Fifty Shades of Grey

As I’m sure most people know, the movie Fifty shades of Grey, based on the book by E L James was released last weekend. I only read half of the badly written first book and so when I heard the movie was being released, I wasn’t that fussed.

But, curiosity got the better of me and so I decided to go and watch it with friends. In the approach to the viewing, I read quite a few blogs that were slamming the movie, talking about it being an abusive relationship and sending the wrong signals to young girls out there. Now, having seen it, I do agree, it would send the wrong message to young girls…who didn’t watch it until the end.

But, if you watch it to the end, what you’ll see is a young, naive, and curious young girl who stepped into a relationship that then didn’t do it for her, and walked away from it! Let’s start at the beginning…

Christian Grey – good looking, powerful and wealthy, woos Anastasia Steele – a young, naive virgin. He left her feeling hot and flustered from the moment she met him. A man in power and extremely good looking (in her eyes), he had a hold over her before she could even say a word.

In terms of the actual relationship, there were scenes I couldn’t watch. I was completely disgusted by the idea of “punishment” and it left Anastasia feeling ashamed as well, which is why she put her foot down. But in terms of the actual sex (and there was a lot of it), I personally didn’t see anything wrong with it. All I saw was a girl being pleasured in more ways than she ever imagined and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t enjoy that?!

I actually felt sorry for Christian. Here is a guy who struck gold and now has all this money and power but no love. He was orphaned at 4, probably never really felt like a part of his new family, was introduced to an unhealthy sexual relationship at the age of 15 by a woman who took advantage of him AND kept saying “It’s just the way I am” when Anastasia questioned why he was the way he was. Serious issues there!

But before jumping on the bandwagon of shaming the movie, give it a go and then judge. I would hope women (and girls) would watch it and see that although it’s easy to get carried away out of curiosity, you don’t need to stand for something that makes you feel ashamed and be able to walk away from it.

Also, it’s fiction! I think everyone has gotten so caught up in the hype that they are forgetting that. It’s like saying Jacob from the twilight series is a paedophile because he “imprinted” on Renesmee or that it’s okay to hit your dad with a bat as Curly Sue does in order to be taken in and looked after by a wealthy lady who thinks she’s the one at fault. And what about the makers of Grand Theft Auto, a violent video game marketed to young impressionable boys?

There will be so many things out there that influence our youth. Today it’s a movie, tomorrow it’ll be something else. I think it’s more important we focus our energy on raising our children to know right from wrong and empowering them so they hold on to those values more than what they watch in a 90 minute movie.

What are your thoughts on the movie?

7/52

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“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Leaving a birthday party, happy as Larry with his balloon…until it flew out of his hands 2 minutes later :$

Compassion #1000speak

Today I join over 1000 other bloggers and writers to flood the internet with good, to talk and blog about compassion and what it means to me.

When I think of compassion, more often than not I think of the compassion I have towards people who are needier than me. People who are ill, poor, homeless, injured, hurt. And while it’s important to have compassion towards these people, there are two other important people we need to have compassion towards:

1. Ourselves – Believe it or not, we are important and how we feel is important. Most of the time we’re so hard on ourselves, far harder than we’d be on someone else going through the same thing. If I had a friend going through a difficult time, I would message/call her, let her know I was thinking of her. But when it comes to myself, I raise the bar. At least I think I do. And that’s where mama guilt comes in too. We’re constantly striving to do the best for our children and be the best parents (and so we should, our children become us) and we want to put forward the best version of ourselves but somewhere amidst the school runs, lunches, dinners, baths, story time, we need to have a bit of compassion and give ourselves a break. We’re only human, we’re not perfect and as long as we know we’re doing our best, that should be enough.

2. The people who hurt us – This sounds like an odd one right? Why should we be compassionate towards people who hurt us? They don’t deserve our compassion, do they? I think they do. I’m not saying this is always easy. When someone has verbally or physically abused you or when someone goes behind your back to hurt you or isn’t there when you need them the most or let’s you down, feeling compassion for them and trying to get to the source of their behaviour helps you let go…helps you forgive…and helps you move on. So feeling compassion towards them is actually helping you.

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As a virgo, I’d like to think I’m quite a compassionate person. I’m touched by people around me, those less fortunate, those who *need* my help. But in the last couple of years I’ve realised that the compassion I need to feel the most is self-compassion. Because it’s only when we are gentle on ourselves that we can be gentle with our children and with the people around us.

Compassion should not be misunderstood for pity/self-pity. To me, compassion is when you soften how you feel about someone else and try and put yourself in their shoes and understand their reasons for being where they are or doing what they do. It’s not always easy but it should be a work in progress. Because ultimately compassion leads to acts of kindness and we definitely need more of that in the world.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading some beautiful posts today and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful the internet is. How over 1000 people from around the world have come together on the blogosphere to unite in compassion.

Compassion can make a difference, compassion is the answer, compassion matters.

*This post was written as part of a blogging movement, #1000Speak for Compassion, a worldwide link-up, where over 1000 bloggers are writing for compassion.

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The Peppa Pig movie

…Except it wasn’t! It wasn’t a Peppa Pig movie!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t have children, chances are you would have heard about the Peppa Pig movie that was released last week. When I found out about it, I put going to see it down on our half term to-do list. With S off for the whole week, we had several extra hours to fill.

I ended up going with a group of friends and their children. We were 12 of us in total. I have to admit, I was pretty excited for S. It was his first cinema experience and given how much he loves Peppa Pig, I knew he’d enjoy it. And he did…but I was disappointed (I know I know, it’s not really about me!).

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I was expecting a 50-60 minute movie with an actual story line but instead what we got was any Tuesday morning Milkshake on Channel 5. It started with the Milkshake presenters singing and dancing (on screen) and involving the kids in the audience. A Peppa pig character came on and they told us what episodes to expect. In total it was 5 or 6 episodes we’ve already seen and maybe a 20 minute new extended episode (which still had copied scenes from old episodes). Not very original people, not very original!

At the end of the day, the kids enjoyed it and so it doesn’t matter right?! Wrong..this was an opportunity for the people over at Peppa Pig World to actually make a movie…one that we could buy on DVD or download but instead they just regurgitated old episodes, stuck in a new one so we wouldn’t complain and are now sitting back making a tonne load of cash while us mere mortals are basically paying for our children to watch what they watch at home but on a bigger screen while eating popcorn.

Hmmm..think maybe I need to start thinking up a new children’s TV show!!

A bitter sweet trip to Dublin

I flew to Dublin for the day earlier this week because a very close friend’s dad passed away at the end of last week and I wanted to be there for her for the funeral. I arrived there late on Sunday and the funeral was on Monday morning. The prayers and song choices were beautiful and when my friend got up to speak about her dad, I was reduced to tears.

I haven’t seen her dad in a number of years but my heart broke for my dear friend. While we’re there for each other in our good times, it’s equally important to be there for each other at times like this. She’s often flown in to London for the day and visited us, she flew to India when I got married, stayed with me in Hong Kong and we got to hang out when I visited Sydney back in 2010. We’ve been friends for 17 years and although we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we always pick up exactly where we left off.

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After the funeral my bestie J and I headed over to our old school Kings Hospital (which was down the road) to have a look around. As we entered the main reception, nostalgia hit me in the face like an overbearing perfume. It’s been over 13 years since I left high school but it smelt exactly the same! We had the opportunity to walk down the main corridor, peek into our old classrooms, have a long chat with an old teacher and reminisce about our teenage days gone by. We then ended our little trip down memory lane by running down the corridor, definitely something we weren’t allowed to do during our time there.

If you’d told me when I started at the school that J and I would be best friends, I would have fallen over laughing. If you’d told my younger self where I’d be at 31, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet here I am. Although I wish I’d seen my friends under different circumstances, seeing them was still sweet. At our school’s front reception, people have come in and out through those doors and yet it’s stayed exactly the same…a bit like our friendship.

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Growing up too fast

As parents we’re such a funny bunch aren’t we?! When our babies our born we wait for when they feed less, then we wait for them to sleep through the night, to giggle, to roll over, to wean, to crawl, to cruise, to walk, you get the picture…

And then our baby gets to 1, 2, 3 and I hear myself and so many friends exclaiming: “How did that happen?” “When did my baby grow up so quickly?” And the simple answer is: While we were encouraging him/her to.

I guess with S’s 3rd birthday coming up, I’ve been thinking about it. I can’t believe he’s going to be 3…that came around quickly! I have to admit though, apart from the whining, I’m absolutely loving this age. He says the funniest things while still being my “baby” and needing cuddles. He loves to exert his authority and put on a tough guy voice but he still loves snuggles in the morning.

My baby is turning 3 soon, I wish time would move just a *little* bit slower.

Saying that, I can’t wait till he’s 5 and I can take him to Disney Land ;-) haha I did begin by saying we’re a funny bunch!

It’s just a phase

There’s one phrase that I hear lot’s of moms use…whether talking about a child who doesn’t sleep, a child who won’t eat, a child who throws tantrums…you name the issue and you’re most likely to get a “Don’t worry, it’s just a phase”. And to be perfectly honest, it’s so true.

When I think back over the last couple of years, there were several things S did and I’d think “I hope this doesn’t last” and it didn’t…a few weeks tops and he was on to something else.

He went through a phase of wanting to eat his meals in the car…I kid you not, we were eating in the car at least once a day.

He went through a phase of having to “drive” the car every time we came home, before he’d come inside. Even if we were in a rush, even if it was cold!

He went through a phase of needing to turn the microwave off when it started beeping. He could be engrossed in an episode of Peppa Pig or busy playing with his train set but if he heard the beepbeep beepbeep, he would drop whatever he was doing and run into the kitchen saying “I want to press it, I want to press it.”

He went through a phase of “bubbling his milk” (he drinks his milk with a straw). My patience wore thin with this one. When I got rid of his bottles, I went through a couple of weeks of having to pretend one sip was for me and one sip was for him. Or one sip for dinosaur and one sip for S.

Whether it was throwing his food off his high chair, emptying cupboards or fussing over bath time, it was all just a phase while he learnt, grew and developed emotionally and physiologically.

When friends with kids tell me they’re exhausted or their child is doing xyz…I just say “This too shall pass” because in reality, they’re all just phases and they grow out of them so quickly.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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The secret life of a 4 year old

Channel 4 had a documentary on Tuesday about how 4 year olds interact with each other in a nursery setting. A nursery was kitted out with hidden cameras and microphones and psychologists observed the behaviour of several 4 year olds who’d joined the nursery. It was really interesting to watch how they adapted to each other and learnt to socialise with one another. Boisterous behaviour is quite common in boys at that age but ultimately, we’re all primate and so often boisterous behaviour is based on where the child stands in the pecking order.

There was one child, Chaim who was bigger than the other’s and liked to exert his authority. You could call him the class bully and when they recorded him at home with his parents, the parents were open to the fact that they spoilt him and he didn’t have any boundaries. Being the only boy and with two older sisters, he was used to being the centre of attention and getting what he wanted and you can certainly see this in his behaviour at nursery.

Many parents tend to blame their child’s school for their behaviour (especially when it’s not good behaviour) but I think the way a child behaves comes down to their home environment. That’s not to say that they aren’t influenced by their external environment but ultimately they pick up most of their habits from the home.

There was a scene where a little girl was on a play phone telling someone called Richard that the baby wasn’t his and she didn’t love him. Another little girl Skylar put her hands on her hips and said “I’m not listening to you, you’re giving me a headache!” I wander where they heard that. Children tend to mimic what they see/hear around them, especially from the age of 3 upwards. By 4, they’ve got it down!

I was just talking to a friend last week about how absolutely fascinating children are at their pre-school age. They’re starting to learn so much more, pick up so much more and develop real personalities. And this show really demonstrated all the emotions a 4 year old goes through. The second segment was recorded 6 months later and some new kids were added to the mix. Although dynamics changed, the children’s personalities were very much the same.

If you get a chance, try and watch it on catch up TV. As a parent to an almost 3 year old, I found it really fascinating.