“Becoming parents to Mícheál Óg has brought us even closer together”
TV presenter Dáithí Ó Sé and his wife Rita Talty Ó Sé, ambassadors for new toddler nutrition initiative Toddlebox, on what becoming parents has taught them
A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING
Dáithí: For me, it's the whole love thing. You love your parents, you love your brothers and sisters and you love your wife. But there was this other gear, that you didn't realise was there until you see your child. Then the whole thing changes. Would I have taken a bullet for anyone beforehand? No. Would I now? Yes. It's as simple as that and by proxy I'd have to take a bullet for my wife because she's the mother of my child!
IT'S ALL A LEARNING CURVE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD
Rita: Everyday is a new challenge. No day is the same and I think we just take it as it comes. Mícheál is 13-months-old and he's at such a fun age. But in the last few weeks he has suddenly stopped eating all his favourite foods. He used to love scrambled eggs, roast chicken and different vegetables but now there's no way in the world that he'll eat them. If I put eggs in front of him, he'll gag. I worry about what he's eating but at least on Toddlebox.ie you can go and see the foods that are iron-rich, that have enough calcium, and ways of trying to get him to eat it and trying different recipes. You're thinking 'Am I doing the right thing, is it enough what I'm doing?' and this website will help you.
Dáithí: When they start teething you actually don't realise how much they don't want to eat one day, then another they're fine. You have to rationalise it all and put it all into perspective, that other people are going through it. We find this on the Today show when we're doing topics like this, once you realise that you're not in there on your own, that other people are experiencing the same thing. It doesn't make the problem go away but it makes it easier. You stop judging yourself as a parent.
PARENTHOOD BRINGS A DIFFERENT DYNAMIC
Rita: It's brought us closer together. I think all we talk about now is the baby, though not to other people, but ourselves, because people do get sick of it - they don't want to hear because everyone has kids who do all the same things. When Dáithí is at work he'll call and ask did the baby sleep, is he feeding, what does his poop look like? You never discussed poop with people before but once you've had a baby, that's what you're consumed about all the time and worried about.
Dáithí: I think we've enough common sense to say OK, let's stop talking about the baby now, let's talk about real life as well. You need to because otherwise you'd just go nuts.
OUR PARENTING STYLE IS FIRM BUT FUN
Rita: Mícheál is now really testing his boundaries but you have to stay firm. Some things he does are funny but I need to let him know that he can't throw things. These years are so important to be firm but you can't constantly say 'No, no, no'. They have to test their limits too.
BEING AWAY FROM OUR SON CAN BE TOUGH
Dáithí: I miss him when I go to work, big time. I get up early with him in the morning; he always gets up around 6.30am. So I'd have a few hours with him then because he goes to bed early enough in the evening. But that's the way it works as well. Two parents can't stay at home I'm afraid.
OUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED AND IN A GREAT WAY
Rita: It's funny, you stop and think our life was so different before but now we have this little guy who has brought so much joy into our lives. People can make it sound negative when you first get pregnant - oh, enjoy your sleep because you'll never sleep again. You never get to go out? Yes you do. Your life doesn't stop because you have a baby, it gets better. You can still go out and do fun things. It can just be a different option - you might go out for dinner at 4pm. You just have a different version of the life you had before.
YOU WORRY A LOT MORE WHEN YOU BECOME A PARENT
Dáithí: I was born in the mid-70s and I grew up in the 90s. Things were a lot different 20 years ago. So in 20 years' time you wonder what dilemmas is he going to be faced with? I think you set the big things out. You pick schools that he's going to do well in, things like that. The rest comes down to day-to-day things and just to pass on what you think is right and wrong.
IT WOULD BE NICE TO EXPAND THE FAMILY BUT IF IT DOESN'T HAPPEN…
Rita: Right now we're happy with just the three of us. But I'd love for him to grow up with brothers and sisters.I grew up with three brothers and Dáithí has a big family. When you're little you don't appreciate it but now, the bond that I have with my brothers, I would hate for Mícheál to miss out on that. But if it's not for us... Hopefully it would be in our plan, but who knows?