Tag Archives: Parenting

Real Breasts are the best

I was having a conversation with a friend earlier today about parenting, how to deal with the big things while still maintaining open communications and it reminded me of the time we caught the boy looking at porn. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a normal teenage boy looking at naked breasts.

But it was time for the talk. Not the birds and bees talk, he’s known about that for long enough. We have a policy in this house where by if he asks a question he gets a truthful answer within the remit of his understanding. So, the sex talk came up a while ago. No. This talk was about women’s rights. About sexism and exploitation, about the damage pictures and videos like this do to girls self esteem when they think that is what they need to be to please a man and a bit about him and potentially unrealistic expectations.

I then showed him this, the real breast gallery.

It’s a fantastic project to show teenage boys and girls . It’s a non sexual look at womens breasts, It normalises the differences, it shows what real bodies look like in all colours shapes and sizes and if you’re a parent of a teenager I highly recommend you bookmark it for yourself for when these discussions arise.

Playground Talk – Random Thoughts

Last week I was walking down the road with a friend of mine who’s daughter is at the same school as TBK  we were talking about how they were getting on with them both being  in year 7  when she announced and went into great details about her daughter starting her periods.

I’m not bothered that she told me, dammit I felt sorry for the girl by the sounds of it was hardly a gentle introduction into the monthly merry-go-round of PMS and stomach cramps but it did make me stop and think – I would have been mortified as an early teen if I’d have found out my Mom was walking down the street casually discussing what was going on in my pants with her friends – So what exactly compels us to share so much intimate information about our children with other parents?

As babies we’d discuss sleep patterns and the consistency and texture of poo, in mother and toddler classes it would be first words and and first steps. In nursery and then into school every milestone would be celebrated with clucking and cooing on the playground, the more competitive parents (mothers usually) exaggerating their children’s achievements, the quieter ones ducking the playground politics by discreetly bowing out of my child’s better than yours conversations and now here we are,me and my parent friends in the brink of those dreaded teenage years discussing puberty, periods and mood swings.

So why do we share so much? Are we telling each other all these things to gain reassurance from each other that were doing it right? To get an opinion on things we feel were doing wrong? Are we showing off? Living vicariously through out children, bragging about there progress and achievements, Or are we pre programmed as humans to share things and as parents our children are one of the biggest things in our lives so it’s only natural that these details get shared.

Or is it at as feel some of all of the above?

Today I am just Mom!

Being a parent is sometimes quite hard, balancing your own wants and needs as an individual with that of a this small thing who wants independence but relies of you for so much. I’m lucky – I absolutely love being a Mom and TBK makes it easy. We have bumps in the road which we have to deal with, sometimes emotional sometimes physical but I always know we can get through it because long term there are no issues and these are only bumps, but what happens when that bump turns into a mountain?

I’ve been thinking a lot this last week about how hard some other parents have it,  hard because life jumped up and smacked them in the mouth at the same time as hitting their child over the head with a sledge hammer. I am a fairly prolific twitter user and stay in touch with friends (both real and virtual) via that medium and I’ve been quite humbled this week by the journeys some of the parents I follow are having to take.

I’ve only met one of these parents I’m going to outline below  in real life but if hasn’t stopped me from empathising with any of them, because as a parent I just don’t know how I’d be able to cope if I was faced with the same.

The one follower keeps her twitter stream private so I wont out her here but after having a daughter who was  born with Downs Syndrome, a subsequent diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy and in the last week a further diagnosis of severe arthritis all over her body she’s a lot going on but with 2 more children at home and a charity to run which she set up to support other parents in understanding Downs and going it alone as a single parent I just don’t know sometimes how she carries on.

There is @beast76uk (Phillip) whose son Harry recently lost an eye to Retinoblastoma, whose tweets “”Ok #cancer, this war is WON! Fuck you. Yes, you took his eye, small price to pay in the long run. but we’ve stopped you. You’re fuckin GONE!” and “Got Harry’s #histology results back 2day. No spread of the cancer. absolutely #chuffedtobits ! Left eye is in remission. #couldntbehappier” made me ridiculously happy for a man I’d never met and left me in awe of his resilience as a parent, I don’t know, and I hope I never have to find out how I would react  if faced with the same.

Now there is @junction10 (Jason) someone I have never met but started following a while back because his sense of humour and sarcastic updates made me laugh (and he’s  a bloody fine photographer to boot), Another twitter user who is currently going through hell as a parent. Just as I was reading that @beast76uk son was winning their battle with the dreaded C word,  Jason’s son Joel was just starting his own, a diagnosis of a brain tumour, subsequent surgery and the prospect of 12 months of radio and chemotherapy is a terrible way to start the year.

I don’t know why but Jason and Joel’s story seems to have affected me more than the others (and maybe more than it should for someone I don’t know), maybe it’s because the sarcastic, humorous tone of his stream as been overtaken with heart wrenching updates of his son’s progress where the others didn’t change in such a dramatic way, and that it has laid bare the fundamental fear as parent that when something is going on with your child that is completely out of your control and with the stakes so high just how hard it can be but whatever the reason it has upset me.

Last night I read Jason’s blog “A Sense of Tumour” documenting the journey of diagnosis and tests and surgery (and hospital parking) and then went to bed. At 1:30 I was woken by TBK and his 2 friends who were here for a sleepover. They were banging around and making such a racket I’m surprised the neighbours hadn’t been to knock the door,  I was just about to get out of bed to read them the riot act when an image from the blog came to mind and I remembered how lucky I was to be at home with my son safe, healthy and happy waking me up. A quiet word with the boys and peace resumed and returned to bed with the lasting impression of how lucky I really am!

The Magic Box


Despite it now being March 2010 I still have my 2009 calendar up in my kitchen, not because I’m particularly lazy (but I am) but because it’s about 50 shades of awesome!

Of course every parent thinks their kids work is amazing, fantastic, fabulous, first rate etc, but this is! I like it so much because while it’s not the work of art Matisse, Banksy or Tracy Emin could produce, and it’s no Shakespearean prose, Hell it’s even below the quality of work TBK can produce when he wants to, every time I read I can’t help but smile.

I read it and remember that it’s good to have imagination and to never ever stifle his!

The Magic Box

In my box I will put a massive, dirty and dangereus exploding army tank. The feel of silky, shiny, sparkly, quick Sahara sand and a door leading to a u.f.o.

In my box I will put the smell of super noodles cooking the sight of presents round the tree and the sound of rock music.

My box is fashioned from high tech lock and dinosaur skin cover.

And hinges made from a alligator jaw.

Spelling mistakes are all his own!



This evening I came home to find TBK once again beating the crap out of his alien friends on Halo3. Since having had the xBox for Christmas he’s spent more time than I’ve ever let him before seated in front of his computer playing games.

I’ve alieviated myself of some the guilt of being one of ‘those’ parents who sits their children in front of the box to entertain themselves by a. Convincing myself that with xBox live at least it’s social, as in he might be by himself but he’s not playing alone and b. Once the evenings are lighter and the weather warmer he’ll be back out on his bike and in and out the front door like a yoyo just like the last few summers.

I say some of the guilt as I’d still had doubts, I was still worried of the ‘mind numbing effects of playing pointless video games’ and didn’t wish him to become a statistic of the illiterate generation we hear so much about in the media.

I know I’ve been worrying unnecessarily as my mis-spent youth visiting friends houses and setting up our own LAN parties for weekend long games of Quake hardly set my development back at all – and you’ve only got to have a conversation with TBK to see he’s a well rounded 10year old, but as a parent you can’t help but worry.

I discovered needn’t have!

This evening TBK showed me in style why I have no need to worry about computer games stunting his academic development.

Whilst in the virtual world of Halo he was running across a sandtrap and jumping to strike a competitor, gravity hammer in hand, In the real world he’s sitting in the arm chair screaming “Onomatopoeia” at the screen and the following exchange took place ..

Me: why did you say that? Do you know what Onomatopoeia means?

TBK: yeah!

Me: explain then….

TBK: it’s when a word sounds like its spelt, like bang, and the gravity hammer goes bang when you hit something, so….Onomatopoeia!

Me: *speechless*

I don’t mind admitting that I think I was a whole lot older than 10 before I grasped the concept of onomatopoeia, in fact I can still remember learning about it in secondary school, which definitely made me older than 10, and I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life where I’ve had a discussion that included the word onomatopoeia or used it outside of that classroom before this evening.

So if TBK wants to spend his down time plugged into his xBox talking to the voices of his disembodied friends hunting aliens in “pointless video games” then so be it because it’s at times like this evening that I realise it’s not doing any harm at all!

Inside the mind of an 8 year old.

TBK has a key. It is his lucky key (or so he tells me). It’s to an old cabinet that has long since been freecycled and in the imagination of my 8 year old it opens everything.

It has opened doors that criminals have been hiding behind. It has opened boxes where treasures are held. It has been the ignition key for a space rocket, a motor bike and a racing car and it has been used to lock up things only the imaination of an eight year old could think of and, it’s been used to release captives of things only eight year olds can think of.

Sunday morning on our way to Artsfest sitting on the train the key was produced from his uber cool R2D2 bag and it became a mystic key – it unlocked peoples head so TBK could see inside. He opened mine and I asked him what he could see.

“You have two doors mom, one with a heart on it and a big metal one”

“Oh whats behind them?”

“Well the metal one has a long corridor to another big door with a lock on it and behind that is all the things you don’t like, like teenagers and other things that annoy you and the heart has me and James and all our family inside.”

I thought about this for a minute then asked.

“So whats in James’ head then?” expecting teh same answer as the logic was sound 2 doors = 2 opposite emotions

“He has three doors but two of his has hearts on”

This confused me.

“Why does James have three?”

“Well Mom, James has three becaue one has his family Stat and Al and Penny and Rob and one has the things that annoy him, just the same as you, but the other one has just you and me in there because he chooses to love us!”

Make a wish…

Word of advice, Never have children, they have the ability to break your heart in a million different ways and none of them hurt as much as when your child is hurting, and you can’t do anything to stop it.

Yesterday was a rough day.

To end it I took TBK to my parents he needed cheering up. Nannies have special magic powers don’t you know, they make everything less raw, a little brighter and the hurt fuzzier around the edges, easier to swallow – well Jordan’s Nan does, she’s special.

So we went had a cup of tea, had a few cuddles, rolled around the floor with the psycho dog and the even more psychotic “Little Big Uncle” John (and instructed Grandad on the ins and outs of facebook (TBK knew more than he did) and it worked, by the time we left TBK was beginning to act more like his normal self.

On the short walk home we were kicking stones along the pavement and discussing the stars, TBK was pointing out the two brightest ones in the sky and explaining to me that the one was my Dad and the other was his Great Grandad looking down on us when we both saw a shooting star.

“WOAH Mom, did you see that!?! Quick make a wish we saw the same star so we can share it …. Have you made it?”

I said I had, and had he? To which he replied

“Yes I wished that there were these scientists who wanted to do an experiment on me yeah and I said yes but then when they came to do it it was a different experiment than the one they said they were going to do so I said no but then they did it anyway they slipped something into my hot chocolate which I drank and it made me into stitch like from lilo and stitch but still human and it was AWESOME!”

*Deep Breathe*

“What did you wish for?”

“I wished that you’d always be happy” he looked at me sideways and I caught THAT glint in his eye – that look that every parent knows to be suspicious of,

“You know what WOULD make me happy, Mom…. Still giving me THAT look….