Digital Dad: A Bell-inter of a night away

The first night away from your kids can be filled with anxiety for a lot of parents but for us (well me anyway) our first time leaving our 6 month old, Thing 3, was anything but. We’re not ‘helicopter parents’ so any chance we get to ‘escape’ our kids is always met with enthusiasm.

The prison-break in this case was an overnight stay in Bellinter House, Navan, Co. Meath, and to say that we were looking forward to it was an understatement.

Our rescuers for the night were my in-laws and before they had even finished their offer of taking all three boys overnight, we had packed the toys, clothes, nappies, creams, EpiPens, formula, baby food, monitor, travel cot, kitchen sink and buggy and we were camped outside their front door with the car engine still running.

The only trepidation we had was how soon into the trip would we start arguing about directions.

Photo credit:: Ruth Maria Murphy
Photo Credit: Ruth Maria Murphy

Me and my good lady wife have travelled all over the world together and have umpteen road trips under our belt but navigators we are not. In all our glorious years together we have yet to reach a destination without numerous in-car profanities having been hurled at each other. Thankfully Sat Navs have become the norm but even with that, we still travel with two of them – Google Maps and in-car navigation – just on the off-chance that one of them is ‘lying’ to us.

So we headed off kid-free and with the sound of two Sat Nav voices talking over each other. It was like having two other stammerers in the car with me…it was starting to sound like a rap song. Forty-five minutes later we ‘reached our destination’‘reached our destination’ and as we switched off our two travel companions we were ready to relax and indulge in our pre-booked afternoon tea.

And that’s what Bellinter House is – a step back in time where one can relax and indulge in the surroundings of a fabulous 18th Century Palladian styled house, designed by Richard Castle the same architect responsible for Leinster House.

Stepping inside we were met by very friendly and knowledgeable staff who informed us of the games room, the library and the set of interconnected drawing rooms that branch off from the lobby. Our bedroom – one of 5 rooms in the main house – was a large Georgian room with high ceilings, pink walls, dark wooden floors, and oodles of character.

Vintage furniture, coupled with a modern mirror-tiled rain shower, centrally controlled lighting, an entertainment system and coffee/tea making facilities (which delightfully included Tunnocks tea cakes) all combine to the quirky elegance of the hotel.

Photo credit:: Ruth Maria Murphy
Photo Credit: Ruth Maria Murphy

As mentioned, we booked ourselves in for afternoon tea – a selection of hand cut sandwiches, warm scones with cream & jam, and pastries, all served with tea and coffee – and settled ourselves in the fabulous drawing room for the next couple of hours. At €20 a head the afternoon tea was good value for money and the scones ticked all of this Dadbod’s boxes.

My only bug bear was the bizarre Banksy-esque interior design choice of blanking out sections of paintings, with spray paint and masking tape throughout the drawing room. It’s an odd choice and we weren’t the only ones to comment on it. This is subjective of course and the ultimate first-world problem and to be honest, we were just happy to sit in our palatial surroundings without having to peel ham sandwiches off the floor or wash cream and jam out of Thing 2’s hair.

If filling your belly with afternoon tea isn’t your thing, then Bellinter’s extensive grounds offer a multitude of paths and walks and with wellies available for guests, it’s easy to slip into your walking attire and explore what Co. Meath has to offer. Horse-riding, clay pigeon shooting, hot air ballooning, wakeboarding, golfing or fishing on the River Boyne can also be arranged.

Needless to say we did none of these and having hit a food coma we retired to our fabulous room for three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Bliss.

Photo credit:: Ruth Maria Murphy
Photo Credit: Ruth Maria Murphy

Bellinter’s 2AA Rosette award winning restaurant the Eden is located in the vaulted cellar which is accessed via a narrow spiral staircase. The food and service were very good although the cellar itself felt a little sparse which was in stark contrast to the cosy surroundings of the drawing rooms above.

That said we couldn’t fault our lovely meal – Eden Smokies and Braised Pork Belly – and two hours later we rolled out of the restaurant and retired to the drawing room for some evening drinks by the open fire.

The next morning we enjoyed a perfectly good buffet breakfast in the cellar before my darling wife headed to the Bathhouse Spa for a very relaxing back massage and some eyebrow treatment thingy. I, on the other hand, headed back for a 2-hour kip in preparation for next 11 months of broken sleep. Hail kids I thought. Hurray.

The damage…

The cost for an overnight stay including a 3-course dinner and full Irish breakfast will set you back €105 per person sharing. Afternoon tea is priced at €20 per person. A 30 minute back massage and eyebrow tint and shape cost €40 and €20 respectively.

Check out their website below for numerous offers including Valentine’s packages.

The verdict…

We had the pleasure of being invited to Bellinter House on a complimentary bed, breakfast and evening meal basis. That said I feel that the prices listed above reflect good value for money and as a couple we had a very relaxing and enjoyable stay. It’s a very charming venue that perhaps could do with a polish in one or two places but that is to be expected for any 18th-century house.

We had been looking for a one-night bolthole within an hour’s drive of Dublin and Bellinter ticked all the boxes. Door to door it took us 40 mins.

We’ll definitely be back again.

The details…

Bellinter House, Navan, Co Meath. Tel: (046) 903-0900

Other options in the area…

Other hotel and spa options that we looked at around Meath and Kildare include:

Co. Meath

  • Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa
  • Johnstown House Hotel and Spa
  • Knightsbrook Spa & Golf
  • Tankardstown
  • Pillo Ashbourne

Co Kildare:

  • Killashee
  • The K Club
  • Carton House Hotel & Gold Club
  • Osprey hotel & Spa
  • Clanard Court hotel

Wherever you choose, I hope you have a great time.


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Random Things You Should Know Before Having Kids.

Here are a few random tips you should know before having kids (or having more kids):

  1. Friends without children might become distant for a while.
  2. Your conversations during pregnancy will be about pregnancy.
  3. Your conversations after birth will be about your new baby.
  4. You won’t know what you did with your time or what you talked about before you had a child.
  5. Babies’ heads are magnetically attracted to doorways or in our case coffee tables. #GluedForehead #StapledHead
  6. Never give your child a bedside glass of water unless you’re happy with taking them to the bathroom at 4 a.m.
  7. In the middle of the night you won’t care how cute a onesie is, you’ll care about haw many snaps it has.
  8. You’ll be judged more than your child will when they act up in public. This is particularly true when in restaurants and parks or on airplanes.
  9. Always make your child go to the bathroom before you leave anywhere.
  10. Time will fly by so take lots and lots of photos and videos.
  11. You’ll better understand your parents, in particular your mother.
  12. You’ll do things that your parents did, in particular your mother.
  13. Your child will watch you every day for lessons on how to be a human.
  14. If you don’t freak out when your child falls down there’s a good chance that they won’t either.
  15. Staying fit becomes a whole lot fatter harder. Hence try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
  16. Staying awake becomes a whole lot harder.
  17. Staying asleep becomes a whole lot harder.
  18. Children have amazing memories but they cannot keep a secret.
  19. Children like to talk about boring stuff, but talking to them about it is a huge part of their development.
  20. Watching your child interact with other people when they don’t know you’re watching is great.
  21. If potty training isn’t working, it’s probably because your child isn’t ready.
  22. There’s no quicker way to make sure your child is listening than by fighting with your partner.
  23. Yelling at a child mid tantrum will usually make them worse.
  24. Children will ask for way more toys than they need. Unfortunately the same doesn’t apply to parents and money.
  25. If your child has a security blanket or a cuddly toy, buy a spare one or have a backup. We learned the hard way when a dog started dry humping our son’s bunny.
  26. Distraction will be one of your best ‘weapons’.
  27. Your tolerance for gross things will grow exponentially – my tooth recently found poo under my fingernail.
  28. Never be too cocky if your child isn’t going through the terrible twos because they might end up being a Threenager or a ‘Fournado’ (I just made that word up!).
  29. Watching your kid interact with other people when they don’t know you’re watching is great.
  30. Accept all hugs, kisses and cuddles from your child. You’ll get fewer as the years go on.
  31. You’ll try to be the best parent you can, but always remember that just keeping your child alive is a win.
  32. You will need to find the balance between getting sleep and personal time.
  33. Plan as many date nights. as you can.
  34. If your child cries when you leave them just keep on walking. They’ll eventually stop.
  35. If you don’t have one already, you’ll soon develop a DGAF attitude…and it’s great.
  36. I’ve lots more but I’m too tired from parenting…zzzzzz




‘I Like Mummy Better’: Coping With Toddler Favouritism!

“Daddy, I love mummy more than you”. So said our 3-year-old to me yesterday as I attempted my daily high-five ritual as I walked in the door from work (I’m cool like that).

It was only a week ago as we lay on a Mediterranean beach lashing Factor 50 onto our ghost-like Irish bodies that he said the same to my then distraught wife. I on the other hand quickly ordered another Apfelspritz and lapped up the accolades of being the best dad in the world.

One week later and oh how the tides have changed. The fickle nature of kids at that age make you feel like a contestant on Big Brother – I nominate ‘fat daddy’ to leave the house.

What? But wait, wait, hold on, what about all the Star Wars Lego I bought you last week or the ice cream that you loved until it melted onto your hand and you had a conniption fit?

Eh what about all the times….‘Fat Daddy’ it’s time to leave the house’. Goodbye.

Oh, where is Emma Willis when you need her?

Parents Kissing Child

I joke of course. It’s completely natural for kids to favour one parent over another whenever it suits them. It’s a part of growing up and exerting their independence and more often than not it boils down to “Who gave me what I wanted today? Who entertained me the most today? Who is easier to manipulate?!”.

We went through all of this with Thing 1 (our 5-year-old) so it’s water off a duck’s back but if you’re made up of the ‘sensitives’ it can feel like a real kick in the guts.

Just remember that they are not trying to hurt you, instead, you or your partner might just meet specific emotional needs at certain times….in my case, it’s usually jellies.

So how do you deal with favouritism? In my opinion, it’s quite simple.

1 – Don’t take it personally
Remember that you’re dealing with a little person who isn’t emotionally sophisticated yet. Take it on the chin, laugh it off and carry on as normal.

The one thing about kids is that they are always learning what they can and can’t get away with. They tend to repeat whatever gets a reaction out of you so If your child’s favouritism causes one or both of you to react in a big way, whether good or bad and to pay more attention to them, chances are they will keep up the routine.

2 – Revise Your Good Cop, Bad Cop Roles
Always being the good cop and avoiding the tough love, tough-talking disciplinarian role isn’t good for anyone. The bad cop will always be seen in a negative light so it’s very important to unite and share both roles with your partner.

3 – Schedule some One-On-One Time
It’s common for a child to develop some resentment when one parent is away from home more than the other. If you are the one who’s being favoured then it might be an idea to get out of the house for a bit and let your partner spend some alone/bonding time with the child.

Likewise, if you’re the one up for ‘eviction’, hang out with your kid. Spend some quality time with them. Bring them out. Get them some jellies (sugar-free options available – including natures sweets aka fruit!). Play games with them. Show them that you love them and that you love spending time with them. Get down with the kids so to speak.

4 – Don’t Snub or Punish
Whether they want to know or not, make sure that your kid is aware of how much you love them and that you’re always there for them. Don’t punish them or snub them – jokingly or not –as it could make the ‘situation’ worse.

I say ‘situation’ because fleeting favouritism is more often than not a phase that all kids go through. It’s part and parcel of a child’s development and isn’t always about true resentment or lack of emotional connection with one parent.


Ps. I was back to being the world’s best dad again last night and never got to meet Mrs Willis. Groan.

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1. I’m half tempted to create an ‘Unboxing dinner’ video on YouTube so that my kids will eat the bloody food.
2. I’d love to calculate how much time I’ve spent looking for something I know I’ve already thrown away.

3. Raisins, or as I commonly refer to them as, ‘my favourite little box of shut the f*ck up’.

4. My kids moan if they have the same dinner 2 days in a row yet they’ll happily have the same cereal everyday of their lives.

5. If you want your kids to do almost anything just tell them that it’s bedtime.

6. The only thing I want to try in the bedroom these days is 8 hours sleep.

7. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tap your kids to see how long is left when they are telling you a story, similar to when you tap the screen on a YouTube video

8. Apparently no one calls more than a husband doing the grocery shop.

9. I agree with my kids a lot just so they will stop talking.

10. What doesn’t kill you DOESN”T actually make you stronger; It wakes you up by jumping on your head, telling you that they’ve wet the bed and that they want breakfast.

I1. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be moaned at in surround sound, I recommend having 3 kids (and 1 wife).

12. Nothing ever good comes of a conversation that begins with “Dad are you in a good mood?”

13. DD Tip: Take your kid’s ‘artwork’ to work and throw it away there. That way you’ll never get caught throwing it away at home.

14. My kids go through more toilet roll than an Abracadabra jacks.

15. Yesterday I pressed the pedestrian crossing button right in front of my kids just to remind them who’s in charge. That’s how petty I am.

16. Don’t give your kids a Granola bar before bringing them to the dentist….NOT impressed.

17. I poured boiling water on my hand the other day – I wasn’t trying to – and the first thing I heard was ‘Daddy can I have a snack?’….He chewed on that bandage for a good 5 minutes.

18. I often wish there was a drive-thru for everything.

19. I’m now at the stage where I wish that I can sleep when I can’t and I’m no longer able to sleep when I can.

20. If you’re ever concerned about your kid’s hearing, just open a bag of crisps from another room.

21. My toddler should write a book called “Why one sock is better than two”.

22. My 4yo should write a book called “Why I never wait for the sun to come up”

23. My 6yo should write a book called “Why I want to be a Lego Master Builder”

24. Lego should invent a Lego hoover that parents can use to hoover up Lego.

25. A walk in the park is not a walk in the park.

26.Tetris and Tupperware drawers are pretty much one and the same.

27. What doesn’t kill you DOESN”T actually make you stronger; It wakes you up by jumping on your head, telling you that they’ve wet the bed and that they want breakfast. #GoodMorningThing2

28. I’m inventing a ‘Sock Lock’ that prevents toddlers from pulling off their socks and chewing on them. Hit me up if you want to invest.

29. Regardless of how tired you are, check that the sticker is off the apple before you scoff it down.

30. “DAAAAD. HELP. It just came out”. What I didn’t want to hear (or see) when i walked into the bathroom at 3.37am last night.

31. I’m convinced that my 4-year-old is trying to disprove the scripture that ‘man cannot live on bread alone’. #ChallengeAccepted

32. ‘Ugh I hate broccoli’. Yet he’ll eat freshly picked snot no problem.

33. Co-sleeping; what a load of s***.
—->(1) nobody bloody sleeps and
—>(2) it’s more like snow plowing, given how much I have to shift both kid and wife over to their side.

34. Although frowned up, it;s not illegal to call a toddler an asshole.




1. 90% of eating with your kids in a restaurant is preventing them from (1) putting food in their drinks or (2) spilling their drinks.

2. ‘Dad, why don’t you let the radio sing instead?’, was just cruel and unnecessary.

3. Trying to open a Capri Sun without it squirting out is one of parenting’s toughest challenges

4. Wearing a Halloween Mask in bed has been a great way to stop our kids from wanting to sleep in our bed at night.

5. You don’t know creepy until you’ve had a child stand over you at 3am and whisper ‘Bunny says he doesn’t like you”. #TimeToChangeTheUndies.

6. Did you know that blueberries can pass through a baby’s digestive system fully intact? Same goes for sweetcorn, carrots, potatoes…

7. One of the best sounds you’ll ever hear is your partner and kids in fits of laughter in the next room.

8. . That said, hearing Thing 1 (5) ‘teaching’ and explaining something to his younger brother (3) makes everything in my world completely insignificant.

9. Son: “DAAAD I only asked you to hold my ice cream”.
Me: “Yes and that was a mistake. Now you must learn from it..

10. The one thing I have in common with our baby is we both cry when our bottles are empty.

11. 6yo: “Daddy what does neglect mean?”
Me: Sssh I’m watching the golf.

12. “I want a snack” – my 4yo when he’s eating.

13. Nothing halts having fun with your kids quicker than when one of them grabs your glasses.

14. We teach our kids not to lie and then 30 seconds later tell them that their picture is excellent.

15. Before i had kids i thought only perverts sniffed underwear.

16. If you yell “what are you up to” and your kids say “nothing” that’s kid code for “you better get off your fat a** and check on us”

17. Always double-check the garden after you’ve had a party because seeing a 3 year old chew on a cigarette butt is all sorts of wrong.

18. If you want to see a full-blown meltdown, give a boy a girl’s party bag by ‘mistake’.

19. Always make sure that your son is looking into the toilet (or even at the toilet) when you offer to have a ‘wee wee’ sword fight with them. #DadsWillUnderstand

20. I’ve been present at 3 births (right hand is still fractured) but nothing compares to the facial expressions of a toddler trying to squeeze out a poo.

21. Sunday bedtime is usually when my kids like to discuss quantum physics

22. It’s also the time when my kids ‘need to finish’ their homework.

23. …and it’s also the time when I tend to lose my sh*t.

24. I only bring my kids to the library so that I can get some peace and quiet.

25. I’m never more nervous than when I insist we’re out of something and my wife goes to look for it herself.

26. You haven’t really been patronised until a 6yo hugs you and starts patting you on the back

27. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make my 3yo wipe his own arse.

28. Its weird how 6 glasses of water seems impossible but 6 glasses of wine can be done in one sitting.

29. ‘No I’ll do it myself’ is the reason i’ll never be on time for anything ever again.

30. ‘Really. Wow that’s mad’ – things I say when i’m not listening to my kids (or wife)

31. If bottled bath water was a thing, my kids would drink it by the gallon.

32. Even if my privates were on fire my kids would walk into the room and ask me for a snack.

33. 4yo: I don’t like it, it’s too spicy.


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*a selection of some of my random thoughts on being a dad to 3 boys*

1. Being a dad has thought me that you don’t need fun to have alcohol. very important lesson.

2. Three boys. Well I’ll tell ya one thing, farms don’t smell as bad as they used to.

3. Raising a toddler in particular is similar to being a dog. You’re continually sniffing an arse

4. If you think your kids will go to bed earlier and easier just because they didn’t nap, I can recommend the following book – ‘Parenting For Dummies’.

5. First child – healthy, organic, sugarless everything.
Third child – “Just pick it up and eat it” [as the microwave burrito falls on floor].

6. It’s getting harder to figure out a way to play with my kids without actually moving.

7. If you’ve never had a stalker experience just put a 1yo in a walker. #TheStalkerInTheWalker

8. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, trying to count out the correct amount of formula scoops is a head f*ck particularly if someones talking/screaming/sh*tting in the background.

9. The new title of my imaginary parenting book will be ‘Never mind, i’ll do it myself’.

10. If you slack off enough kids become very self sufficient, very fast.

11. Therefore teach your kid from an early age just how comfortable the couch is so that they aren’t constantly asking you to do stuff.

12. That said, no good ever comes from a toddler sitting naked on a couch.

13. Lads, always go big on Mother’s Day…I learned the hard way (the fact that she’s not actually your mother didn’t seem to matter).

14. If something looks like poo, feels like poo and smells like poo, it’s poo.

15. Pro Tip: Continually emphasising the need to keep your kid on a strict schedule makes it easier to say no to crappy things you’ve been invited to.

16. The smell of a bad nappy can linger in your house longer than your In-laws. I love them really (the in-laws that is).

17. When remarking that ‘they’ve gone down well tonight’ it’s always best to check that the monitor is on first.

18. Potty training and bubble baths should never be mixed – all will look lovely on the surface but what lies beneath can be the stuff of nightmares.

19. The day before you bring your kid to their first swimming class, put a little pee in their bath so that they are used to it.

20. Pro Tip: Have your partner leave you a voicemail of the baby screaming. Save it and play it to people when you need to get out of something.

21. If your buggy doesn’t have a cup holder, get one. Believe me, It’s easier to play Jenga on a bus than it is to steer a buggy with one hand.

22. Assuming they’re fit and able to pitch in, accept every bit of help on offer from granny and granddad, Their philosophical advice will be brilliant. Their medical advice not so much!

23. I’m noticing more and more that most of my sentences tend to start off strong and then trail off into sighs as my kids ignore me.

24. Planning our wedding was easier than planning dinner that everyone will eat.

25. It turns out that if you wait long enough to make dinner everyone will just eat cereal.

26. Hell hath no fury than a toddler who wants to peel a banana himself.

27. Hell hath no fury than a dad who has to clean up a squashed banana

28. Saying ‘see you in the morning’ as I tuck my kids into bed is pointless.

29. It’s possible to destroy a house with a granola bar.

30. It’s also possible to destroy a house with a rice cake.

31. The loudest sound in the world is my 4 year old shouting ‘Dad, I have to do a poo’ followed by “Dad can you wipe my bum”.

32. If you have Ready Brek on your crotch there’s a good chance nobody will sit beside you on the bus/train.

33. The trick to cleaning Weetbix off the floor is not to leave it for more than 8 seconds.

34. I wish my wallet refilled as quickly as our laundry basket.

35. It’s near impossible to not open your own mouth every time you try to feed a baby.


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Part 2 tmrw (unless you’re sick of reading this stuff – just let me know)

Digital Dad: Stay-At-Home Mum vs. Stay-At-Work Dad

How is it that a week off work can totally and utterly destroy you? Oh yes, I remember now – I have three kids and a wife (on maternity leave) who required a much-needed break from our three crazies.

I left work, said goodbye to my sanity and headed home. In 10 days I’d be back, sitting at my desk staring at a screen that doesn’t have Paw Patrol on it. The plans and visions I had for my week off were modest to say the least i.e. have a breakfast every morning or have a shower without Thing 2 coming in and launching a bar of soap at me. Simple things indeed, but not too simple as it turned out.

I left work, said goodbye to my sanity and headed home

I walked through the front door to be greeted by my beautiful darling wife (I have to say this of course, as she reads these weekly articles). I say greeted but wifey merely opened the door to me. What greeted me were two hyperactive pre-Halloween ghouls and one 14-week-old Lucifer baby. Plans.  Ah yes, plans. I knew in that exact moment that I could put any pre-conceived notions that I had for ‘my’ week off into a box and throw them in the fire. They’d go up in flames just like my week (granted I did have my breakfasts). Boom, there they go.

My beautiful darling wife is currently on maternity leave so needless to say stress levels and exhaustion are set to max. I knew that I’d essentially be the hired hand for the week and I was OK-ish with that. Cue Saturday morning, I was left to look after my three little treasures while wifey headed out for what I hoped would be a short stint in the shops. It wasn’t.

Hired Hand

Things started out well. I took out the PlayMobil for Thing 1 & 2 and waffled to Thing 3 as only a goofy Dad can to a 14-week-old. An hour later I gave Thing 3 a bottle. He fell into a milk coma within 20 minutes so I popped him down for a nap and genuflected on the way out of his room in the hope that he’d sleep for a few hours. I must have genuflected incorrectly because he was up 20 mins later in full screaming mode. Bliss.

I knew that I’d essentially be the hired hand for the week and I was OK-ish with that.

While this was going on our now 3-year-old aka Thing 2 who is being potty trained – or rather he’s training us in the art of giving in and continuing with nappies – proceeded to pee in his clothes and tap-dance in his socks on the yellow pool that lay under his feet. I immediately launched my SOS call-a-friend and Dad, who was out cycling, said he’d knock in for a cuppa. I needed to prioritise, screaming baby or Gene Kelly. I chose the former.

I lifted up the stinkiest baby that ever was and placed him on the carpet. I was sure to breathe through my mouth the whole time but as I opened the nappy what met me was like something from our local Indian takeaway. I nearly passed out. Meanwhile Gene Kelly had stopped dancing in his p**s and was now demanding fresh clothes and new socks. I was demanding new children.

I immediately launched my SOS call.

The doorbell rang. It was Dad. Aka Bungee Cord. As I was changing Thing 3 I lifted my hand up to direct Thing 1 to open the door for ‘papa’. As I moved my hand back, I instinctively rubbed my cheek (face cheek that is) only to realise that I had sh** on my index finger and I had smeared it on my cheek. I looked like something out of Dances with Wolves. Papa came through the door in full fluorescent cycling gear, the colour almost matching Thing 3’s nappy contents. I immediately instructed him to run upstairs and grab a change of clothes for the tap-dancing lunatic.

I lifted up the stinkiest baby that ever was and placed him on the carpet.

Within three minutes calmness was restored. Thing 3 was placed on the play mat, Thing 1 & 2 were happily sitting down watching Ratatouille (v. good btw), I had washed my hands and Dad made the cuppas.

Stressed Dad

My wife had only been gone two hours at this stage but it honestly felt like an eternity. It turned out that she’d be gone for a further 3 hours and it was during this time that I was able to reflect on just how difficult and sh*** it can be – quite literally – staying at home and minding three little people.

Men can give women a hard time for ‘staying at home with the kids’ but in all, honesty I’d swap it in a heartbeat for work. I just couldn’t do it. As much as I love my kids, I’d go crazy if I had to mind them all day long.

As wifey came home, she was greeted by a very happy, very grateful and VERY clean husband who would no longer crack jokes about ‘relaxing’ at home while I headed off to work.

Relaxing it definitely isn’t.

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Come back next week for my next installment. In the meantime, if you have any funny stories, jokes or topics that you’d like discussed feel free to get in touch.

Digital Dad: Nut allergy, the biggest party pooper in town.

What started out as an innocent bite turned into a life threatening, life altering situation.

It happened one Saturday morning. On seeing his Mum attempting to scoff down a peanut butter bagel before starting the 100+ chores that every parent has, Thing 2 innocently asked if he could try some of her bagel.

After duly obliging for fear of a tantrum, Thing 2 bit in and no sooner had the crunchy butter hit his lips than he spat it out with the typical ‘yuck’ that most 2 year olds so quickly become fluent in. He didn’t even swallow it. It merely touched his tongue. It had been in his mouth no more than two seconds. Unfortunately that was enough.

What started out as an innocent bite turned into a life threatening, life altering situation.

His entire face swelled up. His eyelids became so puffed that he could longer see. Hives broke out all over his body. He started to gasp for air and credit to him he didn’t even cry (which was almost worse). Needless to say we got the fright of our lives but thankfully this was only a warning sign. After bringing him to our local chemist, his symptoms were treated with oral antihistamines but we were lucky. Very very lucky.

Thing 2 has since been diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. He’s allergic to other nuts too but peanuts are the killer (god forbid) and had he swallowed the peanut butter that day who knows what would have happened.

His entire face swelled up. His eyelids became so puffed that he could longer see.

Thankfully it’s now being managed. I say managed because it’s impossible to control it. Control implies that you are in charge of it 24/7 but unfortunately you can’t always control what your child eats or more importantly what another person gives your child to eat. This is Thing 2’s Achilles heel.

I find that the hardest thing about Thing 2’s nut allergy is being the party pooper – no you can’t eat that, no you can’t eat that either. Sure we’ve been told that Thing 2 is never allowed to be in a Chinese restaurant. A life without sweet ‘n’ sour chicken and spring rolls is not a life worth living!

What’s more is we’ve become the party pooper family.

Thing 2 started preschool a few weeks ago and due to the seriousness of his condition, birthday cakes are banned and letters were sent to the families of the other kids stating that no nuts of any kind were allowed.

Bye bye Mr Peanut Butter sandwich.

This not only applies to his school. As you can imagine, parties, planes, sleepovers, child minders, relatives, friends etc all have to be instructed about this strict strict policy and furthermore they have to be shown how to use the Epi Pen(s) if Thing 2 is exposed to nuts and goes into anaphylactic shock.

We’ve become the party pooper family.

I can’t stress enough how serious a nut allergy – particularly peanut – is. A lot of people still think being allergic to nuts means that you might just get a rash or start sneezing etc.

For instance on informing a group of people about Thing 2’s allergy, one of the lads in the group piped up with a ‘sure my kid is allergic to carrots’ gag. Now I appreciate that it was a joke but on hearing other people laugh i couldn’t help but feel that he was making fun of the allergy.

My first thoughts were, ‘well if I shove a carrot where the sun doesn’t shine, do you want to see what type of reaction you’ll have’

I can’t stress enough how serious a nut allergy – particularly peanut – is.

But in all seriousness, Mr Carrot Man’s joke/attitude highlights one of the major reasons why it sucks to have a child with a nut allergy – some people assume we’re being paranoid and that we’re being party poopers for no good reason.

That said education and awareness is much better than it used to be and if we could tackle nut allergies like the NHS are tackling sugar with their Sugar Smart – Change4life campaign we’d be doing well.  Checkout their Sugar Smart app (free on iOS & Droid) where you can scan the barcodes on food packaging to reveal the number of sugar cubes in everyday food and drink.

Now wouldn’t it be nice to see the HSE do similar….


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