Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Parent Policy

My kids are in Swim Squad at school. We pay a fee for this privilege. We drive them to 6am sessions, and pick them up after training.
Today I tried to spend five minutes poolside admiring Rex and Bea before going on to a parent teacher meeting.
I was asked to leave the pool.
I was told: "We have a No Parent Policy at all our training sessions; in the past we have found parents have interrupted coaches during sessions and disrupted the training for all swimmers. Their focus quite rightly should be on the children and they should be able to coach without interference from the sidelines."
After I got over feeling hurt and insulted - I began to wonder if I should adopt the same brutal attitude to the pony club mums who stand paddock side shouting superfluous instructions during my teaching sessions? It would certainly make my life easier.
But then I realised the loser is not the mum but the kid. Kids love to see their mums watching - my two were trilled by my five second appearance - just enough time to wave to them - when I picked them up Bea asked: "Did you see I'm diving much better?" and Rex said: "Do you see I was the fastest in my lane?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Middle Age Spread

For years I have been a thin girl - size 10 in most my clothes - and I just keep on wearing them season after season even though they're washed out and threadbare and faded - they fit and I like them and that's all matters....
Until the middle of August, 10 weeks ago, when I tried to fasten a faithful pair of jeans and they refused to meet at my waist.
I wasn't particularly worried - I was in Ireland and I was eating potatoes every day. And everyone knows if you eat lots of potatoes you start to look like a potato. I was confident when I returned to Bahrain, the weight was simply melt off.
Except it hasn't. My clothes still don't fit - inspite of pilates and riding, organic brown rice and teetotalism.
I never thought Middle Age Spread would arrive over night without fanfare or warning. I expected a slow creep of weight gain. And not for another ten years at least.
I'm emotionally attached to my faded, funky clothes -I don't want to replace them with elasticated waist bands and foundation garments and big knickers...
The bottom line is: I don't want to grow older.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Salmaniya Hospital

I woke up with a hole in my retina, and sparkling floaters and blurred bits in my eye. I walked to Salmaniya Hospital - I was unfit to drive with my eye.
For six months Salmaniya Hospital has had controversial press coverage - medical staff were arrested and detained during the civil unrest in the Spring. I was a little bit worried the soldiers on the gate would think I was some sort of snooping reporter - come to hunt out a sensationalist story for one of the Great British papers - but I was ignored walking through. I wandered past Oncology and Kidneys and Maternity - I didn't know where I was going -
Finally I picked up the courage to ask a guard for directions. He pointed out where I should go. He advised me to jump the queue at Reception.
The Emergency Eye Clinic was busy and bustling. The staff were thorough, efficient and kind. I sat on a hard chair and waited my turn. Just like any other hospital, really.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Modern Classics

Can I recommend yesterday's Observer supplement: Reading With Kids Ages 8+?
The reason I know that the book list is good is that I have four non-reading kids - physical kids not cerebral - yet they've picked up and voluntarily read for themselves most of the books that are showcased.
Including Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events which they read with such relish I became alarmed! Why did my kids want to read gothic horror - with mutilated parents and a grotesquely evil uncle - are their lives too secure? uninspiring?
Then I realised that my favourite novel from childhood - A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is almost the very same story - a cherished child whose comfortable lifestyle is cruelly removed by the death of a beloved parent - thrusting her into a brutal world - where despite her much reduced circumstances she manages to retain her integrity and kindness ...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Painfree Parenting

Eleven years ago today I went to the hospital for an induction.
The booking-in midwife examined me. She said: "You're already 6cm dilated."
"Without pain? Is that possible?" I asked her.
She suggested I take a walk. I walked up and down (and down and up) while Nick read the paper. At lunchtime the consultant came to break my waters.
She said: "You're 9cm dilated."
"Without pain? Is that possible?" I asked her.
Today Rex was 11. He wanted a party.
"Without pain? Is that possible?" I asked him.
He invited 14 footballer friends. They arrived in their runners with sunblock. Nick was the referee with a whistle. I took a video of them. They ran up and down the village pitch for an hour. When the game finished they drank only water. They were too hot and exhausted to eat. I put the video up on the TV. They watched the game highlights and chatted. They said: "Great party! Thanks for inviting me," when it was time to go home