Swimming Lesson! (Project 366 – Day 38)

  

At Zaki’s last check up with his cardiologist he was given the all clear to go swimming so I bit the bullet and booked a course of swimming lessons for both boys with Puddle Ducks. 

My first impressions were good and both Omar and Zaki had a whale of a time. Omar really surprised me by following the instructions well and not having any tantrums at all, even when he got dunked! (By the instructor, not by me, although I was considering it.)

I’ll blog more about Puddle Ducks once we’ve been a few more times but I’m really hoping the boys continue to love it. So far so good!  

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The Nursery Mums Gang

I’m not in the Nursery Mums Gang. They won’t let me in. I think this is why:

I don’t drive a white Audi Q3 ( and I don’t barge my way into the nearest parking spot to the door with it)

I don’t have blonde hair complete with extensions carefully arranged on top of my head in a ‘messy bun’ that took 45 minutes to achieve 

I don’t have a weekly spray tan

I don’t wear Ugg boots and a Barbour jacket on ‘scruffy days’

My children aren’t dressed head to toe in Hatley or Oilily upon arrival at nursery 

I don’t obsessively buy every new range from Next for my kids’ play wear 

I don’t own one of those awful plastic Ted Baker bags or the matching flip flops

Yeah, I think that’s about the crux of it. 

I’ve though about it and concluded that even if I rectified some of the above in an effort to join the Nursery Mums Gang, I still don’t think they’d let me in (or if they did they’d soon chuck me back out) because they’d realise I don’t give two hoots about keeping up with them. It must be exhausting being so competitive and constantly checking what your ‘friends’ are buying to make sure you don’t lag behind. I just couldn’t be bothered with it. We’re mothers for crying out loud, not Mean Girls. (Although I’d love to be a Mean Girl – “If you’re from Africa why are you white?”)

I’d seen comedy sketches poking fun at competitive school mums before I became a mum. I particularly remember a French and Saunders one many, many years ago about mums pulling up to school in increasingly bigger 4×4’s, until Jennifer Saunders turned up in an actual tank, haha. I had no idea how absolutely realistic the basis for those sketches really were. 
 

Ready to face the Mean Girl mums
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no crunchy mum myself. I like to wear a lot of make up, I have manicures and wear a Biba leopard print faux fur jacket for the nursery run. My kids sometimes wear expensive clothes but only when I happen to like those clothes and not because I buy them solely based on the brand or price tag or because that’s what all the other mum’s are dressing their kids in. My kids wear cheap clothes too, it just depends what I like. 

 

These outfits cost £7 each. Don’t tell the Nursery Mums.
 
But it’s not the members of Nursery Mums Gang’s penchant for semi-designer brands or their competitive nature when it comes to image that gets my goat. They can wear what they want with as much gusto as they can muster for all I care. And when they dress their kids, I’m sure they’re putting them in clothes that they like, just as I am. But what really grates on me is their completely obvious disdain for anyone who doesn’t fit in with them and also how pathetically clique they are. They don’t even try to hide it. They never EVER crack a smile for me, even if I’m giving them my biggest beam-face. They talk about socialising knowing I can hear but have never suggested I join them for their coffee mornings, even in a polite, through gritted teeth, we’re-inviting-you-but-please-don’t-come sort of way. If I try to chime in when they’re chatting I’m either ignored or curtly given a one word answer. 

Is it just me this is happening to or is the bitchy Nursery Mums Gang a common phenomena? 

When I moaned to my husband about it he offered me a simple explanation. ‘Maybe they just don’t like you.’ Yes. Maybe. Except they don’t know me, so any dislike is based solely on my appearance. How dare they take against the faux fur like this?!

Anyway, I don’t mind not being in the Nursery Mums Gang. I doubt I’d have much in common with them. There’s a dad who does the drop offs and pick ups in his battered old Ford Fiesta and a mum who’s a P.E teacher that comes in a tracksuit and I’m in a more subtle (but way more cool) gang with them. We don’t loudly arrange Tapas evenings or compare our Michael Kors watches in the corridor (yes, both of those things actually happened) but we do have little chats about how our children are getting on and how good the BBC adaptation of War and Peace was. They’re much more my cup of tea and I’m thinking of arranging a bigger and better Tapas evening with them anyway. 

Screw you Nursery Mums Gang!

Chintzy Dresser (Project 366 – Day 18)

Yet again I have failed to take a photo of anything interesting and I simply can’t subject you to further photos of my offspring. So here’s a bit of my house instead:  


This is the dresser in my kitchen, painted with my own fair hands.

Although I tend to prefer modern, cleaner looking decor these days I do still like the odd bit of chintz. My house is over 100 years old and has lots of character, so I think it can pull it off. And you can’t beat a bit of Emma Bridgewater can you?!

We All Live In Paris

 It feels right to write about what has happened in Paris. To let it go by without acknowledging it here seems false because it’s consuming my thoughts right now. 

I’ve been thinking about the people that were killed in cold blood. Thinking about the fear they must’ve felt in that second when they realised what was happening. Wondering what they thought about. For some of them it would’ve been their children and that really breaks my heart.

Their families have also been on my mind; mothers, fathers, daughters and sons grieving their most cherished loved ones being murdered. Brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles and cousins; angry at the absolute senselessness of it all.  

Then I think of the psychopaths that did it. What were they thinking? How could they go through with it? How could they have been brainwashed to the point of committing cold blooded murder, killing themselves in the process?

We’ve all been posting pictures of the Eiffel Tower and hashtagging ‘Pray for Paris’ because we feel for the victims and the city. But also, we feel for ourselves. It’s human nature. Once we’ve digested tragedies such as these we naturally start to think about how it affects us; how it affects our children. 

For me I’m doubly scared. First, I’m scared that these lunatics will carry out another attack and one of my loved ones will be hurt. Either here in the UK or in Jordan, where I also have family. I especially worry about my sister who lives in London. The truth is that nowhere is out of reach for the terrorists. We all live in Paris. 

Second, I’m scared about the Islamaphobia these attacks perpetuate. I am Muslim (although not strict by any means) and my children are Muslim. I’m scared they will be treated differently or even abused at school when they’re older because of their religion. 

It’s no coincidence that these tragedies create friction between the West and Muslims; it’s part of the terrorist agenda. When the West starts to treat all Muslims with suspicion and sometimes disdain, Muslims feel marginalised and ostracised. And that’s when they become easy pickings for ISIS to recruit. And so the cycle continues. 

I’ve seen on my own Facebook feed today, hints of racism and Islamaphobia coming through from my own friends (although not close friends, thankfully). They’re not being that way because they’re bad people, but because they’re scared and angry and so when the Right Wing holds up Islam as an easy target to blame, they take it.

Each one of these attacks brings changes to all of our lives. A little more caution; another place we decide we’d better not choose for a holiday destination this year. Yes, statistically it’s highly unlikely we’d be killed in a terrorist attack but statistics aren’t what stay with us; those images on the TV of death and destruction. They stay with us. And they scare us. 

I am praying for Paris but I’m also praying for the world. There was a terrorist attack by ISIS in Lebanon on Thursday (barely reported by the media) and the depressing fact is there will be more, all over the world, in the coming months. We all live in Paris and I pray for us all.