My Woolly Liberal Rant

January 7, 2009

OK. I am probably about to commit blog suicide and cull what little audience I have, but I feel I have to rant a little.

Since starting blogging I have slowly gone through the process of finding other bloggers that I like to read by clicking on people that comment on the blogs I read. It tends to work well as it usually ensures a certain amount of mutual interest. I don’t agree with everything that they all say, and I will frequently throw in my 2¢. I think this is the first time I have felt the need to “bring it back” to my blog.

I recently found a blog that I have been reading, but I fear I may have made myself a little unpopular over there now. This is a shame because I otherwise enjoy reading it. Today’s entry was entitled What To Do When You Don’t Like The New Boyfriend and I was expecting an interesting discussion about how and whether to discourage a daughter from going out with a boy that the mother did not get on with for some reason.

She has decided to start seeing a boy who is black. We are white. No, I am not a racist. I think white people should date white people.

She then went on to describe how she has gone about actively trying to sabotage the relationship.

Now I know that I am a bit of a woolly liberal, but yes it does … A statement like that means that yes you are … you are a racist!. You may not be openly racist, you may even believe that because you are ok with the black people living down the street, or serving you at the check out this makes you … well what ever not a racist is (unracist?) … but these are easy things to live with. What do you want… a prize for not going out in your truck with a pillow case over your head, brandishing a pitch fork and setting fire to crosses? It is not the easy things in life that define who we are, it is when things get difficult that we show our true character.

The situation is also not made any less racist just because the boy’s mother is equally keen to see the relationship fail because she does not want him going out with a white girl. That just makes her a racist too. It could be argued that she may have been persecuted for so long that her reaction is almost understandable, but it makes it no less intolerant.

I am not saying anyone has to be Politically correct or ever particularly tolerant. She has every right to interfere with her daughter’s relationship as she sees fit. I am not even saying that being a racist makes someone an inherently bad person (I would suggest it might not be their best feature).

Just be honest, at least with yourself. Don’t start a sentence by saying “I’m not a racist” and then follow it up with an act of racism. To paraphrase Forest Gump A Racist is as a Racist does!

However, having said all this these are only my opinions and should by no means be considered the the beginning rather than the end of any discussion. If you disagree, tell me why, tell me what I am not seeing, what I am overlooking. I do not claim to be divine, I am not the Fonz, I will admit it if you convince me that I am wrong.


Back To Work

December 2, 2008

Yesterday was not the beginning of a renewed absence. Yesterday I got to enjoy the madness that is fulltime parenting two out of my three offspring.

Yesterday being the 1st of December was the notional date we set for Mrs Geek’s return to work. It also happened to be the day that our children’s school designated as a “Governor’s Day”. What a Governor’s Day exactly is and how it relates to the children not going in to school I don’t know (my suspicions are that it is an opportunity for the teachers to catch-up on their Christmas shopping). We it would make most sense not to change the arrangements and I would look after the oldest two.

It sounded so reasonable to have 6 months maternity leave before Maggie arrived… But the idea of having to return to work and leave her still tiny baby hit Mrs Geek a while back and it has been hanging over her ever since. It is mitigated by the fact that baby Maggie is going to be cared for by Mrs Geeks mum.

I wish it were not the case that money is the reason for the decision, but it really is financially crippling for Mrs Geek to be off work. I know she takes no pleasure in realising that she is a victim of her own success.

I have said this before, but I really am overwhelmingly proud of Mrs Geek’s achievements, but we have now settled into a lifestyle that really does require both of our wages. Especially seeing as she significantly out earns me. I came to terms with this a long time ago, but it was much easier when we were all happy with the arrangement. Now however I am left with the dent in my machismo that smarts every time I think about the fact that I am failing in my societally expected duty of providing for my family.

Thankfully the day went well. Pupils came to her and said how much they had missed her, I had a good time with the oldest two (who were fun and frustrating in nearly equal measures), and as much as it may have been a dent to Mrs Geek’s ego, Maggie seemed perfectly happy with the new arrangement.

That said… We are all making adjustments at the moment to make this work so it is a trying time in our household. Wish us luck 🙂

Third Baby Syndrome

July 21, 2008

I think we may have a touch of TBS (Third Baby Syndrome) … let me explain

With Bart everything was new, so we tried to take everyone’s advice. Even mutually contradictory advice. Even though he was breastfed we sterilised everything. We used non-bio washing powder, no wet-wipes just cotton wool and water. They don’t tell you of the paranoia a new baby induces.

Young Damocles

And then there is the single worst piece of advice that we were given by anyone. “Breast fed babies don’t need winding” … now in retrospect that seems ludicrous … but we were young and stupid, so we believed what we had been told, and this by a mid-wife too.

They say that dogs can “Smell fear”, well I think babies can too. Hence Bart was a somewhat unsettled baby.

Having learnt from the mistakes we made at Bart’s expense, Lisa had a far smoother ride, and maybe unsurprisingly she was a far more contented baby. She still got to have all new things, being that she was a girl and you can’t put blue on a girl!?!

Now we are at baby number 3. We have almost everything from before (not to mention the things Mrs Geeks sister has now accumulated for us), so she gets some of the luxuries that we couldn’t afford for the other two (It sound so unfair when you put it like that).

The theory was that we are now experts in this field, still making mistakes, but they are far less frequent (although I am booked on a course away for 4 days this week … That was seriously unwise, I’ll get to that in another post). But all in all Maggie seems the most calm and happy of our babies so far.

We were discussing this and other musings this morning, in a moment of mutual self satisfaction and “Aren’t we such good parents” refection, when it occurred to Mrs Geek that we have been so relaxed about the whole thing, that we had not registered the birth! We are not quiet at the stage where this is criminal, but it was close.

So she might not have wind or a sore bottom, but legally so far she does not even exist!

That good parenting halo might need a little polish 😉

There’s No Need To Hide!

March 18, 2008

I am afraid I am going to get all political on you again.

Mrs Geek told me that a friend of ours was given a booklet outlining the places within our town where it is suitable to breastfeed her baby.

As much as it is wonderful that certain establishments such as Mothercare and John Lewis provide a place for mothers to go if they are reluctant to breastfeed in public, but I fear that the implication is that these are the places where it is acceptable to breastfeed whilst out and about.

Now I understand it may be unusual to here a man who is so worked up over the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public, but I think it is abhorrent that we as a society are so repressed that we find it acceptable to see a mother bottle feed her baby, but if she chooses to do it the natural way then it makes people squeamish.

I have every sympathy for mothers that can not get their baby to breastfeed, I really do. It is often a difficult, painful and exhausting process to get a baby to breastfeed, and a process that many mothers do not manage to achieve. Thanks to organisations like La Leche League hopefully more mothers that want to breastfeed can find the support that they deserve.

I am also not a “Breastfeeding Nazzi” as I once heard someone describe their health visitor and I have no objection to mothers who choose not to breastfeed, that is not my business. Everyone should make the decisions for their own child that they are comfortable with. However, all medical evidence points to the fact that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to both mother and baby.

So as a society we should be actively cultivating an atmosphere in which a mother successfully breastfeeding her child is seen as an achievement, while nobody should be made to feel like they have “failed” if they choose not to breastfeed, it should be something that is actively encouraged, we should not be putting up further barriers of social exclusion.

The fact that women get asked to “use the facilities provided” and are expected to sit in what is often not much more than a converted toilet is appalling.

OK … rant over (And I managed it without using the cliché “the most natural thing in the world” once)

4 In A Bed

February 5, 2008

Crowded BedI have been having trouble keeping my eyes open at work today as last night was another poor nights rest.

This time the cause of my failure to achieve a glorious slumber was not the slow determination of my ageing body, but the fact that I was attempting to sleep on a 4 inch wide strip of mattress. So why was I on this precipice, when I am the joint owner occupier of a generously proportioned king-size double bed?

We seem to have a slight problem in our household. When my son was a wee carpet crawler, he would wake in the morning calling for his Daddy, and I would bring him into our bed in the vain hope that I might get a few more minutes more precious moments sleep. A sort of toddler snooze button.

However, as he grew and no longer required a baby gate to cage him in keep him from throwing himself down the stairs, it also paved the way for him to make his own way to our bedroom.

This I could live with, after all, it is quite a wonderful thing to have your 3 year old coming in and cuddling, besides I no longer had to get up to get him. This soon progressed to coming into our bed if he woke in the night.

But before too long there was his little sister to think of, so the early morning snuggle time was gone anyway. But now she is at the stage where she has free reign to roam about the house too, and seeing her big brothers example, has decided that our bed is the warmest and obviously the most popular place to be (What with Mrs Geek, the 2 kiddie winks and myself).

What’s more, gone are the days of having these little cuddly 3 year olds, we are now having to sleep alongside these massive children, with bony arms and pointy elbows.

The thing is, it has been a slow decent into this nocturnal farce, that we call bed time. This is not something that Mrs Geek or I have sought after. On the contrary, when ever one of us wakes to find our bed infested with munchkins, we escort them back to their own room (against much protest).

NinjaUnfortunately my kids are not so easily defeated; they have learnt the art of stealth. My 2 little ninjas make their way in without being noticed, more often than not and alas once in they are free to assassinate any chance I had of a proper nights sleep.

I have spent years getting used to sharing a bed, so I am used to getting the odd nudge here and there, causing me to “shove over” or “stop fidgeting” etc. Whilst disturbing me enough to get the point across, it does not cause me to wake up. It is how we adults learn to tolerate sharing a bed with each other.

Thus is born the scenario, where my children can manage to keep me from sleeping enough to actually be able to function, whilst not awakening me enough to get themselves throttled escorted back to their room.

Something has to be done before the bump arrives to join the Melee. I think I’m going to get myself a pirate’s outfit and let the battle begin!