Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Words - Quotes from the Iron Lady.

I usually use poems in my Wednesday Words, but I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading in the last week about Margaret Thatcher and her impact on our society.  Her death has polarised parts of the country, raising up old grievances and encouraging new ones, and she is shown as either sinner or saint.  I would propose that she is, like all of us, both of those things.

One of the first quotes I want to look at, is one that is often part quoted.  It is the full section of the quote that includes "There's no such thing as society." which when taken as a pure sentence, out of context of the rest of the paragraph, is a terrible thing to say, and comes across as very ignorant.  The full context of the speech though, is this.

“I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation." (1987)

There is a vast difference between what is read into one sentence, and what is seen in the whole paragraph.   I look at the playground, and there are far too many people with a sense of entitlement, without having met any obligations.  I don't mean the disabled, the ill, the veteran, I mean the lazy, the unwilling to work, the shirker.  I don't mean those like my ex-husband who filled in over 130 job applications, for any job going.  I mean those who don't even open the paper to look.

She also said something in which I believe very firmly - not a political thing, but a general concept which I have tried to pass on to every child I have ever come in contact with.

“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.

It's a simple principle, don't you think?  You work hard, stuff gets done, you get further.  You don't, it doesn't, and you stay where you are.

Or how about this one, for the X-factor generation

“It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone.”

Half of my class want "to be famous."  No idea what at, or why, but they want the fame, the plaudits, but they want it given to them, not earned through the hard work of the perpetually gigging band, or the comedian doing the circuit.  Just handed to them.

My last quote, and there are many to chose from, is this one.

It was a lovely morning. We have not had many lovely days. And the sun was just coming through the stained glass windows and falling on some flowers right across the church and it just occurred to me that this was the day I was meant not to see.

I chose it because it refers to the Brighton bombing in which she was not assassinated, although that was the plan.  5 people were killed, 31 injured.  She carried on the conference, carried on the attitude towards the IRA, wouldn't let the country be bullied into acquiescence in the same way that every day I tell my son to stand up for what he believes in.  She left the conference and visited the injured. She carried on in what has been since described as a Churchillian attitude.

I think for me, regardless of her politics, some of which I agreed with, some of which I didn't, it was this attitude that makes me admire her.  It's all going to hell around her.  The miners strike is on, the country is struggling to recover from years of Union bullying, 5 of her colleagues are dead and others are seriously injured, or have wives who are seriously injured (Norman Tebbits wife spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair) and yet she carried on.

Some days, all we can do is appreciate the lovely days, the ones we were not meant to see.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

IN a town far away..... Lullaby for the Lullaby Trust.

This is a lullaby that my mother wrote, that she sung to me, and to my brother and my sister, and that I sung to my sister, nine years younger than I, and then to my son, and to my Goddaughters, and my Godsons, and to the children of my friends when I sat for them and they wouldn't sleep.

It has a long, slow tune, a lullaby tune.

In a town, far away
Cross the miles, so they say,
A baby was born just like you,
He was born in the night
When the stars shone so bright,
A baby, who was born, just like you.

In a town, far away
Cross the miles, so they say,
A baby was born just like you,
He was born with a sigh,
He was born just to die,
To suffer for me and for you.

In a town, far away
Cross the miles, so they say,
A man the crowds came to see,
And He told of God's love,
And the mansions above,
That are waiting for you and for me.

On a hill, far away,
Cross the miles so they say,
The wonder of God's Love was shown
He was hung on a cross,
He was some mother's loss,
And he suffered for you and for me.

In a town, far away
Cross the miles, so they say,
A baby was born just like you,
And he's coming some day,
For all those who pray,
He's coming, for you and for me.


I think it is beautiful.

Wednesday Words -Slow Reader, - Allan Ahlberg

Some poems really get a person, stay with a person, and mean something.  This poem, which I first read when I was about 15, is one of the reasons that I work so hard with my children in class who find it hard to do the thing that I find so easy.

I – am – in – the – slow - read – ers’ - group – 
my – broth – er – is – in – the – foot – ball – team – 
my – sis – ter – is – a – ser – ver – 
my – lit – tle – broth – er – was – a – wise – man – 
in – the – in -fants’ - Christ – mas – play – 
I – am – in – the – slow – read – ers’ – group – 
that – is – all – I – am – in – 
I – hate – it.” 

Slow Reader from Please Mrs. Butler, Allan Ahlberg (Penguin, 1983)

I can't image not being able to read.  I can't remember not being able to read.  Apparently I was reading books by 4, and chapter books by 6 and I have never looked back.

But I can tell you children who I still worry about, who I taught as Junior School children and who couldn't read fluently when they came to me, and had made some progress by the time they left me.

I never want a child to think that all I know about them is academic, that all I care about are their results and numbers, and I am proud of the fact that, for the vast majority of my children in my class at the moment, I know pets, brothers and sisters, fears, hobbies, hopes and dreams and all that kind of thing that can't be monitored, or put on a list or given a level.  I know what they like to do at school, and what they don't like to do, and I'll give them the chance to do both.  I will find a way for a child to shine in my room, because academic work is not all a child is.

My children are not just levels and numbers.... they are taught to think for themselves, and not to catagorise themselves by what they cannot do.

Nobody in my room, is just - in - the - slow - readers - group.

For more poems, have a look over at CrazyWithTwins, and her very special Wednesday Words, for a special baby.

I didn't know about the Lullaby theme, but I can feel it tickling something in my brain........ so maybe more laters........

IN reply to the KrakenCommentator, Rootitoot.

Bear with me, whilst I get to why I'm writing this?

Thankyou, so much!

Earlier on today I read this post by TheKrakenWakes.  I read her stuff a lot, and she makes sense.  I don't read a great deal that does, but I was feeling her on this!

I've been down the mumsnet/netmums route, and it is a mess.  I've never known such a bunch of nasty minded people in my entire life as I can find in those forums.  You know how, in every toddler group, or in fact, in ANY group, there is always one person who never has anything nice to say about anyone?  They all have laptops and get together in mumsnet/netmums-land.  Seriously.  It's all anti-teacher, anti-school, anti-whatever-anyone-else said, anti-anti-anti.  It's a gathering ground for miserable trolls.


Amanda Holden was recently criticised for going back to work when the baby was 3 weeks old.  By work, it was 3 days of her sitting and watching auditions for Britains Got Talent, whilst the baby slept.  I'm assuming that she is a grown-up, that the baby sleeps, and that actually, this is none of my business.  She also said that she thought mumsnet would be great for support, and was actually full of negativity.  That made me feel like it wasn't just me, so that was nice :-)


So then TheKrakenWakes wrote her piece, and posted it on Twitter, and I read it and liked it, and meant to comment but I was on my phone, and it's a pain in the rear, so I didn't.  However, when the Twitter conversation between her good self (@cathjanes) and @tattooed_mummy popped up in my Twitter feed, I was intrigued and led back to it, as apparently there was an interesting comment on there.

This is what I found......

Rootietoot on  said:
Unfortunately, real life isn’t that much different. People seem to take such terrible offense at folks who do things differently, as if by doing it differently you are automatically declaring that they are WRONG WRONG WRONG! I’ve run across a few parenting boards that are similar, and the worst offenders seem to be the Mommy Perfectionists (you know, baby-wearing-breastfeed-until-they’re-in-kindergarten-organic toys/cloths/food-only types.

And that pushed my buttons just a bit.  Ok, a lot.  SO much so, that it's taken me half a page to tell you how I got to the point of being irritated!

My son is now 9.  He has not always been 9, clearly, and at one point he was a small bundle of screaming pain-filled fury.  If I caught an attack early enough, he was calmed by being worn upright, because it meant his digestive system worked better. He was breast-fed until 2.5yrs old, because cows milk and related products made him disgustingly ill.  It was painful for him, and disgusting when it emerged.  I am not going into details in case anyone is eating whilst reading this.

He had to have organic food, home-made, until we worked out what was setting him off.  Even then, we had to be very careful.  He had real nappies because I was at home with him, but also I was living on an RAF base in the middle of rural Norfolk, and didn't drive.  I did, however, always have water to wash nappies with.  Not only that, his illness made him more likely to have outrageous nappy rash, and that was cleared, every time, with oat baths.  Disposables made it worse, on the odd occasion that I was forced to use them by circumstances.  No doubt though, this is me just being a perfectionist mummy - how dare I look for, and find, solutions that worked for my son.......

When I say he was ill, by the way, he was in pain to such an extent that one of my friends was in tears watching him, demanding to know why I didn't get him an ambulance, saying she would take him to A&E if I was afraid of hospitals.  It took my Health Visitor to say that I was doing all I could, he was on the floor, on three layers of duvet so he didn't hurt himself as he thrashed in pain, he was accompanied, and knew we were there, and that this attack would pass.

It did.

At 9 months I took a determined step, and took away all his solids, and just breastfed him again.  It took my body a few days to adjust, but all I did was lie on the sofa and drink water, eat fruit, and feed.  My body got the hang of more milk again, and life went back to toddler groups and so on, but for a month, we did just breastfeeding.

It took 3 weeks for his body to stop hurting him to such an extent that he woke every 40 minutes, screaming, day and night, but we got there.  Then I slowly reintroduced solids, starting with fruit, and cautiously going forward until the screaming started again, to find the culprit was dairy, as I'd thought.

These days, he is 9 years old.  He still has a low tolerance of dairy, but since he was 5 has been able to make his own decisions.  He knows that if we eat out and he has pizza *and* icecream, then he'll suffer.  It's his choice.  He's been brought up to take responsibility for his own actions, in the same way that I was.

 the worst offenders seem to be the Mommy Perfectionists (you know, baby-wearing-breastfeed-until-they’re-in-kindergarten-organic toys/cloths/food-only types.

My story is my story, and part of his story.  It wasn't about me being a perfectionist mummy, it was about me doing the best for the child who I had chosen to bring into the world, who was my responsibility.  It was my choice to breastfeed, something which turned out to save his life.  My choice prevented his intolerance turning into an allergy, which would have affected the whole of his life.  My choice to cook it all for him meant I was able to know exactly what set him off and what didn't.

I have told his story to other mums.  Dairy intolerance is NOT the same as a lactose allergy, and NOT something that I wanted to condemn him to.  I've suggested to other mums with children with similar symptoms that they may want to get it checked out.  Is that me being a "Mommy perfectionist", offending other people?

I will never, ever, doubt that breastfeeding to 2.5yrs was the best thing for my son.  I have advocated it to others when asked.  I was even asked by a friend of mine to go out with her, and our 15 month olds, to show her how to breastfeed a toddler in public, because she was ashamed of being seen doing it, and doubly ashamed of herself for letting society make her feel this way about doing something her child needed.

Places like mumsnet, like netmums, like any parenting forum full of different people with different children, should be places that a first time mum like myself should be able to go and find help for a child like mine.  It isn't, because of commentors like rootitoot.  Of course, on a mumsnet board I'd now be shouting "Would you rather my son was DYING in hospital because his stomach had RUPTURED after being force fed COWS MILK?" with the assorted bad punctuation and spelling that shouting on these boards produces.  I'm not shouting that - rootitoot doesn't know my story and therefore has no idea how offensive and dangerous for us her attitude is.

That brings me to my final point.  What I did, worked for my child.  It has worked for other children with the same problems.  Breastfeeding has many, many good things about it - and no breastfeeding mum is going to be worried that her boobs will be sent to China as a formula mummy is apparently worrying about milk this week!  But don't abuse my parenting style because it doesn't work for you Ms Rootitoot.  My parenting style was for my son.  Had I have had another child, they would have received parenting that worked for them.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that if we spent less time on the internet, interfering in other peoples lives, our children would have more of the attention that they need.  If we parented our own child properly, instead of sticking our noses into everyone else's business as these forums encourage, then we'd have a very different society.  If we took the time to understand other people's stories, then we'd have a better society.  If we formed our opinions from facts instead of rhetoric, we'd have a more thoughtful society.

And if we thought before we typed, the world would just be nicer!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blood tests? What?

Two weeks ago I went to the doc on a Monday evening because I was in considerable discomfort. As far as I was concerned it was all in my back, and I've been here before when I was expecting the Adorable Child. I expected to go in, be told it was a kidney infection, pick up some antibiotics and that's it, I'm done!

And then the nurse was all about the diabetes finger prick test. And the urine test. And the three vials of blood test.

I got the results today, and there is no massive issue, but the doctor was looking at my c-something protein. Or something.

Apparently it means that I've not been well and that therefore they want to repeat the blood test to see if I'm better. I am, and I'm not. I feel like I've been kicked in the back, and I could drink for England! Admittedly it's water or squash, but I can do a pint in the same way I could when I was a student! Go me!

I have to rest and drink. With a 9year old who thinks he is Benny Hill...... I am, however, thankful for an NHS that sorts out tests because they think I need them, and for a nurse who is the best at blood taking, and for a system that gets my results back in a couple of days and a doctor who tries to explain to me what is going on!

And bins are now on a Thursday not a Tuesday, and the Iron Lady has died. But those are for another post.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Held together by love and tea.

So I'm looking for something this afternoon, and I open a box in the Small Room of Doom, and there is this.

Inside are so many things.

A list of phone numbers I took off of his phone, with ticks next to people I had told.  A yellow book that obligingly tells me how I am supposed to be feeling and what I should do about it when I do.  A list of things I should do, who I should contact, what I have to do.  I have no idea if I did them.

I found it.  I moved it.  I made a cup of tea.

Earlier this week, I had to phone a company who had been taking money out of my account.  I had had an membership with them, so I wasn't surprised, but didn't need their services. I couldn't cancel it - the chap didn't know who I was.

In the end he asked for 'the other card' on the account.

That's when it all became clear.

This wasn't my membership.  This was Rich's membership.

I struggled to explain, I gave all the details, the dates, the mothers maiden name, the address, the everything that makes a person who they were as far as the computer is concerned.  I sat on the floor in my front room, and I felt the knot come back into my stomach, and the panic flood my brain, and the world started to fold into the misty mess it used to be.

I carried on.  We talked it through.  I agreed to send a letter, a copy of the death certificate, a copy of my bank statement.  He agreed to tell the computer not to take any more money, I said I'd go to the bank and find out what the hell had happened.

We said our good byes, I put the phone down.

I made a cup of tea.

Before that, or not, I don't know, because I'm crap at days during holidays, we caught up on Corrie.  Dev's wife, Sunitta, was injured in a fire, and then she died.  He had to tell the children.  I couldn't watch it.  We were having tea and I'd just finished mine and I took the plates out.  J looked at me, he followed me out, and he held me whilst I cried so hard I almost threw up.  Cried so hard, and so silently, because the boys were still watching Corrie, and they don't need to know that I'm crying again.

I made more tea.

It comes and goes in waves that crash over me and sweep me under, before throwing me up onto a dry beach of exhaustion and anger and fear and numbness.

It's everywhere.

I know, I know, that this won't last forever.  It is different now than it was 3 years ago, two years ago, last year.  Next year it will be different again.

Right now though, I am held together by tea, and by the love of J and the AC.  If I didn't have that, I would shatter into a thousand pieces, like Mrs Dalloways mirror.