Posts Tagged ‘ children ’

Too Old for Surrogacy?

surrogacy

Surrogacy is a great alternative for couples who cannot have children of their own. Surrogacy is a first-class option for gay or lesbian couples who would like to be parents. But should surrogacy be available to all?

In a similar way to adoption, should there come a point when people are told ‘You are too old to be new parents?’

Surrogacy has long been a topic bubbling under the surface of Irish society, but last week’s RTÉ documentary Her Body, Our Babies really put the spotlight on a practice about which not a lot is generally known. This programme raised a myriad of questions about commercial surrogacy, abortion, the total lack of a legal framework in Ireland, one partner being the biological parent and the other having no genetic connection to the child. And this couple in particular, Sean and Fiona, raised the important question of whether a time should come when the door is firmly closed on parenthood. Continue reading

A Year in Brief: Part One

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What a year it’s been; Hitler birthday cakes, mutant rats, and Bob Geldof off to space! To celebrate the end of another 365 days here are some of NIB’s favourite stories of the year.

Kicking off the year in festive spirit a man in Derry was fined after stealing a CCTV camera which “became his friend”. Police found Peter Morrison, 24, drunk and “petting” the camera as they arrived to arrest him. CCTV pets are for life not just for Christmas. Continue reading

10 Cutting Edge Technologies To Deliver Christmas Gifts

santa-infographic

Here’s Santa’s problem. He works all year round to make gifts for all the nice boys and girls, but he only has a very small 24-hour window to deliver all of them. Yes we all know he has major magic and can be in many places all at the same time, but still, the number of children all over the world just keeps on growing and growing. And all of them want to have their pictures taken with Santa Claus! This, unknown to many, really happens except most people think it’s just some guy with a pillow stuffed in the belly. All this posing and picture taking subtracts from Santa’s singular purpose of gift-giving.

It’s about time Men give back to Santa Claus and his Global Gift Giving Enterprise with state-of-the-art technology that’s nothing short of magical! In this infographic, we’ve nominated some of the most advanced tech ever imagined to help Santa out. Prepare to be amazed.

How about Santa’s very own SantaNet? It will be powered by Transcranial Pulsed Ultrasound devices worn by all of the world’s children and attached to millions of computers on an Artificial Neural Network all for the purpose of detecting who’s naughty or nice. That way Santa won’t have to keep checking his list twice. All these computers will feed data in a humungous Data Centre capable of storing Exabytes of data. Santa’s very own Naughtiness Database! In the heart of SantaNet will be the world’s most powerful supercomputer, a Christmas Cruncher capable of 33 quadrillions of calculations per second.

Then there’s the problem of red-nosed Rudolph and his gang of reindeer. Yes, him with the nose so bright guiding the sleighs on Christmas night. How to deliver billions of gifts to billions of children so all the nice ones get what they deserve on Christmas Eve? We’re giving them their own hyper-fast gift distribution network powered by delivery drones and Hyperloops.

And what about the elves? They need all the help they can get to manufacture just the right gift for the right child. We’re giving them, exoskeletons that multiply their gift-making magic many times over, plus self-heating roads crisscrossing the Polar Toy Hub so they don’t slip and slide while moving their precious cargo.

Our friends at FinancesOnline.com have included all these and more in their excellent infographic above.

Parent Taming: A Tot’s Eye View Of The Formative Years

parent taming

Parent Taming is a parenting manual with a fairly significant and not-so-subtle difference; it’s written entirely from a child’s perspective. And what a child. Ryan James Stickebachher is a self-styled baby guru and, indeed, guru baby. His opinion? “When you’re a baby you gotta rely on your household staff to get you everything you want. The problem is, they think they know better than you. So you gotta break ‘em in.” And in Parent Taming – The Several Habits of Highly Successful Babies: 0-2 the Early Years, Ryan shares his secret techniques about how to do just that. Continue reading

News In Brief – Irish Champion Slams Innocent Roma

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Rob Heffernan, the gold medal winning walker from Cork may walk the walk, but he doesn’t tweet the tweet. A recent slip on the social networking site has taken the shine off his World Athletics Championship medal after, in reply to the case of Gardai removing two children from their Roma families on suspicion of abduction, he tweeted: “Unbelievably dirty scumbags. They should be shipped out”. Uh oh. Of course the Roma children were living with their biological parents and Heffernan apologised.

Further proof paying the property tax was a bad idea: their coming after you for next year’s cash this year. If you succumbed to political pressure and threats of fines (that NIB hasn’t heard to materialise) you’ll now pay for it again as the government wants its wages in advance. They’ve Christmas parties to pay for! Continue reading

Who’s Your Daddy? Simon Cowell

220px-Simon_Cowell_in_December_2011

In news that’s bound to raise some eyebrows and allay some theories, American media outlets are reporting that TV mogul Simon Cowell is set to father a child.

The 53 year old American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent founder , whose sexuality has been the subject of much debate, is expecting a baby with New York socialite Lauren Silverman according to US Weekly. Continue reading

Cork City Supports Childline 25 Campaign

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Cork City Football Club today announced they are supporting the Childline 25 campaign in the hope to raise awareness about the campaign for a great cause.

The campaign itself hopes to make more people aware of the help available for children in need and comes as Childline celebrate their 25th anniversary. Continue reading

Childcare Association Aims To Reform Industry

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald has said she believes a new organisation set up to represent childcare professionals will be effective in bringing about higher standards in an industry desperate for reform.

The Association of Childcare Professionals (ACP) hopes to represent over 22,000 childcare professionals across the country aiming to give a voice to such professionals. The ACP also want the early-years sector to become a fully-developed professional branch in its own right, similar to teaching, medicine or law. Continue reading

News in Brief-Vandals Graffiti Cork Graveyard As Dog Seatbelts Appear On The Agenda

It’s a horror filled News in Brief this week. Consider it a public service announcement, we’re all only minutes from death!

First, if your fit, not afraid of losing limbs and looking for work, NIB may have found the perfect position (haemophiliacs need not apply). If you’ve always wanted work that pushes you to the edge of your endurance Dublin City Council could be the place for you as new figures show the number of personal injury claims by staff while at work total €2.3m. Who knew life in public service could be so rough? 155 cases are still outstanding though employees often opt to stay at work during ongoing legal proceedings. Bless the brave souls of the city council. Continue reading

Anne Enright’s “The Forgotten Waltz”

Anne Enright’s novel The Forgotten Waltz was published in 2011 and traces the life of Gina Moynihan from mid-Celtic Tiger Ireland to a recession era. Upon her return from Australia, Gina attends her sister Fiona’s housewarming party at her beach view home in Enniskerry, a symbol of the roaring Celtic Tiger of the time. The scene of the party outlines Enright’s satirical views of this time; the house itself, the people, the children multiplying as if being cloned, the “chardonnay years”, as Gina describes them. This suburbanite dream leaves Gina feeling claustrophobic and she retires to the lower garden to have a cigarette as, “It is 2002, and already, none of these people smoke”. It is from this lower part of the garden that Gina sees her future lover, Sean. They will not meet again until Gina is married to Conor with whom she owns a townhouse in Dublin City, perhaps an effort to shy away from the suburban dream that Fiona relishes so much in Enniskerry. As the narrative is in past tense it is evident that Gina’s memories of seeing Sean are now clouded by the love and resentment she feels for him; she remembers a thoughtful looking man, a pretty wife with him and a faceless child of four years old, Evie. Because the narrative is past tense it is evident that Gina’s emotions and feelings have been compromised as she describes people she once loved and cherished with a sort of resentment and bitterness as her relationship with Sean now lies stale, dead and inescapable. Gina leaves her husband Conor, who is tall, broad, tanned and fun-loving for Sean; quiet and small but evidently cripplingly charming, seen from Gina’s perspective as well as the numerous affairs Gina assumes he has had before her. As they embark on their affair Gina leaves Conor with a bleak perspective on the life they had once shared together, believing she was with him, bought a house and married him simply because she felt that was what you should do. Gina moves into her late mother’s home in Terenure where Sean, after eventually leaving his wife and his suburban home, comes to live with her. His dissatisfaction at his life post-recession is evident and very much a part of the downfall of their relationship.

The focus of the story lies very much in Gina’s thoughts on Sean’s daughter, Evie. Evie is very carefully and ambiguously constructed by Enright, it is not clear what, if anything is wrong with the girl. It is clear that following a fall from a swing when she was four Evie developed seizures and underwent much medical attention at the behest of her mother, Aileen. But it is also clear that Evie’s issues run deeper than this for Gina; Evie is both the opening and the closing of the novel as Gina struggles to understand the girl and tries to get to grips with the extent to which her own actions have affected Evie. It is clear that Gina believes it is more than the fall off a swing that has affected Evie’s behaviour and development. Gina finds Evie “peculiar” and also harbours an irrational resentment towards the girl because she feels the affair would not have gone so far had it not been for Evie’s presence in their lives from the very beginning. When Sean and Gina share their first kiss at a party in his family home, they are seen by Evie who fails to understand what she has seen. Gina’s guilt of having done this to a child runs deep. For Gina, a character normally cold and out of touch with her emotions in the book it is clear that jeopardizing a child’s innocence means that you must follow through with your actions – live with life’s consequences. Time passes and Gina and Sean’s love and lust both wither to be left with routine, reality and lonely days for Gina as Sean spends family time in Enniskerry. It is evident that their affair cannot stand to the recession in Irish life, but it must not be abandoned because of Evie.

Gina is a wholly unlikeable character, her lack of emotion for her sister or Conor throughout the novel is striking and her attraction to Sean even when their love has dissolved is irksome and perplexing. Though it is evident Sean is meant to be charming and attractive, in contrast to Conor he is somewhat snake-like; small and suited up, cunning and, similarly to Gina, emotionally absent. However Sean also harbours his own pain over Evie; not being able to help and heal his young daughter and then subsequently destroying her stable and perfect suburban life has brought upon him similar feelings of guilt that Gina has and they cannot abandon each other because Evie has already suffered enough.

Another aspect to the novel that I found to be striking and poignant was Enright’s contrast of post-Celtic Tiger era of Ireland to the mid-Celtic Tiger and then reverting back again. I will explain. As I have mentioned before Enright’s take on Celtic Tiger life is satirical, she mentions it all; the wine consumption, never seen in Ireland as much before, the mobile homes in Brittas Bay, the work weekends away, the children who cry at the sight of the electrician’s cigarette because they have never been exposed to the sight of one before. Enright takes all of these elements and subtly contrasts it to Ireland in the 1970/80s when Fiona and Gina were growing up in Terenure. Gina remembers her childhood with fondness, even the bad parts. For her, the new Irish society is futile; the wine, the suits, the business lunches and dinner events are empty to her as she sits in her old family home alone on Christmas Day, ostracised from the suburbanite dream of her sister and Sean in Enniskerry.

Overall, the novel is a grim reality of an affair in a new and exciting time for professionals in Ireland. There is no happy ending with Sean, no passionate reunion with Conor, no new life started somewhere new and exciting and no breakthrough understanding with Evie. Even as Evie stands before her as a teenager in the closing of the book, Gina still cannot quite get her, “I can’t quite see her face”, Evie remains to her a mystery that she must live with. Gina is left with the reality of being stuck with Sean, stuck with Evie, stuck in her family home in Dublin, looking back on her marriage in fear of realising there was love there after all and a fear of admitting her mistake. Gina is a hard character;tough, unbreakable and eerily calm in the face of her life choices.