What Is Your Plan?

When we were watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the one thing that stood out to me was that without friends and a flexible plan nothing is possible. Or in other words, with friends and a flexible plan anything is possible.

So, I've been thinking about my friends a lot.

Last year, I didn't see them as much as I wanted to. In part this was my fauilt, I'm not really a sociable person and my idea of heaven is staying at home, which isn't that condusive to meeting up with friends!

This year I have resolved to do better. I'm planing to show my friends what they mean to me, to meet up with them more often, to call them, to be a better friend in general.

I guess this year for me, anything will be possible.

Ready to move on

My parents moved house just before my seventh birthday, which means that I moved house just before my 7th birthday. I remember it quite clearly because I hated my parents with my all nearly 7 year old might for moving. I had good friends at my school, they lived down my road and I remember going to their houses to play and they came to mine and I knew that when we moved things were obviously going to be different. At the time I didn't understand why we moved, I just knew we were moving away from all I knew, moving away from all our extended family and I was angry. I don't remember showing anyone that anger, instead I let it fester inside.

Looking back, I can see how stupid nearly 7 year old me was. Whilst we were waiting to be shown to our forms in our new School, I studied some work on the wall. My Mum commented on the handwriting of a piece of work and told the headmistress of my new School that I had messy handwriting, although I'm sure she put it a bit less bluntly. The headmistress said to me that they'd have me writing nicely really quickly and I clearly remember thinking "No you bloody won't!" although I don't think nearly 7 year old me swore. I decided then and there that if this school did anything for me the one thing they wouldn't do was change my handwriting into this curvy neatly spaced perfect font on the wall.

The anger I felt at my parents for moving was transferred in that second into being something more than anger, it became a determination to not have neat handwriting, something I wish nearly 7 year old me had understood would actually hinder me in life, even now at 34 my handwriting when joined up is a bad scribble and I can only keep it neat if I write for a few minutes at a time. Of course at the new School I made new friends, I was the new girl and because of that I was hot property for a few weeks whilst settling in. At almost 7 most children have formed friendships with the people they like and having a new friend join the dynamic isn't really what they accept, at least that's how it seemed in the 80's, it might be different now as so many things are.

It's rather fitting (Thanks Sally) that the one person I remember as being my friend in those early years was the same person who's neat hand writing I'd been looking at on my first day. I've realised recently that I saw this girl as competition from the first second we met and I recognised her name from the work in the hall. All these years later I can see that I've been keeping myself in an imaginary competition with this girl, (even though we're no longer friends and it's thanks to Facebook that I can compare lives) and that I'm always losing. She's thinner than me (not hard), has more friends with me (real life interactions I mean), more successful in her career (one I wanted for myself), more talented than me, more... I could go on but I've realised that it doesn't matter because whilst she might be all of those things she isn't me. I'm the best me.

Over the last few days I've been forced to examine this period in my life, it's no secret that I've been thinking of changing BB's School (there's a post coming about that on AMR) and I think that I'm finally moving on. I've let go of the anger I had, the determination to not better my handwriting, the competition with the girl and I'm finally ready to be me.

I am a...

I watched a film a few weeks ago, it's a coming of age film called "That's What I am" and is the sort of film that I'll repeatedly watch quite happily, even though I know the plot now.

The point was, that I took a lot from it and it made me think.

What am I?

To the Children I am Mother.

To my Parents I am Child.

To my Siblings I am Sister.

To my Husband I am Wife and Friend.

And yes, I am all of those things. But I'm also not.

I am Pippa who wants a career.

I am Pippa who pretends to be funny.

I am Pippa who tries too hard.

I am Pippa who hides.

I am Pippa who puts on a show for the world.

I am Pippa.

I guess that when you add it all up that what I am really is just a normal human being.

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What I wore on the School run

On Wednesday I was wearing this.

Pippa Wearing a Black Skirt and Fancy Top

Yeah, I've worn it to Church and think of it as a dressy outfit, but not too dressy right?

Oh Thursday I was wearing this.

Black Dress Trousers with Sheer Black Waistcoat

Again, yeah I've worn it to Church and again it's not too dressy right?

The problem was that on both days, multiple people asked me where I was going. Asked me why I was dressed up so glam and reminded me that I was only on the school run. So I thought I'd take it to the next level and wore my Evening Gown on the School run today...

Pippa in an evening gown

That's normal behaviour right?

Free Hot Dinners

I'm not against this idea. Honestly I'm not, but I have reservations about it. It's taken me this long to actually get round to posting about it because, I've needed to think it through, I needed to make sure that what I was saying wasn't a knee jerk reaction, but more a well thought out response. So, the Government says that it wants to give children in the lower years of Primary Schools a free hot meal at lunchtime. Well, free as in the parents won't have to hand money over to the School to get them but as I understand it (and I really should make it my business to know stuff like this), I pay various different taxes which will ultimately fund the lunches.

Right, my first reservation about this plan isn't about the funding of the lunches (although where is the money coming from? Aren't we in debt as a country and shouldn't we be funding things like Policemen, Fireman, Nurses, people fixing potholes, getting the Armed Forces equipment that they need etc) but where exactly are the children going to be eating these hot lunches? At the School where Top Ender and Big Boy go to, they used to eat their lunches in their classrooms if they had a packed lunch and in the hall if they had a hot meal. They changed it so that everyone now eats in the hall. Basically my point comes down to this; Where are the extra Children going to go?

Does the School your children go to have a Canteen that has the space for EVERY child, teacher, teaching assistant and dinner lady in the School? Are they going to need to eat in time slots? Does it mean that children like Big Boy who need to eat at a specific time because of medical needs are going to go first and then other children second? Is there going to be a timer letting the children know there slot is almost up, because another 50 children or so need to get into eat their lunch? Are the older years going to eat later in the lunch period?

Talking of medical needs, Big Boy needs to have the exact amount of carbs worked out for what he is eating, this way we can give him the right amount of insulin. At home, I do this by weighing out all of his food. I have to do this, I can't be gungho and just slap a portion that looks the right amount on his plate because we've learnt the hard way that controlling his blood sugars is a lot easier when we know exactly what he is eating. Can you see a School Caterer using a scale to weigh his meal, to ensure that it is exactly 35g of Mashed Potato he is being given? Are they going to have time to be doing this day after day, when they need to serve 100+ other children at the same time?

What about Children that follow specific diets? What about families who keep Kosher? What about Celiacs that need to ensure that they don't eat wheat or gluten? The current school meal supplier at Tops and BB's School provides a great menu for meat eaters and a second equally great one for vegetarians. Are they going to provide a different menu for each different allergy and specific diet requirement or are they going to adapt the menus to ensure that they are suitable for a wide cross section of diets? The costs for something like this isn't going to be small, and take it from experience catering for several restrictive diets at the same time isn't easy and the end results aren't always tasty.

All the recent data that I've seen has said that it is older School Children needing a hot meal. The children taking exams are the ones that need the meal so that they can concentrate and yet, they are being excluded from this plan. Apparently eating one hot meal at School a day will teach the younger children a lot too because according to Nick Clegg;

"teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits"

Really? One meal a day is going to teach healthy habits? How exactly? Surely teaching the children how to cook (like I and probably you were at School and our Mother's skirts) and teaching them a more healthy relationship with food would be better? And whilst we are at it, teaching parents the things they actually need to know about food would be better too? Or is that too much of a Nanny State?

The other problem I have with this, and a lot of parents will have is that I have more than one child. Tops won't be given a free hot meal, but surely she'd need one too? So if I start paying for Top Ender to have a hot meal at School, do my children now get two hot meals a day? One at lunch and one at home with me? Surely two meals like this would mean that the rates of obesity in our children would increase?

Then again if the children have a snack or a sandwich in the evening at home and no longer eat with their parents is this the end of family meals? It wouldn't be practical for me to eat a hot meal at home at lunchtime as it's just me. With Flyfour being at work, I'm sure he'd be able to get something from the canteen but only if they cater for his dietary needs...

As I said, I am not against the idea, I just don't see how it's going to work or benefit families and children and there is a lot more that people need to think about how it is going to change their lives at home.

I have an addiction

And it's not Dr Pepper. You all know that I love Dr Pepper, but I realised recently that I can drink one glass and not a whole bottle so I've solved that addiction.

No, this addiction is slightly more worrying because until this week I didn't realise that I even had it.

Paper Napkins in the Cupboard

This is my kitchen cupboard where I store things for the Children's lunch boxes, you know stickers, cocktail umbrellas, cocktail sticks, cupcake boxes, special boxes and bags and napkins. Lots and lots of napkins.

There's even more fabric ones in the dining table drawer, and there are some very nice Christmas ones in the cupboard under the stairs and some Easter ones in my bedroom and I've just started sewing a birthday set too...

So, make me feel better. Do you have a secret addiction too?

The Junk Cupboard

You know when you pull out the junk cupboard because the time has come and now you have to tidy it up?

And so you pull everything out and put back in the big things that are important and need to be kept.

And you put some stuff to one side that you can sell, because you never use it but you know that someone else would love it.

And you throw away the junk that you have no idea why you kept or how it made it's way into the cupboard?

And then you're left with a tonne of stuff, that you're not quite sure how it fitted into the cupboard in the first place, and nowhere that it can go?

That.

That is my morning.

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A Primary Calling

Every Sunday at Church I get to go to Primary and pretend to be a responsible grown up who is allowed to teach small Children.

Have you picked yourself up off the floor yet?

I did say pretend to be a responsible grown up, I know that deep down I'm still a big kid and the very idea that I should be allowed to teach a group of children is something that cracks me up every time I think about it. And yet, the calling was given to me.

Obviously God has a sense of humour.

When I was called, I accepted the calling knowing that this was an awesome responsibility and not one that was to be taken lightly and yet I wasn't sure that I was the right choice. And for the first couple of weeks teaching the Children I was right, I wasn't the right choice. The Children weren't used to me, I wasn't used to them, I didn't know how best to teach them, how best to gain their attention and keep it...

And so I prayed.

Eventually the Children got used to me and accepted me, they started giving me drawings and letters and would walk with me to Primary or would look to me when they were asked questions they didn't know the answers to in Sharing Time. I realised too, that whilst I might not always get their full attention and keep it that they get mine and they get my love too.

Every time I teach them I know that as long as I do it in love and faith that what each child needs to learn will be learnt. I know that my weaknesses will be strengthened, that my shortcomings will be strengthened and that together we'll learn. And I think, that I rather like it.

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