Sunday, 20 April 2008

on target idea

Boy Two held his sixth birthday party yesterday - an elaborate affair with dinosaurs and a pinata. There was, of course, a cake.
Prevously we'd set out to choose the cake - T-Rex, Bart Simpson, football. The choices were endless.
As we pulled into the supermarket car park he asked: "Can I have a gun cake?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know. In the shape of a gun and with bullets made from icing."
Of course, can't think why they hadn't thought of it already.
In the end, you'll be pleased to know, B2 and his little pals all tucked into a chocolate caterpillar.

Friday, 18 April 2008

boys hanging around

"So he's just like the Duracell bunny except that he's not a bunny and he doesn't have any batteries. Oh and he's not an electronic toy. But apart from that, he is. Oi, you're a Duracell bunny. Duracell bunny," Boy One taunted Boy Two.
It was the end of a day during which the boys were introduced to outdoor rock climbing. Boy Two showed a rather worrying aptitude that his aunt reckons will come in useful in the future if he needs to make a hasty getaway. Given that the Panther claims to be already saving for his bail perhaps they see in him something his mother can't.
Anyway, with infinite patience Glenn from Ratho Adventure Centre (now under the unsnappy banner of Edinburgh International Climbing Arena) took the two boys and their friend H through their paces.
Apparently it's one of the few places where youngsters can get a taste of 'proper' outdoor climbing.
H's mum and I had a go too and, rather shakily, we both confirmed it is a bit different to the indoor stuff.
The best moment of the day for me came when Glenn fashioned a loop of rope from a sturdy tree branch and clipped the children there by their harnesses. There they hung contented a couple of feet from the ground, unable to get down and rendered totally harmless. Maybe there's a business idea in there...

Friday, 4 April 2008

Ms-ing in action

It's 2008.
We live in a society where there's hardly any racism or homophobia, not many people drive drunk and grown up laws protect all kinds of people from unfairness at work. Babies don't die from preventable diseases very often and it's possible to buy strawberries all year round.
So this is progress - we've never had it so good. Have we?
Then today Dr Colin McKinstry, writing in the BMJ, claims that too many women doctors is going to bring health care to its knees. The poor things are going to want to be working part time, you see. And that's bad news for sick people apparently. I'm not even going to point out to Dr McK that along with women being allowed to study medicine there have been innovations such as job sharing and flexible working and, heaven forbid, men who might want to work part time in order to spend more time with the family.
Meanwhile, yesterday I filled in a couple of on-line forms. You know the kind. They're really clever, you just need to tell it your postcode and you don't need to bother typing your address. The problem was that they only offered me the option of being Mr, Mrs, Miss or Dr. Where was the Ms? Ms might be a big unwieldy it's the only tool for the job when you aren't - or don't want to announce that you are - one of the others.
Then I met a former colleague and friend for lunch and, as we caught up, the conversation was mostly about just how hard it is to be a working mum. How we laughed about the fibs we've told, the guilt we feel, the bosses and colleagues who don't get it and how, ultimately, we've had to settle for second best.
I'm not suggesting we all sling our bras on the bonfire - good grief no! But perhaps it's time to acknowledge that we haven't made nearly enough progress and that it's time to act.
The law is all very well, but why can't we have the same shift in attitude about women at work as there has been about the unacceptable nature of homophobia, racism or drink driving.
Put it this way, it's now utterly shocking to hear someone branded 'paki' or 'poof', but no one bats much of an eyelid when a woman of childbearing age gets passed over again.
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