Being Extreme

I have been struggling with this post, as I really don’t want to cause a ruckus.  But it’s been niggling in my head for weeks and I need to get it out.  That’s why I write a blog – to get rid of the things swirling in my brain.

So I found out about a couple that has asked for their child to be removed from Religious Education in school, because it goes against their religion to learn about other religions (or ethnicities, cultures or sexual orientations apparently).

I was quite stunned.  To look at this couple they seem like very successful, educated, intelligent people.

FotorCreatedTo put it all out there, I am not religious. But I have studied and participated in many religions, cultures and ethnicities, as you can see from my bad travel photos attached.  I admire many bits of all religions and my understanding is that they are about community, sharing, love, understanding and moral codes. They are there to help, support and foster wellbeing.

I don’t have a problem that someone believes something different to me.  In fact, I love to have conversations talking about our different beliefs, why we believe as we do, how they help or impact our lives and I am quite happy to listen to persuasive arguments about them.  But I would hope that I wasn’t dismissed for my beliefs.  I would like to think that we would just agree to differ and enjoy each other’s differences.

And this way of thinking applies to every form of belief – Politics, Medicine vs Alternative Health, Diet, Childrearing, Relationships – everything that we act on is a form of belief and we all do it differently.  We live in a fabulous world, full of wonderful things and without all the differences, it would be very dull.

Extreme beliefs of any form, seem to me, to make people very angry. Angry at other people, angry at society and angry at … oh just everything.  I wander around every day believing that most people are honest, decent and just getting on with things like I am.  I don’t think anyone is out to get me or do me wrong.  That includes Doctors, Politicians, Teachers, Police – everyone.  I know this might be naive and I know there are bad people out there, but I am happy in my belief and mostly I haven’t been proved wrong.  If I do come across something that is obviously very wrong – someone or something causing damage or hurting something, well then I am quite capable of standing against them, but mostly I hope I just let people get on with their life and live very happily in my life.

So back to this couple.  I have no problem with what they believe in, that is their prerogative.  But it does make me sad that they have chosen a very angry way to live.  And most importantly it makes me very cross that they are criminally inflicting on their child a life of hate, isolation and small mindness.  Their child won’t have that fun gay friend that shows them a different side of nightclubbing, they won’t get invited to a glorious Indian wedding with all its finery, food and noise, they won’t want to go to colourful chaotic Islamic cities with old medina’s, the smell of spice and the wail of the call to prayer.  If they get a university professor or boss who disappears to pray to Mecca a couple times of day – they will be uncomfortable.  They won’t want to sit in the only available seat next to the black/pink/purple man on the bus and will look silly for not sitting down.

Their whole life will be so diminished; they will be isolated from so much of our lovely multi-cultural society.  They will be angry, scared and sad.  They will have to seek out that small group of likeminded people and fester in their anger.

Why do I think it’s criminal that they are doing this?  Because the most important thing I believe in, is that it’s alright to believe in anything as long as you don’t hurt anybody else.  That being the key with all extremists of all forms– you are causing pain to others and that is just wrong, wrong and wrong.

 

Happy in the Today

20160421_175236_resizedI got up early this morning to do a couple of hours work, so I could sneak out for a coffee with a lovely, lovely friend.  Just divine and worth the early alarm clock.

She is one of those friends that you can talk to about all those silly little problems and worries, and she understands and shares her problems and worries.  I don’t know what I would do without her.  I always feel at one with the world afterwards, even if a bit jittery from all the coffee.

Sometimes talking about things, helps underline just exactly what is wrong and what needs to be done.

We were talking about our youngest children, both girls, both second children and both “I want…..” sort of children.  I find this really difficult, the constant need of things, events, play dates, sleepovers, attention…. needy, needy, needy.

I have tried to understand – she is a younger sibling that has to fight for attention. Also because of the extra attention we have had to pay to our complicated little boy, she may feel that she needs more from me.  Or just because she is a girl and just because she is who she is.

But it also really worries me.  I am concerned that she is never happy with what she has, where she is or who she is with.  She is constantly looking ahead and gets disappointed too quickly.  I don’t want her to land in adulthood and discover that she will not get everything she wants – and then be permanently miserable and disappointed.  Or I don’t want her to look for relationships that she thinks will give her all she wants – instead of making it happen herself.

Should I be worrying about this when she is only 10?  Well no, but I am just a worry wort and her constant needing is driving me nuts.  I think being happy in the moment and with the small things in life is an important life skill and I think I need to help her learn that now – so it can be just a part of her normal day to day life.

I also think that she needs a bit of mummy time every day, just a bit of attention that does not involve me saying “NO” constantly.

So I bought her a notebook today and it’s called Holly’s Happy Book.  Every day I am going to write something about her that made me proud, happy etc.  And then I am going to get her to write something that was good about her day. And then we are going to sit down, just for 10 minutes and talk about it.

We did our first page today and I think she can see my point, because I saw her go to say something that sounded like “I want….” and she promptly clamped her hand over her mouth.

Will it work? – I don’t know…but I will keep you posted….  I am determined to make her happy in the today, because she is driving me nuts in my today 🙂

And the magic begins…

20160418_182047_resizedI have gifted my children with some awful things.  Not on purpose, you understand, but boy did they get some tragic traits.

  • Micro thin, limp, mousey hair
  • Sticky out teeth, with a small receding chin
  • Terrible, terrible handwriting
  • Anxiety and Allergies
  • Clumsiness
  • A weird little toe

Well, I could go on, but then I might feel like crying.

But I have and can give them many cool things, so I am not going to dwell on the above.

  • An Australian passport, as well as their British ones.
  • The probability that dieting will not be in their future.
  • An intense desire to see the rest of the world – all of it!
  • Love of Thai food – well one does, the other one refuses to leave the chicken nugget stage.
  • How to bake a cake from scratch.
  • How to swear properly and at appropriate times – shocking I know, but a discussion that must be had with all verging adolescents.
  • An affinity with technology – not like their Dad, who for some reason makes anything technological explode on sight.
  • And …. HOW TO SEW!

Knowing how to sew is something that I feel from the bottom of my heart is so very, very important.  And yes, I even mean my complicated little boy – who came home from his first textiles class at Senior School saying: “Nobody knew how to thread a sewing machine, mummy!”  His little, shocked face is a picture that I will remember to my dying day.

Will they go on to make their own clothes, like I do? It doesn’t matter, but they will be able to mend things, sew buttons on, take up hems, alter clothes, make curtains and cushions for their first flats.  The will be able to look at a piece of clothing and know if it’s made well and/or how they can change it to add their own flair.  Their world will be a lot wider, cheaper and so much more imaginative for their ability to sew.

And I can give them that.

Empty…..

I am feeling a bit “writing exhausted” after my four pieces on My Complicated Little Boy.  And have been struggling to come up with something to write.  Feeling a bit empty…  So instead I am going to have a BIG OLD MOAN!

I had a little lie in on Sunday, thought I deserved it.  Didn’t get out of bed till 9.00 – I know, how naughty – to think as a student I could barely make the 1.00 lectures.

I got up and headed to the bathroom, feeling all sleepy and relaxed. First I picked up the clothes from the floor, that didn’t quite make it into the laundry basket.  Then I rehung the towel, that must have jumped off the rail and then I went for a wee.

20160412_171750_resizedEMPTY toilet roll!!!

The little basket I keep behind the toilet for 2 spare rolls, was also empty.  There had been 3 previous opportunities for the other household members to get some toilet paper out of the cupboard.  HMPF…

 

Went to brush my teeth.  Someone had opened another toothpaste, as it is obviously too hard to get toothpaste out of the half empty one.  HMPF….

Then I proceed to find 1 x empty hand soap bottle, 1 empty bubble bath bottle and 2 x empty shampoo containers.

By the time I had made it downstairs, I was quietly simmering.

Went to make myself some cereal and a cup of tea.  Yes, you guessed it…. empty cereal packet and no teabags in the tea caddy.

LOST IT!!!

I had a cup of tea and toast…. obviously not cereal, then I flung the kitchen cupboards open.

  • Empty multipack crisp packets
  • More empty cereal packets
  • Empty butter tub
  • Milk bottle with a dribble in – not even enough for a cup of tea
  • Biscuit packets galore with 1 x half a biscuit in
  • Empty breadstick box
  • 3 x bread bags with just the crusts in
  • 2 x jam jars with a smear left
  • 6 – yes 6 open chocolate spread jars
  • Open packet of popcorn kernels lying on its side, so when I picked it up, kernels went all in the cupboard and over the floor.

The other members of the household kept popping their heads round the kitchen door and I hysterically shouted at them “EMPTY…….”

No wonder my shopping lists always seem to miss things, because I presume from the packets in the cupboards, that we have adequate stocks.

From now on if I hear a complaint that they have run out of something – I will just say “Empty….” very, very loudly and with a slight insane look in my eye!

The Adventures of My Complicated Little Boy – Part 4

20150926_150135_resized (2)

The final instalment …. for now, of the journey with my complicated little boy. I left you last time with us slogging away at his Anxiety Program in  The Adventures of My Complicated Little Boy – Part 3.

During that time, we had the big decision of which Senior School to go to.  Our local school had sadly been placed under special measures and there were very big changes happening with the staffing etc.  This would not normally bother me, as I do think that sometimes the government agencies can make it difficulty by changing the boundaries all the time, instead of letting the teachers teach. But I was concerned that with all the changes, my quiet troubled boy would get missed.  As we really had no choice, I put a brave face on it and we both went for a look around. I was being all peppy and positive, pointing out the great science program, but I could see my boy creeping into his shell.  The school was very higgledy piggledy and cluttered and he even pointed out a big spider’s web.  And the school cafeteria was placed in a hall way, which he would have to pass to get to class and he shied away from it as we walked past.  My heart sank.

So we went off to visit the other local school, more in hope really, than in any real expectations.  A lot smaller school, very simply laid out and also very popular and hard to get in.  Oh my, we loved it and the Head of Special Needs even came out specially to speak to me and was very interested in my boy’s unusual needs.  Sigh, I didn’t know what to do, maybe I could write to someone and request special entry.

But luck would have it, we had another meeting with the psychiatrists and I mentioned my concern, when my boy popped out for a wee.  She said that it shouldn’t be a problem, because any child with mental health issues goes to the top of the list and as he is officially under the care of CAMHS, he could have the pick of schools.  I cried – really, I did, in pure relief.

Because although the school was important, the most important thing that my boy was looking for was a clean break.  He didn’t want to be known as the odd boy with the cucumber phobia and to do that he needed to go to a different school.

And he got IN!!!!  YEAH, YEAH.  Talk about a silver lining to all of the work we had put in and distress we had been through.

He was beating the phobias!  After a year and half of me putting cucumber all over the house, he can now have it on his dinner plate.  He won’t touch it, or eat it, but he is able to ignore it.  The whole spider thing is a bit harder to crack, but he can now go into the shed, he has held a very small house spider and when we went to Harry Potter World, he gently came up to me and ask me to walk him through the room with the GIANT Spider.  Still not over it, but not sobbing, or screaming and definitely managing his emotions.  It is now part of our daily life, we discuss it all the time, but I think, I hope, we have totally conquered this Anxiety stuff.

His new school is on the complete other side of town to his previous school, where his sister still goes – so we have made him ride his bike.  The summer before I borrowed a friend’s daughters bike and we tried all sorts of different routes – lots of busy roads to cross – eeek (AND my bottom has never been the same and I will not get on a bike again!)  I also have an app on our phones that pings me when he gets to school.  One day his bike broke on the way and he had to walk the rest of the way to school.  He had to go into a whole school assembly in front of everyone – LATE.  Now that would have normally had him in pieces, but he calmly told me that it wasn’t his fault, he had a good reason and it was all okay!  Well, I nearly started to look for my boy, because this confident person wasn’t him.

Then I was nagging him about getting access to the laptop at school to help in class, because of his writing and he sternly told me to stop worrying as he had it sorted!!!!

After a meeting with his form teacher, she mentioned that she was worried because he sat by himself all the time in class.  Well I wasn’t too concerned, as I knew he preferred to work without distractions and I had asked him about making new friends and he said he had.  But it did stick in my mind and started to niggle.  What had I done, taken him away from all of his friends.  But the next day he came racing down stairs and asked if he could go into to town by himself to meet his friend for the movies.  Phew, he was okay then.

Then – this shocked me most of all and made me feel that everything had been worth it.  He came home sobbing – oh no.  He said that he had a problem with another little boy.  This boy had been grabbing his bag all the time for a while and had got other people to do the same.  And that day my boy had turned around and punched him in the stomach and floored him!!!!  OH MY GOOD GOLLY GOSH.  I didn’t know what to do, say or express.  I was so very, very proud of him for standing up for himself, but knew we would have to talk about not using violence – I so didn’t want to go down that route.  So I asked him what he thought.

My boy said that he didn’t want to start his new school with someone picking on him, as he had come so far.  He had tried to talk to this boy, to no avail. So he had reacted with a punch.  He wanted me to contact his form teacher and tell her what had happened, as he felt that it had to be reported.  So that is what I did and the next morning they all had a meeting and everything was sorted out.  A few months later, I heard my boy talking to a boy of the same name on his gaming console.  I asked him who was this new boy he was talking too.  “Oh he is the boy I punched.”  “Oh,” I said.  “Yes, he has come round to my way of thinking and I even think that the reason he was bullying me was because he was anxious as well, but it’s all okay now.”  !!!!!!!!!!

We have come so far.  His life will not be easy, his exams will be stressful because of his writing, but he will be in control. And because of who he is and how he thinks, he will have an interesting life, surrounded by people that know he is a kind, caring, funny, clever and special boy.