143 articles Articles posted in Parenting

Living in a Digital World

Olpc-xo2I’ve written in the past that I’m definitely on the ‘for’ side when it comes to kids using electronic devices, and Sausage has a few which she uses regularly, including a Chromebook and a Nexus 7 tablet. She has a mixture of fun apps and sites that she uses, as well as some more education-driven content like the Babbel language app which she uses to learn rudimentary French. However, her time on these devices is pretty closely monitored, not least of all because looking down to use them has, on occasion, given her a headache.

That’s why, when Lenstore got in touch to ask me to take a look at the results of a survey they’d conducted and share it with my readers, I was pretty shocked by some of the findings. In the age bracket which Sausage falls into, 5-7 years, parents reported that their kids were using ‘digital devices’ for an average of 8.02 hours PER DAY, and of those hours the kids were predominantly using their devices for gaming. According to the survey, the main concerns expressed by parents were behavioural problems (31%), attention deficit (29%) addiction (24%) and eye strain (24%).

To be honest, my main concern is that some parents are letting their kids use a tablet or gaming system for EIGHT HOURS A DAY! No wonder these kids are getting eye strain! And, do bear in mind, 8 hours is an estimated average, which means that some parents must’ve reported times which were significantly higher, too.

The one part of the survey which did make me a little sad is that kids are also more likely to confidently use a mobile phone before being able to read or ride a bike. Parents these days are busier than ever, with many families being forced to have two full-time workers in order to afford to simply live, which means that it’s a lot easier for parents to let screens do their baby sitting, rather than having time to get the kids outside or teaching them how to ride a bike.

One thing which worries me is that less than half of parents surveyed with children aged 5-7 (41%) and 8-10 (49%) said they check their child’s online activity or even monitor their use of digital devices (5-7 year olds – 47% and 8-10 year olds – 48%). Husband and I are aware at all times of what Sausage is playing or browsing and we monitor closely which apps she installs, not just because of the potential for bankruptcy with the horrible ‘in-game extras’ which many apps advertise, but also because of the suitability of many apps. Kids are so computer savvy, which is mostly a good thing, but its all too possible to be too trusting of app developers when it comes to allowing kids to install things autonomously.

As long as Husband and I continue the way we are and monitor Sausage closely, I’m confident that we’ll manage to keep her safe and healthy, but I’m afraid to say that I can’t be so certain for other families.

Do you kids use digital devices? Do you monitor their screen time? Do you have concerns? Leave me a comment below.

“Is She a Good Baby?”

good baby bad baby“Does she feed well?”

Um, no, not really…

“Does she cry much?”

Well, yes, quite a lot actually

“Does she sleep well?”

She does…eventually. Once we manage to get her to sleep she usually stays that way, but it often takes her a while to get there.

These are usually peoples’ main qualifiers when they’re trying to work out if Buritto Baby is a ‘GOOD BABY’ or not, and I’m sad to say that she falls short in every category. I see peoples look of vague annoyance when I’m honest and say “well, actually, no!” when they ask these questions, like I shouldn’t be honest, like I’m betraying my baby by admitting her issues. Or maybe they just don’t want to hear the truth…supermarket chitchat should be light and happy, not filled with brutal honesty.

If I’m honest, I HATE the term ‘good baby’. No baby is born bad, and if they are falling short of the ridiculous eating/sleeping/crying standards that society seems to place on them, then there must be something missing or a cause for the unsettledness.

So, BB can be fussy with her food. She cries more than average babies. It takes her until midnight, some nights, to get to sleep. Does that make her a BAD baby? Does that mean that Husband, Sausage and I should be any less enamoured with her? Does it mean that her laughs and smiles and moments of happiness should be ignored, because BAD babies are simply BAD and nothing else?

No.

It does not.

I don’t care if BB doesn’t meet the requirements to be considered a good baby. I don’t care if YOUR baby breastfeeds until its 12, sleeps through the night from birth and has never so much as uttered a cry – that doesn’t make your baby better than ours, it just makes it different.

And besides, Sausage was the PERFECT baby, so we can’t expect lightening to strike twice, can we…?!

Effort vs. Intelligence: Are We Failing to Prepare Our Kids for Failure?

clever kidsA few weeks ago, Husband directed me towards a really interesting article in New York Magazine about how we speak to our children. The basic premise of the piece, which was actually published back in 2007, is that when we constantly tell our kids how ‘clever’ they are (especially if they actually are of above average intelligence), they’re less likey to try something if they think they’ll fail. The main subject of the piece, Thomas, actually shunned activities unless he thought he’d excel at them because he was so used to the cycle of praise and achievement:

But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,” his father says. “Some things came very quickly to him, but when they didn’t, he gave up almost immediately, concluding, ‘I’m not good at this.’ ” With no more than a glance, Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t.

It really got me thinking about how I speak to Sausage and the importance that I place on intelligence and academic achievement. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I felt, as a child, that too much pressure was placed upon my using my intelligence, rather than being encouraged to pursue things about which I was passionate, and despite making an enormous effort to nurture Sausage with whatever  it is that makes her happy, I know for a fact that I’m guilty of constantly telling her how clever she is.

Sausage definitely needs a little encouragement to push herself outside of her comfort zone, especially when it comes to physical endeavours, and I can’t help but wonder if we should have placed more emphasis on “what a fantastic effort you’ve made!” instead of “what a clever girl you are!” and therefore created a cycle of reward for TRYING rather than BEING.

Further to the theme of the article about ‘clever’ kids refusing to try anything which might result in failure, I think it’s also possible to create a culture of not needing to try – I know for a fact that if I’d knuckled down before my exams, I could have been an A student across most subjects, but I coasted and made very little effort, and ended up with mostly B’s. I was a clever kid, by no means ‘top 1% of the top 1%’ like the boy in the article, but a lot of what was written in the piece really rang true for me. If I thought I’d be ‘rubbish’ at something, I never even tried, but I also put in minimal effort at a lot of things because plenty of stuff came very naturally to me, too.

I also wonder if, as parents and society, we don’t teach our kids well enough how to cope with failure and disappointment. Perhaps if we were to teach them that failure is a natural part of trying and needn’t be viewed as a negative all the time, simply part of a learning experience, then they may be more willing to put themselves out there. I know that if I’d, as a child, been told “failure doesn’t matter, it’s the effort that counts”, I’d have been a lot more willing to attempt things that I wasn’t naturally good at.

What do you think, dear readers? Are we letting our kids down by being TOO encouraging, rather than letting them know that failure is okay? Or do you think that by allowing kids to fail, they’ll make LESS effort overall? I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

Parenting C.V.

parenting CVWith all the focus that seems to be on ‘working parents’ and ‘stay-at-home’ parents, I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in life. I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I can at all help it, I won’t be returning to a ‘traditional’ workplace any time soon, as I’ve been fortunate enough to have this blogging lark turn into something of a career in itself. However, if I were to ever return to a 9-5, I reckon I’ve gained a lot of skills in my role as a parent which mean I’m pretty much capable of anything an office job can throw at me. I thought I’d put together my parenting C.V. for you all to take a look at:

Name: Jayne Crammond

Age: 29 (although the bags under my eyes make me look more like 49…)

Skills:

  • Multi-tasking – Lots of people claim to be good multi-taskers, but until you’ve had two kids you have NO idea what true multi-tasking is. TRUE multi-tasking is going to the loo with a feeding baby strapped to your chest, or rocking a screaming baby in a buggy whilst doing a french plait in the other ones hair.
  • Manual Dexterity – When Sausage was a small baby, we went out for a meal with my in-laws, and halfway through the meal she decided to do a poo-cano of epic proportion. I got into the toilets only to discover that they didn’t have any chaging facilities, nor even a big enough flat surface to lay her on to change her butt. That day, I discovered that I’m able to balance a poo-covered newborn on the length of my forearm, change her butt, clean her up and dress her in a new babygro. SKILLZ, BITCH.
  • Working under extreme stress – Hey, look, I love BB but there’s no denying that she’s one vocal little pickle. If she’s not happy, she’ll let you know and her cries can reach a crescendo that would make Mother Teresa swear. In the past 10 weeks, there have been times that she’s done that cry, on and off, for 10 hours at a time and in that time I still have to function as a human being and perform tasks of varying difficulty.
  • Able to function at a moments notice – Having a baby keeps you on your toes and you really do have to be ‘Johnny On The Ball’ at all times. Just slid into a hot bath? Just dozed off after being up most of the night? Managed to find a single moment to use the bathroom with the door shut for the first time in weeks? Be prepared for something to go wrong while you’re indisposed and have to jump to attention.
  • Reliability – In previous employment, I’ve been seriously flaky, having sick days here and there. However, parenting has proved that I am reliable when it’s something I have an interest in. In the 2090 days since I became a parent, there’s not been a single day where I’ve decided that I just wouldn’t turn up.
  • Risk assessment – When you’re a parent, your risk assessment skills are second to none. I can walk into a place I’ve never been before and with a quick scan of the room, know where every trip hazard, potential head-bump site, child-unfriendly object, patch of dirt and source of heat is within about 15 seconds.
  • Diplomacy – I’ve dealt with some difficult bosses in my time, but none moreso than Sausage and BB! Explaining to a toddler why they can’t have Jelly Tots on toast and avoiding a meltdown or even just refraining from wheeling BB into the garden in her pushchair and leaving her to have her latest meltdown takes a level of diplomacy of which Kofi Annan would be proud.
  • Time keeping – Okay, so it’s not perfect, but being able to get up after minimal sleep, dress, feed and organise three human beings and get them all out of the door on time, in something approaching a presentable fashion? I’d say that’s a WIN.

So, I’ve told you mine now you tell me yours; what skills has parenting taught you which would be totally transferable to a professional CV? And on a serious note…isn’t it sad that we can’t actually use these on our CV?!

Nurturing Their Dreams

Kid dreaming of being an astronautWhen I was a kid, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I was older. I was a relatively intelligent child and achieved well at school, so from a very young age there were a lot of expectations piled upon me from parents and teachers. Eventually, I passed my 11+ and was sent to a grammar school, where instead of being the brightest in my class, I was one of many clever girls and I hovered somewhere around the middle, in terms of achievement. It was drummed into us from the beginning that we had to constantly have our eye on the distance – end of year exam results dictated which GCSE options we were allowed to take, and we’d need to choose the right GCSE’s to allows us to take the A-Levels we wanted, which in turn were for the purpose of gaining access to the right degree course at the right university.

I was, and still am, a fairly shiftless person. My big dream when I was little was to be an Astronaut – sounds far fetched, but I intended to join the RAF out of sixth form and gain University sponsorship from them, with the hope of going on to train to be a pilot. Once I was told that I had zero chance of flying a plane because of my horrendous eyesight, I went into something of a tailspin. I could never really pinpoint what I wanted to be, and the thought that my career would define the rest of my life never sat well with me anyway.

I can’t help but wonder if my childhood intelligence (which, I have to say, seems considerably dulled by age) is part of the problem. I remember, for a long time, thinking that I’d be a hairdresser when I got older, except when I expressed this to my parents, I was told “You’re too clever to be a hairdresser”. This became a running theme in my adolescence and my passions were trampled under the weight of what I ‘should’ have been doing with my brain. Drama became my new passion and I was pretty good at it, too. I’m fairly extroverted and love performing but once again, it wasn’t considered cerebral enough. I was allowed to take Drama at A-Level, but only as a concession because I took four other ‘serious’ subjects (Chemistry, Biology, English Literature and English Language).

As it stands, I flunked out of sixth form; the mounting pressure got too much and I found myself being anywhere but the lessons I was supposed to be attending. I can’t help but wonder if I’d have been more inclined to attend if I’d not been steered towards subjects that I didn’t really want to take?

Sausage is an incredible kid, with a great imagination, huge intellect (she’s currently reading books at home which are for 8-year-olds, because her school books aren’t challenging enough) and artistic flair. She’s got the potential to be anything she wants to be, but I remind myself almost daily that the key part of that sentence is “SHE WANTS”. We spend so much time telling our kids that they can be anything they want to be and then second guessing their choices because they don’t sit well with our plans for their lives and it’s about time we stopped being so bloody arrogant.

Just this morning, Sausage told me that we wanted to be a nail technician and masseuse. One side of my brain said “That won’t earn you much money. You’ve got so much more potential than that. Why don’t you do that as a hobby, instead?”, but I managed to stop myself from saying it out loud. I adjusted my brain and instead thought “If that’s what makes you happy, then I’ll support you”. And, isn’t that what’s important? Supporting our kids in their choices and nurturing their happiness?

It is to us, at least.

Living With a Baby Who Cries a Lot

crying-babySausage was a very quiet, chilled out baby. People often commented how little she cried and how she always seemed so content. The same cannot be said for Burrito Baby. BB has been dealing with a horrid combination of reflux, constipation and colic. Her special reflux milk causes constipation. The Infacol worsens the reflux. No one can tell us what causes colic but it all just seems to be a vicious circle which conspires to keep our baby in pain. Babies who are in pain cry. A lot.

Living with a baby who cries a lot makes you feel like you’re failing as a parent. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that every moment when they aren’t crying feels like a small victory. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that although every moment when they aren’t crying feels like a small victory, you live in a state of anxiety because it could start all over again at any moment. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel utterly guilty for not being able to soothe their pain.

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel utterly guilty for being relieved once they fall asleep. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you’ll try just about anything to stop them from crying. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that it’s not unusual to find you bathing them, walking them around the block in their pram, driving them around, pacing around with them in a sling…all at midnight. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you’ll feel closer to the end of your tether than you’ve ever felt before.

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel as though your heart is going to break when you look at their pained, pleading face and realise you don’t know how to help them.  

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel as though you can’t go on, that you’ve got nothing left to give…

but you do go on. 

You find that shred of resolve that’s hiding deep inside you and you go on, and eventually the crying stops, and although you feel as though you have pins and needles in your brain you use the quiet time to mend your weary soul so that you have what it takes to deal with the crying, if and when it starts all over again. 

BB has now been given Ranitidine for her reflux, which seems to helping. We’re so sick of seeing her in pain and feeling like nothing we do is helping, but we’re really hoping this will help her turn a corner. Dealing with this has made me realise how hard single-parenthood must be at times like this, and I’m hugely thankful that I have Husband on my team, doing late-night walks around the block with BB when nothing else will settle her.

Team Crammond vs. reflux – We will win.

Going From One to Two

sisters5Before we decided to have another child, it took a long time for me to come around to the idea. I couldn’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone as much as I loved Sausage and the trauma of her birth added to my fears. Eventually, I realised two things; firstly, that I wouldn’t be a ‘first timer’ when it came to maternity care this time, which meant that it was possible for me to make informed decisions and be more in control of my treatment, rather than being carried along with the choices of doctors who thought they knew best (and ultimately, let us down completely). Secondly, that if the new baby was anywhere near as awesome as Sausage, then we’d be seriously lucky people and giving our daughter a sibling was important to us.

When Sausage was born, being our first meant that we lived in a totally baby-centric bubble for many weeks, in fact we didn’t even take her out of the house for the first time until she was almost 6 weeks old! Husband was in a job which required him to work shifts of either 7am-7pm or 7pm-7am, and life was very fluid, revolving around the new baby. With Burrito Baby, things have been totally different; it doesn’t matter if she’s been up since 4am, I still have to be up at 7 to get Sausage ready for school. It doesn’t matter if she’s only just gone down for a nap at 3pm, I still have to take her out to do the school run if Husband isn’t around to look after her. While Sausage was able to dictate the routine, BB has had to (to an extent) just slot into ours.

Obviously, now I have 2 kids, I know that it’s more than possible to have the same strength of feeling for two as it was when we just had one. Your capacity for love doesn’t get split between the two of them, it doubles and fills up every space within your being. We’re all still getting used to each other and muddling our way through to form some new sense of normality, but one thing that’s for certain is that I love my girls an immeasurable amount and it almost seems ridiculous to look back at my previous fears about not being able to love another baby as much as I adore Sausage.

On the downside, there have been some tricky moments. In the same way that BB has to slot into what we have to do on a daily basis, newborn babies (especially ones with colic) have no regard for routine. Sure, Sausage has to get to bed by a certain time on a school night, but that doesn’t automatically mean that BB will stop screaming if we need her to and it’s made for more than a couple of tricky evenings of me at one end of the house trying to soothe an agitated baby, while Husband and Sausage try to block out the noise at the other, then swapping places. When Sausage was a baby, we didn’t have anyone to think about but her and if she screamed the place down, well, so be it.

It’s also been tricky trying to split ourselves into two, when both girls need us. Obviously, there are things that Husband can do if I’m indisposed and vice versa, but sometimes it feels like I need 6 extra hands. BB is a tiny baby and needs us to provide her with everything she needs for mere survival, but although Sausage is bigger she still needs us to be there for her as much as we ever were and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle. Luckily, BB is settling down and getting into a halfway-decent routine with sleep now, so I’m finding I have more time to do things with Sausage.

Obviously, these are just a few of the difficulties that come with going from one child to two and I’m sure we’ll encounter MANY more as the weeks go on, but the good is definitely outweighing the bad and we’re taking each day as it comes.

Night Feeds – Finding Our Rhythm

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Since Burrito Baby and I came home from hospital, we’ve been settling back into family life and trying to find a rhythm that suits us. As I mentioned in this post, I struggled with tiredness for the first couple of weeks, but with Husband’s help I managed to start to feel human again. We were feeding on demand at first, allowing BB to tell us when she was ready for a feed, but that posed a few problems; firstly, BB is an impatient little monkey. If she doesn’t get her milk pretty much as soon as she tells you she wants it, her screaming will reach fever pitch and, if you’re particularly slow, she’ll actually refuse the bottle once you manage to get it to her, or fall asleep from what I can only imagine is exhaustion caused by all that fuss.This then causes a knock-on issue, which is that we live in a very small house and BB’s urgent cries are likely to wake Sausage up, which is just not fair when she has school the next day. Also, she was waking herself up to the point that she didn’t want to go back to sleep, even after a feed.

So, we had to think of something new. With Husband’s help, I decided that rather than allowing BB to get to the point of screaming for a feed, we’d give her a bottle every three hours whether she asked for it or not. That way, she wouldn’t wake up to the point of no return and I managed to get some sleep between feeds. It worked for us for a while and I started to regain the feeling of being an actual human being, not just a milk-delivery zombie.

One night, though, I decided to push my luck – my alarm went off at 1am to give BB her next feed but she seemed to be sleeping really soundly so I thought I’d see how long she’d sleep for if I didn’t wake her up. She slept right through to 4.30am, which was a 6 and a half hour stretch! From that night onwards, I’ve been giving her a late bottle before I go to bed and she’s sleeping an average of 6-7 hours, uninterrupted, which is absolutely brilliant! Given that I took her to be weighed yesterday and she’s gained just under 2lb in 17 days, I think she’s probably having a bit of a growth spurt, hence all of the eating and sleeping, and if this sleeping pattern continues, I’ll be a seriously happy mummy!

For me, this is just further proof that ‘parenting methods’ are all well and good, but nothing will work the same way for every baby. When I had Sausage, I didn’t have a lot of friends with kids, nor did I have a lot of contact with other mums online, so I didn’t really know about ‘methods’, I did things instinctively. Turns out, my version of instinct was baby-wearing, gentle parenting, with a dose of baby-led weaning thrown in later on! This time, I’m trusting my instincts again, remaining fluid and open to change and it seems to be working for us.

So far…!

A Healing Birth

IMG_20140226_082159If you’ve read Sausage’s birth story before, you’ll know that it didn’t go at all to plan. The whole thing was a disaster, right up until the surgeon pulled her from my body in under a minute, saving her life and getting her into the world safely. It’s taken five years to consider the prospect of doing it all again, but as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my second daughter was delivered just over three weeks ago.

I had to be in hospital for two and a half days before I gave birth as I was only 36+6 weeks gone and had to have steroid injections to ensure that the baby’s lungs were properly developed. However, steroids can play havoc with blood sugar and being diabetic already meant that I needed to be closely monitored to ensure that I didn’t go too low or too high, as well as being on a constant insulin drip. I had to take my blood sugar, via finger prick test, every hour for the entire duration of my hospital stay, which sucked. The first night I was there, I managed a total of 45 minutes sleep, and the second night about 2 hours sleep.

By Monday morning, I was SO ready for my c-section to happen, despite being nervous about the whole thing, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait. Husband arrived before 9am and soon, the scrub nurse was ushering him off to get into scrubs and wellies (yes, seriously, wellies! Although, I must say, he looked rather tasty in scrubs!).

Walking into the operating theatre felt odd – last time, I’d been shoved through on a gurney and put to sleep in the space of a few seconds. Now, I was chatting and laughing with the theatre staff and being put at ease by Husband. The spinal was the part I was dreading the most, but I had two anaesthetists in the room, both of whom were very reassuring and kind, and not only was it over in no time, but it was SO much less painful than I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, feeling someone sticking a needle into my spine was slightly odd, but it was totally manageable.

Once they were sure that the spinal had worked, the screen was put up and the operation began. I could feel lots of pulling and moving around, but no pain – all of it was very odd! At one point, Husband stood and looked over the top of the screen, just in time to see the baby being pulled out of my tummy! She’d been very low down and had wedged herself in with one arm above her head, so the surgeon had to use one side of a set of forceps like a spoon to help him to scoop her out.

Between the moment she was pulled out of my body and the first time I heard her cry, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. The trauma of Sausage’s birth hung over me like the blade of an axe, but hearing her let out a cry made the horrible memories evaporate. I’ll admit, I cried right along with my newborn daughter, tears of relief and love pouring out of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to both the team who’d done my c-section, and the surgeon who’d managed to deliver Sausage all those years ago.

It had all gone to plan and my newborn daughter had been delivered safely.

After the baby was out, the surgeon took a long time sewing me back up and it really shows – my scar is almost invisible! One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was as the team were prepping me to take me to recovery; out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the nurses move something across the bed – it was only when I looked down that I realised the ‘something’ she’d moved had been my right leg, but I had no sensation in it at all!

Despite three miserable days spent hooked up to a drip, despite my tiredness, my bruised coccyx from sitting in a bed the whole time, despite being away from Sausage and Husband and despite all of my fears, I felt utterly blissful in the hours after the birth. It was such a different experience from my first c-section and I really felt like it had gone a long way to repairing some of the damage done to my heart and mind. Being conscious and hearing my baby’s first cry was something I’ll never forget.

 We were home within a day and a half and family life has steadily been getting back to some semblance of normality. We’ve discovered that the baby loves to be swaddled, wrapped like a burrito, leading to the name she’ll be known as here on the blog…Burrito Baby, or BB!

I’ve got lots more to tell you all about the first three weeks of BB’s life, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts. Also, there’s still time to nominate Mum’s the Word for Best Pregnancy Blog in the MAD blog awards, if you feel like doing us a favour…

Why I Don’t Care if Ellen Page is Gay

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I became aware of Ellen Page back in about 2006, when Husband told me about this film he’d watched where a young woman entrapped and brutalised a paedophile, mostly for shits and giggles, which had an awesome actress playing the lead role. If you’re aware of Hard Candy, you’ll know that a young Ellen Page gave a performance which was as convincing as it was memorable and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Skip forward a couple of years; Husband and a very pregnant me sat and watched Juno, a film which handled the issue of teen pregnancy with a grace that had never been seen before. Here, we were faced with a young woman who, while on the surface may have been a bit off-beat, was conscious and uncompromising in her decision about what to do with the life of the child that she knew, ultimately, she wasn’t ready for. Juno was a kid who fucked up, had an accident, did what so many others do, but the way she dealt with it (and the space and respect that her parents showed her in dealing with it) reflected what a kid can really do, under such enormous pressure. I cannot imagine anyone else playing that role.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching Ellen in various films, such as Inception, X-Men, The East and Whip It (a particular favourite which has made me desperately want to learn to skate so I can try roller derby!) and I can honestly say I don’t think she’s made a bad choice or put in a bad performance.

Aside from her impressive career, she seems to be a pretty impressive person, too. Away from the spotlight, the (self-confessed) “tiny Canadian” has involved herself with various humanitarian issues, such as campaigning to end the military dictatorship in Myanmar, Burma and also appealing for The New York City Food Bank.

Of course, there’s long been speculation as to her sexuality. Her ‘conspicuous’ lack of male escort at various award ceremonies never fails to set tongues wagging and her graceful but slightly awkward avoidance about whether she ever had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio in various press junkets leading up to the release of Inception caused even more hyperbole (although, quite why anyone thinks that’s an appropriate question of a professional actor, I don’t know. Would it ever have been asked of a man?!).

Ellen’s self-outing was delivered at the Human Rights Campaigns Time to THRIVE conference, where she decided to use her personal life, and effectively sacrifice her well-protected privacy, to campaign for the safety and well-being of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe. She’s unleashed her truth in the most conscientious way possible, in a way that doesn’t benefit her, but will hopefully help millions of other people across the globe. She says she’s “tired of lying by omission” and hopes that her coming out will help others to have the strength to be open about their sexuality, too.

So, while the title of this post may come across as slightly glib, I really do mean it. I adore this young woman and everything she stands for. As a mother to (almost) two girls, I feel that I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there are women like her out there, setting an example of strength and selflessness and showing that above all else, being yourself is the best thing you can possibly be.

Who Ellen Page chooses to fall in love with is of absolutely ZERO consequence to anyone but herself and her chosen partner and what I hope is that we can start to end the process of defining people by their sexuality. It simply does not matter whether a person is gay or straight or any of the other shades of the Rainbow. What matters is how they choose to live their life and the way they treat others around them. Of course, I believe people should be proud of who they are, and their sexuality, to an extent, factors into the person as a whole, but there’s so much more to everyone than that one small factor.

Anyway, its 4.16am, I’m sitting in a darkened maternity ward and probably rambling somewhat now, but I wanted to get my thoughts on the page and say that I wish Ellen a lifetime of happiness and love.

That’s all.