Thursday, 24 May 2012

We all know times are hard, we don't have to be told it by the rolling news banners, or the print media or the politicians who seek to emapthise. We know because it's in the lurching feeling in our stomach when we see the supermarket receipt, it's in the clothes that we don't buy for our kids, the meals we don't have with our partner.
Whether or not we agree with the path that the coaltion government have taken we all have to live with it, and do our best with it.
Our household is a fairly average, middle of the road, normal (whatever the hell that means) household. My husband earns a good wage, we have a nice house in a nice area with most of the mod-cons. I know there are people out there who are a lot worse off than us so I do not want this post to come across as a 'woe is me' post, but at the same time I am still allowed to have a bit of a moan.
I find myself fulfilling the weekly shop in Lidl's. I have absolutely nothing against the more budget end of the supermarket, err, market but I do miss the choice that I was allowed in Tesco's or Sainsbury's. And they don't really cater to the homecook much either so I still have to top up my shopping elsewhere.
My sons don't get new clothes. After a growth spurt my eldest is running around with pajama's of the ankle swinging variety but he will have to wait until his birthday (September) before he gets anything new.
I can't remember the last time my husband and I went out for a meal, and the last film I saw at the cinema was Toy Story 2.
I haven't bought a new item of clothing in over a year and buy my clothes in charity shops, our holiday this year is curtesy of my parents, and freecycle is now my online shop of choice.
There is more we could do, get rid of Sky for example (or at the very least scale it down to get rid of the crap no one watches), sort out my veggie patch and grow some of our own food (I do try and bake my own bread when I can), and I'm not great at the make do and mend thing (can't sew, won't sew).
The only thing that keeps my head up is that we are all in this boat together and it will get better. It has to. We need to keep our chins up, our hatches buttoned down and we will all arrive safely on the other side. I constantly have one foot in the past with the 1940's being my decade of choice and I keep reminding myself that families survived the uncertainty of war years on rations. Women with more children than me had to feed them all with a few eggs, half a loaf of bread and two handfuls of potatoes.
They stood and faced it. And so shall I, but I shall moan like hell about it.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Choice

Lately I have become very aware of the fight for continued abortion rights. It's been in the news and some of my recent follows on Twitter are quite vocal in their support for the right to choose. It has made me examine quite closely my own experience and views on the subject.
When I fell pregnant unexpectedly *cough* years ago I knew that I couldn't go through with the pregnancy and so, along with the support of my partner, decided to terminate. I won't bore you with the reasons as then I would feel like I am justifying our decision and I don't need to do that.
I saw the locum at my GP's and was treated like something he had just scraped off of the bottom of his shoe. We went to a clinic but were treated like a number, a statistic, and this left me feeling awful. Luckily, at the time, I just about qualified to be seen by the Brooke Clinic where we were seen as two human beings who were making a tough choice and needed support throughout.
The appointment was made. I went in pregnant. My partner stayed in the car, fighting back tears. Tears for me and what I had to go through. Tears for the situation and the choice we felt we had to make. When I came out I wasn't pregnant anymore.
What came after is hard to explain. There were feelings of guilt but why should I feel guilty? There were feelings of loss and grief but it was my choice so why was I so sad? Why was I so angry? And who was I angry at? I worked my way through them with the help of an amazing partner and supportive and open family and friends.
I went on to marry that man and have two wonderful kids with him. My mind wanders back to that period of our life sometimes but I never think "What if..." or have ever regretted the decision we made. If anything, having two children has bought home the sheer commitment and duty involved in having children and it's so apparent I, we, weren't ready.
Today I got involved in a debate on Twitter with an anti-choicer. It was all civil and well mannered and we discussed our respective sides articulately and lucidly. And then she compared abortion to the Holocaust. Well, that put my back well and truly up. I asked her where I stand in this comparison. If abortion was like the Holocaust then who am I? Am I Hitler? Am I a concentration camp guard? Where does the woman who terminates a pregnancy feature in this side-by-side view of abortion and a humanitarian horror? I received no answer to my question.
Funnily enough there was support for me in the debate from another woman opposed to abortion. At least it shows that even in this emotive issue of abortion and abortion rights we can agree on some things.
The 'abortion = Nazi' lady also said that abortion doesn't only affect the woman. Agreed. She said that many post-abortion women have feelings of guilt and regret. Agreed. She said that women must be protected. Agreed. Where in this argument does this equate withdrawing the right of the woman to choose?
My experience was an extremely tough thing to have to go through and one that I would implore women (and men) to avoid. Is abortion a good thing? Generally, no. Is it a fair thing? Not really.

But we must, we simply must, retain that choice. I made it. And I'm glad it was mine to make.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Right, well I'm back. And what has spurred me into action? That would be poo. When you have small children you see a lot of poo. In fact, as I am writing this my 10 month old has just sat very happily in his high chair and done an almighty rumbling poo in his nappy. I'm not looking forward to changing that one. My husband gets home in an hour and a half but I'm assuming it would be somewhat negligent of me to leave my smelly son 'till then? Drat. Hang on then. I may be some time...

... Wow. That was an up the back, complete change of clothes, can still smell it on me nappy explosion! Now where was I? Ah, yes, poo.
Last night on Twitter the talk got round to poo (it was only a matter of time) as bloggers such as @LadyCurd, @motherscuffer and @babberblog were discussing whether or not is was 'the done thing' to blog or tweet about poo and pottytraining. The general consensus seemed to be that it was. And that's where I chipped in with an off the cuff remark about eating my son's poo. Unsurprisingly, people clamoured - maybe that's a slight exaggeration - to know more.

One afternoon I was on my mobile phone to my husband. I can't remember what we were discussing but it was important enough for me to give my son some chocolate to keep him quiet while I spoke. Otherwise all I get is "Who's on the phone Mummy? Can I speak to them, Mummy? Who are you speaking to Mummy?". So I'm sitting on the sofa, slightly distracted and Toddler is sitting in front of me munching away on his chocolate. Next thing I know he is standing on the sofa beside me with some brown goo/mush on his finger and sticking it in my face.
Now, as anyone who has been around small children knows, when kids stick food in your face you go "Nom nom nom" and nibble at it at, and then go, "Mmmmmmm, that was yummy". For some reason they love this.
So my son has this brown goo/mush all up in my face and I do the whole "Nom nom nom" nibble bit (I'm still on the phone) but don't really get as far as the "Yummy!" bit as it became quite apparent rather quickly that this was not chocolate. My brain raced fast and reached a horrific, and unfortunately correct, conclusion.
Not wanting to fully close my mouth around the rancid taste I garbled "This is not chocolate" grabbed my son's finger and smelt it (yes, yes, I know - that should have happened waaaaay sooner) and my fears were confirmed.
"I've got to go" was all my husband heard and then I hung up the phone, raced to the bathroom and tried in vain to rid myself of the taste and texture of the feces, leaving a poor bewildered little boy standing on the sofa with a very messy nappy and a dollop of poo on his finger.

Now I know that you all want to know, what does poo taste like? And I consider it an honour to let you know that it tastes of.... nothing. Of waste. But it's not a tasteless nothing. It's an overpowering sense of excrement upon the palate. It's clear that the body has removed all the good stuff and left... well, this. Crap. Shit. Dung. Whathaveyou.

Lessons have been learnt from this episode and I now closely inspect and scrutinise any Unidentified Food Objects shoved in my face. After this, even those cardboard baby rice cakes taste quite nice, but I ain't taking any chances!