Tag Archives: children

Raising Academic Aspirations

So far this week, I’ve been exceptionally brave and have NOT mentioned the fact that Brandon is away. Brandon – my Son, my Court Jester, my faux Gay Best Friend… Oh how I’ve missed him! But today he “graduates” from the course he has been on, so (after the ceremony) we can bring him home. Yay!

He has been on a residential course at Manchester University, designed to encourage the brightest kids from schools in “rough” areas to continue into higher education… Excellent, we would love him to do that. And the whole thing has been free; including his room, meals, tuition, a night out bowling, a disco and a hired costume to “graduate” in! Apparently they spend £500 per child, on this four-day course.

So what lofty intellectual ambitions have they been instilling in my child? What dreams of academic excellence? What plans for studying and learning, once school is finished and his future profession calls?

“I’ve been doing Street Dance” he told me, during a phone call on Monday night, “And DJing. I was the best one at scratching – they wrote my name on the board and everything”. Great. Clearly they are going to turn him into the next Stephen Fry. Even now I can hear Oxbridge calling his name. Since then he has been able to do a class in Chinese and have a go at cutting open a fake arm… But even so, I do think it is lazy of them to immediately equate the idea of  kids from deprived urban areas, with the idea of studying “street” subjects. These kids are clever, the course is meant to get them to aim higher – so stop with the f*cking graffitti, drive-by, urban fashion nonsense and get them reading Shakespeare, or Descartes!

Each child is going to be involved in a little presentation about their course, at graduation this afternoon. I wondered what Bran would be doing, so I asked him, when he rang last night. Hamlet’s Soliloquy, perhaps?

“I’m doing a rap about recycling plastic bags” he said.

Oh for goodness’ sake.

Mindless Vandals

When I lived in Brighton, I would see bikes like this at least twice a week.

What kind of idiot goes around damaging bicycles? Was the motive sheer vandalistic pleasure? Frustration that the bike locks wouldn’t break and therefore the bikes couldn’t be stolen?  Or was it a personal vendetta, against cyclists?

Sometimes the way people behave utterly baffles me. Don’t they have ANY feelings for others? No consciences at all? No human decency? Virtually everyone I know has been a victim of crime, or several crimes. We are forced to scuttle from place to place, watched by CCTV, clinging to our possessions and regarding everyone else as a threat. Brilliant.

We need to stop fostering such a huge sense of “entitlement” in our children. We need to stop making TV shows where success depends on impressing bullies like Simon Cowell and fame is the only goal. We need to stop making TV shows like Big Brother, where showing off and trying to be popular are more important than being genuinely charming and accomplished. Maybe we just need to turn off the TV entirely, go out and pick up some litter.

Every time I look at the picture I took of those bikes, I get like this. I get angry and frustrated. I want to go into Brandon’s school and start lecturing kids about films and computer games. I want to tell them that in REAL LIFE, it isn’t acceptable to smash a room up, because you’re upset about something. I want to tell them that REAL justice isn’t served without a trial. I want to tell them that those “achievements” you earn on Xbox 360 are NOT achievements at all but are just something you sit around getting when you can’t be bothered to LIVE. I want to tell them that most of us adults are a bad example and we need them to be better than we are/were.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up but I’ve gone on for too long and I’ve ranted enough now. Thanks for reading. Take care out there and park your bike in a safe place, or better still, fit it with a booby trap. I need to make some tea, to calm me down.

10 Good Reasons To Have Children

1) You Become An Adult: This is probably the best reason to become a parent… You’ll finally have to really grow up. Once you are a parent you can no longer allow yourself to be afraid of the dark, afraid of bees, drunk every night, or going without food in the house, “Because I bought a new Xbox game”. You mature, you think things through, you get over yourself… Because you now have some perspective. Usually.

2) Reproducing Your Genes: Let’s face it, once you’ve managed to meet the partner of your dreams and you’ve built a little home together, having a child is the logical next step. If you are worried about the environment, concerned about overpopulation and questioning the future of the planet…You are exactly the sort of person who should be breeding. God knows there are enough idiots doing it, and they have to be counter-balanced.

3) Buying Their Clothes: Tiny little baby clothes. Cute kids’ clothes. Cool, hardcore, kickass, teenage fashion (or alternative clothing). All great fun to buy, but they won’t fit you in middle-age… Or even if they will, you’ll look embarrassing. Kids are your ticket into the shops that you can’t normally shop in and it’s great fun to choose clothes without reference to your own fat belly. Mind you, it doesn’t always work – Brandon wanted to buy a horrible, chavvy, pastel-coloured polo shirt last week. I was all, “Get this T shirt! It’s BLACK with skulls on!” but he refused to entertain the idea. Damn.

4) Sharing Their Toys: I don’t need to explain.

5) You Can Use Them As An Excuse: “Oh I’d love to come and help you move house but Brandon has a temperature and he feels sick”. Or, ” I’ll have to get off the phone now Mum, Little Johnny has his head stuck in the bannister”. Perfect.

6) Retribution Is Yours: Ever been in a restaurant and seen kids running wild and throwing food? It’s SO frustrating that you can’t shout at them or hit them. However, if they are your own kids…You CAN! And everyone will applaud you for it.

7) Explaining Sex: Some people think this is a HARD part of parenting. Personally I loved it. Especially when one of my sons (naming no names) told me that masturbating sounded “disgusting” and that he thought he probably wouldn’t take it up. HAHAHAHA!

8) Telling Lies: If you lie to your friends and colleagues, you end up being put in a mental home. But with your kids, you can say anything you like. And better still, they believe you! Mine thought I was a secret agent, a magician, German and (at one point) their adoptive Mother. Of course, you have to tell them the truth after a couple of years.

9) Watching Children’s TV: Everybody knows that some of the best shows on TV are aimed at children but if you don’t have kids you have no excuse to watch them. Or maybe you just won’t notice them. Without Brandon, I would not have seen Pingu, for example.

10) Securing Your Future Care: Even at the exact moment that you are wiping your kids’ arses, you know in your heart that one day they will be doing the same for you. Or paying someone else to do it. And what boy can resist digging his old Mum’s garden? Or mending her roof?

Ten Top Tips For Raising Boys

With thirty years of non-stop experience at bringing up boys, I think I am in a good position to give advice on this subject. So please enjoy…

Blogmella’s Ten Top Tips For Raising Boys

1) Keep it simple. Boys are not like girls, they are much easier to raise and make an excellent first child. Clean clothes, lots of food, a warm bed and plenty of sympathy/love are the only essential requirements to starting out. Washing facilities can be provided but most boys don’t enjoy using them and the effects do not last long enough to really get your money’s worth.

2) Boys need toys. Males need toys throughout their lives in order to be happy and the cost and size of these increases as the years pass. I would recommend buying a “transformer” type toy as a long term investment. One that can be made into a car, robot and gun will have the most play value, as these are the only things that really interest boys. Of course a ball is also fun… But if the boy wears glasses and likes reading, a ball will be a waste of money.

3) Books. In order to encourage a boy to read it is best to buy books with stories about cars, robots and guns. Later you can introduce comics and magazines that include aliens and naked women. Boys like books with lots of pictures and words like “Space” (or later “Vixens”) in the title.

4) School. The most important preparation for sending a boy to school is to teach him to fight. Lectures on reporting bullies etc. are fine for girls but boys need to be able to punch somebody hard in the face from day ONE if possible. A boy who cannot fight needs to learn to run, or needs to be set up with a tough friend. Try not to get too excitied about your son’s academic potential, that way you won’t be disappointed. If you wanted a clever child you should have had a girl.

5) Trading Cards. Boys need to be in possession of trading cards at all times. Through owning and swapping these a boy learns a great deal about bargaining, getting ripped off, winning, losing and stealing. Pokemon and Yugio cards encourage creativity, as the rules of the more “Japanese” games are so complex that they can be made-up and passed off as “real” if the boy is fast and emphatic enough.

6) Friends. Always encourage boys to have lots of friends and always make them feel welcome in your home. Mothers should remember that the scrawny, noisy little boys he hangs out with at your place today, are going to be horny, well-hung, nineteen year old, six-footers in the not too distant future. And they’re going to be sleeping-over in your house, on the sofa. Hell yeah.

7) Kleenex. From the age of twelve, it is a good idea to place a box of Kleenex in your son’s room. It is discreetly kind and it saves on replacing those stiff and smelly sheets, or curtains.

8) Sex Education. My lessons on failed contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and the perils of girls who “look old enough but aren’t”, led one of my sons to tell me that he thought he would “never be able to get an erection in the presence of a woman again”. Job well done, I feel. Boys need to be taught about menstruation, in order to understand why their girlfriends turn into psychopathic man-haters once a month.

9) Food. The amount of food that boys can eat is phenomenal. I tend to go for quantity over quality, as this is what my sons prefer. It is a good idea however, to keep something highly nutritional in the cupboard, to feed them if your Mother-In-Law visits…  The old bat will almost certainly be monitoring their diet and reporting it to other family members. She will also mention the type of food they have been eating if they are ill.

10) Clothes. The type of clothes your son wears will determine the kind of friends he hangs out with. This will effect your future as well as theirs, because it will effect the kind of people they bring into your home. I encouraged my sons to dress in black, buy bondage-trousers and get piercings etc. telling them that it would make them more popular and look tougher. Bingo! I was rewarded by a few years of entertaining the type of “young men” that I enjoy looking at. It isn’t rocket-science and it saves a Mother from having a house full of speccy nerds, in corduroy trousers, asking to use the computer.

She Hated Children!

When I was a child, I didn’t really get on very well with my brother. I was three years older than him, we had no interests in common and his idea of fun was deliberately pissing me off. However, some occasions brought us together and when they did, we had a brilliant time. Some of the greatest of these “bonding” moments happened when we were visiting Roland and Shirley.

Roland and Shirley were a couple my parents had known since Youth Club. They lived far enough away for visiting them to be a family outing and it was an outing we made maybe twice a year. The thing was though, Shirley HATED children. Roland and Shirley had (according to my Mother) asked for “the bit about the procreation of children” to be left out of their wedding service… That’s how much Shirley despised kids. This made visiting them a cross between a surreal nightmare and the funniest thing in the entire world (to me and my brother).

In case you were wondering what Shirley did for a job – she was a teacher. This meant that by the weekends her bitterness towards children was topped up to the max. We normally visited at the weekend. Before we got there, my brother and I would be instructed that because Auntie Shirley was “a bitch about children” (my mother’s words) we would have to be really, really good. Not to please Shirley, oh no, to prove her wrong. Our task was to represent every child in the World and to show Auntie Shirley that children were wonderful and that she was STUPID.

We were up for that.

Being a well-behaved child is actually f*cking hilarious, if you adopt the right attitude to it. I wish I could go back in time and watch, as my brother and I sat in Roland and Shirley’s immaculate lounge; our hands folded in our laps, our faces frozen in expressions of gentle innocence. We imitated good children with such beautiful irony that we didn’t dare to look at each other, in case it set us off. Shirley would try to break us, often by handing around biscuits to all of the adults and then putting the lid back on the tin, without offering them to my brother or me. We never so much as frowned, we just smiled on weakly and meekly. We were like artists; it was performance art of the highest level.

Sometimes Shirley cracked a little and let us play with a small bag full of plastic toys, saved from cereal packets. This was Shirley’s only concession to visiting children. We played but we didn’t really play, we were “Good Children Playing” and we competed to make our tiny characters the most polite toys on Earth “Hello Mr. Elephant, how very nice to meet you!” – all the while smirking at the floor, or making the toys copulate, when Shirley wasn’t looking.

The best time I ever had at Roland and Shirley’s house, was when my brother and I found ourselves alone in the kitchen –  with Shirley’s cat’s litter tray.  Shirley’s cat was a spoilt Siamese, who was only allowed out if it was tied on a long string. But we liked the litter tray even better than we liked the cat, because in the corner of it Shirley had neatly folded a few squares of toilet paper…

One of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life was the sight of my little brother, whispering “Mioaw, miaow” and miming a cat, wiping its bottom with toilet paper.  Hilarious and of course, made funnier by the fact that I was trying NOT to laugh.

On the way home in the car, my family always had a debriefing session, after a visit to Roland and Shirley’s. My brother and I always came in for a lot of praise, followed by a quick stop at the Fish & Chip shop, to collect our reward for being good. But we didn’t do it for the chips – we did it for (what would now be known as) the lulz.

The Skills Of Motherhood

I wrote this a long time ago, in another place… The 25 Skills Every Mother Needs:

1) Lying convincingly: An absolute MUST, this skill has multiple applications, from protecting your child’s innocence ( “Mummy was helping Daddy to mend the zip on his trousers”) to just getting your own way without a fuss (“All toy shops close at two o’clock, it’s the law”).

2) Doing homework in a way that sounds like a really clever child: God bless computers, now at least you don’t have to do the handwriting to match.

3) Changing a pooey nappy (diaper) anywhere: On a bus, at the opera, in a supermarket …Always carry the equipment and an absolute conviction that you are allowed to “do that here”. Develop speed.

4) Psychiatry: It’s really important to listen to your child and to help them to see that most worries have a practical solution. Don’t blow off their concerns but don’t make the child a wuss either… For instance, a bullied child doesn’t need lessons in self-esteem as much as they need lessons in boxing. Or running.

5) Medical Diagnosis/Care: This takes experience (it helps if you are a hypochondriac, or a medical professional). Actually, asking your own Mother for help/advice is good. It might be her one chance to be something other than an interfering old bag.

6) Making home-made Play-Doh: Google the recipe.

7) Having a silent orgasm: Nobody wants the kids to wake up in time to damage themselves mentally forever AND to watch the clean-up operation that nobody does in films. Convey your pleasure by pulling a series of grateful faces and grabbing the sheets with your fists.

8) Opening your bowels, wiping your bottom, washing your hands and being out of the bathroom in 30 seconds: Another “must learn” skill…Unless you want your child to watch you crapping, or to be out there setting fire to the cat.

9) Effective bribery: Know what they want and use this skill sparingly for best effect.

10) Talking in riddles (to other adults): Nothing is more fun than talking “over your child’s head”. Make eye contact with the other adult and use the most surreal method of telling them stuff you don’t want your kid to know.

11) Reading stories whilst secretly leaving out half the pages: Bedtimes would be so much later without it but bright kids do tend to catch on. “There once was a very hungry caterpillar, who turned into a beautiful butterfly. The end.”.

12) Checking the history of your child’s internet usage: Someone has to do it but be prepared to be shocked. My child had been watching a short art movie called “Hardcore Detention” for instance. Hmmm.

13) Teaching the facts of life, whilst not spoiling your child’s image of you as being a virgin: “How did you get ME then? By doing THAT with Daddy?!”…”No darling, I bought you in a shop and frankly I wish I gone for a more expensive baby now.” Is what I said.

14) Eating half chewed/sucked sweets (candy): Men can’t do it. Thing is, toddlers decide they don’t want to finish whatever is in their mouths at the most inopportune moments and you don’t always have a tissue.

15) Making vegetables seem like a treat: “Leave those if you like, Mummy wants to eat them anyway”.

16) Reading stories in various accents and voices: Kids don’t know your accents are crap and never be afraid to change what they say either. I’ve almost made my kids VOMIT with laughter by making lovely little characters, um, less polite than normal.

17) Not laughing when your child is being naughty in a really funny way: I can’t do this.

18) Humiliating your child in front of his/her friends: I’m brilliant at this though.

19) Making sure your teenage child has condoms, whilst simultaneously conveying that you don’t want them to have sex: “There are condoms in this drawer for anyone who needs them. I haven’t counted them either” and then FROWN.

20) Giving praise without adding some pressure: DO say “This painting is wonderful!” DON’T add “If you really practice you might be a famous artist! I could have done that but I was TOO LAZY!”.

21) Cleaning your child with spit: And a hankie.

22) Learning about/watching popular kids’ TV shows: Helps you to communicate with your child. Also, you’ll thank yourself if later in life you get a boyfriend 20+ years younger than you, as it means you can chat to him about them too.

23) Choosing, buying and wrapping a present, plus choosing a card AND getting a child to write it, all in transit to another child’s party, located 15 mins from your house: Need I say more. I’m afraid I have had a LOT of practice at this.

24) Being the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas: Awww. It isn’t hard.

25) Dealing with tantrums: Walk away and don’t look back. They’ll soon come running. Or refer to number 9).