Author Archives: tomandjemsmummy

Mummy Mafia…. sadly, the worst bullies aren’t in the classroom. They’re at the school gates.

This half term, it seems to me that if you’re quiet and pleasant to folk, decent human beings will generally treat you in the same way. However, there are a few people – creatures who can only be described as bullies -who will pick on you, belittle you and try to intimidate you, probably to make up for their own inadequacies. 

If you don’t answer back, perhaps because it’s not in your nature or because a scene outside school would be cringe-makingly embarrassing, then the nasty looks and the comments about you and your precious child will continue. And then escalate, for example into shoving in the queue for your 6 year old’s under the sea assembly.  The bully will, of course, feel really good about her behaviour. Mine must be headed towards 50 years of age but she behaves like the rough girls in year 9.

So, I’m not really sure what to do about this situation. And I can only assume it will get worse. I was never bullied at school – probably thanks to my tougher, louder twin sister. And trolls like this will never pick on a pair, when there’s easier pickings to be had.  So, for now, I’m reporting every incident to the school and the police and reminding myself that Tom will never tolerate this shit. Unlike me – he is not quiet or gentle. 

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My little Jem


So far my blog posts have focused mostly on Tornado Tom, who for four years has been the centre of my world. It strikes me that my lovely number two son has barely got a mention…..
So here he is; my lil asskicker. My miracle baby, number two. As he grows up, im reminded just how truly lucky I am to have him. 

They’re actually twins – sort of. 

Jem and Tom were conceived at the same time, nearly seven years ago. They’re from the same batch of eggs that the doctors helped me grow, with the help of injections made from old ladies wee! The doctors collected 13 eggs, 5 of which fertilised. We used two, to get Tom, and only Tom stuck. This left three, which were frozen. So, little Jem has been in a freezer in Gateshead for four years! Amazing!


The miscarriage that never was

During the hideous two week wait that IVF patients have to go through, when time stands still, and Annette becomes very unpleasant to be around, I actually did feel pregnant. With Tom, I didn’t. But this time, I knew what the dizziness, the funny boobs and the straw hair, that I couldn’t get a brush through, meant. A sneaky test on day 8 showed the faintest second pink line. I didn’t show anyone, and waited to test again the next day, with one of the 5 tests I’d stocked up on at B and M. 

Sure enough, a darker pink line appeared the following day. I was so excited. But on a day out to Windermere, I started bleeding. Just a bit at first. But it got worse and worse. Each toilet visit, I hoped against hope that it had stopped. An implantation bleed? Some sort of horrible mistake? But the bleeding got worse. There was no mistake.

I resigned myself to a chemical pregnancy  and took to my bed, devastated. I still had to travel to Gateshead to take the official test and be told “negative”. When I told the nurse what had happened, she said they still had to do the test to be sure and i should go for a coffee and they’d call in a few hours. Thirty minutes later they called and told me to come back to the clinic – I was pregnant! 

To cut a long story not terribly short, there were 8 more episodes of heavy bleeding. Each time I was convinced this was it. Sometimes, when I’m in the places where it happened, I nearly cry when I remember that I nearly lost Jem; In Funhouse play centre, in my classroom, watching Game of Thrones, And then it just stopped. It was something called a subchorionic haematoma. Apparently it’s fairly common but I’d never heard of it before. 

Two years on


Jem’s one and a half, and he’s starting to really show his lovely little personality. He’s really chilled out and happy most of the time. And his favourite thing is any flicker of attention he gets from his big brother. He’s no pushover, mind. And he and Tom have started to have a few spats, usually when Tom wants some daft baby toy, he hasn’t looked at for years but is now his favourite because Jem is playing with it. Or when Jem is trying to get in on some IPad action!

It’s going to be strange having a two year old who talks, points and responds to his name! But it’ll be lovely, without the panic and stress this time. I’m going to enjoy every minute, because as a cheeseball Facebook meme reminded me the other day, his firsts will be my lasts; the last baby I breastfeed, the last whose first smile, first step, first word, are all mine. The last one to call me mam (except those in my class who say it by accident -fellow teachers will know what I mean. “Mam…. Uh, I mean miss. MISS”. )

No doubt me and Jem will come across our own stresses but I’m never going to forget how lucky I am to have the pair of them. They’re the best! 

Tom and school….the second half term and thanks to the school run mums X

 After my first school related blog, things got tougher and my not-so-little man ran into a few problems. I’m sure it’s not just me but somehow it seems that things are never easy. 

In the dark days of Tom’s speech delay, I feared autism. I imagined he would never speak, never fit in and never have any friends. And when I say imagine, I mean convinced myself of it and stayed awake at night, dreading his future and wondering how I could help him. 

I am so thankful that this was not the case. Tom is friendly, outgoing and popular. He is bright and is doing very well with his lessons. He loves learning and he loves school. But the speech delay has had an impact. He shouts instead of talking, a lot. This can be embarrassing when he yells something insensitive at the top of his voice. Eg. “Hehe…. Look at that little man!” Some of his words are not quite right but also some of his social skills aren’t quite there yet either. This half term Tom had a steep learning curve in managing to interact with his peers. He had always been a gentle soul but last term, Tom struggled to see the difference between pretend play and actually thumping someone. 

Of course, I was horrified about this and imagined Tom being excluded and sent to the PRU. Maybe even prison! Thankfully, the school and most parents have been entirely supportive, seeing this for what it was – a five year old child, still learning the rules. I have worked with the school  to help Tom learn what’s appropriate and, thank the Lord, he seems to be getting there. His friends too seem to be really forgiving and don’t seem to hold a grudge. I probably could learn a thing or two from them. 

Since then, Tom’s come home saying a kid about half the size of him keeps punching him, but he’s not bothered. His teachers said Tom just stood there and let him; which is a step forward really, considering a few months ago he’d have knocked him into next week. I’m pleased he seems to be learning to control his temper but I’m not counting any chickens yet. 

Tom looks the same as the other kids, and he is, but he has only lived in a world with language for less than two years. When kids were having temper tantrums or hitting out at two or three, Tom was sitting in silence, lining up shoes or spinning car wheels. So the pragmatics of social situations are sometimes still beyond him. 

I’m absolutely not one of those mums who can see no wrong in their child. Tom’s kind, funny, loving and bright but he’s also spoilt, bossy and has a temper, like many five year olds. Nevertheless, I’m completely proud of how far he’s come, and I appreciate the kindness of the mums on the school run, for not making me feel like a bad mother with a demon child. 

You’re lovely xxx

Oglettes and tangerines

Now that Tom’s talking, I find it fascinating to learn how he sees the world. And as a language teacher I love the way he uses the words he does know, to make sense of new concepts.

In our house, we have oglettes instead of omelettes, which does make more sense. And when we went to Disneyland, we stayed in a home-tel, which sounds far more appealing than a hotel.

Perhaps I should correct him more than I do, but somehow Tom’s coinages have become part of our vocabulary. I’m sure long after Tom’s using the real words, we’ll keep using some of his inventions – cos they are just too cute to forget.

I’m sure it’s not just us.

I used to shave my legs….

  
Ten things I don’t do anymore now I’m a mum….

1. Shave my legs. Or paint my nails. Or wear make up….or some days, even brush my hair.

2. Buy clothes – that do not feature dinosaurs, cars or angry birds.

3. Read. Definitely used to finish a book a week. Often two. Now it takes literally months.

4. Watch films. If I attempt one, I’m asleep before it’s really even started. 

5. Wee in private. Between Tom banging on the door and Jem clinging to my leg, trying to sneak his hand down the toilet, it’s been five long  years since I enjoyed a solo visit to the bathroom.

6. Watch Children in Need without crying.

7. Feel bored. 

8. Spot rogue apostrophes on pub signs. Now it’s in play centres, where “sock’s should be worn at all time’s.”

9. Think Christmas wasn’t as good as it used to be. Now it’s better. 

10. Wonder what the point of it all was. Now I know – it’s them. 

How crap is this?

I’m annoyed at the amount of sexist crap available to inform our kids about what it means to be a boy or a girl.

This week Tom told me he wanted to play Angry Birds with Elizabeth, but he couldn’t. Why? Because she’s a girl. Also, Gavin, the swimming teacher is not a real teacher, because teachers are girls.

But is it any wonder, he’s starting to see rules about what girls and boys can and can’t do? Children are conditioned into this way of seeing the world, from birth. Boys and girls are presented almost as if they belong to entirely different species.

1.  Good luck to those expectant mums (and dads) who choose not to find out the gender of their baby before the birth. Heading to the shops, full of pregnant happiness, dying to splash out on some cute little gender neutral outfits; your excitement will turn to exasperation when you are faced with rack upon rack of very blue and  very pink. If you look hard enough, you may find a tiny section of white and cream. But this will consist of about 3 baby grows and possibly a hat. And two of these items will feature Winnie the Pooh and will be rubbish.

2. Once your bundle of joy has arrived, and you’ve discovered if you’ve got a blue one or a pink one, the conditioning really begins. Whether you’ve got a big, strong boy or a beautiful baby girl, there no way of avoiding the stereotypes.

Take, for example, the Aptamil advert. None of that for Jem, thank you very much because the attitudes evident in this most patronising and moronic marketing campaign, make me want to throw something through my tv.

“Aptamil Follow On Milk ….their future starts today.”

If they are a boy that future will be as a mathematician, or a climber, or a scientist developing baby milk. If they’re a girl; a ballerina. It’s so ridiculous that I cannot believe someone in 2015 didn’t say – “Is this not massively sexist? Should we really make the girl baby a ballerina? Might mothers not find this a bit insulting?”

It’s Cow and Gate and a bit of boob for us. I don’t reckon he’ll be a ballerina though – he’s enormous.


3. As we’re approaching Christmas, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time feeling pissed off in the toy aisle. The difference between girl toys and boy  toys is startling, and it seems all toys do have to be marked clearly as being for boys or girls.

Take Lego. It used to be just Lego, suitable for children. Any children. Even girl ones. But now there’s girl Lego. It’s especially for girls because it’s like boy Lego. Except it comes in a pink tub.

Don’t worry girl parents. There’s pink girl Lego available, suitable for your child’s girl fingers and girl brain. Obviously, girls are far more sociable than boys, so it’s called “friends”. Instead of building cars or boy job related buildings such as fire stations and police stations, your girls can build palaces, cafes or juice bars, and of course, stables. Lucky, lucky them. There’s far less of it than there is “normal” lego but, don’t worry, it’ll probably take your girls longer to build than it would if they were boys. Girls aren’t very good at building things.

4. The expectations that are set for how boys and girls should be isn’t just bad for girls. Running, pushing, wrestling, fighting are suddenly what constitutes play. This baffles me. My gentle, loving little boy all of a sudden likes pretending to be a monster. But then, look at what they’re surrounded by; look at the role models our boys have; look at the toys on offer;

Spiderman, Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, WWF Wrestlers, Star Wars, Angry Birds.

Nerf Guns, swords, light sabers, wrestling rings.

And later on, there’s a whole world of video game violence to enjoy: Grand Theft Auto, Street Fighter, Call of Duty – Black Ops, Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, Modern Warfare 500. Kill as many people as you can, as quickly as you can.

All encourage competition and aggression so is it any wonder this emerges in boys’ play. It sucks.

But don’t worry, folks. If your girl child wants to join in pretending to murder their friends, Nerf have just the thing….

As crap and annoying as girl Lego is, it is nowhere near as ridiculous as Nerf Rebelle.   Feast your eyes on this.

Yes. Nerf guns for girls. Like Nerf for boys, which will make you “the fiercest protector on the battlefield”, but shitter. With Nerf Rebelle (pink of course) you’ll be the “most stylish” spy around.

I am not making this up.

It is a gun, that TURNS INTO A HANDBAG!

So happy Christmas shopping, parents. If you see me in the the Entertainer with steam coming out of my ears, you’ll know why. I could try and buck the trend but I somehow doubt Tom would be happy unwrapping a Baby Born and Disney Frozen Snowglobe Elsa on Christmas Morning.

  

Really?

Honey and TomĀ – a poem I wrote before Tom learned to speak.


Honey and Tom went for a walk. Honey was small and Tom couldn’t talk.

They wandered through the forest. Honey chattered non stop.

My favourite horse is Ainsley. He goes clip clop, clip clop.

Tom smiled at Honey and followed along. He inspected the trees and the ground they walked on.
They walked though the trees and climbed over a wall.


They didn’t notice night beginning to fall.

They walked and they walked, until Honey said.”We’d better go home, Tom. It’s time for bed.”
But they looked at the trees. And they looked at the floor.
Honey whispered, “I don’t know the way anymore”.

“Oh, Tom.” She squeaked, “oh no! I just can’t remember, which way to go”.
Tom gave a giggle and took hold of her hand. He wasn’t worried. He had it all planned.

He showed her the things He had seen on his stroll. The stones, and the logs and the trees that were tall.


They walked through the trees and climbed over a wall.

Tom couldn’t talk. It didn’t matter
At all.