A life in two paragraphs

For Writing Workshop ‘Can you see me’ from Josie at Sleep is for the weak:

I was the one who came second. I was the one who screamed all night and was put on the doorstep; who – discovered drenched by the paddling pool – claimed my absent brother pushed me; who didn’t spill the yoghurt on the fireplace but still got a smack for it, who didn’t nick the Spangle from mum’s bedside table; who did burn plastic bags nailed to a shelf in the garage, who did pee in the bedroom sink. I was the one who “wasn’t a proper girl” but who knitted, crochet’ed, embroidered, sewed and macrame’ed my way through primary school; whose clever friend could tie her own tie but couldn’t skip properly; who stole peas through the neighbours fence; who danced oblivious to everything but Mozart yet lasted only ballet lesson.  I was the one who tried on friends and found them lacking. I was the one who longed to belong but was always too shy, too brash, too frumpy, too ugly, too keen. I was the one with the metal mickey.  I was the one they tried to bully (but a temper makes a fine defence). I was the one who skiied off alone into the dank mist, who ran and ran to get away from them, who swam so hard they’d be left in my wake.  I was the one who played too rough, laughed too loud, drank too much, smoked too many, loved too easily, stayed too late. I was the one who lost my way, my purpose, my goals, myself.
I am the one who picked you, with your crazy hair and chequered past.  We were the ones who partied hard, who travelled wide, who settled down.  I am the one whom you gave a son whose every move I watch with swelling pride.  We are the ones who groped our way blindly.  I am the one that held you close when your father died, that clutched your hand on a hospital bed, that scolded you for worrying while cold fear balled in my stomach; yet I am the one who pushes you away from my troubles. I am the one who looks through your eyes to see me for the fraud I am; who reads your mind and finds I am wanting. I am the one whom you gave a daughter. I am the one who strokes her brow, her palm, her fingers and who cries with joy. I am the carer, the cook, the teacher, the artist, the swimming instructor, the cleaner, the decorator, the writer, the gardener, the dreamer, the traveller, the singer, the musician, the disciplinarian, the poet, the sportsman and the raging harpie.  I am your wife. I am your mother. I am your pal. I am exhausted but I love you all.  And I am excited about tomorrow.


Creationism a la four-year-old

Yawn.  Girl is not sleeping again. She did two nights on the trot on Sunday and Monday (following B’s first skiing trip with me up North, so good timing toots), but last night and today is back to her old tricks.  She goes into her cot as I gently soothe her, lies prone and apparently sunk into oblivion – even mustering up the odd snore – until I raise my hand, whereupon she flings her arm back to grasp my finger, twists her head round, eyes flying open, and starts to cry till soothing recommences.  This is often repeated slyly as late as the ‘stepping-away-from-the-cot’ point, which is most frustrating. Controlled crying would fix this but they’re sharing a room. Nnngh.
On the plus side, now that I’ve replaced her first pair of shoes (H lost one during his babysitting weekend; he thinks he left it on the roof of the car) she’s cruising nicely and had her first few stands on her own recently. Lovely.  And, if we lose another left shoe, we’ve a handy spare. Yay!

Boy and I were discussing the origin of man earlier today as we watched a Nat Geo program on how life began; he’s very advanced, you know, though his poor mother was ill-equipped to answer questions on DNA. As we watched, B expounded his theory that the first man was made by a bunch of other men by cutting shapes out of a skin suit; such as a mouth, eyes, eyebrows and a scalp (out of which hair then sprouted).  All in all, quite a gruesome image and one with an obvious flaw:
“Who made the men who did all this cutting?”, said I.
There was a slight pause, then he raised his eyebrows into an optimistic position, smiled hopefully and suggested, “Nice ghosties?”.
As a theory some may claim it beats your standard creationism…

The Myth of Flexible Working

So, we’re all allowed to ask for flexible working conditions. Of course, our employers are in no way obliged to accept that request.  Therefore, making the request is often akin to pissing in the wind.

I made my request  (part-time, compressed hours of 4 days into 3 – a killer but worth it to keep my job, as we can’t afford 4 days’ childcare for two), created a business case for it, offered to work out-with my core hours including weekends where possible and discussed it with colleagues.  Childcare’s arranged, nursery deposit’s paid, and – most importantly – my line manager is totally understanding and pretty sure there will be no issues.  

So over the course of two weeks I hear….nothing.  Not a peep.  My inert line manager doesn’t even respond when I email a chaser.

When he does answer two days later, it’s not elaborate, nor is it encouraging:
“Its [sic]with [management] at the moment.  Don’t know how it will go down as there are a few grumblings going on.  I will let you know as soon as I find out”.

“This is my life, my children’s lives..!!”, I feel like screaming.  My line manager pretty much OK’ed it at our meeting there and then. The decision is ultimately his, in reality there’s no impediment but – as I knew would be the case – when he presents it to management the spinal cord buckles, one word of dismay from them and he rolls over for them just as he was probably rolling over for me.

Most galling of all – they let my backfill replacement go in December knowing full well I wasn’t returning till April so they clearly expected the team to cope without me for 60 days.  The arrangement I’m requesting wouldn’t even involve me dropping 60 working days in a full year!!!

Yeah, they say you can ask for flexible working.  The same way you can ask for a new Porsche for Christmas…