Archive for July, 2012

The Only Right Parenting Style is Yours

So it seems that this wonderful post by Ministry of Mum has inspired a fair bit of chatter, a couple of follow up posts and had me rowing on twitter with an egg with no followers. If it was a Bot it was dang good at impersonating a zealot – perhaps it was Zealot Bot 0.1 to be followed shortly by Bigot Bot 0.2 before launching with Total Lack Of Tolerance Bot to the general public but I digress – she / he / it pushed my buttons. An overriding theme, particularly of my early posts is not to judge other parents. There are some obvious and not so obvious exceptions but we’ll get to them in a bit.

In her post Claire notes that if you’re still breastfeeding your child at 3 that’s fine with her as well as going on to name the various in vogue parenting styles. I’d go the other way and add that if you bottle fed your child that’s fine with me too and not just because we did. Ok – technically we mix fed them – but they were not exclusively breast fed. Boy didn’t latch and my wife seemed not to be producing any milk so to stop him dying of hunger the mid-wives in hospital supplemented his feeds with formula. When we got him home she guilt tripped herself because he still wouldn’t latch and, when we should have been recovering, we scoured the county for a breast pump so she could express. In the mean time though he was getting used to the formula. An advantage to this was that I could help with night feeds because even the breast milk was expressed. This formed a bond between us that I firmly believe has led to us being closer as a family. He bonded with both parents equally and my wife wasn’t building up a wall of resentment against me as I slept soundly while she struggled to produce milk to a tired and vaguely latching Boy. This does not mean we don’t think breast is best – we do. I have subsequently used this and my twitter account to find local breast-feeding councillors for a fellow blogger who was worried about their new born. We just made a choice.

When Baby was born she latched perfectly and breast fed really well but she was a hungry and sicky Baby and she threw most of what she took in back up before demanding more. Eventually we couldn’t keep up and she ended up mix fed too. Again this helped form a bond between all three of us. When we discovered how much she liked Baby Swimming it meant I could take her and happily feed her straight afterwards. Let’s reiterate – she got breast and formula, we were less guilty this time and it was a decision we made as a family for the good of us all. But like Claire, if you’re still breastfeeding at 3 I’m fine with that. In fact I admire it.

We haven’t bothered with cloth nappies either. Sorry environment.  We live in Brighton, home of the first Green Party led council in the country. We are NCT members, home of breastfeeding and cloth nappy championing. We had a lot of friends with kids, some of whom were Brighton friends and other who were NCT friends and I can’t think of more than a couple that used cloth nappies.  Most parents are on Pampers. So judge me if you like but you are also judging the vast majority of parents in this country who, I guess, having not slept properly in months, having tried desperately to decipher crying intentions, perhaps dealing with PND or post-baby relationship issues found that learning how to  safely fold a real nappy so it didn’t leak, scrape the shit out of it safely and hygienically every time, even in the middle of the night, and generally having enough washed and ready to cope with anything, is a bridge too far. That’s not to say I judge you if you do. Your choice is the right one for you and better for the environment. In fact i feel a bit inadequate. Just not inadequate enough.

We didn’t do controlled crying. We couldn’t. We’d heard of it of course but my wife’s instinct when they cried was to pick them up and see what they wanted, even if we’d just put them to bed and it was my instinct too. Strangely Baby, though she woke up regularly at night, was ace at going to sleep as soon as you put her down. This decision meant going without sleep but it was one we made together, again as a family. If you have used controlled crying though again that was your decision and you weren’t wrong. There is certainly an argument that if you are well rested at night you have more time to play with and attend to baby in the day and are far less likely to do anything demented or mental to them.

Talking of which the last thing Zealot Bot said to me before her account was suspended was if I would judge parents in abuse cases. Of course almost any parent would feel tremendously sad and angry in such cases but judging? That’s the job of the judiciary surely?

Co-sleeping? If we must. Boy comes in to our bed if he’s had a nightmare or is feeling poorly else he sleeps in his own bed. He knows he’s welcome but at the same time he knows he needs to be independent, in his own room, in his own bed. Want to build a great big family bed where everyone sleeps together? Go for it. It’s no business of mine.

Also, sometimes, I feed them sausages, chips and beans.

I feel almost awkward bragging here but mix-fed Baby was walking at 12 months and is close to swimming before she’s 2. Her speech is said by other parents to be excellent. Certainly at 21 months she’s just started whole sentences (sory MoVo, only happened last week). Mix Fed Boy meanwhile is registered Gifted and Talented for Maths and missed a whole 2 days of his reception year due to illness.

Everyone has a different family dynamic and no-one should feel guilt tripped in to parenting in a different way to the one they’re comfortable with. Where real failures exist – and they don’t often in the middle class world of parent twitter – there is a system of justice and Health Visitors and social workers ready to start addressing them. If you’re an attachment parent and it works for you then I’m truly happy as it means your child and your family will be a happy one. But ditto if you’re using controlled crying and routine. So long as you’re bought in to it for the right reasons I’m pretty sure you’ll end up with a happy well adjusted kid.

How can I support both methodologies? I don’t. I support the methodology that says the only right parenting style is yours. If you’ve thought about it and taken the decisions together you are investing time and effort in to your family and this is surely all anyone can ask.

Zealots everywhere beware, there are an awful lot of us somewhere in the middle. And a lot of us are starting to write about it.

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My Rainbow Family and How Danny Boyle Portrayed Britain Perfectly

Last night I watched the Olympics opening ceremony. I thought it was very well done, light hearted fun that I enjoyed with a glass of whisky and the snarky laughs of my fellow twitterers. I wasn’t mad on the farm animals (I didn’t get it) or Mr Bean (for I hate visual comedy) but in general I enjoyed it greatly. All the tweets were about James Bond and if the Queen was asleep in her seat and how they’d fit everyone in. Nothing about politics at all. Which is odd because I awoke to find I’d been watching a cross between a multi-cultral takeover of the country and an organised North Korean rally. And those twin bastians of casual racism, The Mail Online and the Tory backbenches had come out and said so.

Aidan Burley MP has been widely castigated already for tweeting “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap” and I won’t go in to that as it’s been done to death. However, soon after, there appeared on Mail Online an article by Rick Dewsbury that is so stunningly moronic I can only assume he’s going head to head with Samantha Brick and Jan Moir for the Mail’s lifetime troll achievement award.

I’m not linking to it and I don’t want you to click on it. This is, after all, how they make their money. Instead we’ll take a couple of points. Dewsbury starts with stating that the NHS shouldn’t have been celebrated because of the case of Kane Gorney who died because he wasn’t given water in an NHS hospital, as if deaths don’t occur in private hospitals which of course they do. But let’s move on to my own experiences. Not only have I just had the little operation I’ve been writing about (painless, on time, out in 30 minutes, on the NHS) but they also delivered both my children and let me put it on record that I would walk over hot coals for each and every member of staff involved in the safe delivery of both my children. Bounce on that fucking bed Rick.

But the most inane claim (and the one that confirms him as Brick’s weekend stunt double – or something that sounds like stunt) is this gem.

But it was the absurdly unrealistic scene – and indeed one that would spring from the kind of nonsensical targets and equality quotas we see in the NHS – showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build suburban home, which was most symptomatic of the politically correct agenda in modern Britain.

This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up.

Well hang on there Rick. You happen to be describing my family. After my educated white mother divorced from my father she moved in with, and eventually married my step dad, a Londoner who happens to have black skin. They live part of the time in France and part of the time in a flat on the ground floor of a suburban house in Finchley. When we go round for get togethers and parties me and my brother and our families come and so do my Step-Dad’s daughters from his first marriage and their families. We drink, play music and indulge in conversation and games. We are all slightly different skin hues but no-one says anything because, to be honest we don’t notice it much. That scene could be us and it could have been my stepdad 35 years ago to boot.

They’re hardly unusual either. The fact is they don’t stand out and they don’t stand out because London is a multi-cultural city as the BBC were at pains to point out in the build up. And guess what? That’s where the games are being held. Not Hereford or Taunton or Wooton-on-the-Wold. You’d expect a nod to the city actually holding the games n’est pas?

Of course Rick probably thinks that Step Families should be deported to North Korea and the BBC are some sort of left-wing propaganda machine themselves (or at least he does when he pulls on the substitute’s shirt for Trolls United when it’s Brick’s turn to have a massage). I’ve honestly NEVER read anything so woeful. So please don’t look it up or click on it. It doesn’t deserve it.

Last night I was snarking about sheep and Mr Bean. Now I’m getting wound up by the idiocy of the right. Suggests Danny Boyle got it spot on all along.

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The Fearful Day Is Rapidly Approaching

There is now a day in my diary and it’s flashing at me like some big evil red buttony thing. On Wednesday I will begin the process of stopping producing sperm any more. My snip date is in. It was remarkably easy in the end. Though I am getting it on the NHS it is at a private clinic and, surprise, surprise, there’s quite a high drop out rate. I pretty much got to choose any Wednesday between now and the end of August and since any time in August would mess work around way too much I thought I might as well crack on with it.

Tomorrow I must remove my pubes with hair-remover cream. Let’s hope Boy doesn’t get back up after bed tomorrow for if he does he will catch Daddy, trousers round ankles, willy waving in the wind (I can dream) removing copious amounts of cock-beard with a wipe. Or I could just lock myself in the bathroom and shower it off. Less funny but much less chance of the authorities being involved.

Today I have ‘patch tested’ the removal cream to see if I’m allergic (PLEASE be allergic, PLEASE be allergic). In honour of the LOCOG ban on symbols representing the events in our Big City I have fashioned my patch in to a ring. I have 2 hairless rings now. WAIT! Don’t run away. You’re the last one left reading this stuff. *sobs*

I have a picture of the LOCOG inspired ring of hairlessness but I’m not quite brave enough to post it. It’s on my tummy though, promise.

My state of mind could best be described as ‘resigned’. This is going to happen whether I like it or not. I was starting not to so today I treated myself to a walk round Morrison’s in Reigate, just before lunchtime on the first day of school summer holidays. After 15 minutes you could have removed it with kitchen scissors, sans anaesthetic.  There was also another practical purpose to my visit as I had to purchase paracetamol and ibuprofen as apparently, afterwards, it really fucking hurts.

That’s not the only risk though. There are chances that:

– I will get an infection and end up in A&E

– It won’t work

– It will work but will magically reverse later

Great.

It won’t work immediately anyway. I have to wait about 16 weeks and then send a sample (at least that will be more fun than giving blood, to quote the old Golden Girls gag) and then they will tell me if it’s worked and THEN wifey can stop taking pills.

Mainly I am focussing on one thing. They have given me a little Valium-like thing to take on the morning of the op. Strangely this is not making my brain go ‘wow this could be stressful’. Instead it’s going ‘WAHEY, FREE DRUGS’ while turning cartwheels. If I can make it do that on the day we should be ok.

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The Best and Worst of Kids TV

This morning Baby woke up at 5.30. We tried various tactics to get her to go back to sleep but it wasn’t happening and at 5.50 I called it and brought her down. Judge me if you want but at that time in the morning I need a vat of coffee and I need to laze on the sofa. The electronic baby sitter is called in to early use. It’s that or vaguely hoping she’s learned how to open the fridge make her breakfast and eat it in a mood of silent contemplation. Like a nun only with Coco Pops skillz.

Now I know what you are thinking. Ah! Cbeebies! I wish. I really fucking wish.

Boy was brought up on CBeebies because we were good and diligent middle class parents who wanted our child to learn to talk by watching a nocturnal blue sponge snog a doll while an OCD thing collected and cleaned stones, some pre-school punks took their trousers off and no-one at all, narrator apart, actually send anything intelligible. He progressed on to Show Me Show which I like purely for the things that Pui dressed as the Grand Old Duke of York did to my brain given I’d watched her earlier, slightly more risqué acting roles. Eventually, luckily before Mr Bloom really came out, but too late to avoid 3rd and Bird (of which more later) Boy considered CBeebies ‘too baby-ish’ and moved on to Nick Jr. I know the irony.

Then Baby arrived.

Baby absorbed Nick Jr by osmosis. Peppa Pig, in particular, became a kind of 5 minute subliminal advert. Nick Jr was all she knew as a small one, television wise and so, when Baby is got up in the early hours it is Nick she wants. She used to just shout “PIG!” but has at least progressed on to “Daddy, Pig please”, but neither command is asking for crispy bacon. She wants Peppa.

That early however the Pig episodes are the bread to a Thomas the Tank Engine sandwich. This is less popular with her but heaven forbid you should touch that dial because then YOU MIGHT NOT SWITCH IT BACK OVER AGAIN. Ever wondered why Ringo Starr was a drummer? Watch Thomas the Fucking Tank Engine. The lazy scouse drawl grates on you after about 5 seconds and by the end of the episode you will want to put a set of drums through the screen. Don’t. These you will need for later.

Pig is next. Much has been written about Peppa. Boy and Baby both adore it though, of course, as a portrayal of family life it’s about as accurate as East Enders is a portrayal of the goings on at Eton. It snows in winter and is sunny in summer yet there is always a muddy puddle around to jump in. Learning to ice skate takes 5 minutes. There are no empty Smirnoff Ice bottles and used condoms in the playground bit of the park and ONLY Peppa and her friends go there. There is only one road in and out of Peppa Pig land and it never has any traffic. Pre-school is sometimes real school and it comes with no set dates, no school run and no OFSTED reports. No one needs to do meal planning – it’s spaghetti every night. Both children drop off to sleep with just a song or a story and if they’re sick, Dr Brown Bear gives them some foul tasting medicine (which they take without complaint) and it cures them almost instantly.

Most of all, just over the next hill are Grandpa Pig and Granny Pig and whenever it gets too much they come and babysit or have the children over to stay or take them out on their boat or let them play in their, frankly humungous garden. They have an orchard. A boat. They have  a telescope for star gazing. I bet Grandpa pig could even rustle up a fun fair at the drop of a hat. Grandpa Pig, I suspect of being a greedy baby-boomer cunt who bought his house and orchard for tuppence back in the day and is now a multi-millionaire property owner with a free bus pass.

Daddy Pig I like however. He barbeques, works in an office and plays football. He’s enormously fat but he’s a hands on dad with a sense of humour and a total inability to read maps. He’s a lot like me. I have Dad empathy with Daddy Pig and I most admire his ability to make light of semi-disasters where I would be contemplating a complete meltdown. For this reason he’s my favourite kids TV character and he just about saves Peppa Pig from it’s socially unrealistic torpor.

Anyway, Pig finished and The Bopps came on. This is where you will need the drums you held back earlier because they WILL have you throwing stuff at the telly. Imagine a pair of whacky school teachers singing lyrics about squirrels to fourth rate indie while wearing comedy Sgt Pepper outfits and all the time, gap toothed 7 year olds in Boden dance round them. The temptation not to scream OH JUST FUCK OFF is immense. It is the low-lite of my morning. The only thing – only thing – that keeps me in check when The Bopps appear is knowing that if I switch to CBeebies I risk an encounter with 3rd and Bird.

3rd and Bird is the worst programme ever made and just typing it has made my blood boil. Essentially some cartoon / puppet (I never worked out which) birds live in a tree and do utterly meaningless stuff IN SONG. Yes it’s an avian musical and so horrific is the music that it makes Lloyd-Webber look like Bach, Mozart, Miles Davis and John Lennon combined. I have not adequate words to describe it beyond this and, if I carry on with this rant much longer I’ll burst a blood vessel so I’ll leave you with the intro so you can see for yourself. DO NOT watch this if you are currently in a good mood or you value your laptop screen.

What’s your worst or even favourite kids show? I suspect I know @motherventing ‘s answer……..

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Things That Make You Go Hmmm

  • Joe Swash reading the bedtime story on Nick Jr
  • Marmite flavoured cheese
  • Rastamouse
  • Make up for 3 year olds
  • The Daily Mail
  • Really sticky bogies
  • Train information boards that profess a train is ‘On Time’ when it’s a minute after it should have left and it hasn’t turned up yet
  • Well done steak
  • When your iPhone can’t get 3G reception even though you know you’re in a good reception spot
  • Lloyd Grossman’s accent
  • Crystal Palace shirts
  • Bike Lanes that last 5 yards
  • Writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg
  • Discount ready meals
  • People who name energy drinks after their cocks
  • People who name their cocks after energy drinks
  • Lembit Opik
  • Running out of cider
  • Why children’s clothes have size aged 5-6 and size aged 7-8 but not size aged 6-7
  • Lego on the floor of a dark room
  • Dan Brown novels
  • ANYONE who lets some bacon go off
  • Octogenarians with pet names for each other
  • Next door’s cat when he shits in my chives
  • That Vanish geisha advert
  • Clive Tyldesley
  • Furry oranges
  • Smiley faces used as dots over a lower case letter i
  • Sweetcorn
  • “My parents went to” T-Shirts. Except ones that say “My Dad went to Brighton and all he got me was this vintage piece of kitsch which he bought ironically. And some organic rice flour”.
  • Toddler’s sleep patterns
  • First Great Western

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My Little Water Baby

A while ago I was asked to write for the Dad’s edition of my local NCT newsletter. I wrote this. The newsletter is  now long delivered so I thought I’d post it on here just to prove I do write about parenting from time to time. Also there’s a happy update.

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Boy was born in 2006 and he has always had a strange relationship with the water. This was, admittedly, our fault. His initial bath took place in a baby bath that we had inexpertly filled with tepid water at the freezing Hove flat we were renting off my Mum because we’d just come back here from living abroad. We dunked him in. He squealed. We whipped him out in to a towel. He shivered. He looked at me with eyes that said “please Dad, whatever you do, don’t do that to me again”. Eventually he was only happy getting in to the actual bath with one of us.

At four or so months we went on our first weekend away with Boy. We went to Butlins, Bognor because it was cheap and just down the road. Our simple rationale was that we could be back home in half an hour or so if anything went wrong without having lost any real money or experience. We made it through Friday and decided we’d try him with a swimming pool on the Saturday. Butlins was rammed. Everyone seemed to be a teenager. The pool was a boiling sea of fake tan and testosterone. In fact the only thing that wasn’t boiling was the pool water which was freezing. We dunked him in. He squealed. We whipped him out in to a towel. He shivered. He looked at me with eyes that said “please Dad, whatever you do, don’t do that to me again”.  Oops.

Fast forward to 2010 and the birth of Baby. Baby came home to a 2 up, 2 down in the ‘burbs with actual working heating. After a couple of days there was a distinct smell around the place. I sniffed and extraordinarily it wasn’t me. The thing that we’d just brought back from hospital was starting to hum. It was bath time. We exchanged nervous looks and hoped the neighbours wouldn’t report us when the inevitable screaming started. Still we’d learned one thing so we’d got a little seat to hold her in the actual bath. We also made sure the water was warm enough, but not too warm. We dunked her in. She almost smiled. Not a hint of a cry. In fact her eyes said ‘I’ve been trying to get you idiots to do this all my life’.

This love of water, we decided, should not be wasted. She was signed up for baby swimming classes with Little Dippers. These were to take place every Sunday at 9.30am.

Pre-kids this was the sort of time I was considering emerging from bed, hangover on full scream, for a coffee, bacon butty and Goals on Sunday. Going out at this time would have been unthinkable and impossible. But with 2 kids it mattered not a jot. In fact it turned out to be a bonus. On her first day we all went to the pool in the North Laines but we had already decided I would be the first ‘water partner’. Imagine my delight when I saw a host of other Dads carrying their little ones out. This was a Dad class! Also, imagine my delight when I finally got in the pool with Baby and her eyes said “also I’ve been waiting for you to do this with me all my life. You numpty”.

A little routine was born.  On Sunday morning I would wake with Baby at the crack of dawn. I would feed and dress her, watch last night’s football highlights off the digi box, grab a bacon sarnie and pack swimming gear and baby bag. At 8.30 precisely we would exit the house and walk to the station, there to catch the 8.46 to Brighton, thence to walk to Little Dippers.

Brighton at that time of the morning is magical, at least to me. All it’s architecture, it’s by-the-sea-ness, it’s rotten underbelly are there to be seen for all for there are very few people about. In fact there are three kinds; tramps, youngsters doing the stride of pride / walk of shame and parents whose kids have got them up early. Everyone I met was either in my current situation, was my past or was where I very much don’t want to end up.

When we got there I would change Baby and me and we’d have half an hour of unadulterated Daddy and daughter bonding. Skin to skin completely naturally. She would love it unless very tired or teething and we soon found she liked being under the water more than being on top of it. In fact the first time she was dropped in from the side, supposedly to kick up to the surface to me, she instead went for a little scuba dive, sans kit. I had kittens (unpleasant for all the other parents but at least there was a net to fish them out quickly with). Eventually she deigned to kick up. ‘Not many of them do that’ said Sue , the instructor.

After I would take her for a quick feed and me for a quick coffee and suddenly I found myself in the Centre of Town with just a dozing baby and everywhere just starting to come to life. I had time to take in the view, to once again enjoy the City I call home. That I love.

Baby did all 7 stages and an advanced class and by the end she was dunking herself deliberately. It was time to progress. She’s now graduated and has just started with Little Swim School in an attempt to turn the deliberate sinking in to actual swimming. The new lessons are on Sunday afternoon, a time in Brighton that can induce maximum misanthropy in me. In fact the first one was today and it was chucking down with rain. I was stuck behind two slow walking students discussing Van Der Graaf Generators and who had the nicest breasts on campus and I wanted, quite badly, to kill them. The calm came with the thought we would soon be in the water. My daughter and me. Swimming. Laughing. Bonding.

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Added since I wrote this.

Boy has been going to regular swimming lessons on a Monday with his best friend E while E’s mum babysits Baby and her youngest and The Spaniel Who Must Be Kept In The Garden. This week we had a mammoth breakthrough. During our regular Saturday morning family swim we were sat in a bit of the pool where jets of water randomly shoot out. One hit boy like a water cannon. I had been hearing that the new swimming lessons were getting him to get water on his head but here was proof. Just a few weeks ago this would have led to total meltdown and us not being able to get him to go back to that pool again ever. This time? He laughed. and jumped back in to the water. It’s taken a lot of time but I think we have 2 water babies.

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Why You Shouldn’t Just Watch The News

So I’ve had my first troll. My first blog fight. And yes, after months of writing about judgemental parents and nut allergies and anti-vaccination nutjobs and the EDL the thing that got someone’s goat up enough to create a special troll ID and email account was the M4.

Look at the tiny candle. IGNORE THE ENORMOUS FIRE!

I don’t make any apology for publishing the comments or being exceptionally rude in dealing with them. I’m sure other bloggers would have handled it in a totally different way. However I mainly write in a sarcastic, sweary and exaggerated voice. I don’t think it’s then right to become Mary Poppins when I get a heckler.

Still I’m grateful to them for something. Their ridiculous user name and the Aaron Sorkin drama The Newsroom have got me thinking. And when I think I write.

The Newsroom has been panned by many critics and commented on here by real British newsroom veterans but I found parts of it enjoyable and entertaining. The opening rant, delivered by Jeff Daniels’ character, may be classic Toby from The West Wing (i.e. Sorkin ranting through a character), and I suspect the on/off romance between him and his new Executive Producer will grate, but there are plenty of interesting and pithy points about how news is delivered and I like a lot of the minor characters.

My commenter called him or her self ‘Someone Who Has Watched The News’ and this grated on me because I have never thought that just watching the news is enough. I think you have to watch, understand and, at times challenge the news.

News today is delivered by many different mediums with many different agendas. The news on Fox will be different to the news on the BBC which will be different to the news on ITV which will be different to Al Jazeera. Each EP, each writer and presenter will, quite naturally, have their own take and spin on a story.  Each organization will have a target audience or remit in mind (in the case of the BBC it’s neutrality, in the case of Fox it’s Republicans). It is inevitable that some information in some cases is held back by the security services because it’s important and necessary and possible that in other cases they hold it back because they can.

Breaking News is the worst. Being first with a story seems to be more and more imperative but as The Newsroom makes clear (and should be obvious anyway) being first with the correct story should be what you’re aiming for. It’s increasingly difficult in the always on, digital, social media world.

I have made 2 huge fuck ups on my twitter account in the 9 months I’ve had it. I accused a website of removing comments that it hadn’t (they just didn’t show on the mobile version of the site which I was reading). I also prematurely killed Clive James. I saw a tweet that said he had lost his battle with cancer and assumed it meant died. He hadn’t he’d just been everywhere that morning saying he could no longer beat the disease. I’d been out and I didn’t check before I tweeted. Stupid.

I hope I’ve learned my lesson from this. I would imagine that a journalist also only does this once but I bet most have them have done it once. Been first to a tweet or a story because they didn’t check it out properly. To be honest I trust ‘Breaking News’ as much as I’d trust John Terry with my new model girlfriend.

You can over-challenge of course. It’s a short but significant journey from ‘question what you’re watching’ to ‘compile conspiracy theories and only get your information from unverified websites’. Think but perhaps not too freely.

Does this have anything to do with parenting? Not much. But I do hope we raise our children to not only watch and read the news but to understand it and to set reasonable challenges. To rationalise information in their head and be sure of it before committing it anywhere. To watch more than one source. To read and follow people you disagree with as well as those you agree with.

You watch the news? Congratulations, so do millions of other people. You understand the news? Getting there.

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