Monday, 22 August 2016

When Peppa Pig is Just Plain Silly

Peppa Pig is silly.

All the animals walk on two legs, talk and live in houses on the top of hills*. Miss Rabbit does all all the jobs. But I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about moments within the world of Peppa Pig which just make no sense and are borderline ridiculous/confusing. 

Here are a few of my bug bears (and yes, I have devoted way too much time to Peppa Pig here):

1. Most of the characters have alliterative names. Even Zoe Zebra's twin sisters have (made up?!) alliterative names in Zuzu and Zaza. What, therefore, is the explanation for poor George Pig? Chloe Pig has also been denied a name in fitting with her pigginess although I think the creators were going along the lines of 'Cousin Chloe'. Poor Chloe; destined forever to introduce herself as a relation to Peppa Pig in order to capitalise on her alliterative name. And her baby brother, also a pig? Alexander. These poor infant piggies.

*2. Whilst we're talking about most of the characters, let's talk about the fact that being true to nature went decidedly out of the window the moment the creators decided to make animals talk. And live in houses. Why, then, did it suddenly become crucial to maintain a bit of scientific fact and have the rabbits live in a burrow. These rabbits talk, wear clothes and make carrot soup (in a blender probably - no doubt the burrow is on grid) so why not just let them live in a house like the rest of the inhabitants of Peppa Pig world? I appreciate the education in the episode where we learn about the burrow but this then just makes my children think it's all educational and that pigs sleep in bunk beds.

3. Now I know Peppa is in some sort of Narnia where time never really moves on and so, despite the odd birthday party here and there, the animals remain forever the same age. So I understand why George never really grows his vocabulary or the ability to speak in sentences. But I am perplexed at the way he says "Ganpa ig". He can clearly pronounce the 'p' because he says it in "Ganpa". Why then can he not pronounce it in 'pig'? 

4. Have you ever blown arm bands up? It's tough going sometimes. Now imagine blowing them up whilst already on your kids' arms like Daddy Pig does when they all go to the swimming pool (the same episode in which eighteen month old George is left to change himself for swimming independently in his own cubicle?!) Poor Peppa and George; it'd be like having your blood pressure checked before entering the pool.

5. My eldest is four. I'm considering sending him alone on the train to France and then calling his destination a few minutes before his arrival just to inform them he's staying there. Sound ridiculous? Spare a thought then for poor Delphine Donkey who is, at a similar age, sent from France with a quick courtesy call to inform Peppa's family of her arrival two minutes before she gets to the station. Her parents don't even know if Peppa and the gang are at home! They could be on a month's holiday in Barbados. Thankfully they are at home and Delphine gets to enjoy such wonderfully cultural experiences as 'The Bing Bong Song' whilst attending playgroup with Peppa. Lucky Delphine. She probably wishes the pigs had been in Barbados. 

6. The animals have pets. It's confusing. Some animals can drive cars and shop in supermarkets whilst others remain as nature intended (ducks, Goldy the fish, Tiddles the tortoise). Maybe it's a mammals vs others thing?

7. Whilst we're discussing different animals, with the exception of the pets, all the animals are the same size. So an elephant is the same size as a cat who is the same size as a hamster (with a PhD in veterinary practice and an irritating voice). The only exception to size is age. Otherwise kangaroos and rabbits are one and the same.

8. Mr Potato. As if Peppa Pig world wasn't weird enough, the inhabitants have a potato the same size as an adult pig/rabbit/zebra/elephant (see previous point) who talks, hosts his own TV show and has his own theme park. As a local celebrity he is definitely an unusual choice. 

The thing with Peppa Pig is that, despite all the silliness, it is somehow genius for children. I'll never forget the moment I realised that Madame Gazelle (the French, single, playgroup leader with delightful eyeshadow) sounds so close to 'Mademoiselle' that it can't have been an accident. 

All  ridiculousness forgiven. Just.

Proudly linking up with:
Pink Pear Bear
Rhyming with Wine

Monday, 15 August 2016

Now You Are Four

Dear Big One

Four years ago I had just given birth. I was holding a naked, newborn you in my arms and I knew my whole world had changed. You became the centre of it and turned it upside down.

You taught me to feel everything with an intensity I never believed existed: exhaustion, excitement, frustration, joy. But most of all love. 

It's been an adventure Big One. We have travelled around the sun together four times. 

There's no bigger adventure than that. 

I hope you like your gifts today Big One. But know that, no matter how much you love them, they will never compare to the gift we were blessed with four years ago.

They will never compare to the gift of you. 

Love you forever. Always have. Always will.


P.s sorry you haven't received the six board games you requested for the very first time at bed time last night. I need a bit more notice than that.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

I Have An Announcement...

I have an announcement.

Actually no, it's not what you might think if you only looked at this picture.

I want to announce this:

I think, after carrying two children, I look more pregnant more often now, than when I was actually carrying them. I have more 'fat days'. More days where my tummy just wants to shout out to the world that it carried two babies and refuses to be contained. 

And some days I hate it. But then I realise I can breathe in, do some magic with my posture and I don't look fat anymore. In fact I kinda look a bit thin.

And that feels embarrassing to say. Why am I embarrassed to say 'yeah I look a bit skinny today'? Because I feel a fraud? No, not really. Because I'm definitely not 'skinny' but it's not the falsehood that makes me embarrassed. It's that I feel conceited. 

But I only feel that because we've sort of been conditioned to think that skinny is good. Skinny is perfection. It is the ideal for which we should strive. And not many people like to walk around saying 'I'm perfect'. 'I'm ideal'. It just feels big headed.

But that's not what we're saying when we acknowledge we look a bit skinny. Because skinny isn't the bloody be-all-and-end-all. There is no perfect. There is no ideal. Skinny, curvy (actually front on I'm way more curvy than skinny - but now I feel like I'm boasting about being Marilyn Monroe so you can see my problem here), pear- shaped, apple-shaped, hourglass-shaped. None of them are 'ideal'.

I'll tell you what is ideal. Owning it. Owning your body and loving it and respecting that it supports you and helps you move and function day in day out. 

I am me-shaped. And, as is clear from my pictures, being me is all about perspective. I can dwell on the things which get me down (I totally do this sometimes - husband has used the word martyr a few times) or I can look for the positives. Today I choose the positives. I don't do that everyday (see above for references to martyrdom) but today I do.

Because I'm not just talking about body image here. I'm talking about life. And, today, perspective tells me that I'm actually very freaking lucky. 

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
The Pramshed

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ridiculous Things People Ask New Mums

Last week I wrote a post about ridiculous things people say to pregnant women and whilst sharing on Facebook, I had a few people comment about things people had said to them when they were new mums. Hence this post.

If you bump into a new mum today, try to avoid all of the following:

1. "What is it?" I had this quite a lot especially with my youngest who is becoming a typical 'pretty boy' in terms of looks. When he was a newborn, strangers in the street would actually ask "what is it?" As if even his species was unfamiliar. I admit that sometimes it's hard to tell what gender the baby is unless the pram is adorned with pink or baby blue (and even then, who are we to assume?!) The best way to get round this is to speak to the baby and say "you're beautiful - what's your name?" And just pray they have a gender obvious name like John or something. Whatever you do, just try to avoid asking "what is it?" as if you're not even sure if it's human.

2. "Is he good?" One of the more ridiculous things I've been asked. Yes, surprisingly, my four week old is not yet inherently bad.

3. "How's she sleeping?" Don't even ask unless the information is offered to you. When people ask this it's as if it's the Holy Grail of parenting. And as most new parents have yet to find it, asking if they've found it just rubs salt into a very sleep deprived wound.

4. "Are you having anymore?" Most new mums are still padding themselves 'down there' with the equivalent of a folded hand towel and are still wincing when they use the loo. "Having anymore" would require things happening 'down there' that I don't think any new parents want to think about very soon.

5. "How are you feeding him?" I don't visit friends with toddlers and ask what they're planning to feed them for the next week. It's a personal question and, even if it's well meant, people can get a bit defensive and feel a bit guilty. New mums do not need to be made to feel guilty, even if it's by accident.

6. "When's it due?" Someone asked me this whilst I was pushing my first in the pram which I thought was hugely unobservant and it made it a bit awkward when I had to point to him and say "last week." It can be hard to tell so possibly just avoid this question altogether to avoid new mum on day 8 feeling like a big fat whale.

Really the only questions you need to ask new parents, especially new mums are:

Are you ok?

How can I help?

Do you know how amazingly well you're doing?

Do you want chocolate?
Proudly linking up with
Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear

Monday, 11 July 2016

On The Other Side Of The Classroom

Today I stood on the other side of the classroom.

It is a far scarier, far more emotional side to be on.

It is the side of the unknown. Of nervous excitement and of worry.

Today it was 'new class' day. The day when children visit their new class for a morning, an afternoon, a day.

But today, for the first time, it wasn't my new class day.

I wasn't stood as the teacher, welcoming my new class into the classroom.

I wasn't smiling at parents, desperately reassuring them that their children will be fine.

I wasn't chatting to children, asking them what their favourite toys are and if they have any brothers or sisters.

I am so used to being the teacher in the classroom, grinning at children and their families as they meet me for the first time, excited to start 'big school'. I am so used to being the teacher in the classroom that I never thought how I'd feel being the parent in the classroom.

Today I found out.

Today I took my still-three year old to visit his class at 'big school'. At bed time last night he said he wanted to "stay with you all the time Mummy." Normally I crave time to myself on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. But at that moment I could have easily granted his wish. At that moment I wanted another year with him before he started school. A year to stay with him all the time.

We don't have another year. I'm so proud of the little man he is becoming and I love watching him grow.

But standing on the other side of the classroom this morning, he was my baby. He was my little boy and he seemed just that; little.

And as I walked away from the classroom, swallowing a lump in my throat, I wondered how many parents get in their car and cry after dropping their children off in my classroom for the morning.

Today I stood on the other side of the classroom. The day after next I will stand on the usual side of the classroom and I will know so much more about the parents bringing their children to meet me.

I will know that they are excited. But that they are also nervous and worried and desperate to hug their children and not let go.

Because the moment they let go is the beginning of something big. It is the beginning of their children becoming more independent of them. It is the beginning of saying goodbye to them five days a week.

Standing on the usual side of the classroom, I know my little man is ready to start school. But standing on the other side of the classroom just reminded me that our time is precious. He is growing up so fast.

But, if the other side of the classroom has shown me anything, it's that, to me, no matter how big he gets, he will always be my baby.

I've been nominated for a Mum and Working Award for writing passionately about both my jobs - being a Mummy and being a teacher. If you fancy being really nice to me you can vote for me by clicking the link below. It'll only take a minute - promise! I'll send you virtual cake and gin.

    My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Saturday, 2 July 2016

    Things I'm Glad I Never Knew About Having Kids

    I've seen and read a lot of blog posts about 'The things I wish I'd known about having kids'. I relate to a lot of them.

    But this post is kind of an antithesis to those.

    Because there are some things that I'm so glad I was ignorant about. Because you know what they say about ignorance.

    It really is bliss.

    Here are the things I am so glad I didn't know before I had children.

    1. Imagine the most tired you've ever been. Then multiply it by a million. Then repeat for a year. This is how tired you'll feel when you have children. Especially if they're not sleep fans.

    2. Some days you will want to cut your own ears off to avoid hearing "Muuuuummmmmmyyyyyy" a billion times.

    3. Some times your other half may audibly chew in a way which makes you want to leave them. You do not want to leave them. You want everyone to leave you. Alone. Just for five chuffing minutes.

    4. You will have to stop painting your nails. Because you do not get five effing minutes of time that you can guarantee will be uninterrupted by, including but not limited to, requests to open Babybel cheeses, requests to attach a toy train to its carriage, a train to the head when your toddler decides he hates the train being attached to the carriage, a request to wipe someone's bum, dinner, breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks and a request to stand still whilst a 3 year old aims a disc shooter at you whilst saying, and I quote, "stand still Mummy, I'm trying to get you on the bonce."

    5. Tea and coffee will henceforth be lukewarm.

    6. That Pinterest board full of smoothies, quinoa and ab exercises will need to be archived because you will do NONE OF IT after having your baby, preferring instead to shower, sleep and change out of pyjamas.

    7. For the next five years, the only books you will read from start to finish will be The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo. Game of Thrones will take you YEARS.

    8. Not all children want to bake and paint. Some children want to play dodgeball and 'real life rugby' (proper tackling required)

    9. Children don't understand Christmas when they are one year old.

    10. Ditto first birthday.

    11. Children cost you a lot of money. Not because of presents. Because nappies, food, clothes. Basic human needs which child benefit, generous as it is, does not cover. Especially with the second child when you get half. Er, I know I've done it once but this one poos just as much so I need the same amount of nappies. And the first one swallowed all the food so we can't re-use it. We CAN re-use some of his clothes but we didn't plan very well and had our babies in opposite seasons (Summer and Winter) so the shorts number 1 was rocking at his first birthday party (see point 10) were not so great on Valentine's Day for number 2 (yes, his birthday is Valentine's Day. Nothing says romance like squeezing a human from between your thighs. I did get a box of Maltesers though).

    12. Hello jeggings. I can't stop wearing you. You wily false-sense-of-security lulling leg friends. You obviously want me to keep my baby weight. Why else would you have an elasticated waist?

    If you know anyone who's pregnant, don't tell them these things. If you're pregnant and reading this? Sorry. At least you can go shopping for some nice jeggings.
    Proudly linking up with

    Say What?! Ridiculous Things People Tell Pregnant Women

    Being pregnant seems to be an open invitation to friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers to give you advice and tell you anecdotes. I had all of these.

    They're mostly ridiculous.

    1. "Catch up on your sleep now - you'll need it when the baby comes." Yep. Obviously, after three months of no effing sleep, I wasnt actually tired because I'd slept a lot whilst I was seven months pregnant.

    2. "Not long now". Only ever say this to a woman whose due date you know. Not to a woman* at a kids birthday party when she's only 31 weeks pregnant. Because when she responds with an over-the-top smile, saying "no a little while yet. 9 weeks actually," she's actually trying to hide the fact that she wants to cry and/or smack you in the face.

    3. "Wow you're massive. Are you sure you're not having twins?" This is the pregnancy equivalent of saying to someone: "Wow you're massive. Are you sure you've not got an under-active thyroid?" A friend of mine got this a lot. She too felt the crying/smacking-in-the-face thing. She had one average sized baby. Which leads me onto....

    4. "Whoa you're gonna have a ten pounder!" Please never say this to a pregnant woman, especially one who has given birth before. The thought of birthing a ten pound human is utterly terrifying.

    5. "Was it planned?" Er, rude! You might think it. But never, ever say it.

    6. "Are you prepared?" Maybe people mean this on a practical level. I mean, they must do. In every other way you cannot possibly be prepared. Physically, emotionally and mentally just know that YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. Even if it's not your first baby.

    7. "At least you can eat whatever you want". Yep. Except Brie, raw seafood, rare meat, blue cheese, pate, runny eggs and anything alcoholic.

    8. "You'll forget about the pain of labour as soon as you hold your baby." LIES. Does it make it all worth it? My goodness yes. Do you forget about it, even with the daily reminder of continual bleeding from your lady parts? Erm, no.

    *Yes, that would be me.

    Me. The woman who was massive. But still had one average sized baby. Who planned to have the baby (and then another). Who hated that she couldn't eat Brie. Who fully remembers labour. Who is always tired.

    Proudly linking up with
    Rhyming with Wine