Baby Two

I have felt like I have needed to write this update to my blog for a few years now. Reading my previous post back to myself I sound like a miserable grouch that did not want our second bundle of joy. I may have been sleep deprived when writing it, which would explain the overall tone.

Without further ado I shall now provide my insightful pearl like drops of wisdom on having our second child.

We have had another little girl. I was overjoyed as I wouldn’t know what to do with a baby boy, never having had one myself. Baby girls, I felt, I could handle as we had gotten our first to the age of two and a half successfully.  Our first is now five years old and will soon be starting her second year at primary school. Our second baby girl is now three years old and at present recovering from a bout of Chicken Pox, or chicken pops as she calls them.

They are both so different. I will be honest, I was expecting them to be the same. I don’t know why, everyone tells you that they will be so different but when you have a reference of one to go from then you know no different.

Our second was different from the moment she entered the world, in a water birth, to this day. Although she dotes on her elder sister and loves to imitate her, much to her sisters annoyance, she is different. I think I have established clearly that they are different? good let’s move on.

Sleep. Let me address my younger self here “It gets better so suck it up buttercup!”. Seriously, it wasn’t even that bad. Now, maybe that is me having developed an ability to survive on less sleep or the fact that it has gotten better but it sure feels that way. I don’t think I crave sleep as much as I used to but on the odd occasion when I get a sleep in, I take full advantage of it and will be passed out, drooling, face deep in pillow until I am woken.

I think lifestyle changes for the better may have helped me with this combined with the fact that our girls usually sleep right through the night so we get the latter part of the evening to ourselves and we all wake up around 7ish. Life is good.

Now that I have covered the basics let me talk about the good stuff. Having two healthy children is a blessing. We are very lucky to have them both and we never take them for granted. Yes there are times when it can test the best of your nerves but they are vastly outweighed by the good times. The joy, laughter, curiosity and the sheer fact that they make you reassess everything and slow down to enjoy them and life is what they bring to my life.

I am a very lucky husband and father.


One down, One to go

Nearly two and a half years later and I am writing this blog again. Only this time I am writing it from a completely different perspective.

Our first baby, Sorcha, arrived in March 2011. She is a perfectly healthy little girl and was a great baby. She is now very much a toddler with her own mind, ideas and opinions. She lets us know what she wants, what she wants to wear, what she wants to eat and for all of the above what she does not want.

She is the best thing that ever happened to our lives. The joy she brings us is unparalleled and the love unconditional.

There are moments when I don’t feel this way of course. When we are both exhausted after being woken during the night and then again very early in the morning. When we have been working hard all day, when no one has had a nap and we are all just a bit fractious and Sorcha just says no to nearly everything. Luckily we know the things she will say yes to and luckily for her she has the cheekiest smile I have ever seen on anyone, which gets her out of endless amounts of trouble.

In my last blog post I mentioned that lack of sleep was my biggest fear. My fear has proven to be right. Our daughter has a nap most days, even now, but we parents are not that smart and it catches up on you. I think we were both fine for the first three months as we had reserves from pre-baby days. It is the long term effects and having used up all your sleep reserves that get to you and make some days feel gritty. It can even cause arguments over who is getting up early to look after your baby early in the morning. Then there are the days that you wake up first and are looking forward to them waking up so you can see the sheer joy and happiness in their eyes simply from you being there and giving them a good morning snuggle.

Then of course, I think possibly because of the lack of sleep and the fact that your not thinking straight, you decide to try for another baby. You discuss it and think it will be a good idea for baby number one to have a playmate and grow up with a sibling. From my perspective this has meant more work for me as I now have to look after our daughter those times that my wife is just too exhausted from growing baby number two. Let me be clear, I do not mind doing this at all. My wife works very hard, both in the office and at home. We both do. It just means that your team mate that you were tagging to tackle your Durcell bunny toddler is now flagging a bit and you have to pick up the slack. If you have a spare five minutes you might even get a chance to make your darling wife a cup of tea or some other treat like that. My wife takes the time to do little treats for me as well. It’s how you know your on the same team. The toddler has not divided and conquered you, yet.

Baby on the way

I feel that I need to write this as a matter of record for me, Gwen and our unborn baby. I think we will look back and be surprised by how naive we were but hopefully not that much.

So what stage are we at? Gwen is 26 weeks pregnant which means we have about 12 weeks to go if the experts are to be believed. We chose not to find out whether our new little nipper is a boy or a girl, to us it is not important because we know we will love our baby either way. All we care about is that it is a healthy baby.

We affectionately call it “George” but that is not going to stick after the birth, trust me.

We are, I think, blissfully happy that we have a little baby on the way. It is exciting, life changing and there is a whole lot to learn. It is amazing to lie there and talk to my wife’s tummy and have our baby react to our voices. He/She frequently kicks Gwen all over the place but it is reassuring as well as a little painful from time to time. It reassures us that little George is still alive and that they are getting on with the task of growing and developing.

We are learning about the birth, breast-feeding and everything that is to come afterwards in the ante-natal classes. Nat, our educator is brilliant and delivers the classes with just the right amount of light hearted humour for what can at times be serious subjects. There is so much to take in and process but none of it feels like a chore, more like preparing for the best adventure you are ever going to go on. If you don’t remember ever little detail then who cares because the experience itself will remind you and you will remember it properly then. When your standing holding your crying baby at 3am and you suddenly remember that if you just did this little thing that your baby will stop crying and go to sleep. No wonder you remember things when you learn them in circumstances like that. (And sorry I don’k know what that magic little thing is that makes a baby stop crying at 3am.)

A few things that you never really thought about before you decided to get pregnant and have a baby but might be worth knowing;

  1. It is expensive. I can’t stress enough that you must SAVE as much money as possible. Even if you think you might think about having a baby some time in the distant future, S A V E now. If you have money in the bank then you can buy all of the million things your baby will need AND you may also be able to afford for the mum (or dad if that is your choice) to not work for as long as you both feel is necessary. Money gets very tight very quickly. Oh and don’t do silly things like us and buy a house when you find out your pregnant…
  2. Labour can be an amazingly positive experience for the mother (and father). Every time you see a mother in labour on TV she is lying on her back screaming in pain, hooked up to all sorts of medical devices and she does not look happy. This is not how it is meant to be. I know I am a man and I won’t have to push out a baby but the negative image that is portrayed by the media is all wrong. Women are designed to have babies and nature wouldn’t build unnecessary pain into the process. OK it will hurt, there will be pain but it should be a positive experience not a negative one. The woman’s body will know what to do if she can get past the fear (that is predicated by the media) and listen to it and trust her OWN instincts. Lying on your back is also not the way your designed to have a baby. Just have a look at any of the enlightened literature about active birth.

I know I sound like an evangelist but it has been a really educational experience so far.

The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the lack of sleep early on. I think I will be able to cope with changing nappies, being peed on, our lives being turned upside down, being puked on and the myriad of unknown delights that await us. But I fear that the lack of sleep might be my downfall.

So that is the negative stuff. On the positive side we are going to have a brand new little life that is half Gwen and half me. We will have made this new life, how fantastic is that going to be? This little new being that is going to surprise and delight us, frustrate and amaze us and generally just leave us in awe quite a lot I think.

Travelling, Rocking and Rolling

OK so I know that I haven’t been keeping up to date at all with my blog but at least when I do get to it I am putting up plenty of embarrassing photos and letting you all know where we have been. I will try and do this in chronological order so you don’t get confused.

We went over to Wales to spend some time with Gwen’s Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Veronica came up as well so it was a real meeting of the clan. We were very well looked after and had a ball. It was great for them to meet up after all these years. We both thought how much Gwen’s cousin David looked so much like her bother, they even had the same sunglasses! As you can see we even managed to get a singstar session in. See the photos >>

We also went over to France to christen the new swimming pool at my parent house. The pool is huge, 10m x 5m, and really makes the place. It was a little cold when we first went in as it was still filling up but we braved the cold. It was great and I couldn’t get Gwen out of the water she loved it so much. The whole family was there for the weekend and it was lovely to spend quality family time in the sun and just have fun together. It was so hard to come back to rainy Ireland. See the photos >>

Our next occasion wasn’t really a trip away as a trip into Ireland and its pop culture. We went along to the Oxegen music festival for 1 day with some friends. I’ll give you a little background. It is a huge 3 day music festival and a lot (80,000) of people attend. Most camp but I was having none of that as we have had a terrible summer and the whole country was sodden at the time, so we got tickets for the Saturday. We duly bought and borrowed our wellies (thanks Tom) and headed along to the music, booze and mudfest that was Oxegen 2007. We really had a great time. The music was fantastic, it was well organised and the craic was mighty 😉 (for anyone reading not familiar with that saying it just means we had good fun it is not a drugs reference) See the photos >>

Our next trip was again within Ireland but some would disagree with me there as we headed up to Northern Ireland. Now Northern Ireland is a separate state from the Republic of Ireland but it is on the same island. It is a beautiful place with lovely people but because of it’s unsettled past I had never actually spent much time there. I am sure a lot of Irish people would have the same complaint. Thanks to Gwen’s persistence we headed up to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, The Giants Causeway and then on to Belfast. It is beautiful up there and even though we had typical Irish weather we were really impressed. Belfast is a great city with such a rich and ever present past that makes it such an interesting place to visit. A definite stop for any visitor See the photos >>

We are off ot Edinburgh next to celebrate a certain lady’s birthday so watch this space…

Getting About

Well a lot has been happening. We have been over to Nottingham to see Gwen’s sister, Veronica, for her Birthday. Her friends took us all out to celebrate and we were again shown how good the night-life is in Nottingham… See the photos >>

We popped over to Paris for a fantastic weekend and saw quite a lot of the sights. What a great city. We were staying really close the the Eiffel Tower and we could even see it from our hotel room. See the photos >>

We went to our friends wedding over in Galway. Amazingly the groom was in school with Gwen in NZ, Matt Moore. See the photos >>

And the following weekend we celebrated St Patrick’s day the proper Irish way and Matt and his lovely wife Donna, who came over to Dublin and celebrated with us 😉 See the photos >>