When the Guard Dog had to be put into a protection programme

The one thing that protects our washing machine from countless Baby Z bashing is our robot hoover. Its a round thing the hubby bought one day thinking it was an amazing little invention. It is quite cool to sit on the sofa and watch it do its little hoovering thing. It bounces off the walls and does a sort of choreographed sweeping dance all around the room. We OOoooh’d and AAAhhh’d the very first time. Then we got quickly bored of it and went about getting distracted by something else shiney whilst it did its thing.

Once we realised Baby Z was a bit nervous of it, it got promoted to Guard Dog status. A new relationship flourished between the washing machine and hoover from these foundations (mostly one of silence and standing still in one place) and laundry peace was restored.

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Baby Z mostly hovered around the protector and protected whilst he calculated his next move. Fear of the dust sucking appliance was the only thing coming between him and his washing machine friend. How would he now open the door constantly? Or press all the buttons? Or pull all the clothes out? Or simply have a chat with it? The fear stopped him. But the fear of this dust sucking appliance was his Everest.

Not knowing how to get out of this quandary he studied. And thought. And calculated. Planning. Plotting. Waiting…

Then one day…(last week), this…

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Oh bloody hell. His new obsession is now the poor Guard Dog. He can spend hours just switching it on and then laughing as it bounces into walls as it warily and obediently carries on hoovering. His fear is no more. He will even mock it by mimicking it. Nooooooo! We need something he is scared of to guard our appliances.

Then it came to me.

My niece.

In Baby Z’s world, my (almost) 3 year old niece is like the Godfather. He is in awe of her, completely respects anything she does and can’t really understand what she is saying. She is his mentor and the one he wants to be like. In return she will praise him with a loud “Goog BOY Baby Jaja!!” when he does something good and loves him because he is family. He would follow around till the end of any mission (usually nap time) and she will provide pieces of golden wisdom including “eat properly Jaja!!”. It’s the perfect balance of love, protection and, most importantly, obedience.

I wonder if my brother will let me borrow her to protect stuff in our kitchen.

And the Hoover? The Guard Dog is now in a protection programme which mostly consists of sitting on the window sill.

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When Journalism Is At Its Best

Over the last couple of years or so I started hating “journalism”, mostly in our own media. It had become fashionable to just follow celebrates about and snap them from behind bushes or report on how they tripped up on an evening out with some friends and had smiled at someone which obviously indicated a sordid affair was going on whilst the poor partner was presumably sat at home tending to the kids. Everyone feeding off misery and spurning high hitting posts out of it. Then the outrageous hate inciting articles. Then the outraged commenting furiously on the outrageous. The counter arguments. Even reputable community centric sites were at it with a not so subtle change of direction leaning towards reporting on celeb-dom life.

It was as if this was now what journalism was about. Just being a bully and taking the piss out of everyone before someone else got there first. As if the Daily Fail formula is what keeps the hits coming in and I guess, sadly, shows what makes people tick. Of course, it was partly my own fault for being a gullible click baitee and being outraged at the Daily Fail on a regular basis. I just couldn’t not look though. How scary are some people out there in the world? And I mean the commenters, not the articles.

Then came the latest Israel Gaza conflict and, aside from the numerous protests of biased reporting in the media, a big group of individuals have shone through and shown what journalism is really about. Now I bet news correspondents based in war zones must get paid an absolute fortune with all sorts of perks and benefits. After all, it’s a life and death situation and a handful have already been killed along the way. But in those situations all the money in the world just wouldn’t cut it. It would have to be about something more. A real passion for the job. A determination to get the truth out there and report on what they see even if their life depends on it. Even with the padded safety jackets on branded with a large “Press” across the front and back, it can only protect them against light gun fire, right?

Over the last few weeks they’ve reported amongst sheer carnage, kept up to date with everything going on around them, reported it all via different social mediums and, in some cases, even tried to help civilians get help or aid as needed. I’ve seen a few cases of them really professionally handling and batting away abuse as some accuse of fabrication or exaggerating the truth. And also handling interviews in the most firm and direct way possible, making even the most steel-spined representatives squirm in their seats. Some have been lifted out for daring to report on what is not the party line whilst others.

With the rapid advance of social media journalism has had to evolve with it and maintain a high level of integrity in order to remain credible. Newspapers are not the only source of finding out whats going on in the world. Its now a lot easier to see through rubbish or biased reporting as a fury of updates on any given social network will quickly show you what’s actually happening. I now use Twitter for my news and have become very cynical about some of the media bias at large news corporations. I’ve learned over time that its hard to write an article from sitting on the fence all the time. Sometimes you have to have a slant and sometimes you have to take a side, even in the nicest possible diplomatic way. Its the only way to report whats right from whats wrong.

I’ve decided I would make a really crap journalist or news reporter. I wouldn’t be calm and collected. I would probably just get angry and shout at the camera, fear for my life constantly and maybe eventually cry that I couldn’t handle it anymore. Obviously its not for everyone but the interesting thing is that a lot of these journalists are not just highly driven individuals. A lot of them have a family of their own. They are grounded people with an impressive ability and care for reporting what’s going on right now. They’re the ones that help bring the awareness to the masses whilst daring to question the actions of what are meant to be the leaders of our world.

And that’s what it should be to be a good journalist.

This particular video is probably one I won’t forget in a while. Jon Snow is pretty fantastic isn’t he?

Jon Snow in Gaza

Loud n Proud – Last of the Summer

Summer is here and as we get into the swing of well planned scheduled fun activities (Ok, more like winging it on a day to day basis and hoping the sun keeps shining), the slower pace of the day has helped me reflect on how the years gone so far. Little Z has settled into pre-school and cracked potty training. He’s also discovered his natural talent for turning everyone into a frog and the art of story telling as he sits on the loo and makes you listen to long epic thrillers, the most recent of which include his Nani falling into a mountain or a big fish making a shocking appearance out of absolutely nowhere. The carpet outside the bathroom is being worn away from my parked bum appreciating his exciting sagas.

The year so far as been filled with lots of proud moments, in all shapes and sizes. And as I reach “mid 30s” over the coming month I know I have a lovely little family that keeps me in stitches and frazzled in equal measure. With death and destruction currently prevailing in the mad world we live in there’s nothing like looking at your family and surroundings and being genuinely grateful for everything we have and the security we take for granted. So this week my loud n proud is a million little things that build up our tiny but lovely little family.

As we all sail into the lovely long summer days and hopefully have a lot of fun, the Loud n Proud crowd has decided this will the last Loud n Proud for the summer. It will return on the 4th September and will be hosted by the lovely Suzanne from 3 Children and It.

So for the last Loud n Proud come link up all your posts filled with any kind of proud moment. Small, big, old or new, all are welcome. Grab the badge below and come link up all your favourite or new posts. And of course have a very lovely summer if you’re a Loud n Proud regular and see you in a few weeks!

Not My Year Off



Things Little Z says

It’s been quite a while since I wrote one of these and it feels like an age since I blogged. 3 days. That’s forever. With the world gone crazy and death and destruction all over the place I’ve felt a bit meh about everything. So I thought it might be good timing to see the would through a little boys again for a few minutes to make it all look slightly better again.

So here’s what my 3 and a half year old has been saying recently…

On not wanting to go to his superhero party…
Z: But I don’t like superman. I want to wear my bus top. I don’t want to be a superhero.
(After running around Toys R us the day before panic buying the outfit and then shifting work about to drop him off he was definitely going. After a 30 minute battle to get him into it and, probably earning an early morning wrath from the sleeping neighbours, he eventually discovered the cape would fly behind him if he ran up and down the street. Anytime a neighbour asked how Superman was that morning he replied “No” rather grumpily. Grumpy loved his party though after all that.

He has taken to retorting “fine” anytime he realises he has to do something he doesn’t want to. I definitely don’t know where he’s picked that up from…
Me: Little Z why are you acting like a teenager?
Z: I don’t know what that word means

On trying to slip away for a 2 minute comfort break…
Z: Where you going Mummy?
Me: To the toilet?
Z: Shall I help you?
Me: No it’s ok…
Z: I need to help you!
Cue trying to get into the bath / fill it with bubbles / brushing his teeth

Discovering silver linings in every situation…
Me: Brush your teeth
Z: My toothpaste isn’t stripey.
Me: [Carefully puts stripey toothpaste on]
Z: I need red one….
Me: [Tries to squeeze out a bit more Aquafresh]
Z: [3 seconds of brushing] I finished!
Me: You need to brush properly, I’ll help you…
Z: No My DO IT!
[10 more minutes of this...]
Z: I finished!
Me: If you don’t brush properly your teeth will fall out.
Z: Then tooth fairy come?
Me: How do you know about the tooth fairy?
Z: [Silence and all knowing grin]

On seeing the Maltese advert where the guy does the straw thing…
Z: Let’s do that!!
Me: Errr….
Z: [Running to the kitchen to fetch his props] Come on mummy!!
OH: [Runs after him] I want a go!
It took about 10 minutes with all 3 of us trying to stop maltesers rolling about all over the place or melting. I am very pleased to say I did it first!

Z: Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to my magic show! You have to clap now.
[obedient clapping from the mummy and daddy audience]
Then everything gets turned into a frog. I think maybe we need to watch a bit less of Nanny Plum in our house for a bit.

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Gaza and Israel – The latest conflict

Another massive round of air strikes takes place between Israel and Gaza and words like “circle of violence” and “Free Gaza” are once again being thrown about. I wrote about it last year after wanting to do something constructive but not really knowing what.

Sadly I could probably copy and paste that post and just re-post it and, besides the death toll, it would all probably apply. There are still blockades in place over Gaza. The people of Palestine still don’t have the same rights as the Israelis. There is still no sign of an impending peace agreement between the two nations. Rocket attacks are still fired between Israel and Gaza repeatedly and the majority of those killed or injured are still Palestinian civilians.

This time the attacks have escalated from the tragic killings of 3 Israeli teenagers and the murder and burning of the Palestinian teen. Under the face of this the cause of the violence is rooted much deeper and goes back much further. The kidnapping of soldiers, civilians, those suspected to be militants, more civilians and on and on. Time and time again people make the mistake of thinking the Palestinian people and Hamas are the same entity. You hear statements such as “they started it” and with each incident that breaks the fragile ceasefire comes yet another attack from each side. Bomb shelters come into heavy play on the Israeli side and homes and schools act as make shift shelters on the Gaza side.

As of 9am on the 15th July the stats looked something like this:

193 killed – Of which 191 are Palestinian and 2 Israeli. At least 80% of which are civilians and 21% (36) of these are children
1400 wounded
66 schools damaged in Gaza
940 homes destroyed
Approximately 10,800 people have taken shelter in 16 UNRWA schools in Gaza City and about 7,000 in 5 shelters in northern Gaza.

(Stats from Chris Gunness – UNRWA)

Others have evacuated and left where possible to take refuge elsewhere. There is no indication on when or indeed if they will ever be able to return.

No matter the circumstances of each offence the people of Gaza are inevitably always the ones most affected. Infrastructure and lives destroyed in an instant, wiping out multiple individuals from one family. Where people do survive, it becomes a long hard mission to start rebuilding not only their homes and other buildings but also mindset that has been damaged by deaths of those close to them.

To then hear David Cameron staunchly supporting Israel without any kind of balance for both sides is bitterly disappointing. No-one should condone killings or violence on any side and if someone attacked England I would like to think we could defend ourselves in any way needed. To wall in a population into restricted land, limit their rights and put blockades in place for years and them live in what is commonly described as an open air prison, however, not expecting any kind of retaliation smacks of either naivety or just a complete disregard of human life based upon who they are.

On the flip side, defacing synagogues in an attempt to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause does nothing to help it. This should never result in an attack against the Jewish population, many of which want peace between the two nations and don’t support illegal settlements or the sanctions on the Palestinians. The cause should be one to eliminate the blockades and sanctions completely, grant the same rights to the Palestinian civilians as Israel and them the same rights as the Israelis and grant them the land that should be theirs for their own state.

Of course that’s a scenario many probably will only dream of and I know we’ve certainly sat extremely safe in our own homes stating how sad it all is but not actually done anything to help anything.

In a situation as massive as this with little light at the end of the tunnel there are some small helpful things that can be done to help the civilians affected like donating a charity to help with medical supplies and basic amenities and / or writing to your MP to urge the lifting of blockades. With the growing numbers of both the killed and the injured, all media portals have reported dwindling and limited supplies particularly in morgues and equipment to help assist critical trauma victims. With the blockades, whilst some have been lifted over the years, Israel maintains some are still in place as a way to deter further attacks. Both imports and exports fall under this:

As both import and export out of the occupied territory are tightly restricted, goods coming in through the single commercial border crossing with Israel meet only 35 to 50 percent of Gazans’ needs, as Reuters reports.

This particular fact sheet is two years old but I think the majority, if not all, still applies and gives a good understanding of the types of conditions that are in place.

There are a number of recent protests that have taken place outside buildings such as the BBC studios protesting against the biased reporting in the media. One particularly interesting Twitter hashtag is #BBCTruth4Gaza. Another is #StopArmingIsrael. Did you know the US Senate has recently authorised funding of $350 million dollars for the Iron Dome? And that the UK provides arms to Israel?

In the meantime whilst it’s hoped that a ceasefire is mutually agreed on quickly, the proven fragility and repeated violation of it gives a grim reality of what the short term future holds for those wanting to just live and raise their families in a safe and secure home.

In reading a lot of articles over the last few days it’s heartbreaking to see one too many graphic photos of those have been killed. As someone quite rightly pointed out, there is no dignity even in death for them and I definitely didn’t want to share it here which probably makes me a bit selfish. Instead though, I will share this. I think he’s hilarious and mostly has a point. This is a pretty excellent one.

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Dearest Little Z – At Age 3 and 7 Months

Hello Little Z!

So (pre) school is almost out for summer and I can’t wait. It means we can start going lots of fun places and hopefully basking in the sun a bit. I still need to plan stuff but I’m sure it’ll be fun. You’ve finally finally settled in and run in and wave me off. Which is typical timing really as I’m not wondering if you’ll end up taking a step back with the 7 weeks holidays. Hopefully not.

You’ve not quite clicked that your lovely keyworker has left last week. You think she’s on holiday. I didn’t really know how to tell you she’s not coming back so I’ve just carried on lying. She’s gone off to become a Nanny for a family not too far away from us. I can just imagine her as her a very Northern Mary Poppins calling all her wards “spud”. I remember you greeted your Daddy and I with a “hello Spud!” for about two weeks after you picked it up. There’s a chance she may come back after the summer holidays if things don’t work out but I bet she will be fantastic. She is a natural with children and they are a very lucky family to have her. Your new keyworker is really lovely too and asked me a hundreds of questions about you. I realised later that she was trying to get to know you inside out very quickly and that made me feel a lot better about the big change.

Something irked me a bit this week. You ran to that little boy I don’t really like very much and excitedly told me he was your friend. He promptly turned around and huffed he didn’t want to be your friend. What??! How very dare he. There is a part of me that’s secretly glad about this as he has a potty mouth but you were so sad I wanted to pick him up by his ankle and give him a telling off. Of course that would have been pretty mean of me and I wouldn’t really but I was very aware that the mother lion side of me unleashed itself very quickly. It reminded me of the film “This is 40″ when the mum goes over the top telling a teenage boy off for picking on her daughter. I think that’ll be me. Obviously I am going to have to rein it in and just let some of these things happen as its the real world and you need to learn. But Bleurgh bleurgh.

You decided over the last few weeks that wee-ing in the loo was boring and wee-ing on the floor was more you. Thankfully the accidents are now at a minimum. Its taken a bit of lying and threats of giving your Thomas underpants to your cousin to do the trick. Apparently a potty training regression is normal in boys but having your heart in your mouth constantly watching out for wee or that desperate cross legged wee dance is pretty draining. Hopefully this time its been nailed for good.

It was our wedding anniversary this month and you were a bit confused with the cards and presents being exchanged. You kept asking why people got married. We eventually asked if you wanted to get married and you thought it was a hilarious thing and then shook your head at us as if we’d asked the craziest thing ever. Ah well :)

You keep saying you need go to on holiday again. Your Daddy says you sound just like me. You’re doing such a good job even I have to tell you to cool it down every so often. You natter non stop though so its either listening to this or nursery songs. Maybe we will after your uncles wedding. We best start planning. And if Daddy is good then we could take him too! You tend to get distracted by a toy or Topsy and Tim every so often so it may take a while.

So until next time….Mwah!!

Dear Little Z 3 years and 7 months


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