Wednesday, 10 August 2011

terrifying ignorance

I have been more or less glued to the BBC news website over the last 2 days, watching sections of our society break down with no semblance of law and order.  Normally I don't get very affected by the news, I tend to employ my doctor emotional detatchment skills (rightly or wrongly), but the riots have really upset me.  This is probably partly because I am pregnant again, and rather emotional all the time, but also it seems like the kind of thing that ought to be happening somewhere else, not in England, especially my home city of Liverpool.  It's also just so sad to see people terrified, people losing everything and people dying for no particular reason that I can fathom.  These things would almost seem more understandable if there was at least a reason, an actual protest about something that degenerates into violence is easier to understand than just sheer destruction and looting because people think they can get away with it.

The most terrifying thing about the whole situation for me has been listening to the one or two snatched interviews with "rioters" on the BBC website, found here and here.  The young people interviewed betray a shocking lack of any moral compass at all or even any logical train of thought.  Eg. "it's all about the govenment isn't it - the Conservatives whoever they are, it's all about showing the police we can do what we want."  Or the young men who claimed that young girls looting was wrong, if someone broke into their own house that would be wrong, but for them to be looting was ok - well not ok, but they were going to do it anyway, it was the government's fault because they couldn't stop them.  There was no real anger here, not even any clear idea of who they were rebelling against, no justification at all, but just a sense that if nobody would stop them, they would do whatever the hell they liked.  I found it chilling to listen and to think - has anyone ever even spent half an hour one on one with this child, teaching them about personal responsibility, or what society is, or any kind of empathy, or even how to think about something?  Or did they just decide not to listen?  I do believe that there is "a darkness in the heart of man", as Geoff blogged about here, and I do believe that those involved in the rioting should take the full consequences of their actions - any attempt to exonerate people because they come from a deprived background seems misguided, but listening to these kids made me wonder - how can so many people be growing up to think (or rather not think) like this?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

You know you've turned 30 when...

Slightly distressed today to find that the annoying adverts at the side on Facebook which normally want to tell me about how to have a flat belly and how to entertain my kids have changed slightly.  I have always presumed they are based on my demographic information and (hopefully) not my profile picture.  However, my demographic information has recently changed to that of a 30 year old, and here are the adverts I have today..

  1. FREE Garden birds CD.  "joyful birdsong to help you recognise and enjoy your garden visitors".
  2. Purchasing courses.  "study at home.  Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Courses"
  3. SHOCKING Wrinkle-therapy "52 Year Old Mother Looks 39 - Dermatologists are Scared and don't want you knowing this skin secret!"
  4. Patio awnings from £75 "you don't have to spend thousands to get a great quality garden awning."
I'm sorry - was I 30 or 50?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Skip to my Lou

For various reasons, I have recently been trying a bit more seriously to lose some weight, and have succeeded in so far getting 9lb off since Christmas.  I am now back to pre-mr moo weight (only took me 2 and a quarter years!)  Inevitably this has involved getting more active.  It's surprising how hard it can be to exercise with a toddler around - the buggy is now protested against most of the time, so I can't do a brisk long walk very often - more a slow short walk while restraining a small person with one hand, and with regular breaks to look at stuff like other people's gardens, snails, diggers etc.  Swimming - well that involves me standing in one spot while mr moo "swims" and I hold onto him, exercise DVDs cause boredom before we've got through the warm up, jogging...well jogging has never happened and probably never will.  So recently I've taken up skipping.  Apart from the obvious disadvantage of looking a little like I'm about to put pigtails in my hair and break out into some kind of rhyme about banana splits or double dutch, I think it may be the perfect exercise for mums of toddlers.  The rope cost me a grand total of £2.99 for one thing, so the cost per use will hopefully be pretty low.  The exercise itself is very high intensity so quite an efficient use of time - currently doing 60 jumps at a rapid rate will have me panting for about 3 minutes, although hopefully that will improve.  The skipping rope can easily be put down to go and retrieve a ball, break up a fight, wipe a nose etc and picked up again 2 minutes later.  The best advantage of all, though, is that the skipping rope can easily be used in the playground, the garden, my consulting room at work when my patient is late, etc etc.  I started off with a mum friend in our local park playground while the boys played together and we took it in turns to skip and run around after them.  It worked really well - I can see us starting a craze.  Maybe it can become the latest "yummy mummy" thing to do and I can work out some way to sell super stylish skipping ropes and motivational DVDs and somehow make my millions.  Or maybe the whole schoolgirl with pigtails image is just too much to get over?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The joy of complaining

My recent episode of uncharacteristic behaviour began when out shopping with mr moo (my 2 year old).  Walking past a menswear shop in our local shopping centre I noticed in the window, about 1 metre off the ground, an advert to win a "lads holiday in Ayia Napa" featuring a picture of some large and probably enhanced breasts, with strips of fabric about an inch wide covering them (no face was involved in the picture).  I saw mr moo clock the picture as well, and saw him think about it for a couple of seconds, but I don't think his vocabulary was up to framing the question in his mind.

I felt immediately angry.  Mr moo has seen breasts quite a lot of times, given that I get dressed with him around, and there are a lot of breastfeeding mums in our friendship group at the moment (and that I breastfed him until he was 14 months, but that was a very long time ago in his world).  He has recently felt the need to point out "mummy's boobies" when he sees them, but then he also likes to point out "mummy's drink, daddy's drink, my drink" at the dinner table.  I've been trying, by my actions and words to let him know that breasts are a natural part of a woman, private, but nothing to be ashamed of, and primarily designed for feeding babies (although I don't have much hope that last lesson will last him past puberty.)  I'm not ready for him to see the objectification of women, the lust and sexualisation of our culture that I'm sure will impact him all too soon.

But I kept walking, chuntering to myself in my mind about the irresponsibility of the advert and its placement.  It was on the way back that the uncharacteristic moment came to me.  Why, I wondered, was I internalising this anger and disquiet?  If everyone who was offended by this picture walked past without saying anything, it would just stay there, but it was quite likely that a quick comment to the management would make a difference.

Taking my moment of bravery/insanity/becoming my mother in both hands, and mr moo in both arms so he wouldn't make the encounter worse by running away at the crucial moment, I walked up to the middle aged man rearranging clothes on  the sale rack, and asked for the manager.  It turned out he was the manager, so I turned on my nicest smile and politest manner and explained that as a mum, I found the picture inappropriate and especially its position at children's eye level.  He was unphased, and said "oh yes, we've been told to tone it down a bit when we start getting complaints."  I thanked him and walked away, feeling encouraged that he was open to feedback, but wondering why the shop felt it best to push the boundaries of public "decency" as far as it possibly could, rather than just trying not to offend in the first place.  However, I suppose the obvious answer to that question is ... to sell stuff to men.

Today was the first time I've been back there, and, to my glee, the advert has been moved up the window, and the picture now shows three relatively clothed women, including faces!  However, I'm a bit concerned that the immediate success of my first attempt at this particular brand of complaining will seduce me gradually on down this path.   Maybe by the time mr moo is 15, I'll be the kind of toe-curlingly excruciating mother who complains loudly in public about the manners, morals and grammar of complete strangers, causing him to be traumatised for life.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Perfect Mother of the Day

Think I should definitely have an award for my "performance" today - washing done and hung out, favourite teddies, blankets and cars washed and cleaned ( to eliminate lingering conjunctivitis germs), child offered healthy food including oily fish, porridge and 4 types of fruit and veg so far, child (more surprisingly) ate some of all food, child taken for a walk to post office (exercise, and conversations re letter boxes and diggers en route), child engaged in creative activity (painting), child had refreshing nap, dinner pre-prepared and mortgage payments adjusted.  And it's only 3pm!  Maybe I should stay at home and achieve things more often rather than gadding about seeing friends and going to toddler groups.  Less fights to break up too!

Disclaimer: this post does not represent the normal state of affairs in the doctor/woman household.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Poem for Christmas Service

There's blood on the straw
on my face
on His hair,
my legs won't stop shaking
my belly is an empty wineskin
and pain blurs all the faces
except one.

He lies at my breast
looking at me,
so tiny, so immaculate, so real.
His wide clear eyes fix on mine
and I see eternity.

My heart is full of joy and triumph;
the women cry "a son, a son!"
as if I hadn't always known.
And I long to call Him mine
and I long to say "I made Him,"
but the shadow of Another holds me back.

The little face crumples;
His first cry
melts my heart to milk.
When I said "I am the Lord's servant,"
I thought that with this birth
my task would be complete I realise it's only just begun.

Sunday, 31 October 2010


Despite feeling I haven't got time in my life for even just the jobs that keep the house running, I have managed to find a little time (when I should be going to sleep but mr me is away) to update my blog a little. There has been a rather long pause in my posting, so thought I would list the "headlines" that have changed in my life since 2009.

  • Baby blue is not really a baby now - he will be 2 next month! Can't believe how big he is and how much he has changed - of course this is quite predictable, but I still can't believe it. For this reason I shall have to change his name on the blog to either mr moo or the noodle. Mr moo possibly expresses him better, but may be easily confused with mr me? Will maybe try both and see how it goes.
  • I finally finished my GP training in May, after much tribulation and stress over the winter. I now work 2 and a half days per week at a practice 12 minutes drive from my house which was one of my training practices. Some days I enjoy all of it, most days I enjoy some of it.
  • I am busy. Busy, busy, busy. I spend a lot of time trying to streamline my life so I save time for myself. But better not talk too much about this or I'll start whingeing.
  • I have developed an addiction to charity and vintage shopping. My favourite recent purchase was a vintage dark blue chiffon evening dress with hand beading around waist and hips. I wore it to our church ball recently and felt fabulous.
  • I have discovered how much fun having a toddler can be. Before having mr moo, I worried that I only really wanted a tiny baby and then would want to give it back.
  • I have also discovered how draining having a toddler can be. Sometimes I feel like an expert diplomat combined with a disciplinarian. Spend a lot of time not managing to finish a sentence without having to break up a scuffle, wipe a nose, prevent an injury or perform "bumping along on the little red tractor" again.
Well that's all the news I can think of right now. I'd better go to bed, as mr moo is still on British Summer Time.