Tag Archives: Dad Blog

International Day of the Girl

Writing (and cut & pasting) a quick blog all thanks to a fellow Instagram Dad (Greg aka @London_Dad). A couple of weeks ago Greg posted a cryptic note about how in conjunction with UNICEF he was going to be posting, discussing, campaigning for the International Day of the Girl.

As a proud father to a little girl, and as a playworker that visits many communities across Gloucestershire where girls don’t feel empowered enough to join in games or activities, where girls are suffering more than boys (or at least showcasing more signs) from the mental health impacts of stress at school, society views, shit going on at home and everything and anything in between, I was keen to know more.

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Girl Power RRROOOOOOAAAAARRR

Yesterday Greg sent through the information below. More will be coming from me today in support of this campaign. My Mum dragged me up, with help from family and friends, but crucially my father didn’t want to stick around (his loss). So from a very early age I realised that women & girls have an equal footing in any walk of life. My sister played rugby for boys teams (there were no girls teams in our county at that stage), my grandmother was the ‘boss’ of the family (we weren’t the Mafia or anything, far from it, it was just the fact she was an ex matron so knew how to control a rowdy bunch of grandkids).

Since mum died, and I have had my own little bundle of joy (read; a vomiting, pooing, sleepless nights providing, food throwing, laughing, farting, running, jumping, using head as a brake bundle of joy) it has dawned on me how bloody hard mum worked on her own bringing me and my sister up. Hard because she faced a lot of stigma being a single Mum, stigma I haven’t seen or heard towards single Dads. Hard because she had to make a choice, career or kids.

I became a rugby coach for my local girls team after returning from my travels (PS in New Zealand women are part of the teams that dig the holes in the street, making sure houses have heating, water on tap, infrastructure is provided for all… bravo Kiwis) – it wasn’t long after my first season with the girls that i was in one of the local bars and a guy I played rugby with as a lad, a guy who was (at the time) playing for the first team, came up to me and told me I was

“… a disgrace to our club, why are you coaching girls? Is it because you can’t coach a proper team, a boys team?”

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Our team

This was not too long ago, this is why I am posting Greg’s message today about the International Day of the Girl. We shouldn’t need to do it, as a father I shouldn’t be concerned about when my little girl grows up and has to deal with awful predators like Tangerine Trump, shouldn’t have to deal with inequality in the work place, shouldn’t have to deal with drunk idiots who believe girls can’t compete… and all the other BS that seems to still be in place in the 21st Century!

Greg’s bit…

Around the world, girls between 5 and 14 years old spend 40 per cent more time, or 160 million more hours a day, on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys their age.

What can we do? As parents sure we can send money to another text appeal or do a spot of fundraising but what we really need to do is help. Weather it’s fgm, getting girls educated, stopping child labour or just a one size fits all equality of the sexes, we have a platform and can use it for the power of good. You might have 50 followers or 50k followers, tweet snap or gram, none of that matters, the only thing that matters is that we unite as parents and spread the word.

Sure you might be a father to daughters or a mother to sons but none of us would want our children to be disadvantaged because of their sex. Our girls still have a way to go before they are on a level footing but girls around the world are a long way behind. The real focus of this years international day of the girl aside from celebrating what it is to be a girl, is to actually gather data to see how disadvantaged girls really are. Currently there are huge data gaps that exist in knowing how many girls are without education etc so how can a charity like unicef help or fundraise without knowing what it is they are up against?

Isn’t it time you did something about it?

Doing something about it could be sharing this blurb to educate more people about the cause, it could be making a donation, sponsoring a girl or actually giving your time. Whichever way you choose, choose one. We wouldn’t want our children to be discriminated against and if you only have boys then it’s just a chromosome that separates them and the girls who suffer so much.

If you think you don’t have enough money to donate or sponsor a girl,? of course you do. #liberatewithlattes why not make your morning coffee at home once a week and donate £130 quid a year, give it weekly, monthly or yearly…. whatever just give it.

And I know that we all have a cause close to our hearts, we donate to GOSH but we are parents lucky enough to be able to live where we do and provide for our children, educate and feed them. This is a cause that you can make a change to right now.

If you really can’t do any of the above then the one thing you can do is share, share on instagram, twitter, facebook, on your blog or tumblr and even talk to your friends about it, yep in real life, person to person. The more people who are aware of the issues faced by girls and the charities trying to help them, the more girls will benefit in the future.

#Internationaldayofthegirl
#idotg
#parents4idotg

 

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“Cat nip for kids.”

This is a bit of a niche read, more than so than my normal “I’m a dad let me tell you about it” but it is something that I think other parents may relate to.

This blog is all about my beef with Iggle Piggle, Dora, Peppa, The Tweenies and other high pitched kids TV characters.Image-1

I am well aware that I am not a Kids TV executives target audience, and just 5 minutes watching our small human stand in front of the TV and dance and sing along or sit transfixed with the shrill lead characters makes you realise they know what they are doing, as my wife puts it they have created “cat nip for kids”.

Now I do not hate ALL kids TV, and I have to admit I do love getting home from work in time to watch CBeebies with Bea. I don’t get the full bed time hour; getting back in time to be met by our little one who will excitedly beckon me into the living room, point at Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy or any of the other characters that reaffirm who they are by only being able to say their own name or come up with their own theme tune and we will watch them doing their stuff in the garden. The best bit is when Iggle Piggle knobs off on his boat and we get down to the Cbeebies bedtime story. Here the Beeb pull some weight
and pull in names such as Professor Brian Cox, Guy Garvey, Simon Pegg, Mary Anne Hobbs!!! And even crossing over the childhood timelines Floella Benjamin who all then read bedtime stories and wish the children of Britain a good night. Then comes the flosong, the good night song, all part of our night time routine now. Post song Bea will even take herself off to the bottom of the stairs ready to be escorted upstairs to bed. Perfect! Although I am aware that I need to be careful saying that in public, both not to jinx our luck or to infuriate those parents with little ones that refuse to sleep. We are lucky!

I don’t remember my very early days of watching kids TV; it is likely I was a fan of Play School and Rainbow because my first two toy bears were named Ted & Bungle. The TV that stirs up the happy memories are shows that seem to now be on Hollywood’s radar, my generation now all in our 30’s with some disposable income and nostalgia pangs large enough for us to want to see a big budget Transformers/Turtles films. I am still waiting for them to make a Thundercats movie – do you hear me Hollywood, make that movie!

The American cartoons like Ghostbusters, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man & Thundercats, are so good that films and re-boots have been created, lunch boxes, t-shirts, duvet covers and new toys made and sold (something more for the disposable income to be spent on?)

The fantastic British cartoons like Banana Man, SuperTed, Duckula, Danger Mouse; frankly ANYTHING voiced/narrated by David Jason don’t seem to have the same commercial value for a reboot (I know there is a new Danger Mouse cartoon – keen to see how good/bad it is).

My wife points out that Bea “cannot be into everything you are in to.” That is correct (although it would make things easier, and allow me to buy more toys for us to play with… Or keep on a shelf in my office), I’m kind of hoping that means I don’t have to be into everything she seems to like… But that is when the guilt kicks in.

There is a fantastic blog written about In The Night Garden In The Night Garden: 10 things we’re all thinking (aren’t we?) | The (mal)Contented Mother it covers an awful lot of what I don’t like about the show – it is no Rainbow. The zero shits given about the sizes of characters in relation to the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk is a real bugbear of mine!!! Plus the fact that at 33 years old I have just typed Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk – ridiculous!!!

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As with many hugely popular kids shows there are those commercial opportunities, in addition to this there seems to be a trend about creating a ‘world’ or ‘experience’ – like a smaller, less bells-and-whistles Disneyland.

My wife emailed me this week asking if I wanted to visit In The Night Garden LIVE, to see Iggle Piggle in the flesh/fur/whatever he is made out of. They create The Night Garden and you and your younglings can get up close and witness ‘the magic’ first hand (even closer if you pay a premium for front row seats). The promo email had it all, the heart-warming testimonies, the images of happy families; even a video showing you a glimpse of what to expect… And yet my reply was a resounding NO!

“But imagine seeing her face, it would be worth it surely!?” Replied my wife

And here comes the guilt.

No

I literally watch this show and pick it apart.

The Night Garden isn’t the only place I’m not sure I’d want to visit. The Tweenies strike me as an obnoxious lot and to hear Jake & Milo whinge (A LOT) to see them LIVE would be a step too far for me. TellyTubby land looks like Hobbiton, so unless you can guarantee me an army of Orcs will invade and rip the aerial off LaLa’s head then nope… Count me out.

Peppa Pig has her own world, I have heard nothing but good things from friends that have been but, for me, Peppa is like Stacey from Gavin & Stacey, I just don’t care for the title character. Both Peppa and Stacey have high pitched moaning voices and both get whiny when life doesn’t go their way. It is the support cast that make the show, George, Smithy, Daddy Pig and Uncle Bryn all funny characters that hold the show together.

So do I want to visit that garden. NO!

 

Do I feel guilty? Should I feel guilty? I don’t know. Should I?

 

 

 

FYI: My wife and mother-in-law have decided to take Bea to see Iggle Piggle and crew, I’m sure they will have loads of fun without me muttering under my breath about the ridiculousness of it all!

 

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