Pop! Goes The Kneecap!

After yesterday’s post complaining about my knee, I do feel slightly better having got medical confirmation that yes I did dislocate it and cor that is a lot of bruising…

A whole morning spent in A&E confirms that firstly, when your kneecap falls off, then yes, that is a full dislocation; secondly, grabbing your knee and cracking it back in as soon as it falls apart is indeed a good thing; and thirdly, the A&E services that the NHS provides are everything I would hope for from my GP (friendly, listen, treat me like a human and super efficient). I was in, seen, xrayed, rammed back together and stuck in a splint all in under 2 hours and sent off on my merry way with the addition of “better crutches” to help with wrist sprains around the house. The sheer volume of Velcro I have strapping various supports to my body now means that I crackle every time I move. Add this to the joint popping and I’m basically a one (wo)man band!

image

My newly given mission was to head to the mobility shop to get a leg riser for my wheelchair. Armed with the make and model, I asked if they stocked anything. Apparently, what I requested was tartan paint and was assessed with the intake of breath generally attributed to those of the plumbing or car mechanic trades. And in true air sucking form, it did cost me. £132 lighter I emerged having hired a chair for a week which did have a leg riser. (Admittedly £100 of that I’d a deposit, but still.). So now I’m not just navigating with wheels, I also have a battering ram. A very sore and swollen battering ram.

image

When we got back,  I called work and explained that new bits had fallen off and with the additional battering ram out the front I just can’t get around the classroom  (or manage the stairs, or drive). So that’s me grounded for the rest of the week. Or at the very least, using Google Classroom to the limits.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t actually get any weirder, we took the kids to their trampolining class and I was wheeling myself towards the bar (for lemonade Judgey McJudgerson ), when a terrifying child’s carer stops me in the leisure centre and asks if child can pray for me… ummm… I don’t want to upset child… that, and I’m a naive Englishwoman who assumes praying is going home and quietly talking to your diety in your own time and space, and that everyone else has the same personal space and eye contact agreement that was secretly declared when the London Underground was formed, so I say yes….. I promptly find myself with full laying on of hands praying from both of them in the middle of the leisure centre reception… with me desperately resisting the urge to wheel myself off shouting “for science!”.

How on earth are you meant to react to that??!

image

Explaining Extremism To A 10 Year Old

Firstly how the hell am I old enough to have a human who’s about to turn 11?

Secondly, tonight is the second in a row that the Beanpole has returned from school tearful because of a semi-explained refugee crisis. Her heart breaks each time they discuss a story about the refugees in Europe and she couldn’t understand why their home was no longer safe. What made it unsafe? Is our country safe? What came to get them? The imagination of a 10 year old is a scary place (says she who was allowed to “watch” Alien at age 10 but had to cover her eyes for the scary bits. My imagination + the sound effects were WAY worse than Gieger). The imagination of a 10 year old with ASD and limited facts is much scarier.

So, we had a choice.

A: gloss over it and pretend life is fine, but it’s all very sad and to leave the adults to deal with it.

B: Get out some facts that probably aren’t that age appropriate, but are going to arm her with information.

It was always going to be B.

Stage 1. Explain about the changes in power in the Middle East in recent years. Accepted & digested.

Stage 2. Explain who ISIS are and why people are running away from them. Brick wall.

Ah crap. Ok, backtrack. Do you know what an extremist is? No. Ok, we have a starting point.

Most Christians use the bible as a guide, but still accept science & agree that everyone is entitled to their own faith, yes? Good.

Ok, but some people choose to believe that the bible is absolute fact and ignore everything else. In fact, they only believe in certain bits of the Bible and think everyone else is wrong. Is that a bad thing? Err…. it’s not if that’s their opinion, it’s only wrong if they want to force you to believe the same as them.

(We’re getting a light bulb here).

Well,  this group that some people call ISIS are a bit like that. Most (As in several million) Muslims have a Koran instead of a Bible and use it as a guide. They look after each other and accept that other people have different faiths.
Some (as in several thousand)Muslims have taken bits from the Koran and used them to believe that they have the right to kill people who don’t agree with them.

We’re getting extremism. This is an utter parent win.

So we went for the feel better ending by showing her how some people use humour to show how ridiculous the extremist Christians behaviour was in a tolerant society.

image

We figured here that she’s already heard all the bad words and the lesson of ‘know the word, but don’t use it’ is quite a powerful one. And actually, I’d rather she found a swear word used to dissolve intolerance funny, than shield her from bad language but allow her to be aware of mass murder. It somehow seems insignificant considering the topic of conversation.

image

We genuinely couldn’t have planned it better. It was like an episode of Sesame Street, ending on a moral message of most people are tolerant. These extremists are just that. In a very unwelcome minority.

The Good Book

So, recently on Facebook I was sent a link to a blog post which has taken me a full 24 hours to digest and reel from.

This post was entitled ‘Six (+2) Reasons NOT To Send Your Daughter To College

This was never going to sit well with me was it? Really? But I read it, hoping that it may just be a positive post about things you can do with a vocational qualification. Oh how wrong I was. And this post offended me on multiple levels.

Disclaimer – the following is just my rather ranty opinion.

Firstly, the owner of this site claims to be Catholic (and yes, with a big C). No right minded Catholic would propagate the ‘women are just baby making machines’ tripe. Women are equal and by holding a job, we do not devalue our wombs. There is absolutely no Catholic dogma that prevents women from working, unless it’s as a priest or the Pope.

Secondly, as you might’ve guessed, it offends me as a woman. The sections in the bible that are quoted are referencing the family dynamic from the Middle East TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO. It was the norm for women to run the household, and they did so through their extended family. It was also the norm to bake unleavened bread over an open fire and live in tents which were regularly moved around – should we do that now? I have a mind, and I’m not afraid to use it! Try telling Ada Lovelace that women can’t contribute to the male dominated environment (guys, without her you wouldn’t even have the Internet to spread your unpleasant message on).

Thirdly, it offends me as a wife. I am in an equal partnership with my husband and as such do not need to be subservient to him. Frankly, if I was, we’d have a lot more gadgets in the house and a lot less food! That also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t work hard to provide for his family. In a society where financially we both need to work, we are a team.

Finally (ok, not finally, but I need to stop ranting eventually), it offends me as a mother. I have two beautiful, intelligent daughters who will go to any educational establishment of their choosing and I trust that our parenting will set them up to make rational choices about the relationships that they get into whilst they are there. Girls can absolutely make rational choices (this hormonal lynx effect that you speak of is just a guise for bad choices without placing the responsibility firmly in the hands of the participants) and if they mess up, then we’ll be there to help them pick up the pieces. That’s called parenting. Hiding your child away at home away from the world in case they meet someone you don’t approve of is no different from the enforced wearing of a veil. If anything more so – how will these sheltered children grow up to be self-sufficient? Or is that the plan? If you place trust in your child, mostly, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

So, having ranted in full, I have decided to answer this blog post with a song. This is not Catholicism, your post is terrifying Bible Belt America claptrap which is fueling the world’s fear of the mental health of Americans in general. (Sadly, this type of thing is creating a stereotype which is not true of many).

How Silent Bob soothed my crisis of faith

I’m going to start this one with a quote from Kevin Smith from the film Dogma.

“When you’re little, the glass is small. It only takes a small amount of water to fill it. Now I’m an adult, the glass it much bigger and the same amount of water doesn’t fill it anymore”

20130312-201655.jpg

Who knew I’d start a post about my faith with a quote from “Silent Bob”. Maybe it’s because through reading his blog and very aptly named books, he has been more honest than a huge number of the Catholic Church in recent(?) years. His boring ass life was just that. Boring. Oh my was that book boring, but I kept reading it. Why? Because he described a man that is only a few years my senior, but who despite being quite a big thing in the film world, loved his daughter, respected his wife and felt deeply for his overwhelmingly messed up friend. And most of all, he was trying to balance fame with a degree of morality, even if that was by taking pot shots at organised religion.

But I can see why. With each news report, the water in my glass recedes a little more. And yet, I’ve not lost faith, I’ve lost my connection with the organisation.

I still believe deeply in a higher being, just not the dribbley candles and men in dresses with burning metal handbags.
Every fibre in my body tells me I am here to be the best person I can be. But I’m not being that if I measure my worth by my attendance in a building.
I do pray. But not out loud, and not in a traditional sense.
I am astounded by scientific research. But thankful that we have evolved to the point of discovery.

What does this mean for me? Well, it leaves me in a conundrum when bringing up children in a Catholic faith. More and more I find myself disagreeing with the moral judgements made by the Church as an organisation. Gay marriage, women in the clergy, and the unmentionable crimes committed by members of the church have all been issues which have led me to question my faith.

Since starting this blog, and reading much more into the negative path to happiness it has occurred to me that I haven’t lost faith in God at all, I’ve lost faith in the Catholic Church which is a totally different thing. I can live with that. It just turns out that my footprints in the sand have points that I hop, or skip, or occasionally dance for no apparent reason.