The 4 People You ALWAYS Meet When Your Toddler Has A Public Tantrum

4/27/2016


I remember having a baby (vaguely). And I remember the strenuous task of taking that small but excruciatingly high maintenance little person out in public. In fact, it was so strenuous that I cried the first time I had to leave the house. I threw myself down on the mat beside Reuben and wailed, “My life will never be the same”… all because I couldn’t figure out how to put the darn pram up. Bearing in mind, before this I used to leave the house with only my phone in hand, and my mum’s debit card number memorised. So the transition of responsibility was very overwhelmingly, okay? 

It’s no easy feat when you have to pack the pram, car seat, formula powder, bottles, hot water, bibs, nappies, wipes, clothes, changing mat, dummy, toys, and an emergency smoke signal just in case. Then when you got to the first shop, they had a very convenient diarrhoea-nappy explosion, and you had to go back home to douse them in Johnston’s until they had that ‘I want to have all the babies in the world’ smell again. 

I remember thinking how much easier it would be when I had a toddler who could walk and talk and we’d go on outings together. All I’d have to bring is an extra nappy, a couple of wipes, and a handful of crackers for when we both got peckish from shopping too hard.

Well – Now I have a toddler. And I haven’t left my house in a year.

Kidding. But really, every time we go out in public I find myself swearing never to take him out again. Unless it’s to his grandparents’ house… to leave him there until further notice. I usually try to defend Reuben’s monstrous behaviour and tell onlookers that he’s just having an ‘off’ day. 

But the cold hard truth is sometimes my toddler doesn’t have ‘off’ days. He just has ‘brat’ days. Defiant little brat days. Days where he screams. Days where he scrabs. Days where I plead with him not to run out of the shop onto the road, and he looks me in the eye and runs anyway. Days where I have to abandon all of my bags of groceries (even though my fridge consists of one onion and a bottle of Fanta), and sprint for the road to stop my Olympic runner of a child from getting run over. Days where all of South Belfast can hear me pleading with my manic 2 year old to stop throwing a tantrum and get in the car. Days where I realise my 2 year old is in fact too strong for me to even scoop up and carry to the car, so I consider joining the gym only to realise I don’t have time because of said 2 year old.

So after noticing the gathering audience around me, my embarrassment wins. I accept defeat, tell myself I’ll try again another day, and remind Reuben that I love him nonetheless… to which he shrugs and throws a toy car at me. And all of a sudden the infant-diarrhoea-explosion days don’t seem so bad anymore.

If I was the ‘baby fairy’ and had the privilege of visiting couples when they were considering getting themselves a child, I would only have one token of wisdom to offer – Don’t get too attached to your dignity. And practice not getting embarrassed easily. And be prepared to have run-ins with the general public… on a daily basis. And be prepared to respond to them with elegance and grace. 

Okay, you get the picture – toddlers attract a lot of attention.

I am positively winging this motherhood thing and I make mistakes 7892358 times a day. However, I have realised that there is one thing I can do, and that is warn you of what to expect. So here’s the 4 types of reactions you will get when you brave the outside world with your lovely toddler.

The Empathetic Mother
I usually come across this fellow mama when we’re both buying groceries with screaming kids, both sporting the “petit-filous matted in hair” look, and both wondering if we can make a dinner out of the haribo, cucumber, and sudo-cream that we have somehow managed to put in the trolley. 

Reuben is always making his great escape with one leg in the trolley and the rest of his body hanging over the side, one eye on the exit door and one eye on the chocolate buttons at the end of the aisle. When I lift him back in, he screams until I give up and decide to try again tomorrow. I breathe a sigh of relief when the empathetic mother gives me a sympathetic smile that says, “Honey, I understand what you’re going through and it sucks even more than your son sucks his dummy (and that is a lot), but hang in there. We’re all in this together”. 

I leave Tesco’s grocery-less, unaccomplished, but assured that I’m not the only one going home to order a Chinese takeaway.

The Childless & Blissfully-Oblivious Stranger
When Reuben and I go for walks after uni, we’ve noticed that the childless public come in all shapes and sizes. 

Firstly, there’s the middle-aged strangers who are usually walking with a coffee in hand (not spilled over their dress), whilst they run their errands. Of course they will have completed their to-do list within an hour max. Whilst I’m still completing my to-do list from December 2013 (I’m not bitter at all). 

Then there’s my fellow twenty-something year olds who are stressing over their latest assignment because they don’t have enough time… Yep, they think they don’t have time. It’s real cute (still not bitter at all). These blissfully-oblivious strangers usually take Reuben’s tantrums with a pinch of salt. They often stop to try to distract him or laugh with me as I roll my eyes and pretend I’ve got everything under control. 

Before they walk on and return to their child-free business, it is almost guaranteed that they will ask, “Terrible twos?” And if I had a pound for every time someone asked me about the ‘Terrible Twos’, they wouldn’t be half as terrible because we’d be lying on a beach somewhere sipping Capri-Suns in between tantrums. 

On one of our trips to the park Reuben repeatedly ignored me, and laughed in my face before jumping into puddles of mud. I told him to sit on the step and not get up until I said so. To which he replied, ‘No cares’. He’s just lucky this is an unconditional love. 



On our way out, a dog-owner who had been watching the whole escapade kindly allowed Reuben to pet his dog who had been roaming freely. Reubs followed him for 15 minutes, much to my embarrassment, before the man turned around and said “I see you have the same problem as me, you should try getting one of these…” and he held up a lead. 

I informed him I actually do have a lead for Reuben, or the politically correct term - ‘training reigns’… but he snapped them in half. The dog-owner wished me luck and continued to go about his child-free business. 

These childless strangers are generally very kind and friendly, even if it’s just because they’re going away very thankful that they aren’t me. But hey, we’re all blessed in different ways and I’m extremely thankful I don’t have a dog.

The Woman You Wish You Could Take Home
No title is worthy of this type of woman. She is usually older, has already reared all of her kids and has a wealth of experience. As well as a wealth of love. 

She’s the lady who swoops in when Reuben is face down on the floor and refusing to move. She scoops him up and bounces him on her knee until I question whether the cooing, laughing little boy on her knee is actually mine. She’s the type who goes out of her way to help and encourage any mama who is struggling. She mothers the mothers.

I have found myself running to a public bathroom in a shopping centre just so Reuben can run round for 10 minutes to burn off his energy/run the water out of the taps whilst I pretend I don’t see him. I sit down for a rest and find myself questioning all of my life choices (usually the one where I had sex). 


This is when one of these lovely ladies comes bouncing in, always at the right moment, and has a chat with us. She tells me stories about her kids growing up, and she sings ‘Old McDonald’ with Reuben. She puts him peacefully back in his pram and then swans off into the afternoon, never to be seen again.

The Intolerant Type
Toddlers are loud, messy, unpredictable, and prone to flying into a rage because you won’t let them eat a grape that they found on the floor. However, in the eyes of some of the general public, toddlers are supposed to act civilised, silent/wear a gag, pay a mortgage, and speak 3 languages. 

In restaurants they will ask to be moved to a different table because clearly toddlers ruin the ambience (although I should admit in one situation they asked to be moved because my laugh was too loud. Poor Reuben). They tut loudly on public transport if a toddler cries for longer than they care for. I mean, I guess they paid good money to sit and stare at their smartphone in silence. And in the grocery shops, you will receive glares if your toddler’s impatient screaming interrupts their endeavours to choose their favourite cheese. Although, that one I can understand… I’m quite passionate about cheese myself.

These days I’m quite tolerant of the intolerant type. But I will never forget the first time I realised that not everyone is going to like my child. It was Reuben’s first ever really bad public tantrum. He cried. I cried. I’m pretty sure the lady beside us on the bus cried too. I thought it would be really cute if we could eat some ice cream together while we waited for the bus… 

I thought wrong. 

The ice cream went on the floor (I later picked it up and ate it, don’t judge me, it cost £3), the spoon hit a man opposite us, his juice went across the table, and he screamed blue murder in my face. Everyone was staring. One man set down his cutlery to glare at us. It continued at the bus depot where he threw himself on the ground and thrashed about like a fish out of water. 

I have to give it to him, he’s strong willed – I mean, the boy tried to crawl up a moving bus. One lady complained “Have you ever heard anything like it? You’d think people could control their own children”.

Charming.

My only encouragement is that it does get easier. And your skin gets thicker. I’ve realised that Reuben can’t control his emotions, but I can control mine. And no matter how many eyes are on me, I am determined to be consistent and treat Reuben’s public tantrums the same way I would treat his private tantrums. 

I am determined to react with grace, and pray for patience and wisdom. LOTS of patience and wisdom. Those glares and those tantrums don’t mean I’m a bad parent, they just mean I’m the parent of a toddler.


And it’s hard. It’s really hard. But it passes. And I think to myself “I can’t believe I was about to leave my son on the bus”.


Three Men and a Baby

4/24/2016

When I prepared to move to Belfast away from my Dad and brother, I prayed for a male influence in Reuben’s life. Not a substitute dad or a husband for me, but a friend who would take an interest in him and be a constant support and role model in his life. And someone who could tell the difference in rugby and football would be helpful but not essential. And waow, God certainly answered that prayer. We have been blessed with not one, but three amazing guy friends. Despite the fact I have ended up mothering all three of them at some point (four counting Reubs), I will unashamedly admit that they have changed my perception of men (I can hear their heads growing from here). The day before we left for Amsterdam, I asked them to take Reuben far away so I could get packed. And not only did I trust them with my beloved child, but I also trusted them with my beloved blog. Before I hand it over, I would just like to apologise for any insults, bad grammar, and questionable humour. I am taking NOTHING to do with this blogpost. I’m off to eat cornflakes and try to calm my nerves whilst I watch them write. 

Today’s blogpost comes with a twist. It’s not Maverick Mum, but it’s three of her very good buddies (just to clarify we do know Maverick well and she trusts us with her son, she hasn’t just given him to three randomers). Anyway, allow us to introduce ourselves:


On the left we have Draco Malfoy. Sorry, we mean Andy. In the middle we have G with little Reubs. And on the right we have Jack. Maverick was getting set to go to Amsterdam the following morning so we jumped at the opportunity to have a ‘Lads Day’- basically Reubs is so sick of hearing about Frozen, dry shampoo and the latest bleach product. That boy needed a break so we gladly obliged.
Our day began in the infamous land of dreams that is W5 - the most classic day out if you’re from Northern Ireland. Reuben was buzzing. Well, nothing compared to the excitement of us three - we had permission to revisit our childhood wonderment in a socially acceptable manner. 


The day began and straight away we were reminded of something really interesting that Maverick always says about being a parent- she understands Reuben by seeing things through his eyes. This changed our whole perspective of the day. Let us illustrate this point; on our journey from the car to W5 there was:

- A car park with 530,501 different cars parked that were all different colours.
- Four planes which flew overhead.
- Those little mini merry-go-round contraptions that are designed to take a vast amount of money from parents and only last for about 30 seconds.
- Every conversation was a classic Reuben chat, which consists of:
*points*
“That’s a man”
*picks up something from ground every 2 seconds*
“What’s that?”


It was actually really refreshing to see his curiosity and inquisitiveness. It gave us a greater appreciation of the little things and how he understands all the little intricacies of this world.

That philosophical note aside. We got into W5, and the girl at the desk asked, “Have you brought him here before?” To which G replied, “No we’ve only known him a few months”- not a good answer to give.

When people made little quirky parent comments about him, I (G) just played along ‘cause let’s face it… he’s pretty darn cute and if they think he’s mine I’ll take it. 






We took him to all the different sections, and as expected, we were exceptionally more intrigued than him- we’re not downplaying his excitement but just putting into perspective the elation we felt. Exhibit A:




We got into the kids section and noticed a little part of Reuben’s character that means when he is overwhelmed, he is capable of being completely oblivious to the rest of the world. Like we could spontaneously combust and he wouldn’t notice because in front of him there’s a 14 foot castle made out of Styrofoam.

*cute little sidenote* It’s so cool spending time with a young child because they still have that sense of amazement at the world that gets so dulled down by adolescence and the realness of life. Geepers this blog does have the occasional epiphany so just roll with it.


We played in a small water-park-type-area, then with a giant train set (and watched Reuben intentionally sharing with another little boy- our hearts melted a little), we climbed into the castle, and got to play with a bionic crane for a little while. We think Reuben had a good time too ‘cause that’s just the stuff we did.

Anyway, this blog could go on and we could describe the all the elements of our day, but instead of boring you with that we’re just going to talk about 3 little things that you learn when you spend time with a two your old.

1. There is no such thing as a journey from A to B
We’re sure this can prove a little testing for parents but this was, in fact, fascinating for us. It took approx. 3 days to make the journey of approximately 50 metres from the W5 building to the Dock Café. 
*side-note* big shout out to the great little honesty box café that has a nifty little prayer space which is almost fenced off so you can eat your lunch happily and children can play and you can easily keep an eye on them.
Anyway, in this brief journey there was much fascination for Reuben to behold, especially the boats that were docked. That boy has a love for all things motorised, we thought we were never going to eat.


2. Two guys walking into a toilet with a toddler does prompt strange looks
G and Jack took the plunge and changed Reuben’s nappy, this was a moment where prayers were said, tears of anxiety were shed, and words of encouragement were passed one to another.

It was only wet.

Hallelujah.

We knocked on the window of a closed café where one girl was working. She let us in as we had a child, and as we both trundled into the bathroom with this toddler, she must have been greatly perplexed by what must have sounded like a surgical operation. She heard lines such as: ‘Jack how on earth do we do this’. Jack as my (G) assistant helped by standing like a nurse with a surgeon, swatting my forehead as I sweated trying to figure out what felt like the secrets of the universe. But I got the nappy on, we hi-5ed Reuben who looked on confused, and we survived. I will never get the strange look we got from that girl who worked in the coffee shop out of my head.

3. Young Children bring out the best in people
This applies in particular to Andy. He doesn’t know we’re writing this but we’re going to go on ahead anyway. He is not a self-professed expert when it comes to kids, prefers to spend time with dogs, and was slightly reluctant to come on this lads day. By that we mean we dragged him along (sorry Andy). But we can say honestly Reuben managed to melt his heart. His inquisitive nature and fun-loving personality was capable of softening the most unsure of people.




Our insert to this edition of the blog is coming to a close. But we just want to highlight a few little things from our day with Reuben.

First and foremost, he’s honestly a great kid. I (G) am not just saying this because I know him and we’re friends with Maverick, we can honestly and emphatically say he is fantastic. He has manners, had great behaviour, shared with us, laughed endlessly, made us a part of all his little activities, loved to show affection and napped for 45 minutes in a car park in Carrickfergus while we drank coffee and talked about the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement (I recommend looking that one up).
The characteristics of Reuben are testament to how Maverick has raised him, and although she may be raging that of course he acts like a little lamb for us and like a maniac for her- right now he’s probably graffiti-ing the carpet with the contents of his dinner plate- we can’t help but commend her for how phenomenal he is and we will always tell her how great a mum she is.
We love them both a lot and look forward to our next opportunity to spend time with little Reuben.


I can't speak for the others but I (Jack) know I was pretty naïve about how exhausting looking after an actual tiny human being would be, especially one as strong willed as his Maverick Mum. I thought it would be like a day out with the lads and it completely was… except one of the lads has an irresistible impulse to shout at the top of his voice the name of every car, bike, van, bus, lorry, unicorn, crane, plane or boat he sees and looks at "chicken and chips" the same way Ryan Gosling "looks like Allie" in the Notebook (yes I made that reference, get over it) which is surprisingly un-nerving when the little dweeb is giving those eyes to your plate of food. He gave us some dirty looks as well. However, those were the times when he was bored and wanted to do something else but being the respectable adults we are, we couldn't not finish building the Lego car we'd started and Translink wouldn't have been happy if we hadn't finished that train track. Like seriously Reuben mate, grow up.


So beyond the exhaustion I felt, similar to what I experienced on Duke of Ed, I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of respect I have for Maverick Mum. One day in and I could do with a holiday and this absolute champ does it day in and day out, whether he's the gem that we had that day or the terrible two who thinks yoghurt is a hair product, lipstick is paint and could audition for the role of pterodactyl in Jurassic Park. 



Although she's often too humble to admit it she is doing an absolutely amazing job with the lad and it's nothing less than an honour to call them both my friends. Maverick mum is kind, she's caring, she's humble, she's patient (with us and with Reuben), intelligent, and frankly hilarious! Like seriously how do you go from giving Reuben a look that could kill a dead thing to writing a funny blogpost faster than I can say to her "letting men do your dishes doesn't remove your independence". But seriously, Reubz is such a credit to you Maverick, and watching him grow into a little person is so encouraging even if I can't figure out where he learnt how to share chocolate.

Thanks for taking the time to read our addition to this blog

Until next time

Jack, G, and Andy (and Reuben).



Sunday Style

4/10/2016

Today's Sunday Style is a very boring one, coming to you from my parents bed. Reubs has just fallen asleep for his post-church nap and I have jumped in beside him but brought my laptop so that my own sleep-deprived eyelids don't give in to the temptation to nap. As exhausted as I am from adventuring across Amsterdam with Reubs in tow, the afternoon nap just isn't worth it when I can't sleep at 1 am and decide to bleach the house, write a novel, and read articles called '15 Fun and Interesting Facts about Cheese'. FYI Cheese production around the globe is more than the combined worldwide production of coffee, tobacco, tea, and cocoa beans. 

Today we came out of church and we caught him standing at 'Weuben's wall' waiting to be snapped, and stuffing his face with a bun that he made in Kings Kids 'for mummy'...yeah right. Today Kayla had to jump in and capture the photos as I was caught off guard by his impromptu modelling moment. 


His shirt and denim jacket are both from Next but I spotted an identical jacket in a charity shop in Belfast for a heartbreaking 1/3 of the price. So if you have time, patience, and a babysitter, you should definitely shop about because the little gems are so worth it. His skinnier than the skinniest skinny jeans are from River Island, as are his little brogues. I love these shoes more than any pair of shoes I've ever owned myself. 



He looks like a mixture of a hot boyband member and an extra from Grease. Is it okay
to call your son hot? Nonetheless, he's the one that I want. (If you don't get that reference
then I don't want to know you). 

I hope y'all are having a Sunday as chilled as mine. For the approx. 10 mins before Reuben wakens, I'm off to have a coffee and avoid all uni work, washing, ironing, and responsibilities in general. Happy Sunday!


Easter in an Eggshell (Nutshell)

4/05/2016

I have spent days, weeks, months... okay not months, but I have spent a lot of time dreaming of the Easter holidays. I was going to read so many books, go on so many adventures with Reuben, catch up with so many people, get so much sleep, eat so many chocolate eggs, and maybe even do a little bit of exercise. But when Easter came around, what did I do? I got sick. I got well and truly sick. My body went into shutdown and my migraine felt like I'd had little Reuben feet trampling on my head for a week... oh wait, I did. Toddlers don't do sympathy, and they certainly don't do rest (they also don't do personal space, he actually does stand on my head). In fact, Reuben has been a little maniac since finishing creche. When I was dreaming of the holidays, it also didn't cross my mind that my 2 year old would also be holidaying and therefore pushing every boundary he could get his hands on.

So while I haven't been able to do everything I'd planned to do over Easter, I tried to make the most of the days when I felt like a 75 year old instead of a 95 year old - although on Saturday I did drive through town with my purse on the roof of my car and had to be flagged down by another car. The driver looked at me like I was crazy, then he looked at Reuben in the back seat feeding his snot to a dinosaur and he didn't look so surprised any more. Here's what we got up to when I wasn't downing paracetamol and Reubs wasn't super glued to the naughty chair;

- We stayed in our jammies and made breakfast at 9am. Then again at 3pm. And then again at 7pm.
I was very sick of sausages and eggs by the end of the day, but I'll never be sick of Reuben's happy little 'I will eat sausages until I die' face.
Close enough Reubs.

- An adventure to Ikea.
Okay I know what you're thinking, "Reb, we know you were sick but that is a poor choice of adventure". But seriously, Reuben LOVED it. In the showroom he could play with all the household utensils he isn't allowed to touch at home, he could bounce on as many beds as he wanted without breaking them, and there was no chance of him escaping out the door because Ikea is a one-way system. Once you're in, there's no going back. Of course this means I went in for one item but was forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a ridiculous amount of stuff, but sure... all part of the adventure (ask me if it's still an adventure when I'm in my overdraft). After we collected all of our unnecessary yet wonderful purchases, we got lunch AND ice-cream for £2.50 - Amen to that. The rest of the afternoon was spent at Ikea's play park - I know right, what don't they have? And if that isn't enough to convince you (they should be paying me for this promo), Ikea in Belfast is right beside the airport and if you go upstairs you can watch all the planes land outside. Reuben was speechless. And it was blissful.

- Cleaning. Lots and lots and lots of cleaning.
You wouldn't know it by the sheer state of my house, but I really am a big fan of bleach. And every so often I like to bleach my whole house from top to bottom and scrub everything in sight. On Reuben's last day at creche I ditched the library and had a date with my mop and toilet brush. It was a glorious sight - The walls were sparkling, I could see my own reflection in my toilet, and the bleach fumes were intoxicating.
That evening I was just waiting on my phone call to accept my award for 'World's most stunningly shiny house', when I realised Reuben had been too quiet for too long. I went into the hall and followed BLUE HAND PRINTS on the WHITE walls the whole way up the stairs into my bedroom and then into Reuben's bedroom where he was clearly creating a modern masterpiece. Unfortunately that modern masterpiece would cost him a great deal by the time I was through with him. He was full of remorse until I was scrubbing it off with my back turned, and he whipped out a felt tip marker and got drawing again. Easter crafts were pushed to a whole new level - and so was my will to parent. Toddler free to a good home, anyone?





- St. George's Market. On Easter Saturday we woke up at 11am. Yes that's right, 11am. Granted I lost count of how many times we were awake during the night so instead of feeling refreshed and well rested, I felt lazy and sluggish. Reuben felt on top of the world, what's new? I felt guilty for wasting what seemed like half of the day so I decided to ditch the to-do list (it was painful) and declare a 'lets do something we've never done before' Saturday. This lead us on a spontaneous trip to St. George's Market which I've been meaning to go to for so long but we always go back to Castledawson on a Saturday morning. We people watched with coffee and crepes, and Reuben danced with the Indian guy beside us. With the live music and copious amounts of chocolate and cheese, it was hard to keep Reubs in his pram. He even wondered up to a stall and handed a man some money from my purse. Easter really hasn't been a good time for my bank account. 

Oh boy. The crepes were almost as tasty as his face. Almost.
- Disney on Ice. If you've read my blog before or know me in the slightest, you'll know this wasn't our first time at Disney on Ice. You'll also know Reuben I am a massive fan, so I was very thankful when my mum bought us these tickets for Christmas. I'm mostly thankful because I was very close to sticking Reuben in a babygrow and chancing my arm at the 'Under 2 goes free' advantage. The first time we went Reuben was horrified at the flashing lights and I had to leave early. The second time he was very excited by the cars but couldn't understand why he wasn't allowed on the ice...and I had to leave early. The third time he sat for 20 minutes, threw an almighty tantrum...and I had to leave early. But this time he excitedly talked about seeing Mickey Mouse every day for a week straight. And any time I announced we were going out, he screamed 'MICKEEEEEEY MOUSE' (which was quite a let down when we were just going for milk). He LOVED the show and sat through all of it, naming the characters and squealing.

Never too much Mickey - Go hard or go home.
It would be cruel to let Reubs dress up alone


The film for these cameras costs an arm and a leg & my mum wasted
a snap at Reuben grimacing and me pulling my 'your ticket cost £25 so shut up
and enjoy it' face
Very serious about a post-disney ice-cream

I can only hope that some day someone will feel about me
the way Reuben feels about ice-cream. 

- Easter Sunday- the BEST day.
This was the morning the clocked changed so we lost an hour of sleep and I lost an hour of egg hiding. When I was hiding them all round the house for Reubs to hunt for and the clock suddenly struck 2am, I really did stop to question my sanity... and then I got back to dispatching the eggs. I had such a joyful morning with Reuben eating chocolate for breakfast, reading his new book, and telling him why Easter Sunday was an especially exciting Sunday - JESUS IS RISEN. I'm not sure if he quite understood my celebration but he joined in anyway! I couldn't help but dance around my living room and thank God. WE HAVE SO MUCH HOPE. When Jesus died he defeated sin and death, and allowed us to have a personal relationship with God and walk in freedom. Hallelujah - all day, every day! I'm also still finding little eggs in random hiding places. The celebrations go on and on (As does God's love and grace).





- Here is Reuben's not-so-stylish Sunday Style from last week. This outfit had a lot of potential but his post-football wrinkly-shirt and scruffy hair didn't do much for his look. His little brogues completely made up for it though. This photo was taken mid-sneeze and I dare you not to sigh at his adorableness.

- North Coast Adventures. After church on Easter Sunday we joined my parents at their caravan in Portrush and although we didn't get to take full advantage of it due to my lack of energy or desire to do anything but lie in a heap, and just try to make it through the day without Reuben setting the place on fire, we did have a lovely few days nonetheless. We coffeed a lot at Lost & Found and took our friend Anna to the beach for a spontaneous splash in the sea and roly-poly race down the sand-dunes. There's something very freeing about running through waves and rolling through sand with a 2 year old. Toddlers do life so well. Afterwards Reuben drove us to get dinner and we ate with a view at the cliff-side, and he told us about his love for chicken, chips, and tractors. These are the days I hope he might remember.


Just before anyone calls in the NSPCC, he was sitting on my knee. And he wasn't
actually driving. Well, not very far anyway. 

We might have got him all washed down but I'm still finding sand
when I scratch my hair. 

- From one coast to another - Bangor. 
We FINALLY got to spend a day in beautiful Bangor where my friend Sophie has the privilege of living. After approx. 12 hours there I have decided that if I ever get to the stage where I can't cope with uni or Belfast or life in general, then I'm going to buy a boat and live in Bangor's harbour. Reuben can get a job riding the Pickie Puffer Train at the play park and we'll spend his income on ice-cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Unfortunately we didn't take many photos as we were constantly trying to stop Reubs from making a beeline for the harbour. This was a particularly testing day and I spent more time disciplining Reuben than I did catching up with Soph. I am forever thankful for friends who don't mind our conversations being interrupted every couple of seconds with, "REUBEN IMA COUNT TO THREE" and "NO REUBEN, NOT THE ROAD!!!".

- Holi Festival
I make it no secret that I was absolutely devastated when I had to cancel my flights back to India when I found out I was carrying a little Reuben foetus. So this weekend all my dreams came true when I got to introduce Reuben to everything Indian at the Holi festival. The festival of colour is also known as the festival of sharing love and it celebrates the beginning of Spring. I think I left a piece of my heart in India so these days I'll take any excuse to celebrate my love for it. And Reuben will take any excuse to throw coloured powder at everyone. He had the best afternoon dancing and being chased around the arena. I forced him to experiment with lots of different Indian food and I've never seen him gobble his plateful up so quickly. It was a dream come true for me... even if his nappy wasn't exactly a dream the next morning.



I must apologise as my blog posts always end up being longer than planned... I get a little carried away. But thank you to everyone who makes it to the end of them! When I sit down and really think about the last couple of weeks, I realise just how much fun and how many blessings we've had amidst the illness and assignment stress. And the holidays aren't over yet as Reuben and I are off to Amsterdam very early tomorrow morning/this morning/a couple of hours time/why am I still awake? I can't wait to check out of life for a couple of days and explore a new city with Reubs.

I hope y'all have had a lovely Easter whatever you've been up to!!