Category: Parenting

I love grammar, but I don’t love the SATs

First up, a confession: I'm a total grammar nerd. I love semi colons; I get super-irritated when I see one misused. I revel in the difference between the past perfect and the past progressive. I know what a relative clause is, and I know how to punctuate one. So sue me. Grammar, as they say, is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit. You'd think a grammar nerd like me would be delighted by the additional emphasis on formal grammar in the new KS1 and KS2 SATs, wouldn't you? You'd think I'd be pleased that our nation's children are being taught to use apostrophes correctly. Believe me, I want everyone in the country to use apostrophes correctly. I really do. But this is not the way to achieve that particular utopia.   What's wrong with the new SATs? I hear you cry. Here's what's wrong:   1. There's no point learning…

5 things that got my attention this week

1. This week I read an article by David Cain on How to Become a Luckier Person Overnight. We've been hearing for a while now that consciously practising gratitude makes us not only nicer but happier too, and David suggests a radical approach - can we be grateful even for our misfortunes? And if we can, what does this mean for our happiness, and even our luck? I've been thinking about his approach this week, wondering about applying it to my own thinking. At times, I've felt a bit fraudulent - all my woes, it turns out, are so tiny, and insignificant - husband late home to take over with the children, a frustrating hold up on a project at work - and this leaves me realising how blessed I am. Which I suppose, after all, is the point.   2. Meanwhile, I'm continuing to follow E is for Erin's honest and gently thought-provoking blog. Erin is…

The courage to go to dark places

Image: courtesy of Jessica Shirley A couple of years ago I wrote the first draft of a novel called He, She, It.  It's a dark book, touching on dangerous and complicated themes, but looking back at it now, I realise I didn't quite have the courage to let it be dark or dangerous enough. For example, there's one scene where my fifteen-year old protagonist encounters a predatory adult in a position of power.  Anna escapes unharmed, and tells her Mum, who acts impeccably: she immediately believes her daughter's account of events, and acts strongly to protect her. I found it very upsetting to write that scene: I was shaking as I typed, and I cried a lot afterwards. At the time, the only way I could cope with the feelings it triggered in me was by making the Mum swoop in immediately and save Anna.  I had to put an end to the…

10 things I learned at BritMums Live 2015

1.  The nice people at the tables in The Hub give you free stuff.  Salsa, jewellery, memory sticks, wine, children's books. Shed-loads of pens. All you have to do is ask nicely. 2. According to someone in the know, the word 'vart' is a portmanteau term combining the words 'vagina' and 'fart'.  Use it wisely.  Although I love learning new words, I still personally prefer the term 'queef'. (Which just goes to show how refined and ladylike I am.) 3. Not everyone here is blogging about nappies.  Sisters (and the occasional bro) are blogging about the NHS, body image, culture, maternity experiences, learning disabilities, food, book promotion, local politics, international development, crafting, and much, much more. 4. Not everyone here is under 30.  Post40bloggers.com is a magazine for the quality older blogger (or discerning reader of any age). 5. If you ignore a problem for long enough, sometimes it goes away all by itself.  Apparently I no…

Ice climbing

It's three weeks now since I handed in the revised manuscript of Baby X (!), so in search of some creative distraction, I've been writing a fairy-tale about a Changeling, and looking over some old short stories I wrote a while back... Here's a tiny one.   Ice climbing   I’m at the park, perched on one of the old railway sleepers that forms the boundary of the sandpit.  My son, eleven months old, is upright in the sand, digging.  His back is straight, his knees bent around his bucket.  The long flap of his red sunhat falls over the back of his neck, down to his shoulder blades. I watch him dig, feel the sun on my back. Someone hunkers down beside me on the sleeper.  I’m friendly with some of the mothers who use this park; I’m here three or four times a week.  But before I even turn, I sense the newcomer is male. And…

Have you got something yum in your tum?

This erm - poem?- is a result of a collaboration between Dexter and me.  Euan wrote his own poem (image above).   Mum: Have you got something yum in your tum? Boy:  Have you got a plum up your bum? Mum: Have you got a flea on your knee? Boy: Have you got some bread in your head? Mum:  Have you got some soot on your foot? Boy:  Have you got some beef in your teef? Mum:  Have you got some borax in your thorax? Boy:  Have you got a snack on your back? Mum: Have you got a line through your spine? Have you got a bit of Prue Leith trapped between your teeth? Have you got Aer Lingus running through your fingers? Boy:  Have you got water up your snorter? Mum:  Have you got a stoat in your throat? Boy:  Have you got a fly in your eye? Have you got a peg on your leg? Have you got a…