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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