Another 6 things that prove the world hasn’t gone to shit…

Oh dear. The news.

Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary and the Department for the Environment and Climate Change has been scrapped, but astoundingly that’s not even close to the worst thing that’s happened in the past few weeks. If it’s not the ugly, power-grabbing underbelly of British politics then it’s racist abuse and attacks on our streets. If it’s not that then it’s the deaths of more innocent young black people at the hands of the police in the USA, or misguided, tragic attempts at ‘retaliation’ that also spread mindless violence. Then there’s more atrocious violence in Nice on Friday and Turkey not long ago (oh and the coup that seems to be occurring as I write this), as well as the continual bombing-to-shit of Baghdad by ISIS and the uncomfortable truth that we seem to care a little bit less when it happens there than in Western Europe or the USA. Then there’s the Chilcot Report, and all its unheeded reminders of the dangers of the ‘West knows best’ attitudes of so many powerful people. It’s enough to make you think that the world is unequivocally bad to its very core. Bleurgh.

Back in December, shortly after the Paris attacks and the UK’s decision to join in the bombing of Syria, I wrote a sort of ‘reasons to be cheerful’ post listing some actual good news stories that had been lost amidst all the horror. I thought that we could do with another one of those right about now. So here they are, 6 more things that prove the work hasn’t completely gone to shit…

1. Tanzania and Gambia just voted to outlaw child marriage.

On opposite sides of the African continent two governments have moved to put a stop to child marriage once and for all. 

Unlike the UK and many parts of the USA, parental consent is no longer a factor that can weigh in and ‘approve’ of marriage at an earlier age (nor should it be!)  – neither boys nor girls can marry before they’re 18. This will make it much easier for campaigners to save young girls from forced marriage, which can only be a good thing!


My favourite bit about this is how the Gambian president, Yayha Jammeh, affirmed his commitment to enforcing the new law:

“If you want to know whether what I am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow and see…”

Bad ass.

2. The United Reformed Church just voted to welcome same-sex couples to get married in their churches. 

This is one of those things that simultaneously shouldn’t be news at all and is actually AMAZING news. Slowly the church is cottoning on that loving who you love is something to be celebrated and marginalising LGBT people is probs not what Jesus would do.


Just last week the United Reformed Church voted to allow local churches to welcome gay couples to get married in their churches. Nice one.

Talking of churches…

3. One church in Tottenham has turned itself into a shelter for men that even charities won’t help.

A few years ago, one random church in Tottenham decided to put its money where it’s mouth was, literally. After every service the congregation stack the chairs away and give the space back over to its main purpose; a shelter for 50 destitute men. Many of them also donate 10-20% of their income to keep the shelter running.


These men are some of the most troubled people in our communities, sometimes addicts and thieves, sometimes dangerous – many charities and government services won’t touch them. By some miracle of bravery the church provides a space for people most of us would be afraid to walk past on the street, and they see results. A recent study estimated that For every £1 invested in Highway House, £5-£8 is returned to society due reduced strain on public services. Boom.

4. The Eiffel Tower has new wind turbines, and they are beautiful!


Clever engineering types have installed wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower and they are powerful enough to power the whole first floor (restaurant and all that jazz). Very clever, and very beautiful. Somehow they’ve also managed to make them look good and not interfere with Form of the iconic structure, daaaarling. (This video isn’t the best but you get the idea)

5. This guy…

Responding all of the racist, xenophobic bullshit that followed the leave vote, one lovely man posted this note through his neighbour’s door…

6. These guys…

Okay, this video isn’t new, but since there will inevitably much prejudiced nonsense spoken about Muslims and Islam after the Nice attack (#YouAintNoMuslimBruv), if you haven’t already seen this you really should…

This is the British version,  but check out YouTube for Dutch, German, Chicago versions and more. I defy you not to smile!

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Share the love, let me know some more good news in the comment section, tweet me or like my Facebook page.

‘Calm down dear!’ Mansplaining Brexit.

It’s almost two weeks ago now that a few colossal bellends managed to persuade half the country that voting leave would ‘stick it to the man’ whilst also making the NHS filthy rich. Sigh. A lot has happened since then. Mainly, two of most colossal bellends of them all have sort of just thrown their hands in the air, said ‘well, it’s nothing to do with me’, and then sloped off to write newspaper columns and go to dinner parties with their other Brexit-proof friends.

But it’s not them I want to talk about. Of course Nigel Farage is a cowardly plasticine-faced liar. Of course Boris Johnson is an over-privileged nonsense-monger who wouldn’t know a working-class protest vote if it pissed on his pasty. These truths were pretty self-evident to me from the outset, so this has been more of a confirmation than a disappointment to me.

nigel face

Ole plasticine face in all his glory.

The leave vote was a disappointment. A huge one. A heart-breaking one if I’m honest. And not because if will effect me in any real way; I’m a white, educated, employed British national who owns a house – I’m pretty Brexit-proof too. No, it’s because it just fucking sucks. But you can read about why it sucks on a million other blogs, so I’m going to talk about something else that got my goat in the aftermath of vote leave…

Like many people who feel passionately about the value of multilateral diplomacy, diversity and the free movement of people, I was pissed as hell on the morning of the EU referendum. Accordingly, I took to Facebook and I think I think I spoke for many with my succinct status update, which went something like “fuck this shit.” That’s all I had to say at that point. Luckily though, others step in where my usually verbose nature failed me.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, enter the mansplainers. When others get angry or sad about Britain voting to leave the largest economic and political union of democratic states in the world, thank goodness for the voices of reason, those who tells us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off; those who have no time for, you know, emotional reactions. *barely conceals rage*

They were all over the place! Everywhere I looked there was someone telling be to calm down! And no, they weren’t all men, but they were all mansplainers as far as I’m concerned.

Also, they were mostly men. White, British, privileged men. Left wing and feminist too, but still, like, sooo privileged. If that describes you then, you not, sorry but not sorry. Cos you guys need to know when to shut up sometimes, you have the floor for your entire lives, learn to pipe down occasionally.

There were three key arguments made by the mansplainers, and they went something like this:

“Calm down guys, it’s not helpful to call half of the country racist.”

Oh, isn’t it? Blow me down with a feather! There was I thinking hurling accusations of prejudice around at time of obvious division was a bloody brilliant idea! I mean, isn’t the best way to get across your differing political outlook just to shout ‘NAZI!’ really loudly at someone from across the street? It’s not? Awkward.

Of course this particular pearl of wisdom died down within a few days. You know, what with all the racism. 

The thing is that, as is usually the case when people dole out wisdom from on high, there was an abject failure to see the point. Leave voters weren’t all racists (I haven’t met anyone yet who thinks that they were, either), but the leave vote was seen as a win by racists; an implicit legitimisation for the shocking minority of bigoted, Britain-first garbage that has been rearing its ugly head since. Sorry leave voters, but shit just got real. This is the consequence of supporting a campaign that used refugee-fear as a persuasive tool. Deal with it.

nigel racist

The EU has failed us all, by taking in refugees. FFS.

“I think this a major lesson for everyone – social media is DESIGNED to be an echo chamber that reinforces your own biases.”

Yes, someone actually wrote this. On Facebook. Sigh. To be fair to the anonymous mansplainer there was a caveat about their own failings in this area but still, give me a break.

I saw  a lot of this around and about the place; the idea that the reason that we were all so shocked was we just listen to the ‘echo chamber’ of social media and treat it like a representative poll. Well, if you do that then – brace yourself – you are a moron. There’s a reason they’re called Facebook friends and not Facebook representative-samples-of-the-UK-population.

I wasn’t shocked because all my Facebook friends were voting remain (in fact I put an ironic status up about this before the vote and got mansplained to then, even after I’d explained it was a frickin’ joke!) I was shocked because the polls were close and I guess I just expected in the end that people would be cautious and vote for the status quo. Duh.

“One response is to simply throw our hands in the air, yelp in despair and give up. This is not an option. It would be irresponsible…”

This one comes straight from the pen of Owen Jones, who I usually love and largely agree with, but since the referendum result have found ever so slightly grating.

How lucky are all of us defeatist losers to have a figurehead like Mr Jones to shine a light in our darkest hour? I mean, I was literally going to give up on any idea of opposing social injustice or celebrating diversity ever again. I was just going to sit in my house and eat crisps and watch Love Island (which, by the way, will not be half as sexy when they can’t get Spanish visas anymore and have to film it on the Isle of Mann, brrr).

But I can still yelp in despair. Let me yelp in despair Owen!

“Okay, can the privileged white men on my Facebook feed stop lecturing people about ‘not demonising the disenfranchised’. Let us be angry for a day and stop being patronising fuckwits.”

Hmm, this may have been me. But I stand by it!

The very fact that there are so many people confusing the anger of Remain voters with some sort of haughty, middle-class disdain is pretty rich. I’m not saying that there was no class divide in this referendum – so please don’t mansplain the stats to me in the comment section, pleeeeaase – but what I am saying is that if all working-class people in all areas voted leave then how the hell would Scotland, Northern Ireland, Liverpool, Manchester and London boroughs like Newham have voted for remain?? How I ask ya?

I wonder if it ever occurred to the mansplainers that they were actually imposing a view on the ‘disenfranchised’ just as much as Farage and Johnson were. You don’t speak for them either, dickwads! And neither do I. I speak for myself, and myself is angry and confused and saddened by almost everything in the British media right now. So there. Now leave me alone and go and tell a woman how to put up a shelf or something.

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What do you think? Have you had the referendum mansplained to you one too many times? Or maybe you totes agree with the quotes I’ve put on here. Have your say in the comment section, tweet me @aafew or hop on over to my Facebook page.

The Archers Aftermath: 13 questions we’re all asking

free helen

Well, that’s it, despite my FOURTEEN suggestions of satisfying, Archers appropriate deaths for Rob Titchener that didn’t a) traumatise Henry or b) turn Helen into a stabby attempted-murderer, they’ve done both. Bloody BOTH. Not only this, but in the aftermath there has been literally nothing hopeful, apart from the odd magical appearance of Anna Tregoran (#TFITregoran). We’re all counting on you Anna!

Nope, instead of a nice, humiliating, satisfying end to Titchynob (as he’s affectionately known on Twitter) we have a horrible, bloody mess. And, frankly, more questions than answers. So here they are, or a few of them anyway, for the purposes of my own catharsis and your reading pleasure: 13 questions we’re all asking about The Archers. Continue reading

Of home births and hero worship.

Recently, it’s really struck me how we all (or at least those of us who spend too much time googling shit and carry around an abundance of middle class guilt) aspire to a certain kind of birth. Pain-relief free, in a birthing-pool and, ideally, at home. The natural way.

(Incidentally, this line of thinking partly started because of the whole Helen-home-birth storyline on the Archers, which has since paled into insignificance).

Before I go any further I should say – if you did give birth at home, then props to you. I ain’t no hater.

But I do feel like women who manage to do it all ‘naturally’ receive a particular, celebrated status. They are sometimes talked about in a way that I rarely hear women who had assisted births being described. “Such a hero”, “amaaazing” etc.  And I don’t think that status serves anyone. Because, for one thing, it dictates how you should feel about your labour. At home with no pain-relief? You should feel good! In hospital with an epidural and some ‘assistance’. Bad. Obvs. Continue reading

14 satisfying, Archers-appropriate ends for Rob Titchener…

Well, we all really hate Rob Titchener, don’t we? The Rob and Helen saga  has hit somewhat of a nerve among those who are used to tuning in to Radio 4 for 15 minutes of conversations about curtains for the church hall and the reassuring sound of lowing cattle.

rob and helen.jpg

Helen and Rob: it’s not okay

We’re all sensible, grown-up people (sort of), and really we want to see justice served. Rob should be exposed and held to account, preferably with a good helping of public humiliation thrown in. I’d like to see (hear) him shoved forcefully into the back of a police car by Harrison Burns during some sort of village green shindig, just so the whole of Ambridge can get a good view… and maybe throw a few pastured eggs while they’re at it. (my money’s on Rob for the hen house arson, by the way, for no other reason than him being a complete dick).

But we don’t want a trial on the Archers do we? It isn’t Brookside for goodness sake. No, we either want that all to happen in the background, and then for Helen to happily announce that “Rob’s got a 40-year combined sentence” (for fraud, coersive control, rape, sabotage, assault etc) in a few months time. Or… Well, we’d like him to die. Wouldn’t we? Continue reading

28 times we hated Rob Titchener a little bit more…

rob evil

Public Service Announcement: This man is the actual worst**

Is The Archers sending anyone else into a borderline-panic-attack state recently? Seriously, this shit should come with a trigger warning.

In fact, trigger warning. This post contains reference to eating disorders and domestic and sexual abuse. Sigh.

Catching up on Friday’s episode of The Archers, I was physically shaking. The Rob and Helen storyline is car-crash radio at it’s best/worst. It just gets more and more disturbing, yet I can’t look away. Actually, I might have to, it’s not good for my mental health.

So, in order to excise some of this trauma, I thought I’d share my anger/grief/fear with y’all. I’ve been on Twitter, so I know I’m not the only one with #RobRage. Please enjoy this rant/romp through some of the highlights of Rob Titchener’s most hateful moments. (put the kettle on and settle in, we’ll be here for a while). Continue reading

7 reasons we all hate Waybuloo, don’t we?

As my regular readers may know, I am big fan of using television as a parenting assistant, especially CBeebies. Bubs knows that ‘scissors are sharp’ because Mr Maker told him so. He also knows the difference between a stegosaurus and a triceratops, all thanks to Andy and his dinosaur adventures.

 I  like to take the piss out of In The Night Garden, and make valid/hilarious points about general gender stereotypes, but I hope CBeebies know just how I treasure their existence!

I can pretty much tolerate all of the programmes too. I mean, I’ll take a Hey Dugee or Dip Dap (best thing on TV) over an ep of the Teletubbies any day, but it’s all good, I can cope… I can even abide the occasional saccharine episode of Everything’s Rosie. But there’s one exception to this rule. When I hear the plinkedy-plonkedy music of the Waybuloo theme start I invariably let out an involuntary groan. Sometimes I even do a swear. Dear Reader, I just hate it. Continue reading

‘I can’t cope’ she said, whilst coping.

coping

We’ve all been there. On the sofa, still in your nightie at 4pm, sobbing into a cold mug of tea, probably with one boob hanging out, wailing “I just can’t cope” to anyone who’ll listen.

Whether this scenario conjures up memories of parenting or just recovering from a the-world’s-gone-to-shit level hangover, I’m sure many of you will relate. Especially around the #JanuaryBlues post-Christmas, come down period.

But back to work blues aren’t just for those returning to the office – they effect those on maternity leave too. You go from having family around, an extra pair of hands, maybe even the odd nap, to being alone again. Well, not alone, there’s a tiny small human being to take care of. *panics at the thought*

At anytime of year, having a bit of a weep is par for the course for new mums, and dads too I reckon. But for some of us it goes a little bit further than that. Instead of having a ‘moment’ (albeit a daily/hourly ‘moment’) at some straw-breaking-back time of the day or night, we start to believe these three little words all of the time. I can’t cope. We fear being alone with our child for any length of time because we seriously doubt our ability to just get through. We start to believe we simple can’t do it.

That’s what happened with me any way. And around this time in January, when my husband was heading back to work after the Christmas holidays I pretty much lost my shit. No joke of a lie.

I mean, it wasn’t just that, there were lots of other crazy-making things that happened, like not getting enough milk to breastfeed, and having a particularly screamy baby. (I know all babies are screamy, but seriously. So. Screamy.) Anyhoo, I ended up in a post-natal mental unit for mums and babies, as many of you will already know.

Whilst there I learned many things that helped me return to reasonable levels of sanity. Among them was that I did, in fact, have some skill at this whole parenting lark. I knew my baby pretty well and, even though he didn’t go 4 hours between feeds (barely 2 sometimes) and ‘tummy time’ made him cry furiously and eat the floor, he was fine. And so was I. Shock horror.

The thing is, most of the time when we’re having a sob about not being able to cope we are actually coping, in that very moment.

Have I just blown your mind? You’re welcome.

While I was in floods of tears, thinking I could never cope without my mum/hubs around to help me, there was this healthy, vaguely clean and, frankly, alive child right in front of me. He wasn’t ‘the contented baby’ (a fictional character, in case you’re wondering) we all dream of, but he was okay. More than okay. I think I just thought I should be enjoying it all. And I wasn’t, which really, really worried me.

Let’s just getting something straight – looking after a tiny baby is tiring as all fuck. It is a barrage of newness and sleeplessness and epicly daunting responsibilities. And sometimes it just a bit shit. More than a bit. Sometimes you won’t enjoy it because it’s mostly dealing with bodily functions and crying. That’s okay too. It doesn’t mean anything about you, except that you’re a normal human being. It certainly does not mean that you’re a bad mother!!!!!! (there aren’t enough exclamation marks in the world to emphasise that point, so I thought 6 would do).

And because it’s all a bit crap at times, it’s also very natural to regard an entire morning with no company and no planned activity with a mixture dread and battle-readiness. That doesn’t make you weak or mad, and it certainly doesn’t mean you won’t be able to cope with a morning like that.

So, if everyone else going back at work whilst you languish in the nappy-laden land of maternity leave is striking fear into your very soul, I want to tell you this…

Thinking you can’t cope isn’t the same as not being able to cope.* Is your baby fed? Vaguely clean? Cuddled often? Well then, you’re doing fine. You are coping. You’re worry, and you’re tired and you’re probably a bit bored, but you’re definitely coping.  It’s a bloody slog though, isn’t it? Bleurgh.

You’re a good mum. You are. Really, I’m quite sure of it.

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* if you’re in a situation like I was and have PND then it is of course possible that you really can’t cope alone, and that’s okay too. I got to a point where I was afraid I would hurt myself and didn’t feel safe on my own. If that’s the case for you then please seek help and talk to someone. You can also go to A&E if you’re really scared.

 

 

Baby’s first Christmas: a double whammy of ‘I should be happy’

Thinking about Bub’s first Christmas isn’t something I do a lot. Because, to be fair, it was a bit shit. Not objectively, but from my sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden numbness. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, and have tried to do my bit for those who worry about not feeling the ‘right way’ or doing the ‘right thing’ by injecting my signature caustic humour into the ‘parenting advice’ fray.

Today, in an uncharacteristically sincere and personal post for Mumsnet, I’ve reflected on that time in my life. It still makes me sad to really look at it, but it has been quite freeing too. Because now I look back and know I was, at all times (even the ones when I felt actually mad) being a good mum. I was always good enough for my wonderful child. And so are you, just in case you’re wondering.

I think post-natal depression gets stereotyped as something that snaps in straight after birth; a non-attachment that needs fixing. It conjures images of a woman rocking in the corner, hands over ears, ignoring her screaming child. While it can be those things it can also be something that creeps up on you so slowly that – in your focus on getting the whole parenthood thing right – you hardly notice it’s happening until it’s too late. I don’t enjoy reliving my own story, but I think it’s incredibly important that as many of us as possible do. New mums out there need to know that it all being a bit shit is, frankly, quite standard. So do please read and share this post if you think it’s message could possibly help any one.

Cheers me dears.

P.S. Comical Christmassy post to follow. Probably. I have got a life to lead.

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The Ages and Stages questionnaire: return of the cheerio!

Last month Bubs and I attended his two year development check. It was lovely. No, really it was. The health visitor was attentive, relaxed and encouraging; she didn’t so the ‘tick list’ thing that happened when we went for his 9-month check; best of all Bubs said the word ‘triceratops’ during our appointment… Oh yeah I’m winning at parenthood right now. #PunchTheAir. 

The NHS and health visitors and all that are good and should be fought for. Obvs. What I am yet to appreciate it the big fat questionnaire that drops on your door mat a few weeks before.

Frequent readers may be familiar with my rant about the Ages and Stages Questionnaire over a year ago. Well, people, it hasn’t gone away! Nor has it got any less infuriatingly specific/patronising/unnecessary.

However nice they are, however much your rational mind tells you it’s all normal and fine, it’s hard to escape that squirming sense of failure, isn’t it?

Not so long ago a letter inviting me and Bubs to his two year development check dropped through our letterbox. While I am mostly past caring nowadays, these tests (which of course aren’t really test, just a series of assessed activities that are scored and produce an overall result which claims to have bearing on the level of my child’s development) do give rise to a ‘must do well’ mentality I could live without. There’s nothing quite like the prospect of sitting in front of a health professional and explaining why you’ve ticked the ‘not yet’ box on the Ages and Stages Questinnaire to induce a bit of parental neurosis.

 

My parental neurosis face.

 
What’s more, most health visitors I’ve spoken to think it’s a bit of a joke. So why is it even a thing??

Think I’m being unreasonable? Well here’s auick analysis of some of the 2-year ASQ’s most mind boggling aspects…

A cooperative toddler?

At the very beginning the 30-question itinerary (oh yeah, I counted), just after the bit suggesting we should ‘make completing this questionnaire a game that is fun for you and your child’ a helpful piece of text informs us:

At this age, many toddlers may not be cooperative when asked to do things.

#NoShitSherlock. It continues…

You may need to try the following activities with your child more than one time. If possible, try the activities when your child is cooperative. If your child can do the activity but refuses, mark yes for the item.

Oh, Dear Reader, where to start?! Bubs is often in a mildly cooperative mood, but the idea that this state of play would necessarily lead to him completing specific tasks at my request seriously underestimates the will and imagination of a toddler. Also, I would imagine that most parents don’t need to be told not to try and make their little one line four blocks in up in a row when they are feeling ‘uncooperative’ (i.e. being a grumpy little so and so).

  
And what’s all this about my child being able to do an activity but refusing? If I knew he could do the activity I would have ticked the box already, I do have a life to lead you know! So how do I know if he can do it if he hasn’t done it? I am not into speculation or bending the truth, but when I ticked ‘not yet’ on his nine months development check it was deemed his problem solving skills needed monitoring. They didn’t. So perhaps this time I’ll be a bit more generous…

Seven, one-inch blocks.

‘Does your child stack seven small blocks or toys on top of each other by herself? (You could also use spoons of thread, small boxes, or toys that are about 1 inch in size)’

This one is particularly fascinating to me. Why seven? Why not six or eight? It just seems a bit arbitrary me, but I sort of like the idea that some researcher somewhere has found that balancing precisely seven, one inch blocks is the benchmark of two-year-old block-building potential.

 

This block is precisely 1 inch. Nailed it. No pun intended.

 
As you all know I am a diligent and caring parent, and so I duly selected seven small building blocks for bobs to build a tower with. When he was in a cooperative mood, I am invited him to build said tower, I invited him to build a tower probably three times. But he didn’t, he prefers to knock them down. Now, I know he has the motor skills to build a five block tower and if he really had to (which would in no scenario be the case) he could probably stack seven. So I’m going to tick yes, but is that a lie? To be honest, marking the ‘sometimes’ box would feel more duplicitous, because he never does it but he could, so, yeah…

Good Lord, I’m getting palpitations already.

Elementary jewellery making

‘Can your child string small items such as beads, macaroni, or pasta wagon wheels into a string or shoelace?’

Does anyone in England know what the fuck a pasta wagon wheel is? And is this something that any 24 month old child can do? (gloating parents feel free to comment below)

My theory on this one is that it is a conspiracy by child labour lobbies to see if we can get toddlers making Primark necklaces. My answer would be no. I did try, good girl that I am, but my boy could not have had less interest or ability with regards to this one. However, I did fashion a rather attractive penne necklace whilst trying.

 

Chic, no?

 
While we are on the subject, there is a MAJOR difference between a piece of string and a shoelace. A shoelace has that closed thingy on the end which makes it much easier to thread through holes. And I don’t mind admitting that I am not the sort of person who has spare shoe laces in my house, I never will be. I’ve accepted that about myself.

When we went to the check she had a shoelace and a cotton reel. Now that’s just cheating.

Return of the Cheerio

Undoubtedly the most infuriating thing about this questionnaire is its unashamed Americanness. No offence to my lovely readers across the pond; I have nothing against the US per se, but the fact that no one has even bothered to CHANGE THE BLOODY DATES AROUND makes me incandescent. We are talking steam out of the ears, batshit crazy.


Another steadfast American quirk is this survey is commitment to mentioning Cheerios wherever possible.

After a crumb or Cheerio is dropped into a small, clear bottle, does your child turn the bottle upside down to dump out the crumb or Cheerio?

Why not just say ‘crumb’ and leave it at that? Was the additional example of a branded breakfast cereal really necessary? Apparently in the US wholegrain, sugarfree Cheerios are a staple of little ones’ diets, but here they don’t really exist. And any way, I’d rather my child’s welfare be kept well clear of the selfish shitturd of a corporation that is Nestlé, thank you very much.

What we really want to know

I am 100% sure that my lovely, experienced, knowledgable health visitor didn’t need me to fill in this comically specific questionnaire in order to assess Bubs. In fact I imagine being given a tick list to fill in is more irksome than anything.  My theory is that there are two things we really need to know from these check ups, and she gave me both:

First and foremost, we want our child to meet and interact with a healthcare professional and for said professional to confirm that they’re happy and healthy and making reasonable progress towards growing up into big boys and girls.

Secondly, we’d really like a parenting approval stamp, please. A reassurance that our witless meanderings through  parenthood haven’t stunted any growth or caused irreparable castastrophy. We want to be told we are okay, as well as our children. An acknowledgement of this every now and again is really good for our mental health and confidence, which is constantly undermined by the countless Daily Mail articles and internet forums that tell us how and how not to parent our own children. (FYI, you’re doing it all wrong)

So go to the check, and listen to your health visitor, but take the 1 inch blocks and Cheerios with a pinch of salt, you’ll be all the saner for it.