Alternative Reading

Isaac is learning to read. We’ve finally cracked that stage where, there’re not just random symbols, and he understands blending the sounds together. It’s really cool! It’s still mostly v-c words, but every so often he’ll nail the odd c-v-c word. It’s so bloody lovely to hear him do it, and especially that he’s doing it at a pace which works nicely for him. It’s a bit annoying that they don’t do any blending at nursery (but to be honest, nursery is a sore point with me at the mo..)

However, it’s safe to say that I can’t escape into Facebook or twitter on a 10 minute work break, without hearing “please can we read this story please mummy?”

It’s fucking awesome; I love that he does that. I remember learning to read early (not as early as him though) and being plunged into a world of Enid Blyton was one of the best things EVER. I think he’s the academic one. The kid will sit there and stare at books for AAAAAAGES.

Noah is reading just about everything in sight. It’s ACE. The boy has learned to read and is doing superbly well. If I’m honest, he’s doing better than I thought he would. For a little while, he hated it and would just clam up whenever someone said the word “phonics”. Now he’s all “check me out! I know what that says and I’mma READ IT RIGHT NOW.”

My favourite example of this, would have to be when he picked up a nursery rhyme book, and read aloud, “The… w-h-ee-l-s… Willies..On…The…Bus!”

I’m sure that makes for far more interesting reading.

However, I’m having to make the mental note of not leaving some of my stuff lying around. There’s not a lot to be concerned about; the odd business letter, maybe a manual for a camera which I’ll never read, or, a webpage I’ve left open, usually Amazon or (for the love of GOD) Ebay.

(If anyone knows of any Ebay therapy courses, I’d really appreciate the help. My quest for a decent Polaroid is becoming quite obsessive.)

I cannot stand people swearing in front of The Smalls, however I’ve never batted an eyelid to written swear words, since I know they can’t read them.

Might change a bit now that this (beloved) book (from a beloved friend) has entered my house.

f**k it

Thankfully, he’s not tried it out. Yet.

Damn you, School Run. Damn you to HELL.

When we managed to get Noah into a school which is 30 seconds up the road, rather than one 15 minutes away from the school Isaac was in, I confessed I breathed a sigh of relief. I was all, “Fuck yeah!! The two schools are now minutes apart, and I’ve got a whole 15 minutes to get from one to the next! PISS EASY.”

I what a stupid naive asshat I am.

Turns out, I forgot to account for getting to and from the car, yelling at them to get in and out the car, being able to get in and out of the car parks, finding somewhere to park, and of course, the sprint from car to door to car to door. It’s good fun.

No, really.

And with it being snowy and frosty and shit, instead of driving with normal care and consideration, everyone’s all “WTF BITCH! I AM SO NOT LETTING YOU OUT OF THAT SPACE, FUCK OFF I HAVE PLACES TO GO!!!!!”

Well, not quite, but the adamant look on their faces, and the crazy honking of horns suggests the above.

This morning I’ve made it on time, as usual, by the sheer luck of the gods. I dunno which  gods, but certainly one of them. I confess as I dropped off Isaac and was trying to get out to get to Noah’s school, I nearly hit 2 other cars whom I didn’t see while I was reversing out. Why didn’t I see them? Because they didn’t have their lights on (IT’S DARK AND FOGGY FOR FUCK’S SAKE!) and they seem to forget that 30mph through the car park isn’t acceptable (UH – HELLO? YOUR CHILD WALKS THROUGH THAT CAR PARK. GOOD LUCK EXPLAINING TO THEM WHY THE FUCK YOU MOWED THEM DOWN.)

I’m eternally thankful for the school run I did last year while the boys were at the private school; it taught me so much on how to not lose my marbles around people. It also helped that the boys were going to the same frigging building, I could do the run in one go, and I wasn’t expected to do it again until the end of the school day. Plus, parent attitudes, kids behaviour, blah blah usual crap.

I fucking hate the school run at the moment. I would sooner do the 30 minute journey I was doing last year, than this super stressy bull-shit, trying to make sure they don’t get into trouble from staff, or be That Kid Who Is Always Late, or as was the case recently, having to literally run Noah across streets and the playground to get to the line up in time for the bell, to have him exhausted already and begging for a drink. It’s just not right.

The waiting game continues. I need to seriously up my wedding photography game, hoping and praying I book enough weddings to meet goals and the like in the next 18 months. Noah stays put until a space opens up at the school Isaac currently attends. We’re desperate for them to be in their original school, for a trillion reasons. They deserve the absolute best I can give them, and I’d like to not be the mom who’s holding back the tears every fucking morning, wondering how the hell we got to this situation and trying to figure out what I need to do to make it better.

It does get better, I’m sure of it. This story being written is no story of mine, not if this school run is anything to go by.


Last Thursday, we had a letter from County Council A saying they had spoken to County Council B and found a space for Noah in one of the schools we originally wanted. The school is in County Council B. However it was County Council A who wrote to us. We haven’t heard from County Council B in a while. Anyway, I inform current school (in County Council A) that Noah has a place at a closer school, and will be moving at half-term. Huzzah!

So yesterday, we phone up the new school (in County Council B) and they tell us they know nothing of the situation.

Errrrrrrrrrrr say whut now?

The Mr speaks to them again today, this time armed with The Letter From County Council A, and tells the school all we know. Turns out, the school are fine with this, even though they knew nothing about it. Which makes me wonder; if that’s the case, why couldn’t they just take him in the first place, back when we applied, phoned and wrote to them repeatedly in September?

Anyhoo, Noah has a school much closer to home.

Unfortunately, it’s still not the same school as Isaac. And because they are a different County Council (Isaac is currently County Council A, Noah will be in County Council B), it also means their school holidays are different. So where I was hoping to spend some “proper time” with both of them over half term before launching myself back into full time work, instead we will all be pretty much going straight through until Christmas. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

I’ve calculated that if I keep booking weddings at this rate, we may be able to get them back into the safety and sanity of private school by 2014/15. If I suddenly become SUPER AWESOME, it could even be 2013/14. But I might still have to sell a body part.

And then, because Monday is a fucking douche nozzle and seems to have spilled over into Tuesday, my phone died yesterday. It buzzed non stop for about 3 minutes, then turned itself off and refused to switch back on. Before I had backed everything up. And just after I had told a load of potential clients to give me a call. After procrastinating and being horribly skint and staring forlornly at my bank account, I had stern words with my network supplier and made them do me a half decent deal on a new phone.

And then this morning my phone turned itself back on, completely out of the blue.


In other news, I reckon I’m going to save myself some petrol over the next few months, eh?

And now I need to be happy about it.

Hmmm. Having spent much of the summer holidays freaking the fuck out, I decided to call the school for which Noah was 1st on the list AGAIN on Friday. Hoping for an update. They advised us that someone else and moved into the area closer to the school than ourselves, and so therefore they are at the top now. We asked about appealing; so far NO ONE has ever won an appeal. Shortly after that conversation, I spent a good few moments crying and throwing up.

Wondering if I would EVER get Noah into a school, Worcester County Council advised me to phone up schools myself to find out. Yay! Awesome! Cheers for that! Good to know you can do your job, Worcester! WELL DONE.

That afternoon, we trekked over to a small village about 7 miles, to the only school anywhere near us with spaces. As of last Friday, around 4:30pm, both of my boys finally had a school to go to. YAY! Small problem. It’s 7. Miles. Away. Even better, it’s not even the same school which Isaac is at. That’s 2 miles away. And not even in the same direction.

We walked around, the secretary talked my ear off, Noah prodded and pointed at everything, and talked to the last of the staff who were still there. They seemed lovely, the school seems lovely, everything seems nice…but all weekend I have had this horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have no idea how to make this work, and the sense of overwhelming panic is scaring me shitless.

I wasn’t going to blog this morning, but I have woken up with a fear so bad, I could happily go and empty my stomach. I’ve had weird dizzy spells and flushes over the last 2 months, and this morning everything feels even worse. Everything should be fine; everything should be sorted now. And yet I have this unease.

I’ve looked at the timings, and the school run, and routes, and I have no idea how I am going to make this work. Isaac’s gates open at 8:30. Unfortunately, for the whole of Isaac’s first week last week, they never once opened on time, instead opening between 8:35 and 8:40. Interestingly, Noah’s school starts at 8:40, and he must be there by 8:50. The drive from one school to the other is approximately 17 minutes.

I’m hoping I’m just being thick, but the maths here tells me that’s not possible to accomplish without one or the other being very late.

So the obvious solution is to send Isaac to the same nursery as his brother, eh?

No can do. They only operate half day; I cannot afford the petrol or time to drop Noah off, come home, go back to drop off Isaac (they only have afternoons available) come home, then go back at the end of the day to pick them both up.

Sitting here with The Smalls playing in front of me; I am currently on the verge of what I think might be a panic attack. All I want to do is cry, throw up and stop myself from shaking rather a lot.

I can’t see how I am going to do this for a year. I can’t see how it is going to work. I don’t understand how I will get any work done, by pretty much driving back and forth, waiting in car parks and screaming at traffic. I understand there are plenty of other parents who deal with this situation, but I am not one of them. For me this isn’t just about The Smalls being in school; this is all about having no idea about how the fuck I am going to fit everything into the 19 hour window currently available to me. 19 hours is LOADS of time!! (Said in my best Nanny Plum voice) Unfortunately, most of that time is wasted and lost, and the actual number of those hours spent working, happen well beyond 11pm.

I have a fear. I fear I will break. I fear I will lose track, be unable to do everything and just break. The sense of panic is right there, in my stomach, and I have to make a conscious effort to breathe firmly and stop it from rising. I know I can write to-do lists until they come out of my ears; but I know I will let The Smalls down at some point; get something spectacularly wrong; forget something essential, be late every single day…this was not the start I wanted for my children.

I worked hard for the best start I could, and instead I’ve failed them. They’re in schools miles apart (Isaac spent the first week being tearful when he realised he wasn’t with me or Noah), one of them will always be late, I don’t know how to keep working on top of it all, I don’t see when I am to spend time with them, I can’t afford the petrol (there is no school transport service), I am bound to pack their bags wrong and I am panicking.

And this scenario would appear to be the case for the next year. But it’s ok, because I’m happy about it. Right?

Darkies and Honkys. S’all good, innit?

I was going to let this post go. I wasn’t going to do this one. But after I received a tweet last night which read:

“fuck you black cunt. Nigger go pick my cotton whore”

I thought “yeah…maybe I will write about racism and ting.” (Ironically, after I flagged it up to twitter, said tweeter has not only deleted the tweet, but also changed their name. Hacked account or not, I should think comments like that are unacceptable, no?)

A while ago on twitter, I asked people if they found words like “darky” and “honky” offensive. Me? I don’t find them offensive. In fact, I don’t find many words to describe someone’s race or colour offensive. It takes a LOT for me to be offended. Growing up, I was called just about every “offensive” name under the sun. The words were offensive because they were MEANT to be offensive.

Much like that tweet at the top of this post.

I confess I laughed when tweeters said their grannies and granddads used terms such as “jungle bunny”; I laugh because I knew they weren’t being offensive intentionally; much of it comes through ignorance (and generations of what they’ve known and grown up with). Of course, my guess is that none of my friends today would call me a jungle bunny. Would I be offended? I honestly don’t know. Probably not, because I know it would either be ignorance or jest in context.

Should I be offended?

..well that’s a whole other thing. I probably should, if we are to stamp out racism and educate the masses.

I shrug off so much of it now, because it’s almost second nature to me. The ignorance of others, that is. My “favourite” subjection to racial ignorance was while doing classical performances as principal cellist with youth orchestras. Lovely little white ladies would be coming up to me, asking “so, tell me, what’s it like being the only black person in the orchestra?” Or another favourite, whilst pointing to a small huddle of black people sitting at the back of the audience (whom I’d never met in my life), “ahhh that’s so lovely, you have your family here with you. They look just like you!”

Ignorance is an amazing thing.

I couldn’t be offended. Even at 13 years old, I would laugh it off. I had no choice, did I? How was I to explain the extent of that kind of ignorance to someone in the short space of a 20 minute interval (during which, I would much rather go off and practice a hideous solo to be performed in the second half)?

Something else which was flagged up during the twitter discussion is the use of the term half caste. I use it all the time. However, friends and strangers have told me I shouldn’t use the term. The internet says this:

Web definitions:
an offensive term for the offspring of parents of different races or cultures.

Doesn’t say why it’s offensive though. (I should stress at this point, I already know the meaning of the term half caste; I was curious to see what other people knew). Many thought the term offensive, but actually didn’t know why they thought it offensive. Amusingly, I don’t find it offensive, because I find it to be very true. Caste is the Latin for “pure”. Half is pretty self explanatory.

Half pure – surely that makes sense? My kiddos are neither pure black, nor pure white? They’re not purely Jamaican, or British, are they? And neither am I for that matter? So how can I take offence? How can I be offended by the truth?

Some tweeters mentioned that they did not like describing black people as “black”, as they saw no need to refer to their race. Soooo…I’m in a room full of white women, all the same age, size, height, wearing exactly the same clothes – hell, they all have dreads like me too. How would you pick me out now? “The one who is from a different country than the other ladies”? (Which might not necessarily be true; genetic skin pigmentation could really screw things up for you…) I’m pretty sure that I am black, and the rest of the women are white. Why would one be uncomfortable to use this as a reference to pick me out from the others?

One would be uncomfortable because that’s what they’ve been taught. My guess is, they wouldn’t actually know why it’s supposedly offensive. It’s not offensive, by the way.

Aside, I tell you what single racially descriptive term I cannot STAND – “coloured”. For the sake of fuck – I am NOT coloured. In fact, with all due respect, white people are more coloured than me.

Embarrassed = pink
Sick = green
Dead = purple/grey
Cold = blue
Hot = red
Frightened = white
Tanned = orange *snort*

And ironically, white people will then go to some fucking extreme lengths to be brown. Almost as dark as me. Black.

I’ll ask you to stop and think about all those colours for a moment. Because what’s really funny, is I’ve only been one colour my whole life. And also? I’m not an “outline” who has been “coloured in”. Geeeeeeeze.

As my kiddos grow up (assuming they make it to their 4th and 5th birthdays, because they’re driving me batshit, bless them), I would hope that when they are subjected to racial slurs (notice “when”, not “if”) they don’t fly off the handle at whomever is speaking to them. I would hope that they are able to address the person in question, highlight their ignorance and flag it for future reference. I also hope that they understand why the person said what they said.

Understanding racial slurs and other such vitriolic behaviour like that in last night’s tweet, is actually the biggest step to lessening racism. Stop being offended and upset (I wasn’t upset last night, but I was cross; there is a difference which is important), open your eyes and see what is happening, and try to understand it. And then when you understand why people are being racist, unintentionally or not, educate them.

Until then, I’m going to take my non-pure Jamaican, part Indian ass out of here, and go feed my non-pure Jamaican/Indian/British kids before I go insane.

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