Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Television Where do you stand?

Too much to have the goggle box on all day? Is Cbeebies really that bad? Can I use it as a bribing tool? Can I just plonk her in front of it while I do stuff like write this? Is that bad??? Am I a bad mother???

Honestly 3 year olds are bonkers, totally bananas. I love The Boss so much it breaks my heart but sometimes we all tire of the constant questions and repetitions of 'mummy, mummy, mummy....' so lets just whack the tv on and hear the silence... The Boss's attention switches to that flickering box in the corner so very easily. For instance this morning, The Boss wanted me to be the 'old sister(ahem) and I can be the Cinderella, lets play that game!'. I'm slouching in my pj's and slippers with a cup of tea and a dozy morning head on. I don't want to play right now. Its just too early. But dear the Boss doesn't understand that..she is on full on play mode from the moment she wakes up till sundown.. So what have I done?? Started talking about how good this Bert and Ernie show is on Channel 5 and she is now lazing on the sofa watching that. Oh. Now the guilt has set in. 'I've stilted her creativity for my own selfish gain', 'I'm a terrible person', 'maybe I should just get dressed and plan a whole morning of games?' And perhaps I should just chill the **** out! Right? Right??

I've grown up with grandparents who don't own a TV. That is a choice on their part but in a way that has put the fear of TV in me. Its peculiar as I worked in TV for years and shouldn't have such a hang up about it, but when you see the visual signs of how it changes your child's creative habits it starts, you know, bugging you. I mean, I love the soaps, The Apprentice, Come Dine with Me and all the other valuable entertainment we are fed but while I was growing up we didn't have a whole channel devoted to 10 minute TV shows just for our age group. What was it we all watched? The Wombles, Mr Benn, The Klangers, Paddington etc.. The BBC or ITV would pop a couple on in the morning and the afternoon to keep the kids happy and the parents happier. I'm not banging on about how our era was so much better and the future is going to hell, it just seems all a bit too much. In this age of multi channel diversity, there are 16 channels purely created for our little ones. Grown adults creating schedules specifically for our children. They have never met our kids but the big guns are building the future generation via Peppa Pig.

I was listening to the marvelous Richard Hawley on BBC 6 Music this morning and he was talking about how everything in the universe is built out of something, everything still exsists but in a different form. Nothing is ever thrown away. The gold we wear is just a substance that was once in outer space and a speck of dust. The stuff we throw away is never actually thrown away, it exists forever. Its all a bit deep and Brian Cox, but hugely important. We have the power to create how our children develop, maybe we should try and be a bit selective in our choices.


Monday, 2 April 2012

How Long...?!?

My goodness, how time flies.. where have I been? Where have YOU been? Whats going on??!
I've been living, living in family world. Yep, that's right, real actual living. Not sure what kind of life, but I'm still here just with a bit more grey hair.

The Boss, we still call her that, is now 3 and a right little madam and and we have opted out of London living. Moved to the 'burbs. Jeez Louise, its quite a culture shock. What with the spiralling costs of, err, everything, it seemed like the sensible (small puke for using that word) option. In other news, I am in a proper grown up relationship with The Boss's daddy, but I still feel like I'm 16 and someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say 'shouldn't you be at school?'. Nope, that is never going to happen because I'm in my mid-thirties (how did that happen?) and I really really don't look 16 (really).

This was intended to be blog about being an ecomum... That seems like a bit of a joke as the last 3 years has seen me ditch and then pick up again the parental eco banner many times over. Its somewhat challenging to be green and be a parent. Let me rephrase that, its challenging to be green if you're a poor parent. If you're lucky enough to have money living that green lifestyle is very possible. But if you're hard-up and living in a big city, the ethical lifestyle can be a distant dream. Last time I looked Tesco Value weren't doing an organic range. As a family we have tried to be as green as we can. For instance:

- Using Ecover, Surcare washing powder (when on offer bulk buy)
- Buying chemical free cleaning products.
- Buying Nature Babycare nappies and wipes (we didn't own a washing machine the first year of The Boss's life so washables were out of the question. Could you imagine the other people's faces in the launderette?)
- Growing our own veg, well trying to.
- Most clothes being second-hand and hand-me-downs (check out Fara Kids - a-mazing)
- Second-hand toys, furniture when we've found it in shops and the side of the road.
- Cooking with fresh ingredients from scratch.
- Not buying too much stuff
- Using the free services on offer in the area (Hello childrens Centres!)
- Going on holiday in the UK (I will never tire of camping)
- and I'm sure lots of other bits and bobs..

Sometimes though, it is and it has been, impossible. Like when she would do 3 poos back to back (that's 3 separate nappies in the space of 10mins) all the time, when I had to throw away a load of whizzed up courgette cause she hated it and it made me feel sick, when she really really wants the most plastikiest of all the toys, when we bought 4 highchairs as we kept forgetting to take one away with us, when I was so tired I broke 5 glasses in a row and had to wrap them in newspaper which was heading for the recycling, when I end up buying supermarket stuff in those hardcore plastic trays which are on offer but are landfill hell, when I try in vain to get The Boss to do craft things with recycled stuff and she just turns her nose up so I end up doing it, like the fact I will not do without a car, like when my boyfriend tells me I hoard too much and I have to throw some things away as even the charity shop won't want it. And like a zillion other things.

So, how possible is it to lead an eco life as a family whilst living on a one parent income? And will my daughter EVER stop screaming in inappropriate places? I'll start talking about that on this here funny little blog. I'll also tell you all the tales of living in the 'burbs with a 3 year old. Like what we're eating, what The Boss is dancing to (currently Metronomy), where The Boss had her latest mega tantrum, that kind of thing. Its pretty good. But please don't hold me to that.