Attention Please

*Sounds ranty foghorn* You’ve been warned…

From birth, I’ve taken Beano to rather a lot of groups and clubs, from baby massage to messy play groups. S’all good, they gives us a chance to get out of the house and do something I haven’t got the mental energy to organise and set up at home, plus Bean can work on his womanising skills and chat up all the little girls and eat all the digestive biscuits his little belly can take.

But I’m beginning to notice something somewhat odd at these here groups and get-togethers. And I find it a little sad to be perfectly frank.

These groups don’t come for free, they range from a quid to £6 per session, plus some of the more fancypants franchised groups ask you to pay an annual membership fee as well as the sessions, the sneaky bastards, and it seems a lot of mums are taking their spawn to these groups, well, to ignore them. To sit in a gaggle of their mummy mates and allow their little ones to fend for themselves.

I know being a parent is isolating, I’m more than aware that it can be suffocating, I appreciate we all need some adult conversation just occasionally, and after yet another sleepless night with your nocturnal child, a row with your partner and the washing machine’s packed in, all you want is to unload onto someone who understands. I appreciate that, I really do. I know it can be the difference between falling in a heap on the kitchen floor in a mess of tears and shouting at your toddler for no other reason than you’re completely exhausted and they’ve asked you the same question 19 times, to just feeling a bit more positive, and like yourself again. I do. I really do.


Are these groups the place to do that? Honestly?

I’ve seen little girls wetting themselves in a packed church heaving with manic children and mums, and the organisers desperately trying to find her mother, and after ten frantic minutes, they locate the mum having a fag in the car park outside on the phone and being actually quite fucked off to be interrupted. I’ve seen babies, no older than a year old, toddling and wobbling around, screaming their little hearts out, because they can’t find their mummy, only to find her in a scrum of other women, blissfully ignorant, having a natter about what a disaster the catering was at their bonfire party on Saturday. I’ve been referee to squabbling young boys I don’t know from Adam, because for want of a better word, they’re beating the epic shit out of each other and no one else has seemed to notice or mind. I’ve had to inform mums that their little one has just been sick in the sand pit, or that they’ve poked themselves in the eye with a paintbrush.

I drag Bean to these little shindigs for us to enjoy some quality time together, so we can make something, or I can hold onto him while he climbs up a ladder, and grip his chubby hand as he leaps from a huge squishy, brightly coloured oblong, I can help him with the actions of “Wind the Bobbin Up”, and we can enjoy one another’s company for an hour or two . And if he’s too cool for me to follow him about, I’m happy to watch him play with the other children. I reckon we can all be a bit guilty of not spending enough proper, down and dirty quality time with our kids, due to hundreds of reasons and obstacles, from the trivial to the downright difficult.

However, isn’t that the beauty of taking them to a group, the park or even just a little walk around the block? We can close the door, and forget about all the washing that hasn’t been dealt with and well, every other form of housework in my case, and just enjoy our monsters for an hour or so a few times a week?

Twenty four hour quality time, is just, well fucking insane, we’d NEVER get any sleep for starters and drive ourselves mad even faster than we already are. But an hour? That you’ve had to PAY for? Really? Is your phone that important? Does it really matter what she said and he said and she said and he said and she said and he said…?

C’mon, attention please.

Anyone had any experience of this? Any thoughts?

I’m linking this post up with Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday linky, please have a look at all the other rantastic posts :)




Sounds a bit ominous doesn’t it?

Sorry about that, but that’s the only name I can put on this desperately heavy, sinking feeling in my belly.

And no, I’m not hungry.

I’m sat here in tears all because of a tiny, to most insignificant moment at Bean’s nursery. One of his little friends who is about the same age was going home as he was last week and as she was skipping along with her mum, she was very confidently reading out the letters and numbers painted on the paving stones outside the nursery. And that was it, ten seconds tops, and the seed of doubt is planted and swiftly growing roots, and I’m left worrying that I’m doing something wrong and panicking that Bean is behind.

Just ten seconds. Gone like that. And BOOM now I’m acting all crazy.

What if? What if her mum and dad spend more time with her? What if they read to her more? What if she doesn’t watch as much television? What if she’s at nursery everyday from 8am until 3pm learning away while Bean and I are at home playing goodies and baddies and having tickle fights? What if he has ADD? What if I CAUSED him to have ADD? What if that article I read when he was tiny, that said TV can trigger attention problems, was correct? What the fuck? What have I done? What am I going to do?

And the trouble is that I have my rational sense, sitting on one shoulder, shaking her finger at me, rolling her eyes, saying in her stern, authoritative voice, “Get over yourself, love. All kids are different. You KNOW this. You’ve SEEN it. Stop being such an idiot and let him get on with it in his own time. Tsk.”

Whereas, on the other shoulder, I have the quivering husk of my irrational sense, trembling, sobbing, in a tiny voice murmuring, “Maybe you’ve done something wrong? Maybe, perhaps you should take him to see the doctor? Or talk to his nursery? Can you get a book about it? Talk to your mum, maybe she’ll know? Oh, oh dear, I don’t know…”

I have never dwelt too long on comparing Bean to other kids, even in the other sense of “Fuck yeah, mine’s cleverer than yours.” It’s not healthy is it? It’s not helping anyone. But seeing that little girl knocked me sideways in a way I couldn’t have predicted. Bean couldn’t tell you a single letter or number if he saw them written down, believe me, I’ve tried. Many, many, many times. In many, many, many different ways.

Oh, did you see that? That seed is starting to sprout. Christ, it’s growing fast. And it’s all spiky and spiny and sharp. Fucking hell, I don’t like it, stop it. Stop feeding it. Stop it.  Fucking STOP.

I’ve always known he is very bright, and that he has a good understanding of most basic things. His talking and his words amaze me daily, to the point HE corrects ME, he knows all his colours, and all of his shapes, he makes up little stories and jokes to tell me and daddy. He can count to 10 when he doesn’t think we’re listening. So WHY am I doing this to myself? WHY am I beating myself up? He’s three and a half  years old FFS. So what if when he’s presented with paper and crayons, or in desperate times, my Sharpie pens, my beloved Sharpies, even the coloured ones, he wants to draw rockets and scribble silly monsters instead of the writing the alphabet or counting? So what if he couldn’t give a toss about the letter A, the sound it makes or what it looks like? So what if when you ask him to think of a word that begins with the letter M, he says “tractor”? He’s trying, right? At least he’s trying.

Is doubt the lesser known, lesser talked about sister of mother’s guilt? What’s the point? Why the worry? Why do we do it to ourselves? I KNOW it’s a physical impossibility for ALL children to learn everything at the same speed. I KNOW environments, time, money, parents, siblings, families, home lives, teaching methods all vary massively.

So why is this so bloody hard to accept?

Fuck Creativity

Something’s right got my goat. No, scrap that. Something’s fucked me right off.

When I was at school, I hated it. Loathed it. Would pretend to have a broken leg to avoid it. I’m not an academic person, I don’t count myself as particularly clever, the only things schoolwise that I enjoyed and felt OK doing were art and writing stories. But at school, these subjects were somehow even less enjoyable than algebra and chemistry.


Because I was TOLD how to write, I was TOLD how to paint a picture. I was TOLD this is how a story is supposed to be mapped out. Not taught. Not supported or advised or nurtured.

And that as a concept really sits a bit fucking wobbly with me.

How can we tell someone, a child how to be creative? Why should we tell them their interpretation of something is correct or otherwise? What gives us the right to try and mould and reign in these beautiful, crazy, innocent little imaginations?

I’ll tell ya. We bloody don’t. We have no fucking right.

The reason this has really got to me is because I recently received a little parcel from my somewhat wayward mother containing a couple of books for Bean. This in itself obviously is nice and pleasant and not at all out of the ordinary, but the books in this little package, my God, I wanna bloody burn ’em.

The covers are all happy and colourful, I thought they looked sweet, but inside lies evil and shit that makes my blood boil.

How to draw. Teaching kids how to draw spiders and lorries. Why? Fucking why? Why are your little kiddie-friendly tutorials right, and my son’s wonky out of proportion drawings wrong?

I’m so massivly proud that Bean loves drawing and making things, admittedly in short bursts, but if he draws me a picture that looks like a toilet, and he tells me it’s actually a lion, then it’s a bloody lion. I’m not gonna tell my three year-old, no son, that’s a shit lion, it looks like a bog. I can’t tell my baby, or anyone else’s child or even an adult that their work is wrong, I don’t have to like it, but I have no station to say if it’s wrong, and here let me show you, actually you should do it like this…

At three years old, Bean’s still learning how to even hold a pencil or a crayon properly in his chubby, clumsy little fingers, the fact that he draw ANYTHING resembling what he believes it is, is hugely impressive. When picking him up from nursery a couple of weeks ago, his keyworker very proudly presented me with a sheet of paper with a few of Bean’s scribbles on it navy blue felt tip, in fact she was so pleased with his little masterpiece she’d dated it, put his name on it and photocopied it to keep in his little folder of his learning and progress. Why? Because she had seen him hold the pen correctly, and through doing that he was able to control it with more ease and therefore make different shapes and lines.

She hadn’t told him how to hold the damn pen, she’d just observed that he was learning how to do it himself a bit more productively and make it a bit easier for himself and praised him for it. This is cool.

But books that I’m to show my son how to frickin’ draw a cat face? Under the guise that it’s helping his creativity? Oh and if we’re going there, kids programmes too, Let’s Get Squiggling and Louie – I’ve got my fucking eye on you both as well. Watch yourselves.

Fuck off.

The only thing about these types of books that I think benefit him are that when he looks at the little templates that he’s expected to draw around, he doesn’t want anything to do with it, he’s happy with how HE draws, and seems to reaffirm for him, that he feels how he draws or paints is good enough for him.

And that my friends, is a very important little thing to have and keep hold of with both hands.

Now, where did I leave those matches…?


I’m linking this up with Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday Linky, please have a look at all the other posts of ranty fabulousness.

Conversations with Bean #1

Essentially this involves, if you hadn’t already managed to guess, conversations. With Bean. It is mainly for my own sanity, therefore when I am about to bang my head against the wall in pure frustration and disbelief after a recent exchange with my son, I can refrain and tell myself it’s all material, innit. *deep breaths*

Int. Living room. Early morning. Curtains are drawn and the TV is on. Bean is playing on the floor.

Me: Darling, I’m just going to the loo quickly.

Bean: OK!

I quietly creep upstairs, OH is sleeping, the stairs creak, I make it to the top, close the stairgate and make it to the bathroom. Thirty seconds tick by.


I lean forward and open the door slightly, Bean is perched on the top step, peering at me through the white bars of the stairgate.

Me: Shhh! Yes, darling?


Me: Mate, stop shouting, please. Go downstairs and use your potty.

Bean: NO! I need one NOW! Mummy, come out!

Me: I’m going to the loo, you’ll have to wait a minute.


Me: You will have to wait, I’m going to the loo. If you need a wee, go downstairs and use your potty.



Bean: Find my purple potty, Mummy!

Me: I can’t! If you can’t find it, just wee in the garden!


Me: Oh, for the love of God.