#atinylife school run chat

‘Mum?’

‘Uh-huh?’

‘Do adults still say nasty things about me?’

‘…’

‘I don’t know. Not to me, but I don’t see them anymore.’

‘Remember when XXX’s Mum said she wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore?’

‘Yes. I do. She was always very supportive. To our faces.’

**

school run chat

‘Mum?’

‘Why don’t you like XXX anymore?’

‘Well, she said some horrible things about trans kids.’

‘What did she say?’

‘I don’t want to tell you. It’ll upset you.’

‘No it won’t. Tell me.’

‘OK. She implied that if you shared a room at a residential you would rape your room-mate.’

‘…’

‘I’m sorry. It’s not true. Obviously.’

‘I’m asexual!’

‘You’re also 11 years old!’

‘I can’t say the word I want to say. So I’m just going to mouth it.’

‘Sorry, love. I do try to keep you away from all this sort of stuff.’

#atinylife good day

The sun came out and

we were allowed to have people over in the garden and

they could be from another local authority area and

I made gluten free vegan brownies and

the kids played with nerf guns and

I hate toy guns and

I didn’t care and

I made tea and

Mr HB made coffee and

we bitched about stuff and

we did the crossword together and

we laughed and

we looked at the tadpoles and

the tadpoles are getting bigger and

they are moving around more too and

kids all played really well together and

later on we went down to the river and

it is really beautiful here and

today it is cloudy again and

I feel tired but it’s the good sort of tired and

I am so lucky to have had such a lovely day.

#atinylife LastBorn

Given my poetry pamphlet is now sold out (thank you to everyone who bought a copy), I thought I would record the poems for my much-neglected YouTube channel. Here is a transcript of the first one,

Last Born

Quickened pain, surprising me

out of all birth plans

and breathing techniques

and the crickets of the TENS

machine crawling up my back.

I had woken early

completed the lists:

paired socks, as my pelvis

pentangled like pulled knitting.

And all too soon

the burn, the squeeze, the heft

was beyond unbearable

but then

you released –

a tide of meaning

from me

into the world.

My last born.

Completing this compost

of family

this outrage

of us.

Never forget how you came:

child of mine.

Never be afraid to labour, and

never push down pain to places you cannot feel it.

#atinylife backtoschool

It won’t be long now – I know, I’ve done nothing but whine about them being home. Now I’m sort of wondering if I’ll look back on home-learning with a tear in my eye. Like this lunchtime, I thought, ‘this is one of the last lunches you’ll have together in term time, isn’t that sad?’ My kids, however, are nothing if not reliable. Within five minutes they were screaming at each other about something screen-related, I assume. Which I won’t miss AT ALL. It’s been awful and exhausting – I never thought my children would cry daily after babyhood was over. At that same time, I’ve loved slowing down with them, focussing on them above everything else, getting right into what they are into (Star Dew Valley rules btw). I’ll wave them off joyfully but I wouldn’t give this time back, either.

#atinylife 2020 where?

There was a day, a few weeks ago, when I went outside and thought ‘It’s really cold out here!’

‘Although, I suppose it is November.’

How exactly is it November already?

When we went into our first UK lockdown, in March, I knew it was March. But I still kind of feel like it’s March?  How can 2020 be almost over?

I’m trying to remind myself what this year has been like, for so many of us. Many of us home-schooled one or more children between March and June: I had two kids at home, and although the school were great, there was a certain amount of ‘yes, you do have to do some work.’

Then in July, we moved house. That’s taken up just as much time and headspace as I thought it would.

Here’s to a productive 2021!

#atinylife Hallowe’en 40

All Hallow’s

windy – wild

pumpkins flicker

candlelit food

window ghost

song sung

Devil banished

painted face

cardboard knife

apple tooth-marked

half-moon doughnut

wardrobe-squeezed sardines

lights off

let’s hide

found you

found me

full moon

veil thinned

spirits chased

light brought

#atinylife thanksfornothing

Someone suggests an update to some legislation. It’s kind of controversial, from some angles, so they do a consultation. Over 70% of people respond and say ‘yep, sounds good.’

They decide not to update the legislation.

And if it was just this, I would be fine. I mean, it’s paperwork. It’s disappointing, it’s not surprising.

But it’s not only this. It’s the 18 month wait for your kid to be seen by someone who knows less about gender than you do. It’s the four emails a week to school because people are deliberately misgendering your child and then claiming they are entitled to their opinion that there are only two genders. It’s the memories of the times you couldn’t walk down the streets of your own village. It’s watching your child become more and more withdrawn. It’s news like this.

#atinylife whatdidyouDO?

Apparently, it will become a ‘good interview question.’ What did you accomplish in lockdown?

I was surprised to realise I am fit now. I haven’t been fit since before my first child was born. And let me assure you that I have not become thin – no matter how many kilometres you cycle, if you come home and eat crisps and drink beer, then…

Productive

I can cycle many kilometres, though. Up hills and everything. It’s a pleasant side-effect of taking the kids outside every day.

However, I didn’t write the great British novel or anything. You must be kidding! I have two kids –  and our homeschooling was excellent – but I was required to be there while they went tippity-tappity on their laptops. I didn’t manage to write much beyond this blog. Which helped me feel connected –

so, thanks,

for sticking around.

#atinylife calling out

As the parent of a non-binary child, I find myself often – too often – in the position of ‘calling out’ certain behaviour online.

I used to enjoy grammar policingcalling out until someone accused me, correctly, of snobbery. I spend a lot of time trying to remember how to respond when Mr HB says, ‘Stella, that’s racist.’ (Top tip: defensiveness is not how we learn. Top tip 2: we are all racist, whether we care to admit to it or not.)

I don’t relish calling out a person for pronoun use, or transphobia, or just a  not-thinking of making an online comment that is damaging/othering/offensive to the community that parent the LGBTQ community. Maybe it looks like I enjoy it.

I can assure you: I write the comment.

I worry about it.

I brace myself.

 

But not saying anything at all? Not an option.

#atinylife Karenisnotaslur

KarenI mean, of course Karen is not a slur. I was interested, however to find this definition of ‘a Karen,’ that 100% is me (apart from the blonde hair part).

But the value of being these things: entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged and white has not been lost on me.

Ever since I started having to tell the world that no, my child wasn’t a girl or a boy, and no, they couldn’t choose between Miss or Master, and no, they weren’t happy when staff at school used the term ‘girls and boys’ (it’s hurtful because it doesn’t apply to them).

And yes, there would need to be a change or an adaption to the system to make sure they fit. And yes, they (and I!) would require support from many different agencies.

And yes, they were entitled to all of these things.