I am Singing Your Song Mum

IT’S JOHN LEWIS AD DAY!!

It’s here!  The ad has been released online with the first TV screening expected at 9.15pm tonight.

I LOVE the John Lewis ads.  I get excited and all of my teaching plans are paused every year.  I shall spend the day watching it and analysing it with my students and being happy happy happy in my job; its cinematography, its soundtrack, its narrative structure, its messages…

And this year’s homage to Elton John ticks all of these boxes.

It’s not as immediately Christmassy as I would have liked.  It begins as what seems like simply a tribute to the legend that is Elton John, but as the flashback structure becomes clear and we can begin to anticipate what’s coming, the emotions kick in.

And at the end, it is indeed Christmassy.  In fact, there is so much Christmas and so many feels concentrated into the last 20 seconds, that you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a Christmas Pudding.

If the face on the little Elton doesn’t melt you into a thousand pieces as he bounces into the Living Room of his home on a Christmas Morning in the 1950s, then I don’t know what will.  He is every child.  He is all of us, full of joy and hope and anticipation.

And the message?

“Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Well, it’s more than that.

This is not just a hat tip to Elton John.

Actually, this advert is NOT about Elton John; it’s a tribute to his Mother. TO ALL mothers.  (And to his Grandmother!)

How?

Because it is his Mother who sees his potential, who encourages his talent, who feeds his ability.  It is his mother who watches with tears of pride in her eyes.  It is his mother to whom he looks when his nerves fail him as a young boy at a school recital, who has given him all that he needed to succeed in life… And succeed he did (and does).

And it is no doubt his Mother that he is thinking of in that final scene, where his smile is sad, but full of memory.

In fact, when we see the clip of a young Elton in a recording studio, the music becomes almost inaudible as he sings “My gift is my song and my song’s for you.”  His Mother gave him the gift of music.  He returns the gift to her by dedicating his song to her.

Because, without his Mother, where would he be?

Now, I’m off to show my babbies this beautiful piece of Christmas magic and to make sure they all recognise the message in this ad… and that they all go home this evening and thank their parents for giving them all of the gifts that they have…

And then, I’m going to price Pianos for my little superstars…

I am Scolding the Bitchee Mum

A few weeks ago, Mini-Me had a melt down because “Granda called me a Bitcheeeee!”

I was in one room, changing a savage nappy and hadn’t heard Granda talking to her, or indeed to anyone.

She arrived into me, eyes wide and ready to tell me ALL the tales.  He did!  He called me a bad wod.”

He did not call you a bad word Darling.

He did!  He said “you wee bitchyee. I hurd him!” eyebrow raised for maximum effect.

So Mammy goes into the kitchen, just in time to see Granda tripping over the dog. (Well. They say she’s a dog. She’s not a real dog.  She’s a toy dog; a little, sharp faced, shrill barked,white hairy snowball who I do indeed love even though I’d never admit it….)

minipom

How THEY see her…

“Damnitanywayyaweebitchyeeee!” he gnarls at the toy-dog as she scutters away from under his feet.

“What are you scowling about?” I ask him.

“That’s the second time I’ve tripped over that dog. Put her in the hall!” he growls. The toy dog is jumping on her hindlegs at my knees, looking for a treat that even after 12 years the dumbass hasn’t realised I do NOT HAVE to give her.

I open the door to let the toy dog into her fluffy bed and laugh as I hear Mini-Me announce “Ganda dat was NOT vewy nice!”

“What wasn’t nice?”

“You called me a bitcheee!” she accuses.

Poor Granda looks genuinely confused. “I did not!” he defends himself.

“Granda called the DOG a wee Bitchee Darling. Not you.” I intervene.

I await her “Ah OK Granda”, but instead, her face clouds over with even more tempered indignation and as she inhales, I know that poor Ganda is about to feel the wrath of a 6 year old whose favourite ball of fur has just been insulted.

Suddenly, her own feelings are irrelevant. But is he going to get it for calling the toy dog exactly what she is?
You bet your life he is.

I leave them to it and go to the hall where the little “Bitchee” is lying, curled up and oblivious to the absolute bolloking poor Granda is undergoing on her behalf in the kitchen…
or is she?

She may be cute and fluffy.
But there’s a streak of Gremlin in her. And I don’t mean Gizmo.

minniepom

How MAMMY sees her…

The wee Bitchee…

I am Step Aside in the Loo Queue Mum

Listen up Bitcheepoos!

Can we introduce a new law?

Let us call it the Potty Parent law…

And let us apply it to all public toilets from this moment on.

toilet1

The law shall decree:
“When you see a parent in a queue for a public toilet, with a Potty Training Smallie who is on the verge of leaving lellow puddles at his or her or your feet, you MUST GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY and let that parent fast track to the porcelain pot IMMEDIATELY.”

You shall know the true Potty Parents by their desperate, fidgeting demeanor, as they
jump around trying everything to distract their child.

You shall know them by their repetitive-but-increasing-in-frequency-sing-songing of “Just hold on a minute” and “Keep that peepee in your touchee for two seconds” or “It’s nearly our turn Darling”.

And you shall recognize the wild and bulging eyes of the Potty Parent as he or she holds the volcanic wobbler on their hip, worrying not only for the lapse in dignity of their child if they peepee or poopoo on themselves, but also for themselves that Peepee or Poopoo will most likely end up trickling down THEM also.

And of course, while said parent will likely have a change of clothes in their bag for the offending wobbler, the chances of them carrying around a change of clothes for themselves is as likely as the wobbler’s bladder holding on much longer…

toiolet 2

So if you are in a queue in a public toilet and you see such a parent and child behind you in said queue, you must step aside and offer the next available cubicle to them.

Trust me, they shall bestow gratitude and praise upon you faster than the peepee that is running down their hip and Karma shall repay you in the future.

Thank you to the lady who recognised me as one of these potty parents in the SSE Arena last Saturday. Who turned to me and said, “You go ahead Love. She’s so good!” when I truly thought that the floor of the loo was going to end up as shiny as the ice the skaters were dancing on…

It was clear to her (Not to the other numpties who simply looked at me as if I were mental as I bounced around singing the “Just hold on!” song) that I was a Parent of the Toilet Training variety. Perhaps what gave it away in fairness, was my eventual roar of “OK PEE FASTER PEOPLE!” for this Mammy had reached her level of potty patience and knew that her little monster would not be able to hold it in much longer.

So yes. A new law. Or maybe even a little fast track lane drawn on the floor, you know like bicycle lanes in the city? Or a Bus lane? A little queue lane with potties drawn on it.

Because not only would it save the peepee of the wobblers, it might save the parents from losing the absolute “poopoo” too.

potty1

Are you following me on my Social Media. Links on the sidebar!

cropped-smumcover.png

I am So What Age is Best Mum?

The recent pregnancy announcement of one of the pretty Princess People in London has caused quite a stir, not only because everyone loves a royal Baby as much as a royal wedding.  This one has caused a stir because Princess-wifey-of-the-other-one will be deemed to be having a “geriatric pregnancy” because she is over 35.

megan

Geriatric?  The woman looks about 21.  And yet, this is a medical term, much used and much accepted across the medical world.

So, what age is the best age to have kids?

Well now that is really the same as asking how long a piece of string is, or how much wine is too much wine? Erm…

My own parents have done it all!  I was born when they were 20 and 21, the baby being born as they both turned 40.  They tell me that each of us (and we are 6!) brought our own challenges.  I don’t think they’d say which is best, because they wouldn’t change a thing. (I think!)

bump1

I remember when my Dad turned 30. At the wise old age of nine, I thought he was ANCIENT!  And as I now hit hard on 40 myself, I often consider how wonderful it is that so many of my generation were born to such young parents. (and I am grateful to have them both still young and thankfully well.)

In the 80’s, it was the absolute norm for Mums to be 19 or 20.  It was perfectly acceptable to be married at 18 or 19. I remember hearing my Aunty proclaim, on her 21st birthday, that if she wasn’t married by the time she turned 25, to sign her up to a certain religious institution… And yet now, most don’t even consider settling down until late 20s/early 30s and most of us are having our kids in our mid to late 30s.

Having babies young has its benefits as well as its cons.  And waiting until later brings different struggles and joys.

As a Mammy who had Baby one at 30 and Baby two at 35, (Yup! Geriatric Mammy right here!), I can honestly say that the energy levels I had for number two differed desperately.  As did my physical recovery.

But again, everyone is different.  30 was the right age for me.  I was settled in my own skin, in my career and in my relationship.  And yet my friend who had her three kids before the age of 23 will tell you that she loved having them when she was younger and had more time and energy.

When you have your babies, really has no baring on the life of anyone else does it?  You are not ‘better’ if you have kids at whatever the national average is.  You are not ‘better’ if you have your kids young than the woman who is 41 when she gives birth.

Every one is different and as with all things parenty, there is no right or wrong.

Remember to follow me on Bookface and Instagranny!

 

 

cropped-smumcover.png

I am Saving Myself Thanks Mum

Kiera Knightly this week broke the interweb with her announcement that she has banned her three year old daughter from watching The Little Mermaid and Cinderella.  She feels that they teach her daughter wrong and even misogynistic lessons; that you need to wait for a man to save you and that you must give up your voice for the man you want…

Kristen Bell has issues with Snow White because of how consent is conveyed in it.

Fair enough.

Who are we to judge? If these Mamas don’t want to let their kids watch these movies, that is absolutely 100% THEIR DECISION!

In fact, the portrayal of women in Disney is something I have discussed with my students many, many, many times, and while I agree that many of the traditional “princesses” are frustratingly meek and mild and oh so obedient to their hearts and menfolk, I also am aware that the stories are not the cause of inequality and misogyny in our modern society.  They are only stories; fairytales, make believe… it is HOW we read them that is important.

Yes you can say that Prince Whatshisface kissing Snow White while she was sleeping is wrong.  Of course it is, but why do we hone in on that rather than the previous 60 minutes where she was a servant and cleaner and feck knows what else,  for seven little men?  (And does that not insult men, suggesting that seven of them together couldn’t function without a teenage girl to look after them?)

Yes, Cinderella needed magic and spells and fab shoes to get her prince.  And ‘tut’ to her that she needed a man to save her, but such was the world, the IMAGINARY world, in which she lived.

Cinderella_15

Shakespeare wrote some of the most incredibly females in history. Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits to “unsex me here” because obviously she couldn’t be evil as she was a woman. (Any men getting offended here?)  And then he also wrote Ophelia, who is worse and more weak and frustrating that ANY Disney Princess in the world. Don’t start me on Ophelia…

Why did Shakespeare write her?  Because he was a woman hater? NO.  Because that was the society and cultural norm in the time in which he lived.  And actually, he had his Portia save the day when a crowd of men made a mess of everything, and then she married her Prince Charming, after saving his ass.

But we don’t ban our teenagers from reading Shakespeare do we?. In fact, we encourage it because we know that they can recognise the injustices and gender issues for themselves. Because we’ve given them those skills.

As for the Disney classics, remember that Cinderella and Snow White and The Little Mermaid were written in the early 1800s… of course their messages and social concepts are different to ours.

We however, get to choose how we read them.

And while there are valid arguments about the negative messages some of the classics send out, there are also plenty positives…and a few weird things, to pay attention to.

Cinderella was good and kind and she felt good in new, sparkly shoes. She also spoke to mice and birds.   Snow White was happy that Prince Whatshisface kissed her. He saved her. She wasn’t dragged off kicking and screaming to the castle to live happily ever after, was she?  The Little Mermaid was a defiant strong-willed rascal, who followed her heart.  Her best friends were also a crab and a fish… so let’s differentiate reality from fairytale.

Our daughters are no fairytale princesses.  They will not NEED a man to save them.  They will be able to look after themselves. They will be self-sufficient and well able to provide for themselves, to follow their dreams, to be “anything they want to be”… but can we stop already with telling them that they DON’T need to be girly?

20180819_124441

This teeshirt made me mad when I saw it a few weeks ago.  Yes, by all means encourage our daughters to believe that they can achieve anything they dream of and work for, but why do we need to tell them that being girly or wearing pink or dreaming of being a movie star are signs of weakness?  What the feck is wrong with wanting to be a movie star?  Are Megan Markle or KatyBaby failures because they found their Princes?

My daughters love dresses.  They love sparkles. They love makeup and dressing up and singing and being all round princesses.  They also love superheros, dress up as Hulk,  football and Pokemon and they play ninjas and wrestle.

There is no “That is for girls” or “That is for boys” in our house.

20180717_182917

Because that is not how to teach our children equality.

I like football. I like MMA. I swear more than a lady should. I train along with the menfolk in Jim and I prefer Marvel movies to Chickflicks.  In my work and projects, I take no prisoners and do not see any man as better than me.  And yet, I love to do all things “girly” too. and I love to dress up and I like sparkly shoes.

Does that make me less? Does the fact that I like pink and glitter and girly stuff make me weak? Because it seems to me that we’ve gone beyond telling girls they can be anything, we’ve gotten to the point that being girly is snubbed and scoffed at and actually looked down upon.

Well not on my watch.

I dress up and get my girly on, for me. Not for my Him or for anyone else.  For me. Because I am comfortable with who I am. And let me tell you, there is NO ONE who has watched as many Disney movies in their childhood (and still), as Me!

And my daughters will do what they want, how they want, Prince Charming or no Prince Charming, but they certainly will not be banned from watching Disney Movies, because all they see is a mermaid who sings songs and fights evil octopus monsters.

It’s a movie.

If you want your daughters to grow up strong and independent, teach them to be strong and independent…point out how old fashioned some of those Princesses are. (not all of them, for the newer ones are WICKED!  Merida, Mulan, Ana?)

And teach them that to be feminist does not mean hater of men.  It means equality for all. It means being able to stand up for themselves and to be a strong and independent woman, who can change the world and kick ass…whether in trousers and flats or in a skirt and glittery heels.

20180725_120853

Otherwise, they’ll end up offended by every man in the world and will need a big box of Man-sized…sorry, “extra large” Kleenex to wipe their offended eyes. I wonder when Manchester is being renamed? Peoplechester has a ring to it, don’t ya think?

Wear the pink, wear the glitter, wear the lipstick. Or don’t if you don’t want to … But be yourself and be strong and don’t let others tell you that you’re wrong. And then you might just live happily ever after.

fb cover