Bad Santa

Bad Santa

As Clara’s second Christmas fast approaches it has suddenly dawned on me that my little baby girl is a baby no more. The past few weeks have seen her reaching so many milestones and her little personality is really beginning to shine.

Not only is she outgrowing her clothes quite rapidly, but she has well outgrown her car seat too. My lovely but persuasive wife, Barbara, has somehow managed to convince me that we need three car seats….I know….three!

We decided (who am I kidding...my wife decided) to go for the Concord Reverso rear facing car seat for the Octavia, as Clara’s main car seat, after much research.

No complaints so far although closing the buckle can be a bit tricky at times, especially after a few pints! Relax, I’m kidding!

We recently purchased a Britax Romer Two Way Elite (TWE) seat for Granny’s car and the Britax Romer Eclipse for when we travel abroad and rent a car. Choosing a car seat is a minefield as there are so many different ones to choose from.


Clara got so much enjoyment using the car seat as an armchair while it sat in our kitchen before we installed it in Granny’s car, not to mention the craic she had playing with the box it came in!

I can already see Clara’s love for shopping. I was warned by my mum, when Clara was born, that daughters would be expensive! At the slightest mention of us venturing to our local Tesco store, Clara is straight over to the drawer to get the shopping bags, while excitedly shouting, “Bags, bags, bags!” She grabs her coat and harfie and waits excitedly at the hall door. She is a great little helper though in fairness to her.

Even when Barbara was trying on sunglasses in Sunglass Hut the other week, Clara wanted to do the same and try some on too. She began strutting around the shop like Victoria Beckham! What will she be like when she’s a teenager?

That same day, Clara got her first haircut. I was expecting a few tears but I managed to keep it together! There wasn’t a bother on her. She sat there quietly and just took it all in. They even gave us a lock of her hair and a little certificate to mark the occasion.

We recently attended a friend’s wedding in picturesque Lough Eske, in Donegal and Clara got to experience her first ever snow while we were there. There wasn’t a lot of snow mind you and she didn’t really know what to make of it but she had fun nonetheless.

She is absolutely fascinated with all the Christmas lights compared to this time last year and can’t pass a Christmas tree without closely examining the lights and decorations. We brought her to the Wild Lights in the Zoo last week and she loved it. Every second word was “Wow!”. It is worth a visit but a little on the pricey side for what it is. In saying that though, they did spend ages setting it up as we saw them beginning to assemble the lights at the end of September.

Clara is obsessed with Santa, or so we thought. Every time she sees the man in red she utters the words, “Ho Ho Ho." She even hugged a Santa cardboard display stand in the supermarket the other week!

We thought she would really enjoy a visit to the man himself but as you can see, she was having none of it. She wouldn’t sit on his lap for the photo and barely even wanted to look at him. Maybe next year. Although, to be fair to Clara, he was a pretty dodgy looking Santa and his brown hair was clearly visible under his hat. As we entered his grotto, I couldn’t help but notice his mobile phone quickly discarded down the side of his armchair, as if we interrupted him, with the Betting 365 app still open on it! The movie Bad Santa immediately sprang to mind! Santa's "gift" to Clara consisted of an almost comical, poorly translated animal book from China. Take a look for yourself.

What a difference a year makes! These pictures were taken last year. She seemed happier with this less dodgy looking Santa and his real beard.

We’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. A huge thank you to all our loyal customers and followers. We sincerely appreciate your support throughout the year. Wishing you and your family all the best in 2018.

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Rory Thynne
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Easy Like Sunday Morning

Easy Like Sunday Morning

As the cold, dark nights creep in and precious daylight has more or less vanished by the time we get home from work, it means we have to make the most our weekends. Getting up early is certainly not a problem for Clara. One thing she isn’t a fan of is a good old fashioned lie in. I’m looking forward to her teenage years (I know I will probably live to regret these words) so I can wake her up early every morning and get my own back, especially on the weekends!

To be fair though, morning cuddles are amazing, but not quite at 4.30am! This whole daylight saving time malarkey is such a bad idea for anyone with a baby. Damn you William Willett! He had eight kids but wouldn’t you know it.....he died before daylight saving actually became law and never got to feel my pain!

What mastermind came up with the idea of staggering a baby’s bedtime each night by ten minutes the week prior to the clocks going back? Therefore allowing a baby to be contentedly settled into their new routine by the time the clocks actually change. Genius!! Well...not really. It’s a great idea in theory but pity it doesn’t actually work. Well it didn’t work for us anyway. I would have probably been better off actually trying to teach my eighteen month old the concept of time instead, with some thermodynamics and quantum physics thrown in for good measure!

I can’t remember the last time I actually used an alarm clock to wake me up. Clara insists on waking us before it even goes off. My alarm, on my phone, is programmed to go off at the same time daily, just in case she sleeps in. Who am I kidding? It’s never going to happen! Imagine a world where you could actually choose the time to be to woken up at by an alarm.

I sometimes reminisce about lazy Sunday mornings before Clara was born. Waking up at noon with a slightly fuzzy head after a night on the tiles. Ah the memories. In those days we could wake up, eat and then go back to bed, followed by a chilled out Sunday afternoon/evening watching movies and eating comfort food, curled up on the couch. Now we’re responsible grown ups who visit Ikea and get up early and do fun, family stuff.

Speaking of Ikea, we recently purchased one of those Ikea children’s mini table and chair sets. She loves it. It affords Clara her own space and fosters independence.

She sits there happily colouring, playing with her toys or eating a snack, while I cook dinner etc. We sometimes eat breakfast there together and it’s an ideal location for an afternoon tea party!

Clara has come on in leaps and bounds in the walking department. I think the turning point was when she started creche. She saw the other children walking around and decided to give up the crawling altogether, unless it’s through the awesome tunnel they have in the creche garden.

I love her little penguin shuffle so much that I decided to dress her up as a penguin for Halloween. We even paid the neighbours a visit for a spot of trick or treating.


This time of year brings fallen leaves and Clara can't get enough of them! Whether she is kicking her way through piles of leaves in the garden, or helping me to pick them up, she’s in her element.

She absolutely loves being outdoors. She cried non-stop one afternoon as she watched me cutting the grass from the kitchen window and would not stop until Mammy brought her outside to me.

Her favourite hobbies to date include gardening, hurling, emptying the kitchen cupboards and putting toothbrushes and toilet rolls down the toilet! My phone hasn’t fallen victim yet, touch wood!

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Rory Thynne
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Daddy Day Care

Daddy Day Care

I can’t believe the summer holidays are over already. I thoroughly enjoyed spending all that time with Clara while Mammy was at work but now it’s back to reality. I’m back in work myself, in the classroom and Clara has just completed her first week in creche. If I’m honest, being back in work feels like a bit of a break at times.

Minding a baby all day certainly keeps you on your toes. The only time I felt I really got a break, during the day, was when I put her down for a nap and I sometimes took that opportunity to write a bit of the blog or do housework etc.

Barbara and I went for lunch one afternoon while Uncle Heno offered to mind Clara for the afternoon. They seemed to have great craic altogether playing dress up with Clara’s tights ending up on her head!


Now that Clara is walking you just can’t take your eyes off her. Even the baby wipes need to be left out of her reach or she will have the whole packet pulled out and strewn across the floor.


She tries to get into everything! You think you’ve done a relatively good job at baby proofing your home until a toddler really puts it to the test.

One day in particular I recall reheating a cup of coffee three times in the microwave as a result of constant interruptions. I had to prevent Clara from getting into a kitchen cupboard, a drawer and even the dishwasher, while I was emptying it! There was also a nappy change thrown in for good measure.


If there is one thing I learned from being a stay at home dad, it’s to remember to remove all of Clara’s hair clips before leaving the house...from my hair!! Clara got a great giggle when we put them in my hair in the first place but there's nothing more embarrassing than being asked by the checkout girl in Woodies DIY, “Do you know you've a hair clip in your hair?” To which I replied nonchalantly,  “Yeah I know thanks, pink is totally my colour.” trying to play it cool, before dashing out of the shop and back into the car!


As busy and as tiring as it is, looking after a baby/wobbler all day, every day, I must say I do miss our daily trips to the playground, paper hat making, bubble blowing, daddy daughter discos and drum sessions on pots and pans!


Clara absolutely loves the Zoo and is beginning to take a great interest in the animals. She even imitates the noises they make. We paid a number of visits over the summer holidays, including a trip with her godfather, Eoin. We also cheered on her Uncle Alan in his hurling match.


We just recently got our back garden landscaped and this kept her entertained daily as she kept a close eye on the progress, from the safety of the back door. Let’s just hope that we get some of that nice 'back to school weather' so that we can enjoy it.

 

 

Clara has settled in quite well into creche and was grand for the first few days, not a bother on her. After day 4 she was fine when I dropped her off but as soon as she realised I was heading off to work and not hanging around, the tears came streaming. Yesterday, as I drove into the car park in work after dropping Clara off to creche, I realised I was still singing along to her Nursery Rhyme CD.

A week in and Clara has already picked up her first cough and cold from creche. She’s had a few sniffles before this but never as bad. I'm talking snot bubbles and everything! She is so clingy and the other night she would not settle at bedtime. She eventually fell asleep lying on my chest. Like removing old wallpaper, I literally had to peel her off me where her snot had stuck her little face to my t-shirt! Lovely!

The joys of parenting eh?


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Rory Thynne
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When Mammy's Away The Mice Will Play!

When Mammy's Away The Mice Will Play!

They say all good things must come to an end. Last week saw my wife go back to work after extended maternity leave. She was a stay at home mum for 14 months in total. This was made up of maternity leave itself, extended unpaid maternity leave, parental leave and accumulated holiday days. We were very lucky that she could spend so much time with Baby Clara in these early days of her life. To soften the blow of Barbara's return to work, we decided on an impromptu family holiday to Spain, which I wrote about in my last blog post.

I'm currently on summer holidays from work as a teacher so the past two weeks has been a complete role reversal. Mammy has gone back to work while I stay at home minding Clara, watching t.v. all day on the couch....NOT!

I didn’t tell my wife this, but I was a bit apprehensive in the beginning about having Clara all day, every day. Dressing her myself (apparently outfits have to match), making sure she was well fed and generally just keeping her alive until Mammy came home! But so far things have been great. And touch wood….no visits to A&E! The plan is for Clara to attend creche when I go back to work at the end of August.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed our first two weeks of this role reversal, to say it's been busy would be an understatement! Doing laundry and housework has been mildly challenging when you have a toddler constantly clinging onto your legs!


Gardening or more specifically, mowing the lawn seems to be a new pastime of hers. "Start 'em young", as they say. Clara made sure that I didn't miss any patches and she appeared to really enjoy herself. 

She’s very close to walking by herself but she keeps pulling herself up on me, the kitchen chairs or anything within her reach, including the oven door handle! You can’t take your eyes off her for a second.


As tempting as it is to plonk Clara in front of the TV for an hour or so while I clean, prepare meals, or empty the dishwasher etc, my wife and I have decided to try to keep her away from TVs and ipads etc. for as long as possible. It’s our personal choice and she’ll have enough screen time when she gets older, no doubt.

Clara and I are well into our little routine at this stage and each day I try to plan some activity which gets us out of the house, whether it’s raining or not. Last week we visited Portmarnock Beach with Granny and she had a dip in her paddling pool when the weather was fine.

 

We also made trips to the Zoo, the local playground and then the shopping centre when it was raining. This week, due to inclement weather,  we went swimming (indoor pool obviously) followed by a trip to Ikea.

 

I find it easier to plan her meals for the week ahead well in advance as it prevents us from aimlessly wandering around the supermarket wondering what to buy. I have it down to a tee in that today's dinner leftovers become tomorrow's lunch. That way I get away with only cooking one meal a day!

We had a wonderful “Daddy-Daughter Disco” this afternoon. I took a little video to send to Mammy while she was in work. Probably better to only share a still of the video here and not the clip itself. I think it should be a bi-weekly event at least!

Clara had great craic as the pair of us danced around the living room to Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl”, making total eejits of ourselves! I know, I know.....I can't dance! I even did the pointy finger thing.....#Morto! 


Last Friday was our 5th wedding anniversary. My lovely wife deserves a medal for putting up with me for this long! Barbara bought me a pretty cool mini bar disguised as a petrol can! I love it!

Sure where else could I proudly display this wonderful manly gift other than in a man cave? I guess this means that she’s finally giving me the go ahead to build my own man cave! She's sound like that, my wife. That's why I married her!

 

We would love to hear your story. Please share it with us in the comments section.

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Rory Thynne
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Sun, Sand, Sangria and Sudocrem

Sun, Sand, Sangria and Sudocrem

Who doesn't love a family holiday? We have been looking forward to this for weeks. Two weeks of sun, sand, sangria, Sudocrem and size 4 nappies! Sounds heavenly doesn't it? A lovely family holiday before Barbara goes back to work after taking extended maternity leave.


We had a pleasant experience in Dublin Airport, thanks to Fast Track, and we breezed through security with minimal delay. Don't get me started on the copious amounts of luggage my wife insists on bringing! In fairness to her, she has improved over the years as a result of my frequent nagging! And then there's the crazy amount of stuff needed for a baby!


Ryanair have been getting lots of bad press lately regarding seat allocation and we experienced this first hand. Any time we booked with Ryanair in the past, we were always seated together without having to pay any extra fees or charges. I understood that if you wanted more legroom in an emergency row seat you could pay extra for the privilege. However on this occasion, when we checked in online, under the one booking number, I was allocated a seat in row 5 and Barbara and Clara were allocated a seat in row 33, the very last row. We couldn't have been further apart. I'm surprised they didn't sit me in the cockpit! Their latest policy, "Ryanair Moses, the Parting of the Passengers" needs to be reviewed in my opinion.


As I feigned disappointment and frustration with the situation to my wife, I was cheekily relieved inside that I would be able to read my book or watch a movie uninterrupted on my iPad for the duration of the flight. I'm a terrible person, I know. Clara slept on Mammy for half of the flight but I did bring Clara up to me and I entertained her on my lap for an hour or so while Mammy had some alone time. See...I'm not so bad after all.


I think back to my pre fatherhood days and wonder what the hell did I do with my free time? Parenthood, as any parent knows, is go, go, go. Why would I think that being on holiday with a wobbler/toddler would be any different?


I reminisce about holidays with my wife in Crete and Lanzarote or our relaxing honeymoon in Sardinia 4 years B.C. (Before Clara). Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't change being a dad for the world. I love it, it's wonderful and it's the best thing that ever happened to me. It's just that before Clara was born, things were....different. We had more time for each other (if you know what I mean) and not to mention more sleep!


As we were sitting by the pool, on the manicured lawns of the apartment complex, this afternoon, I noticed two teenage girls chilling out, reading their books and enjoying their holiday. To be honest, I was ever so slightly envious of them as they relaxed and read their books, uninterrupted. They could be potential babysitters I plotted. Turns out they are from Dublin too!

 

Now, when I say we were sitting by the pool, I mean my wife was reclined on her sunlounger, reading her Kindle and I was busy entertaining Clara in the shade on a picnic blanket with her toys.

And by sitting, I mean chasing after Clara, constantly, as she kept trying to escape. She's not at the walking stage just yet but she can cover some serious distance on all fours, at pace.


There are many different parenting styles out there; Authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, attachment parenting and permissive parenting to name a few. Whatever parenting style you have adopted goes out the window on holidays. We have found ourselves resorting to “Tag-Team Parenting”. Barbara and I are basically having a holiday in shifts. One of us enjoys a holiday while the other one is “parenting!”


So far, the most common phrases between my wife and I have been, "Your turn" and "Swapsies"! One of us gets a lie in in the mornings while the other pushes Clara the length of the promenade and back again in the buggy.

Not the expensive travel system mind you, that's at home. No, apparently we needed a lighter more compact buggy for the holidays, with a bigger sun canopy and a parasol attachment for good measure!


Dinner time is a great opportunity for my wife and I to catch up with each other and chat about our day! When we go out for dinner, we have to go out early. Our fellow diners would not enjoy a meal sitting next to a tired, cranky toddler. As a result, we're usually home early. With Clara in bed and Mammy and Daddy sober, it's generally a Netflix movie or an episode of Orange Is the New Black, before we head to bed early ourselves. Early to bed and early to rise……...we wake up early when the baby cries!

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Rory Thynne
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An Ode to Father's Day

An Ode to Father's Day

As Father’s Day approaches,

On June 18th this year,

Dads are looking forward,

To relaxing with a beer.

 

This day’s a celebration,

To honour everything paternal,

A lovely home cooked meal,

Made by hands maternal.

 

A break from changing nappies,

Full of poo and piddle.

Replaced by gifts of socks and ties,

Or power tools from Lidl.

 

Some Daddies may get lucky,

That some action comes their way.

They have their fingers crossed,

That with Mammy they might play.

 

Of course this all depends,

On whether baby goes to bed.

But if the baby wakes up crying,

Looking to be fed….

 

That would put a spanner in the works,

Then there’s nothing you can do.

No hanky panky on the cards,

No baby number two!

 

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads,

Enjoy the day that’s in it.

May you get some peace and quiet,

If it’s only for a minute!

Rory Thynne
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Sacrifice and Inspiration

Sacrifice and Inspiration

We recently had the pleasure of celebrating the special occasion of my youngest brother’s wedding. Eoin, who is Clara’s Godfather, married his stunning bride, Áine in the beautiful surroundings of Killenard in County Laois. I’m delighted for them. He found his ‘Miss Right’ but married life will soon make him realise that her first name should be “Always”!

This was Clara’s second wedding and she certainly enjoyed herself. I was honoured when I was asked to be one of Eoin’s groomsmen although Clara had an obsession with my boutonnière. My what? I didn’t know that this was the proper name for a “flower pin” either.

She kept trying to touch it anytime I was holding her. During the ceremony itself, Clara decided to repeatedly call, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” when I was up on the altar, witnessing the vows. How dare Áine steal Clara’s limelight!

Throughout the day, family and friends fought over whose turn it was to hold and cuddle her.

As the day went on and Clara began to get tired, her FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) surfaced. She fought against the tiredness and partied on until she could not fight it anymore. Barbara put Clara in the ring sling and through the soothing effect of Barbara’s motion and heartbeat Clara eventually dozed off.

We purchased a set of children’s ear defenders online, prior to the wedding and they were a godsend. (They cost €19 plus delivery from here). Clara will use them again this summer in Croke Park, with me, when she’s supporting the Dubs. In hindsight we probably should have gone for blue ones!

Barbara then placed Clara in her buggy where she could nap peacefully. Mammy got a little break and I could hide Alan’s best man’s speech….twice! We had a wonderful day and concluded the celebrations with a delicious family barbecue the following evening.

 

Last weekend we attended the All About Baby Fair in Citywest Hotel. This was a wonderful, well organised event with talks, consultations, demonstrations and children’s entertainment. We were delighted to meet so many mammies, daddies and parents to be. Clara was in attendance too and she had an absolute ball, meeting customers and other children. We are looking forward to next year’s fair already.

 

This weekend will be my second Father’s Day as a daddy. Clara was just four weeks old last Father’s Day, so fatherhood was very new to me. I guess one year later, it still is relatively new. The past year has been such an incredible journey and an amazing experience.

To quote Mike Myers, “Anyone who tells you that fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.”

 

Fatherhood has changed my life completely. I think it has made me a better person. I have become more patient and have acquired a greater understanding of unconditional love. Fatherhood has strengthened my marriage, as my wife and I work more effectively as a team. We share the responsibilities that having a child brings to a relationship. Becoming a father has made me look at my own parents in a different light. I recognise all they  have done for me and I value the happy childhood I had. Fatherhood has taught me sacrifice, has given me inspiration and has enriched my life overall.

 

Happy Father’s Day this Sunday to all the dads out there. Have a nice relaxing day and take pleasure in opening your gifts of socks, ‘World’s Best Dad’ mugs and ties!

 

We would love to hear your story. Please share it with us in the comments section.

Stay tuned for more updates to our Blog. It's updated regularly. Don't forget to subscribe to our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Rory Thynne
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#Fatherhood Friday - Guest Blogger Series

#Fatherhood Friday - Guest Blogger Series

I was invited to take part in a Guest Blogger Series as part of #FatherhoodFriday by a fellow blogger, Lisa at http://passtheproseccoplease.co.uk/. She is looking to show parenting from a dad's point of view and asked me a series of questions. Happy reading.

1. Tell us a little about you, and your family.

 

I’m Rory and I am married to an amazing woman named Barbara. This time last year I became a dad for the first time to my beautiful daughter, Clara. My wife was born in Germany. She moved to Ireland to improve her English but then met me and couldn’t resist my dashing good looks and my Irish charm…..she may have a slightly different version however! We live in Dublin.

 

  1. Tell us about your blog – what made you start, when did you start etc?

 

Why do I do anything? Because my wife tells me to!

Just kidding…..kinda. Barbara launched our baby clothing company, Clara & Carl Organic Baby Clothing, following the birth of Clara and asked that I write “The Blog”. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, if I’m honest, as I knew nothing about baby clothes and never really thought of myself as a writer/blogger. I just started typing and the blog, although still in its infancy, has become my story about what Clara gets up to and my experiences of fatherhood with some baby clothes stuff thrown in for good measure.

 

  1. How did you feel when you discovered you were going to become a daddy for the first time?

 

Words cannot describe the joy I felt that day when we found out that Barbara was pregnant. I actually knew my wife was pregnant before she did! A couple of weeks after we decided to start “trying for a baby”, Barbara took a pregnancy test, one Saturday morning. It was negative. Just one pink line and she came back to bed, a little deflated. I told her not to worry and gave her a cuddle. “Maybe we need more practice?”, I suggested. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Like, two hours later…. I got up to do the same…..a morning pee that is, not take a pregnancy test!

The pregnancy test was sitting on top of the bin and I could just about make out the faintest second pink line. We were thrilled.

From that point on she milked the whole pregnancy thing and I was happy to oblige. “Oh I can’t clean the bathroom because of the chemicals in the bathroom cleaning spray”, she’d say. Or, “Will you carry out the bins babe? I’m not supposed to lift anything heavy”. Yet she had no problem carrying all those shopping bags once she began “nesting” and buying baby stuff that we never even used!

 

 

  1. Can you remember how you felt when your first child was born?

 

I remember like it was only last year! It was the most amazing day of my life. I had visions of us rushing to the maternity hospital in the middle of the night. My wife, in labour, sprawled out, screaming on the back seat of the car, beads of sweat rolling down her brow and me breaking every red light on the way, worrying about the car seats being destroyed.

It was nothing like that. Clara was breech so we were scheduled for an early morning appointment for a C-Section. No rushing, no panicking. All was calm....or so I led my wife to believe.

 

On the inside, however, I was nervous of the fact that Barbara had to undergo surgery. What if something went wrong? At the same time, I was excited about meeting this new human being, who I helped create with the woman I love.

I parked the car and we walked towards the maternity ward for our appointment. We were shown to our room and after some waiting around, I got changed into hospital scrubs and put on a funky hair net. Barbara was called in first for the anesthetic and then I was invited in to join the party.  “Don’t touch anything”, I recall being told by one of the nurses. (Everything was sterile for the surgery and they didn’t want my grubby hands contaminating anything).

I had done my homework and had previously watched a few C-Sections on One Born every Minute. Clara was born at 1.18pm.

I did skin to skin with Clara and I sang to her too. If I’m honest, yes I did shed a tear.

I was so proud. I was so happy. I was a dad!

 

  1. What has been your biggest challenge as a dad?

 

I suppose the biggest challenge, at the beginning, was the lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep led to my wife and I being irritable and cranky with each other on occasion. This in turn leads to arguments about whose turn it is to get up with the baby at night or whose turn is it to do the next nappy change. We would then have disagreements about who was doing more as if it was a competition or something.

One solution to the lack of sleep was that I would sleep in the spare room from time to time, getting some precious uninterrupted sleep. I would then take Clara early in the morning, before I’d go to work, to allow Mammy to sleep uninterrupted. It works for us.

To quote Henry Ford on Teamwork, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is the progress. Working together is the success”.

I have such admiration for single parents. I don’t know how they do it on their own.

 

 

  1. Tell us a funny parenting story!

 

Clara is not walking yet and has just begun to say a few words such as “Mama” and “Dada”. I know the real fun will begin once she starts walking and talking properly. So far, it has mainly been snots, puke and explosive poos that has made us chuckle.

 

I was just glad that the explosion, pictured above, happened at home and not out in public. I had no idea that she could produce something so sizeable for someone so small. No amount of baby wipes could clean that up. Where would you even start? As tempting as it was to put the whole lot in the bin, baby and all, we didn’t. We opted for the power washer instead!

STOP! Put down that phone! Don’t call the child protection agency. I’m kidding!

A quick bath later and all was harmonious again…..for a while.

 

 

  1. How do you fit blogging in around parenting – do you have a set schedule?

 

I don’t really have a set schedule as such. I usually just jot down any ideas for the blog in a notebook when I think of them and with Clara’s antics, I’m rarely stuck for material. Then in the evening, when Clara is gone to bed, I take out the laptop and expand on those ideas.

 

 

  1. What would you say are your best qualities as a parent?

 

I think I am quite easy-going and patient. I have a good sense of humour and I am always messing and joking around with Clara, playing silly games, making ridiculous faces or dressing her up as an Arab!

She loves it. She has a mischievous glint in her eye and I can tell that she will be a messer, just like her daddy.

 

 

  1. What advice would you give any first time dads?

 

Well I am a first time dad myself so I am still learning. I would say treasure every moment you spend with your baby and take lots of photos. It’s always nice to look back on those pics. Time flies and babies grow and change so quickly.

In the days after your wife/partner delivers your baby, dads need to help out without having to be asked. She will be exhausted and sore and will need to rest. Take control of nappy changes, house chores and food preparation and just be there for her and your newborn baby for lots of cuddles.

Try to keep your lady happy as much as possible. I know it’s easier said than done. I wreck my wife’s head all the time but she shows no signs of leaving me just yet so I must have found the right balance between husband and head-wrecker. A happy wife is a happy life.

 

  1. Name your top three parenting essentials for new dads/parents.

 

1. Baby Carrier- My daughter absolutely loves being in the baby carrier. I think it really strengthens the bond between daddy and baby. You can’t beat constant cuddles while they are nestled into your chest. I guess she feels safe there, listening to my heartbeat and feeling the vibration of my voice. She will often fall asleep nuzzled into my chest when we go for walks. She can see everything from up there and is chilled out in a state of quiet alertness. My hands are free which is great in the supermarket and it makes negotiating stairs and crowds much easier compared to a buggy.

  1. Pair of boobies -No not for me, for the baby. I know breastfeeding is not for everyone and that it’s a personal choice. My wife breastfed so when it came to night feeds, I got off lightly. It was great for the bonding between the pair of them (pardon the pun) and there was no fussing around with bottles and sterilisers etc. 

 

  1. Harfie - A what? A harfie is fantastic, functional hat/scarf combo. Best accessory ever! Handmade in Germany from 70% organic merino wool and 30% silk, it is extremely soft and breathable.  Get one here.

 

[4.] Oh and coffee, lots of coffee!

Rory Thynne
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What's Another Year?

What's Another Year?

This week we celebrated Clara’s first birthday. It’s quite an accomplishment in that we managed to keep Clara alive for one whole year! “What’s another year?”, Johnny Logan asked back in 1980 when he represented Ireland in the Eurovision. Well for me, as a father, this has been the best year of my life. I have seen tremendous changes in Clara but I only realise how significant these changes are when I look back at photos. A good friend of mine recently had a baby and I find it hard to believe that Clara was once so tiny.


We had a small family gathering for Clara’s first birthday party and had a lovely afternoon. I reckon she enjoyed being the centre of attention and she received some beautiful presents.


Clara’s first birthday has been a massive milestone for my wife, Barbara. She has breastfed Clara for one whole year! Her Breastfeeding Facebook group has given her immense support when times were difficult. She could have stopped breastfeeding altogether but she persevered and her determination was second to none. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, I know that and it’s a personal choice. I know what you’re thinking. What is this guy talking about breastfeeding for? He’s a man! He hasn’t got a clue!

And you may be right. But all l can do is speak about my own personal experiences of breastfeeding and how amazing the journey has been for Clara, my wife and for me too.

If you think I’m going to list off the benefits of breastfeeding here, well you’re wrong. Google can tell you that. Breastfeeding is something my wife wanted to do before Clara was even born and I would support her decision no matter what.

I have great admiration for my wife for sticking with it when times were tough. She did all the night feeds and I’m sure at times it was tempting to switch to bottles so that I could take over and she could get some well deserved sleep. Yes she was sore. Yes she had mastitis. Yes it was uncomfortable but the bond between the pair of them is the most beautiful vision in the world.

Both friends and strangers comment on how Clara is such a happy baby when they meet her. Maybe the breastfeeding has something to do with it? Or maybe she’s just so happy from laughing at my dad jokes? Whatever the reason, we are blessed.

In breastfeeding circles, mothers have Boobie Awards, Nursiversaries or Breastfeeding Milestone Awards, whereby they are given an award to acknowledge their efforts for the length of time they spend breastfeeding. (Silver 6 months, Gold 12 months, Platinum 18 months and so on). I felt that it was important to mark this important golden milestone for my wife. I wanted to show her my appreciation for her efforts so I wrote her a short poem and gave her a little award. My mum gave her the beautiful Breastfeeding figurine.

 

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Rory Thynne
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Looky Looky

Looky Looky

This is the life! Here I am relaxing on the Costa del Sol, feet up, reclining on a sunlounger and chilling by the pool. Bliss! No I haven’t become a drug lord, this is our first sun holiday with a baby. Barbara, Clara and Granny (my mum) flew out here last week.


I had the important matter of my brother’s stag do to attend but I managed to take a few days off work and follow them out here. (The less said about the stag the better. What happens on tour, stays on tour and all that!)

The first few days at home alone were wonderful, watching the snooker, rugby and football on t.v. The house was quiet without a baby around and that annoying buzzing sound in my ear had mysteriously disappeared with my wife gone.

By the third day however, the house was very quiet. Almost too quiet and I was looking forward to joining them.

Fast forward a few days and here I am in Spain. Clara is having an absolute ball. My wife informs me that in my absence, apparently Clara already has her first boyfriend. I am beginning to dread her teenage years already. What will she be like? She’s only eleven months old!

Her main hobby these days seems to be waving, smiling and flirting with strangers. She will do this to anyone who even remotely looks in her direction while we walk along the promenade. I know this social interaction is a milestone in her development and it’s great. So far she has managed to score herself a free pair of “Raya Bam” sunglasses from one of the friendly ‘looky looky’ African men who succumbed to her charms.



She has also developed a new fondness for dogs. I know, who doesn’t love dogs? But every single time she sees one out walking, she screeches and waves her tiny arms and legs in excitement, so much so, that the owners feel obliged to approach us so that Clara can have a meet and greet.

She is not a fan of the rough, prickly Spanish grass here on the lawns of the apartment complex. She has resorted to walking like some sun hat-wearing primate, on her hands and feet, to avoid her knees coming in contact with the grass.


We drove down to the old town of Marbella yesterday and had a lovely stroll through its narrow streets. We stumbled upon a wonderful restaurant called “The Farm”, an old house built in 1502. Its secret garden is a real gem and is certainly worth a visit if you’re ever in Marbella. We did have to carry the buggy down some steps though. Keep an eye out for the rabbits.


Being on holiday with a baby is really like being at home, just with nicer weather and no changing table. We still have the early mornings, so no lie-ins and naturally enough, we brought more baby stuff than was necessary.

As a parent you’re constantly worried about your baby’s exposure to the sun. I get sunburn if I even look out the window so I continually top Clara up with factor 50 and keep her in the shade as much as possible with her sun hat on. Putting suncream on a baby is like trying to give a cat a bath!

All those swimming lessons seem to be paying off. Clara absolutely loves playing in the pool and never wants to get out of the water.

This morning we visited the picturesque town of Mijas Pueblo near Fuengirola, located up in the mountains, offering spectacular views across the Costa del Sol. You could spend half a day here and take a walk through the narrow streets, browse the shops selling handmade local crafts, take a donkey ride around the town or visit the bull ring.

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Rory Thynne
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The Octagon

The Octagon

Last week we brought Clara to the doctor to get her second Meningitis B vaccine. Naturally enough she cried during it, but by that evening she was back in great form, laughing away despite a high temperature of 40.8 degrees. She was a little more clingy than usual and I had become quite proficient at making cups of tea and emptying the dishwasher one-handed.

It wasn’t a great start to the Easter holidays but things soon got back to normal and we enjoyed a few days out in Dublin Zoo with some lovely weather. We visit regularly taking full advantage of our Family Annual Pass, which is well worth it.

As we were walking around the Zoo with some friends, Clara sneezed and a huge green snot was the result. My friend was disgusted and perplexed at how someone so small could produce something so substantial. “Just wait until you see a nappy change”, I told him.

I fumbled through my pockets for a tissue which proved fruitless so without thinking, I removed the snot with my fingers. This is love, I thought, until I saw this.

Clara will be one next month. I have no idea where that year went. Nothing below waist height is safe anymore. She keeps herself (and us) busy these days by crawling around on her hands and knees looking for phone chargers, laptop cables or anything else that she should not play with. This is quickly followed by us removing the forbidden item, a slight whine from her and us distracting her with one of her toys.

A playpen does seem like a great idea but then my wife states that it is essentially a cage and maybe we shouldn't get one. “She’s not Conor McGregor in The Octagon”, she frequently reminds me.

 

Karen was close to tears in frustration with her four kids. She complained to her best friend, “They’re driving me crazy and give me no rest”.

“What you need is a playpen to give you a bit of a break”, her friend said.

So Karen bought a playpen.

A few days later, her friend called to ask how things were going.

“Wonderful! I can’t believe it”, Karen said. “I climb into the playpen with a glass of wine and a book and the kids don’t bother me at all!”

 

Clara has also developed a new fondness for the washing machine. She will happily kneel there watching the clothes spin around and occasionally try to grab the clothes through the glass door, chuckling away to herself.

 

This week we visited Trim Castle in County Meath and also spent a few nights in Galway, by the sea.

It’s always nice to get away to the peace and tranquility of Connemara. We enjoyed many walks on the beach, exploring the rock pools and we even roasted marshmallows on a fire one evening on the beach. Clara experienced playing in the sand and she dipped her toes in the sea for the first time.

 

In contrast to peaceful Connemara, nothing beats strolling through the bustling streets of Galway City, “The City of the Tribes”. We spent a day browsing the shops selling Aran Sweaters and Claddagh rings, listening to the many buskers on Shop Street and enjoyed an ice cream in the sunshine in Eyre Square. We stopped off for some delicious seafood in Donnelly's of Barna on the way back. Donnelly's is a child friendly, award-winning bar and restaurant with private snugs and mouth-watering food. Well worth a visit if you are down that neck of the woods.

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Rory Thynne
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Even Miracles Take a Little Time

Even Miracles Take a Little Time

This week the Dáil introduced a new Bill to extend paid maternity leave by the number of weeks a baby is born prematurely. 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year. Presently, these mothers have no choice but to begin their maternity leave while their babies are still in hospital.


At present, mothers in Ireland are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave and 16 weeks unpaid leave which comes into effect on the date the child is born. This means that some parents whose babies are born prematurely may only have a short time at home before they have to go back to work. By then they will have very little maternity leave left to spend at home with their baby. For many mothers their maternity leave is spent leaving their tiny new born behind in the neonatal intensive care unit each night (NICU).


I took my full three days paternity leave last year when Clara was born. Since September 2016, this has increased to two weeks which is great news for new daddies.

 

Source: Irish Times

 

I got to spend three amazing days in our own home with my precious new family before going back to work. I have these memories which I will treasure forever. It is hard to imagine what life will be like before having your own children but when they are born, you can’t imagine life without them.

 

I remember lying in bed with Clara snuggled up asleep on my chest. It was such a wonderful feeling, bonding and getting to know my new daughter during the first few days of her life. Her mammy lay asleep beside us, recovering from never-ending cluster feeds and also from giving birth itself. Not an easy task. I witnessed it!

As I looked down at Clara sleeping peacefully, I thought, How were we allowed to leave the hospital with full responsibility for this little person? No instruction manual or anything!

 

I had a lump in my throat reading some experiences of parents with premature babies. It made me realise how lucky I am with Clara and I held her tightly. I can only imagine how difficult this emotional rollercoaster must be for those parents.

Pregnancy joy and excitement is suddenly replaced with scans, tests and meetings with doctors and consultants. Women waking up with their babies neither inside them nor beside them. Being discharged from hospital and having to leave your baby behind. Having to seek permission to hold your own baby and bonding and cuddling with your new baby through an incubator must be so tough. This is in addition to dealing with any possible complications that a preemie baby may have and lengthy commutes if you live far from an NICU. My sister-in-law works as a nurse in a neonatal unit and witnesses these delicate, tiny miracles on a daily basis.

 

 

A baby’s skin is more porous and thinner than an adult’s skin, meaning it can absorb substances very easily. Premature babies have a difficult enough start to life as it is without having to deal with exposure to toxins and pesticides, which may be present in some types of clothing through the bleaching, scouring and dyeing processes.

From the inception of Clara & Carl we decided that we would stock beautiful, soft, organic, chemical free clothes for premature babies.

https://www.claraandcarl.ie/collections/preemies

 

We would love to hear your story. Please share it with us in the comments section. Stay tuned for more updates to our Blog. It's updated weekly. Don't forget to subscribe to our website and like us on Facebook.

Rory Thynne
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