A rather lovely few days

My apologies for neglecting the blogosphere for a few days. I have been, at various times, busy, lazy, and away.

We spent the weekend down on the Mornington Peninsula, staying with Aidan’s parents. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for it, with the bright sunshine and temperatures higher than I can recall for a while. We took Elspeth to the beach, which we haven’t done for quite a while! I still remember the first time she saw the ocean, and she was not very impressed… but this time, we had the very devil of a time dragging her away from it! She had a fantastic time, despite a bit of a chilly wind. I hope we can spend more time down there this spring and summer.

 

Today Elspeth and I have been home, back to normal boring old routine – except that the weather is still divine! We spent most of today outside, which is something we haven’t been able to do through the cold wet winter. I took her to the playground across the road this morning, and the weather brought all the neighbourhood kids out to play too. We made a few ‘friends’, including a fluffy little dog who seemed quite taken with Elspeth!

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How embarrassment!

Today is Aidan’s birthday, and he decided that he wanted to go out to a nice cafe for morning coffee. So we went to a shopping centre (it being all rainy and cold), found a nice cafe, and had stuff. Then, of course, since we were out, we had a bit more of a wander and a shop, and then finally decided to do a little bit of grocery shopping.

It was whilst in Coles that embarrassment struck.

After nearly two hours of standing and walking, I was overcome with dizziness and shortness of breath. I had to sit down. No big deal, right? I’m five weeks from my due date, it’s only natural, right?

In the five minutes that I sat in the corner, I had three Coles staff members approach me to ask if I needed assistance. I was informed that their health and safety person knew about me, and to tell them if I needed anything further like first aid treatment or an ambulance. A random shopper (who said she was a midwife) asked if she could do anything for me.

It’s all very nice, very considerate of everyone to try to help.

But it’s so embarrassing!

I knew perfectly well that a little sit-down would see me right, and I told them all that. But still the fuss, the repeated reminders to ask for help, and generally making me feel like a nuisance! Why do these things always happen in public?!

Elspeth’s versions of nursery rhymes

Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy spider climb up the water spout again, Incy Wincy spider climb up the water spout again, ad infinitum

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Black sheep, henny any wool, yes sir, one a master, one a day, one little boy down the lane

See Saw

See staw, muggy door, Jackie have a master, penny a day, work faster

Playschool song

Chair in there, bear well, people with games, stories to tell, open wide, come inside, is Playschool

Gingerbread Man

Wun wun, basta I can, something

Welfare and its sudden removal

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has expressed support for the eviction of and withdrawal of social benefits from London rioters. The general viewpoint seems to be that these people have abused and disregarded the system that has supported them, and so that privilege should be removed.

I can see that point of view, and frankly to a certain extent I agree. However I cannot help but consider the consequences of such an act.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re a lazy, uneducated, apathetic person aged between 18 and 25. You’ve been supported by the state in the form of welfare payments, and given every expectation that said support will continue for the rest of your life. As such, you’ve never given much thought to education, qualifications, gathering work experiences, or in any way behaving like a responsible adult or even preparing to. Got it?

Now imagine your welfare is cut off overnight and you’re evicted from your government housing.

Holy shit. Your only means of existence is gone, and you hadn’t planned for anything else. What do you do?

You steal stuff. Even if you hadn’t exactly been a criminal before, you will be now! What other choice remains to you? Nobody will hire you as you are, and you don’t really have time to get your literacy skills up to scratch and get into university and study for a career now, do you?

In short, the sudden withdrawal of state support for people already shown to have criminal tendencies can only increase those tendencies and result in more and worse crime.

It is my long-held view that the very concept of long-term or permanently available welfare (for able-bodied, non-handicapped people) was a bad idea from the beginning. If, right from the start, you’d known that the state would only support you for a given timeframe – say, seven or eight years, enough to go to uni and/or raise a couple of babies – you’d have been less likely to take it for granted and you might have taken steps to ensure that you could provide for yourself after your welfare expires.

There was a time, in Australia at least, when being on the dole was an embarrassing thing, something you strove to avoid and didn’t really want to admit to. Working, holding a job, supporting a family, that was the proud and dignified thing to do. Somewhere along the line that attitude has changed, and now kids (and adults!) are proud of doing nothing and being paid for it. It’s become a lifestyle, or even a career choice. It can even be quite tactical: How can I convince the government that I’m actively looking for work this fortnight? 

The result, which can hardly have been unexpected, is a sub-culture entirely and permanently dependant on welfare. It is growing, and breeding, and it cannot be supported by the taxpayer forever.

David Cameron is right in one respect at least: it is time to impose far more limitations on welfare, and even penalties for the abuse of the system. But the limitations and penalties need to have been publicised in advance; you can’t just rip welfare away from people and expect them to reform overnight to become exemplary citizens.

Gaia Natural Baby

 


This morning Elspeth and I used the Gaia Natural Baby products that I won from Emma’s blog recently. The body wash and shampoo are great, Elspeth smells divine and feels lovely. She has a slight rash around her mouth, and I’ve tried putting the moisturiser on that, but I’m not sure how effective it will be – just because she keeps licking it off, saying “Cream nice! Cream very tasty!” I guess that’s sort of an endorsement, although admittedly not for its intended use!

 

Bert and Ernie to marry?

A gay rights group is currently collecting signatures on a petition that requests Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie tie the knot!

From the outset, I want to make it clear that I completely support the right of gay couples to marry and have full equality with heterosexual couples.

But marrying Bert and Ernie? I’m not even sure where to start in listing my problems with this.

For starters, B & E have never exhibited any overt signs of being gay. Their behaviour and interactions lead some to believe they’re best friends, some believe they’re brothers, and others think they’re just house-mates. It might be different if they had ever been shown sharing a bed, or holding hands, or partaking in any of the usual behaviours of pre-marital couples. But they haven’t.

Secondly, if they did get married, it would be for all the wrong reasons. As outlined above, there’s no evidence that they are in love, and so the wedding would be a politically-motivated statement rather than a genuine celebration of a dedicated life-long partnership. That’s not a great example for the kids.

Thirdly, why take a long-standing arrangement which is obviously working (for B & E, for the viewers, for the ratings) and change it? Marrying B & E would change their entire vibe, changing Sesame Street itself, not necessarily for the better. It could easily make long-term viewers, who haven’t previously seen B & E as being gay, feel uncomfortable – even those in favour of gay marriage in general.

A more effective move, I feel, would be to introduce new characters on the Street who are already a gay couple. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, and can be dealt with subtly and effectively in a similar manner to what Playschool did a while back. Admittedly that stirred up some controversy, but I’m pretty sure that was mostly media-driven to sell more papers.

And so I say, leave Bert and Ernie alone! They are innocent victims of an over-zealous socio-political movement which, if successful, may even alienate more people than it wins over. Let them continue to live in harmony (or lack thereof, their conflicts being the basis of most skits) as besties, roomies, or brothers.

Pregnancy chronicles

My apologies in advance for complaining; this post is more for me to look back on later than for anybody else to particularly enjoy.

I’ve been feeling very sick for the last few days. Constantly. I’m having trouble eating and keeping anything down. Moving around at all stirs things up and makes me want to puke even more. I’ve also got shitty diarrhoea, if you’re interested, and that pun was totally intended. I lived mostly on liquids yesterday – hot chocolates and strawberry milk and a little bit of tea – and I think today will be more of the same, even though so far I haven’t vomited up my cereal.

I’m actually wondering if the dramatically increased illness, along with the runs and a couple of other things, might be a sign of impending labour. I don’t know whether to hope for that or not; if born now at 33 weeks + 4 days, Evelyn’s chances of survival are extremely high, but she would almost certainly require some special care and extra time in hospital. On the other hand, she’d be out of my belly and not making me feel like crap!

However, chances are nothing is going to happen any time soon, and the next 6 weeks is going to be filled with discomfort and misery. It’s so close, but it seems so long!