There are almost too many things making me cross at the moment. Through not-much fault of my own, I clicked onto the Daily Mail website 9 times in 2 days last week. I don’t know why it kept happening, but everything I googled on my phone (“Saucy pictures of David Tennant”, “Babies with excessively sweaty heads”) resulted in me unwittingly clicking through to DM. I can’t always see the domain from google, so the first I know of it is when I see the headline – “Babies with sweaty heads are all dying from IMMIGRANT CANCER caused by people on benefits” or “BAN THIS FILTH – Join the Daily Mail campaign for no more saucy pictures of David Tennant, ever.” But misinformation is not just spewing out of the tabloids – it’s everywhere, from Facebook to natural parenting forums. It’s too much for me to form into one coherent post, but I’ve been making a lot of lists lately. So, I’ve written a list of 10 home truths, to counteract all the things that are being repeated around the internet and are just not true. Apologies to anyone who wanted London/Toddler related things…some of these are relevant, many are not. I couldn’t really find a picture that summed this whole post up, so that’s Roo watching Tweenies with ear protectors on when he was about 2. Take from it what you will…
1) Measles is not the same as Chicken pox
Measles is not a standard childhood disease that you need to “get out of the way”. It’s a killer, and it’s currently at epidemic proportions. I generally believe in the philosophy of “An it harm none, do what thou wilt” (a steal from Wicca there) i,e. your parenting decisions are your alone and we should respect each other’s different style. BUT when it comes to vaccination, other people’s decisions not to vaccinate put my children at risk. Specifically the one who’s too young for her MMR. Luckily, in the light of the outbreaks in Wales and Manchester my GPs have agreed she can have her MMR early. But people who treat measles lightly make me furious. If you don’t believe me, do you believe Roald Dahl? And don’t get me started on Andrew Wakefield and his cronies…
2) The Czech Republic is not the same as Chechnya
This should be a no-brainer to anyone with a GCSE in Geography (not an O-level, they didn’t have those countries then). Two Chechens have been accused of the Boston bombing. But apparently that’s too complicated for some tweeters. If you’re on Twitter and you also happen to control the American nukes, please note that Chechens do not come from the Czech Republic. And it wasn’t Zooey Deschanel’s doing either.
3) If you have dieted every day for 30 years, that’s not a diet. That’s an eating disorder.
Yes, Samantha Brick. I’m talking to you. Go and spew your bitter bile somewhere no-one can hear you please and try not to create a new generation of anorexic teens. Listen kids, eating disorders are not cool. And neither is writing for the Daily Mail.
4) Religion and science are not polar opposites.
I’m a Christian (not a Wiccan as I may have suggested above). I don’t spam Facebook repeatedly with half-baked ideas, so can I politely ask atheists not to do the same? Latest culprit was a photo saying “In Science we trust”. Here’s a crazy thought for y’all – most Christians believe in science too, and some of us even take advantage of technology every day, just like you do. I think you may have us confused with the Amish.
5) There is no reason for a 4-year-old to be in the same place as a loaded gun
I wrote extensively on this somewhere else, but let me re-iterate the main point for you. If 4-year-olds are frequently managing to shoot people, there is something wrong with your gun control. Think on it.
6) You don’t need fancy gadgets to raise your baby
Yes you do, according to Upspring, a company who sell gadgets to help your baby walk (as opposed to the EXTREME risk that comes with them cruising around the furniture) in gender-stereotyped colours. And kits to measure whether there’s any alcohol in your breastmilk (hint: if you’ve had a drink, there probably will be. If you haven’t, there won’t. But everything is fine in moderation). Apparently, they are meeting “numerous unmet needs for mom and baby”, but essentially they are all gadgets to – in the words of Duncan Bannatyne – solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Baby not walking by 9 months? It’ll get there…
7) Breast pumps are not a good indication of how much milk you’re making
…which leads me on to an Upspring product so controversial it’s worthy of its own bullet point. If you’re worried about your milk supply, what should you do? Use a pump to measure how much you have and get it analysed by their software? Noooooo! I have only anecdotal evidence for this, but the most profilic breastfeeders aren’t also the best pumpers. You can feed a child for 2 years yet still be unable to pump more than a dribble. Because…and this is the real shocker….babies work differently to machines. I think they have a different mechanism or something.
The best advice I’ve heard about supply is if you’re worried about it, try going to bed for a whole day with your baby (set up your bed for safe co-sleeping with a bed guard and no thick covers), a whole bunch of snacks and a ton of juice and just cuddle and feed while watching a boxset of something trashy. For mums who already have a child, this sounds like heaven…but it’s meant to be good for getting milk a-flowing.
8) Sometimes, in the middle of a crisis, you should admit you’re wrong
You, Andrew Wakefield. You, Andrew Wakefield’s mate Jayne Donegan. You, posters on Natural Mamas who say that the measles outbreaks won’t change your mind on getting your kids MMR’ed. Even if you can’t admit you’re wrong, at least you could stop spreading your poisonous anti-MMR propaganda. Haven’t you done enough? This guy sums up the whole sorry mess better than I could.
9) It’s OK for 3-year-olds to spend their days playing “with no real purpose”
Daily Mail again, front page today…blaming nurseries for raising kids with no manners who are unready for school. Err, don’t they play a lot in Reception too? Don’t forget that we start kids at 4, which is way earlier than some countries. Being ready for school doesn’t mean they’re ready to sit still for hours on end. Reuben’s nursery does a damn fine job in a tough, inner-city estate area. They let the kids play – some teacher-led activities, some free play but they can choose – and at the end they have some learning time in groups. 3- and 4-year-olds learn through play and anyone with half a brain (ie not a DM journo) knows that.
And will people stop comparing our kids to the bloody French?! Yes, French kids sit still and do what they’re told but I’ve met French teenagers – they’re as bad as ours and they have more to rebel against. And then they grow into repressed adults. Whoop-de-doo. I think I’ll raise my kids the way of my ancestors thanks – the classic Scottish/English/Hungo-Judeo/German way. Question for you DM – how can you simultaneously be so xenophobic and yet still harp on about how our kids should be more French all the time? That kind of paradox will surely destroy the universe one day.
10) Water is a basic human right.
Shush, silly Nestle man. Don’t say anything else. Ever. I would start boycotting you if it wasn’t 17 years too late. And you know what? I don’t even miss it? Milky bars aside, your chocolates are rubbish anyway…
And relax! That felt better! Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment saying which ones you would fight me on….good luck to you