Monday, 21 June 2010

Difficult conversations to have with the kids.....

Sometimes you want to protect your children from the worst in this world. You try and cushion the news that is broadcast, or explain things in such a way that they understand, but arent to shocked or traumatised. Sometimes it is just too hard.
Some of the tougher things i have had to explain to my children are why Michael Jackson died. Why MY mum is dead..and subsequently, what is cancer. And then when will i die.....Afghanistan has come up, as has the oil crisis in the gulf of Mexico. All difficult and challenging issues for any parent.

We have had the period conversation with FG, and the mummy egg and daddy seed conversation with both of them. Our hands were forced the other day by the animal rights issue, thanks to the mum at school.

But what do you do when they see a news headline or news broadcast and want it explained?

Tonight, FT saw the news about Jon Venables.The catchy 'Bulger Killer on Child porn Charges' headline meant i was drawn into having to explain something i never ever wanted to. How to explain to an 8 year old, the horrors perpetrated by 2 boys, only 2 years older than him? How do you begin to explain even what Venables is back in prison for now?

Somethings just cant be explained. And i wish i wasnt put in the position where i have to try.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Unleashing the mummy monster.

Last night my cousin told me i 'held back' on my blog. I am not quite sure what he meant...maybe he thought i hadnt put enough of me into it. Hmmmmm. we shall see.

So. The tale of the veggie booklet continues. After my rant last night, i was feeling slightly calmer. A bit riled and indignant, but less blazing with fury. I enjoyed reading peoples comments on my facebook page, and was left feeling that i was right to go to school and make a complaint, and that being calm and level headed was a Good Thing.
I came downstairs this morning, fixed FG's packed lunch, and noticed a very subdued FT, not eating his cereal....pushing cereal around the bowl with his spoon.When asked what was up? I was told that ' X's mum told me that milk has pus in'
My calm exterior melted and the kraken was awakened. I went MAD. Trying to rein it in a bit, i said to him that did he really think that mummies would give milk to their babies if they thought it would harm them? Having breastfed him till 14 months, and then his sister till she was 2 1/2, i like to think i know what i am talking about....

I reminded him that if he EVER wanted to know ANYTHING about food, he was to ask me. 'You werent there though mummy' he said with a sad face. I know. But i am now.

And so off to school, to have words. I rode my bike round, because i was going straight to work, but i didnt put my shades on.....result being 2 great big fat tears rolling down my face when i get there, from the chill wind... I rock up and the school administrator is standing at the gate, as she does every morning, I ask to see the after school club leader. She isnt in. Can i see the Head then? All the teachers are in a meeting because Ofsted are in. DAMN! Just my luck....

She then asked, was i ok? I said no, i am which point the big fat tears turned into the real McCoy...I showed her the bloody booklet, and told her what had happened, and she immediately said right, come on, lets sort this.

Whilst waiting to see the school manager, i grabbed a couple of seconds to compose myself, and noticed a piece of FG's school work in the front entrance to school. About a visit from the fire brigade. Her writing is lovely, and i am very proud of her.....
The administrator came out and took me into see Mrs B. It would appear they had no idea and she was as shocked and horrified as i was. Apologising perfusely she said it would be sorted, and wanted me to be absolutely sure of that. She said the school would be taking it very seriously, and that they clearly needed to review their vetting policy. She was very angry with the parent in question, and said, on several occasions that the school is not a political arena, and the mother had had no right to behave in this way. She then, very sweetly went on to say that she had only really learnt about the reality of the meat industry when she was in her late teens, and the thought of it still upset her. So she understood absolutely how enraged i was feeling, and said it was entirely justified. I demanded an apology as well, and i sincerely hope that i will get one. She and the head will have a discussion, to talk about the best way to address this with the children who may have seen it. I shall be very interested to see what is decided upon.

After a good 20 minutes, before i left, Mrs B asked me very sweetly to avoid the parent in question. if i were to bump into her in the play ground.

Of course i promised......although the temptation to shove a piece of steak tartare down her scrawny opinionated neck is sooooo tempting......

Monday, 14 June 2010

When i want your opinion.....

I like to think i am a fairly laid back soul. I try and adopt a fairly laissez faire attitude at home with the children, about a whole range of things. I try not to cause fights over food, tv watching, bedtime etc. I like to think the kids know when to push and when is enough. Both W and i try to have a relaxed approach to our bodies, and bodily functions....and although it is hard for me, I am better about being negative about myself, cos i dont think this is good for them to hear. I also try very hard not to demonise anything, or anyone. I figure that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and i would welcome a debate with them, if it is something i maybe dont agree with. (there are exceptions to this rule.....There is a certain 'politician' who i will have no truck with whatsoever. And would quite happily see him and his racist 'party' take a long walk off a short pier..)
The one thing i really dont like is people shoving their opinion down my throats, especially when i havent asked. Still, as an adult i can tolerate even this.

However, i have been made exceptionally angry tonight, by the actions of a parent, of one of the kids in FT's class. She is a strict vegetarian, which is fine. I dont eat mammals, but do eat poultry and fish. (However, i would never say to you that i think you are cruel for eating bacon....)Apparently, she came to After school club today, bringing veggie food with her, and talking to the kids about vegetarianism. If i thought she was giving information to the kids in an open and unbiased way, then i really wouldnt mind. The kids have been doing projects on healthy eating, and good vegetarianism has its place. Sadly, this parent appears to think it is ok to bring in Animal Aid leaflets and give them out to our kids. I dont mind my kids being told about their diet options. However this leaflet is aimed at 'young veggies'. I suspect this means 10 plus.... It doesnt have any guidelines on it, or any warnings that it may contain graphic images or content. It innocuously features a picture of a cute happy looking piglet on the front, along with the very trendy suggestion to 'Be cool, not cruel!' On opening the leaflet, on page 3, one is confronted by  a picture of a cow, shot in the head, next to a paragraph about Animal Slaughter. A very much alive pig, alongside the paragraph on Animal suffering, and  further down pictures of bits of meat and animal carcasses. And all on page 3!
Turning the page we go onto the suffering of farmed animals, and then how are they killed? With graphic images of animals, and language that even i find upsetting.

I am a realist. I know people eat meat. I know it isnt all fluffy little lambs in meadows bedecked with buttercups, whilst chickens scratch in the earth searching for worms. I know this is not a genuine reality for every animal that may end up on the plate. Thank fully, so do my kids. We have talked about where meat comes from, although i have not gone into graphic detail about the precise nature of field to plate. They are only 6 and 8 for goodness sake. They still believe in Father Christmas.

How DARE this parent assume that she has the right to give out this material to my kids at school?

I will be having words.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Water thoughts

I love to swim. Sometimes in the pool, and sometimes in the lake. Occasionally in the sea. It doesn't really matter that much. I am a creature born of water it would appear. However, I definately have a place that i feel more comfortable in. In the pool, that is the second lane from the changing room side. Why? I dont know. i have no idea. This morning i had to swim in a different lane. Well, i didnt, but it was a different empty lane, or one with people in. At 7am on a thursday morning, when i have had a minor ruck about putting the bin out with W (sorry love!), a lab meeting at 8.30, and a hard swim set to empty lane is better. For all concerned.

So, this morning i swam in the lane but one closest to the window. This means i have to swim up the opposite side of the lane to the side i normally do. And it just didnt feel right. The water is no different, the lane ropes are the same, the only thing that is different is i am swimming with my left side closest to the lane rope, instead of my right. And i just dont like it. Like someone has taken my normal comfy swimming thing, and given it a little shove...a little nudge to the left.
I still did the swim, and i made it to the lab meeting in time, but it just felt ever so slightly off kilter. I dont imagine tonight will be much better, as i am heading to the lake....which is fine and dandy, but will be wearing my replacement Blue Seventy. I sent the Helix back, and will be wearing the second hand Synergie that i bought second hand on ebay. We shall see.

Talking of the normal world, but slightly off kilter, i had coffee with my lovely friend Dr L yesterday. She had some lovely good news, which is so exciting, but comes with a caveat. She is expecting identical twins....which is wonderful. But, like all twin pregnancies, not without its risks. So, instead of being delighted and happy, as she should be, she also has to reign it in, just in case. Her normal happy go lucky self is just ever so slightly tilted, shadowed with caution and fear.
If you are reading this sweet girl, hang on in there.....and grab onto the lane ropes if you need some support....

Monday, 7 June 2010

Scattergunning. Other wise known as spreading.

I have a bit of a bad habit. This is simply allowing myself to be spread a bit thin. I am better at saying NO than i used to, but still need to remember my needs and that of my family come first. I think someone once called it volunteeritis, where you have an inability to say no to anything, and end up doing half jobs on everything, simply because you feel you cant let anyone down.
Since taking up Ironman, i have learnt that this scattergun approach to life, running round leaving little bits of myself everywhere is impossible. It just cant be done. Or at least it cant be done with any semblance of dignity or satisfaction. You can please some of the people some of the time.....
For the most part, the house is mostly clean and tidy, usually a bit more of the latter than the former, but it is ok. Not sure Kim and Aggie would be best pleased, but it has a long way to slide before i see them knocking at the door. We all wear clean clothes which, mostly down to W are usually crease free. There is usually something tasty on the supper table (tonights was delish,..and even better NOT made by me :-). But some things do get neglected. I was reminded of this as i brushed the sparklers teeth this evening.

I got a text message. This, in itself is not an unusual thing! My phone is rarely from my side, and i have been known to send upwards of 1000 texts in a month. What was unusual was that it was completely unprompted and a lovely surprise. In my attempt to cover all the bases, when i am IM training, some things get neglected a bit. One of these is some of my friendships. If i have a friend who is more enthused about something than another currently, i will usually spend a little more time with that person. If someone wants to go for a bike ride i will do that. It is, i think human nature.
This means however, that i spend a lot of my time, feeling a bit like a rotten friend to the others, who i dont get to spend as much time with as i would like. So this text was a lovely surprise as it said that my friend also missed me, and that she looked forward to us spending more time together. (she also said i was a nicer person to be around this year, which i am relieved about)

Some of my friends i have leant on in the past few years more than maybe i should have. who have done their best for me, looked out for me and stood by me, perhaps when i would have thrown up my hands in disgust. It is to them i owe a duty of care, to try and spread myself less thinly, but with more care and attention, and to stand up and say to my friends i love you guys. That having you in my life makes me a better person, and i am honoured that you want me in yours. Thank you.

(If i havent put a picture up here of you and me. It isnt because i dont love you to bits. It is probably because i dont have one......this is something i aim to remedy!)

When will you make my doorbell ring?

I am waiting for the postman. Sat here at home, when i should be at work, waiting for my replacement wetsuit to come....I tore a hole in my beautiful, and very expensive Blue Seventy Helix. I am gutted. And unsure as to whether it will be replaced, repaired or just ruined forever. Have been in touch with the company i bought it from, in the hope that they can sort it. And in the meantime, i am sat at home, waiting for the postman to bring me a second hand Synergie...which is almost as good. but not quite.


Am in two minds about going into work today, or just taking the day off and going in on friday instead. Am i up for a 4 hour ride this afternoon. Hmmmmm.

Plus point: it isnt raining. Yet.But i think it is only a matter of time. On the other hand. I am knackered and dont know if i can be bothered. Am not in the right mindset today, asi was intending on going to work, but the later it gets, the less sense it makes.....

Sunday, 6 June 2010

There will be tears before bed time....

I have been somewhat erratic about taking my tablets recently. I have been on this particular drug for quite a long time now, at quite a high dose. And i have been rubbish at taking them. It isnt that i forget, or cant be bothered, i just dont seem to remember..and i feel ok for a few days, and then start to feel rubbish again, and then remember....

Yesterday was such a high day. I love marshalling at triathlons, absorbing the feeling of high energy, anticiaption and overwhelming excitement. Helping people achieve something they never thought they could achieve, even if it is something which i do with a relative amount of ease. Surrounded by my club mates, and introducing a good mate to triathlon, before he does his first. Seeing him alive with the atmosphere was a real priviledge, and a memory i will treasure.

But today, i feel sad and flat.  I should take my tablets and go and collect the new set of pills, but it feels a bit pointless right now. Which is a symptom of the disease, and not really the way i feel. I am tired and needing sleep. My beautiful children are home again, and W is coming back. All is good with the world.

But there will be tears..

and they will be mine.....:-(

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Overheard, whilst lying in the bath.

It has been a hot and tiring day. Lying in a cool bath, with bubbles popping gently on my skin.......the window is open, and i hear voices from the garden behind.

Billy! Stop feeding your brother to the dog. You know how it upsets his bowels.

At least. I think that is what she said. Maybe i had soap in my ears at the time.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Bins in the ladies and things

It is very quiet at Maison Sparkly. The small sparklers are staying with their Nanna and Danna, in Devon. Thank god for grandparents! They are due back on sunday....and i await, with bated breathe, to hear which crisis has been narrowly avoided.

This time last year, i got a somewhat frantic phone call from Nanna...after she had been forced to tell  FG what the bin in the ladies toilet was for.....Previously, she had asked me about the paper bags, but i guess she figured she would test Nanna this time. Being a mother to 4 boys, i am guessing that Nanna had never found herself in this situation before. After trying to bat FG off with some feeble answer, which was roundly rejected..she had to explain about...shhhhhhh....periods. Fortunately the sparklers had already been briefed on mummy egg and daddy seed, so when poor Nanna got to the end of her long explaination, FG's response was, oh, ok then. Am somewhat worried that having spent a week sharing a bedroom with her rapidly devoloping brother, FG is going to come home, asking about masturbation. Wonder if i can leave that one for Danna. Or daddy ;-)

I have missed them. We took them to devon on sunday, and on monday spent the morning on the beach. We had found somewhat randomly, cheap wetsuits in Leigh Delamere services. (2 questions. Firstly, who names these bloody places? and 2, who decides what they sell, because it is wierd! Wetsuits, garden chairs and giant cuddly dogs seem to be the order of the day!), So once on the beach, after i had disappeared into the churning water, surrounded by surfers, ( Do you have any idea how far you have to swim in North Devon to find a patch of sea without surfers in? It is quite a long way. But diving into the waves that they are trying to catch is awesome!) the sparklers both managed to convince daddy that wakeboards were the order of the day. (I called them surfboards, but was thoroughly chastised!)

So, i emerge from the sea, to find two small and very happy kids.........if not a little cold!

Since we have been home, we have been so busy. I am not actually sure we can find time for the two sparklers to come home! Tuesday i saw the most adorable wee girl, N, who was born on 10th May. After a tense few weeks for her mummy and daddy, she is home. And i spent two hours cuddling her. I dont want anymore kids, but just occasionally, i feel a pang, when i smell their lovely milky smell and hold their tiny hands.

Wednesday we saw Ironman 2. This is what most people think you are talking about when you mention Ironman. I consider it my duty to reeducate the world :-)
And then we had pizza. Oh boy, was it yummy. and i had too much wine. Well, it doesnt hurt now and again.

But i MUST stop telling the kids that wine makes mummy clever. They both know perfectly well it makes mummy snore. And fall asleep on the sofa. Sigh. My secrets are out.

Last night was a lovely ride/swim/ride combo. Which would have been great. Apart from the 4 inch gash i now have in my wetsuit. I am hoping the nice people at BlueSeventy will pity me and change it for a new one,. If they dont..i can knock any plans for an ereader on the head!

And then today. Nearly 50 miles on the bike, followed by a run, in beautiful sunshine, through rolling countryside, with an aerial display by a Red Kite. STUNNING! I nearly gave myself a crick in the neck watching it, but then, that would have countered the ache i had from riding on the aerobars i suppose.

And now. As i sit, there is a strange piece of plastic, or rather, according to the literature, medical grade silicon, boiling on the stove. I have bought a mooncup. Which will confuse FG even more. I want to be there when she asks Nanna about this one :-)