I'm a Mother not a Martyr…

I teach my sons how to stand up to bullies and how to deal with nasty comments.

I’m surprised that ITV have let Jason Gardiner back onto a gentle programme such as Dancing on Ice.

Were the ratings that poor that they needed to command press interest by reintroducing someone so clearly lacking in intelligence?

Dancing on Ice is a nice programme.  A gentle viewing on a Sunday evening.  They’re not competing with any other major shows so why do they need to court controversy?

I role play with my children how to react to name calling and load them with phrases such as ‘you’re too stupid to even know my name so don’t even bother speaking to me” and similar, and had someone said they looked like they had the appeal of a walrus, I’d have been proud of any cutting put down they’d have delivered.

I’ve always said to my boys that people who name call, swear and use degrading comments are stupid, and that they’re clearly not intelligent enough to add in appropriate adjectives and therefore aren’t worthy of head space.

If Mr Gardiner cannot express himself in any other way than to call people names, then he too is just as stupid.

ITV, you didn’t need to bring back someone like this, and while he may be right in saying Lauren Goodger was lacking in sex appeal, I hope I’d have been able to enunciate it better than him.

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A few days ago a friend of mine honoured her beloved dog on Facebook when he passed away.

I’ve never met the dog, or in fact, met my friend, but I know what a support he’s been to her over the years. Her albums are full of this gorgeous hairy chap, and I know just how much unconditional love he’s given her at her darkest times.

I’ve had pets my whole life; cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and at one point, 4 ducks.

My parents hearts must have broken over and over again when a pet rabbit died and I was inconsolable.  Their own hearts must have been shattered when cats fell foul of the tragedy of roads.

I remember our dog Tally with great fondness.  She was a Lassie dog and a big ball of fur. I was only 13 when she got old, and probably far too self absorbed to take into consideration my parents feelings.

However I was in my 20s when Millie burst into their lives. A crazy crack pot labrador with a tendency to steal scrunchies. When they were in my hair…  She was always gentle though, and no harm was done when Dad took her for a walk, stopped to give someone in a car directions, only for Millie to pinch the passenger’s scrunchie….

She had a thing for socks too. The ones on your feet! With tiny delicate nibbles, she’d ease off the toes first, then whip off the sock and stuff it all in her mouth while going off to ‘hide’ in what she hoped was the start of a game.

And then there was Cin (Cinnamon) a hoity toity siamese cat who would walk along garden walls with Dad when he took the dog for a walk. His sister Min and her daughter Purdy, sock stealers!

My own first best friends were Willow and her daughter Putan, 2 burmese cats that were Mum and Dad’s that I claimed from them when I moved back to Wales.

They were there through my first pregnancy, often vying for space on my ever growing bump. I’ll never forget Putan leaping off my bump in shock when she got kicked from the inside!

Wills used to follow me all over the house when Jack was born. She would sit at the doorway to the nursery unless I was sat in the rocking chair feeding, then she’d come in and sit by my feet until I had finished.

That new year’s even when she didn’t come into the room will always break my heart.

Putan was such a wonderful guide to Fennel who is sitting on my lap as I write this. A feisty kitten, Putan had no problem boxing her ears. She had no problem boxing Mum and Dad’s dog’s ears either!

Fennel is such a tolerant cat. She won’t take any nonsense from the children, and though she’s wary of Macy, the big dopey labrador living in Mum and Dad’s heart and home now, She’s a real flirt. Any man that comes into the house will find a cat parading round their legs within minutes.  She thinks my Dad is the best thing since sliced bread, the only person she ‘talks’ to is my husband.  And invariably, if she’s missing, she’s bound to be on Jack’s bed.

Not to be missed is Raisin, my beautiful baby girl cat who came to us as a kitten but turned out to dislike noise (not ideal when there are 4 small boys in the house), but lives a very spoilt life with my parents.  Sleeping in the airing cupboard by day and the dog’s bed at night.

I know that a day will come when my heart will break once more, but until that day comes, I will relish in the unconditional love that these wonderful creatures give me. Their sixth sense that brings them close when I need them; that extra nudge and slightly closer cuddle.

So for Tally, Millie, Cin, Willow, Putan and the Hairy Hoover, who are off somewhere stealing scrunchies, boxing ears and running free, Thank You.

If you’re not watching Celebrity Big Brother, this will mean little to you, but if you are, it should hopefully make sense.

I’ve just watched the show, and the explosion as the couple returned to the house. As they did, I said to my husband that they were stupid to have watched the monitors and that I’d have covered the screens with blankets and refused to participate.

Granted, it’s incredibly tempting to want to know what people are saying about you, but in reality, do you really want to know?

A few years ago, someone showed me some pretty hideous things that another person had privately written about me.

It made me feel sick, made me angry, made me question how other people perceived me, and started a chain of events that would rock the world around me for a while.

I quite happily live in a deluded world, where deep down I’m sure people have opinions about me, but as long as I’m not aware of them, I can live in my bubble of life, bimbling away with the trivialities of life that are important to me.

I’m not one for gossip. This is well known, to my friends and family.  I have far more important things going on in my life than to add in someone else’s dramas! But would I have been like Gillian Taylforth, sitting on the fence, or like Claire Richards, inadvertently offering an opinion whilst joining in a general conversation?

I most probably would have walked away from idle bitching, I’ve done that many times, and I don’t think Claire was being deliberately malicious, just perhaps a little naive.  After all, even if they weren’t in the basement, Heidi and Spencer could well have been watching on their own hotel suite tv screens!

But would I have reacted as they did if I had watched people talking about me? Would I have come out angry and spoiling for a fight? Would I have been submissive and allowed them to wonder just how much I’d seen?

In truth, I’d have probably gone through a whole host of emotions, just as I did a few years back, and if I’d been watching the monitors on my own, I’d have crept quietly into the house.

However Big Brother chooses the most volatile members of the house, pairs them up and subjects them to what amounts to humiliation. 

It’s humiliating to hear people’s opinions of you, to hear the things you never want to hear.

Magnify that with 2 people viewing, bouncing thoughts and vitriol off one another and you’ve got one hell of a time bomb on your hands.

So my advice to anyone who is offered the opportunity to hear/see/read what people think about you is say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and walk away.

I live my life quite happily thanks, without knowing the negative things people may think of me.

That’s not naivety,  that’s self preservation.

Routine. I love it!

I’m like a child.  Children thrive on routine, it keeps their wibbly wobbly world balanced and keep tantrums at bay.

I’m the same. As long as I know what time to get up, what days to change the bed linen, which days I’m cooking certain food, then I too am tantrum free!

Christmas, much as I love it, did throw that right out the window. Not that I expressed myself in tantrum format, but I did get a bit twitchy when the washing seemed to pile up, and though it was fabulous that the children never woke before 9am, I felt like I never properly got going in the morning.

So it’s back to 6.45am alarm clocks, bed changing on a Wednesday, uniforms washed and away on a Sunday and no more back-to-back meals of left over meat and salad!

And I feel so much better for it!

Once I’m past the weekend, I’ll have caught up on all my domestic duties and it’s back to work on the website.

Do you like routine? Do you hate routine? Or do you do certain things on certain days?

S x

Tonight at tea, my two eldest sons were telling us about their first day back at school.
Sadly the conversation was dominated by them telling me about how a (regularly aggressive) boy in Jack’s class (year 5, aged 9) had whacked Luke (year 3, aged 7) because Luke had caught him during a game of tag.

This boy walloped Jack in the face on his first day at school in the reception class when he was just 4 years old, and still attacks now.

Aside from not being told by the school, and I will be telephoning them tomorrow, they went on to tell me how Luke is regularly picked at by the year 6 boys and one or two from year 5.

I regularly role play scenarios with my children in how to stand up to bullying; I give them phrases to say and make them practice on me. I explain how these bullies will amount to very little in their adult lives, and that even though I was bullied at school, I’m a strong and successful woman now, and doing a lot better than they are.

I’m quite disappointed that the playground staff didn’t intervene, though Jack and 2 of his friends, JJ and CJ should be proud of themselves, and I will be telling their mums that they should be very proud of the maturity their 9 year old sons showed when looking after a very upset and in-pain Luke.

I am a strict mother, in that I don’t tolerate the boys winding each other up, and they know that they would be in phenomenal trouble if I ever found out they were bullying others.

I do guide my children in who they should be friends with, as I said in yesterday’s post, it’s mine and my husband’s responsibility to grow our children. The friends that Jack has are a delight and a pleasure to be around, and they are very kind to include Luke when his classmates dismiss him from their games (an ongoing battle we’ve had since he started school).

But if I ever hear that this child has put his hands on any of my children again, I will be taking things as high as possible.

The school is bound by so much red tape and bureaucracy that it’s ridiculous. They do what they can, with hands tied, but sometimes things go too far, and after hearing of the latest craze of ‘dragging’ (pinning the victim’s arms behind their back then dragging them along the ground), and something Luke has had done to him repeatedly apparently, I think there needs to be some stronger action taken

Does anyone have any thoughts, suggestions or advice?

Thanks

X

My 2 eldest sons are both at middle school, that fabulous age where life is a mix of innocence and a desire to get older quickly.

Many of their friends have gaming gadgets and gizmos; x-boxes, play stations, ds etc, as do we.

A couple of years ago, the boys only played the games we suggested and bought for them.  And as is our responsibility as parents, we bought and borrowed fairly innocuous games of build its, racing etc.

However, these days, playground conversations seem to revolve around the latest game the ‘cool kids’ are playing.

Recently, this was Modern Warfare.

I hold my hands up (and my husband’s on his behalf) to not doing any research first, as I would normally do, and off Chris went with the boys and bought a copy.

Again, to my shame, I only watched them play a small portion, and while the 18 certificate did worry me, there was no obvious bloodshed of graphic violence, and I put the certification down to the odd ‘bloody hell’ in the dialogue.

I however went up the wall, back down again, and actually snapped the disk into 4 pieces when I happened to watch my 9 year old complete the game yesterday.

The final ‘win’ comes about by controlling a player with the handheld console to firstly shoot the baddie, wrap a noose around his neck to choke him, them drop him through a glass ceiling.  Finishing with his neck and head snapping back, and left dangling.

All with sound effects and blood splattering the screen.

Now apart from spending the rest of the afternoon explaining to my children that this is not entertainment, but reality for soldiers all over the world, I also felt I needed to defend my actions for breaking the game.

Absolutely you could argue that it DID have an 18 certificate, and absolutely I should have done research as I do every other damn time, but what kind of sick, twisted individual creates a game for ENTERTAINMENT purposes that portrays such things, and includes graphics that were scarily realistic.

I’m not going to comment on who does or should play such games, there’s obviously a market for such things, and yes, I’ve watched scary movies (scream and jagged edge had nothing on this), but as an adult of 38 who is relatively worldly wise, I was shocked, and horrified that there were such games on the market where you as the game player are in control of the level of violence to be inflicted.

I snapped the game because I would never want to have such things in my house, and equally would never want to pass it to someone else. The one I snapped is one less game out there.  A piddling drop in the ocean, but it felt good to destroy such a thing.

I’ve put a blanket ban on any game coming into the house with anything more than a pg certificate, and whether their friends are playing the games or not, the boys understand just how angry, upset, disgusted and frightened for their innocent minds I am.

As parents it is our responsibility to grow and nurture our children.  They don’t have to be desensitised to violence, they need to be aware that it is real life for some people, that we live in a scary world and that is something they need to learn later. Not now.

And to the sick idiots who created the game, you are deranged.

I love Christmas!

It’s 12th night tonight, the day that the 3 Kings arrived to see the newborn baby Jesus.

Most people forget this in this day and age, and see it as the day to take down decorations and the end of that song!

I could make witty jokes about how if the Kings had been Queens they’d have asked for directions, assisted at the birth and arranged an upgrade from stable to the penthouse suite, but they weren’t, so I won’t!
But in modern times there are arguments and squabbles over what Christmas is all about.

Some say that Jesus was born in the summer, others say that mid December is a pagan festival.  Whatever date he was born, Christmas is a great marketing opportunity for Christians, and I’m happy about that!

I’ve never subscribed to the theory that Christmas is just for children and all about commercialism. For me, it’s a wonderful time to get together with family, both immediate and extended. Particularly as both my brothers live 250 miles away. I’ve very much missed my eldest brother and his family this year, but they’ve been in our thoughts and bedtime prayers through the season.

I don’t deny that seeing the pleasure on my sons’ faces as they opened gifts wasn’t a little bit magical, and I had a wonderful month crafting and creating a nostalgic atmosphere.

There has been pressure over the major days with cooking for an average of 10 people twice a day, but I thrive under that sort of pressure.  Plus, any opportunity to get out a notebook and make lists is a welcomed opportunity!

So I love Christmas, with all that it brings; opportunities to get together with family, to teach my children the Christian values, to indulge in crafting, to create a happy atmosphere.

And simply just to be.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and here’s to everything that this year brings us.

Sam x