Friday, 25 April 2008

EVERYONE deserves a day off sometimes, eh teachers?

This week’s one-day teacher strike certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in our house.
DD1, who is in Year 6, was most outraged that her class had to go in as usual because her teacher isn’t in the NUT.
Yet her best mate in the same year got the day off because her teacher was in the union.
I know it would have caused us nothing but hassle with child care if she had been off. But still, I didn’t half feel bad for DD1.
Okay, she’s only been back a matter of days following what seems like the longest Easter break in the history of Christianity.
But I believe every child is entitled to experience the untold joy of.... the unexpected day off school.
I’m old enough to remember a time when kids got at least three unexpected days off every winter because it was snowing so badly. It was brilliant.
At Christ the King in Arnold, they were particularly careful about not letting us in when it snowed, because they knew that all the hard lads (and lasses actually) from Arnold Hill would be waiting outside the school to ambush us with killer snowballs.
And then there was that other regular unexpected day off we could always look forward to in the old days - the school boiler blowing up.
The message would usually have to go out via an announcement on Radio Trent.
Oh, the dancing round the kitchen when we realised what Dale Winton or whoever it was that presented the Breakfast Show in those days had just said.
Boilers never really break down as much these days though do they?
As for teacher strikes, I remember one time in the early 1980s when there was industrial action every week for months.
It’s a wonder I can even manage to read and write the amount of unexpected days off I had.
So spare a thought for kids like DD1 , who never get to skive in quite the same way as we used to.
And next time there’s a strike, let’s hope she gets unexpectedly lucky...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Holidays - They're Hard Work Aren't They?

Going on holiday with the family is all very nice and stuff. But you don’t half need a week or two off to recover afterwards.
I’ve just come back from a week in Wales and it was all lovely.
But it’s hard work being with your kids and partner 24 hours a day for seven whole days in a row isn’t it?
I’m not sure the arrangement really works for us.
DD1 was fine. She just took her Nintendo DS everywhere we went and it was instant entertainment on tap. We hardly had to talk to her at all. Brilliant.
But DD2 (aged one) was far more tricky.
No-one ever tells you when you decide to have children quite how many animal theme parks you’ll have to go when they reach toddler age.
We must have gone to at least 450 in the Cardigan Bay area alone last week.
And I tell you what, not one of them was as good as White Post Farm on our own doorstep.
The only other thing we could think of to do with the DDs was take them out to eat.
Trouble is, DD2 has an annoying tendency to shriek like a Banshee and throw food at other diners.
Plus you can’t really stay in the cosy pub down the road until 1am in the morning with kids these days. People start giving you funny looks.
So we had to go back to the cottage we’d rented and consume vast quantities of cheap wine or white rum and cola.
Crikey, I haven’t had so many bad hangovers since I was at University.
Still, it's nice to have a break isn't it?

Friday, 11 April 2008

Natural parenting... stuff that!

I always thought the worst type of mum you could meet at a toddler group was one who claimed their tot “slept through the night from two weeks.”Yes, yes. Course he did love.But recently, I’ve come across an even more annoying breed of bragging mother.One who claims their child STILL never sleeps the whole way through - even at age one, two... 15 years...And worse still, they seem to think that every mother should "enjoy" being woken up regularly during the night for several years as a “natural” part of parenthood.Stuff that.Soon as both my DDs reached about seven months, I put them on a strict training regime. It wasn’t rocket science. I just stopped feeding them at night. By this age, I knew they weren’t hungry if they cried, so they got nowt.Within about two nights, they both realised it wasn’t worth the effort, so they started sleeping through.End result? Happy baby. Happy parents. Happy home.But try and suggest this solution to some Martyr Mums and they think you’re worse than Hitler.“But little Tarquin NEEDS his nighttime feeds - all 12 of them,” they insist proudly.No he doesn’t.I don’t really NEED a cup of tea every time I wake up momentarily in the night. But if I knew someone would bring me one when I howled loud enough, I’d probably end up doing it quite often.And I’d be a right grump the next day because of not getting a proper night’s sleep.Or am I just being naive?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Bring Back Iggle Piggle!

Which twit at the BBC decided to choose this particular week to muck around with the CBeebies Bedtime Hour?
Everyone knows that zillions of parents happily use the insanely hypnotic TV hit In the Night Garden as part of their nightly bedtime routine.
And before you ask, yes I am quite happy for the telly to “babysit” DD2 if it gives me half an hour's peace. Get over it.
But the powers that be at the Beeb have this week decided to axe Iggle Piggle and Co from the bedtime schedule. And replace them with crappy Charlie and Lola and 64, 64, 64, 64 Zoo Lane. Yawn.
Did no one at the Beeb remember that the clocks went forward last weekend?
So tiny tots like mine are already really mixed up about why they’re being forced to go to bed when it’s fully light outside.
Losing ITNG from its regular slot at 6.20pm has made this problem about 50 times worse.
Screaming blue murder for three quarters of an hour in her cot, DD2 was that first night.
Why couldn’t they just leave the bedtime schedule alone?
The BBC website says ITNG is just being rested and will return.
What a load of balls.
You wouldn’t muck around with the time slot for Coronation Street or GMTV for no reason. It would seriously irritate viewers.
Why should pre-schoolers have to put up with inferior replacement programmes?
So, join the campaign to get ITNG reinstated now.
Make your views known at