Thursday, 16 August 2018

Stuck In The Middle 

We live in a society where whether we like it or not, we are grouped in to categories and labels. Although these don’t actually define who we are, they are there none the less. I used to be opposed to labels. I didn’t think they were necessary. I felt that they got in the way of the way we perceived people and created barriers to truly getting to know a person. In some ways I still stand by that. In other ways, I’ve changed.

I changed when I became label-less with my eldest child. Pulled from pillar to post by my own emotions, feelings and actions. By his emotions, feelings and actions. 

I always knew he was ‘different.’ 

I loved his differences, and I still do. But when he started school it slowly became apparent that those things I loved about him were in fact a ‘problem.’

He wasn’t at the same level as his peers, and as the years have passed he has become further and further behind. Not just academically, but socially and emotionally too. 

I started a blog because I struggled. But whilst struggling I still saw the humour in life, and after a particularly hard day of parenting, I knew that the things that had caused me stress, when said aloud were actually thigh slappingly hilarious. They still are. 

Except for the times they’re not. 

My son doesn’t tick all the boxes needed for a diagnosis. Because of this he is expected to conform and adapt to things within life around him that he is uncomfortable with. 

It wasn’t until I accepted the fact that he needed help, and in order to acquire this help he needed a label, that I began to realise that whether I liked it or not, they were useful and necessary. 

It wasn’t until he was rejected by services who told me he didn’t quite tick all the boxes required that I began *needing that label. 

My son doesn’t meet expectations for a typical child his age, and he doesn’t meet expectations for a child with special needs.

So where does he fit? Where do we fit?


We’re stuck in the middle. 

I don’t need that label to define my son. But it appears I need it to define me as a parent. 

I yearn for a day when I don’t go through the vicious guilt cycle. It’s my fault. I worked too much, I didn’t force him to sit down and listen to me read to him. I didn’t count enough, talk enough, socialise enough, try enough, push enough. 

I need that label so that when we sit down for a meal and he refuses to eat things on his plate that have touched eachother or are the wrong colour, I don’t one day find the funny side, the next day move what’s on his plate that’s offending him, and the day after that feel like grabbing the plate and smashing it up the wall. 

I need that label when I lie in bed next to him after a long day, waiting for him to go to sleep as he jerks around, sings, refuses to shut his eyes and taps his foot relentlessly. All things that I know he can’t help. 

But who says he can’t help it? 

No one. 

I need that label so I can understand why he melts down, screams, hits me, and can’t hold down a friendship because of his sensitivity and need for control. 

I need that label so I can be a better parent. One that fights with him, not against him. 

At the minute we’re outsiders. We don’t belong anywhere. 

We can’t always do things that other ‘normal’ families do because of a fear that it will end in meltdowns, upset and damage to confidence. But we can’t attend any special needs events either, because I’ll feel like a fraud. 

People assume that when your child is given that diagnosis, that label, that ascertains they are different, a parent is lost, bewildered and afraid. 

But sometimes the real fear, anxiety and bewilderment comes in the waiting. That limbo where you know they need help, YOU need help, but no one is helping. Where you ache for that sense of relief where you will be told exactly what you’re working with and you can then take the steps to understand, adapt, and have their back. You can say goodbye to the self doubt. It isn’t your imagination. It isn’t because you were a bad parent. You’re not just making excuses for them. This is who they are, and this is how we deal with things. 

I don’t need to tell the person who rolled their eyes at me in a restaurant today, as my son sang the same line of a song over and over again as he climbed all over the seats, that he has a label that explains what that’s all about. But I need it for my own mind that is torn in two, one side knowing that he can’t help what he is doing, and the other side that is screaming at me to make him stop because people are judging us. Judging me. 

I really hope that one day that time will come. Where my mind will be at peace. Where I don’t have to justify behaviours and feel the bitterness of doubt coming from the person who I’m talking to. 

I never thought I’d be this person. A person who aches for a label. And all the while feeling selfish for not always being the parent that I know I need to be. 

But meanwhile we’ll hover. 

We’ll survive 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Should You Give Your Teenage Daughter A Vibrator?

I don’t really watch daytime television, so I’m not up to date on the current issues that Phil & Holly, or The Loose Women bring to our screens every weekday. However sometimes, snippets of This Morning will filter in to my Facebook newsfeed, and on one morning in particular this week I watched an interesting clip about a sex expert suggesting teenage girls be given sex toys by their parents. 

We’re all adults here, yes? We can talk about this stuff? 
Good! Because, like always, I have an opinion. 

First of all, let’s stop waving our dildos in the air for a minute and calm the fuck down. We need to strip this back to basics and look at why this is even an issue in the first place. 

Because even in 2018, the behaviour expected from our children is completely and utterly directed by gender differences. And I’m not even talking about the clothes we put them in and the toys we steer them towards (although obviously this plays a factor). I’m talking about the scripts we follow within society and how we push them upon our children.

We chastise our daughters for ‘behaving like a boy’ and we ridicule our sons for ‘acting like a girl.’
Even if as parents we avoid this shit, we’re still surrounded by a society who doesn’t. 

As a parent to a boy who had long hair I’m no stranger to random comments in the supermarket about how "he needs a haircut because he looks like a girl" or how "he would look like such a big boy if his hair was shorter"
Peers of the same age make comments about "crying like a girl,” and we wonder why boys grow in to men who can’t express their emotions and repress their feelings. 

My daughter, who likes to throw a good left hook, will probably soon be subjected to comments about how "ladies don’t hit" and how they should “pick up flowers, not snails.”

Even at the age of 34 I’ve been referred to as a "ladette." I drink pints, I swear. Sometimes I even scratch my arse in public! These behaviours don’t fall in line with what a ‘girl should do,’ and therefore society created an entire new identity for women who act like men, instead of seeing our behaviour for what it is. Women who act like whoever we are and don’t conform to the bullshit.

Females are painted as delicate flowers who need to be respected and looked after, however, parents who are too afraid to talk to their children about sex are happy for them to become teens and refer to porn which shows these delicate flowers being pounded like a piece of meat. And boys think the girls enjoy it. 

Which brings us to the topic in question. 
It’s expected of boys to masturbate. They’re doing ‘what boys do!’ It’s openly discussed between 15 year old lads in the classroom. I remember! But heaven forbid a female should state she did the same! Shock horror! What a dirty slut! She’d be ridiculed. 
Doesn’t this girl know that her only part to play in sex is to be pummelled, and moan at the right times, for a mans pleasure?

You can’t expect a female to be repressed by following society’s expectations of ‘girls’ and then hand her a dildo at age 14 and say "I’m sorry you’ve been moulded and shaped by society, but here’s a sex toy to make up for it."

What. The. Fuck.

Until we allow our children to be who they are, regardless of the genitals they were born with then this shit is not going to work. It’s quite frankly, ridiculous. 
Our daughters are taught to refer to their period as a ‘star week’ and squirm with mortification in a public toilet at the thought of someone hearing a sanitary towel being changed. Imagine their face when you pass them a rampant rabbit over the dining table, after they’ve eaten their evening meal like a ‘lady’ whilst their brother scoffs his with one hand down his pants for good measure. But it’s ok! He’s a boy!

Ok, I know I’m over exaggerating. But you get my point, yes? 

So quit the bullshit, let our children be who they are. Talk to them. Educate them. It’s life. 

And here’s news. Like your sons, your daughters will discover their genitals wayyyy before they hit their teens. Probably before they even say their first word. They’re not born repressed or afraid of their bodies.

That’s something they learn. 

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Gandey’s Circus

Goodbye scary ass clowns throwing cream pies at eachother and HELLO to pecks and pelvic thrusts! 
Mums! You won’t be disappointed! (Hubba Hubba)

Even the spinning, flashing light that my six year old forced me to buy couldn’t distract me from the sensational view! 

I must admit, I spent the first half an hour of the show dreading the point where the clowns would appear, but for those with coulrophobia, you’ll be happy to know that the only clown that appears in Gandey’s circus is female, and she’s super hot and absolutely hilarious (they had to entertain the Dads too if only to divert the attention from the drooling females recovering from the topless trapeze act.)
Dads be warned! She’s marvellous, but she WILL get you up and involved, and may choose a few of you to keep coming back to throughout the show (particularly if you’re seated facing the ring).

It’s really hard to review the show without giving too much away, but for me, I was blown away and almost sent in to cardiac arrest by the high wire act. 
I now know that finding your two year old balancing on top of your kitchen counter isn’t half as distressing as watching a grown man ride a bike over a tightrope in the air without a safety net. Mama needed a Gin after that one without a shadow of a doubt, let me tell you! 

My six year old was fascinated by the juggling act. He actually stopped stuffing popcorn in his mouth for at least a minute throughout that particular act. I’m thinking of asking the guy if he’s available for personal shows in my lounge so it might actually be possible to take a bath in peace. Yes, he was THAT good! 

On a serious note, the whole show was amazingly entertaining, fun and professional. The talent amongst the entire cast/crew, from the dancers to the RingMaster was exceptional, and you can see how hard they work and how passionate they are. 
I think it’s also important to note that no animals were used throughout the show either. 

By the time the interval came around I think it’s safe to say that both mother and son were ready to run off with the circus (although I will
admit, this was probably for very different reasons)

If Gandey’s is touring near you then this show is an absolute MUST. Let’s all run off to the circus together! 

*A massive thankyou to Gandey’s Circus for inviting us along to watch the show. I received free tickets in exchange for a review but all my thoughts and opinions are my own