived another day. Lying in bed, my eyes slowly close and I join my kids fighting off evil monsters, flying giant fairies and running on grass singing songs from Sound of Music … wait, that was my wife singing along to her favorite movie.

Having 3 kids is tough no matter what some people might say.  However, it is great coming home to a house full of kids, a lovely wife and 3 dogs.  You can just feel the love when you are knocked over by the St. Bernard, trampled by the two other dogs and rescued by the kids as the jump on top of you.  My wife extends her hand to help me up and gives me a hug.  There’s always something happening and you don’t really get a chance to sit down too long.  It’s excellent for loosing weight.

Would I change anything?  No! We just need a bigger car.

Eyes full of sand

I’ve always helped out with the nightly feeds, despite how painful they might be on the body, as you are tired.  You just have to abstain from engaging with certain late night activities, such as going to the pub, drinking too much alcohol and/or staying up late to watch a movie.  It’s as simple as that!  That is why many parents stay home (become anti-social in some people’s eyes) during the first 8-12 months of their baby’s life.  We just don’t have the energy.

Monday morning was my first night feed, having spent the two previous nights trying to help my wife with the breastfeeding – and no, this is no moment to get all sexual, it is simply a matter of me helping to place the baby in her arms, so the baby can feed easily.  However, I must admit, the Dolly Parton Syndrome effect on my wife is a pleasant sight at 2.30 in the night.

Anyway, I woke up at 4.45, gently lifting the little princess up and walking downstairs.  It was amazing how quickly I memorized the nightly feed ritual; coffee, blankets, remotes, baby bottle and of course the main star herself.  She was starving and I had barely seen the intro of “The Mummy” before she had finished her feed.  She savored the last 20ml, while staring around the room, as I was watching the movie.

When she had emptied her bottle, which made me proud to see, I gently placed her on my shoulder to make her burp.  Sweet lord!  This can be a scary moment for any parent, as you are not sure what to really expect.

The baby has a number of options available:

  • Projectile milk covering you, the sofa and parts of the wall  – generally anything in front of the baby
  • Enormous fart, that warms the palm of any grown man, and makes you wonder if that hurt
  • Hiccups, which in worst case could lead to option 1
  • Burping sounds, which in some cultures is a symbol of excellent food

My daughter chose the last option, thankfully, but the sound and quality would make any teenage boy envious.  My left eardrum was ringing for several minutes after that experience, but I didn’t care.   I’ve seen “The Mummy” a few times already, so I knew the dialogue.

The innocent little angel simply smiled, after releasing what must have been, the World’s loudest baby burp.  It is a delight to share such moments with your child.  I can only imagine how amazed her friends will be at the first parties, when getting older.  After that performance, she fell asleep on my shoulder.

Back garden

It is bizarre to wake up so early, mainly because you are amazingly awake.  Sitting in front of the computer at 05.30, listening to the first birds chirping and seeing the first rays of the son, is actually a magical moment.  There’s absolutely no point going back to bed.  The other two kids are going to wake up soon anyway, so I might as well keep going.

I better get going – bread is almost done baking, I have to prepare breakfast for the kid, make their lunch boxes too and prepare the next load to be washed.

Good morning, where ever you are.