Friday, January 26, 2007

A Man's A Man For A' That

It may have been the national celebration of Robert Burns birthday yesterday and no, we didn't partake of the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner (as yummy as that is, no really it is lovely), but today was the 'Scottish Assembly' for the Hobbits at school. Have heard snippets of what happened, lots of 'so and so from such and such a class' going on stage to recite his poems and I spent yesterday afternoon running around trying to find tartan for them to wear. I mean really, Linlithgow is a tourist town, I just couldn't think of anything in time, had I gone into Edinburgh we would have had tartan to clothe the entire town.

A lot of the children wore kilts, but unfortunately the Hobbits don't have kilts, would look cute though. The Hobbits now know Robert Burns although they don't realise his importance yet, or the fun in some of his poems. He calls government 'a parcel o' rogues' can you think of a better description! Youngest hobbit came out with the quote of the day. As we were walking out of the school he told me "Mummy, you know Robert Burns wasn't at school today" I should hope not, he has been dead 200 years. "No, he was in his spaceship."

I must have missed something when we were getting taught Burns poetry at school, I don't recall any spaceships.

My favourite tale of Burns's life is when he was out for a country walk one day and happened on a young milkmaid carrying her yoke. A reknown womaniser Burns introduces himself, the milkmaid sighs and says "will I put the buckets down now then?" Class.

Yesterday morning was awful. Let me just say that if you think of saying what you really want to someone and that you will find some satisfaction in it, then you are wrong. Even if you do not resort to swearing, name calling, fisticuffs or below the belt remarks. You will neither feel dignified or happy in yourself even if you get the upper hand. As I was once told, if you get down in the dirt with the pigs you just make yourself dirty, and the pigs like that.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

300 Years Ago

It was 300 years ago that the 'parcel of rogues' signed us over to the English. A contentious statement but true. I imagine that if Scotland didn't have as many resources then the Union would have ended long ago and perhaps, considering the current feeling perhaps the Union is soon to end.

There is debate on both sides and, more infuriatingly, mud slinging. The English call us scroungers (must have seen the ridiculous amount spent on benefits and anyway we get a lot less than the Northern Irish and nothing is said about them), we call them bullies. It is an antagonistic relationship that does not hold when one person speaks to another and we cease to see them as English/Scottish and start to see them as individuals.

I think England would benefit from our Independence in gaining back their own culture as a separate state. Yet, having heard all my years about the "Queen of England," and the use of England when it should be Britain, they hopefully could try and understand the frustration of being denied a voice. Even if we moan, we are good at it. Both countries have good and bad points in their psyche.

Would a split make us respect each other more? We would need to wait and see. There are a lot of English living in Scotland, we must be doing something right.

Oh and there was no party to celebrate the Union, but there was a new £2 coin. There is a moral in there somewhere.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One of Two, Two of Two

As Husband calls the Hobbits a rather Trekkie name I ponder on the whole world of multiples.

No, I am not going to embarrass myself by navel gazing or anything wistful or superfluously pensive. This is all brought about by watching Nanny 911, an American take on Supernanny using British nannies to sort out American families. Nice to see American tiddlers can be as wild as home grown ones.
So this episode featured a family with triplets, one girl and two boys (didn't say if the boys were twins or not as can be the case with triplets, with one split egg making what would be twins triplets instead - end of technical discussion.) The tiddlers were 3 years old, cute as anything and although naughty it wasn't in the sense that you would think they should be sending them to boot camp. Turned out that the mother unknowingly had been favouring youngest boy over eldest leading to the youngest being spoiled and the eldest having esteem issues.
To put it bluntly, the eldest was being ignored, punished for things his brother was getting away with and it was not only heartbreaking to watch (look, real tears I had in my eyes and all) but was leaving the poor boy confused and lonely. There is nothing that will tug at the heart of a mother more than seeing a child treated like that, his big sad eyes pleading with his mother to play with him as well as his brother. The sister, as all girls do, was content to play by herself with her annoying brothers being dealt with, or not, by mother.
So here is the ponder.
Does this happen with all multiples? It would kill me if I ever thought either Hobbit felt I loved the other more. With esteem issues myself steming from childhood (therapist heal thyself, okay I'm not a therapist...I digress) I tell the Hobbits every day I love them, that they are great boys and praise them both with each achievement. I want confident not arrogant boys so don't go overboard as it sounds like from my last sentence.
Yet while eldest Hobbit can demand the most attention youngest hobbit, by virtue that he was fished out last, has that whole baby-of-the-family going for him. It is a hard balance, a constant juggling act. We try, when we think the boys are feeling left out in any way, to have what is known in the TIBS household as 1-on-1s. One day Husband has one Hobbit for a day out while I take the other on a separate day out, then the next time we swap Hobbits.
Like I said, a juggling act. But if it means my Hobbits are confident, have good self-esteem and a sense of self worth then it will all be worth it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

There is nothing guaranteed in life but...

Death and taxes....

And now some smart plug in government has thought up a new way to get us to pay for their expensive pensions. Another purse crippling idea wrapped up in the concept of being environmentally friendly. Charging us for the amount of rubbish we throw away. (Hmm, don't we already cover that in our council tax, a good deal of which goes towards said pension fund.)

I get annoyed though when they announce we are to be charged more to encourage recycling. I can envision our lovely neighbours stealing about in the early morning dumping their rubbish in everyone else's bins. You know that is what is going to happen, there are enough dishonest people to make those of us who do take care with our rubbish have to lock our bins away.

Why don't they offer a tax rebate on the amount you have recycled during the year?

Instead of constantly lumping yet more and more taxes and costs onto the average taxpayer why don't they offer us a light at the end of the tunnel. This rebate doesn't have to be much but I would bet that it would make a difference, quick a large difference if people think they are about to get money from the government.

Alternatively why don't we just hand over all our earnings each month and have them hand back food vouchers to exist on.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Emperor's New Clothes

Do you ever get the feeling that something blindingly obvious is only ever noticed by you?

Like for example how long Tony B*liar has gotten away with being a complete sycophant? I digress.

Anyway, have just watched a programme on childrens diets and lack thereof. I cannot believe that any mum would give her child two packs of crisps, a well-known brand of sugary drink that is hyperactivity in a bottle and expect that child to get through the school day. Yet that was in just one example of the lunchbags they looked at.

I'm sorry but how long does it take to make a packed lunch? How long does it take for the parent to then wonder why little Jonny or Jessica bounces off the walls after every 'meal'?

I don't believe the bull about children not eating good food. I haven't been blessed with the worlds best eaters by any means, the Hobbits would sell me for a Kinder egg in a second (then buy me back so I can open the toy for them - what is the reason for that little capsule to be so tricky to open? Kinder, s'for kiddies, right?) I have to say I don't bother with carrot sticks, I just hand them the carrot and they munch the entire thing, just like I used to do. Yet I can maintain a fairly good and healthy balance for them with the treats of chocolate, sweeties and crisps as that - treats.

Everything in moderation after all, that is the motto in the TIBS household.

Contemplate the idea of charging the parents, such as the ones who were feeding their fat children chips through the school fence last year, with abuse. Surely it is abusive to clog their little arteries with fat and food that the dog wouldn't touch, and lets face it, when you see the things a dog will eat, if it doesn't touch a certain food would you?

Being a SAHM has meant I have time to think of what they have to eat every day and to spend time and effort preparing their meals. But I know plenty of working mums who are equally as vigilant and it isn't really us or WOHM who are to blame. Once again the eye falls on those who are living off benefits. They say they cannot afford proper food, not so say I and everyone else living on a tight budget, and with things the way they are now it is people on low wages and not on benefits who are truly poor. Maybe that is the key, they need to budget the money they get each week better and organise their time better. How long does it take to make a good nutritious meal? It can be as little as 15 minutes from first opening the fridge door to setting the plate in front of the hungry little devils. I know I sound harsh, but having lived in an area rich in the 'jobless culture' I have ample experience of the attitude that is causing this problem.

I have to say that before the Hobbits came I wasn't really into cooking. Sure I enjoyed watching cookery programmes and reading books but I never really bothered with anything other than recipes I already knew. Certainly the family I worked for as a nanny in the US would testify to that (you want gourmet, you pay me better.) Now I enjoy it and even bake (see photo for proof, banana bread - slices make for very good lunchbox snacks!) The Hobbits enjoy it too, especially the gooey bits...and the eating bit.