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I’m not bad… I’ve just drawn that way. 22, October 2007

Posted by babychaos in Adult Content, Art, careers, General Wittering, Grumpy Old Bag, Life and living, whinging, winging.
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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about rebelliousness. I suppose it’s partly because my novel is not going very well so my alternative step-out-of-the-crowd, do-it-my-own-way, money earning strategies are looking particularly tatty at the moment but also because of something that cropped up with my art which has shot down my cunning scheme to make loads of money selling Christmas cards if not in flames then… smouldering hotly (more on that story… later).

I guess I’ve always had a streak of otherness but I think rebellion is too strong a word for it. However, if something is pompous or too serious for it’s own good, I find myself poking fun, almost against my will because people being humourless, taking themselves too seriously means they get far more uptight about trifles which is, in my book, how wars start.

One of the areas about which”they” you know, the law, the government, the kinds of people with whose edicts I am supposed to comply… those kinds of people, are particularly po-faced and humourless about at the moment is children. If the Muffin sticks and I make it through to motherhood, I wonder how long it will be before I fall foul of the PC Police. Will I be able to work within their parameters?

I say this because although I know I don’t quite fit in with the norm, I don’t consider myself to be particularly rebellious – mainly because is an immediate implication of stroppiness to the word “rebel” which I don’t like. Ok, in all fairness, I can be a bit arsey sometimes but on the whole the bricks stay inside the pram.

Anyway, the kind of people who insist you do things their way are usually the sort to argue for ever if you try to persuade them another course of action might be better, not just closed minds, then, battened down and padlocked, too.

I have better things to do with my time than play Who’s The Most Important Person In The Room or Who Can Shout Loudest with someone who is not going to listen, however reasoned my arguments (and my arguments are never reasoned, anyway, until afterwards – I have what is known in the trade as bus wit, that is, I will always think of a good rebuttal but unfortunately not often before I’ve got onto the bus on my way home) so usually it’s easier for everyone if I just nod politely, wait until they’ve gone and carry on doing exactly what I was doing before. The thing gets done, they’re happy because they think I’ve done it their way and I’m happy because I know I haven’t.

So the first crop up of the rebel question is in relation to pregnancy and alcohol.

I drink wine which, in moderation, is good for you. There is proof that red wine contains anti toxidants and also that it can aid memory. Conversely, there is no proof that a little alcohol does any harm to your baby, although a lot can.

Current advice for pregnant Mums is in the process of changing from yes, you can have one or two units a week to no alcohol at all. Why? I’m not going to go out and get pissed. I would like to have a glass of wine with my supper a couple of times a week though. I don’t want more than a glass. Morning sickness is like having a permanent sick hangover so I’m hardly going to want lots – especially if supper arrives at the wrong hormonally-charged time.

I’ve thought about this long and hard and the more I think and the more I look at the advice, the more it looks to me like nothing more than a method of frightening 15 year old binge-drinking chavettes into giving their livers a nine month rest (in the hope that they will get out of the habit and stop).

Me, I reckon people have been drinking alcohol and still managing to breed since time immemorial. Many of us are here and alive because our ancestors drank wine and small beer rather than water. So no, I’m not going to stop drinking alcohol in moderation, ie I am going to have a glass of wine with my supper on Saturday and Sunday nights. Hardly rebellious is it? Even the nurses at the hospital didn’t demur when I propounded my theory. Watch TV or read up on it though and I feel very naughty!

Second… those card designs. I had a kind of three pronged plan. In an ideal world I was going to get some printed, make them up into about 60 sets of 8 cards (two of each design) and flog them at my local market. They’d have come in at about 30 pence each, including the envelope and about 5 pence tax (yeh, how crap is that our splendid government charges Tax on printing cards but not on selling them so it’s actually cheaper for me to have them printed on Zazzle, in the States and ship them here than to print them just up the road in the UK).

The local market has strange exclusion rules – you can’t have two people doing the same thing – so in case I crossed with any of the other traders – which I do – I had hatched a back up plan. I suggested to a local not for profit organisation that I sell these at their charity stall at a town event coming up where there’d be a market (but the duplication rule would be suspended) and split the profits with them 50:50.

This looked like a good way of selling off any stragglers and helping a local do-gooding organisation at the same time. They were very pro the idea until I showed three of the four designs to their selection committee. This comprised a gallery manager, an artist and somebody who used to run a very successful local gift shop.

Now, I admit I didn’t present them very well, I’d already sent the original of the angel with sensible footwear to my friend’s daughter for her christening and I’d forgotten to print it out but their comments on the other three were a bit shocking to be honest. Frosty the abominable snowman got a unanimous thumbs down. “It looks like the devil!” Said one of them. “You can’t have the devil on a christmas card it’s blasphemous…”

“Yes…” Chimed in another. “The puddings are no good either. Those would frighten children! Look at their teeth.”

“The robins are a bit fat… not very good around here…” well… maybe I’ll conceed that one, my local town is fatty heaven and ok, they’re not actually very good.

“Yes, couldn’t you have just drawn one robin on a gate post or something?” Said another.

“But everyone draws one robin on a gatepost,” I replied. “Why would I do the same thing as everyone else… how would my cards stand out? The whole idea is to take something normal, something everyone does and show it in a different light. Otherwise, what would be the point?”

“Well, surely the reason everyone does the same thing is because that’s what the market wants…” They retorted and with that, they vetoed the lot as too subversive to sell.

The artist said that if I got them printed he’d buy some but when I remarked on this to the other two after he’d gone they said “yes, he’s such a nice man”.

Ouch.

I guess this is the problem with actually being able to remember what it was like to be a kid, either that or I was particularly horrible (I’ve asked my Mum and it would appear this might be the case) but a lot of the grown ups I know appear to have forgotten how nasty children actually are and seem to view the whole childhood thing through an idealistic, saccharine-pink-tinged haze. It must be very stifling for their children.

You see the thing is, I draw the same stuff now as I did when I was 5, 7, 10 (whatever) years old, with the same subversive humour and yes, the same BIG teeth! The only difference between then and now is that these days it’s better executed (just – my artistic talent stopped developing when I was about 12 years old). Was I really the only kid who made snowmen in pairs punching each other etc? I’m sure not.

And if the Muffin makes it, I don’t want it to grow up in a molly-coddled, cosseted environment where reality is kept at bay because it’s nasty and humour, unless it’s bland and anodyne, is subversive and naughty. I want it to grow up knowing and understanding the real world, as a real person, trusting, yes, but with it’s eyes open, understanding the difference between what we humans would like the world to be like and the way reality actually is!

I want to give it the gift of independence. I want to support it, help it and inform it so it learns to stand on its own two feet early. I don’t want to dominate it, stifle it, keep it reliant. I want to inform it, to allow it to have a say in decisions about its life, yeh from pretty much the word go, the way my parents let me. I want it to grow up an independent individual who is part of a family group, not helpless, fearful and unable to work even a washing machine (let alone cook) when it leaves home.

I want it to know that sometimes life sucks, that you don’t always get your own way, that other people, no matter how dominant their personalities, do not always know what’s best for you. I want it to learn to take responsibility for its own actions, to follow its heart, to develop its own set of principles and live by them, like I did.

And it appears that for wanting these things, I’m weird.

It’s years since anyone’s called me subversive… I don’t know whether to be flattered or really pissed off!

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Comments»

1. GeekLady - 22, October 2007

Pissed off, definately.

The thing with wine, is that we know that too much alcohol can do very bad things to babies in utero, but I don’t think there was ever a lot of research on low or moderate alcohol consumption and the associated risk. I can check PubMed over lunch if you like.

Risk is conceptually hard to grasp at the best of times, and I think it’s easier to impress ‘don’t do it’ rather than actual risks.

Also my friend wants to know why the puddings are romping around in tomato sauce or if it’s some funny orange-brandy sauce.

2. babychaos - 22, October 2007

The Puddings are just on a choice of colour ground that a) didn’t clash too much b) complimented the colour of them and the sky and c) wouldn’t dominate the picture.

Let’s call it pudding trampled Brandy Cream!

Cheers

BC

3. babychaos - 22, October 2007

PS if you find anything out in passing, it’d be cool but don’t go out of your way! And I’m still thinking of printing, so if you do want to pre-order any, let me know which ones and how many – I’ll decide in the next week or so and let you know so you’re not left high and dry!

Cheers

BC

4. Geldoff - 22, October 2007

Reality check time I’m afraid, BC. It’s really not about what the doctors and nurses tell you based on the latest research. Could you look your offspring in the eye in 10 or 15 years time and tell him or her that their problems are the result of mummy having a glass or two of wine while you were carrying them?

Absolutely no guilt trip intended because I’d hate to think of you or anyone else having to admit this to their children just for the sake of a glass of wine or two. Seems an easy decision from where I stand but then it would.

My ‘credentials’ are that my mother was an alcoholic and drank right through my pregnancy but was never able to admit to me that some of the problems I’ve had to endure may have resulted from her drinking. Of course this was over 50 years ago and doctorin’ has got way fancier since then and at the time she was a nurse tucking away surgical spirit, so mine was an extreme case.

You appear to be struggling with your conscience but there’s no need: ask your unborn child what they’d like you to do if they could tell you and I think you’ll have your answer.

Sorry for the tough love but I won’t think any different of you whatever you choose. Just hoping to bring a little clarity. G.

5. Noble Savage - 22, October 2007

BC, just do what you are comfortable with. Obviously, you shouldn’t be getting pissed or drinking on a regular basis, but there is no reason to deny yourself a small drink every now and again. It’s a personal decision and one you have to make yourself. Me, I abstained during the first trimester completely (did have a couple non-alcoholic beers though, to satisfy the craving) and then had one glass of wine a week until my heartburn got so bad that even one drop of wine made it flare up and I stopped drinking it altogether. One time I even went to a wedding and had — gasp! — two glasses over the course of the day and evening. My baby was perfectly fine.

Being pregnant is such a shock when you realise that everyone has an opinion and will try to enforce it on you according to their beliefs. Some people seem to think that pregnant women are public property and they have no qualms about telling you off or ‘suggesting’ things merely because that’s what they did or were always told to do. Ignore the scare-mongerers and do what’s right for you. That’s how you will be able to look your child in the eye later down the road.

6. chrisfiore5 - 23, October 2007

hey bc,

in the motherly way? I didn’t know that… congrats!

I think a little bit of rebellion is good for the soul, who gives a hoot if you do everything perfect? someone will come along and criticize you for being “too” perfect. so I say, go for the gusto… a little bit of wine is good for you and just might make the birthing process tolerable for the child… taken in moderation, of course.

peace.

7. Steff - 23, October 2007

My friend who has two lovely healthy kids told me she had a glass of wine a week, that pregnancy was not the easiest thing and it was something for her to look forward to and savour – she got some stick for it of course if she ever admitted it to anyone or was in company. I couldn’t agree more regards to the PC police when it comes to children, it has got to the stage that perfectly law abiding adults are now afraid to even look at a child, smile or engage for fear of looking a paedo (I know a few men in particular who have told me they feel uncomfortable when schools let out) The other day I walked past a schoolyard and a small child fell over and hurt his knee near to where I was passing. My instinct was of course to see if he was ok, but I am ashamed to say I quelched this and figured his teacher/schoolmates would look after him, rather than risk getting in trouble for trying to help. I think your cards might not be for the “family” market, but there are definitely people who are bored of the same old Christmas cards – the puds were my favourite btw! The wrold needs the subversive, how boring would life be without it. I think you’ve probably just learned to hide it better, I’m sure it’s still there though, in the shape of pointy toothed Angels and Christmas Puds! :-0)

8. babychaos - 23, October 2007

Blimey Geldoff! Now that I can understand and I can understand how these days, saying no alcohol at all might have a positive effect on people like your Mum. That said, I’m not an alcoholic and I’m talking about two units of wine a week. That means I probably will carry on having occasional sips and the odd glass, though but only because I know I will be able to do that and look my child in the eye because you’re right, that is the only way to work it out.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong but where the jury is out or there is no evidence one way or the other the only thing I can do, to stay sane, is follow my heart.

Noble Savage, I suspect, like you, I will end up having too much indigestion for any kind of wine to be viable but at the moment a glass or two a week seems fine and helps to keep me relaxed and sane.

Chrisfiore, thanks for the vote of confidence and you’re right, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, even if you do it right people still criticise.

Steff, my view is like your friends, it ain’t easy at the moment, although heaven knows I’d rather feel sick than have a blocked up nose, any day so that’s one small mercy. Thank you for the vote of confidence on the Puds, too!

Cheers everybody.

BC

9. mrsmetaphor - 23, October 2007

Ok, see? I’m catching up on posts BACKWARDS like and that’s how I missed this…I feel better now.

here’s the thing ’bout drinking and pg that my doc said to me and I think it very wise…IF for some reason there WAS a problem with the pregnancy or the baby…or the 40 year old adult…whatever…will you be prone to blame yourself for some misstep such as a glass of wine? If that is not your usual tendancy then don’t sweat it. I think you’re idea of following your heart is a very very good one, mostly because what we DON’T want is to live in fear, yes?

I think you have good instincts and I know how richly loved this baby has been even before you concieved so there is no doubt in my mind that your focus is good.

As far as people’s comments on your cards…do I EVEN need to say how messed up they are? Everybody has an opinion, doesn’t make them right or smart or classy, you know? Keep on being who you are in the face of the fray…you’re doing well!

10. mrsmetaphor - 23, October 2007

Oh and drinking a good heavy beer (I prefer Bodingtons) after the baby is born helps with breastfeeding (if that’s your thing.)

11. Geldoff - 23, October 2007

You’ve weighed up the available info and made a properly informed decision and that’s good enough for me, BC!

Would one care to name the bottle(s) of wine that one might wish to take to one’s desert island … ? (‘Course I’d prefer it to be a dessert island. Dang that sweet tooth o’ mine!) 😉

12. babychaos - 24, October 2007

Mr G thanks for the vote of confidence.

My desert island wine is difficult to pin down, Pasa Robles Ridge Zinfandel would be good, I had a La Tache 74 once which was pretty close to devine, ditto Lynch Bages 61… (my parents friends). Love rhone, too and some of the huge things coming out of Puglia and Italy, generally…. Wouldn’t say no to a super tuscan, one of the Kracker wines – any would do, or possibly a nice Alsatian Gewurtztramine… oooh yes Schlumberger or Albert Man (yes Mr A Man, what a name…) Um… I think I’d have to make that a desert island cellar…

Yeh, a desert island cellar, that’d be good.

Mrs M, so right about beer something heavier than Boddingtons though I think, Old Peculiar or if they still made it King & Barns Festive… actually something by Harveys would probably fill the gap. Mmm Mmm!

Thanks y’all

Cheers

BC

13. RubyShooZ - 24, October 2007

All I can add iis some hugs and good wishes along with positive vibes on all counts. I know that might seem like a lame answer but it’s all I have. I care about you and want only the best for you so with all my heart – (((((((((BabyChaos)))))))))


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