Parenting

What’s in a name?

When I was pregnant with Sausage, I think I drove my husband a little bit mental with the name-choosing process. I pretty much ruled out any name which already belonged to anyone I had ever known, save for the potential of naming her after a relative. I also ruled out any names which gave her ridiculous initials, rhymed with anything which could be used against her (probably from years of being called Jayne the Pain/Bane/Drain by idiots with limited wit) or belonged to a celebrity who I found objectionable. I also ruled out any names which I felt may be prohibitive to her as an adult. Nobody wants to be treated by a Doctor or represented by a Lawyer with an overly twee name like Precious, surely?!

What I am trying to say is that we thought seriously hard about the name we gave her.

Which is why some people’s choice of name for their offspring really makes me see red.

My husband and I got married in the Maldives and on our way home, there was a kid on the plane, and it doesn’t help that he was an irritating devil-child with whom I was stuck in a pressurised metal tube for 11 hours, and his name was…wait for it…Skylash. Seriously.

I hope I don’t offend any of my readers, but I really feel that people should THINK about what they name their kids. Parents who choose certain names for their kids, just because they like it are utterly, utterly selfish, and deserve to be told such.

Let’s take Sarah Palin. Now, I know Palin bashing is a bit trendy at the moment, and I don’t give a shit about the crazy bitch’s politics, but she named her kids Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper. Aren’t those first two the names of classes taken in American high schools? I’m guessing she’s also never been to Bristol in England…if there was ever a place which you wouldn’t want to name your kid after, Bristol is high on the list.

I’m not going to do the whole “look at this list of ridiculous names that celebrities give their kids”, cause let’s face it, we’d be here all day.

But what is on the minds of these people, when they look at a tiny, beautiful, vulnerable baby and think “I know! I’ll name my kid Audio Science” (That’s Shannyn Sossamon’s son, just in case you wondered) Do they not worry about the bullying, the derision and the barriers that their kids will undoubtably face, because of their arrogance and their need to be different?

I know we can’t live in a world where everyone has the same name, and I wouldn’t want to, I enjoy and embrace diversity. But I think that when it comes to kids names, there is an extremely fine line between diversity and flat-out cruelty.

When we chose the name for Sausage that we were finally happy with, though it’s a traditional and old-fashioned name, we still received some opposition, people who thought she’d grow up to hate her name. And to an extent, I suppose I have to hold my hands up to a degree of that arrogance, the part of me that said “Well I like it, so I don’t care if anyone else does”. I guess that happens when anyone names a child, regardless of how popular or traditional the name is.

All I’m asking is that we at least give the kids a chance…you know?

I’d love to know where you all stand on this, do you think I’m being over the top, or do you agree? What is the strangest name you’ve heard? Have any of you given your kids out of the ordinary names, and faced adversity? Please comment and let me know!

Opinion · Rant · The Internet

Facebook is making me die inside.

I have a bit of a Facebook problem. I spend far too much time checking my Facebook, time when I should be, you know, parenting Sausage or doing housework or something. I’m more than happy to admit that my main motivation for having a Facebook page is my innate nosiness. I love to look at other people’s pictures, read snippets of what’s going on in their lives.

I have 343 online friends, the majority of whom I know in real life…well, sort of. I mean, how well do you really know the girls you went to school with ten years ago? There are quite a few people who I went to school with who I was really happy to get back in touch with, people I truly value but whose lives took such different paths to mine that we lost touch, but on the whole, I barely even knew these girls ten years ago. Now I wish them happy birthday every year and read about their pet cat getting scurvy.

Another little addiction for me is the ‘like’ button. I’m definitely the type of person who gets a kick out of the immediate gratification you get when you update your status and people click ‘like’. I mean let’s face it, why do we update our statuses if we don’t want people to read it, like it and relate to it? It makes us feel valid, doesn’t it?

But why the hell do I need someone who I haven’t seen since primary school ‘liking’ some glib remark I’ve made about Cbeebies to make me feel valid? Does that not say some really negative things about my personality, or is it just all part of the human condition, the condition which made that kid Zuckerberg worth $6.9 billion at the age of 26 (good God, he’s my age? *retches*) So, it’s obviously not just me, is it?

The trouble is, I’m a pedant. I don’t claim that every sentence I write is beautifully composed, with impeccable spelling and grammar (though I do try). But the ‘Facebook insight’ into other people has made me seriously question the level of education in this country. And I’m not just talking about the odd typo, I have at least one ‘friend’ who I’ve only just discovered is virtually illiterate. I’m dead serious. I try not to get too enraged about it all, but when another friend ends EVERY sentence with at least three exclamation marks, one has to wonder what the hell it is that they’re getting so excited about!!! That is the part of Facebook which makes me DIE INSIDE. I check everything I write and go back to delete and re-write whole statuses if I think they don’t sound right, or have a typo. How can others not give a shit that what they’ve written may as well be in Sanscrit?

The other thing that is sometimes lacking on Facebook  is a sense of context. Last year, I joined an online group created by people who were taking the same Open University course as me and I thought it would be really handy to be able to discuss the assignments and issues with a group of my peers. I also received ‘Friend Requests’ from a few of the people in the group, and happily accepted. We were a mixed bunch of varying ages, sexes and circumstances, but we fired up some great debates and helped each other along the way. Then, one day a discussion started about a particular issue which was being played out in the media and based on my (what I thought were fairly standard, by no means radical) comments, two of the women in the group decided to delete the whole conversation, delete me from their friends list and actually go to the effort of blocking me from ever seeing their profiles again.

If these women had known me, if they’d actually thought about the context of the conversation, they would have realised that what may have seemed like a reactionary comment was actually quite a reasoned and reasonable statement to make. Or maybe they wouldn’t. That’s the thing with Facebook, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Either way, their blocking me was no great loss and I’ve managed to get through life quite happily without their judgement. But really, doesn’t it all seem like hard work? Making sure we don’t offend people we don’t even know? I have enough trouble censoring myself for the people I know really well!

All I know is, I’ve been trying to lay off of Facebook a bit lately. I’ve not completely quit as I know there are people who I’d really miss. But on the whole, it’s losing it’s appeal. My cousin was actually brave enough to delete her whole profile, an action of which I will forever be in awe.

But at least there’s always Twitter.

*UPDATE* – I deleted the illiterate friend. I know that seems harsh, because I think she’s probably quite a nice person, but I don’t want my blood pressure to go up every time I read her status.

Also, does anyone else have *those* friends, you know, the ones who say deliberately veiled provocative things like “Phoebe is spending her afternoons sunbathing in the nude in her garden”. You just know they’re sitting there going “Ooh, how can I get people to think about my tits, without actually coming out and saying “hey everybody, think about my tits!” and thus garner an extra molecule of attention out of my friends?”. Or those ones who invent a personality for themselves, which you’re pretty sure doesn’t exist outside of Facebook?

Yeah, those people make me feel a bit nauseous.

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Parenting

My overactive guilt gland.

I should probably have been born a Catholic.

Nah, screw that, I’m far too lethargic/apathetic to remember to pray all the time and go to church every week.

But I do have a guilt complex of which a Catholic would be proud.

I feel guilty about EVERYTHING.

You know when you eat a can of baked beans? If I leave even one bean in the can when I empty it into the saucepan (oh alright, microwave dish, I’m not shit-hot enough at being a wife and mother to use metal saucepans to heat things in. But I digress…) I feel actually properly guilty about leaving that one bean, alone. Alone and unable to fulfill its life purpose as a baked bean, which is to be eaten by my child.

I think I can pinpoint when this all started, and just like every other sob-story, it harks back to my parents separating. Let me just say at this point that I don’t hold either of my parents responsible for this. I think I was born this way. But I do distinctly remember being picked up by my Dad on a Saturday and feeling a huge pang of guilt about leaving my Mum for the day. It didn’t occur to me that my Mum was probably doing the freedom-hokey-cokey in our living room (I was an extremely attached child, I do believe she’s recounted stories of using the loo with me on her lap, which makes it feel like it’s poetic justice when I do the same with Sausage).

But it didn’t end there. Every time my Dad dropped me home I would get so overwhelmingly sad about leaving my him to go home alone that I would sit and cry in my Nan’s hallway.

Wow. This has turned out to be a bit depressing. I didn’t mean for that to happen, this was going to be a post full of scathing witticisms, but I like the way that my blog posts start one way and I think they’ll follow a certain path, but end up leading me somewhere totally different. I guess it’s part of the catharsis.

These days, my guilt is just as prevalent. My husband tells me that I say sorry an unreasonable amount, and that I make him feel like an ogre with my constant apologies. And I don’t do it because I think he’ll be annoyed with me for forgetting to put a sweetener in his tea/leaving his oldest, favourite t-shirt too near the hamster cage so that Happy drags the sleeve in and eats it/doing my best Master Blaster impression and accidentally kicking him the balls. It’s because saying sorry is the only way I know how to purge my guilt, to let people know that I take my own mistakes really seriously. Although, that’s the problem, being my own worst critic means that more often than not, things I perceive to be grave errors are nothing more than a trifle.

Motherhood seems to be a whole barrel of new things to feel guilty over. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I love being a mother and I love Sausage more than is probably healthy. But I worry that I should be doing everything differently and feel guilty that I’ve done things a certain way. It doesn’t matter that Sausage is astoundingly bright, well-rounded and sociable. I still feel guilty that I don’t read to her enough, or didn’t take her to enough activities and groups when she was little.

But where does this get me? Abso-bloody-lutely nowhere.

Guilt is like an anvil that you wear around your neck, and it gets a little heavier each day. So how do we cut it loose?

I can honestly say; I have no idea. I’ve been this way my whole life. I wouldn’t even know where to start trying to change the habits of a lifetime.

If anyone has any idea of how to do that, maybe you could let me know. Until then, I’ll say goodnight….and sorry, just in case!

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Opinion · Parenting

Things you never think about…until you become a parent.

  1. Note to self; I must remember that Sausage has been eating lumps of red Play Doh, before I change her nappy and panic about all the red bits in her poo.
  2. Hmm, I wonder if there’s a more practical way to deal with an attached child than to have them actually sitting on your lap while you pee?
  3. Oh, wow, she moved over a bit, that means I now have FOUR WHOLE INCHES of my kingsize bed, all to myself!
  4. I wonder if I can cut her hair/fingernails/toenails while she’s asleep, so I can avoid being kicked in the teeth/stabbed?
  5. I wonder if Aunty Mabel actually took flying lessons so that they could get those shots where she’s flying the plane, or if it’s a man dressed in a wig and headscarf? Also, what happens if Pippin needs a pee or a poo while she’s in the air?
  6. OHMYFUCKINGGOD, stepping on a Peppa Pig toy hurts more than stepping on a plug. A plug which has been sharpened for use as a weapon.
  7. I wonder if I have time to wash my hair today? No? Okay, it’s only been a week anyway.
  8. No, Mylene Klass, I will not be buying your range of kids clothing from Mothercare, on account of the fact that I don’t want to dress my kid as a miniature hooker.
  9. Wow, I actually empathise with the woman at the next checkout over who is trying to wrangle a screaming child whilst loading a weeks worth of shopping onto the conveyor belt. Because sometimes, kids scream, just because they feel like it.
  10. Oh. My. Goodness. I had absolutely NO IDEA that is was possible to feel this much love for a person, and be so obsessed with their every move, like it’s an addiction and you just can’t get a big enough fix. In fact I think I might just go right ahead and explode and cover everyone with my insides which look like a big rainbow, covered in hearts and bunnies and sugary treats, all because I love my baby SO FUCKING MUCH.

Dedicated to Sausage, who makes my heart grow bigger, every day.

Rant · The Internet

OH NOEZ, NOT TEH INTERNETZ!

So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve made a couple of changes on my blog. First of all, I’ve removed any trace of my daughter’s name from my posts, and have removed the post which contained pictures of her. Secondly, I’ve also removed my Husband’s name from all of the posts.

They will, forever more, be known in the blogosphere as “Sausage” and “Husband”.

Now, I’m well aware that this may seem like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, but I’ve only had really positive feedback so far, so I’m hoping the nice readers that I’ve had up until are not the type to go and use our identities for nefarious purposes.

When I started this blog, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t really think anyone outside of my friends and family would read it, but I had moderate interest from others and, whilst this is a pleasant surprise, I now feel a bit like I’ve hung my family out for all to inspect.

I will continue to mention Husband and Sausage in my posts, but I’ll try not to be as…personal. The older I get, the more I find the internet to be a scary place. I don’t want pictures of my kid to be found on hard drives of dodgy people and I don’t want our identities to be somehow used against us.

I hope you’ll continue to read, and bear with me while I adjust to their new monikers.