Friday, May 30, 2014

Aliens, Screaming and Private versus Public Sugar

photo - 25g of sugar: recommended limit for adults.
'In space, no one can hear you scream.' As a Wannabe Sugar-Avoider (WAS) mum in the play-date world, I suspect no one wants to hear you scream. I'll admit it, I'm feeling lonely and out on a limb.
The photo above is 25 grams of sugar. This is the daily limit that the World Health Organization recommends *for adults*. Adults. So, do the maths for kids. You can see there's barely enough here to make a biscuit (pauses to scream).
For months now, I've been trying to cut back on sugar (not calories) and eat low GI/GL foods in the house, filling myself with 'slow-burn' food. Naturally, I've tried to take the kids with me. I've learned to bake biscuits that are mostly oats, butter, bananas, raisins and a splash of honey, as surely, these are better for them than a shop-bought Hob Nob. After school, I give them nuts and apples and milk.
But we don't live in isolation, and everywhere we go, the world is fuelled by lavish, 'treat-y', fast, carbohydrates that spike blood sugar like a 'hit'. They are the social currency of the mums' world, and play-date land. People offer your kids treats all the time, often directly, to the kids. So if you blurt out a 'no', you risk offending the host and giving your child food anxieties. D'oh.
And, there is no easy way off the train. Our kids will ask for their birthday parties and how can I possibly throw one with just fruit and oatcakes? Mea Culpa; I have complied like the others. Ah, but parties are rare, you say. No. At this age, they get party invites every other weekend, and why shouldn't they have fun? Can we just find a way to do it without involving about 8 or 10 of those egg cups full of sugar? Ten times an adults daily amount, before the sweet-filled party bags? Just about every childhood celebration is based around sugar: Easter, Halloween, Christmas...
And in all of this, I wonder how I'm ever going to keep the kids within healthful recommendations. That's all I'm trying to do! Yes, the argument rages in my head. I feel like a Nay-Sayer, a Debbie-Downer, a Party-Pooper, and yet all I want is to follow health advice from the WHO and prevent myself and my family from ending up with type 2 diabetes or worse, further down the road.
But I can see that it's going to take a revolution on a much bigger scale. Right now, I can do private no-sugar but I'm flailing with  public no-sugar, involving friends and kids. Is there any advice from Action on Sugar for  this?
I still feel like Sigourney Weaver, floating alone in her space ship, trying to save the Universe, fuelled inadvertently by doughnuts and glucose-fructose syrup.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Knocking down walls / Author turned plumber

Tonight the hot tap in our kitchen sink got stuck in full, drumming flow - the handle clicking uselessly as I turned it frantically. I managed to find the mains and turn off the water supply, phew, and then I phoned my parents, for their brief consolation, which was £80 cheaper than a plumber.
My Dad is an author, and we are the kind of family who can't put up shelves, do grouting or fix taps. (Occasionally, when we were kids, we wished our mum was a hairdresser, and our dad a builder: careers with practical application and bonus results. Loft extensions and 80's perms aplenty).
And so, I was touched when my Dad turned up promptly with his M&S shopping bag, clicking with assorted spanners and washers. He managed to take the tap apart and - thread some thread around the thread, making it work again, at least until we can summon up the 'chore energy' required to hurl ourselves through the automatic doors of B&Q towards the tap section.
This should temporarily distract me from my wall dilemma. As I say, we have never been a knocking-down-wall kind of family. We wouldn't dare. Mind you, the wall between our small, (can I say tiny?) kitchen and adjacent dining room had a cheek ever going up in the first place. It was probably built in the days when wives were referred to as, 'Her indoors'. None of your egalitarian Ikea family space back then.
To fight back I'll need building control, a steel beam and a suitcase of dosh, but most of all, I need to change decades of DNA to become a knocking-down-wall kind of family.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Older photos and a 'volunteering face'

My computer photo storage is so random that one of these photos was entitled, 'mushrooms in the garden.'  Of course it's me with the kids in the early days. Oh, the chubby cheek years. I fear my laptop will grind to a halt and I will lose most of my photos in the digital ether. I have some on Flickr although I'm close to my free limit.
Yesterday, a woman asked me to help in the school garden because she said I had, 'a volunteering face.' I told her I was committed to volunteering 3 times this week - in the school office, then at my girl's playgroup, then another local school. She let me off the garden.
I'm doing volunteering in schools, as I am mulling over the idea of teacher training in future. It's amazing how many people try and put you off - or just give a sharp intake of breath. Oh well. 'We'll see..,' as my dad always used to say.

So that's the reason my blog has been quiet again. My volunteering visage. And a general sense of  'float-y' contentment. May and June:  the months of longer days and aspirant plans.