God's Geek

Reflections and random thoughts of a geeky youth worker in North London...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Some Links

Ok ok, I know things have gotten a little baby oriented round here, but I kinda figured that while I was on maternity leave, no one would mind the photos and baby stories. I am thinking about youth issues, but all of my thoughts and time are going into college assignments. Here's some youth and baby links that are interesting though. I am surprised more people haven't picked up on this Unicef report which found the UK to be bottom out of 21 countries re children's well being. A recent Guardian poll also looked at how well parents know their teenage children. A response from teenager and mother is also interesting...

On a different note, the ELC has its yearly 20% discount on all arts and craft material. Always good value and I have found that art stuff designed for toddlers is also great for young people. I love messy play and worship! And Fairtrade Fortnight shoudl not be forgotten.

Onto ethical baby matters... feel I should point out that Nature Babycare does a great line in environmentally friendly baby wipes, nappies, nappy bags and breast pads amongst other things! Although I still think reusables are best and I wash bits of cloths that I use at home instead of wipes! Finally, when is the right time to introduce solids - baby led weaning is an interesting idea. FIanlly, I am currently coveeting this Tripp Trapp high chair. Must repent, although it is wooden and long lasting... better for the environment? Couldn't resist some baby stuff creeping in there!

Daniel's Dedication #2

Me and Dan chilling in the garden!

Daniel's Dedication

We had Daniel's dedication a few weeks back. It was a great day... these are some photos.

Daniel's Development

Daniel is such a sweety! He babbles loads now and is able to say b and l as well as vowel sounds. Well, the consonants come in the middle of a babble eg aaahhhbuhoooh. He also decided that the preach at the church that we were at was missing a little something and complimented it with a few minutes of his own special insights. He squeals with excitement as well and gives lots of smiles to most people who smile at him. He also really plays with toys now. LAst night, I was reading in the office and heard loads of banging and wondered what Neil was doing. I then found out it was Daniel banging his toy radio against the side of his cot! He can now roll from his back to side but hasn't quite made it from there onto his tummy! He loves eating all of his toys. I have recently been reading some stuff abotu baby-led weaning, the idea beign that you don't give any solids to your baby until they can eat them themselves, so thought I would see what he thought of a grape. But I chickened out - when I offered him a grape, he grabbed it instantly and put it straight into his mouth! I thought he was too yougn at 4 months for such things! Good coordination, though. He is lots of fun to be with and still loves songs, stories and poems. I love it all - well maybe not rubbish transport systems (see last post) and can't get enough of him! I even love it when he snuggles into me, only to discover that he was using me as a giant tissue and wiping bogies and/or regurgitated milk over me! Bless!
*Update* Don't try to give your baby grapes! It is a v bad thing cos they can choke! aniel didn't but I have read horror stories since then. Baby led weaning looked too scary so Daniel had his first taste of baby rice today... bless.

The Joys of Public Transport

I try not to moan too much, but I had a Difficult Day thanks to Transport for London. We are giving up our car soon; I try to use public transport or walk as much as possible anyway, but I am aware that pretty soon that will be our main choice. Anyway, I was visiting a friend in Oxford so decided to take the train. Although London has great train service, it does mean that you need to go into the centre to get to most places. And using trains and tubes is a nightmare with a pram. There are sooo many steps and there were no lifts on the stations that I used. It is amazing how un-buggy friendly the whole experience was. I could, of course, have used the sling but this is really unpractical for a day out as Daniel needs to lay down to sleep at various points.

Once the steps (and lack of escalators at Liverpool Street and PAddington) had been dealt with, the trains weren't always much better. The worse one was coming back from London, which had ridiculously narrow aisles, making it impossible for me to get the pram into a carriage. I had to sit between the carriages opposite the loo as there was nowhere else to go. I did have a chat with the lovely conductor (who also did some great tannoy messages) and found there was space for a wheelchair at the front of the train, although the only way to get to this was to get off the train and walk down the platform at the next station. He made sure the train waited, which was great, although as it happened, unnecessary as we sat in the station for 15 mins!

The whole thing left me wondering how wheelchair users get on. At the end of the day, there is only a limited time that I will be using a pram, but it has made me see our towns, shops, coffee shops and churches in a whole new light. How accessible is your local area? Does your church include and welcome people? This needs to go beyond a welcome team as it is no good saying 'hi' if it is really hard for the person to get to the loo and /or into the church itself! In terms of travel, I suppose wheelchair users (or pram users) could phone ahead and check routes etc but surely things shouldn't be that difficult. If you use the Underground, check out how few stations have Disabled access... I know this is to do with many stations being heritage sites but it does make travelling a difficult experience. I remember the sociologist Tom Shakespeare discussing disability and telling a story about train travel; at one station he did not have a disability as the train was easy to get on and provision was made etc whereas at the other end, it was impossible for him to get on to the platform as there was no provision for less abled bodied users. At the London stations, getting to the train was v difficult, whereas at Oxford there were lifts and ramps. It really makes all the difference!

I am driving to Norfolk and it is such a shame that I know it will be much easier to travel with Daniel than it was today.

And shame on you, Coffee Republic in Oxford, with no baby change and no toilets downstairs!

The only positive experience was that it made me appreciate the kindness of strangers as so many people helped lift the pram up and down stairs unasked, which was lovely. And only one person moved when Daniel was being a little vocal when I was getting him to sleep on the journey home...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Postmodern Disciples: Stories Along the Way

Good titiel, hey?... Finally decided on a title for the research project for my course and I am really excited about it. It is goign to be based on qualitative research, just chatting to youth workers about their experiences and stories of disipleship, especially focussing on 1-1 work in comparison to more traditional youth programmes. The idea is that although the interviews will be fairly subjective, the telling of stories as a way of gathering research fits with our society at present. And I hope a few interviews will be more telling than a larger number of questionnaires... which in their own way are subjective! Anyway, I am pleased to have things a little more ordered in my head and scared that the project and another assignment need to be finished in 11 and a half weeks!

We were at Cliff College last week as a family and it was a good time. Neil had his first experience of being the primary carer and had a lovely, although tiring time. I think Daniel is in the early stages of teething and has beautiful rosy cheeks and lots of dribble. He continues to be absolutley smashing and is very aware when your attention is not on him. For instance, he knows if you are talking to him but concentrating on something else becuase he cries until your focus returns to him. He continues to love my singing (poor boy) and adores stories. Maybe I will include this in my research project as I look at the power of stories!