Parents’ evening

Parents’ evening tonight, which all went well – and didn’t feel so weird; I guess you can get used to people mistaking you for a grown-up!

Millie’s doing just fine, apparently; they’ve no worries about her abilities.  She’s slightly behind some in her class and slightly ahead of others, so I guess you can’t say fairer than that. 🙂

Well done, our little girl – we’re very proud of you!

We were slightly more worried afterwards, upon reading the little book her class had prepared showing parents what they’d been doing, to see that not one but TWO local bible bashers had visited the class.  There were pictures of one performing mock weddings with the children and another performing a mock christening with them all using a doll.

At first I just thought, wow, that’s really quite weird, but I’m getting more and more annoyed – probably not unrelated to having just seen this load of nonsense on TV, a programme I was quite looking forward to, but which blatantly does not do what it says on the tin.

I agree with the Lovely Melanie that we don’t want to make a big screaming fuss about this, but at the same time – as I said before – this is not something we’re at all happy about.

It may be time for a very carefully worded letter to the school.

A valiant return

Sorry for the breakdown in service here; in my defence we have been fairly busy, but mostly I’ve not been very well.

Saturday night I went out to see Richard Hawley at the Royal Festival Hall, but first met up with a friend from my previous job.  We had a few drinks, I then saw a marvellous performance from Richard Hawley and just managed to catch the 10.30 train home (although, buses were involved as well due to engineering works that left non-car-owning denizens of Bexley effectively marooned for the entirety of the weekend).

Got home safely, had some toast and a cup of tea and went happily to bed

A few hours later I woke up thinking, “Crikey, I feel rough – surely I can’t be hungover, I didn’t have that much to drink!” before running to the loo to vomit.

I did this a few times and woke the Lovely Melanie up.

I thought you weren’t going to drink much at this gig?” she said.

I don’t think it’s a hangover,” I replied from the bathroom.

Today, finally, I’m feeling a bit better, thank goodness, and have probably lost most of the weight I put on over Christmas, but I really don’t recommend this diet to anyone else.  Plus, I’m expecting my appetite to kick in with a vengeance fairly soon – having eaten nothing but a few water biscuits and cheese for almost three days now…

But enough about me.  Amber had quite a nasty fall last night and has gone to nursery this morning with a bump on her forehead and a lurid looking graze under her nose.

It was just after bathtime, she was bouncing on Millie’s bed while the Lovely Melanie was combing Millie’s hair (which is now quite long and needs conditioner using on it as well as shampoo).  I was next door being poorly when there came an almighty THUMP! as though some particularly heavy books had fallen onto the floor.  You could tell it wasn’t books, however, because the Lovely Melanie suddenly shouted, Ooh! Amber!

The way she described it made me smile, but it was a nasty knock.  Basically, she says Amber was bouncing behind her and suddenly bounced over her shoulder and off the bed, landing face-first on the floor.  There were many tears.  Millie was also quite upset by the whole thing, but she was an excellent big sister, stroking Amber and fetching some tissue to wipe her nose.

Unsurprisingly, it took Amber about ten minutes to recover.  I was struck by the fact that you could tell this is our second child because if Millie had done that we’d probably have phoned an ambulance.  With Amber we matter-of-factly checked nothing was broken, wiped her (only-slightly) bloody nose and gave her lots of cuddles.

She went to Mummy first, but Mummy was unable to make everything immediately better, so she then asked for Daddy, who was similarly incapable of fixing everything, so she ended up going back to Mummy again.

Downstairs afterwards, she’d occasionally stop drinking her milk, look at one of us and say, with a serious face, “Bed,” and we would nod seriously about the bed.

Still, on the bright side, I think her grasp of basic physics has significantly improved!

Dawn chorus

We were woken this morning, as we so often are, by Amber singing.

The song goes something like Loving You by Minnie Ripperton but with different lyrics – Daddydaddydaddy Mummymummy Daddy Work Amber Mummymummymummy Daddydaddydaddy, etc.  It can get quite epic, with some versions lasting for almost 20 minutes!

When we finally rose we found Millie dressed in three pairs of pyjamas with her pants on top of them, Superman-style – which may partly explain why Amber’s song then switched to No no no no no no no no no…  This time with a more military marching beat to it.

Christians at the (school) gates!?

Myself and the Lovely Melanie have been a little worried about one of Millie’s typically throwaway statements – something to the effect of, “A lady came to the school to tell us all about Jesus.

Now, most probably we’re worrying about absolutely nothing, but that sounds to me as though an outsider has come to the school and started telling the kids about Christianity.  I can’t imagine most normal people doing something like that – in fact, the only person I can imagine coming to a school to talk about Jesus is some kind of religious believer, and I really don’t want someone like that filling Millie’s head with a load of nonsense at an age when she believes almost everything people tell her.

Ideally I’d like for Millie to grow up educated and intelligent, questioning and curious about everything, always asking “why?” or “how?”, not mentally crippled by ludicrous belief in some sky god and the preposterously contradictory book they supposedly dictated to a load of illiterate farmers 2,000 years ago.

That’s the ideal, anyway.

At the very least I want her to have the chance to make her own mind up on this question; to look at the facts, weigh up the evidence and choose if she wants to believe in one or another god.  Not have it surreptitiously piggybacked into her young brain alongside a proper education.

To quote Professor Richard Dawkins:

[…]Jewish, Catholic and Muslim children. There’s no such thing. Children aren’t born with a particular religious gene. What they are is children of Jewish, Catholic and Muslim parents.

Millie is the child of atheist parents and obviously we’re not going to encourage her to attend any synagogue or mosque or church.  Equally, however, we don’t want to shield her from learning about religion, just the same way as we’re not going to try and shield her from learning about anything (within reason, of course – she’s not going to learn about sex and drugs and rock’n’roll for a good few years yet!)

Hell, I’m quite interested in learning about religion.  No, honestly!  I’ve probably read more books about the history of Christianity and how the Bible was written than most people you’ll find in a church on a Sunday morning.  My interest is from more of a socio-linguistic viewpoint however – I want to learn about religion and how it’s constructed, to try and understand where it comes from and why (I highly recommend Bart D. Ehrman’s books for this).

But I’m instinctively nervous of someone with their own Christian agenda teaching my child about religion.  If Millie’s going to be taught religion I want it to be by a neutral party, I want it to be about all religions, and I want her to learn that every religion considers itself to be The One True Religion (with the possible exception of the Church of England).

(having gotten all cross and rant-y about this it’s now bound to turn out that no such thing is happening at Millie’s school; still, it’s good to get this kind of thing off your chest sometimes)