• Parenting

    I Demand An Apology

        I enjoyed David Mitchell’s article in the Guardian about the demanding of apologies and I laughed at the story he told about his parents.   It reminds me of being made to apologise as a child. I remember a specific occasion when my parents were furious with me for some reason. And I was furious with them. It was a standoff. They were demanding an apology or else, as I recall it, basically nothing was to be allowed in future: food, sleep, not eating all my food, not immediately going to sleep, going outside, being allowed inside, contact with the cat – all banned. It was a massive…

  • Parenting

    “Are Those Men Married To Each Other, Mum?”

    It is something that we have never talked about with the children. Not because we were avoiding it, but because it has never come up and it would have felt forced and strange to have brought it up. Tonight, watching the fabulous Sugar Dandies on Britains Got Talent, my daughter looked intrigued when Bradley talked about his love for his partner Soran.   “Awww, sweet”, she said. Then, “Are they married to each other?”. “Yes, they are. Men can be married to men, just as they can be married to women. Some men love men, some love women”, I replied. “And do some women love women?” “Yes. Sometimes.” “Cool”, was…

  • Fundraising

    Survival

    I’m a survivor I’m not goin’ give up I’m not goin’ stop I’m goin’ work harder   The song blasted out of the speakers as Amelia gritted her teeth. The pain was almost enough to make her beg for a break, but not quite. Not when she was so close. “Dig deep, Amelia. We are almost there”, her physiotherapist implored. “I’m a SURVIVOR”, Amelia shouted breathlessly as she shuffled forward. Jane moved backwards, her hands outstretched. Not holding, but protecting from a potential fall. It was both a reassurance and an annoyance. Why should someone have to be ready to catch her all the time, why can she not do…

  • Parenting

    The Balance of Motherhood

    “She is Just A Mum. I imagine she sits around all day in her PJs, drinking tea and eating chocolate biscuits” “Oh, she is a working mother. Her children are in nursery all day, the poor things”   Is that it? Are these the only options? How much do we give up of our lives, our hopes, our dreams when we become mothers? And when is it ok to say, “Right. Enough. I am not Just A Mother”       Today, I read a post on my favourite parenting blog FreeYourParenting about nurturing yourself. Clare talks about the every day stresses of family life, and how we can get away…

  • Parenting

    GummibearGate – Kids and Swearing

    Do you get all <catbum mouth> at people who swear at their children? You are not alone if you do. Who would not look disapproving at someone shouting and swearing at their child? Who would not judge that person as a Bad Mother for using bad language, for shouting at a poor little innocent child. If you had observed me on our trip to Germany, you would have judged me and found me wanting. But stop for a moment and think. This post is not about parents who verbally abuse their children, who shout and swear day in, day out. But about the parents who lose their temper and patience…

  • Parenting

    Do You Have a Parenting Philosophy – Your Children are not Your Children

    Attachment Parenting, Benign Neglect,  Authoritarian, Helicopter Parent, Tiger Mum – which one describes your parenting method best? Can you put a name to your Parenting Philosophy, explain it in two or three words?   In those first hazy months of parenthood, many of us read books on parenting. We search for answers, for reassurance, for advice. Or we use websites such as Mumsnet, Netmums or Babycentre. Perhaps you already had an idea of the kind of parent you wanted to be, and found that the reality of parenting was slightly different to the theory.   I can recall being indignant at my husband’s Grandmother, because she told me that when…

  • Feminism

    Waxing Children – Bannatyne vs Mumsnet

    When is an acceptable age to allow your daughter to wax? And would you take her to a salon to have this done? Tricky question, and one I have been pondering this morning since reading on Twitter that Duncan Bannatyne has taken umbrage at the comments made by Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, about his spa offering waxing to 13 year old girls. Linking to the article in the Daily Star, Bannatyne posted   I am disgusted to see Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts saying mothers should not have individual choice of how to bring up daughters   What Justine actually said was   You’d hope there’d be a longer period of…

  • Parenting

    Raising Independent Children

    Only one in five children can tie a reef knot, according to a survey carried out on behalf of the Scout Association. My first thought on reading this was, “How on earth will they manage to tie a neat knot in a silk scarf when they are older”, which may not be quite what the Scout Association was worried about.     While being able to tie an reef knot, or mend a puncture may be a handy skill to have, there are other items on the list that we really should be teaching our pre-teen children. How to cook a meal – my daughter is 9 years old and recently…

  • Social Media

    Parentbloggers and Privacy – What Happens When Kids Grow Up?

        This is something that I have been musing on for a few days. There are a lot of “Parentbloggers” out there at the moment and I won’t knock them – some of them I really enjoy reading. But what happens when the cute little toddler becomes a pre-pubescent bundle of hormones, then a teenager. Will the Mummyblogger still blog about her children, and can you really do this for over a decade without the friends of the children finding out and taking the piss? I guess that many will find that the store of “amusing things that the children have done today” tales dries up. Not that children over…

  • Feminism

    Sponsors Of Mums

    It is not often that a multinational company so misjudges their advertising audience as Proctor and Gamble has with their “Sponsors of Mums” campaign. Maybe it is just me, but their ad makes me want to throw things at the TV. The dog goes into hiding when she hears the advert start as she knows that I will be shouting before long. If you haven’t seen it, it is part of P&G’s Olympic advertising campaign. Info here   We are informed: “For 80 years in the UK and more than 170 years around the world, Mums have been our boss at P&G. They’ve driven our product innovation and they’ve led…

  • Geneva,  Switzerland

    Schools in Geneva

    One of the most important issues when expats move to a new country is schooling. You can out up with a less than stunning kitchen (and you often have to here) or a slightly boring social life but if your children are unhappy in school then the assignment will be a short one. Or of course if you are unhappy with the school. When we moved to Geneva we faced the decision – local schools or international/bilingual schools. Cost was not a factor, as my husband’s company would pay for private schooling for the duration of our stay in Switzerland. Our children were still quite young, just 4 years and…

  • Parenting

    Do the children of writers have a right to privacy?

    This morning on Twitter, the writer Jenny Colgan linked to this story in the Daily Mail. Supposedly an article on how even young girls suffer from self-doubt and trying to live up to an unreachable beauty ideal, the author tells of finding her six year old daughter’s diary and reading it. She finds to her horror that the diary is full of self-critical observations. She admits that it is wrong to read her daughter’s diary, completely missing the much larger betrayal of writing about her daughter’s intimate feelings and fears, then publishing it in a nationwide newspaper. Great way to boost your daughter’s self-esteem – write it up for all…

  • Switzerland

    Féte de Bonhomme Neige

    Tonight we went to the Féte de Bonhomme Neige – the Snowman Festival – with ritual burning of the snowman to mark the end of winter. Not that there was much of a winter to speak of this year. The ski resorts of Morzine, Avoriaz, Chamonix et al were pretty much bare this year. We had a big dump of snow the first week of December which thawed not long after, then another flurry around Christmas and that has been just about it. The mountains had a bit more than we did, but from what we could see, not much. The snow cannons have certainly earned their keep this year,…

  • Geneva,  Switzerland

    Visiting Geneva With Children – City Walk

    One of the things that we noticed when we moved to Geneva is that the Swiss are very child-friendly. It is a great place to raise a family. Children are a part of everyday life here and are welcomed almost everywhere. You can go into even the most exclusive restaurant with your children and they will be greeted with a friendly smile. Even going for a meal in the evening is no problem. If you are planning a short trip to Geneva this walk will take you around the main attractions of Geneva without boring the children. Parc de la Grange/Parc des Eaux Vives   Geneva is full of parks.…

  • Parenting

    “I have Bless You on my Cardigan”

    When my daughter was about two years old, she had a bad cold. After several days of sneezing and snot, she was grumpy and irritable. She sneezed noisily then started sobbing. It took me a moment before I understood why she was so upset. She wailed, “I have BLESS YOU on my cardigan!” In a two year old’s mind it is a logical conclusion. Every time she had sneezed, I had exclaimed, “Oh, bless you” and wiped her nose. She thought that bless you was the word for the slimy green stuff that is expelled when one sneezes. Since then, snot is called Bless You in our house. Just as the evening…

  • Parenting

    PAPA! PAPA! TOBEN!

    This cry rang through my house just moments ago. Toben is a German word and means to play, roughhouse, romp – in our house it means that the children and their father chase, tickle, shout, scream, laugh and cavort. There does not seem to be a single English word that expresses exactly what toben is so we always use the German word. Since our daughter was a toddler, “toben” was part of our bedtime routine. Contrary to all sensible advice on websites and in parenting books, my husband would race about, throw our daughter in the air, tickle and generally cause much hilarity. The children would sleep so well afterwards, we felt that…

  • Parenting

    Homework – and why parents should get a free bottle of wine with their children’s homework assignments

    We did homework today. Les doigts de pieds s’appellent: a. les oreilles b. les orteils DD: I don’t understand ME: what are the doigts? DD: fingers ME: good. What are the pieds? DD: feet. ME: Ok, what are the fingers of the toes? DD: ME: at the end of your hands you have? DD: fingers ME: and at the end of your feet? DD: ummmm ME: look, fingers on the hands. and what is on the feet? DD: I don’t knoooooooooooooow ME: LOOK AT MY HANDS – THERE ARE FINGERS ON THE END. WHAT IS ON THE END OF MY FEET. LOOK AT MY BLOODY FEET DS: (shouts from the…