Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Saturday, 12 March 2011
It made me think of the current smoking pallaver. Son and daughter are both deeply, deeply interested in smoking. Why do people do it? All fags are "smokers", every person smoking we pass means a full five minutes of nose flapping and saying "it STINKS!" They both profess to hate it . "Bob must stop! Or his baby will DIE! But why is he?" and so on. They know it is bad. They know it stinks. I walk past people smoking with them and know both will pass flapping their hand saying "it SMELLS! That lady/man STINKS!" and whilst slightly embarressing, it's the better sort of chagrin. But, beneath it all is an absolute fascination as to why people do bad things. Both kids are compelled by it, why someone might put a burning thing in their mouth. I am keen to encourage disgust at the habit, although it can never truly insulate the child. I was a vehemant anti-smoker, born of having two smokers as parents in the 70's. Imagine: sending your kid to the shop for fags now. Imagine smoking as you drive with two kids in the back seat. Imagine parties full of people smoking, smoking, while you wear exceptionally flammable party dresses in polyester at nibbles tray height. My whole childhood was smoke ridden. I transported home textbooks of lungs to show them. I said I never would. But, I did. Because, if it's normal, when you are a kid, it's normal somewhere in your psyche.
And so I smoked. And not. And smoked. And not.
Before I was an ex-smoker (which I have been, with varying succes, for periods of 1 month to 7 years) I could never see that it was advertised. It passed me by. I just smoked, is all. It wasn't until I had kids that the issue of where and how they were in shops hit me. My kids are canny, they noticed that the fags were by the till sweets. That's two issues, sweets, and fags by the till. Both kids have commented that "smokers" are by the sweets. It never occured to me that the packaging was beyond adult. As an adult, I always figured that i'd go for my brand,whatever, the proposed ban on cig packaging may have seemed like overkill. But as a parent, the fascination with the colored packs behind the checkout, alongside the sweets IS my concern, and a plain package is one thing that this government could do that I would agree with. (Bet they don't though: too much Tory tobacco money). To have them for sale, with colours, by sweets, makes them normal. Put them under the counter, no colours. Not normal.Those that want, can have. Those that haven't noticed, don't notice.
I would love for my kids to grow up where fags are under the counter. I love that they point out smokers, and people who spit. I love that they find that nasty. I don't think my mum, my friends who smoke and others would mind in the least picking up plain packets. I wouldn't. I would just be happy that one more reason to smoke had been taken away.
Friday, 4 March 2011
But the last months has been maths hell. This is because the children are horrible little beasts who cannot bear the thought of the other one having a teeny tiny bit more than them. This is the reason that other peoples' children run out of playgroup screaming "mummy!" with a look of delight on their faces and mine comes out to face his sister and ask "Has she had anything?" while she blurts triumphantly "I had a BISCUIT!", the having of the biscuit that he did not have being far tastier than the actual biscuit was. And so it is, that this month I have been mostly measuring. Drink depths, slices of pizza, any foodstuff at all. Measuring with a stopwatch who was fastest, who went furthest, who made the longest play-dough sausage. The distance jumped, the height reached. Who is tallest (she's always going to lose). Who ate the most, or the least. They lay there at night shout-whispering to each other "I'M going to go to sleep first!" "No, I AM!" It reached its' apogee this week when I was called upon to judge who had done the biggest poo. It was at that point that I flipped and did something terrible to the tape measures and rulers. Since then, I have been given the top tip that one child cuts the cake/pizza, and the other gets first choice of slices. This works until you realise that you need a tally chart to keep track of who has done the choosing/cutting, at which point they fight over it. My cousins' wife, who also did the remarkably rash thing of having children too close together, reminded me that this competativeness is what drove her now noticeably good young adults to succeed and do well. Unfortunately for me, my two couldn't care less about competing to do well. But who's got the biggest poo, well, that's a competition they've GOT to win.
And then more numbers for me. This time, the numbers of my blood test. My last visit to the endocrinologist went something like this:
Me: I know that my TSH is surpressed and so it comes "under" the average range, but i'm feeling quite well now, could you leave me alone?
Endo: What? Have you been reading? Numbers? Don't worry your head about them? Of course, now go away and leave me alone to get back to the more interesting diabetics.
End result: endo writes a letter to my GP clearly stating that I am surpressed and overmedicated and cuts my dose by 50mg. Apparently, people my height and weight should only be on such- a-such amount. Well, here's the thing. I am not a whizz at maths, I agree, but even I can see that a range of permissable blood readings must be taken from a wide range of people and is, even then, only a guide to the possible healthy readings. It is natural and likely that some people will be both above and below that range and be healthy. I am one of them. But as a result of the pathetically inadequate endo, I am now undermedicated, barely able to keep my eyes open and having tremors, weird hair loss again and all the other less lovely hypothyroid thingies. A phonecall to the hospital results in my finding out he is on holiday. For four weeks. I'm to be seen at the end of March. This time, I am taking with me my old , weighty, GCSE maths textbook, and will carefully point out the chapter on averages and ranges to him, before using it to beat him soundly around the head. Failing that, perhaps he would like to come to my house and see quite how difficult it is to measure 4 million things a day when you can't string a senetence together and need a nap every 5 minutes. We could measure his ego.