Friday, February 27, 2009

A few bits and pieces

Like always, I've been mentally drafting blog entries, not posting them, and falling behind. SO here are the condensed versions:

  • Caitlyn was crying the other night and I standing next to the cot holding her. I was so tired/half-asleep I honestly thought I was just going to fall down. But she screamed if I even started to bend my legs towards sitting down. Her Highness insists we stand in her presence.

  • I noticed the crocuses are coming up and some trees are beginning to bloom, and wondered: why is Lent during Spring? Just when life starts to get a bit better after winter, we're supposed to deprive ourselves of something enjoyable? (I know, it's because of Easter). Oh, and people with ashes on their heads for Ash Wednesday still always make me do a double-take.

  • I didn't give anything up for Lent, but I'm going to try to go for a walk every day. Not easy when it's too dark after the kids go to bed to go then, and there's always at least 1 non-buggy-riding child with me all day. Walking with children is not exercise, it's just annoying.

  • Alannah is learning Irish at nursery, but I can't tell what are real irish words and what are just the made up words of a four year old. They sound strikingly similar.

  • The other night I was making dinner and all was quiet, so of course I went to check it out. The older two were indeed playing nicely with each other when I went into the room. I left them to their game, but I had broken the spell..the fighting broke out as soon as I left, and they remembered they wanted to vie for my attention.

  • I was lying down with Charlie at bedtime yesterday and we were talking about rugby. I looked at those big blue eyes, soft little cheeks, and kissed him. And said 'Even when you are a big boy who plays rugby, I will still kiss you, because that's what Mommies do.'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


With my driving license still shiny-new (I passed the test just a few weeks ago) I finally got the chance to drive in another country – Northern Ireland. It wasn’t until I actually crossed the border that I realized I wasn’t sure of all the different road signs up there, what the whole traffic light sequence is all about (green-yellow-red-yellow?), and how to convert the speed limit signs (in mph) to what my speedometer read (in kph).

I was on day-release from my little (still breastfeeding) warden, who insisted I be back in time for bedtime, so I didn’t even get a chance to stop and take advantage of the good exchange rate. Just went up to a training day and back home again. The training was dull, but I was quite frankly giddy at the opportunity to be with adults, think about work things, and even ask questions and have discussions without being interrupted by small children.

Even better was the drive home – two hours by myself to just listen to the radio and think. I was energized by being around people, excited about some new ideas, resolved to begin to put them into action and see our ministry grow. I felt my world expanding – soon I will stop breastfeeding Caitlyn, Alannah will go to primary school, Charlie will go to nursery. I will be able to think and work again.

By Monday my resolve was disappearing. The oppressive fog of broken sleep (we are on week 3 of a nasty cold being passed around the family, with at least one child feverish/coughing/crying for a stretch in the middle of the night), the slow leak of ideas and concentration as the baby literally drains me of energy, my seaweed children clinging to me, slowing down everything I do. My world, my motivation, my mood, shrunk.

I want to do my work, to do ministry in our community. I want to reach out to people and build relationships. What I DON’T want to do is the laundry. The dishes. The constant soothing of tantrums and bickering. I get so unmotivated doing those things on my home days (like Monday) that I get down, and that makes it hard to be motivated to do the work things. Lack of motivation plus lack of time/freedom means I can’t do all the exciting things I was planning to do. I get even more down, and now start to blame myself for being lazy.

And it’s February, and grey, and I have to go to the dentist.

BUT, this time last year I was going to a different training day, that one in London. I flew over, it was a windy, bumpy flight, I was 7 months pregnant, and I threw up all over myself. So at least that’s not all going on, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Potty Train Has Left The Station Without Us

o, okay I should have known better. Our first child was a disaster to toilet train, there was way too much drama involved (and the bribery just got out of control!). Second child – a boy this time, and I know boys take longer to ‘get it’. But he showed some signs he was ready at 2 and 4 months, so why not go for it?

Potty training stories (especially failures) are disgusting and not that interesting, so I will sum up: it was messy, it was annoying, I got cross with him and that just made things worse. After 4 months we have given up, and Charlie is back in nappies.

Which means we once again have two children in nappies. Here is a photo:

Okay, I have to admit, this is from 2 years ago, when Charlie was a baby and he and Alannah were in nappies. Soon after, I decided that I could only manage saving the planet one child at a time. Although wearing a bulky cloth nappy might inspire Charlie to use the toilet, I just couldn’t keep up with all the washing and drying. So he is in disposables at the moment.

But here is a blog post that has been running through my mind for at least 2 ½ years now, ever since I started blogging. Cloth nappies: the good, the bad, the unexpected.

The good

  • Saves money. Especially now we’re on the third user.
  • The money we save goes towards a weekly DVD and pizza night, and valuable ‘couple time.’
  • Lesser environmental impact. Some studies have said that washing cloth nappies is just as bad for the environment as ‘sposies, just in a different way. But those studies were washing nappies at a very high water temperature (not necessary) with lots of washing powder (not necessary, and makes them less absorbent) and tumble-drying (also makes them less absorbent). Absorbency is important!
  • It’s not like it used to be – there are no pins or fancy folds involved, you just put them in a waterproof cover with Velcro fasteners. And there’s a paper liner which makes changing poo-ey ones not so bad.
  • It’s not all or nothing – we use disposables at night, and if we’re going out for the day, or we are on vacation.

The bad

  • We put them in a bucket and wash them every three days. When that bucket is emptied, hold your nose! (and may I add, Marcus has emptied every single nappy bucket we have filled. He’s incredible).
  • The washing, hanging up to dry, taking down again, folding, putting them away does take up a lot of time.
  • They have to be changed much more frequently, especially as the baby becomes a toddler who guzzles juice.
  • Some particularly messy nappies have to be dunked in the toilet. And in the winter that water is cooooooooooooooold!
  • They are much more bulky under clothes and some things just won’t fit over them.

The unexpected

  • It makes me feel better about running the dishwasher and having just bought a new TV.
  • The extra bulk makes learning-to-walk bottom bumps more cushioned. And going down the slide is faster, too (really!).
  • When the stubborn, reluctant, physically unready 2 ½ year old poos in his underpants for the 4th time that day, I don’t have to throw them in the regular wash or run a separate load, they just go in the nappy bucket.
  • You can take a vacation! Most mothering tasks don’t stop when you go on holiday – feeding, bathing, putting to bed – and that includes changing nappies. But when we go on vacation, we have to change that baby’s bottom half as often, and don’t have to deal with the bucket/washing/drying/folding thing.

Cloth nappies have good and bad points, but it basically boils down to: they are kind of a pain, but we feel good for using them. But when we finally get that boy (and his baby sister) out of all nappies, cloth or disposable, that will be even better!

Friday, February 06, 2009

The latest thing to think about when I can't sleep

So there is a ’25 interesting facts about me’ thing going around facebook. And some people don’t want to do it. Other people can’t come up with 25 things. What??? I was dropping not-subtle hints for someone to ask me to do it, and then I had to keep revising my list to get it down to 25. Are other people not as interesting as me? Or do I just think too much of myself?

And then I saw on my friend’s Mylestones blog this adaptation: 25 things about your baby. I nearly wrote it about my 4 year old or 2 year old, who would be much easier to think of 25 things about. But it was nice to have to think about the little one: what of her little self is shining through already?

She is 9 months old today, and such an easy baby. I’m often asked if going from 2 to 3 children was harder than 1 to 2, and I say no, but only because my 3rd baby has been the best behaved one (so far, long may it remain so!). My little babykins, here is her story:

1. My name is Caitlyn Aoife Mylechreest
2. Caitlyn means ‘pure’ and Aoife (which is an Irish name pronounced Ee-fa) means ‘beautiful’
3. I was born on 6 May, 2008 – 2 weeks later than Mommy expected, and 5 days after my brother’s birthday. I get my lateness from my daddy.
4. My Mommy is American and my Daddy is English, but I’m Irish because I was born in Dublin. I have an Irish birth certificate, and Irish passport, and Irish citizenship.
5. I like to suck my thumb and first finger.
6. I do like having a bit of milk, but if there’s anything interesting going on in the room at the same time I’ll turn my head to see what’s going on. I don’t know why that’s a problem.
7. I really, really, really hate being on my tummy.
8. Seriously, I hate it, so don’t make me do it. I can roll over, I just get so annoyed about being on my tummy that I don’t want to.
9. I used to not like solid food, but now I think they’re great. Gimme more!
10. Toast. Have you had toast? It’s delicious and fun to wave around.
11. I have to suck the toast because I don’t have any teeth.
12. I like to eat so much my mommy is afraid one day I’ll pop!
13. I love my mommy best out of anything in the whole world.
14. When my mommy puts me down I cry.
15. When I am playing on the floor, if I look up and see my mommy and she isn’t holding me, I cry.
16. If someone else is holding me and I’m crying so they give me back to my mommy, I put my hand on her mouth so I know it’s her.
17. When I cry in the middle of the night, Daddy tries to help me stop, but I really just want mommy.
18. When I came home from the hospital my mommy and daddy put me in their bed the first night. Now I mainly sleep in my cot, but sometimes in the middle of the night I come into their bed. I like to look back and forth from mommy to daddy, and it’s so exciting to be between them I wiggle and laugh and can’t get back to sleep.
19. I try to wake up every morning at exactly 6:10 am. Sometimes I’m one or two minutes off, but never more than that.
20. I like it when my daddy kisses me with his scratchy beard.
21. I like it when my big sister dances and jumps up and down.
22. I don’t like it so much when my big brother does his cars on my head.
23. I like it when my mommy plays the guitar.
24. My favorite toy is a stuffed lollipop that is good to suck and wave around (kind of like the toast, but less mushy).
25. I like to say ‘Ma-ma-ma’ and I think my mommy likes it too.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


A certain someone (who shares my last name but not my DNA) recently made a BIG mistake.

The kind of mistake that carries with it a sizable fine. And requires attendance at a meeting on a day when we happen to be on vacation in another country. Which means while he returns to Ireland to deal with the problem, I am left to entertain 3 kids by myself. And by the way, it's the day we have to be out of our cabin by 10 am, meaning the kids and I have to find stuff to do in a public place until probably after 7 pm. Grrrrr.

BUT, he sorted it out! Fine paid, meeting cancelled, everything okay now, he remains with us on holiday. Oh, happy relief.

Except.... I was already thinking of ways he could make it up to me. Gifts. Days to myself. Multiple apologies.

I had the power, and the balance has shifted back to the middle. And that makes me a bit grumpy. Shallow, isn't it?

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