Well, the poor blog has been neglected over the past month or so, and there is good reason for that–I’ve been busy (I know, but I mean, more than usual) doing a short course in business so that I can better market myself as an editor and possibly publish others’ books somewhere down the line. It’s been very interesting and I’ve not only met some other inspiring people, but I’ve also learnt a lot about small business and some of the ways in which I can hopefully make mine work.
Before First Offspring was born, I read. A lot. All about babies. Having sat many an exam, I guess I treated the pregnancy and impending child-rearing like a test, and studied accordingly. I learnt about all different parenting techniques, and weighed up the pros and cons of routines, attachment, co-sleeping, vaccinations… really, everything. And one of the philosophies was that the word ‘no’ was an unhelpful word, to be avoided, if possible.
Telling your children ‘no’ sends a message of negativity, and is irritating to both you and them. And it can ‘breed resentment and plant seeds for future rebellion’ in your youngsters.
‘That sounds fair,’ thought yet-to-be-a-parent I. ‘I like the idea of being a positive parent. I’ll make an effort to say ‘no’ less. All that negativity is unhealthy, anyway.’
This past week has sped by so quickly for me–as is evident by the fact that I’m writing this on Monday rather than the usual Friday–so I only heard in passing about the incident between a police officer and a high school student in South Carolina, and I only managed to read anything about it yesterday. But I did hear a discussion about a related issue on the radio later in the week, and during this talk, the interviewee discussed the issue of police violence, in particular in relation to persons of colour. Racial prejudice in the police force was something which needed to be addressed, he said.
I am well! This is news, because for most of the week, I have not been very well at all. And it occurs to me, on the rare occasion that I’m so unwell that I have to take naps during the day, how much the running of our household depends on my being well! Also, how wonderful it is to be healthy, and how easy it is to take that for granted.
Today, I resolve to not take my good health for granted (I’m sure I’ll be back to ignoring it tomorrow) and celebrate the sunshine. Enjoy the links!
Recently I mentioned to some friends that I had so much yoghurt, I was considering making labneh. (I didn’t, partly due to the lack of required olive oil, and partly because I didn’t think anyone in the family would eat it apart from me). One of my friends said she’d felt ignorant, when she didn’t know what labneh was, but then thought, ‘…of course you can’t know everything!’
As I’ve written before we moved almost eighteen months ago from the largest city in our state to a very small one, further south. Really, it’s more of a town. There were a few reasons we moved – we liked the idea of living in a cooler climate, we liked the idea of living in a smaller city, and we thought it would be good for our Offspring to grow up in the country rather than in a bigger city.
For me, though, it was much more than all that. It was like coming home.
Last year, when First Offspring was doing swimming lessons, I would take him once a week after school and sit on the benches near the pool with Fourth Offspring. First Offspring would spend twenty minutes splashing about in the water and Fourth Offspring and I would watch the swimmers come and go. A couple of times, we were joined as a woman brought her two young sons to swim. She dressed them quickly in their bathers and then once they were in the water, stripped off to a bikini and followed them into the pool.
She was very trim and looked as though she swam often. Next to her neat figure, I felt embarrassingly aware of my own rather… messy one.
I was working on a piece about hunger and food insecurity this week, and really enjoying doing some research, when I came across this article [please note, trigger warning for death of a child, and child abuse] and knew that it was something I needed to write about instead. Given the upsetting nature of the topic, I’ll put the rest of this post behind a cut.
A couple of months ago, I took Fourth Offspring for a late night jaunt down to the hospital. He’d been playing outside with his siblings in the afternoon, and had fallen—as he has, numerous times before and since—and his arm was hurting him. He’s not very verbal (he isn’t quite two years old yet) but it seemed like his wrist was sore, and even after icing and painkillers, it still was bothering him. So we went to Emergency.
I was a little reluctant to take him.
A man comes home from a long day at work to find his children, still in their pyjamas, playing in a pool of mud. They’re filthy and barefoot. There is a roll of toilet paper leading from the front door. He stumbles over a carton of broken eggs as he opens the door, and is met with utter chaos. There is breakfast cereal all over the carpet, milk dripping from an overturned bottle on the kitchen table. Washing up is stacked in the sink, on the drainboard and all along the counter. Books and toys are piled up everywhere, and dirty washing is strewn along the length of the hallway.
On the couch sits his significant other in her dressing gown, holding a mug of tea.
The man is almost speechless. He gasps for a few minutes and then is able to stutter, ‘But… what on earth happened?’
His significant other smiles sweetly and takes a sip of tea.
‘You know how you always come home and ask me what I did all day? Well, today I didn’t do it.’