Here’s what I think about the Royal Baby

Alright. I’m not a royalist. Nor am I a republican. I vaguely enjoy the pomp and ceremony of pageantry and I enjoy the heritage and history of Britain. I like old buildings, and I think that the monarchy through the ages has contributed towards the rich and fascinating, often bloodthirsty, and sometimes terrifying, story of our ancestry.

It doesn’t really bother me that we still have a royal family. I quite like them, really, and I think that the benefits and privilege that they experience must be offset by the boring, mundane and tedious role that they continually fulfil.


So I cannot understand either extreme of opinion when it comes to this new royal baby. I struggle to have any kind of empathy with those people who camp outside the maternity wing and wave little royal flags at passing cameras. And I think that those people who respond with “another scrounging kid to be raised on taxpayers’ money” are knobbish.

Prince William is an RAF helicopter pilot. He works.

He has access to trust funds left to him by his late mother, and I’m assuming that the Crown Estate contributes towards the familial income. 


You know? The Crown Estate that raises millions of pounds of revenue a year?


I think I read somewhere that the Queen receives around 15% of that revenue to dish out to the rest of the family and that the royal family cost the country less than a pound a year per taxpayer.


Also, both the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge pay substantial taxes on their incomes, not to mention the fact that the Middletons also work and pay taxes. So, if you’re moaning about the Royals being no better than benefits scroungers (an abhorrent term for anybody by the way) may I offer you directions to the grip shop, and suggest you go and get one?


There is the school of thought that suggests the Crown Estate belongs to us all, so why should they reap the benefits..bla….bla….bla… 

It’s tedious. We are all born into something, and we all experience a life which is a combination of work, geography, family, circumstance, judgement and luck. Some are better off than others. That’s life away from communism. What would the anti monarchists have them do? Leave the palace and “get jobs”? And if they didn’t live in those buildings, and employ those people, and run those estates – who would? It would still cost “us” money. Probably more, and these historical buildings could well just turn into dusty relics. At least this way, there is tourist relevance and interest.


And don’t get me started on all this “heir and a spare” crap.

 Firstly, she is a baby. A little girl. Not a “spare” anything.

Secondly, I don’t think there is really any shortage of people in line to the throne. This conspiracy theory bullshit drives me batshit!


Yes, they live in grandeur and opulence. But if it were me,  I couldn’t  imagine anything worse than the entire world following my pregnancy; commenting on my bloated face and cankles and then having a go if I happened to get someone to style my hair nicely; preceding me to my own labour suite; camping outside alongside the full glare of the world’s media; and every tom, dick and prince Harry commenting on what might be going on as I go through an intensely private experience.

Then, having to display my public property baby, to that same onslaught of press and busybody-ness, and having fekkin Kay Burley sticking her dickhead nose in.


I tell you what… Nice one, Kate and Wills. Congrats on your second baby, particularly after an SPD pregnancy. Now, take my 56p with my best wishes, and go and enjoy your little family. I won’t bother you… You won’t bother me… And the world turns. 

Back to the City for one last hurrah

Day 12

We got a seriously good deal for the whole Disney part of our holiday, which is why we ended up with 6 days. It’s been great, actually, because it’s meant that we’ve had plenty of time to do all of the things we wanted to, several things we never wanted to do, and loads of things that we didn’t realise we never wanted to want to do.

However, the downside is the mileage we’ve covered. I say downside, because in the 26 degree-plus heat we’ve been having, the lack of weather-appropriate clothing, and Smallboy’s small legs, it’s been hugely hard work covering the distances that we have. All of which has meant that we actually decided to take time out today, have a late breakfast at virtually dinner time  09:30, and spent the morning in the pool, jacuzzi and sauna. Like what normal people do on normal holidays.

“Come to Paris in Spring” they said. “The weather is changeable, so bring a coat and dress in layers. It will be mild, and cold at night.”

My suitcase is full of sodding long-sleeved tops, boots and two coats and it’s  hotter here than it was when we went to California in June!! I’m planning on wearing my pyjamas tomorrow, because they’re technically shorts. Or maybe my swimming cossie. If I team it with a pair of Minnie Mouse ears, no one will notice… 

Anyway…

Because of last week’s Louvre debacle, and having to re-engineer our plans ( I love a bit of “on your feet” adapting), we didn’t actually get to go up the Eiffel Tower. So, last weekend, we booked tickets for the famous monument, for tonight. 

We had an early dinner at Chez Remy, where you shrink to the size of a mouse 

   

 

…and then hotfooted it back to the beautiful city of lights. I say hotfooted. Three fekkin trains, it was. I feel so acquainted with Chatelet Les Halles RER station, I might as well move in… Anyway…

It was a grand idea, pre booking those tickets, because we got straight through, and avoided the mahoosive queue, arriving just in time for our 8pm ascent.

It might be a tad touristy (who’s idea was the weird champagne bar at the top?) but it’s breathtaking when you get up there. We last visited, the husband and I, in 1998, when he (prior to his husband status) had a little box with an engagement ring in it, burning a hole in his nervous little pocket. The idea was that he was going to propose at the top of the Eiffel Tower, but when we got there, it was full of a German coach party. Who were all drinking bier and singing raucously. It kind of deflated his romantic notion. (For those fact fans among you who want to know, he proposed a day later….outside The Louvre on the Place du Carousel) ( I said “yes”)

Anyway, this time we had Smallboy with us, and he absolutely loved it. It really is a bucket-list thing, and the view of the city is really something. And to stand atop the tower, at 9:30pm in April, wearing a tshirt and actually feeling a bit too warm, is quite special. We’ve really lucked out with the weather.

All too soon, we had to depart. We did get to see it lit up (whilst on it and afterwards too) and for the first five minutes of every hour during darkness, it sparkles… Which was all kinds of fab.

 

See?

We then made the long journey back to Marne La Vallee. And let me tell you, if you think the train to Disneyland is going to be quiet at 11:15pm on a Thursday night, you’re wrong.

I mean, I realise that people live in houses near to the various stops, and they’re probably much more pissed off with my presence than I am with theirs, but I wanted a sit-down.

And you know what I think about people!! Some of them had rucksacks.

Anyway, back to the hotel by midnight and up at 6 for our last full day in the park. 

So glad we “chilled out” today…

 

Daily Drama and Impending Travel

So, I am off on holiday in three weeks, and I plan to document my trip for several reasons really:
1) Primarily for me and my family, so we have a record of our vacation
2) In the hope that blogging my experiences may help someone in the future (either by the giving of sound advice, or by the ballsing things up)
and
3) For humour. Because funny things just seem to happen around me.

I can’t quite work out if strange events, happenings and situations are just cosmically drawn to me, or if they happen around me in exactly the same way as they do to everybody else, but I just notice them more. Having asked friends, it would seem the former, but I may be crediting life with less weirdness as a default position, if that’s the case.
I am probably more inclined to think that it is the first point – I attract an abnormally high level of oddity, but I am actually prepared to admit that I bring a lot of it on myself.

Here’s one example:
When I first visited my son’s new room at the nursery he attends, I was confronted – as all “new” parents are – by a group of questioning 3 year olds, demanding to know why I was there and who I was. I initially advised them that I was “William’s Mummy” and hoped that would be it, and that I could wander off on the rest of my tour of where the juice was kept, and to be shown how tricky it is to get yellow paint off a black floor. Like all the normal parents would have done. But, you see, my answer wasn’t enough for them. The children demanded a name. I panicked. I didn’t want to announce all Spartacus-like “I am Mrs Morrisio” as I felt that too formal, and likewise I thought “Call me Bectora” was a little too relaxed. So I opted for…

SpongeBob Squarepants.

Don’t ask me why. I know it was a rookie error. You don’t tell 30 3-year old kids that you’re called SpongeBob Squarepants. All hell breaks loose. The attention that was swivelled upon me was extreme. Children flew in from the dried pasta sticky art they were in the middle of, wellingtons were discarded, and biscuits slammed down uneaten onto benches, as the entire class swooped in on the mysterious adult claiming to live in a pineapple under the sea.
Let me tell you, for those who are considering attempting this approach; don’t. Because it doesn’t end there. They find it funny; their voices escalate to cacophonous levels, until they are eventually shrieking at a pitch audible only to canines; they want to know more; they do not believe that you are SpongeBob Squarepants, but they cannot quite reconcile this knowledge with the fact that there is an adult in front of them, brazenly falsifying their identity. It is a new addition to their routine, and one they will not let go of easily.
But here’s a tip. If you do make the mistake of claiming to be SpongeBob Squarepants, and the children respond Panto-style with “Oh No You’re Not,” please take this one piece of advice from me. Do not then follow it up with: “You’re right. I’m not. I am Ben 10”

The aftermath is devastating.

This is just one example of the kind of event that happens on multiple occasions in any given day in my life, so with that in mind, I invite you to look forward to my holiday blogs. The last holday I went on involved an incident with me and 4 small brightly coloured birds, who were fascinated with my head, at an Ostrich Ranch in the Tucson Mountains. Fascinated. Not in a good way. And this on the same day that I was stopped near the Mexican border and told off by a border patrol for not carrying my passport, and then waved back into the country because (in his words) “she’s too pasty to be an immigrant”
Pfft! Not even tanned enough to be racially insulted. In the 100 degree desert.

I have already resigned myself to the fact that the 12.5 hour flight with my co-flying 3 year old Tazmanian Devil of a son, will be both a challenge and an adventure – if not for the other passengers, then certainly for us. And I am not secure in the conviction that the 3-week road trip across Route 66 in an RV with *sob* NO TV *sob* will be absolutely drama-free, but I do know one thing – I’ll have stuff to write about, and some of it might be worth a read – if only to deter you from coming anywhere near the locations I choose for my vacations.

Oh – and get this – I have never even watched one single episode of SpongeBob Squarepants.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me!

The Youth Of Today

In everyday life, there seem to be a lot of accusations levied at the “younger generation.”

I don’t know about you, but I hear it all the time: “The youth of today have no conversation. The youth of today are so rude. Kids these days are only interested in themselves. Teenagers are always on their phones. They’re confrontational, opinionated, only care about what’s on telly and have no interest in politics.”

 Essentially, most of the problems in today’s society, according to some popular opinion, are the responsibility of our teens and tweens.

I say this:

“Really?”

When I was a teenager, the same accusations were thrown our way. I played “knock a door run” and “chicken” – innocuous and innocent sounding as those games now seem to the 40+ generation, at the time it must have been inconvenient at best for those residents and car drivers, and dangerous and frightening at worst.

The “youth” has always been a foil to blame society’s ills on, and in this 2000’s era with all of its technology, the ability to share an ill-thought-out comment with hundreds, or even thousands of people in an instant, is easy and, in my opinion, ultimately forgivable. Because, you know what? Kids aren’t quite there yet, in terms of having the filter on what’s appropriate for wider consumption – just look at what happened to our first Youth Crime Commissioner, Paris Brown. Vilified by some and forced to resign from post because of silly comments made when she was just 14 years old. The only difference between these young people, and those of my era in the 80s, is that our throwaway comments were thrown away. Not recorded forever on an international media feed.

I’ll end with this. I have just had the pleasure of spending the morning – in the Easter Holidays – with two committed classes of Drama students in Year 12 and Year 13. They have given up one of their “days off” to come into school and rehearse for their examination performances. They have been respectful, entertaining, clever, witty, hard-working, diligent and a pleasure to be around. Working in a school, I get to see the good and the bad of our “youth”  and quite honestly, these students – like most of them – are a credit to themselves, and to us.

Because it’s our job to make sure they learn from the same mistakes that we made

The Bectora Guide to Parenting (Blogs)

I’ve read loads of blogs about parenting and I want to write one myself, because, to be completely honest, I find most of them a bit smug, or self-satisfying, or over-instructive or…forgiving.

I hate these forgiving blogs:

“It’s OK to sometimes feel stressed and take a moment for yourself – it doesn’t make you a bad parent”

“Leaving them to cry a little bit can be character building. Have a cup of wine tea, and don’t fret about it!

“Yes, sometimes it’s fine to feed them sweetcorn sandwiches and a Yorkie – all parents need time off”

And so on. What qualifies someone to judge or not judge? What qualifies an internet stranger to soothe your fears, when you were at the end of your tether and you…dan dan daaaaah…resorted to the dummy that you vowed NEVER to use, and tell you that it’s OK? It’s OK if you think it is. It’s not, if you don’t. The reality is, if you do something a bit iffy and you feel a bit guilty, chances are that it wasn’t the best choice that you’ve ever made. The chances are also that it wasn’t the worse thing that you’ll ever do. As people often quote: “kids don’t come with an instruction manual” and even after a few of them (kids, not instruction manuals), nobody is really qualified to tell you what is going to work best for your set-up. Why does everyone in this high-technology, information-garnering, computer-dependent world, need validation from someone they’ve never met, and who has no more clout on the subject than anyone else?

See, the thing is, it’s not the content of these blogs and columns that annoys me, as I’m sure there is plenty of practical and emotional advice and support that will reassure and comfort lots of people, which can’t be a bad thing. What annoys me is this: who set the author up as a guru or expert? What do I care what a random person who has had 5, 10 or 100 children thinks? Your experience and my experience are worlds apart, because unless you had a child at exactly the same age that I did, and unless that child has the same personality as mine, and unless you have the same job and working hours as me and my husband, and unless you own a crazy dog and a house that needs a new kitchen and unless you’re me – you have no idea what I need.

I am a really laidback kind of a parent. I often use laughter in place of discipline, and I’m a massive advocate of picking my battles. I am fully aware that my son may (or may not) struggle with issued instruction when he starts school, as a result of my parenting. I am also aware that he is healthy, robust, funny, well-rounded, bright as a button and happy. It works for us, and we’ll deal with the other stuff as and when it happens. It might not work for you.

I am an expert in parenting my own child. No one else’s just my own. And when I say “expert” I mean that I am an expert at doing it, because I am doing it all the time. I don’t mean that I’m really good at it.

I might be, for all I know. I might be the best parent in the whole entire world, but really that doesn’t give me the status required to tell other people what is OK and what isn’t, because all I do is what’s best for me, the husband and the son, and what we’re happiest with, and I imagine that has little bearing on your set-up.

For instance, let me tell you that my child is a wonderful sleeper. He always has been, right from day one. He loves his sleep, drifts off easily, rarely wakes up in the night, and when he does, he self-settles. He’s 3 and a half now, and we have had it easy. I mean, sure – there has been the odd spate of time where it hasn’t been quite so smooth. I have sung depressing renditions of “Golden Slumbers” “”Lullaby” and even “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at stupid O’ Clock in the morning. I vividly recall putting him in his cot, singing ever more softly and slowly and then creeping out, one socked-foot at a time, avoiding the 4 creaking floorboard obstacle course between his bed and the bedroom door. I remember going downstairs in our stupid aged house, wincing with every creak. I remember standing in his bedroom trying anything…ANYTHING to send him to sleep – closing the curtains, opening the curtains, switching the light on, switching it off, putting lullabies on, turning them off, trying white noise CDs, reading stories, fetching milk, warming it up, cooling it down, voices at whispering level for 4 hours after bedtime just in case, going to bed when he went to bed in case he decided to wake up, getting everything ready for the next morning because I had no clue what time my wake-up call would be, bringing him into my bed, despite promising I wouldn’t, because you pick your battles, plugging lavender-scented fresheners into every available socket…oh, hold on a minute. Maybe he wasn’t such a great sleeper after all.

Because, that’s the point, isn’t it? You forget. With children, things pass so quickly and time and development move on in the blink of an eye, so you forget the minutiae, and remember the bigger picture. I recall speaking to a friend of mine with a child the similar age. I had always said how great my son was at sleeping, she had always said how terrible her son was at sleeping, and I SO sympathised with her – she was SO tired all the time, and had no joy in the day with him. Until we actually broke down how the nights worked out for us both. It turned out that our children had a very similar pattern of sleeping and waking – but she and I viewed it in very different ways.

So I’ll stand by my declaration that my son was a wonderful sleeper, and no doubt my friend still thinks that her son was Damian in a Duvet, but the point is, neither one of us is qualified to tell the other what’s right. I remember far more good nights than bad, and so my overall memory of the experience was positive. Hers, the opposite. So, neither of us are really in a position to advise the other.

Look, I understand – sometimes you do want a bit of advice, and sometimes you do want someone to tell you that it really is all OK, but equally, all that is, is someone else’s opinion. They might not have got it right!

I reckon that parenting is a lottery. Chuck a dice in the air, and base a judgement on the number that is on the top. I can’t give any advice, because I have no clue what’s going on half the time, and I generally bumble through each day, and somehow we all seem OK at the end of it. If I ever want advice, I will almost probably definitely consult Dr Google, and I will no doubt feel vindicated (eventually) when I find a comment written by someone who feels a bit similar to me.

But please don’t tell me that “every parent has a bad day – tomorrow is a new dawn” or that you were smacked and it did you no harm. I wouldn’t get advice on my mortgage from someone who blogs about it, and that’s much less important than my son.

Sleep tight.