My Child is an Explorer.

If my hunch is correct, and I think it just might be, then I need to get comfortable with the idea of raising an extroverted child. I remember realising I was an introvert and feeling like ‘oh yeah, that’s it, that’s me’. I think it’s only natural to assume you’re going to have a kid that’s just like you. I mean, who else do you know as well as yourself?

Haha, how wrong can you be.

This child is an adventurer. He is bold and fearless. A born explorer. He lights up around people; smiling at strangers on the street, chatting with the man in the chemist or the woman in the bank or the little girl in the doctors waiting room. He loves nothing more than being outside, unrestrained and wildly free. He’s only 11 months young and I am already in awe of the ways he pushes himself, determined to a fault, perhaps. 

No doubt I will find the endless chatter hard. It already is and he can’t form actual words or pose impossible existential questions yet. The need to turn every possible item into a drum and drumstick, creating deafening but hearty ‘music’, seems to be an early and easily mastered skill to him. I might run ragged chasing him up the stairs, or lose the plot trying to change the nappy of a never-not-moving baby but I hope that I can find the patience to understand that we are different and that’s ok. I hope he learns the same.

Of course, things change as they are wont to do. Perhaps he will become a shy five year old or a timid eight year old, or a borderline hermit in his middle age. I doubt it but, you know, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. 

I hope that I can always meet him where he is and let him know that as long as he’s doing his best, then he’s doing pretty ok.   

9 Months

Tadhg was nine months old yesterday. So that marks nine months as a mama for me. Though really it feels like longer, that whole limbo period while you are pregnant but not yet a parent is odd and confusing and so very full of anticipation.

I always like looking at those pinterest-y type ‘nine months in, nine months out’ photo comparisons but I don’t have any to share here. There is exactly one photo of me from my pregnancy where you can actually tell that I am knocked up and I doubt it needs to be published here or anywhere. 

When I look down at my child now it is hard to fathom how my body ever housed his. He is all fat limbs and squidgy joints, calves that cannot be contained. He can grab and clamour and scratch and climb. He crawls and stands and thrusts his body with such force that he can move his highchair back from the table inch by inch. When he was born my aunt likened him to a velveteen puppy – a more accurate simile does not exist. He’s like an awkward teenage dog now, full of energy and excitement with very little sense, always bumping into tables and knocking over cups.

Tadhg likes to laugh, fake cough and he says dadadadada and go go go and gagaga as if he is making fun of baby talk. He is a powerhouse, determined, strong and focussed. He gets into everything and seems attracted to danger – Tadhg’s favourite things to play with include, but are not limited to: radiator knobs, the dog’s water dish, plugs, sockets, wires, cutlery, the fireplace and the dishwasher. I try to teeter the line between hovering over him and giving him freedom to explore. It does mean that he falls sometimes, or crawls through a puddle of water, or half eats a Christmas decoration. 

It’s been nine months of wrestling tiny buns into cotton nappies, breastfeeding, crying (him and me), and a deep and intense love, unlike anything I’ve ever known. That right there is the recipe for figuring out how to be somebody’s mum. Redefining my relationship with Rich was an unexpected part of this whole mamahood gig. I won’t lie, it has been challenging at times. Learning to be parents and co-captains of our family takes its toll on us both in different ways – especially when its three in the morning and nobody wants to bounce the baby back to sleep. Thankfully, for the most part, when one of us is at our most frustrated the other is feeling a little more zen. 

The pendulum has swung consistently back and forth between challenge and triumph since Tadhg arrived. It’s pretty much just normal life, intensified.

Catching Up on Life.

It has been eleven weeks since our baby joined us earth-side. He smiles, laughs and coos now. His arms flap in excitement and his legs kick like crazy. He makes his presence known and cries when discomfort or boredom strikes. He can also tolerate chilling in a bouncer or his high chair for a few minutes. Right now he is asleep in his cradle in our room while I type this on the sofa. That fact alone is a revelation. We embraced the fourth trimester to the fullest – but I won’t lie and say that coming out the other side isn’t a little bit sweet. 

It’s hard to describe how quickly time is passing. His body is growing and he is all cheeks and double chins. His hands are fat and his rubber band wrists are deepening by the day. Before I had a baby I knew that it would be hard. I was prepared for the crying and the discomfort and the ‘babies be babies’ unanswerable questions. I was prepared for the love too. It’s the kind of love that makes you involuntarily grit your teeth because it’s all so cute it hurts. I wasn’t prepared for the monotony or the boredom or the loneliness. Babies are sweet but they are not good company. I am the first mama of any of my friend groups and at the breastfeeding meetings I feel a generation younger than everyone else. Husbands and house-hunting are not really on my radar right now. (Though if I win the lotto house-hunting is top of my list…just pass me the ticket!) 

We named our baby Tadhg Cian – Cian after my cousin and Tadhg because we liked it. We call him Tiger-Tadhg. Every day we love him more. He likes to be cuddled and kissed and having his face rubbed. 

It’s been 17 weeks since our baby was born. Six weeks since I wrote the above thoughts. I had no recollection of what I wrote, or that I even wrote it. Just like I rarely remember what day it is or if I brushed my teeth this morning (I did, today, for the record). Babies will do that to you. They are all consuming little beings.

I can’t even begin to unravel the past four months. How did I feel when my baby’s hot, damp, heavy body was placed on my chest for the very first time? It was a lifetime ago. I hardly recall how much it hurt and how I cried as soon as I saw my own mama, the weight of the past 14 hours suddenly washing over me. Who was that girl crying desperately in bed, wishing it would all be easier, wishing someone else could just feed the baby, just once? My body felt more foreign than ever before. And yet, I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world. It has all been the making of us. 

“Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.”  
– Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things.

Cheryl knows a thing or two about new mama-hood. 

Our days have a rhythm to them now. I won’t bore you with the details but yesterday I got two solid chunks of ‘nap-time’ where Tadhg slept in his crib and I got to revel in the gloriousness of being alone. Right now he is screeching at me from his bouncer, a grin spread across his face. He smiles so readily. First thing in the morning when he mooches and groans all I have to do is say ‘good morning’ and look into his eyes and he BEAMS at me. Rich tries to get his attention and he complies with a flashy grin but quickly returns his heart eyes to his mama. After waking multiple times a night to feed and comfort him, I have to admit, it feels pretty good. 

It is still lonely, and it is still strange to stay at home every day. I think the only way this would all feel perfectly balanced was if I had two bodies and could send one to work and leave the other at home with my boy. That’s not going to happen anytime soon and so I’m practicing making peace with the present. 

Endless Summer


A few weeks ago when chatting with my friend Kirstyn she asked me how I felt about not getting a summer holiday this year. While we both took some time to ourselves over the past few months this counts as the first summer in our respective 24 years where we haven’t had at least two months of pure freedom. Oh the perks of being a student. It wasn’t something I had thought about and so her question stopped me for a second.

Truly, it feels like I have been on summer holidays since I moved to California. I think it might have something to do with the weather? I’m joking…it has everything to do with the weather. I can count on one hand how many times it has rained since we arrived. (This is not a good thing, the drought is truly a natural disaster.) However, for this Irish girl so used to a damp, cold and changeable climate being able to count on sunshine for days on end is nothing short of revolutionary. 

It is one, big, long, endless summer and it’s coming to a close. My heart is starting to beat towards home again and it’s all kind of coming full circle. Before then here are some photos to recap on the last couple of months. 

When Hannah came we spent some time exploring San Francisco before embarking on our road trip. We cycled through the city and across the bridge to Sausalito which is a cheesy, touristy thing to do but definitely worth it. I love cycling around this city. 

We spent 4th of July at Lake Anza. I read half a book, basked in the heat of the glorious sunshine and avoided the millions of kids in the water. Haha. 

These above four photos are from Jack London Square in Oakland. For about ten minutes of my commute to work this is my view. It’s stunning no matter the weather or time of day—though the morning I shot these photos was particularly stunning.

What are brothers for except playing leap frog and other weird stuff like that? We have fought and we have made up and bickered and drove each other crazy this summer but it has been nice to have him here…most of the time. 

We have spent some time housesitting and garden-sitting over the last few months. These are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken this summer. 


Hanging out in Temescal Alley is always a good idea, especially for those filled-right-before-your-eyes doughnuts from Dolly’s! 

How has your summer been lovelies? It was 34 degrees on Monday and in the high 20s today so it doesn’t look like this summer is ending any time soon. I think we’ll just have to come home to get our quota of autumn-winter chills and cosy fireside cuddling. 

When Family Visits.

We had some visitors a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop looking at the photos. It was a whirlwind week with my three year old cousin Emily and her lovely mama Mel. We ate, drank and did a lot of playing.  Three year olds don’t make for great tourists; they can be grumpy and demanding but when they’re sweet, they are so so sweet.

Here are some things I want to remember from this week:

How you momentarily forgot what ‘blowing a raspberry’ was and instead, when prompted, just blew air onto Richard’s belly. 

How you sat and painted pictures with me in the sunshine.

How we spent hours making ‘leaf soup’ in the garden from your previous day’s impromptu leaf collection. 

How you exclaimed with glee in the restaurant (we were playing Mr Napkinhead) and smashed a glass and then quietly said ‘sometimes I just get so excited.’

How you repeated Rich when he said that sunflower seeds were like crack to the chickens, ‘Yeah, like crack. Let’s give them some more crack.’

How you think we’re all silly, all the time. 

How you trust that we’ll always catch you, always find you, always love you.

How, during an epic-level tantrum you told us all to stay put while you left only to have you run back moments later crying that there was a road up ahead that you couldn’t cross. 

How you loved—and requested—Rich to drive fast. You say ‘that’s power, that’s real fast.’

How you somehow picked up an American accent by osmosis (on the plane?), stretching out your words like ‘fee-ast.’

How you say ‘I’m not cute, I’m a people.’ 

How you ask ‘do you need a cuddle?’

How you said ‘Clio likes to kiss me all the time but I don’t want to be kissed.’ I promptly stopped despite it breaking my heart. You’re just so kissable. 

How you hate pictures and cover your face whenever you catch sight of the camera. 

How a scary face involves you holding your fingers wide and over your eyes. 

How you picked blackberries for us every single day without fail but refused to even try one yourself. 

How you danced to the band in the restaurant on the day you arrived. And then you insisted Eoin dance too—not with you though, all on his own. 

How you laughed.  

How quickly we fell into ourselves, you and us—it was like no time had passed.