Generally I’m all for nature; I like animals and insects, wildlife etc. but wood pigeons can just piss right off. Why? I’ll tell you why.
For the past three months the world’s fattest and most smug looking wood pigeon has perched its rotund self two metres from our bedroom window. There the little bleader proceeds to hoot is little fucking beak off at 4 am. 4 am!
How can a wood pigeon look smug? It’s all in the beak and the knowing beady eye that says “you can’t reach me here and I also grew fat eating the best cherries off of your tree. It’s 4 am but I don’t care. I’m a pigeon!” That pigeon is a git.
So I generally love wildlife as long as it doesn’t wake me up, give me smug looks, eat all the best cherries or perch just far enough away as to avoid me wringing it’s pudgy bloody neck.
“Don’t be a baby.” These words come to mind all too easily when speaking to my three year old daughter or when I’m feeling the baby blues. I’m not proud of it, but occasionally she is throwing a tantrum and I’m tired and I forget to empathise with her. Don’t be a bloody baby is what I’m really thinking when I’m crying because I can’t meet my outrageously high motherhood expectations.
I thought that acting like a baby was a bad thing until I had my baby boy five weeks ago. The birth was going well, quick and manageable until the waters broke, meconium was spotted and his heart beat stopped. My blood pressure dropped and we were off for an emergency cesarean section. Ten minutes later he was born and immediately taken to resuscitation and intensive care.
Don’t be a baby was what I was thinking as I was cried my eyes out on the maternity ward; everyone else had their babies. Grow up and think positive is what I felt when I saw him 12 hours later tubed and wired in an incubator. You are the adult was my mantra when I tried not to sob when Teagan came to hospital to see me and her baby brother, but as the week progressed my thoughts changed.
At just one day old he was fighting to breathe. Day three his infection levels were dropping. Day four I held and fed him as he was moved to special care. Day five he had no tubes, wires, monitors or nebuliser. Day six we took him home. He had been a baby. Totally focused on fighting for his life, to get better. No whinging about how bad his lot in life was, no guilt or self pitty just getting on with it.
Now I’ve slipped a disc and can’t breastfeed him. I felt like a crap mum and was full of self pity until I realised that I’m going to have to be a baby. Forget trying to be supermum and crying about what i can’t do and just focus on my recovery. Occasionally we all just need to be a baby.
This second pregnancy has hit me hard. Two stone of hard and I still have three months to go. I naturally decided to consult the oracle of professional research that is Google and see why some women are stick thin when pregnant whilst others get a fatter bottom.
There are the usual Mumsnet posts where sensible, supportive women talk logically about breastfeeding and enjoying your pregnancy body whatever shape it may be. These are not the kind of answers I am looking for, they are too well thought out and comforting. I want internet hokum. Then I saw it. A “scientific study” quoted in a Daily Mail science article. Pseudo science jackpot baby.
This is normally the point at which I give a snort of derision. Not only is it an article in the middle minded sensation rag that is the Daily Mail, it uses the term “many scientific studies”. These articles usually send me off on a rant about how proper science is being undermined by vacuous science interest stories tagged onto the end of the evening news; like the waterskiing parrot or skateboarding dog trotted out on the local news as a last laugh but this is my convenient science answer and it made me laugh more than the mumsnet posts.
It is obviously a pointlessly rubbish news interest story. Women with fatter bottoms produce more intelligent kids. There you have it. The Daily Mail says so so it must be true. This kid is going to be a genius! I’m going to quote this on mumsnet and see how many women take the bait and have a massive rant. I know I would.
Teagan’s new obsession is the carousel in the main square of town. It’s a Victorian roundabout with horses, elephants and Teagan’s favourite, a swan. It’s the epitomie of innocent joy. She clenches her fists and jumps on the spot with excitement when she sees it, every time like the first. Her little face ecstatic with an ear to ear smile as soon as she steps onto the platform and pays the man €2 for the privilege of being conveyed in a small circle for 2 minutes.
Her pure joy makes me both happy and sad. Happy that she gets so much pleasure from such a sedate passtime; like a Victorian and their first thrilling experience of automated speed and frivolity. The excess if it all. Sad because she is going to grow out of this pure innocence and joy at some point. That phones, tablets, TV, rollercoasters, bigger, better faster will eclipse this small experience.
I can’t keep her a toddler forever and I wouldn’t want to. I want her to grow up and become a wise and experienced person, one able to look after herself and not be led by others. To have some world wariness but not to lose her innocent joy at the small and large wonders of life. Having said that, today I saw some of that same innocence and joy in the face of my 62 year old mother. Once whilst she was watching people come down a massive water slide in a fun pool and then again as she sat looking out of the front of a cable car descending a mountain. Teagan is lucky to have a person like this in her life and I hope that she keeps seeing the wonder in the everyday, that it continues to excite her and bring her joy.
You’re told never to live through your children but I can’t snowboard at the moment and Teagan’s just learning so I’m getting my mountain fix through her. Back in the early 2000s, when I was learning to snowboard, there was no chance of being upstaged by a mini grom pulling a 360 whilst I was failing to link my turns.
None of us had kids and even if we did would we be teaching them how to board? The only children you saw on the slopes were there snakes of ski school kids cutting you up and forcing you back into the falling leaf. The percieved wisdom was that children needed to ski first and couldn’t learn to snowboard until they were at least eight.
I’m not really sure why people thought you needed to be older than eight years old. Some said it was bad for the child’s developing bones, that their muscles weren’t strong enough or that they didn’t have the balance. Now things have moved on. Snowboarders have children and boarding brands needed a new market to explore so what’s more profitable than children?
My husband Alex learnt to ski as a child and found learning to snowboard incredibly easy. I didn’t. We were both in our mid 20s and fairly fit but I struggled with edges, balance, turning, fear and confidence. He didn’t and it really annoyed me. I do wonder if we should teach Teagan to ski though. She finds it difficult to do controlled stops and often falls over laughing. On skis she could learn the pizza and chips method to control her speed (skis in a triangle to slow and stop, skis straight to go fast). This might give her snowboarding skills depth and allow her to choose her own path.
At the moment we both snowboard though so it makes sense that Teagan does too. With the advancements in boards, boots bindings and clothing for children it’s safe, warm and fun for her as well as hugely heartening and entertaining for me. I can’t wait to get back out on the board with her next year and I’ll happily be upstaged by a 3 year old with a grom pack.
Why am I so against my daughter being immersed in Disney? I know why I personally don’t really like the corporation. Their portrayal of female characters, poor factory conditions and workers rights when producing their merchandise, the vacuous content of the Disney channel aimed at dumbing down and sexualising pree teen girls for instance but that aside what else is wrong with Disney? I did some research and there is a lot out there for and against the multi national corporation that controls not only Disney but Miramax, ABC TV, Marvel, Star Wars and The Muppet Studios to name but a few. I’m not going to bore you with that now as I need to research further so I can bore you with more accuracy at a later date.
Teagan hadn’t seen any Disney films until a combination of moving house, living with my parents, an operation on my foot and an unwell dog led me to the need for a lazy parenting day and the kiddy cocaine that is Disney’s Frozen. It was a gateway film that led to Cinderella, Tinkerbell, Inside Out, Up and the Toy Story films. Teagan was obsessed with Elsa. My problems with this were multiple. Not only does Elsa show her emancipation by becoming a becleavedged, strutting minx she also manages to virtually kill her sister whilst singing a multitude of annoying songs. I did buy Tea an Elsa-ish play dress though so I can’t moan about that one, I indulged her. Then she moved on to Tinkerbell; a character who is surrounded by female role models with Bratz esque features, Tink also wears a dress that isn’t big enough to cover her fairy dust. Teagan has now moved on to Evil Dr Pork Chop (Hamm from Toy Story). Finally, a character I can get on board with, it’s just a shame that he’s a he. I like that he has an advanced level degree, albeit an evil one. Maybe I’ll need to start saving for evil medical school for Tea, how much is that? He does wear a Pete Doherty style hat though. Imagine the shame and sesnse of failure as a parent if your daughter were to bring home a boy or girlfriend wearing a Pete Doherty hat, or worse, wearing it herself. I need to trust that we are bringing her up right; that she’ll be able to understand that there are poor popular cultural role models such as Disney princesses and the Kardashians (or worse, Doherty & Bieber for instance) but that women are more than their movie portrails & media stereotypes. That women are strong and independent and that they too can be evil Dr dictators.
Teagan is two as she likes to inform everyone. Ask her how she is and she will say “I’m two”. I know that how are you? and how old are you? can be easily confused but maybe she is on to something. She is two. This means that someone wipes her bottom, makes her food, provides her with an abundance of cuddles, kisses and bedtime stories. She gets to spend her days playing with other toddlers; casing around, having fun, playing with toys and learning new things. She gets carried home after a long day and her bath is prepared for her. When she finds it difficult to manage her emotions she gets someone to talk her down from a massive tantrum and she’s over it in a few minutes. She finds endless joy in parks; roundabouts, slides and swings, chasing butterflies and jumping into puddles, snow drifts and piles of soft leaves are sources of immense pleasure. So maybe her reply to the question “how are you?” is all that needs to be said. I am two.