Thursday, March 30, 2006

Had a rather downbeat conversation with some Mums and Dads at NA today and it left me a bit full of heart-ache. Today the Mums and Dads of the nursery group there were asked to leave their little ones with staff to get them used to be left without Mum (preparing them for pre-school and ultimately school). I was talking to one woman and she sounded like such a nice decent lady and it was tearing her apart that she had to leave her son in there and kept taking peeks inside to see if he was OK (the other parents had driven off to get an hours peace). He wasn't crying, but he just sat there quietly looking at the door. It was tearing her apart and she didn't know how she was going to do it full-time like her other kids. "But" came the inevitable one-liner, "they've got to get used to it sometime". Then other parents returned and they all shared their loathing of having to leave their kids - some were honest enough to admit they couldn't wait to leave their kids at school all day and get their life back, but without questions they ALL said "They have to get used to it sometime. The sooner they get over it the better. It's for their own good". So I innocently asked, "Have any of you considered homeschooling?" Silence. Except the woman I was speaking to admitted she had thought about it. The rest didn't not want that comfort zone intruded upon so I shut up (yes I actually shut up - amazing innit - I must be learning something in my old age!). And it physically hurt to think about all these children being torn from their Mummy's arms to be tended to all day by strangers when they didn't WANT to be. And being pushed away by people they depend on for protection. And when these little kids came out, my God, they were half the size of Boss and were just babies - literally toddling everywhere. It makes you think what chance do these people have when they are thrown in at the deep end to literally sink or swim? And the parents calously saying "it's for their own good - they have to get used to it sometime" with stupid grins on their faces. They are just babies for crying out loud. It took all my concentration not to tell them all about what I learned as a sociology student - that kids who are pushed away are more likely to be LESS independent rather than more!

It broke my heart.

And it got me thinking again about how much I contribute towards things. Someone once said you can't change the world and you have to take baby steps and I think sometimes that's my problem - I want to be able to do so much that I end up doing nothing because it's too much. I think I want to go back into counselling (doing it, not receiving it LOL.... although maybe I need it?!) again, specialising in bereavement counselling for children. I have looked into this before and out it on a back-burner, but I think I need to do something constructive that I felt was actually helping people. I was so dissatisfied with teaching simply because it didn't impact on anybody's life - it was just one big game - teaching lab rats to jump through hoops.

Anyway - we got to see frogs and frog spawn there today which was just an amazing thing to see (can you believe I have never seen real live frog spawn before?!). Boss, who is quickly becoming a fan of David Attenborough, was enthralled. We may to film his next commentary about frogs very soon ;-) We also went to see the smelly animals and it was quite amusing to see the tiddlers find the only muddy puddle there are ruin all their nice Next gear - one lad even managed to lay flat out in it - twice! I may be being too smug for my own good, but I was relieved it wasn't Boss.

Had a good clear out today of where my bookcase should be (but isn't because I don't have one). I needed to get some books from the bottom to the top and sorted through that. Found loads of books appropriate for Boss right now and spent much of the afternoon pawing through them. Also watched some blue whale web casts and heard the song of the humpback whale - Jaws immediately imitating it.

Also received some parcels from my beloved eBay - some whale and dolphin pop-up books - Boss very happy, and The Screwtape Letters for me.

I have also discussed the idea with DH that I need to leave Boss with him in the afternoons as I try to salvage some friendships and have conversations with adults without having to peel Boss off other peoples' kids and nagging him all the time. He agrees that he just can't be taken anywhere so I'm glad he has agreed to watch him occasionally so I can get out more. Because of how Boss is I have limited myself so much and turned down so many invitations simply because they are untenable propositions with him around. I don't think that is fair to either of us. So we'll see how that pans out insha'allah.


At 8:50 pm, Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Get a small fish tank n bung in some frog spawn. Watchin' it evolve into tadpoles is a highlight of my kiddiehood.

Hated leavin' Jacqui at the start. It's hard. I'd have gone for home schoolin' but didn't even know you could. Mind you she's clever. She'd have ended up teachin' me...

At 9:12 pm, Blogger Qalballah said...

Thats the great thing about HE - I am learning all the time too - more than I did at school! He teaches ME!

At 4:04 am, Blogger Hijab Wannabe said...

I love your blog and have been reading it for a while. I don't agree though with your view of the kids being forced to leave their parents, even though I am seriously considering HE. It is natural for kids to sometimes shy away from new experiences then like them afterwards, kind of like refusing to try a new food then loving it. I say this becuase my son, who is 4 and has been attending daycare 2 days a week since he was 16 months, LOVES his daycare so much, I am worried that having him HE'ed will be lonely for him. I love his company so much, I had been secretly mourning the day he was supposed to join regular school, that is until I realised the HE was even an option. We have a blast together, him, his 2 yr old and 2 month old sisters and I. But he still looks forward to the day he goes to the nursery and can play with his other friends.
Anyway, my son wasn't very happy when he started his daycare (at the time I didn't have an option) and now I am wondering about the effect of taking him out of the school system.
I got the impression you have a degree in sociology, what do you think?

Hijab Wannabe

Raising the Omar Generation

Wa salam

At 10:15 am, Blogger merry said...

Well, my big two went to preschool from 2 1/2; they loved it and don't seem particularly scarred, Amelie of course hated it at 3 1/2...

What i DID used to hate was the mums outside playgroup moaning about how Easter was coming up and they'd have to look after their kids for 2 whole weeks and OMG....argh... how awful...

Excuse me, but you had them why exactly?

So, you know, yes and no :)

At 10:21 am, Blogger Qalballah said...


I think there is a decided difference from "trying a new experience" and leaving your primary care-giver when you are less than seven years old. Children do not like new things but are willing to try new things when we are around simply because they know they are safe. Wrenching a child who does not want to go out of his mothers arms to be placed in a system that largely doesn't care whether that child lives or dies is not a new experience - it is a horrendous experience. To that child his mother is effectively dead.

I have never known one case that a child (read baby because that's how young they shove them in the system here) went happily into nursery, kissed their mummy goodbye and went blithely into playing with their friends on the very first occasion. That skill is learned after much heart-ache and fussing and crying and even ambililence - seeming to like it but not wanting to go back, then wanting to go back then refusing at the gate etc.

The children I saw there yesterday had to be locked in the room so they wouldn't run after their mums. Is that the sign of a happy child?

At 11:42 am, Blogger Elder Faery said...

Debbie - you would make a wonderful are a natural. Some of the Steiner thinking dictates that certain temperaments need counsel from one who knows what it is to suffer. I agree. I would tend to respect a counsellor who also felt like she may need some counselling..otherwise it's just people giving advice with no real insight innit?

At 1:09 pm, Blogger Qalballah said...

Actually re: schooling - my sister absolutely loved school and she never missed one day throughout her whole school life - in fact she even received a certificate for it - I don't think the county had such a great attendee ever - honestly - Mum used to threaten her that if she behaved badly she WOULDN'T be going to school the next day (no really - and it worked - she used to cry - please Mummy - please let me goto school tomorrow - nerd :P). So there are the exceptions. What I was talking about was the Mums who were torn and didnt want to do it and the kids who were traumatised by it - they just wanted their mummy and the mummy wanted them so why did they think they had to have it any other way??

Re: counselling - yes I think it can benefit us all to talk things through but there are so few counsellors I would trust to talk to simply because religion is seem as a neurosis by many. Perhaps a Jungian counsellor would be great, but people can only take you so far - my real therapy comes from my faith.

Re: Denmark - I am not responsible for what people put on their site, but consumer pressure is a well used tactic to get people to start taking their civic responsibilities seriously. If people think that they can act arrogantly with such blatant disrespect and think they can get away with it in this day and age then perhaps this will be the learning curve people need. I don't like the violence the media manipulation over this issue but I am all for consumer pressure which is why I boycott Israeli products.

At 2:42 pm, Blogger *~H~* said...



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