Now I seem to have been tagged by the lovely Cas at Mummy Never Sleeps to add to the list of things that have me climbing onto my high horse faster than you can say “high horse” to add them to the room of 101ness that Helen from Stickers, Stars and Smiles has created.
I haven’t joined in one of these linky/meme things for ages but given the opportunity to get a little ARGH out of my system has to be a good thing. Narrowing it down to 3 though is a challenge. Obviously there are loads of things that should be in Room 101 by now, mosquitoes, people who can’t be nice to each other (in whatever ‘ist’ ‘ic’ or ‘ism’ ending word is appropriate), magpies, cancer, the M25 on a bank holiday weekend (or is that actually Room 101 itself??) so I have aimed to get some new stuff in there, just to make sure that no-one else has to suffer any longer.
Firstly – this required absolutely no thought or questioning, at the top of my list comes the evil that is Moon Sand. All Moon Sand is going into Room 101, ideally with those who invented it, market it and produce the most annoying tv adverts ever.
Frequently described (by me) as the perfect gift for the children of parents you don’t really like, this stuff is advertised in a way that makes every child want some – and by some, I mean more than 1 kit. Mainly because the minute you open the packets, all the stuff blends together into one slightly murky colour – a bit like plasticine or play-doh all ends up brown, no matter how hard you try and keep the colours apart. The lovely set pictured even comes with a mixer so you can ‘blend’ your colours – joy. Moon Sand has the ability to stick, travel, spread and generally escape from the (hideously unstable) box at every opportunity and can embed itself into clothing, carpets, hair, tablecloths and anything else that happens to be within 25 yards* of it. Use it outside and it becomes rain proof, allowing it to be traipsed back into the house, it even gets stuck onto wood floors, only then to become stuck to slippers and taken upstairs, ground into the carpet in such a way that the strongest Dyson cleaner is thoroughly tested. Oh, and the box is so big you can’t even hide it in the bin without the children noticing.
It must go.
Secondly – I’m going to beat the government on this one and send all Year 1 Phonics testing into Room 101 NOW. Ideally along with the SATS tests at the end of Year 2.
Our children do not need to be assessed and given the opportunity to ‘fail’ at the age of 5/6 – let alone fail when tested in reading words that don’t actually exist – that are just a combination of sounds. Tested in reading in a situation where there are none of the clues that they have been taught to use and in a way where children who are more than capable of reading, well above their age expectations, can also fail.
Then, woohoo, if you child is then a failure at the end of Year 1, they get to be tested again at the end of Year 2 – along with the SATS which assess them yet again – not as to whether they are happy at school, enjoying their learning, engaged and making progress but as to whether they can ‘perform’ in an exam situation, at the age of 7 – separated desks and everything.
I am all for making sure children are progressing and that they are learning the right things, but exams, when you’re 7 – let them be children, please. Testing in infant school – into Room 101 you go. Now.
My final choice has been the hardest to choose. Obviously I would like to send all genetic disorders and horrible illnesses into Room 101 but I think that’s already been done. I’d also quite like to send whoever thought that the culture of all health professionals and teaching professionals know everything and obviously far more than any parent or patient was a good one to foster – but I think the NHS and teaching professions may end up a bit thin on the ground if I did that.
So I’m going to send a phrase in, a phrase that is used to so many parents of children with additional needs (be they educational or medical) and patients with complex medical problems…
I don’t know how you do it
This usually comes with a small sigh, a slightly pitying look or the head tilt of “I’m not sure what to say so I’ll say this”…
You know what, we don’t have a choice. We do ‘it’ because there is no other option. Half the time we don’t know how we do ‘it’, how we’ll make it to the end of that day/week/month/year/appointment/procedure but if there is an ‘it’ to be done, it will be. We don’t sit back and let our children struggle deliberately, nor deliberately inflict pain. We don’t leave our children sitting in a pool of blood/other bodily fluid in the middle of the night, we juggle appointments, work, education and therapies – we just do it, to repeat myself, there is no choice.
So there you go – I’m a Paul Merton Room 101 kind of girl, Frank Skinner isn’t quite doing it for me. But y’know, if these 3 can go into Room 101, I don’t really care who’s pulling the lever!
Now, I have to tag 3 people and even if they don’t do this, I would thoroughly recommend you go and read their blogs!
Katie from Life Through The Wrong End of the Telescope
Aisha from Expatlog
Steph from Steph’s Two Girls