A Child’s Voice

I’ve been trying to change my earrings today – remember I’ve not long had them pierced? It’s proving to be difficult and since it  hasn’t been quite 6 weeks, I’m going to leave it a little longer. Damn things won’t budge!

It made me think of a lot of articles that have been littering Facebook. Piercing your young child’s ears: OK or not? My instant reaction to this is ‘No. Not OK.’ Simply because it is a fashion statement and something that young children do not need and should be able to make their own choice on the matter, when they a.) Know what it means/entails b.) are old enough to change the earrings themselves. As I say, I am struggling to change mine and I’m 28. I chose to do this to myself and they are a bit sore. Children with ear lobes 20 odd years younger, who did not choose this, should not have to be probed and pulled at in order to change them. The child above in the image does not look happy. They won’t be any happier when they have them done. Because they won’t even know! Who gains from this process?

There was the issue of ‘child abuse’ on one of the threads that I read. Some people were throwing this term about and saying it was indeed abuse, whereas some were saying this is a term that is said too frequently and something like this doesn’t warrant abuse. Well, it isn’t the same abuse as beating a child, or sexually abusing a child or mentally bullying a child. And it shouldnt belittle any of those horrible examples in comparison. But I still think it is a form of abuse: you are doing something physical to your child that they have no choice over. You wouldnt tattoo your child, would you?

Another example was immunisation  – which is a bit of an idiotic example if you ask me. Yes, it is something physical you are doing to your child without their will, but it is medical and to keep them healthy, and perhaps in some incidences alive. Another silly example was about keeping a child in a push-chair. They may struggle to get out, so you are physically doing something against their will. But again, this is safety. And, I’m not a parent myself, but don’t you have to do things against the child’s will in order to parent them? I just think ear-piercing doesn’t need to be one of them.

Circumcision was another interesting example. People were saying that gets done, so why shouldnt ear-piercing? Well, again this is a lifestyle choice (yes, I know it is sometimes determined and directed by religious choice) and I also think the child should decide when they are old enough.

I guess the reasons people pierce their child’s ears is to make them look prettier perhaps? Which to me as an insult to the child. If they need some sparkly things to make them look cuter, then maybe the parent’s genes weren’t attractive enough to start with! I can’t really think of another reason why people would want to do it to be honest – to make them grow up quicker? This is sad though, because kids grow up too fast as it is. We may all disagree on what actual age children should be. I think they should have them pierced as teenagers – when they are old enough to go to town with their mates and all have it done together. There is no rush for something like this. There are plenty other options of jewellery to make them ‘pretty’. I should know – I had 28 years of that ‘limited’ choice! Also, rememeber you have to be 18 to have a tattoo, yet there is no age for ear-piercing. Barmy!

I always wonder if it is some kind of control, like a branding. Do parents think this is way of making their children more customised to their personal ideas and choices? A bonding experience of blood and scabs between child and parent? I’d be happy to hear some further ideas as to why, as I just don’t get the need for it.

Religion as a whole is another example of children not having a choice – yes I know, I’m banging on about it again!  Should children get christened when they aren’t old enough to decided which religion (if any) they want to follow? I was christened but I am not a Christian now (through my own choice). My Mum said once that I was christened with holy water from Jerusalem and it was wasted on me! Haha. Maybe being christened doesn’t matter, because you reject the religion later anyway – but I still think, like the piercing, it should be a choice made by the person themself.

The importance, is not their ears, but their voice. Their voice gives them a choice – as we all have the right to.

Holes or holy – we all have our own right to decide 😉

XSXS

Praise Song for Your Mother

Since it is Mother’s Day weekend, we all need to think of our mothers, mums, mother-in-laws and other mother figures – past and present. What they do for us all year, how they help us, how they make us laugh, support us and most of all that they enrich our lives.

There is a praise song poem by Grace Nicholls called Praise Song for My Mother which celebrates all the reasons, very personal reasons – why her mother was special to her. ‘Was’ because her  mother has passed but she still lives on in this poem all day everyday. The use of ‘mantling’, ‘fathoming’ and ‘streaming’ shows that the love goes on and on after death. A beautiful poem really:

Praise Song for My Mother

You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming

You were
moon’s eyes to me
pull and grained and mantling

You were
sunrise to me
rise and warm and streaming

You were
the fish’s red gill to me
the flame tree’s spread to me
the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell
replenishing replenishing

Go to your wide futures, you said.

Grace Nicholls

I love this poem and it inspired me to write my own version for my mother. I tried it with the past tense – and like Nicholls’s I think it is more powerful like that. But I just can’t tempt fate as I am lucky enough to still have my Mum here with us today  – so for this purpose it is in the present tense. My Mum is still all these things today, as always. See what you think:

Praise Song for My Mother

You are
music to me
clear and soft and singing

You are
perfume to me
fresh and sweet and clinging

You are
tea to me
warm and strong and comforting

You are
the wendy house to me
the joy of scrabble to me
the fish in sauce/baked beans
satisfying satisfying

Always drive carefully, you say.

Samantha Gray

I think I will print a copy of this poem off for my Mum – or even the blog as a whole, since she is a techno-phone and there is no way she will see this 😉 My boyfriend’s Mum (who I suppose can be called ‘mother-in-law’ but I always joke there is nothing ‘in-law’ about it as of yet lol), will read this though, I hope, and know that she is very appreciated by my boyfriend and I 🙂

Appreciate mothers everywhere…they gave us life. So we can not only thank them, but share our lives with them and just generally celebrate life with them this weekend.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!

Screening their Humanity

I came across a post on Facebook last night because one of my friends ‘liked’ it. It was an open, public post where a woman had wrote on the British Gas page. She was sharing a story of how her daughter had been choking that afternoon and a British Gas worker, who was with her neighbour, had shot round to come and help her daughter because she was too shocked to do so. She was mainly posting to thank this man and give him the public recognition he deserves. She also gave a few other details about the fact she hadn’t had time to get the man’s name but she had called her husband in panic for him to come home. The husband managed to get the gas man’s number plate, whilst the mother was comforting the daughter we assume. All a nice story right? My first thought was, ‘wow a positive story for once!’ My second thought was ‘oooh a lot of comments, that’s great!’

Some comments were congratulating and lovely, but others? Well I was shocked and disgusted. I would say the comments were 50/50 and nobody was sitting on the fence with this issue. Issue? Yes, I didn’t think there was one either. I just thought people would show concern for the mother, the daughter and give praise to the gas man. It is amazing what people say when they are safely tucked away behind a screen. People were criticising the mother for not doing first aid herself, when she had claimed to have had tried but she was in shock. One comment actually read, ‘you are a tool of a mother!’  Can you imagine someone saying that in person if they were told about this in the street? People think they can say anything on these threads and they are purposely put there to give their opinion. People were also saying ‘how he is going to see that on here? You’re just doing this to get ‘likes,’ you sad person!’  Er, pot, kettle black?! So what if she does want to get ‘likes’? That isn’t really the point here. She wanted to publically give her appreciation and hopefully the message would get back to him somehow. Isn’t that one of the advantages of a social networking site? She wanted to show off the good deed he had done and share some good news for once. I did actually post a comment to say, ‘It is nice to hear good news for once. It is clear we don’t get enough good news as people are trying to draw the negative out of it and it is making them cynical and bitter.’ I was so appalled by what I was reading on there. Some people were even giving advice on what the mother should have done in their opinion, yet the advice was wrong!! Never put your fingers down someone’s throat when they are choking! This stupid man seemed to think this is what the mother should have been doing rather than runnig out panicked in the street. If he knew anything, he would know that this would have most likely pushed the object further down causing it to become even more stuck. (I’ve included the procedure at the bottom.)

Some people had actually gone onto her profile and noticed the day before she had ‘liked’ the British Gas page. This was sinister apparently and all part of this ‘set-up’. How ridiculous! Surely it was a coincidence and meant to be that she ‘liked’ them since one of their workers was going to save her daughter’s life the following day. As if she would create a scenario about her daughter choking in order to post on the page or to win a holiday as some people put. Some also thought she had relatives working for British Gas and this was a way of putting them in a forgiving light after all the increased prices. Again, absurd! I do really worry how people’s minds work! I wouldn’t dream of coming to these conclusions! Again, the big picture is being missed by so many people. It wasn’t about British Gas, who the man worked for, how she knew the man or how she got in touch with people about it. At the end of the day, an everyday, ordinary man helped save another’s life. I had some faith in humanity restored…. until I read the comments and realised there is still a lot cynical, sly, untrusting, spiteful scum out there.

Some people were actually researching the number plate to either prove the man was actually from British Gas or to be helpful and track him down… I wasn’t quite sure what the intentions were there. I assumed, after all the other negative comments, that it was for suspicious reasons. The old saying from Thumper in Bambicomes to mind; ‘If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.’ Even though that has always bugged me that it is a double negative and actually means the opposite! I guess the opposite is what many of them followed!

I know, realistically people aren’t all going to send their best wishes. People are always going to disagree and have different theories about things but it was just so saddening to see some of the thoughts. Taking a heroic, happy incident and ripping it apart in their own free time. That was another thing I didn’t get and that was the fact that they were moaning about her putting it on Facebook, yet they were reading it and commenting on it on Facebook. People sit in their computer chairs or with their laptops balanced on their knees and think they have the right to give their twisted opinion and then complain that the thread shouldn’t be there in the first place. Well guys, if you didn’t comment then threads like that wouldn’t exist. And if just the decent people commented then threads would be a lot nicer too and represent the actual scenario much better.

Sometimes things don’t need to analysed or looked deeper at (this is coming from me who loves nothing more!) but sometimes things and stories should be taken at face value and people can get some happiness from it. And next time you type think to yourself, ‘would I say that in person?’

If I could tell this to those posters in person, then I would! Not that it would do a lot of good. Some people are pessimists through and through and will always jump to the dark side when there is normally a silver lining.

I say well done to the British Gas man and I hope he is there is many other’s hours of need! And I am glad the daughter is recovering well and her amazing parents are okay too.

https://www.facebook.com/britishgas/posts/10151356931195649 – take a look for yourself. You have been warned!

XSXS

Problems with Children

Evening everyone… oh wait it is still afternoon but it is so dark that I keep thinking it is way later! Honestly, I have my lights and heating on already!

I have occurred a few problems relating to children today…. and I’m on half term away from kids! This morning, I went to town with my friend (dressed in normal ‘muggle’s’ clothing – not Harry Potter attire may I add!) and we had a wander round the shops. I had my flu jab… partly because I have asthma and partly because I work with kids and all the lovely germs that come with them… so to protect myself from this I feel the flu jab helps! Immunise yourself against the youngsters = good plan! My arm hurts and I can’t raise it up but I’m hoping the pain will be worth it. Anyway, when we were in a charity shop before heading home, a woman came in and complained she couldn’t fold her grandchild’s pushchair down. She wanted to leave it there to pick up later. We, plus the charity shop worker all had a go at collapsing this pushchair to no avail. This is a problem with having children… all the accessories that come with them! She needed it to take the kids out but couldn’t fold it down. It was a right fiddly thing and she ended up leaving there (because it wouldn’t fit in her car boot upright either). My friend pointed out another thing too; the fact that she wanted to leave it in a charity shop, saying she couldn’t ‘think of anywhere else to leave it.’ Is  this another problem? That if you have big contraptions or toys, then the only place you can trust to leave them is charity shops?  She didn’t opt to leave it in one of the big chain shops but a shop that sells second hand goods for charity (in other words where her pushchair could have easily been mistaken as goods and been sold to a customer!). It does make you think that there are few people you can trust. I am assuming her thinking was that, ‘Oh they must be nice people to work in a charity shop, so they will look after my pushchair.’ I bet many elderly people would say, ‘Oh in the olden days, you could leave anything out in the open and it would still be there hours later!’ If only…..

My other problem with children today was that one wanted to come and live with me! My friend, an ex work colleague, came round for the afternoon with her two little boys. The youngest, as soon as he came in, exclaimed, ‘Can I stay here Mummy?’ I felt a bit like the witch from Hansel and Gretel, having a home that attracts children! His Mum explained that they had moved house, moved out of one and then gone to live with their gran for a while and also been on holiday a few months ago and he had been attached to that house too. So a lot of houses for the little one to get used to!

We had a great afternoon, Smarties and juice for the kids, tea and biscuits for us grown-ups and lots of Wii playing. So much that the youngest boy didn’t want to go home! I joked about finding him a bed and then started to worry that I actually might have to! Haha. He was most distraught when we turned the Wii off and didn’t want to go 😦 It was very sad. I said, though, that I was glad he was crying because he didn’t want to go and not because he wanted to go. So that was nice in a way but not nice for Mum! Maybe my Smarties, that I gave him, made him hyper. I hear that is another problem with children and sweets!

This evening, it is just adults… me, my sister and a friend of to watch another friend perform in a version of Jekyll and Hyde!

Have a good evening and remember if you have toys or push chairs that you don’t know how to take down, then don’t take them out 😉

XSXS

Teenage Sitting

 

 

Noooo…. I am not sitting on a teenager. I am, to put it in more ‘normal’ way, babysitting. But it is for the Special Needs boy I know, who is 15 so to call it ‘babysitting’ feels a bit wrong! I find the whole term ‘sit’ strange anyway that it means to ‘mind’ or ‘take care of’. Weird… sit on em to keep em quiet! Remember I told you about the lad in my posts Never Play with Animals or Children and Swimming in Play Doh and Fish Tanks? Well, his Mum and Dad wanted to go out for dinner tonight so they asked me to watch him for a couple of hours.

I am currently writing this because he is completely engrossed in some Truck programme. He is obsessed with tractors, trucks and any other vehicles really. But the bigger the truck, the better. He is no trouble at all; doesn’t even know if I am there at all to be honest let alone that his parents have left for the evening. No trouble at all. I am, however having trouble with the dog! You will know that I am not used to or great with dogs from my previous posts Never play with Animals or Children (again!) and Two Legs in Charge, Four legs not. The dog, unlike the teenager, does know I am here. From the moment I walked in, she was all over me. Nuzzling me, rubbing up to me. Female attention, not male – dammit! Then when I was just washing up from dinner, I came back into the living room and the dog was eating some tiny pieces of something. It turns out she had come to the kitchen, took the remains of a red pepper and all the seeds had gone onto the carpet. Grrr. So no, no trouble with the Special Needs teenager but the dog has made me extra work! Haha.

We just had some pizza. Last time I came round to have lunch with him and his parents we also had pizza. Must be a favourite of his! His Mum let him put it in the oven as when given the baking tray and the uncooked pizza, he knew what to do. There was 3 pizzas in total to share between four of us. We chatted as they cooked and then his Mum went to check on the food. She exclaimed, ‘Oh he’s only put one pizza in!’ She then realised it was a very very thick pizza. he had stacked them on top of each other! Haha. Good space saver that! Bless him. Today his, Mum put the pizzas in before she went out. I joked that she should stack them as that is clearly how he likes them!

Anyway, I’m off to see what the youngster is up to before it’s time for bed….. guess I’m risking cutting this short as something else is bound to go wrong! Haha… guess I’ll have to update you tomorrow!

See you then,

XSXS

Circle of Life…

Well guys, I’m starting to miss the kids at school (starting to…only just!) because I’ve been to the old people’s home today and seen the other end of the scale. I took my neighbour to visit his brother there. I’ve been a few times… even though I almost drove past it haha…. and they say the elderly are forgetful!!

The old people’s home… or residential home as I should really call it… reminded me of a cross between a hospital and University halls of residence. Which, got me thinking of how life is all a circle.. I know not really a new idea and Elton John beat me to it with his song! We start off in a hospital (well in most cases) where we are dependant on others and need help to be fed, cleaned and clothes.. and that is how we end up. (And if you believe it, we may come back as someone or something else and start again.) The University link came to me as I walked to the room of the man we were visiting, Donald. We walked through the corridor with room after room after room; some had funny photographs on their doors. This reminded me of student life and how our life comes down to that one little room where we sleep, get clean and watch Tv.. amongst other things! Also the smell of sick/poo at on point helped to strengthen this link a bit …. we all know what students can be like at the end of a night out!

Donald made me laugh with his ‘problem’. No I didn’t make light of it or show that I was amused! But he showed me a pack of four beers that he had in his wardrobe. he had been given them as a birthday present by one of the volunteers. He said that he only fancied a beer in the evening. Yeh great! But… the evening is when Horlicks is delivered around the rooms. Can’t he turn it down you ask? I asked this and he said ‘Oh but if I refuse it once, they will never bring it again!’ I thought this was a bit extreme and they aren’t going to be offended if he refuses it once (or four times; one for each beer!). Can you imagine if they did with food? ‘Oh you left your dinner.. that’s it… no more food for you! EVER!’ The other related problems were that no he couldn’t drink both because creamy hot drinks don’t mix with beer, which I kind of agree with. It would be like the students mixing their alcoholic drinks! He also couldn’t bring himself to throw his Horlicks down the sink.. so at the minute the beers remain in the wardrobe and the Horlicks vs beer battle continues! I knew what the students would pick 😉 It also reminded me of when we are little and ‘treats’ are all we think of… when can we have sweets? If we leave a bit a dinner we will have room for pudding! It is funny because in between these two ages, you wouldn’t have time to think about something as trivial as that!

Later on, Donald patted his tummy and said he was getting too fat. I liked the fact that at his age he still cared about his health and appearance so much. Apparently, Cyril, his brother, who I took to visit him, had very bluntly told him that he was getting too big and had to eat less sandwiches and biscuits!! Well, we can’t blame it on the beer can we?? I loved the fact that the brothers could be this honest with each other,… men aren’t usually about issues like that. Again, it reminded be of children in the playground, ‘You’re too fat, you eat too many biscuits!’ Donald very solemnly told me that at tea time (they have their main dinner at lunch time) he used to have three sandwiches and recently he had upped it to five… (wahoo got to love the oldies and their eating competitions!) but now he realised that he should only have four… plus a piece of cake! He didn’t seem a problem with having the cake everyday… no it’s the damn sandwiches!

Obviously another fact will be that Donald just doesn’t move about as much as he used to and that would cause the weight to pile on. He tries though and will help the staff sweep up and collect plates and cups in. It got me thinking that at that point in life, he must need a purpose. As well all do. He always tells me that he would rather be back in our town than there; as happy as he is there. I always look shocked and say, ‘No way.. it’s much nicer here, you get your meals cooked for you and everything done for you! ‘ Is he crazy??? Joking aside, I can see that in some ways it must be like a prison and as nice as they are there and how much attention you get, you do not get the same independence as you do when you live at home. I find it amusing that there is a key pad lock on the door.. to get out! But you don’t need it to get in! Obviously this is for safety of the residents but it seems a bit like they can’t escape even if they wanted to!

So guys, think of the oldies and even if you’re not anywhere near that age yet… think back to your childhood, because it’s very similar! Also think of Donald’s Dilemma (mmm Donald’s dilemma could be a regular slot on my blog haha)…. Horlicks or beer??? 😉

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Stealing your Trust.

Good afternoon everyone,

I’m trusting that you won’t mind of I visit a more serious topic today. I had some bad news. My partner is a rower.. as I’ve mentioned before.. and he is away for the weekend camping at a regatta (remember I only go to the one day ones 😉 ) .. anyway, he phoned me this morning to tell me that last night, whilst all the rowers were out, the campsite got burgled. Phones, money and other valuables were taken along with two actual tents!!

When they returned, clothes and invaluable belongings were strewn all over the field. A couple of expletives come to my tongue now but I’ll try not to send them out  into blog land as that won’t help anyone. The first thoughts you will probably have are, ‘How can people do this? Steal from someone else!’ But it also got me thinking about the other side… and even though… it is so wrong that people do this… but why oh why did some of the rowers leave valuables in the tents? Were they asking for it?  And just how trusting should you be.. with anyone?  Do these thieving mongrels really end up stealing our trust and faith in fellow human beings more than anything else? Possessions are just things and can be replaced but no one can give back the pure innocence of ‘everyone is a friend’ feeling that we have as children.

My boyfriend, luckily, was sensible enough to put his valuables either on him or locked in his car. But some of the others, especially the younger ones, kept smart phones, money and purses in their tents. Their innocence and naivety will now be replaced with cautious, wary and untrusting attitudes (or at least I would think it would be!)… is this a good thing though? Should we all and need to learn to be aware and responsible or should we be carefree and have a ‘if it happens, it happens…sh*t happens’ kind of mantra? Seems though, that sadly, they have learnt an important lesson when camping.

 

Leave your valuables in your car or preferably take them with you!!

 

I will tell you that I am not at all trusting. And no it hasn’t stemmed from an awful childhood (I had a great one… remember the mud pies?!) or the fact that I was severely bullied (even though I did get called a geek a lot… but I’ve made my peace with that 😉 ) or the fact that I have been completely duped or been ‘had’ in any way. I’ve just always been taught to not trust people until I really know them… and how many people would I trust with my life? Mmmm I’m not sure; it is a scary thought. I’ve always liked the quote, ‘Love many, trust few, live life to the full!’ You can still be nice and friendly to everyone you meet… just don’t let them hold your purse whilst you go to the loo… or give them your pin number!

I sometimes think that people like to push the boundaries of security by leaving their front doors unlocked or by having a stash of money in their house or by walking around with their £200 phone waving about. I’m going to risk sounding old here but I never carry a lot of cash with me, my phone is always zipped in my bag and I always walk with my bag on my shoulder with the zip nearest my hand…so someone can’t just delve in behind. The house is always locked, whether I’m in or out ( a fire hazard.. you may add…. well that’s a whole other issue), our valuables are in ‘safe’ places (sometimes so safe that I forget where!) Am I paranoid? Probably. Is there a less chance that we will get things stolen than anyone else? Probably Not. But why make it easy for the good-for-nothing-stealing-toe-rags?!

One of my mates last week, was finishing her thesis for her PHD. Naturally, she had to back up her work and did this quite a few times to keep it secure. She told us that as it was complete and ready to print, she actually slept with her memory stick (not what I thought people had plastic devices in the bedroom for…). This was just in case they got burgled that night and the computer was stolen… she wanted to make sure that she had her work with her. Again if a fire occurred it could be a different story… because would she think about rescuing her plastic device containing her cleverest scientific thoughts? Mmmmm… and was she paranoid? Or was it just good sense?

I don’t know if any of you out there have ever been robbed or broken into. The closest we have come to (fingers crossed, touch wood and all that…) is when my boyfriend’s car got broken into a few years back. This was again at a rowing regatta (I’m not painting them in the best light haha… overall the rowing community are very lovely and seem to be very generous and helpful and normally it’s outsiders that seem to cause the trouble but I won’t point any definite fingers). We got back to the car at the end of the day and I think the window was smashed. They had tried o take his car CD player and succeeded. They also took a bag with a number of clothes in (another tip, never leave anything on show… even that Spice Girl’s Cd because these rob-dogs will take anything!) and the thing I remember the most was the feeling I had. Someone had not just stolen things but stolen our personal space. Someone had been in his car without permission; stealing trust, security and happiness. That is what they really steal. I would love to hear if anyone has any other stories…

So guys watch your backs and who you trust…. don’t let them steal your faith in human kind but just be aware that not everyone is as good a human being as you!

Right, I’m off to check the door is locked…and if my new car is still outside! Haha.

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

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