Tag Archives: parents

Kids – sorry the grown-ups broke your EU

Dear kids

Yesterday some grown-ups broke your European Union. Sorry about that. They didn’t really mean to. I hope that you can fix it when you’re older. Remember to vote 🙂

Love, mum

Post-Brexit, I’ve been doing some metaphorical soul-searching. Rummaging around in my drawer of tidy private political opinions. Well, I’ve tipped that drawer on the kitchen table and this is what’s come out. (Some swear-y bits follow below. )

Kids' guide to the EU

This kids’ guide to the EU recently appeared in our kitchen. Great timing.

 

Age-appropriate socio-economic context

I explain the world to my kids with a pinch of age-appropriate socio-economic context. Mentioning background, life opportunities, education, bad luck. I follow up with: “In our house, dad and I think [*insert appropriate liberal metropolitan educated employed opinion*], but there are people who don’t agree. That’s OK.”

Today, a day after Britain voted to leave the EU, bollocks to that nuanced ‘two-sides’ approach. I think that 51.9% of the voters made the wrong decision about the EU referendum. I’m telling my kids that I voted Remain because I wanted them to have the same opportunities that British kids had before them.

Unfortunately, more scared, confused, mean (sorry), arrogant (apologies), wrong (not sorry) people voted Leave. They probably damaged the economy for a lot of us, and they definitely stuffed up the European future for my kids.

More immigrants? No thanks, I’m full.

I’m telling my kids that a lot of nasty people supported a Brexit because they don’t like immigrants. (Of course, not ALL people who voted to leave were bad. Aaaaah – can’t help myself … Sorry.)

Our family is stuffed-full of immigrants. We like to get around, so I’m horrified and disappointed that this debate was so racist and fearful.

The Leave campaign was supported by famous arse-hats. Farage, Trump and a dirty pile of right-wing European leaders talking up the anti-immigration bullshit. These are not my people.

My reactions on Facebook yesterday

1. First thing in the morning – unfiltered emotion.

Went to bed in the United Kingdom and woke up in land of hate and glory. I slept badly, hopefully dreamed that the Remain side would ‘edge’ ahead… Instead I’m now living in Little Middle England.

This morning I had an unexpected cry over politics and unexpected need to share my sadness on social media. I’m not angry. There are apparently enough angry haters out there already and more of them voted. Just sad that being moderate and reasonable and compassionate isn’t good enough anymore.

I’m still glad I supported and voted for Remain. I can tell my kids that.

2. A bit later – after too much information, emotion and social media

My knee-jerk metropolitan liberal elite post-Brexit strategy: combination of stay within safe bubble of left-y urban multicultural suburbs + make sure our kids give a fuck.

European Union 2

Smiling daughter within the European Union. 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Keep the water in your mouth   Yesterday I found a Post-It note in the kitchen with these words of wisdom: Keep the water in your mouth.

Where do you go when you press Home?  Does your life have a ‘Home’ button? I’m back home (Sydney) after a brief visit to London (new home). My old house is empty and my new house is waiting for me.

First World Problems

I live in the First World and I have problems. Some people call this ‘White Whine’, but as I’m not technically white, I prefer the term ‘First World Problems’.

I’ve just returned from a week in the English countryside, where we had a lot of rain, and very little Internet access.

I found small transient pockets of 3G as we whizzed through towns. As husband drove, I frantically updated and refreshed as many mobile apps as possible. Then I had to put down the phones as we swerved through green hedge-lined tunnels of car-sickness.

Getting a decent Internet connection was a complete pain in the bum. So we ate a wide and varied selection of fried fish and fried potatoes, moaned about the weather, and watched Jubilee TV.

Here is my current list of other First World Problems:

  • I don’t buy yoghurt because there are too many choices, and anyway, it’s just a pretend-healthy tub of sugar + dairy nonsense.
  • The cafés at garden centres have uncomfortable seating.
  • My mobile phone screen is always smeared with ear grease.
  • I have too many plastic shopping bags, but I don’t want to put them in the rubbish because they will enter the waterways and strangle dolphins.
  • I still don’t know which of my relatives I should add to Facebook. I think mum has stopped trying to Friend me.
  • I am a little bit embarrassed when my (Chinese) parents bring their own toothpicks to (non-Chinese) restaurants, and pick their teeth after a meal.
  • I don’t have time to read Vanity Fair properly anymore.
  • My Kindle now looks out of date and unfashionable.
  • I still don’t let my kids to wear Crocs in public. Unless we are near a large body of water.
  • I don’t know what threadcount my sheets are.
  • I read blogs written by people who are more creative, funny, rich, stylish and/or youthful than me. It makes me feel inadequate.

Things I say to my kids that my mum never said to me

Here are some things I say to my kids that my mum never said to me. Modern parenting just seems a little more complicated these days …

“No, we cannot buy that on eBay.”

“Go play Angry Birds on dad’s phone. Mine has no games on it.” (I’m lying to them, but it stops them playing with my phone.)

“Who re-programmed the dishwasher again?”

“That’s called ADVERTISING. They want us to spend our money on more stuff we don’t need.”

“I don’t know the answer why. I’ll look it up on the Web later.” (See my earlier post Curiosity killed (by) the Internet.)

“If you don’t finish your homework, you can’t play Star Wars games on the computer.”

“Stop right-clicking the mouse! Use the other finger!”

“No, the Lego company does not use the money we give them to help poor people.” (A true answer to a real question about whether Lego existed to help the disadvantaged…)

“Can you please help your sister find the Angelina Ballerina website? Make sure you turn off that sound!”

“It’s full of chemicals and I don’t think it’s good for you. Have some organic locally-produced cold-pressed vitamin-enriched guava infusion instead.”

“Shall we Skype our friends in America?”

“I’m making dinner. I can’t find Puff the Magic Dragon video on YouTube right now.”

Brought to you by the Interweb – Angry Birds film

Seems like we have so little creative talent left in the world that the Angry Birds app is going to be made in to an Angry Birds film. I wonder if they’ll be producing Angry Birds shaped cheese-flavoured ice-cream snacks for the little ones?

 

Slightly ranting about kids, technology, good and evil

I can’t decide. Internet = evil cesspit of narcissistic idiots chatting to gambling-addicted paedophiles? Or Internet = global community of inspiring humanity sharing knowledge and joy? Depends on which parent I am talking to …

Too much tech

I frown upon parents who load their kids up with digital toys and knick-knackery, then plug their ‘new improved, with USB and FireWire from birth’ offspring in to the closest device. They don’t need it!

Our childcare centre has PCs for the kids to play with. Our kids have perfect remote control-sized fingers and an uncanny ability to navigate i-anythings. I doubt that many middle-class nice kids will be left picking their scabby knees by the side of the information super highway.

Their digital lives

I also enter in to polite inter-parent debates about why social networking is not irrelevant, and every website is not selling porn. There is goodness out there, and fun, and information, and ideas.

My main point I make to these tech-terrified parents is that their children are already digital. Everywhere their non-hairy non-hardened little feet take them, these kids are surrounded by buttons and screens and keyboards.

Sensible advice from parents

I believe that mums and dads need to teach their kids how to make the right choices, about friends, risks, technology… That’s our job.

  • Look before you cross the road. Cars are harder and bigger than you.
  • Don’t give strangers (real people or online people) your home address, phone number, email address or parents’ credit card details. You might not be able to trust them.
  • Don’t tell other people they are fat/ugly/stupid. It’s mean and you will make them sad.
  • Just because it’s on a website doesn’t mean that it’s true. Some people put untrue things on websites.
  • Meeting friends in person is quite fun. Sometimes more fun than sending them text messages or reading their Facebook status updates.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes because you are making huge tobacco companies rich. It makes your breath smell bad.

See – it’s all just part of the sensible advice you dish out as a parent. And if they ignore you, they’ll get hit by a car driven by someone they used to call ‘peanut head’, and you’ll find a mysterious charge on your credit card for 100 cartons of Indonesian cigarettes.

Brought to you by the Interweb – baby’s first laptop

I’m not sure about baby’s first laptop. The mouse is a mouse, so that’s cute. But overall, I think it’s sort of pointless. My babies used to play with empty tissue boxes filled with rattles.