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April with baby Colum at his Christening in St. Patrick's Cathedral Photo by: Irish Voice

The Mommy Diaries - bringing up new baby far from home

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April with baby Colum at his Christening in St. Patrick's Cathedral Photo by: Irish Voice

For example, I assumed the numerous baby vests I’d been given as gifts were for the summer season so I stored them away. It wasn’t until my friend Katrina once asked (about two weeks after Colum was home) was Colum wearing a vest under his babygro.

“No,” I said. “Should he be?”

“Oh, each to their own,” she responded, not meaning to interfere.

I wasn’t long jumping on the blower to my own mammy back home to ask should her new grandson be wearing a vest?

“Of course he should,” was the response.

Back to the box and out came the vests.  I did wonder to myself why we received so many 0-3 months “summer” vests. I know, I know common sense should have prevailed right!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 38 having your first child, if you haven’t been around babies much it will always be a learning exercise, and I’m proof of that.

My first job in New York was to babysit two adorable New York boys after school. They were six and eight and definitely taught me a thing or two.

The second day on the job I got lost in the streets of Manhattan. I had forgotten the school’s address (assuming I’d remember my way from the day before) and had no credit in my newly purchased cell phone to call someone.

I was an hour late to pick up the kids and naturally their parents were none too pleased. They graciously granted me a second chance and I was never late again, but that certainly didn’t prevent me from doing other silly things during my time as a nanny.

A number of weeks into the job I was picking up the youngest child from a play date. The play date’s father asked me if it was okay to give the little man I was looking after some goldfish to take home. A strange request I thought and kindly declined, much to the disappointment of my six-year-old.

Slightly disgruntled and pushing his request further, the aforementioned father said, “I’m sure it would be okay with his parents.”

I thought it would be highly inappropriate to arrive back from a playdate with slimy little orange fish swimming around in a zip-lock bag (which I saw lying on the counter ready to be filled). What if the family I worked for didn’t have a fishbowl, I thought.  A flash of me sitting on the four train at rush hour trying to hold up a bag full of goldfish all the way to Woodlawn in the Bronx ran through my mind.
I proceeded to ask him how many goldfish he planned on giving me?

He looked at me strangely and said quite abruptly, “I don’t know, 15 or 20.”

I immediately thought this man must be seeing a therapist on a regular basis.

The conversation was going from bad to worse until I finally noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a box of children’s crackers called “Goldfish.” Oops!

He wanted to give the child a snack! He didn’t respond well when I told him I was a recent immigrant from Ireland who had yet to become familiar with all stuff American. 

Thankfully since those first few months in New York our friends have shown us the ropes.  They have been amazingly supportive to John and I during our first few weeks as parents and we’ll never forget that.

Even before Colum entered the world we were showered with baby toys, equipment, clothes and so much more. Friends loaned us essential items their children had grown out of, and others gave us car seats, strollers and cribs unconditionally.

We even received bouncing chairs and similar items from a wonderful Long Island woman, Virginia Shine, who to this day John and I have yet to meet. We have been blown away by people’s generosity and hope to repay new parents when the time is right.

So that being said we’ll motor on with parenthood, enjoy every second of Colum’s presence in our lives and we will continue to welcome advice and tips on being the best possible parents to our little son! God knows with my track record we’ll need it ?

Watch this space!

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