Gillette – The Best A Man Can Get?

{Also features on The M Word}

Let’s start by stating the obvious about all publicity – generally speaking it’s probably safe to say that all publicity ends up as good publicity, true?

It certainly seems to be true for Gillette anyway, who have managed to get the world talking about their recent ad which aims to wipe out sexism and promote equality. Taking phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ and highlighting how boys should be boys, but just respectful ones.

I’ve written about this topic before – here and here – it’s a topic I feel strongly about especially in relation to the fact that I am raising two boys, and I will be doing my level best to make sure they feel equal to everyone else. I think Feminism is assumed that it’s something only for girls, that it’s only girls who need to be taught that they can be anything or do anything, but boys need to know that this is also NORMAL – they should not feel like they’re doing anyone a favour by agreeing to that, or allowing it, it should just be as normal to them as it is to know that they too can do whatever they put their minds to without gender playing a part.

So with that in mind – I love the ad. I think the message it portrays is completely accurate, and completely necessary. The #MeToo movement IS happening, boys ARE taught that they shouldn’t display emotions, and most importantly, if you KNOW something is wrong you should ABSOLUTELY stand against it, even amongst your peers. Especially amongst your peers! I really hope I can teach my sons to be able to do this, to have the courage to do it because of course it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. I’ve seen comments online where, I suppose it’s coming from a place of feeling threatened, men are unhappy with the idea as if it’s about something being taken away from them, rather than being given to all of us.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

However.

There’s a definite conflict happening here from Gillette. As much as I like their ad, and think well done Gillette, you’ve risked alienating a massive proportion of your audience and customers here for a really important and necessary cause, (for publicity let’s not forget) but let us also not forget that women grow hair too, and therefore, women might also want to use your products. Gillette might be more associated with men as a male brand, but they of course realise that women don’t naturally have bare legs and bare armpits and bare anything else and so they market at us too.

And here’s the conflict – if they’re all about feminism and equality then why are their products for women all in the typical pink, feminine, soft wishy-washy colours? And worse, why are they all priced higher than the same products for men? This happens across almost any product that is sold to both men and women, so it’s hardly a surprise, but when you’re shouting so loudly about how you’re all for equality, then maybe actions speak louder than words!

Let’s take a look to prove my point. This morning I went on to one of the main supermarket chains website and searched for Gillette. First up is shaving gel.

Gillette – The Best A Man Can Get is a hefty discount
  • Aimed at Women – Satin Care Sensitive Skin Shaving Gel – €1.44 per 100ml
  • Aimed at Men – Classic Sensitive Skin Shaving Gel – €1.25 per 100ml

Hmm. Next up is razor blades –

I think we can tell which is aimed at men and which one is aimed at women. One is €1.98 per blade and the other is €3.00 per blade..!!!

It’s not shocking because it’s not new, and yet it is shocking because it’s just sickening. And yet, it clearly works because women are obviously spending more money on the same product just because it says the word ‘satin’ or because it’s a nice colour, and basically because the marketing is working and convincing us that our hairs shave differently to men’s hairs do. This problem occurs across lots of products – even to pens..!

So on the one hand, Gillette need to do as they say really and for me to be completely impressed, stop charging women higher prices for sexist reasons. On the other hand, the ad does attempt to teach a very important and necessary lesson, and we can only hope that in the end feminism and equality are the real winners out of it all.

Advertisements

The Day We Went To Zog’s House

This post is a collaboration with, and is sponsored by Chill.ie

I was given the opportunity recently to take a look at these e-books, put together by Chill Car Insurance which gather together a collection of suggested places to drive to within Ireland. They group them into categories such as, ‘Ireland’s Most Beautiful Drives’, and ‘Hidden Drives Ireland’, and even one with helpful tips on driving in the winter.

One of the books, Irish Cultural Drives, which has a section of suggested places to bring the family, includes places like Dublin Zoo, or the Doolin Caves. But actually, when I spotted The Rock of Cashel listed under the cultural section, it inspired me to bring the boys there and make it a day of adventure for them.

We had never been before, and it just so happens that one of Rian’s favourite books is Zog, by the author of The Gruffalo. Zog is a dragon who goes to dragon school and learns all the basics of being a dragon, like flying and breathing fire, and rescuing princesses from castles… and what better place to hunt for Zog than the Rock of Cashel?

His little face when we told him where we were going….eyes lit up, and the questions came fast. ‘Will Zog be there? Will we see him? Does he fly up high? WIll Princess Pearl be there too?’

It was an easy sell. If there’s one thing I’ve realised recently is that at this age (four and two), they really don’t care where we are, or where we go, as long as they can come too. Whether it’s a trip to the shop to do the weekly grocery shop, or a walk around the block, or our favourite walk in the woods, they really don’t care. Obviously I love to see them outside and running around as much as possible, especially this time of year when the weather isn’t great, so this was a good chance for us to go somewhere new.

When we got there, as expected on an overcast, cold day in  January, it wasn’t too packed with tourists which we were glad of. Rian spotted the castle as we drove into the town of Cashel – ‘I SEE THE CASTLE MAM!!’ There was no sign of Zog yet though, so we decided after the hour long drive to go for a bite to eat first in Cashel as I’m pretty sure it’s harder to find dragons on an empty stomach.

After a delicious lunch in a cafe called Bowes & Co (highly recommend a visit here!) , off we went to The Rock.

After a bit of a confusing and unnecessary loop around Cashel town centre – twice! – before we eventually found the right turn, we parked the car and walked up the hill. Rian was on constant lookout for Zog… so far though no luck. I started to wonder how he’d take it when it turned out we weren’t actually going to see him, and was wondering about just how clever I actually was, when we got inside and the OPW staff member greeted us.

‘Excuse me, is Zog here?’

Straight in, no messing around. The OPW lady, whose name was Julie-Anne, looked slightly confused. ‘Ehhmmm… hmm. Let me see…’ and she looked at me for guidance, looking slightly panicked! ‘Zog is our favourite dragon from one of our favourite books… we were wondering if he’s home at the moment?’

Full credit to Julie-Anne. Without skipping a beat she said ‘OHHH Zog? Yes Zog lives here! Come over here and I’ll show you where his bedroom is’.

She led us into the main part of the ruin. ‘Look up there, do you see those windows high up? That’s Zog’s bedroom’

Rian’s little face couldn’t believe that we were actually where Zog lives. Susan showed him various things, like if you look out this window here, sometimes you can see him whizzing by, but he flies so fast sometimes you can’t always see.

‘So is he home then?’ The moment of truth. Julie-Anne looked at her watch. ‘ oh no, not at this time, he’d be out looking for his dinner now’.

I looked at Rian wondering how he’d take the news.

‘Oh right no problem, maybe we’ll see him tomorrow then!’ And that was that!

We spent another half an hour or so just walking around and taking in the beautiful views, even on a dull grey day. The kids were able to run around themselves without making too much noise, full of adventure and wonder, something that I hope lasts forever but of course it probably won’t.

But maybe some of the magic will always linger regardless, memories of the day we went to Zog’s House.

My Guide to the New Year

I feel a bit sorry for January, it kind of got the short straw when the fun months were being dished out. I mean, each of the other months have something nice in them really don’t they? February for example, apart from being thought of as the romantic month, produced me….does it get much better than that…?!

So here we are in poor old January, poor in every sense. I get paid monthly, and in December we get paid a week early, meaning we’ve to wait what feels like a millennium before we get paid again. Zero craic.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to try and cheer January up a bit for myself. Surely there’s lots about January to love…? New starts, feelings of determination to change something about your life.. improve your health or break habits you no longer want to be in. But these veer dangerously close to Resolutions. I’m not a Resolutions sort of person.

Resolutions for the most part, I find, build you up then just make you feel like crap when you haven’t achieved them. That’s all they do.

So I’m going to call them Goals instead. Rather than thinking of ways I need to change myself, or would like to change my life, I’m going to think of ways to add to things rather than taking away. Of course there’s always the want (or need, in my case) to lose a few pounds, do more exercise, that’s not reserved just for January let me tell you. BUT, this year I’ve decided to approach it differently. The fact of the matter is, this is me. On a body positivity note – my body has done a lot for me. I’ve always battled with my weight, that’s nothing new, but I’ve put it through a lot with all the losing and gaining back weight, the fertility treatment, then two tough pregnancies and the recovery of the latter does not come easy. And I’ve tried! And continue to try. For the most part I do everything right – I eat well and feel that overall I make good choices. I exercise as much as I can, of course there’s room for improvement there, but with the two boys, and a commute to a full time job, this makes it tricky to do as much as I want or need to. It might sound like I’m making excuses – I’m really not. This is how it is – this is how I am.

But instead of beating myself up about it, which is what I normally do, I’ve decided to change my outlook. There’s some things I can control, and there are other things I simply can’t. I just don’t have all the free hours I’d like to be able to spend my time how I’d like to, that’s life. So in this department, I’ll continue on with what I can. Next.

This year I’m going to add things to my life. I’ve decided I’m going to learn new things – recently I picked up some random craft kits in Aldi, and I’ve surprised myself by really enjoying doing them! Simple little kits, for example one was a soap making kit, another was putting together a felt flamingo – it’s not that I have any particular need for felt flamingos in my life! – but it seems it doesn’t matter what I was making, it was the process of putting it together that I really enjoyed. I made a felt owl and a felt fox for the kids… and more recently, over Christmas, I got addicted to the tv show on Channel 4 – Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas… it was a revolution! There are so many crafty things I’ve never heard of before. ‘Quilling’ is one, ‘Felting’ is another…. who knew these were a thing?! Not me! But I’m gonna give them a go!

I’m the sort of person that needs a side focus. Exercise, for me, is not a hobby, it’s something I do because I know I need to do it. So for me, it’s not relaxing, it doesn’t serve as a distraction or as a creative process, which I’ve figured out, is something I really enjoy doing. As long as I’m creative in some way or another, I’m happy. Doesn’t matter how crap or how good the output is, it’s the taking part that counts!

So my guide to this new year at least, is to add to your life, rather than deciding to change it or take things away. Find something that improves your life, even something small on a day to day basis. Learn new things – doesn’t matter what it is really, find something you want to do, a way you’d like to spend your time. Doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at it – the benefits are so noticeable! For me at least.

Maybe next year’s goal will be a new house to put all my crafted, felted and quilled masterpieces into….! The possibilities are endless.

 Now that it’s written here, I have to do it! Ready… set… GOal..!

The Time Is Now

When Rian was born, I used to hold him as a tiny baby during those long sleepless nights of feeding and think about what sort of little boy he’d be, what sort of teenager he’ll turn into, and what sort of man he’ll grow up to become. Back then, each stage seemed like light years away from those daunting newborn and baby stages. There’s something about being up in the depth of a long night feeding a baby that makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world awake at that time. There were many hours spent wondering and making plans, thinking of all the ways I wanted to make sure that Rian, and then of course Alex, had the best childhood memories I could possibly give them.

Earlier this evening when Gavin arrived home from work, I took the opportunity to leg it for a quick shower (translation; I just wanted a few minutes to myself after a busy day with the boys!). While drying my hair and thinking of the jobs I want to get done tomorrow, Christmas Eve, it suddenly dawned on me, that the first stage has arrived. Holding a newborn Rian, and imagining the magic of future Christmases, it seemed so far away then. But here we are. It probably sounds ridiculously obvious but I realised properly today that this is it!

It’s time to start putting it all into action now, all the things I thought I wanted to do right back at the start.

Rian is four now, the first year he really fully gets it, the magic and excitement of it all. Now is the time to start the traditions they’ll grow up and remember with nostalgia. If we do our job correctly they won’t really remember the toys –  well, maybe the ‘big’ ones, maybe they year they get a bike will stand out! But I want them to remember the things we did, and the people we did them with.

I want to start these traditions and create enough memories and nostalgia so that when they think of Christmas it’s something that they feel.

And suddenly, rather than it being a plan for further down the road, the time is now.

Tomorrow might be the first Christmas Eve he’ll remember for the rest of his life! The more I think about it the more I realise it’s a big responsibility, being responsible for childhood memories…but now that it’s here, I can’t wait to get going! 

It’s all systems go. I have the Christmas cookie cutters ready to go, ready and waiting to make cookies to lay out for Santa tomorrow night. We’ll bake and decorate some tomorrow and choose the best of the crop to leave out for the main man’s arrival. We have fresh carrots, ready to choose the juiciest one for Rudolph. We’ll probably leave a glass of milk for Santa, (which may or may not be replaced with some Guinness which I suspect Santa might be more in the mood for…!), but don’t worry, an empty milk glass will be replaced for inspection on Christmas morning to make sure Santa got the appropriate refreshments for his big night! 

We have the Christmas Eve box ready to be filled, with new pajamas, some hot chocolate ingredients, one or two little surprises, and of course, The Night Before Christmas which will be read right before we go to sleep, nice and early of course.

Most importantly we have planned visits over the coming days of family and friends, meals to share, games to play, and laughs to be had. Music will be playing, presents will be opened, food and drink will be eaten and enjoyed, and I hope more than anything, memories will be made. Smells, sounds, tastes and feelings of magic and excitement, all mixing together and embedding themselves within these two little boys, hopefully to last a lifetime.

‘May they never be too grown up to search the skies every Christmas Eve…’ – the time.. is now.


 

 

Elf on The Shelf – Thanks, But No.

{Also published on The M Word }

People who know me, know that I love Christmas. Actually, it’s the run up to Christmas that I particularly love – the planning, the choosing of gifts, the atmosphere and the excitement. I even have a ‘wrapping theme’ every year where I’ll carefully choose what paper and accessories I use to wrap my presents! Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous but I love it. Once all the shopping is done, I’ll pick an evening and put on a Christmas movie and sit on the floor in the sitting room and happy wrap and stick and accessorise with ribbons and bits of holly etc – according to the theme of course!

And it’s even better now with our two boys, Rian has just turned four and this is the first year where he’s really getting a good concept of Santa, and the excitement of it all, it already feels magical. Seeing it through their eyes again is as good as seeing it new myself, all the memories of my own childhood Christmasses. When I look back at them, for the most part I don’t really even remember what the toys were, I just remember the magic of it all. Being so sure we could hear Rudolph landing on the roof, holding up the half chewed carrot the next morning in wonder that THE Rudolph and really ACTUALLY TOUCHED this carrot!! Amazing!

Why am I telling you all this? Well, to illustrate that this is the sort of Christmas person I am – a certified Christmas fanatic. So with that in mind, I even surprise myself a bit by not buying into the whole idea of the Elf on the Shelf.

Why? Well, for a couple of reasons.

First up – he just looks creepy. There’s nothing appealing about it to me at all – he looks like a doll you’d see in a horror movie. The way he’s kind of looking to the side with that odd little smile… it’s unnerving! I don’t like the look of him. He doesn’t evoke a cutesy image of a typical Santa elf, elves are usually more cuddly looking or something aren’t they? Kind of like Doc from the seven dwarfs…? Anyone…?! No, just me then…! Regardless, this fella definitely looks like he’s up to no good.

Which brings me to my second reason. That’s probably the whole point, looking like he’s up to no good. The idea is that he gets moved around each night, and gets up to mischief, so the kids will wake up and find him somewhere new, and of course I can see how that’s exciting and magical for them, of course I do.

But the effort!

I’m all about Christmas magic and excitement but the thought of having to come up with 24 different imaginative things for this elf to do,and then on top of all the other jobs we have already to have to remember each night to carry it out… it just isn’t something that screams fun to me.

My third reason, is that I really don’t need to spend all of December, whenever I open Facebook, to have to scroll through all the elves who have spent their nights throwing breakfast cereal all over the kitchen floor,or rubbing toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror – or getting stuck in toilet bowls or whatever hilarious situation he might find himself in!

However, for me, the main reason I don’t like it is that some kids are told that the whole purpose of the elf is that he keeps an eye on things, and can report back to Santa if behaviour isn’t up to scratch. Similar to the ‘Santa Cam’ CCTV setup, it basically tells the kids that they’re being watched constantly, and if they put one step out of line, Santa will hear about it.

That whole concept just doesn’t sit well with me – I don’t want the boys associating Santa with any form of anxiety for any reason whatsoever. I don’t want to essentially threaten them that if they’re not good boys then Santa won’t arrive. I don’t like the idea that they couldn’t be their normal selves at home for fear of an elf watching them…!

Of course I’m fully aware that Santa himself allegedly watches you… ‘ he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake’, as the song happily tells us each year. But I stand by my opinion of the elf –there’s something more final or concrete, or just basically more certain with an actual physical elf (albeit inanimate!) sitting on a shelf, watching you and reporting you, with his weird sideways beady little eyes looking off knowingly as if to say, ‘ I just saw that, and I’m gonna tell on you!’

No thanks.

So there’ll be no elf on our shelves this year, or any other year. Bah Humbug? Maybe… maybe I’m not all about Christmas as much as I like to think! But one thing I know is I’ll be glad when I’m falling into bed at the end of a long day, and won’t be having a last minute panic about having forgotten to move some creepy looking elf into some non-hilarious magical position of mischief!

…And Yesterday I Cried

“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job.”

-Annabel Crabb, Policital Journalist

{Also features on The M Word }

I’m very sure there are lots of us for whom this quote resonates. Most of the time it’s a case of just getting on with it, stopping every so often and wishing things like, ‘if only they could sleep all night’ or ‘if only they could sleep past 6am’; most of my ‘if onlys’ definitely tend to revolve around sleep and the lack of it. For the most part we don’t do too badly, they are great at going to bed at 7pm, following the routine without any resistance, it’s usually smooth enough. Some nights they don’t wake up at all but other nights they’ll wake up for random reasons. But mainly I really cannot complain, they are really great kids.

But this week has really made me feel sorry for myself. This week, I can read that quote and it screams absolute relevance at me, this week has been a big lesson on trying to juggle and balance everything all at once. Thankfully, I’m not talking about major disasters, we’re all ok thankfully, but everything is relevant. I have found this week a big challenge of trying to keep all the plates spinning and I’m not ashamed to admit, this week has reduced me to tears.

It started last weekend when Alex suddenly went off his food and we realised he had caught a dose of Hand Foot & Mouth – a highly contagious virus, but very common viral infection that  most kids will pick up at crèche. It would mean he would need to stay home for the week. The risk of course was that Rian would likely catch it too – however instead, Rian caught a dose of tonsillitis so was also disqualified from crèche for a few days. This meant juggling around work options to be able to make sure they’d be minded, while also needing to get Rian seen to at the doctor.. and following an allergic reaction to the penicllin they prescribed late in the evening, and a very worrying hour as his body broke out in a frightening angry looking rash… things were getting stressful.

Thankfully, I’m extremely lucky to have an understanding manager who relieved a lot of that stress by letting me work from home, and Gavin has enough holidays to be able to look after the other half of the week. It was multi-tasking at a new level. Answering emails whilst wiping a face. Taking phone calls while cutting toast into triangles, and definitely not into squares. Dealing with work queries whilst dealing with various types of rashes that kept appearing on each child… essentially activating the two main parts of myself – the mother me and the work me – working each job in the same place at the same time. The feeling of being pulled in two opposite directions at exactly the same time.

And I’ll repeat – in the grand scheme of things, it’s just life. These things will happen, these types of weeks will come along. I’m thankful it wasn’t anything more serious of course. But that doesn’t mean I should just shrug it off and pretend I didn’t feel like I was really up against it, and really feeling under pressure.

Exhaustion, frustration, stress and worry were the main reasons behind the tears, but also the feeling that I’m inadequate in conflicting ways –

inadequate at being a mother because despite the boys having to be at home, I also had to work, and inadequate at my job because although I had to perform my duties, I also had to be their mother.

And it’s hard.

I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that I’m allowed to find it hard. I’m allowed to take a moment and feel sorry for myself – more than that – I think it’s really important to do it, acknowledge it. Throw in the fact that we haven’t had  much sleep to speak of all week, the fact that I’m most certainly coming down with something myself now, the fact that the commute was extra crappy this week with a two hour delay getting home.. all these little things chipping away and any sense of control I have over things normally.

So yesterday I cried. But also… I did it. I eventually got home last night after that disastrous commute, I got inundated with cuddles and hugs from the boys and from Gavin too that almost made the long delays worth it! I tucked them into bed and I put my feet up and – although tempted by a nice cold glass of Guinness! – had a cup of tea instead and figured I deserved to treat myself to something nice. So I did.

Today, the week continues and we discovered that Rian has also managed to catch the Hand Foot & Mouth virus from his little brother – let’s face it, it was probably inevitable – and so it means a weekend ahead of being housebound. It’s the week that keeps on giving – yes it is hard, and we’ve no doubt another few sleepless nights ahead until they’re virus free – but it was the week that made me realise that yes, the obligation of that working mother is that I will have to work as if I don’t have children, and be their mother as if I don’t have a job.

But at least I’ve learned that I can do it.

To Alex, who is T W O!

{Part 1 of 2}

Over the last four, and last two years, these boys have brought so much happiness to us, the sheer joy they bring each and every day is beyond words. To hear them say the word ‘Mama’ and know it’s me they’re addressing is just the best sound in the world. I am so lucky.

So to celebrate them, and their birthdays, I’ve written each of them a post of their own. Also, as they change so fast and little things they do and like now will be gone in no time, I wrote it to help me remember years from now what they were like at two and four!

First up is our beautiful little Alex…Happy Birthday munchkin!

Friday, October 28, 2016

We all thought you were going to be a girl. People kept telling me, they could ‘feel’ it. That they could tell by looking at you as Bump – it was high/low/in the middle, so all those things meant you were going to be a girl apparently. We started to believe it, so much so we arrived to the hospital on the day you were scheduled to be born ( slightly early at 37 weeks – a story for another day), with two names on our shortlist, and neither of them meant for a baby boy.

Hospital bound to meet Alex!

At the Coombe hospital on the morning of the 28th of October, in the little room we waited in before the surgeon was ready for us, I was sitting in the hospital gown with your Dad. He picked up a paper to read and I looked down at you in Bump form, and put my hands on either side. I thought about how this was probably the last time I’d get to have a minute with you like this, before we met you in the flesh. When it was just you and me. Your pregnancy was different to Rian’s – already I could see some differences between you both. I watched my bump move as you moved around, maybe you knew it was time to wake up and that we were about to meet you soon. I closed my eyes and felt you move in my belly, and focused on it and tried to tell you how much you were loved already, and that hopefully the birth would all go well and I’d be able to hold you soon. I made a point of remembering the sounds around me, and the smells; an important moment in  my life was about to happen, a defining moment. My baby was about to be born, and my body was about to be my own again. Somewhere in those few minutes I decided that you’d be named Alex, I must have known you already that you weren’t going to be the girl everyone else was expecting. Alex Moran was a beautiful, good strong name I decided. I said it to your Dad – he liked it a lot but wondered if Sean or Ollie might be better suited. We decided we’d think about it in a while, you’d probably be a girl anyway.

Less than an hour later, the surgeon held you up and we saw you for the first time. Such a tiny little thing, so amazingly beautiful! You were ours. Your Dad leaned in and said, ‘he looks like an Alex’. There you were.

img_5194

Alex Peter Moran, born at 11.44am

Two years on, and the only things that haven’t changed about you are the beautiful little dimple in the corner of your cheek and the way your face beams when you smile. For six full months you just slept, and fed, and cuddled and slept again. We thought we had struck it lucky with a sleeping baby – but then just as we were almost smug about how easy  you were, at six months you woke up and that was the end of the quiet little Alex! Suddenly, we met the mischievous you – a twinkle appeared in your eye and your spirit of adventure arrived with a bang. You were fiercely independent, wanting to always catch up with your big brother Rian. No high chair for Alex, no help with being fed. You demanded to sit on a chair at the kitchen table; you were so small you couldn’t see over the top, all we saw were pudgy little hands feeling around for the food to shove into pudgy drooly little cheeks! No more cot for Alex, as soon as you saw Rian climbing into the top bunk of your new beds, that was the end of that. You launched yourself into your bottom bunk, looking so tiny in the big mass of your first duvet!

And now you’re turning two, and it’s as if we always had you. But who is our Alex, this amazing little person in our lives, who only two years ago, was yet to be known?

Your first word was ‘Cheers!’ except it sounds more like ‘sheeershh’ as you clink your sippy cup with our glass at dinner, delighted with yourself. One of the first thing you learned to do was a fist pump – cutesy baby waves are not your style!

You chase your brother around to tickle/torture/blow raspberries on his belly, before falling around laughing with the cheekiest little laugh like you know you’re up to no good. Sometimes you chase him around just to hug him too – already you two are a team.

Rian showed you one day how to take off your own nappy, which you particularly love doing at 6am on a Sunday morning before making us run after you to catch you before you need to ‘go’ all over something. You carry two toy cows around with you sometimes, although most of the time they stand quietly on the shelf beside your bed, just keeping a quiet eye on you! But you seem happier when they’re there so we won’t argue. Woody is your favourite toy.  Sometimes when you’re asleep you accidentally pull on the string and we hear ‘WHERE’S MY TRUSTY STEED BULLSEYE?!’ bellowing from your bedroom in the middle of the night, almost giving us heart failure. That’s always fun! Doug is your best friend to snuggle into at night, a pink turtle with big eyes that once belonged to your Auntie Linda.

img_5375-1

Doug the turtle, Woody and a Cow – Alex’s bedtime friends

Your favourite song for ages was ‘You’re Welcome’ from Moana, always prompting  you to have a little dance around the kitchen whenever you heard it. Then you loved ‘Remember Me’ from Coco, and every so often when I sing it to you at night time, you sing along before tucking Doug under your arm and rolling over, blond wispy curls sticking up at various angles only highlighted by the chink of light coming into your room from the landing, before drifting off to sleep.

You’re a little man with a big appetite! You love broccoli- long may that last! – and sometimes when you’re having your dinner you store food in your big pudgy cheeks like a beaver, and munch away on it long after the meal has ended. So far we haven’t really discovered any food you don’t like. Just like your Daddy!

Your favourite books are What the Ladybird Heard and The Baby Monster which has a purple fluffy toy attached that you hug and kiss as the story progresses! You’re extremely cute.

Hearing you giggle from the teepee in your bedroom with your hands over your eyes as you think we can’t see you is the funniest thing! It’s your favourite game, and I think it might be mine too.

Alex we can’t wait to see what the next year will bring, to see all the things you’ll learn and all the things you’ll teach us too. You make us happier than we ever thought possible – we love you!

Alex with his favourites