Friday, 28 February 2014


It doesn't look much, does it?

And it isn't really.

Just an old sofa, with a few holes nibbled by successive pet hamsters, a broken zip and a hefty dose of crumbs/hamster poo down the side recesses.

But you would be surprised.

Today this sofa left us, and I'm feeling bizarrely bereft. We bought it in 2004, so for 10 years it has been part of the family. A spare bed for someone snoring too much, large enough for all the children to snuggle up fight on to watch a film before bed, cosy enough to fall asleep on in the quiet period after everyone is at school with a handful of cats to keep you company.

It's seen life, this sofa. I've fed twins on it, cuddled poorly babies on it, watched the Olympics on it and more recently it's hosted the family Lego Marvel Heroes hackathon. Impressive.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

"Taking in the Washing" - my thoughts on Blogging

I have been Blogging for almost 5 years. It's my therapy - and I describe why I blog here . For a long time, with only sporadic publishing on Facebook and Twitter I sustained around 100-300 readers for each post, around 14000 views a year. I was pretty happy with that, I try and write good content, and I won't "sell my soul" with advertising no matter how many times Google pleads with me. I'm quite precious about it I admit, but in so many ways it's an extension of myself and not for the taking!

Over the course of last year, I was aware of Blogging Awards and friends promoting their Blogs, gaining national recognition. One day, in that poetic parallel universe where children are in school reliably, hospital appointments are rare and fleeting and life rolls along calmly I will be a writer. I love writing, and would love to write more and for different purposes. So, following this dream I decided to put myself - or rather my Blog(s) "out there".

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

It's the SMALL things

For the second time I'm joining in with Cas's linky but adding my own, unique, warped sense of humour to it. And a touch of Thompson reality. 

The focus of the link-up is to give recognition to the small things in life which, whilst often barely noticeable if you are totally caught up in the coping and managing of life can making the difference - the immeasurably large yet essentially tiny difference between skimming along the surface or disappearing beneath.

This week, I could have focused on the small but hugely significant event happening this Friday. After nearly six years A's feeding tube is coming out. But given that he is actually extremely apprehensive about it and we have been deliberating it for months it doesn't really qualify. 

Then yesterday, whilst struggling for the umpteenth time to pick up son #2 from a friend taking both twins in the car I had a lightbulb moment. Resigned to the fact that transporting children subscribes to the cabbage/goat/fox problem where there is only one possible combination or children function at quantum level. Which is actually really, really small.

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

So what on EARTH can something so ridiculously simple as getting children into and out of a car have to do with Quantum Theory? (You've obviously not met my children...) Maybe you have only one or two small people to herd, or have mastered the art of timed embarkation, but here we are still firmly at Stage 1, yet to learn the secret of Travel without Fighting. Actually, that would probably be Stage 2 or even 3. Entering the Vehicle without Parental Trauma would probably be a more appropriate Stage 1, which we are currently working on.

Don't get me wrong, we've made progress. It's been a good few years months weeks since someone was actually hurt in the process and we have now progressed to Noise Control. This is proving to be a tricky module to master and no amount of cajoling, incentivising or threatening is yet to work. Our driveway acts like a megaphone too, the early morning school run is probably all our neighbour needs by way of an alarm clock. And just as you think everyone is IN the car, and you turn your back to lock the door - they all fall out again.

What IS it with cars?? 

So last night I managed eventually to load the twins into the car. 

Book to read? Check.
Torch to see by (and shine in Mummy's eyes?) Check.
DVD? (We are ONLY going FIVE MINUTES down the road for goodness sake!!!) CHECK.
Pencil to jab sister with? Check.
Coats, as it's raining? No Chance. 
Shoes? Um. No. Slippers any good?

We arrive at H's friend's house, and really I only have to ring the doorbell and collect him. There is NO need to unload children. But no, no amount of parental emphasis on this point was sustained, because you see what I did there? I rang the doorbell. I TOOK MY EYE OFF THE BALL. Or rather the children. Same thing.

And that was my lightbulb moment.

It seems that children only behave when you have your eye on them. Like the unwatched electron they descend into chaos when unwatched. Chaos everywhere. The very small but very significant reality that is subatomic level physics. Or as my geeky husband put it 

"Unobserved twins become entangled in a superposition of naughty states, from which it can sometimes take several hours to collapse the wave function" #geekyphysicsjoke

So there you have it. Clearly every good parenting manual needs to have a chapter on Quantum Mechanics. (And that second pair of eyes teachers are supposed to have in the back of their heads might just come in handy!)

Which leaves me with one important question. If you DO take your eyes of your children, and chaos ensues, but no one - not even you witness it...... Did it really happen?  !!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Why we mustn't be afraid of saying "no" to our children.

I'm as guilty as the next mum of almost loving my kids a bit too much. Wanting to give them the "perfect" childhood, sharing their dreams and wanting to facilitate them.

It's especially easy to fall into this trap when children didn't just "happen" for you (there wasn't "supposed" to be a four year age gap between my children each time) but there is a fine line between supporting, loving and sharing  - and suffocation, micro management and spoiling, and I suspect most of us simply don't know where that line is.

Firstly, consumer goods are so much cheaper now than when my generation were children. A new pair of shoes doesn't actually cost much more than thirty years ago. It's too easy to indulge and reward, responding to their pleas and getting caught up in the "it's OK, everyone else is doing it" pattern of self reassurance.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

But IS it ok? Or are we artificially raising expectations beyond levels our children can actually cope with? Are we actually removing their aspirations, or forcing them to think bigger, higher, and of ever more unattainable dreams?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dear Mr Gove

I'm sure you are snowed under with mail, so apologies for adding to your already overflowing postbag but I had to write. Despite my previous post on Education at 3? No thanks! it seems you misunderstood and felt children starting their Education EARLIER was somehow more appropriate? I use a capital "E" there because everyone else seems to know that children are always educated, always learning, thirsty for knowledge and keen to try anything new. This innate curiosity is a gift, not a qualification and needs little more than the gentlest of touches to encourage.

As a supporter of "Big Society" and not "Big Government" I am curious why you have so little faith in society and the individuals of which it is comprised. More crucially - the facts and information you claim to love. It's  well known by anyone involved working (or playing!) with young children that they have a natural and profound capacity to learn. A child who is loved, nurtured and encouraged will learn in spite of  any outside means. Of far greater import is the securing of that environment and supporting parents than dictating new rules and guidelines to artificially propel their offsprings' infant brains along the educational conveyor belt.

And it is surely a basic tenet of Conservatism that in a liberal and free society parental rights should be paramount when their children's upbringing and education are concerned? Or did you somehow miss the backlash against Ed Balls MP when he tried to make the State, rather than parents responsible for how children are educated? Indeed have you indeed ever met someone who is Home Educated? I have. They are just that. Educated. At Home.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...