Saturday, 11 November 2017
Two children walk in to a Doctors. One in need of an assessment for a chesty cough, the other in need of a referral to CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
The first child who had been coughing for a week was stripped down and given a thorough check up. The GP listened to her chest on both sides (twice), monitored her heartbeat and her oxygen levels, took her temperature, and checked inside her ears and mouth. The whole process took around 10 minutes.
The second child was glanced at but not spoken to. No questions were asked in regards to the nature of the referral and after tapping a few words on his computer the GP matter of factly said
“This referral will get rejected”
The whole process took 2 minutes. If that.
If you’re waiting for the punchline for this absolute joke, then I’m afraid there isn’t one.
Just more of a ‘punch to the guts’
Because this isn’t a joke. It’s real life.
The fact is that I took two children in to surgery with me that day, and both of them needed the help of a GP. Yet they couldn’t have been treated more differently.
In 2017 where equal opportunities is an actual law, how is it that a comparison can be visibly seen between the treatment of two small children by a supposed professional?
Between two anybody’s even?
Is it all just bullshit?
Let’s face it. My child has been discriminated against before he’s even been diagnosed with having a problem.
Does he not deserve the opportunity to have his symptoms investigated, just like his sisters were?
Just because they can’t be physically measured, does it make them any less real? Or any less worthy of treatment?
The GP was right.
HIS referral was rejected. Due to insufficient information.
Luckily, my children have been blessed/cursed with a mother who takes absolutely no shit, especially where her children are concerned. So upon finding out my son had been rejected from CAMHS I did my own referral. And this WAS accepted. Not only was it accepted, but he was deemed as high priority and given an appointment for three months time.
Yet I can’t help but feel unsettled. How many children have been rejected from services they truly need due to an insufficient and quite blatantly incompetent GP referral?
How many children have then grown to be adults and struggled with day to day tasks, which could have been lessened had they been given the opportunity to be diagnosed in the same way a person with physical ailment does?
Probably too many to even bare thinking about.
Do equal opportunities even exist at all when parents have to fight and jump through hoops just to be listened to when they cry for help in relation to their child’s needs, just because they don’t follow the lines of normality?
Are these children set up to fail even from the word go?
If anyone reading this has experienced something similar then I truly am sorry.
Every voice deserves to be heard.
Please don’t feel discouraged.
I may be mocking the idea of the existence of equal opportunities at present, but the only way we will truly make a change is if we don’t stop shouting.
Continue to make a fuss.
If you don’t agree with the treatment your child has received, demand more.
You are perfectly within your rights to do so.
Friday, 6 October 2017
The theme for today's post is 'Flowers'.
I'm not going to write about flowers per se, but instead, the thought that comes to my head when I think of them
I'll spare you the long winded list of everything that I found fabulous about her. Im sure most of us could write an essay on how perfect our Grandmothers are/were. My favourite things about her were her imperfections. I once wrote her a poem about bluebells. She said she liked it but next time I should write one about daffodils, and gave me the first line that should be included. These are the things that make me giggle when I think of her.
I also admired her ability to take shit from nobody. I think she passed that trait on.
When I was 16 she came to stay with us for a while as my Grandad had recently passed. Although they were renowned for their bickering (my Grandad would often stick his tongue out at her behind her back, and I remember an alarming spat over a jam tart once), he was the love of her life.
She had not been staying with us long when I had a dream. I dreamt my Grandad was in a Greenhouse and I asked him what he was doing. He handed me a rose and told me to give the rose to my Nan.
A few days later I went out with my friends for the evening. Before I left, my Nan said I looked Beautiful.
They would be the last words she would ever say to me.
The next day my Mum and I found her in bed. She had passed away through the night. We always say she died of a broken heart.
More recently, my six year old has been questioning death. He has fears that I'm going to "grow old and die" and he'll be left without a Mum. I've tried to reassure him, but every few days I was finding myself having the same conversation and giving the same reassurance. Yes, I will die eventually, but not for a very very long time.
I couldn't seem to reassure him. He needed to hear that I wasn't going to die at all.
So after thinking about my Nan one night, I decided to take a different angle.
I told Oliver the story of my Nan. I explained that sometimes, if a person is really special and they are incredibly loved, they never die. They live forever.
They live in the memories you have of them.
They live in the stories you continue to tell about them.
Their legacy lives on.
I told him that my Nan will never die, because I think about her every day, I talk about her often, even to people who never knew her. I even named his sister after her
Oliver seemed happy with that.
And realistically, I can't tell him when I will die. I can't promise him I'll be around for as long as I'd like to be. No one knows what the future holds, and the hard truth is too much for six year old little shoulders to bare. But what I can tell him is that I hope when I do finally go, I made my mark, and was loved so much that I could never truly die.
And I hope that someone will be reminded of me, when they smell the flowers.
Just like Gwyneth
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
If you get to spend a decent amount of time alone (out of the house) as a couple, your time together is probably simply referred to as just 'going out'.
If, like me, time alone with your partner is rare, you'll be all too familiar with the phrase 'Date Night' which basically means "YESSS! We got rid of the kids for the first time in forever! Let's try and pretend we're young and free again!
If you're a 'Date Night' couple you'll probably be all too familiar with the following seven behaviours.
(A behaviour for each 'Date Night' I've had since my 6 year old was born.....seriously)
1. Selfies. If you're on a 'Date Night' and don't take a selfie, are you even a parent? Selfies are the ultimate must for the start of your night. You and your partner must take a picture together in your chosen venue, dressed up to the nines, and then announce on your social media profile 'WE'RE ON A DATE NIGHT!!"
2. You check your phone a few too many times before you've even seen the menu.
"Is the baby still asleep?
"Is everything ok?"
"Has anyone liked my Date Night Selfie?"
3. In between checking your phone for texts off the babysitter, you tag yourself and your partner in the restaurant/pub/cinema you're in and upload another photo of whatever food or drink you're about to consume.
4. You realise that you've completely lost your social skills. You eat too fast, you drink too much, and you kind of can't be arsed making a conversation with each other. You may resentfully mention that you only managed to shave one of your legs prior to date night as you had to get out the bath and settle the baby. Your partner may shrug, wondering if you're going to finish that crusty bread that you've left on your plate.
5. You'll try your absolute hardest NOT to mention the kids, but come on, what else have you got to talk about?
6. You'll finish your meal and realise that actually, you're a bit tired. It's getting a bit late and if you leave it too late you'll be knackered when you're woken at 5am by the kids. You look at your watch. It's 8pm.
7. You speed walk home, excited to get in and put your feet up, and whilst doing so you both discuss at length the estimated time that you actually became sad sacks of shit.
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
When I saw the theme for today was 'Car' I had to fight the urge to hypnotically walk to the kitchen, pour myself a Gin and think, "I'll just fuck this Blogtober off."
I don't drive.
The essence I like to give off is that I'm far too hippyish and at one with the Earth to pollute the environment with car fumes. The reality is, I'm terrified of driving and walk everywhere.
I've tried driving, don't think I haven't! I even still own a provisional license, which I sometimes refer to as 'My Driving Licence" just so I can at least pretend I'm a grown up.
The first time I got behind the wheel I was around 21. My mum had bought L plates and decided she would teach me. Everything was a good ole laugh when we were cruising around on car park, but then for some unfathomable reason she took me on a road and decided to get me to do a three point turn
As a lorry was coming
Ok, it wasn't a lorry. It was more of a big van. But the point is, it was a large moving vehicle, coming towards us as I was positioned sideways in the road.
I did the only thing a sensible person does do in a situation like that. I screamed and jumped out.
That was the end of our lessons.
A couple of years ago I decided I needed to give driving another shot. I was hindering my chances of exploring different avenues in my career, and the trauma from the last incident was now a blurry haze that happened ten years prior.
This time I booked a professional driving instructor.
He was nice enough, but a bit too PC for my liking. It was very obvious that he was cautious about me being a woman and clearly had some sort of paranoia going on that if he said or did something that could be misinterpreted I'd be slapping a sexual harassment charge on him.
If he needed to take the wheel or the stick he would calmly say "I'm going to reach over now and take the wheel, so I do apologise if I accidentally brush your arm"
It was both confusing and completely unnecessary. And felt more like I was being sexually harassed than it would have if he'd slapped my arse!
On my first driving lesson with him we began on an industrial car park. Once my confidence was up I ventured down the road that lead out of the car park, following a large lorry (this actually was a lorry this time).
Out of nowhere sirens started going off and I was completely surrounded by police cars.
"I'm going to take over the pedals now and reach over for the wheel, if I accidentally brush pa...."
"Just move the bloody car!!!"
It turns out I had been following a lorry full of illegal immigrants.
I carried on lessons but seemed to progress in no way whatsoever. I didn't gain any more confidence, in fact I got worse. I had to start taking American hard gums with me to lessons just to stop me from passing out.
So, no. Cars and I are not the best of friends.
But on a serious note, what is it about people that they feel driving is some sort of confirmation of adulthood anyway? Why do I feel judged when someone asks me "You can't drive?"
Maybe I don't WANT to drive.
Maybe I enjoy walking and decreasing my chances of being smashed in to.
Yes, it's a ball ache sometimes, but mostly it's fine. It keeps me fit and healthy, blows away the germs, and gives me thinking space. I'm not any less of an adult because I don't drive (I'm not sure if I'm trying to convince you here, or me.)
I am however, one less person pissing you off on your commute to work!
Monday, 2 October 2017
* I wrote this post early this morning before I was aware I had to stick to a sodding theme every day for Blogtober. I originally removed the post with the intention of writing a new one to fit in with the theme, which today is 'Babies'
But then I realised, this post IS about a baby. A massive big baby, in the form of ME! Because this weekend I solo parented, and turned in to the biggest baby on the planet
It's Monday, and over the weekend I've been solo parenting whilst my 'baby daddy' has been away with work.
Now my usual response to him going away is
"YAYYYYYYY! THERE'S SO MANY THINGS I CAN DO WHILST HE'S AWAY!"
Being the exciting and adventurous person that I am I made big plans.
Plans to retire to bed at 7pm with the kids every night and read my new Stephen King book (which I've been trying to read since March, but that's a whole other blog post).
I remember the days when excitement would usually revolve around a planned night out with friends, a music festival, or a tropical holiday. Now I get excited about going to bed and reading. The result of being a mum and tag teamed by your two kids all through the night.
On Friday night I put my 11 month old daughter to bed and then jumped in to bed with my son to tell him a story.
I woke up in his bed at 11pm, the side of my cheek wet with slobber and wondering
"Where the fuck am I?"
"WHO the fuck am I?"
I hobbled in to my bedroom (my back in tatters from being used as a human mattress as I slept) took one look at my enormous (empty) bed, and turned back round. The room was too dark and empty, and there was a thick blackness coming from the cracks of the bathroom door which joins on to our bedroom (Note to self: stop reading Stephen King)
I was much safer in the kids room.
Plus! What if someone broke in and I was in a different room to the kids!
In fact, what was that noise downstairs?
On Saturday I didn't fall asleep, but I didn't read either. Instead I subjected myself to watching Stephen Kings 'Gerald's Game' on Netflix and scared the shit out of myself so much that, you guessed it! I had to spend the night in the kids room again!
At one point I didn't even dare get up to use the bathroom.
Has anyone watched it yet? I read the book a few years back. The guy who appears in her bedroom is terrifying.
What if I see him?
Did I lock the doors?
I only checked them four times before I came up!! (Note to self:
Stop watching Stephen King)
What sensible adult who has the role of main caregiver for their children is too scared to get up and use the bathroom and has to sleep in the same room as her kids?
And why, when already scared, does that adult purposely visualise more scary stuff to further increase the risk of having a cardiac arrest over absolutely fucking nothing, at 8pm on a Saturday night?
We're not even talking about the witching hour here! If it was summer it would still be light!
Don't get me wrong, I parent alone quite often. I'm also used to being alone in the house at night whilst the children sleep. But somehow the idea that no one was coming back for a few days had me panicking.
On Sunday night I started questioning how I would deal with things if I were a single parent?
I'd have to move, it was simple. I'd need to be nearer to family. That way I could at least call them & ask them to pop round, or even see their house from my living room window if I was feeling afraid.
I'd need a flat. Stairs are no good for someone who reads horror and has a vivid imagination. They're untrustworthy. You don't know who is creeping up them! And flats don't come with gardens, which is good, because I always leave my washing hanging out until it's dark and then terrify myself bringing it in. Have you ever seen that opening scene from the first IT movie where the Mum is hanging the washing out? There's no way that clown is getting it's jaws on me!
I picked up my phone and navigated to 'Rightmove' on the internet so I could find a suitable property. I was halfway through browsing pictures of a luxurious flat with a gorgeous beach view when I realised I was not a single parent and this stupidity was eating in to good reading time.
Also. Flats are so expensive! Well, the kind I'd like anyway! So I probably couldn't afford one on my own and would have to get someone to move in. Which would then defeat the object of getting a flat in the first place.
I was quite disappointed. I'd been starting to look forward to it.
I did warn you in my first Blogtober post that I think too much. The part about me being a nob head is seeming pretty relevant too.
I can imagine my partners face when he asks me how my weekend was.
"Oh, I spent two nights terrified and hiding in the kids room and on the third night I browsed through flats I can move in to when we break up"
So, you know, I'll just tell him I read and stuff.
Technically, flat hunting is a form of reading.
Sunday, 1 October 2017
After much deliberation (ok, like 2 hours or something), I've decided to jump on board with MommaBoss and take part in Blogtober.
"What's Blogtober?!" I hear you cry!
Who the fuck knows, but we're pretty certain we 'just' have to publish a blog post every day, so this is what we shall do!
Edit: Soooo, we 'thought' we just had to blog every day, but it appears there's a bastard list of themes that have to be followed!
(I'm never going to be able to do this)
Now, word is that most Bloggers who partake in Blogtober are extremely organised and wayyyy ahead of the game, with posts already written in advance and ready to publish on specific days.
I however am not 'most Bloggers' and therefore I'm going to enter Blogtober in the same way I entered motherhood (and how I pretty much live life) - by completely fucking winging it.
I have no posts pre written.
I'm having mild panic attacks already about the whole situation.
I'm not going to lie. Why am I doing this to myself? Why?
My usual posts are either relatable humour, or relatable rants. I tend to stew on them for a few days before I actually find the words to tap out on my iPhone (yes, I blog from my phone - I'm extremely unprofessional).
As I'm not currently stewing on anything relatable at present I have a feeling this may turn in to a "Louise spews her thoughts and feelings to the Internet every night and regrets it immediately" fest.
And who would want to miss THAT car crash?
Without time to plan, edit and re-edit you're probably going to discover the following things about me during Blogtober
1. I moan a lot
2. I swear a lot
3. I think a lot
4. I worry a lot
5. I'm a bit of a nob
(And there's my 'about me' section)
So! What a fun 31 days you have in store! I bet you simply can't wait! Hopefully at some point through the month my blog will actually have something credible to say! But possibly not!
Just don't get your hopes up is all I'm saying.
I struggle with commitment.
I'm giving myself 8 days before I quit.
See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, 23 August 2017
Some people blame Teething. Because we have to blame something right? Otherwise, this whole food strike would simply not make sense! "Maybe she's Teething? Well, she did have a disturbed sleep last night. Could she have a little cold perhaps? A sore throat? Anything! Just give me some meaning to this obscure behaviour!"
You offer finger foods. They're swiped to the floor.
You try feeding with a spoon. Their mouth clamps shut.
You're at the end of your tether. But fear not! I have several tried and tested solutions that will ensure your baby is eating again in no time!
1. You've presented your child with their meal and they've thrown every morsel on to the floor. Kick your feet back. Allow them to carry on with their business. Once they look at you with that smug little face, simply remove them from their highchair and place them on the floor. You can then watch proudly as your hard work pays off and your child crawls under the high chair and eats a hearty lunch from the floor. Like a dog. You can now scratch 'Teething' off your list of possible reasons for not eating and in the future try asking yourself "Do they want to be a dog? Is this why they're not eating?"
2. You've attempted to feed your child their morning porridge. With every trick you pull (here comes the choo choo train...) you're greeted with a closed mouth and a grimace. You're at your wits end. Don't reach for the Gin just yet (save that for around 5pm when you're really about to lose your shit). Instead, calmly walk away and make your own breakfast. Sit down and tuck in to your poached egg and beans on toast, and watch the little scamp suddenly take an interest in food after all and come begging at your knee. Like a dog.
3. Consider the possibility that your child just doesn't fancy what you're offering. They could be saving themselves for a more lavish and exotic dish later on in the day, such as fake stones from the fire, a muddy shoe, or the bookcase. Just like, you know, a dog.
4. Disguise their food. Just like your mum used to hide your veg in your mash potato, you too can play the same tricks. You could mould your child's healthy snack in to stones or lego perhaps? Bury them in some dirt in the garden or sprinkle them in dog shit. All these creative touches will appeal to your child's palette.
5. Opt for the easy choice and buy a lifetime supply of Skips, Wotsits, Quavers and Gin.
*The Gin is for you obviously. There's no way you'd take the risk of giving your baby Gin so they can sprinkle it all over the floor from their Tommee Tippee!
Thursday, 10 August 2017
Dear Sir David Attenborough,
I understand you're a busy man, however, the summer holidays are upon us and my six year old has not stopped talking and asking questions since the day he exited the school gates three weeks ago.
These questions mainly appear to be about animals, and to be quite honest he's driving me bat shit crazy (pun intended).
So I'm passing him over to you, because quite frankly I can't take anymore of this shit.
Below are ten questions that I was asked in the single space of this morning. I'm placing my trust in you that you can answer these, resulting in a few minutes of peace before the endless curiosity commences again.
1. Do hedgehogs sink when put in water?
*I'm not sure when you would be in a situation that called for you to immerse a hedgehog in water, but let's just say you were
2. Do crocodiles have bones?
3. Do crocodiles have a lot of health?
*I'm unaware as to whether he's referring to physical or mental heath, however if the Crocodile has a six year old who asks as many questions as mine (and we're talking about mental health) then I'd be inclined to say No, it fucking doesn't. How about you Sir David?
4. Is there a swimming rock that can kill you?
*If there is then tell it to come find me.
5. Can a shark get you if you're in jail?
*For clarification, I asked if he meant an underwater cage, but no, he means an actual Jail with 'bad guys'.
6. Do creatures have blood? Like Bees? Do Bees have blood?
7. What about spiders? Do they have bones and blood?
8. Are Hedgehogs real?
9. Do zombies eat other zombies and if they do then do their teeth fall out?
*Technically not an animal question, but do we even care at this point?*
10. If a shark eats your heart and eyeballs, do they go in to his blood?
*And a Bonus Question which he's just asked me as I sit quivering in to my cup of coffee, wishing it was Gin
11. Jean is actually real, but he's not. Is he?
*We don't know who Jean is nor what their gender is. But we know 'he' doesn't like numbers
Dear Sir David.
Please fucking help me.
Sunday, 30 July 2017
(I can call you Mum, right? I figure that now I'm crawling I'm too grown up for this Mama crap)
You'll probably realise that since I found my hands and knees things have changed around these parts. I'm not the placid little soul I used to be. I grew up (a bit.)
Let's take that fireplace for example. I've never shown any interest in it before, but now I can move I'm going to get stuck right in to that fireplace. I'm going to eat the coal, pull all the bits off, and bang my head on the hearth. Repeatedly. I'm going to do this all day, every day, over and over again.
I'm no longer going to have my nappy changed without a fight. I'm going to flip myself over and crawl away, kick my legs up high and roll around everywhere. Gone are the days that I'd just lie there peacefully and allow you to change me. Now I'm going to make you sweat. Because, why not?
I've also decided that I want everything I'm not allowed to have. Wires, money, potpourri. I'm going to find them and I'm going to put them straight in my mouth. I'm not fond of this "Ah Ah" nonsense you keep spouting at me whenever I touch something you don't want me to. So I'm going to scream every time you say it.
This crawling malarkey has given me a whole new outlook on life! I'm that excited about my new found mobility that I can't stop waking up at night just to think about where I'm going to crawl to next. So many corners to explore. So many things to see!
But then I can't get back to sleep, so I practice my standing instead. And then I can't quite remember how to sit down so I have to scream. I did this 7 times last night so I'm feeling pretty cranky today. Probably gonna scream at you a bit more and pull your hair until you make me feel better.
And since I've been roaming from room to room I've kind of got the feeling that we're actually NOT the same person.
I mean, how can I be here and you be there? And just as I can crawl away from you, that means you can crawl away from me. And I don't want you to. So I'm going to cry every time I can't see you. And sometimes, when you're washing up or trying to cook tea, I'm going to hold on to your leg. Maybe I'll try and climb up it a bit. Just so you remember not to leave me. You might take this as a sign to pick me up. Don't. I'll only push and wriggle to go back down again. I just want to hang here, clinging to the back of your knee.
I'm going to make you really appreciate that Gin you like to pour yourself most nights! And soon you'll be working off that Fruit & Nut I frequently see you stuffing in to your face behind the fridge door (I can see you, you know! As I hang here from your jeans pocket) Because soon I'll be walking Mum.
And then the shit is really going to hit the fan!
Sunday, 9 July 2017
You see, I'm convinced that CBeebies is an adults channel DISGUISED as a kids channel. It pretends to be for the kids, but really it's main purpose is to serve the parents. Don't believe me? Then look at the evidence!
1. It reminds us what day of the week it is. Don't tell me that any child under 6 actually gives a shit about giving it up for Friday! Of course they don't! Adults on the other hand very much do like to give it up for Friday. We also rely on these little weekday melodies. It helps us remember to attend appointments, take our little cherubs to school.
It helps us live life.
2. We're not only reminded of the day but we're also given little prompts throughout those days! And what makes it better is that all this is mainly done through the medium of song! Andy gives us a nudge at lunch time by asking us what's on our plate, and the CBeebies bedtime hour lets us know that soon it will be time to boot the little blighters in to bed. Brilliant!!
3. When 'Bedtime hour' finally does arrive, CBeebies ensures that a celebrity is kindly waiting to read our child a bedtime story, so that we can rest our vocal chords and gaze upon our children adoringly whilst sipping Gin.
4. Sometimes Tom Hardy reads the bedtime story. On these occasions we can gaze upon him adoringly instead, whilst we tell our children to "Shhhhh! The sodding bedtime story is on! With Tom Hardy!"
5. Slightly off topic, but whilst we're on the CBeebies subject I may as well ask. What the fuck is Flop actually meant to be?
6. Mr Bloom (Hubba Hubba!) I'm not sure what his accent is and my tiddlers can take him or leave him (further evidence that CBeebies isn't for kids), but he can introduce me to his veggies any day of the week.
7. Did I mention Tom Hardy?
8. What about Andy? Would we give him a bash?
And Mr Tumb.....
Ok too far.
9. Although Pat Clifton AKA Postman Pat gets right on my tits, he does actually represent a realistic picture of the utter incompetence of some people within (let's call it) the mail service. He also simultaneously provides a handy scape goat for when you order your kids birthday presents too late.
"That bloody Postman Pat! He's obviously gone off to save some gerbil and forgotten to deliver your bloody present!"
10. Finally, how could we forget Chris and Pui with their fluttering kites. Possibly the best (babysitters) presenters of all time! Whenever these two are on you know you're safe to eat chocolate and crisps behind the fridge door as the kids sit mesmerised watching everyone show their 'groovy moves'
GOD BLESS CBEEBIES!
Monday, 29 May 2017
Dear Mrs May,
Three Billion Pounds.
This is the sum of money that schools will have cut from their funding under your government.
Three Billion Pounds.
My child's school alone will have cuts of £82,563 by the year 2020. That's £-432 per pupil and 3 redundancies.
The redundancies have already been made. They were Teaching Assistants. Adults with vital roles in the support of our children and their education. Adults who have now lost their jobs and income.
Because of you.
You stood on the steps of Downing Street and promised you would run a country that works for EVERYONE.
Please explain to me how THIS works for everyone?
Because I'm struggling to understand.
I need to you to explain.
These cuts can only have negative consequences. An increase in class sizes and therefore lower standards of support, more pressure on teachers & loss of jobs, subjects being cut, as well as extracurricular activities.
Where does this leave our children? Our future generation.
Under your government I don't see a country that works for everyone.
I see a country that works for the elite.
A country that is divided by social class.
I see a government that doesn't WANT working class children to excel.
Under your government how can I encourage my children to have hopes, ideas and ambition. How do I tell them they can be or achieve anything they want to.
When the support in their classroom decreases due to your cuts, and their education suffers, how do you propose I tell them that they're being punished for not belonging to the right social class?
How can I teach them to be open minded and never discriminate, when they themselves are being discriminated against?
I wish you could meet my son. He is 5. One of the youngest in his class. He is funny, loud and charismatic. He is behind his peers and is unable to work at the same level as them, therefore needing support from a teaching assistant. A teaching assistant who along with myself is helping him learn to read, supporting him to form letters, teaching him to have confidence. A teaching assistant who has just been made redundant as a result of your cuts.
Although I'm reassured the school will do everything to maintain a decent level of support, they can only work with the tools they have. And you're stripping those tools from them, one by one.
It's more than likely my son will have to go down the route of applying for funding to aid his learning. That means fighting to place a label on him that we do not want just so he can have a decent amount of educational support.
If you care about the children of this country. ALL the children in this country, you need to recognise that they aren't numbers on a page that can be shifted about. They are human beings.
Give our children the opportunity to become what they strive to be and reconsider these cuts to our education system.
Our children are not a burden on the country's finances.
They are an investment in its future.
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
It's not like I'm Miss Popular anyway. My 'stats' aren't brilliant, I don't run (or join many) linkys, and I don't do 'giveaways' or reviews. I'm a very small fish in a very large pond. As are many others.
But I don't blog for other bloggers. I blog for the people who read what I have to say. Other parents who can relate. And again, like many others, that's the reason I started blogging. To reach out. To let others know they weren't alone.
I guess I fall in to the 'Slummy Mummy' category. Apparently if you're honest about your feelings in regards to parenting that's the title you are granted these days. And yes, I was a bit pissed off when I read the Daily Mail article that asks Why Are So Many Women Boasting They're Slummy Mummies? The article after all was mainly slamming female bloggers for representing this type of Mum.
Now, on any other day I probably would have joined the Fish Finger Brigade of bloggers who posted selfies with numerous frozen products, showing #solidaritea for some of the writers that were mentioned in the article.
But not yesterday.
Because something else had also happened that morning that needed discussing. Something that probably affected the parents we as bloggers try and reach out to, more than an article slamming The Unmumsy Mum.
Because live on 'This Morning' Gino D'Acampo made a statement that there is no such thing as fussy eaters in children. Just stupid parents. He went on to say parents weren't firm enough with their children, and advocated sending them to bed with no dinner if they didn't like what they were served.
And not one single fucking word was said about it.
Well, it probably was, but my newsfeed was swamped with fish finger selfies so I probably missed it.
I totally get the whole "sticking it to the man" thing. I stick it to him on a regular basis. But right now there are hundreds of parents out there who watched This Morning and are now asking themselves if they're stupid. Are they letting their kids down? Are they failing?
I dare you to ask Mothers who aren't in the blogging community if they even saw the Daily Mail article yesterday.
I asked them. And they were completely unaware. The ones I spoke to DID see This Morning however.
Let's be frank. The Article was shitty. But it was mainly shitty for bloggers. And let's face it, we're big girls and we're used to this. When you write things for the whole internet to see, you're going to get crap. It's standard.
The Unmumsy Mum wrote an amazing response and basically said everything that needed saying. She said it for all of us. And she said it with class. When I starting seeing the Selfies flooding in supporting the 'Slummy Mummy' genre of bloggers I thought it was great! I love a good old selfie that supports my fellow women!
But as they continued, something just didn't sit right with me. Each selfie was staged differently, with passionate words of support and #solidaritea.
But then I saw comments of how one blogger had copied another persons selfie. And I began to think "what the actual fuck?"
Was this a message of support or a blogging competition? Were these bloggers just proving Anna May Mangan right when she said the 'slummy mummy' movement was a battle amongst bloggers rather than an attempt to depict any reality within the underlying message.
For the majority of you I know that's nonsense. I know you blog in the way you do because you want to let other parents know they are not alone, and it's ok to be a bit shit. But whilst defending your blogs you failed to defend the very people who you write your blogs for!
Collectively we kind of failed the hundreds of mothers who had no clue about this article, yet did sit watching 'This Morning' where they were told they were 'stupid.'
The Mothers of children with Avoidant/Restrictive food intake disorder, Mothers of children on the Autistic Spectrum, Mothers of children with a Sensory Processing Disorder, and Mothers with children who are just fucking fussy and we respect their right to be so!
So I'm with you standing in #solidaritea against Anna May Mangan, but we also need to stand against the hurtful and dangerous words uttered by Gino Decampo.
Because fuck him.
So my selfie of support does not include fish fingers (that my child does in fact eat, whilst I do In fact slug on a glass of wine), but includes an array of beige foods which at one point was the only colour food my child would even entertain eating.
Because THAT is reality too!
And it's ok!
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
I wonder how many people reading this are thinking "Anxiety Disorders?" I'm totally aware!
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? I know exactly what that entails!
I wonder how many of you have labelled yourselves or others as OCD because they like to clean or are very organised.
*insert eye roll*
I wonder how many have taken one of the 'Fun' quizzes available on social media that asks 'How OCD are you?' And shared it as though it were on par with a quiz that asks 'How well do you know musicals?'
If you've done this then you are really NOT aware. Yes, you know what the illness is. What the letters stand for. But your idea of the condition is that it's something quirky.
Tell me, would you take a quiz and share it on Facebook if it was entitled 'How Cerebral Palsy Are You?'
Of course you wouldn't! Because not only would it be ridiculous, it would also be highly offensive!
So why is it acceptable to do this in regards to mental illness?
On mental health awareness week I want to tell you that anxiety disorders are not positive, quirky or fun, and they're certainly not diagnosable through Facebook. They're debilitating.
I don't feel very positive when my mind bombards me with horrific scenarios that dance around in my head and won't give me any peace.
I don't find myself very quirky when my hands are cracked and bleeding because I've washed them that much. Not because I like to be clean but just simply because my mind tells me I have to, or there will be consequences.
I don't think the father of my children finds me very fun when I'm snappy and irrational and need constant reassurance from him that nothing bad is going to happen.
And my condition wasn't diagnosed through a 2 minute quiz. It was years of darkness, tears, embarrassment, pain, counselling, antidepressants and beta blockers before I knew 'How OCD I was.'
I'm embarrassed when I have to walk back to my house a number of times before I can leave my street, because my mind is telling me I've forgotten to check things that could cause harm.
Im exhausted when I constantly have a knot in my gut, as though something terrible is about to happen and I have no control. I'm even more exhausted when I have to explain my actions to people because they view me as being "silly" or "overdramatic."
I'm ashamed when I hear people make reference to a condition as though it were just some sort of personality trait.
If I can achieve anything throughout mental health awareness week, I hope I can help to open people's eyes, hold people's tongues and widen people's understanding.
Don't be ignorant with your basic knowledge of pop psychology. Don't throw my condition around lightheartedly in conversation.
Don't underestimate just how challenging, inconsistent and incomprehensible this illness can be.
Instead, understand that we are constantly fighting a battle with ourselves. On the outside we are parents, colleagues, cousins, friends. We may be chatty, funny, friendly, silly. We may not. Some of us wear disguises. Some of us don't. We are unable.
But before you take that quiz. Before you throw out a casual statement, remember we are people fighting real battles. And we need a few more people on our side.
Sunday, 19 March 2017
I thought I'd pretty much got used to everything being my fault and nothing I do being good enough with my five year old who has suddenly sprung the attitude of...well... me, circa 1998. But he's got nothing on my five month old in this new phase who has developed an even worse attitude of....well...me, circa 2000.
People who are unfamiliar with teething think you have a few days of an upset baby before a cute little milk tooth appears and we're all happy again.
It's not a few days. It's not even weeks. It's fucking months! Months I tell you! Endless days of being screamed at, endless poking at gums in the hope you'll feel one of those pesky peggy's poking through, and endless disappointment when you feel nothing but a rubbery gum. Again.
In these desperate times I've decided that I need to devise a list of do's and don'ts. A teething survival guide if you will. Something I can flick to in my time of need
A Puzzled Mummy's Teething Survival Guide.
1. DO use alcohol. For centuries women have been using this as a numbing solution for teething. Whiskey is the usual recommendation, however I've found that a bottle of wine or a strong gin usually numbs me sufficiently to the point where teething is just a walk (ok, stumble) in the park.
2. DON'T ask any of your more experienced mum friends if they remember the hell of teething. They won't. The trauma of teething is parallel to child birth. You forget. I forgot once myself. You're likely to get tales of how they woke up one day and their child had a full mouth of teeth without a whimper. If you do mistakenly ask this question, refer back to point 1 and drink gin.
3. DO hold your child at arms length as soon as they've taken a dump. If you don't then prepare yourself for the warm feeling on your leg as their nappy leaks its contents all over their clothes and yours. Teething babies nappies are wet and runny.
Hold them at arms length and drink gin.
4. DON'T take offence when your child makes it clear that they fucking despise you. They really don't. Well, maybe they do at the minute. But think how pissed of you would be! Gum ache, choking on your own drool, the shits, and to top it off an unsightly rash round your mouth and glowing red cheeks. If the only thing that cheers them up includes you never leaving the room and simultaneously not making eye contact whilst holding them by an open window, then you're probably best just doing it. Hell hath no fury than a teething baby whose parents can't be controlled sufficiently.
Do as they demand and drink gin.
5. DO be cautious when breastfeeding. Your child's irritability and aggressive fist biting can be mistaken for hunger. Or maybe you just think a quick nursing sesh will provide some comfort, like I did yesterday. It was at this point I found out that when in the throes of teething my child fails to recognise the difference between my nipple and a teething ring. Ouch. So much ouch.
But I was fine after a gin.
On a serious note. Do remember they're just a baby. They're your precious little bundle who is struggling to figure out what to do with themselves.
They need you to cuddle them. No they don't.
They need something to bite on, but not that.
They need sleep, but only an hour.
They want to play, but not here.
Refer back to point 1 and drink gin
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
It sounds lovely doesn't it? Women supporting each other, building each other up. But is it reality?
Is it fuck.
Let me tell you a little story about March 8th 2017 - International Women's Day.
I was scrolling through Facebook when I noticed a post on a local Mums Group within my area. A lady was asking if she could share her business page. This particular business page offered a specific service that was free of charge. It was offering a personal handmade item for bereaved parents to bury with their angels who had passed away. The service was initiated through personal loss and was really just a bloody lovely idea that came from nothing but a kind and empathetic heart.
I wonder how many people who witnessed this post shared flowery lovey dovey memes on pregnancy and infant loss awareness month?
I wonder how many people who shared those memes watched as this lady was told she was unable to share her page on the wall as it was technically a business, because aside from the free service, she also made and sold clothing for babies (including preemies).
I wonder how many people who saw this rejection later saw an admin from the page share a special offer for a local business that included a giveaway of chocolate?
I wonder how many people who saw this special offer saw my comments questioning why this was allowed on the page when a free service for bereaved parents was not?
I wonder how many people who saw my comments also saw the admins response that she could bend the rules in regards to advertising if she wanted to and had chosen to do so because "she liked chocolate" and if I didn't like her choices that was up to me, but she knew what worked as she has been running this page for a number of years.
I don't need to wonder how many people saw my response to this (zero) because the thread was deleted and I was unable to retaliate to what was possibly the most insensitive and rudest person I have ever encountered.
So I'll write my response here. In the hope that my fellow women will stand with me.
I'm really sorry that today on International Women's Day, and on any day really, you chose to completely undervalue your fellow women's opinions and feelings. I'm sorry that you felt a free service that catered towards the needs of bereaved mothers didn't deserve the same acknowledgment as some free chocolate. I'm sorry that when challenged about this you couldn't muster the courage to say "You're right. I have been insensitive" and instead chose to attempt to belittle me (the operative word being attempt) and use your authority on the page to bat down any opinion that I held. I'm sorry that you don't seem to have grasped that infant loss is very real, very relevant and extremely prevalent. I'm sorry that sharing supportive services for parents who have lost their babies doesn't "work for your page" as much as sharing free chocolate does.
But most of all, I'm sorry that you chose not to stand with your fellow women. And I'm sorry that Mothers may have seen your comments and now feel that their grief and need for support is something that shouldn't be spoken about. Should be silenced. Because it's not as interesting as chocolate.
What a joke.
So I'm using MY platform differently to the way you used yours. I'm using mine to say "Women! I support you. I stand by you. I will listen and be respectful of your opinions and experiences. I will stand up for you. I will speak up with you."
Because I am unable to stand by and keep my mouth closed to unjust and unfair behaviour.
I am Woman hear me roar.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
"Oooh terrible twos is nothing! Wait until they reach the tyrannical threes!" Is the type of thing you'll hear when you become a parent. Much like when you're pregnant and mention that you can't sleep - "oooh wait until they're born! Then you'll know what tired REALLY means!"
But do you know a phase I've never heard of? The stage my child is going through now. The one I've had to name myself because it appears that no-one has ever dared to mention it, never mind name it.
The fucking-annoying fives.
I have never IN MY LIFE met a creature who can grind my gears more than my five year old at present.
Do you have a question that you've always pondered the answer to? Is there life after death perhaps! Ask my five year old. He's a little know it all with an answer for everything.
Only yesterday did I get screamed at, full frontal in the face because the number 6 that was in bold black print in front of me WAS NOT A SIXXXXXX! because in my 32 years of life and after gaining a bachelor of science degree, I have not yet grasped the shape of a number 6. Not like my five year old who is working within the early years foundation stage and should have been born with 666 on his head.
Do you ever get the feeling your child isn't listening to you? When they get to the FA Fives they'll make sure you're more than aware they couldn't give a shit about anything you say. They'll talk over you, give a pained expression when you do speak, and then ask you the same question again that you've just spent 30 minutes answering. OR they will do my favourite thing at the minute (NOT) and blatantly place their hands over their ears as you speak.
Maybe you're drinking your way through the terrible two's at present and think you know what it's like for a child to press all of your buttons. Perhaps you do. But a FA Five also knows how to press your buttons. And then some. And never fucking stops. Ever.
I'm pretty sure this is why they have to go to school. I can hardly survive a weekend of this back chatting, shit giving creature. Never mind a full week!
If you're a person who always blames yourself for things then you'll feel right at home when your child reaches five. Because you'll be blamed for EVERYTHING!
You'll be minding your own business in the kitchen when your child screams from the lounge because they tripped over a cushion on the floor that they "Told you to move!" And "You made them trip!"
Actually YOU told THEM to move it but they were too busy putting their hands over their ears and telling you it wasn't a cushion. It was a rock, and their only chance of survival in all this imaginary lava that was flooding the entire lounge.
So if the rumour is true, that each stage is worse than the last (and so far I'm kind of convinced), then who knows what the sixes will be like! And god help me when we reach the puberty stage. One can only imagine the grief.
So far, the only thing in common that each stage has, is that they continue to look like angels when they sleep. And you continue to feel guilty for your reactions to them through the day. And you continue to promise that tomorrow you will be more tolerant.