Letting Off Balloons

Every year our primary school gives the Year 6s a bit of a send off.  Usually the last part of this is a bubble extravaganza on the school field.  One year it also involved a balloon release.  I thought that they had stopped doing this, but I was dismayed this year to see balloons coming out with the Year 6 children.

It might seem like being a bit of a killjoy to say it shouldn’t happen, but I think it is something that should be stopped.  All balloons return to earth as litter, so by sending off a balloon you are doing the same thing as deliberately dropping a crisp packet – that isn’t a very good thing to encourage children to do.  Even biodegradable balloons take several years to decompose and they could easily kill an animal before that.  Sadly many animals see parts of burst balloons as tasty food and that can be a mistake that can kill them.  To be honest if a balloon release kills just one animal, it isn’t worth doing and it isn’t the way to look back fondly on your school career.

Another problem with balloon releases is the use of helium.  Helium is a finite resource and has important scientific and medical uses, but at the rate we are using it, it could be all gone within a generation.  That isn’t a good legacy either is it?

It really saddened me to see that children were being encouraged to release the balloons or being given them at parties and so on.  We don’t buy balloons ourselves, although we do sometimes use air-filled balloons, but we always dispose of them safely.  I wouldn’t feel happy buying a helium filled balloon and I’m amazed how many people do it routinely.

Unfollowing On Facebook

Over the last few weeks I’ve unfollowed 3 people on Facebook.  I’m still officially friends with them as I wasn’t looking to cause offence.  I don’t really want a lot to do with these people, but neither do I want any awkwardness.  Maybe that’s a bit cowardly, but I unfollowed them because I didn’t want to be exposed to things that I didn’t like to reduce my stress levels.

One had been brewing for a while, but the sharing of the nonsense around ‘using a pen’ for voting as a serious post, was the last straw for me.  Another shared a petition against the BBC.  I do think there has been a lot of uncalled for BBC bashing, but it wasn’t the petition that I objected to so much.  She seemed to have some friends who turned it into a bit of a bigoted discussion about the referendum and she did nothing to counter it.  I was a bit disappointed and decided to call it a day, although maybe I was a bit harsh.

The other was someone who I thought was a nice, tolerant person, partly because they had health issues that I thought might make them more accepting of others.  It didn’t seem to be the case post-referendum sadly, so I cut the news feed.

I’m a bit sad to do this in a way.  It’s not that I have any objection to seeing differing points of view, far from it.  If someone believes in something and can say why in a way that isn’t bigoted, then I have no issue with that.  I have been sorry to see so much prejudiced stuff, but I guess I should count myself lucky that I have only had 3 people in my news feed that I take issue with.  This seems pretty good when you consider I have a few hundred friends on Facebook. It also feels pretty good compared to my American cousin’s posts about things like gun control and gay rights.  He gets a lot of nonsense said back to him and I find some of it offensive on his behalf.

Getting There

I’ve talked about our trials and tribulations of getting J to the stage when he is dry at night.  It hasn’t been straight forward and at 9 he isn’t reliably dry yet.

We have moved forward.  He no longer wears nappies or pyjama pants at night unless we are staying overnight somewhere away.  Generally he does then (unless it’s at Grannies) because it saves on potential embarrassment.  It does mean though that he hasn’t gone on cub camps and so on because he is worried about either wetting the bed or been seen wearing pyjama pants.  Kids can be cruel.

We’ve stopped lifting him too.  I was never a big fan of lifting as I just felt it was cheating and potentially unhelpful.  We only did it because he was keen to avoid the pyjama pants.  It helped with that and seemed to help his self-esteem.

Now we have little phases where he has a bad patch, but he might go a few weeks without an accident.  Generally, I’m feeling that he is growing out of it.  We have seen a lot of progress.  I think his body is now reducing urine production while he sleeps and maybe his bladder has more capacity too.  The final hurdle seems to be around not waking up when he has the urge to wee.

Yesterday morning I went in and he was fast asleep, but the room smelt of wee.  It was soon clear he’d wet himself.  This morning he came in to tell me he’d wet the bed, so he must have woken up afterwards.  So he can sleep through weeing still and that is the major problem. I think generally the incidents are happening early in the morning – say from about 5 as I am rarely woken to change the bed before then.  As he gets up at 6 we are nearly there.  The only thing is that if he manages to make it through to 6 because of increased bladder size or something, then would that just be disguising the not waking problem?  Not sure.  Another thing that puzzles me is that even if he hasn’t wet the bed he doesn’t go for a wee first thing, in fact it can be an hour or so after he wakes.  I find that a bit mystifying.

On Good Winners and Bad Losers

There’s been lots on social media about being a sore loser over the last few days.  Usually it’s a sort of ‘you lost, now let’s get on with it’ sort of thing.  Quite often though it gets personal: taunts of ‘bad loser’ and it becomes insulting.

There’s certainly such a thing as been a good loser after all most of us encourage our kids to be a good loser for the times when that skill is needed.  But we also encourage our kids to be good winners too and not lord it over others when we come out on top.  It’s not seen to be very polite or very British is it?

What I haven’t seen after the referendum result has been much ‘good winning’.  It may just be that the good winners are less vocal and if that is the case we all need those good winners to speak up to balance things out.

A good winner would not be looking to force through a major change to this country on the basis of a slender and unstable majority. A good winner would be embarrassed by the scale of the lies told by the Leave campaign (you know those claims that were denied almost as soon as the ballot closed) and worried about the validity of a result that could be associated with those lies. By the way I am aware that both sides could have cleaned up their campaigning, but I think the Leave claims were particularly blatant. Also, I think a good winner would be dismayed at the prospect of our country splitting up as a result of referendum and I think they’d be wanting to slam on the brakes. A good winner would be dismayed and ashamed by the upsurge of racist incidents since the vote and would wholeheartedly condemn them , without feeling the need to make defensive comments about not all Leave supporters being racist.

I am not expecting a sainted, entirely self-sacrificing winner of course.  It is right that they should expect to make some political mileage out of the victory.  But, I don’t see a good winner as someone who is willing to push forward quickly in the current circumstances. Maybe they should be pushing for a second referendum or a General Election, maybe negotiate with the EU (although I think that door may not be very open).  Come on good winners, where are you?  Are you going to make yourselves heard?

Boo To Referendums

I’ve had enough of them.  I used to like the idea of more people being involved in politics.  I liked the idea of chosing citizens at random and asking them to serve in parliament for some years.  Now it all seems so stupid.  Referendums have caused nothing, but pain.

We have had two recently.  The Scottish one that very nearly meant that Scotland left us and this one about the EU, which ironically will probably achieve what the first one didn’t. Both have been tight decisions and haven’t really meant a clear outcome.  Can you really make such major changes to a country with such a small majority?  I’m not sure that you should.  But not to is against the will of the majority.

Then there’s the question of age.  Most younger people, the economically active if you like, are for staying in the EU.  They are the ones who will suffer most if the economy goes into recession and they will be the ones who have to get us out of it too.  But, they won’t be the ones that caused the recession.  Is that fair?  It doesn’t feel like it.  On the other hand I wouldn’t want to suggest that your vote shouldn’t count if you are older.  I feel torn.

There are the lies that have been told too.  I guess there has been a bit of this on both sides.  Mostly there has been scaremongering from Remain, although who knows they might be right about most of it (I guess we will find out soon enough). From Leave there have been downright lies.  Sadly it seems some really believed that they really would spend all that money on the NHS – like the right-wing have ever been keen to spend money on that scale on public services. And now someone has said immigration will remain the same – ditto, we need them to come to do the jobs we don’t want to.

I haven’t yet heard a reasonable argument for leaving: it’s all either bigoted stuff or nonsense that can be torn apart.  I’m sick of hearing about Switzerland (a country that I know a little about as I used to live there) and I can say it’s not all sweetness and light.  They might have high wages, but they need to because of their high prices. That stuff about the pencils was just ridiculous too. – can’t believe anyone really believed that.