Sunday, August 12, 2007

Being Bored

I am beginning to think that it’s a crime for children to be bored in this country. I feel I am always under constant pressure to keep my child busy/occupied/doing something.

I was listening to a programme on BBC Radio Four the other day where a lady was talking about a book she had just written on ingenious ways to keep your child from being bored (I guess with the summer holidays in full swing it was a good time to plug it). I mean, listening to her speak she wanted you – the parent – to forever be doing something with your child. You even have to keep them busy in the car on long journeys. I have lost count of the number of cars I have looked into on the motorway only to see the kids sitting at the back staring at a portable DVD screen attached to the headrests of the driver and passenger seat. Why??? Don’t the kids watch enough TV at home??

I remember as a child when we had to take that mandatory monthly trip down to the village – we, the kids, just sat in the back and kept ourselves busy looking out of the window (waving randomly at passing cars), making up our own games or reading a book. Our parents where not obliged to play ‘I Spy’ or Karaoke games with us. Neither did they have to sit though a CD of nursery rhymes as we journeyed along. We had no choice in the matter when it came to what we listened to in the car – we simply listened to whatever my parents dad listened to and I am proud to say that at the age of seven when we all took a road trip to Togo – then a nine hour journey, I knew all the words to Boney M and Bob Marley as this was what was on offer in my dads car on his 8 track player (remember those?).

In my case, there are eight and five years respectively between my older sisters and I so from very early on in my life I had to keep myself occupied and most of the time I just got on with it. I drew, I painted, I sewed, I wrote short stories and poems, I made jewellery from beads and wire, and I read. Boy, did I read. But you know what? I loved it and I was never bored for a minute. And this has kept me in good stead to this day. Believe me when I say I am never bored and it would be easier for me to put hot coals in my mouth than to admit that I was.

In my opinion boredom can be a good thing and it is a good thing for a child to be bored once in a while. It brings out the creative side in them. I don’t think children, or adults, devote much or any time at all to just … thinking. It is so important to be still in this our ever increasing busy world. It is so important to sit and just be lost in your thoughts, to meditate on life or even nothing at all. I do it whenever I can and it’s refreshing.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Shopping and the Breastfeeding Mum

As any breastfeeding mum will tell you, one thing that changes radically is your shopping habit. At least for me it has.

The first thing I do now when I arrive at a shopping mall is to scope the joint for the nearest mother and baby ( M & B) changing room – these days many forward looking malls also have a little area included in which a mother can sit and breastfeed her baby away from the prying eyes of strangers. In this country, if you breast feed in public you either

a) get told off by a member of the passing public claiming that the sight is offensive to them (this happened to a mum recently)

b) get gawked at by acne ridden teenagers eager to cop a look at a bared breast

c) get gawked at by lecherous old men also eager to cop a look at a bared breast.

So to avoid any of the above the best option is to make a bee line for an M & B room.

I am toying with the idea of drawing up a list of the best and worst M & B rooms across the country – I have been doing quite a lot of travelling lately and so I am familiar with more than a few of them. The best feeding room by far that I have found myself in is the John Lewis one in the Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull. Fantastic! The worst are the ones in the Bullring, Birmingham. Tight and pokey with a very hard flip down seat. Horrible.

But I digress.

The reason why I look for the M & B room first is because I know that I will be spending at least an hour or more in one during the course of my shopping trip so it’s a good thing to be prepared, as the scouts would say.

Another thing that has changed for me as a breastfeeding mum is the type of clothes I shop for – the bottom half doesn’t matter but the top half is all important. Gone are the days of wearing tops with zips down the sides or back. Now anything I buy has to either button down the front, be stretchy enough to be slipped over my shoulder or should criss-cross in front (Principles do a nice range of stretchy/criss-cross dresses) which is a lot more difficult to achieve that one might think. Most of the fashion these days are geared towards slinky, small chested women and shops catering to mums with little babies are either ridiculously overpriced or have a collection of clothes so dull and dismal all you want to do is just sit down and weep.

The fabric of the clothes should also preferably be patterned, fairly dark or thick enough to disguise the tell tale outline of your breast pads. Oh, breast pads are soooooooo important to have on/in when you go shopping. Without going into too much detail the last thing you want to have are two round wet patches on either side of your chest as your boobees begin to lactate at the sound of your baby’s cry. Not a good look, trust me.

Last but not the least – I never, ever leave home without the all important feeding cloth, as I call it. This is simply a square muslin cloth which is almost always to be seen draped over my shoulder. No it is not a new fashion accessory but an all important clothes protector. After all the last thing you want is regurgitated milk resembling cheese in the first stages of processing, oozing down your shoulder when you hold baby up to burp.

And my favourite joke of the minute is..

What sort of bees make milk?



Picture courtesy of daily candy