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bits and bobs

It's been a wild couple of weeks and I feel that the strangeness of it all has sent me into a writing dry patch. None of my ideas have felt relevant or appropriate, but I feel itchy. The kind of itch that I need to write to scratch. Also, some of my itchiness is related to more serious matters, which I historically steer away from. Life is hard and serious and I usually feel like if I am going to send my thoughts out into the abyss, they should be light and uplifting, because that is something that I, personally, need and enjoy. So here we have it, some weird, wonderful, awful, and beautiful happenings in my little world lately...

Firstly, I encountered the (completely false and disproven) vaccines and autism myth, in real life. This has never happened to me before. I know that this is controversial to write about, THOUGH IT SHOULD NOT BE. Unfortunately, a British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, published a study in 1998 claiming that the rise in autism diagnosis in Great Britain was due to the MMR vaccination. The paper has since been completely discredited due to procedural errors, false reporting, ethical violations, and financial conflicts of interest. Wakefield has since lost his medical license. This bogus theory has also been disproven, scientifically, over and over again. We can now do brain scans that show the neurological differences in the autistic brain, present from birth. This one false claim has done irrevocable damage. Children have been needlessly ill due to parents not having them vaccinated. Diseases that were practically eradicated have reappeared. Children have died. I would like to say that I stood up and gave a moving speech during this uncomfortable encounter. I did not. I sat with my head down for a painful 20 minute discussion and then expressed my indignation in writing on my feedback form... I feel like this was very British of me. There were phone calls and a public speech setting things straight (not by me thank goodness). The entire experience really threw me off a bit. I am not often outraged. It must be clarified that I was not angry at any one person (or even several people), I was just upset that this information was still out there. Ignorance exists, but it can be remedied easily. As a mother of a lovely autistic boy, this issue hits me very close to my heart. When someone chooses to not vaccinate their child due to fear of autism, it feels like they are saying, "I would rather my child die of a completely preventable disease than have autism."

Then, there was an awful attack on innocent young British citizens in Manchester. When I heard the news, I felt sick to my stomach, as I am sure that we all did. Something that I didn't expect to feel, a swell of love for English people in general. I felt how sad and tired everyone was on Tuesday. The country was in mourning and I joined them in the heavy sadness for the young lives that were lost. However, British people are strong, hilarious, and stubborn. They refuse to be frightened. "Keep Calm & Carry On," is not just a saying that we plaster all over everything in North America to remind ourselves to calm down. Here it is a way of life, an act of defiance. People have been gathering and coming together, brave and united. The threat level in Great Britain has been raised to Critical, the highest it has been in years. Instead of hysteria, the British go about their lives as normal, cracking jokes along the way. The hashtag, #britishthreatlevels, has been trending on Twitter, and I have had a great laugh reading the witty satire. Hoorah for Britain and their stoicism (one of my favourite isms). My husband showed me a picture of a milkman during World War II who continued to deliver milk along his route despite frequent bombings and rubble all around. This is England. Keeping calm and carrying on.

Also, no one in my family sleeps anymore. I am serious. We just don't. Every night we have grand designs of hours of uninterrupted blissful sleep, and then these plans never come to fruition. First of all, the birds begin to sing at 4 am. I am glad that the birds are so happy and enjoying the weather, but I wish that they would enjoy themselves far away from my window and my children's windows. The sun is also making it's appearance before 5 am. My oldest takes this as a cue to be awake for the day. Sometimes we all join in, depends on the day. I would not categorize a single person in this house as a morning person, this has been a trial. Increased irritability is the product. It has also been very warm, our house has been very warm, we do not have air-conditioning, or enough fans. Amazon should be on it's way to deliver me 3 standing fans sometime today. Hurry hurry please Amazon! It's an EMERGENCY. We are pale and wimpy people.

It is half term, so no school for over a week. I can't keep track of all the holidays from school, and yes, I am very organized and write them down, but I am just not accustomed to all the breaks! I think I prefer this schedule, but mentally, I have not caught up to the concept of weeks off every month or so. The last two days with Mr. G and Mr. L were spent waiting for Amazon to deliver a swing-set for me to build. I made the mistake of showing two 4 year olds a picture of the swings on Wednesday morning and saying that they would arrive that day. They didn't arrive until Thursday evening. AMAZON PRIME. I love you, but... be more accurate with your delivery times please. It seems to have been worth the wait, the boys are thrilled, and what more could I really ask for besides thrilled boys? Maybe sleep. Today, we are enjoying this little heat wave with 2 kiddie pools, a new swing-set, a Toy Story viewing (for the hottest point of the day), lots of *ice lollies, and sunscreen. I hope to celebrate further with fans in the boys rooms so that they are not sleeping in mini ovens. Happy long weekend/half term/weekend to you all! I am sure that it will be nice and rainy for the remainder of the school holiday.

*ice lollies = popsicles

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