Fears of Being a ‘Bad’ Mom

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I consider myself an experienced mother now that I have three small children. I don’t freak out when they get sick, I manage to get them to eat a healthy and varied diet, and I’m almost finished with the sleep issues (although Ellie is recently making another valiant effort at trying to cripple me with her recent 1 to 2 hour-long, no-reason, wakeups at 2am — I will prevail!!)

So why do I feel like I am a bad mom? It’s all about that mommy guilt and I am a huge sufferer of it.  I actually do feel that I have several weaknesses that don’t parlay into being a great mothering figure.

First of all, I never really was a baby person so the three plus years of intense baby time that I have experienced has been a complete drudgery to me with the occasional glimpses of humor (like when I had three diapered children screaming bloody hell at the same time because of runny poo all over their legs and I was only able to change one at a time while the other two ran around contaminating everything in the room).

Ok, there is one caveat about babies.  Breastfeeding was truly a special experience and one that still gives me warm fuzzies when I remember it.

Second, I’m selfish.  I miss the days of doing whatever I wanted.  Going out to restaurants and movies, meeting friends at bars, having a career, sitting around and reading a great book, and just tending to my own needs.  This causes me to now seek alone time whenever I can.  When the twins go down for a nap, I feel a strong desire to get on the computer and browse my favorite sites even though I still have my oldest, Will, clamoring for attention from me.  It is so hard for me to muster up some creative energy for him and that is something I really want to change.

Third, I find there are more stresses and unpleasantness than there are joys right now.  I see moms around me and I know moms who say “Oh, I love being a mom!”.  I certainly DON’T love it.  I do find special moments when my heart swells with love and gratefulness for my children, but right now I have to say that the pendulum is swinging to the “Not Fun” side of motherhood.  I keep getting reassured that this will change as they get older.

Finally, let me say I adore my kids and I am fiercely protective of them.  I wouldn’t change my decision to have them but I worry that my issues make me a less than perfect mom.  I strive to improve these weaknesses day by day.  Is there anyone else out there that has similar feelings?  Please share and make me feel less like a failing mom!

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6 Things I Like About England

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog bitching about the UK so I thought I would try to show that I’m not ALWAYS so miserable. Here are 6 good things about England:

1. Organic milk and egg deliveries – this one is important to me because I have three small children and always run out of milk and eggs. It is wonderfully convenient and we have a very friendly milkman that I imagine used to happen in the States in the 50s. When I was living in New York and San Fran, you could get your food delivered but I don’t think there were milkmen like there are here. It’s just really nice to have that delicious, fresh-off-the-farm milk with that thick cream on top delivered to your door in old-fashioned milk bottles. I love it!

2. Eurostar to Paris – OK, so maybe this is more about Paris than London or England but it is fabulous to be in London at 10am and then Paris at noon. Not only that but I’m about 2 hours from most of Europe which is great for wonderful weekend breaks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take as much advantage of that in the last 3 years but that’s going to change now that the twins are just turning 2! Paris, here we come!

3. Public footpaths – In England walking/hiking is one of the most popular past times. Anywhere you go in the country, you will see signs on fields that say “public footpaths”. This means you are allowed to cross through privately owned farms and fields along the marked footpaths. So you could walk through a field of sheep or cows with no worries of being ‘shot for trespassing’ as in the US. I think that’s nice. And most people are quite respectful and make sure to close the gates and not litter. It makes for beautiful, long walks through rolling hills of fields and forests.

4.  Free healthcare for kids – normally I am not a fan of the NHS (National Health Service) but there are a couple of components that I think are great with regards to kids.  If your child has a serious illness I feel it would be MUCH better to have him/her treated in the US.  However, there are three things that they do well:  free prescriptions, free inoculations and monitoring, and free dentist care.  Anytime you need to get antibiotics or any other kind of prescription (including the expensive lactose-free prescription formula that I used for the twins for a year) it is free and easy to pickup.  I think that is very helpful and great for the poorest families.  The NHS also monitors your baby’s age and as he/she reaches certain months, they tell you when to go in for an immunization which you can do quickly and easily and of course without cost.  This is especially helpful when your child is 3 or 4 years old and it’s been a while since the last immunization and you are more prone to forget.  I also think that’s good for society as a whole, making sure all children are kept free of the worst diseases.  (I’m not sure how it’s done in America but I don’t think it is this organized).  And finally, the free dentist care.  The best part of this is that you don’t have to go to special NHS dentists which may be hard to find.  I go to a private dentist who is quite good and every time I bring Will for a checkup, it’s free.  I love that!  Should be especially useful when the big teeth come in and he starts getting cavities.

5.  Black cabs – In London, the cabbies drive what is known as black cabs.  They are wonderful taxis for several reasons.  First and foremost, they are spacious enough so you can roll your stroller right into the back and you don’t have to carry a car seat with you at all times.  It is so convenient especially when you have twins in a double stroller.  I can’t imagine what I would do if I lived in NYC.  Second, the cabbies are all quite friendly and extremely knowledgeable of London streets.  Unlike many New York taxis who might even ask you where Bleecker Street is, London cabbies know EVERY single street no matter how small and also know the quickest way there at various times of day.  It is quite impressive.  The test to become a cabbie is very competitive and involves a detailed test of London streets called “The Knowledge” which requires about 2 years of roaming the streets with a moped so you can learn everything.  Well done, London!  By the way, a survey just came out that listed London black cabs as the friendliest and best cabs in the world.  Guess who was last…..Parisian cabs!   Black cabs beat yellow taxis to be named best in the world | Mail Online.

6.  Pub culture – Pubs are truly a wonderful establishment.  People who don’t live in England might not understand the difference between a pub and a bar.  First of all, good pubs generally welcome patrons of any age, be it a 90-year-old grandmother or a 6 month old baby.  It’s great to see three generations of a family enjoying each other’s company on a regular basis.  Certainly there is drinking here but it’s not only about getting alcohol.  It’s a place to sit down, have a beer (or not) with friends and family, order some nice hearty food and enjoy a lively ambiance.  My husband and I use pubs as a family outing regularly.  Our local pub has a lovely enclosed garden where the kids can run wild while we enjoy a pint in the sunshine and order chips for the kids.  And there is no one rushing you out — you could sit there all day if you wanted to.

It’s a short list but these are really nice things.  I am sure that there are probably more things I like but I just can’t think of them right now.  🙂

Trying not to be so down on the English, but they make it so easy….

Ok, this is a quickie. Yesterday, I went to Gymboree with the 3 kids and had some time beforehand so I went to Starbucks to get a chai latte. I love Starbucks. I know it’s this big, boring corporation but they have target marketed me perfectly….nice ambiance, great for bringing in a big double stroller, lots of goodies to choose from for the kids, and lovely, indulgent, hot drinks.

So anyway, I’m paying for my drink and have my double stroller with the twins beside me and Will is on the other side clutching his lollipop that I consented to buy him so that he would quietly watch the twins from the sideline in Gymboree. There are about 4 people in line behind me and the cafe is about half full of people. I finish paying and then suddenly realize that the twins are gone. I turn around and I see that Jack (who was on the bottom of my Phil and Ted stroller) has managed to propel it backwards about 6 feet with his fat little leg. Not one person in line, nor anyone at the tables whom he has backed the stroller into has uttered a peep to let me know. In fact, the people in line actually had to move out of the way of the moving stroller when it was rolling backwards. What the hell??? What is wrong with these people? If the stroller was rolling into traffic would they even bother with a “pardon me”?   The people in line actually looked annoyed at me as if this was an inconvenience to them. I just don’t get it.

Published in: on August 10, 2010 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Junior Beds for the Twins: A Three Ring Circus

It’s been a while because I’m swamped with doing three different sets of taxes, two of them terribly late.  But now I have two hours on my own at a car service center waiting for my safety inspection, which is giving me the perfect opportunity to write.

My latest adventure involves the twins’ sleep (upon which most of my well-being and happiness seem to depend).  We have finally had a week of very fine weather which the Brits would call ‘hot’ but I consider very comfortable at about 75/80 degrees during the day.  Our house is an old Victorian house with no air conditioning, like most English houses, and the heat seems to build primarily in the twins’ bedroom which is south-facing.  Because of the heat, I can’t put sleep sacks on them anymore and with this newfound freedom my daughter Ellie  attempts to sling her leg over the side of her crib anytime her feet are unfettered.  She wants to escape but hasn’t grasped that she will go flying head first to the ground if she succeeds, probably breaking her neck.  I did briefly consider restraints but thought the health and safety crew might come after me for breaking rule 12,453 of their code.  No, the best alternative would be eliminating the crib and putting her into a junior bed.

Fortunately, I had already purchased two junior beds for Ellie and Jack.  I was dreading the transition.  We put the beds in the center of the room, moved their cribs against the windows so we could open the windows without worrying about the twins trying to climb out, and lay them in the beds.  Ellie and Jack popped up immediately and started jumping up and down on the beds and then running around the room like Energizer bunnies.  I was sort of at a loss and decided to do the regular night-time routine and then just leave them to it.    We locked the door and then watched the video monitor for the next 3 hours.  Holy SHIT!  It’s like there were two Tasmanian devils wreaking havoc in the room.  They got into EVERYTHING!  First Ellie cried for a while, banging on the door, and then she antagonized her brother a bit, trying to take away his security blanket.  Jack was worse.  He grabbed the monitor and unplugged it before I realized what he had done.  I moved it further out of reach.  He then went after the lamp which I thought was totally out of reach — my mistake.  He pulled it down to the floor and was turning on and off, on and off, until I got there and removed it.  Ellie finally passed out half on and half off  Jack’s bed which Jack found amusing so he kept poking her trying to get her to react.  When he finally managed to wake her after 20 minutes, he passed out on his bed while she wailed.  It was 10pm before both had fallen asleep.

Needless to say, they haven’t taken any naps in the two days since we brought out the beds.  How the hell am I going to get them to sleep??  I welcome your suggestions.

Why are you staring? — Am I a spectacle?

I am getting really sick and tired of being stared at when I am out with my kids. Does anyone else have this problem or is this just an English thing? Here is an example:

I decide to go to the coffee shop with the kids which is one of the only places I can go around here with the kids that is indoors without going to a full-fledged restaurant. It’s pretty pathetic actually — that’s my little outing for the morning when I am really stretched for ideas with the kids and I am on my own. For those of you who wonder why I can’t take them to playgroups alone, you have to imagine trying to monitor my three kids under 4 in a room full of little kids and play equipment. It’s nearly impossible without one of my kids hurting themselves or someone else. So I usually have to stay at home on the days my nanny doesn’t work or go somewhere like the coffee shop where I can buckle the little ones into the high chairs and hope like hell my eldest, Will, behaves. Now back to my point…

I wheel my double stroller and pre-schooler into the coffee shop with some difficulty, navigating the door and a step with Will struggling to push the door open and no one coming over to help but lots of them watching (including another mum with a baby of her own — COME ON!!! Where is your mum solidarity??) So I finally get inside, get in line trying to push the stroller as close to the counter as possible so that people can get by while trying to rein Will in from bumping into people, grabbing the treats on display, and chattering away at full volume. Uh-oh, and now the twins start fussing because we’ve stopped moving and we’re in a stuffy room. I finally get my order and I scan the room for a table with space around it, and navigate around people’s tables to get to our spot. It takes me about 5 minutes to get everyone set up. Jackets off, two high chairs, push the stroller to the side, get snacks out for the little ones, get Will seated and eating his snack, and finally I get to sit down with my coffee. Ahhhhh. The three children are momentarily occupied so I scan the room. Right next to me I see an elderly couple and the man is openly staring at me. I glance away and a minute later look back again. He’s still staring at me and not averting his eyes!! I get distracted by fussing at the table, fighting among the children about snacks, the usual chaos, and I know my time is getting short. I try to drink my coffee quickly. I feel the stare on me still. I look again and this time I don’t break my gaze. How obnoxious — he won’t stop staring with a slight smirk this time!   I have to look away because the kids are getting restless so I get them ready for leaving — faces wiped, picking up food off the floor, coats on, into the stroller for the twins and Ellie starts to scream because she doesn’t want to get into the stroller. Right about this time, the old man who hasn’t stopped staring has the nerve to say, “It is only going to get harder” with that damn smirk on his face. I’m about to lose it because I am already feeling self-conscious and I’ve been desperately trying to keep everyone calm the entire time just so I could enjoy one fucking cup of coffee outside my house. Instead of snapping at him, which would probably play right into his condescension, I hold everything in and give him a sunny smile and say, “Oh really? I don’t find them any trouble at all. They are wonderful lively children and I love every minute with them.”  I feel really proud of myself for not giving him the upper hand.  Who would say that to a mom who is clearly struggling and trying to not create a scene.  Is that supposed to make me feel better?  What an asshole!! I pack them all up and stroll out of the coffee shop.

This is just one isolated incident but basically this happens to me all the time.  Usually without the comments thank goodness.  But everywhere I go people are staring and it usually is the elderly who are the worst.  Is having three young children so unusual?  My twins are not even identical!  Maybe there is something flamboyant about how I go about my business — who knows?  I just get sick and tired of feeling like I stick out like a sore thumb over here.

Three Friends in Crisis

As a woman about to turn 40, I am at a midpoint in my life. I find myself thinking about my youthful dreams and the paths I took.  I find I am surprised at how difficult things are for me right now.  I often wonder about other mothers and how they revel in their motherhood.  I adore my children but I feel quite alone and somewhat depressed by the day-to-day minutia.  It certainly doesn’t help living in a foreign country away from all my friends and family.  But it is more than that.  I hate to say this but I feel like I’m wasting time when I know these are priceless moments that I get to spend with my young children.  I think a lot of women from my generation who have been career driven, achieved multiple university degrees, and lived an independent life before children came along must feel the same way.  Especially as a stay-at-home-mom.  It is a very hard transition to make and sometimes I feel that I am just not a good enough mum to my children since I seek activities to free me up from the kids.  So I guess you could say that I am in somewhat of a mid-life crisis.

It turns out that two of my closest friends are also in crisis but for completely different reasons.  My best friend D is a divorced mother of one who is active on the dating scene but has an ex-husband from hell.  She has had so much trouble finding a stable relationship.  The ex drags her into court constantly even though they have been divorced almost ten years! He purposely tries to make her life miserable and I think he is mentally unbalanced.  My other friend K is a successful woman in finance and recently left her senior position so that she could focus on having children with her husband of 3 years.   However, she is having extreme difficulty and has been trying IVF unsuccessfully.  She is 40 years old like D and me.   It’s tearing her apart and she is miserable thinking about the years she spent on career when perhaps she could have had babies.  And now, with the IVF not successful, she feels completely useless with no career anymore.

I was joking with D that the three of us are like a Danielle Steele book:  the married, stay-at-home mom  of 3 overwhelmed with domesticity and feeling isolated abroad, the divorced, mom of one with the relationship issues and an ex that causes her hell, and successful businesswoman who desperately wants a child, has left her job, and is miserable with the possibility of being childless and now without a career.  And we’re even a blonde, brunette, and redhead!  I have the perfect title, Lost Dreams.  Three friends who lost their way. Hmmm, maybe I should write a novel — lol!

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 8:55 am  Comments (1)  
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Tonight’s the Night!

I have just had the two worst weeks in a long time. Now I am going to sound like a spoiled brat but here goes — my nanny was sick all last week (did I mention that I have a nanny who works from 9 – 3pm every weekday)?  That was the kicker to a monumentally bad week that made me feel like a worthless, inept, and totally alone mum.

Then add the following:

  • having to start a school run in the morning and trying to get the three kids fed, dressed, and out of the house by 8am on my own,
  • my husband working late every night and having to go away on business Friday through Sunday,
  • getting a major snowstorm in the middle of the week so that I was stuck at home entertaining the kids for a couple of days on my own (school was not cancelled amazingly)
  • still getting woken up at a minimum of 3 times a night but up to 10 times a night by mainly my 17 month old daughter and sometimes the other two.

I was completely miserable and despite having lived here almost five years, I had no one I could talk to.  Now some of this is definitely my fault.  Being shy by nature, it is hard for me to initiate and sustain conversations with the already reticent Brits.  Also, every year we have lived here, we have moved house due to various circumstances so that we have not had the time to really get to know people in an area.  I even broke down sobbing to William’s headmistress who I barely know although she was terribly sweet to me.  So life sucks right now because I have no close friends to talk to besides my husband (who is my best friend but works long hours in order to support his brood).

I started this blog a couple of weeks ago thinking that the worst was over.  It’s now February and I’m more exhausted than ever because my nights have been so bad with my daughter Ellie.  So I have decided that tonight is the night I am going to start sleep training a la Ferber method.  I know everyone has an opinion on this but when you are getting up 8 times a night or more, letting your child cry feels a little like payback.  Yes, I know that isn’t a nice thing to say but  I have no qualms about that.  However, I am feeling a little guilty about letting her twin brother suffer however long this takes.  I could move him out of the room but I don’t feel like it will be good for him OR her.  He won’t like the new environment and she won’t learn to sleep in her normal situation.  So tonight, I’m going to let her cry 5, 10, and then 15 minutes and see how it goes.  She is terribly stubborn (gets it from both sides unfortunately) but I’m motivated even though I am already feeling like the walking dead.  Can’t get much worse.  Will let you know how it goes once I am able to raise my head out of the chaos of crying and sleeplessness.

Babies Are Bad For Your Marriage

I am hoping this will change once the twins are a little older but I do think that having babies is the worst thing you can do for your marriage! Let’s recap the progression of my relationship with Jason:

1996 – We meet and are instantly attracted to each other but are dating other people.

1997 – We spend the last year flirting outrageously and finally get together after ending both of our previous relationships.

1998 – 2003 – Terribly sexy and fulfilling relationship. He’s the one. Can’t imagine life without him.

2004 – We get married!

2004 – 2006 – Married life is good. Enjoy big cities as a young married couple. Deal with usual small issues but all is good.

2006 – My first son is born.  Life changes dramatically.  Sleep is a huge issue and I do not deal with it well.  Lots of sniping with husband.

2007 – Things get a little better but there is no more time for “us”.   Life with one child seems overwhelming, especially in London with no family around.

2008 – The twins are born.  We look back at life with one child as the good life.  All hell breaks loose.  I never sleep a full night again.  I am a wreck and I do not treat my husband well.  (He is no angel either).

2009 – Things do not get better.

2010 – I am terribly hopeful that my husband and I can ‘rediscover’ each other.  It seems like I am just trying to get through each day.  I shower my babies with love but there is not much leftover for my husband.  Some days I think how different our life would be if we didn’t have three children under four years old.  How do people keep marriage alive with small children?? I have become such a grouch and he is not much better.

My advice to newly married couples:  Wait to have children!

The 12 Things I Hate About England

In honor of Christmas, I have put together a list of the 12 Things I Hate About England. Sorry, but it had to be done.  There is just too much that is irritating me now and I just have to vent!  Warning:  some inappropriate language.

12.  Slutty fashion worn by unfit or older women

I know you see this in America as well, but I find it pervasive here.  The majority of women aged 16 to 60 wear slutty, tight, too small, cheap, shiny clothes that do NOT flatter them in the least.  They complement this memorable clothing with stripper heels that are minimally 5 inches high.  What are they thinking?  I cannot understand how the rolls of fat pushing out from under their too short, too tight tops escape their eye when they look in a mirror.  It is especially offensive when you see a 45-year-old woman dressed like this — come on, you just look like an aging hooker!  My mind cannot comprehend this at all (and I do like sexy clothing — I’m not a puritan in my dress).

11.  Packaging

This seems odd but it really is starting to irritate me.  First of all, there is way too much packaging on simple things like fruit or veggies in the supermarkets.  Secondly, for food products that require good packaging like rice or couscous or something else that is small and hard to contain they make it impossible to open the package without tearing the damn thing and then there is no effective way to keep it closed and fresh.  When you buy as many groceries as I do, you are constantly opening and closing little packages (because they don’t seem to do much bulk food here).  I’m so tired of pulling out stale crackers or loose nuts in my cupboards.

10.  Anti-Americanism

Everyone knows that France is always bitching about America but surprisingly so does the U.K.  I’m tired of always hearing America being the butt of nasty jokes.  The English think we are all the same and that we’re gun-toting, southern sounding, ignorant folk who have no manners.  Get real!  I could go on and on about the ignorance of the Cockney sounding Brits around here.  They make fun of our business philosophy, our police, our politics, our education, our wealth, our aggressiveness and the size of our country and the people (by the way, I find the English talking about fat Americans like the pot calling the kettle black).  I think that this attitude is so pervasive that they are even reluctant to get to know an American when they meet one,  i.e. me at playgroups.  Trying to befriend the English mums around here has been like pulling teeth.

9.  Meeting people

Along those same lines, making friends has been one of the most frustrating experiences I have had here.  In America, if you meet a woman you like, especially if she has a child of similar age, you could immediately say, “Let’s meet up for coffee on such and such day”.  Here, I have found that English women find that a little forward and are put off if I try to suggest getting together too quickly after meeting.  I met a woman pushing a stroller in my neighborhood and we stopped and chatted for a little while.  I really liked her and wanted to invite her over for tea but I was afraid of seeming too ‘pushy’ and thought I would wait until the next time we ran into each other.  That didn’t happen again for another year and a half!  At that time, it seemed a little late to invite her.

8.  Taxes

I do not need to say too much on this point.  Let’s just say I can truly understand why the early Americans revolted against the British.  A 50% income tax rate is being approved in this country.  Enough said.

7.  Too much makeup

I don’t know why the young women in this country feel the need to cake on the make up.  Combined with the trampy clothing, they look like prostitutes in an opera production.  They have such fresh-scrubbed , healthy looking faces naturally.  The layers of foundation are especially ridiculous.

6.  Background checks

There is new legislation that requires all adults to have a criminal background check if they are involved in any organized activity with children at least once a month.  At first glance, this seems perfectly reasonable and safe.  However, when you look at it more closely and look at this requirement in practice, it seems a little sinister.    The Independent Safeguarding Authority will require the comprehensive background check even for parents carpooling children to school.  Authors who go to school for readings will need to be checked.  In one case, a psychiatrist accompanied by a parent was not allowed access to the school in an emergency because she had not had the check.  The ISA has also said its investigators must even consider dismissed charges in a person’s background so that if someone has had false accusations against him/her, they could potentially be barred from ever working with children.  This is outrageous!  The danger in all of this is that the government is trying to convince parents that children will be 100% safe now because practically everyone will be checked.  Does this sound rational?  Are we giving up all responsibility of protecting our children to the government?  This does not sound like an effective or safe idea.  Look at the Thalidomide scandal in the 195os/1960s.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide.  Do we really want the government taking so much control of our children’s safety?  I think this new requirement is an invasion of privacy and I refuse to have one done if I’m carpooling my kids to school.  Go ahead, arrest me!

5.  The school run

For those of you who do not live in England, the school run consists of parents driving their kids to school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon.  They do not do school buses in this country.  This means that every day around 8:30am and 3pm, you have an additional rush hour of traffic that also includes bottlenecks of SUV and minivans near all schools as parents drop off and pick up kids.  What a mess!  In a country that is part of the European Union, where our carbon footprint is harped upon constantly, you would think school buses would be a given.  Not so.  So I have the joy of lugging my young twins to school everyday as I send Will off to school the next few years.  Talk about chaos in the morning at our house!

4.  The justice system

This subject could be a 5000-word essay but let me just give one example of how confused this legal system is.  A year or so ago, a convenience store owner was locking up his store and getting into his car with his cash bag when he was attacked by a thief with a knife.  He defended himself against the attacker and in the scuffle the knife went into the heart of the attacker.  When the police came, they arrested the shop owner (who had several knife wounds and was very injured) and took him directly to jail.  Eventually, the shop owner was cleared of this death but not before having to defend himself legally and suffering some jail time.  The official position was that the shop owner used undue force against this deadly attacker. That’s outrageous!  The prevailing view in this justice system is if a law-abiding citizen is even slightly aggressive, violent, or transgressing a minor law, they are much more harshly punished by the courts than career criminals who do terrible acts.  It seems the government is offended if a good citizen dares cross the line and thus he must be taught a lesson, but they expect nothing less from a criminal so it really doesn’t matter how you punish them.  There is so much more that can be written but this is a general idea of what appalls me.

3.  Health and safety

There is a government agency in England that is called Health and Safety.  Apparently it is their job to make sure no one ever gets hurt doing anything.  It has gotten so extreme that England’s government has the nickname of the Nanny State because of how it has tried to involve Health & Safety in every aspect of people’s lives.  High school chemistry classes are hardly allowed any experiments with chemicals because of H&S.  My husband’s job has rules that do not allow him to lift a single box no matter the size unless he is ‘trained’ on how to lift it.  I believe if someone wants to do something dangerously stupid or even mildly dangerous, it’s their prerogative.  Let them suffer the consequences of their actions.

2. Rampant thievery

This one is somewhat related to the justice system.  London is a den of thieves.  While living in the city, we were robbed four times in three years — two house break-ins, one pickpocket in a supermarket, and one online debit card theft.  Thousands of pounds were lost.  In all four thefts, the perpetrators had been or easily could have been identified.  No thief received any jail time or much consequence due to his/her actions.  It pays to be a thief here because you won’t go to jail and in some cases the police do not even pursue the case.  I lived in New York City for four years and was not robbed once.  I now scuttle about the city clutching my purse, hovering over my ATM withdrawals, and locking doors and windows tightly while making sure it’s obvious that we now have a big dog.  Fun.

1.  The weather

No mention of England can omit talk of the weather.  I now understand why.  The weather is truly terrible and it affects your mood constantly.  You can practically wear the same jacket year round because the usual weather forecast is mostly cloudy with rain and some patches of sun.  Winters are terribly dreary — dark, cold, and rainy.  That darkness can really weigh you down after a while.  The summers can be sunnier but never quite that warm and you always have to bundle up in the evening again so dining al fresco  for dinner is just not that pleasant.  I miss hot summers and cold, snowy winters.  I certainly see why drinking is so popular over here.  When it is raining, just above freezing, and dark at 4pm on a November day, all you want to do is have a pint in a warm pub.  (There are some good things about England, like pubs, but I’ll do a separate blog about that in the future).

So there is my rant.  I know people will disagree with me on several points but the essence of these issues is not incorrect.  Merry Christmas everyone :)!

Ba-naaaaa-na not Ba-nah-na

Will, my 3 1/2-year-old is developing his verbal skills quickly. The only problem is that he is getting an English accent. It’s seems odd to me that two parents from the East coast of America have a son who sounds like Tiny Tim. One of my amusements has been trying to get him to say words with an American accent. Lately, we have been working on ‘banana’. The Brits say ‘ba-nah-na’, as does my son. I’ve been somewhat successful lately but he’ll only say American ‘banana’ when I prompt him. He went over to his friend (3-yr-old) Jessica’s house to play and she heard him saying ‘banana’ my way and immediately said, “That’s not right! It’s ba-nah-na!”. Thereafter, Will only said it the British way. Oh well.  I guess peer pressure starts early.

I’ll work on ‘tomato’ next.

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 8:56 am  Comments (2)  
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