For the last year, we’ve done our best to regulate Hazel’s television intake.  This has been difficult for all concerned, truly, as she loves the gogglebox so much it has become the easiest way of getting her to contently sit still for a while, if you need to get something done/have some time off.

Recently, I’ve found that my opinions have somewhat mollified. Two weeks ago, Hazel picked up a magnifying glass in my mother’s house and told her Nana exactly what it was.  Where did this knowledge come from? Myself and Ev have never had cause to go around repeating the term “Magnifying Glass” and I doubt they’re doing it at Hazel’s crèche either! It makes sense that television (CBeebies in the overwhelming majority) might well be the source.

Last Friday I chanced upon an article on the Guardian‘s website.  I’ll reproduce some extracts from it here but I’d encourage you to click on the link above and check it out in its entirety if you’re interested.

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So here’s a little story from last Monday: I’m a fan of American Football and was delighted when I heard that Channel 4 (UK) would be showing one live game every weekend. There’s no Sky Sports in our house. The downside to this game being on terrestrial TV is that it doesn’t kick off until 1.30am on Sunday night/Monday morning. After trying to stay up and watch it two weeks ago, my smarter half wondered why I didn’t just record the game and watch it at my leisure the following day. It’s not as if I’d have to avoid Irish radio to keep the results secret, is it?!

So, I was doing just that on Monday morning, around 11am. Hazel was playing with some toys in the sitting room and I was sitting in the kitchen (where the DVD recorder is) watching my recorded game. Next thing I know, the little lady toddles into the kitchen carrying the box for Finding Nemo in her left hand and the disc from said box in her right.

“We watch Nee-no?” she asked.

“No, it’s daddy’s turn with the telly” I said.

She then proceeded to walk past me, over to the TV stand, bent down, hit the ‘Open/Close’ button on the DVD recorder, took out my disc and put in Nee-no! She didn’t actually manage to put the disc in flat, so the door wouldn’t close. At this, I picked my jaw up off the floor and went over to help her!

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I’m sure it’s happened at least once in everyone’s life.  You reconnect with an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and, just then, at that moment, you realise that it’s been an age since you last talked and you should never have let such an amount of time pass.  Well, I now notice that this is also the case with me and my blog.

So apologies to all.  Especially Mitzi, the blog’s biggest fan! But fret not – broadband engineers have finally conquered these heretofore impassable lands and we are online. Huzzah!

Hazel is now 25 months old.  Honestly, it would take an essay, not a blog entry, to cover everything that has happened in her life since I last posted in December.

In that time, she’s had her second birthday, spent two nights in Mayo General Hospital and had an arranged marriage confirmed.  Ok, the last one of those isn’t true.

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Since we moved home in August, my post count on this blog has dropped to near zero.  I got challenged about this at the weekend.  “Could we please have another blog post John?” I was asked, albeit in a slightly demanding fashion. 🙂

The realisation that the daddy blog actually has some regular readers was a (pleasant) surprise!

To explain myself, our new home is situated right in the middle of a broadband wasteland.  We’re trying to get by using an internet dongle from one of the mobile phone companies but it’s only giving us access last seen in about 1997.  With modern-day websites set up to use much more capacious connections, we can just about access our gmail (and that’s with the ‘Basic HTML’ switch turned on).

That being said, I am lucky in that I was contacted earlier in the year by David Caren, the editor of  David has kept me on the straight and narrow by encouraging me to produce an article on a monthly basis.  Well, almost a monthly basis…

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Back in August we surprised everybody by upping sticks and moving from Clare to Roscommon.

At the time, I presumed that the effect of the move on our little Hazel would be, if not exactly traumatic, at least interesting enough to merit a blog post or two. Alas for this blog’s post count, she has turned out to be the best house-mover of the three of us!

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Moving houseBack in June, I announced to the blog that I had returned to 5-day-a-week work, following my time minding Hazel on Thursdays and Fridays.  It turns out that this return to “normality” will be short-lived, though, as we’re about to go through our biggest challenge, as a family, so far.

We’re moving – lock and stock – two hours up the road.

What’s brought this about is a new job for my wife and, in the short-term at least, it will mean unemployment for me. That might seem like a bit of a downer but, from our point-of-view, it’s definitely worth it. For one thing, we’ll be moving “home” and, of course, I’ll get to become a stay-at-home dad! If you’ve read the previous blog entries you’ll know that’s something I’m definitely excited about.

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Our first year with Hazel has flown swiftly by. I find it hard to believe that it’s nearly 12 months since we spent a very boring morning in UCHG, waiting for a room to become available, so Ev and baby would have somewhere to retire to after the C-Section.  That was on July 9, 2008, so Hazel’s first birthday is indeed fast approaching.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog will know that we have been blessed with our daughter and her placid, stoic nature. She’s never been one to throw tantrums and reacts to life’s hard knocks by having a little cry for a few minutes and then dusting herself down and getting straight back into the action.  So why, you may ask, would we decide to shock, upset  and provoke her now?

Every child grows up believing that the way things are done in their house is “normal”.  Even at her young age, Hazel is no different.  One example of this is that she uses a soother to get to sleep.  This is fine and dandy (and handy, even) at 8.30pm but it becomes a problem if she wakes during the night as the soother has always slipped out of her mouth during sleep and she needs one of us to get up and retrieve it (or get a new one) for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Back in March I kicked off this blog as I was about to spend 12 weeks working from Monday to Wednesday and minding my daughter Hazel on Thursdays and Fridays. Unbelieveably the 12 weeks have now passed (or rather flown) by and my wife’s (teacher) holidays have arrived.

So I’m now back at work full-time.  I intend keeping the blog going, albeit I’ll probably post a bit less often. (I know what you’re thinking – I didn’t exactly post every week before this!)  I’ll try and post at least once a month, just to keep track of Hazel’s growth and development.  It’ll be a nice record, even for ourselves, in the years ahead.

It’s nice to know that some people are reading my scribblings.  A few weeks back, David Caren, the editor of, asked me if I’d like contribute a piece to his site. Not really considering myself an expert on any facet of parenting, I wrote a piece on child-proofing around the house, simply because we had just done that very thing. If you’d like to read it for yourself, head to the Fatherhood section of

Incidentally, David tells me they’re running a competition, in conjunction with The Gift Voucher Shop, for Fathers’ Day. It starts tomorrow, so be sure to check it out.  Actually, it’s a great site so check it out anyway!

stairs-gatePicture this clichéd scene:

“She’s grown up so quickly. Where did the time go? Now, the moment has come for her to leave the comfortable surroundings with which she’s accustomed and broaden her horizons. Naturally, her parents are not happy about this but accept it, being resigned to its inevitability.”

Of course, knowing what this blog is about, you won’t be fooled into thinking that the story above refers to an eldest daughter leaving home to go to university.

No, you know it’s just my way of dealing with Hazel’s new-found ability to crawl.

She’s not even content to settle for just crawling either. She’s only been moving forward for about 10 days and she’s already doing her best to pull herself up to a standing position, using the couch, the bottom of the stairs, the side of her high chair, you name it.

This has led to falls.

The first time she fell and audibly banged her head on the floor we were both on the scene in seconds, issuing comforting words. A couple of weeks on and familiarity with such an occurance has bred, not contempt thankfully, but a more relaxed attitude certainly.

Obviously, we have attempted to reduce the potential for danger around the house. Plug guards are in, the coffee table is now squashed in the corner (behind an armchair), we’ve a gate at the bottom of the stairs, the fire set has been removed totally, and a heap more. But still, let’s be honest, falls are going to happen – in fact, she’ll probably find ways of making them happen – so we just have to accept them.

Returning to the first paragraph to finish, it has struck me that life will be ever thus from now on. We’ll be excited the first time she: walks, sleeps in a bed at night, learns to cycle, stays over with friends etc etc. And, at each of these events, we’ll also be damn scared!

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I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks now as, alas, my grandmother Margaret (mentioned in my previous post) died on Easter Sunday. If she could have picked her day to go, I’m sure it would have been in the running as she was, all her life, a very religious lady. She was half-way through her 98th year of life and, as I’ve already said, all but six months of it were lived in her own house. Her funeral week was actually very nice with all of our family gathered to celebrate a wonderful, long life.

Our Hazel was her second great-grandchild and she was, very definitely, quite the attraction throughout the week as several relatives got to see her for the first time.  Obviously, she wouldn’t have any clue what was going on but she’s a VERY gregarious young wan and she lapped up the attention.

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Latest photo

Hazel likes bubbles!


Hazel has her full compliment of teeth. The final one arrived during the second week of September, 2010.
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