Question of the day (23rd May).

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Here’s your question of the day that I was actually planning to post yesterday, so today we’ll hae two questions again. 🙂 

   What is the most fucked up thing a person you know has done? 

   My answer: 

   The first thing that comes to my mind is something that my two later to become boarding school roommates did when we were in nursery/preschool. There was one boy who, aside from obviously being blind like all of us, also had some intellectual disability and I guess something wrong with his face, a cleft palate or something. And one time when he was in the loo, they went in there and started banging his head on the walls from side to side, just as he was sitting on the loo. Thankfully someone has noticed and they got punished by it in some way. I only learned about it from them years later, and it struck me as really odd and quite hardcore cruel, because they’re normally not like that at all, and it didn’t seem like they had any clear motivation behind that, just that one of themm got such an idea and the other followed. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day (13th May).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   I meant to post some question for you all yesterday, but since I didn’t, after all, we’ll have two today, yay! 😀 

   You have fifteen minutes to prepare a lecture to 5000 people about anything. What would your topic be? Why? 

   My answer: 

   Goodness me, I have lots of ideas for what I could give a lecture to people about that I guess could be of decent enough quality, but, fifteen minutes… that probably wouldn’t go to well, whatever topic I’d choose, and I wouldn’t even be able to think of all the things that could go wrong to prepare for them as well! 😀 What I know for sure is that I would make people aware that someone organising this whole lecture thing is a very realistic thinker because I’ve only learned fifteen minutes ago that I’m supposed to be giving this lecture, so it’s not me who’s to blame if it’ll end up sounding like I prepared it last minute, the more that I’ve never given a real lecture, let alone to this many people. Oh yeah, and that I am no expert or authority on anything, just some random Bibiel who’s into a lot of weird things. 

   But, let’s think… well, I think the idea I like most out of those I’ve come up with so far is a very ranty lecture about all the shortcomings of the education system, because everyone who knows me knows I love to rant about this topic and find all things possible that are wrong with it ‘cause it’s just evil. But I’d try to make this lecture something productive rather than just ranting for the sake of it as it usually is, hoping that it would give people some food for thought. I’d really like to see a wise, carefully thought through, maybe even radical reform of how schooling works, I think such an investment in people’s minds would be really worth it and I guess I don’t have to convince anyone why. But because I am just one little Bibiel who has no experience working in the field of education, parenting or the like, I wouldn’t feel competent talking on my own about how the changes would exactly need to be made, just share some ideas and  raise some issues due to which I think changes would be worth considering by those who actually have more of an idea about it. I chose this topic over all the others that came to my brain when thinking of this question because, unlike the others, it’s based on my opinions rather than facts, which would be less demanding to prepare for in fifteen minutes and so more likely to be successful.

   I’d try to keep it as unniversal as possible because I think a lot of these shortcomings are a thing regardless of which country we’re speaking about, but of course I myself only have first-hand experience of schooling in Poland and more second-hand idea about it than about other countries so I’d refer to that a lot. I would probably go with the flow and get a lot of stuff covered spontaneously depending on how much time I’d have for this lecture, but some things I’d like to put some particular emphasis on would be the following: 

   individual approach (or lack thereof) to students in schools. Even in schools with small-sized classes where a teacher may have a closer contact with their students and be able to devote more time to each of them, there’s rarely any real focus on a specific individual’s particular needs, strengths and difficulties, academical first and foremost but also social, physical, emotional etc. Since everyone says that school is not just about academic learning. Special schools, inclusion schools, schools for gifted children and other such are probably a bit better at this than the rest, as they have IEP’s and all that, but still as someone who’s actually been in a special school, an inclusion school and then individual education for a while, I feel it’s largely just theoretical. I think what most smaller schools really do better than large/public schools is put more effort in making every student fit somehow into the curriculum, if not vertically, then horizontally, if not horizontally,  then whatever way goes so that they can finish school, pass what they have to and who cares if they actually retain any of the knowledge well enough that they’ll be able to recall and use it in practice in daily life, if they even know what they want to do with their life after school or if what they’d learned is all useful and valuable stuff. I’m sure it’s not because of anyone’s bad intentions, but we seem to forget that things (like schools, curricula (or is it curriculums? The more I think on either the weirder it sounds and looks 😀 ) grading systems etc. ) are for people, not people for things. Then there’s the problem with slower-learning children vs gifted children and how their potential is usually measured compared with the class overall, so if a kid does all he can to do well at school but is not doing as well as the class does on average, he’s being stretched beyond his limits and his self-esteem is being systematically ruined. Or if a kid is so-called gifted and does better than the class, he’s  bored to death at school seeing how his peers painstakingly deal with something he’s figured out on his own two years ago, which may be just as discouraging in the end. Let alone a child who, for whatever reason, whether “special” in any way or not, doesn’t develop very evenly and is exceptionally brilliant at some subject(s), but just as exceptionally lame at some others. Yeah, there are gifted schools, extra tutoring for struggling students, and all sorts of extra-curricular activities/interest-based clubs or however they’re called in English for those who are very good at some specific things. But not all schools have that, and not everyone can send their child to a school that does. So I think there really should be a lot more focus on working individually with each child by default, in that the teachers would actually take the time to sit one on one with a student and work on their individual skills, or at least we should have some better system of assigning children to specific classes rather than just based on their age. 

   Second language education. I’ve written a lot about that here already so won’t be repeating myself. Thankfully I believe it’s not an ever-present problem, I can clearly see for myself that the quality of language education is mostly very low here, but it doesn’t seem to be the case everywhere. 

   And last, but not least… yeah, homeschooling! Have I told you guys that when I was a kid it was my biggest dream to be homeschooled ever since I first heard of it? Sadly it never came true (it would be a huge thing if it did given my disability, the fact that my Mum doesn’t read Braille etc.), but I did get to sort of homeschool myself when going to the mainstream high school/college for adults as it made more sense for me than to sit in class while they were looking at slideshows and working with textbooks which I didn’t have in an accessible format so I only went there for term exams and emailed assignments to them. I’m still a big fan of homeschooling. But at the same time I realise that it is something really, really, REALLy difficult and daring and not every parent is able to do it for all sorts of reasons. I guess we all can think of some reasons for why it is so difficult and, as it is, not doable for many people, even if they really want it and even if their kids would really benefit from it. But one of the problems I see here is that homeschooling is seenn as some sort of last resort, when all else fails, and there’s very little support for parents who are brave enough to decide to do it. If someone does it even if nothing has failed in their child’s case, or there could be other options to explore, they’re seen as kind of eccentric. So I guess many parents may not even know that it’s a possibility, or if they know and are willing and theoretically could be able to do it, they don’t know how to go about it, because it’s not something you hear a lot about. I think it should just be one of the default options. You can send your children to school, or you can homeschool them, or flexi-school them (do some days at school and some days at home/somewhere outside like a museum), and there should be resources or places widely available that would give people all the info and help that they might need to make either of those three things happen. My Mum has really wanted to homeschool Sofi, which obviously didn’t work out, and that was one of her difficulties as well, that she didn’t know how one actually makes it happen. Like, can you just pull your kid out of school and say “I’m teaching her at home now?” I think it would be a lot easier if there was some sort of department at schools or separate places that would be there to help parents to make it easier to coordinate it all – helping the parents to make a plan of children’s education that they would stick to, make sure that the parents have all the materials they’ll need, assess the progress of the children with exams and what not organise time for children to  spend  together and socialise and have group activities, organising additional tutoring for children who are struggling in some subjects and whose parents aren’t able to help them adequately, just generally support such families. Perhaps they even should get some sort of benefits or however you’d call that in English, for homeschooling, so that one parent wouldn’t need to work and could stay with the children and teach them. I’ve heard that such families often stick together a lot because it’s naturally a lot easier for them to homeschool if they help each other out. Not every parent is good at every single subject, not every parent will find the motivation for taking their children for educational trips on a regular basis, but it’s easier when there’s a group of families who goes together so they don’t have to be alone with coming up with and preparing everything, so such parents share the responsibilities, plus the kids get to spend a lot of time with their peers, unlike what a lot of people think is the case with homeschooled children. There’s also flexi-schooling. Someone may want their children to develop their particular talents first and foremost, but obviously they also want them to learn everything and anything else that might be useful, except they don’t have a clue about physics, so the kid goes to school for physics. Or someone wants their child to be homeschooled but realistically can only take certain days of the week off work, and the rest of the week the child would go to school. 

   That’s, more or less, what I would give my lecture about. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Song of the day (9th October) Maire Brennan – “Against The Wind”.

Hey people! 🙂

Since I had a yucky migraine yesterday, I’m only sharing yesterday’s song of the day today. I chose it to be a song from Maire Brennan’s first solo album, which is a real fight song. Apparently its original video has something to do with helping children, which is in line with Maire’s passion for helping them. I like the vibe of this piece

Question of the day.

What social stigma does society need to get over?

My answer:

As someone who is disabled and mentally ill, the most instinctive answer for me is disability/mental illness stigma, but since many of my readers also have mental illnesses and/or disabilities, I figured I’d leave that in case someone would like to write about this and I’d write about something else. Recently we’ve been talking with my Mum about stigma that mothers have to face, and if I were a mother, I’d be pissed off big time about it. Even when I’m not, I find it very annoying. Being conservative, Christian, traditionalist in a lot of ways, albeit an open-minded and quirky one, and all sorts of things like that I’m not necessarily a feminist the way feminism is typically understood these days, and neither is my Mum, but I think both of us still are, just in a different way. I suppose though that in this case the more modern feminists would probably agree with me. What I’m talking about is, when a man who has children goes out for a beer with his friends, no one investigates where and with whom he left his children, no one makes a tragedy out of it that a dad went out on his own without dragging his kids along. When a woman goes out with her friends clothes shopping and happens to come across someone she knows in the meantime, she’ll very likely be questioned about where her children are, as if her sole function was being a mother. Many will even procede to make such a “cruel” mother feel guilty or something. I’m not saying that a father can replace a mother, and there are definitely things that mothers tend to do better than fathers, and that fathers tend to do better than mothers, hence I believe that it makes sense that their respective roles in the family should be different, but their responsibility for children, and the right to have other identities and not just one of a parent, is something they both should share.

Also in the family department, the childless/single people stigma bites. I know a lot of young single and/or childless people and it’s crazy how often I hear people talking to them or about them how they should start looking for someone, how it would be super cool and cute and amazing and delightful if they became a mummy or daddy, how it would be good if they found another half to make them happy, ask them if they already have someone, or when they’re gonna have kids etc. etc. etc. Probably the most of that stuff that I witness is directed at my brother, who has no plans of finding a girlfriend any time soon and thus of having children either. I’m in a similar situation, but luckily I get way less of such bullcrap because duh, I’m blind so in most people’s brains it’s probably not even possible for me to be in a relationship and have children. 😀 Even my Mum, who is a very open-minded thinker and doesn’t like going with a life scheme and all that, and always tells us that she doesn’t want us to feel pressured to do any of the normal stuff that people do, she’ll still sometimes sigh how she’d like for Olek to “settle” and “find someone”. Thankfully she always has me to remind her of her no schemes philosophy lol.

The main reason why I’m so opposed to people imposing their relationship/children views on other people is not even so much because I don’t like schemes, but more so because I think not everyone is a good fit to be a parent. It’s a great thing to have a great family if you can and if you’re a good parent, but I think it’s a really bad idea to make it seem so that it should be the majority’s vocation to have children. My Mum and me have come up with that idea many years ago that people should be tested in all sorts of ways whether they’re fit to be parents and then be allowed or not allowed to have children. Obviously in practice there would be loads of problems and controversies around it that would be super difficult to handle in real life, and especially if you look at it from our Christian perspective, but in any case, parenting is a very difficult task, probably the most difficult in the world, and few people at the age of 20 when they’re often emotionally still much like children themselves are ready to start raising children of their own and the whole social pressure is an awful idea.

What is such stigma in your opinion? 🙂

Myrkur – “Två Konungabarn” (Two Children of the Kings).

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I decided to share with you a beautiful Swedish folk song, performed by a Danish artist. Myrkur means darkness in Icelandic and is a project of Amalie Bruun, who is into everything from black metal to folk, often with very strong pagan connections, which is why I don’t really listen to her particularly much but I appreciate her and her music for how invested she is into it. She can play several traditional instruments like nyckelharpa or lyre. And this is my favourite song of hers. The translation of the lyrics is below, I’ve taken it from

here,

although I’m not perfectly sure that everything in it is correct and some bits seem a bit weird compared with the original, but perhaps it wasn’t meant to be a literal translation so I didn’t change anything.

 

There were two noble children of the kings

Who exchanged their vows

And the one who will break it

Will live in great unrest

There was an old witch

Who overheard them talking

“I want to destroy their love

If I may live that day”

And the duke got ready and sailed

And the billow hit him in his chest

But when he was sinking

The light in the lantern ceased burning

The young maiden asked her father

“Near the little green river

Am I allowed to go for a walk

Near the little green river?”

“It’s enough I give a permission to go for a walk

Near the little green river

Wake up your younger brother

He can well go with you”

“What will my brother do there?

He doesn’t understand much

He shoots all little birds

That go along his way”

And the young maiden went for a walk

Near the little green river

And there she saw a fisherman

Who was fishing on his boat.

“Good day, good day to you fisherman

Good day to your boat

Have you seen a nobleman

Floating on the blue waves?”

“His socks were made of silk,

His shoes were with golden buckles

And I would never thought

That I’ll see a corpse smiling”

And the young maiden took the rings off her hand

And golden chain off her neck

And gave them to the little fisherman

Who lead the boats forward

Question of the day.

Would you rather have three pets or three kids?

My answer:

I think three pets is a more realistic option as I am most likely not going to have kids and have no desire for that to happen. Also we already do have over three pets – Misha, Jocky, and several fishes. –
That being said, I think if I lived by myself three pets wouldn’t be an option either, I wouldn’t decide to have more than one pet for sure, and I most definitely wouldn’t if I still had Misha, Because the only pet I would ever consider having would be a cat (well, I would be extremely happy to have a horse too, but it’s probably even less likely to happen than kids, and especially if I lived on my own 😀 ) and we learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to have another cat while we have Misha. Even if it wasn’t Misha, I think I’m probably always going to be wary of the idea of having more than one cat at a time, having heard very different opinions about this and having had the negative experience with Misha and Sasha that I’ve had, I wouldn’t like to go through something similar again. Even aside from whether they would get along or not, I think having just one cat would let me give more love and attention to it without having to divide it, and also it’s just easier to take care of one vs three.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Would you ever send your kids to boarding school?

My answer:

In strictly practical terms, no, because it’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to have kids, for several different reasons (the fact that I’m blind isn’t one of them, despite what a lot of people think 😀 ).

Hypothetically, it’s… complicated. As someone who spent 10 years in a boarding school and mostly didn’t like it to put it very concisely, I’m normally inclined to say NO WAY. It’s not that I think boarding schools are bad in general or that my school was bad, I feel like you really have to have a valid reason to do so, unless your kid is like in high school and actually wants it herself because she thinks it’s very cool. Then she has a more or less developed character so you can figure out whether it’s actually a good solution for her. With younger children, unless they have some special needs, disability or severe behavioural problems and there really is no other option, or you’re from some family where education is a priority and you want your child to have the best education possible in the fanciest school in the country because otherwise they’ll be a black sheep in their circle; I can’t think of a rational reason why anyone would want to send a younger child to a boarding school.

In my experience, when I mention someone about my being in a boarding school and not having the best time there, people often jump to a conclusion right away that it’s my parents who are to blame because they should know better and get me out of there earlier if I was struggling. Even my Mum used to think like this and I think she still has some guilt even though I don’t blame her at all. But I really don’t think my parents had a better choice. We had tried one alternative and it didn’t work out for me. And, as I think I’ve already written on here before, boarding school can have a fantastic influence on a child, or it can fuck them up, and you just cannot predict it in an easy way when the child is very young.

I always feel for any child when I hear about them going to a boarding school, even if they don’t feel for themselves at all. That’s just how my brain works now I guess. 😀 So, based on my previous experience that was mostly negative, it would be only natural that I wouldn’t want the same to happen to my child. Often I even wonder how I’d cope with sending a child to a normal school, and whether I wouldn’t transfer my anxieties around that and my less than enthusiastic attitude towards the education system onto the poor kid before they’d get to form their own opinions and figure out how much they like/don’t like school. I’d probably prefer to do homeschooling/flexi schooling or something like that (I always wanted to be homeschooled as a kid, like that was my biggest dream) only I’d surely have no patience for it and I dislike teaching other people.

On the other hand, I have such a weird tendency though. My Mum said half-jokingly that I should count this as yet another reason not to have kids, and yes, I sort of do. 😀 I feel like I’d probably be a very extreme parent. Either, like I just said, over-protective, shielding and molly-coddling or sometimes I feel that I would actually do just the opposite thing. I would send my kid to a boarding school, to make someone feel the way I did. I don’t know if it makes sense. I do know though that it sounds very immature and cruel, but I’m not gonna have kids anyway so I don’t think it really matters. Ever since I was a child, I had a weird sense of pleasure of reading books about kids who were sent away from home or had no family or something like that, firstly because I found that more or less relatable, and secondly because it made me see that there is someone who has it worse than myself and it made me feel better. There was one such Polish series I read as a child, (“Ania Z Lechickich Pól” (Anne of Lechite Fields) by Maria Dunin-Kozicka, in case it tells you anything), it wasn’t really for children but it followed the main character – Ania’s – life from her childhood until young adulthood and it’s title was rather suggestive that it was for children, like Anne of Green Gables or something, so I guess that’s how I ended up reading it. Ania, after living a few happy years in a very loving family is sent off to something like an orphanage, because her father died and her mother married her rich childhood friend, who didn’t like Ania, so he arranged it so that her mother would think it’s just for a short while. Then WWII came, and the orphanage relocated to Ukraine, without the family knowing, because of course no one knew she had a family who would be interested in knowing that. She does eventually find a very loving adoptive family and then reunites with her biological siblings as an adult, but the first part of the series describing her childhood is quite harrowing given her personal situation and how painful it is for her as well as the war in the background. And, while I felt for her a lot, in a way it also made me feel good that this girl, even if fictional, had it so much worse and I enjoyed reading about all the difficult stuff in her life.

So, yeah, I don’t really know. Maybe I’d be a very bad mummy and send all my kids to different boarding schools all over the country, or maybe I’d be a good-bad, nurturing and obsessive mummy who would dote on their children all the time like I do on Misha and keep them locked at home like I do with Misha as well. 😀

You? 🙂

Plu – “Milgi Milgi” (Greyhound Greyhound”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’d like to share with you a little children’s song by Plu. You may remember, if you have been around here for a while, that Plu is a Welsh alt-folk trio, consisting of Gwilym Bowen Rhys (who has been my most recent faza subject) and his two sisters Elan and Marged, with Elan being the leader of the group. They have recorded an album solely dedicated to songs about animals for children, it’s called Holl Anifeiliaid I Goedwig (All The Animals of the Forest). Naturally, being a children’s songs album, it feels a bit different from their usual, otherworldly, psychedelic music, but I really like it. It has such a fun, carefree, innocent feel to it. I believe that at least some of these songs are traditional, but I have no clue as for who wrote/composed this one, Spotify credits don’t say anything and I don’t know any other version of this song. Milgi means greyhound in Welsh, and that’s exactly what this song is about, and also about a little hare. I think that, musically, it’s my favourite one from this album. Well maybe except Melangell which I shared a few years ago.

Question of the day.

What was the last thing you texted?

My answer:

I was texting with Zofijka a while ago. Since her and me are the only people in our family who have iPhones, and Sofi can spend ages on the phone when not controlled, I’ve set up a family cloud for us a while ago and I control her screen time so that Mum is happy. It’s a compromise because otherwise my Mum freaks out so much that Sofi isn’t allowed Internet access on her phone, and this way it’s quite pointless that she has an iPhone at all. This is quite overwhelming for me though I’m happy to help Mum, I just don’t like the part of being the bad guy too much, and it’s quite a responsibility even if I’m mostly asking Mum what Sofi should be allowed or not allowed as Sofi is not my child so I can’t and don’t want to make decisions about her, at least not when Mum is around. And today Mum told me that I should increase Sofi’s downtime, quite drastically, and basically now she can use her phone only three hours a day. Some half an hour later she sent me an angry text (she is allowed to text during downtime) asking if I’ve limited her WhatsApp use as well, I said no, we haven’t talked about that with Mum, but actually I should probably ask her, because it’s not a good idea for her to have limitless access to WhatsApp now during school year. Sofi bombarded me then with frantic and aggressive texts about how much she needs WhatsApp and how key it is for her daily functioning, well she didn’t phrase it this way but it sounded as if her life depended on 24/7 access to WhatsApp. I mentioned that even if her WhatsApp will be limited, she’ll still have access to normal messages, so I don’t see the problem, to which Sofi responded that WhatsApp is almost the same as messages so it shouldn’t be limited. Well, if WhatsApp is the same as messages, what’s the point in using both of them and why does it matter for her so much which one does she use? I was feeling compelled to limit her WhatsApp just for her awful behaviour, but first I called Mum and told her about the situation and asked what she wants to do. And Mum wanted Sofi to have her standard app limit – that is an hour and 50 minutes as for most of her apps – for WhatsApp, so I cut it down and texted Sofi about it. So that was my last text.

Oh, and if WhatsApp counts as texting too, just while writing this post I got a message on there from Dad, who sent me some YouTube video, and I replied to him gently encouraging him to think independently because his source is quite biased and spreads a lot of bullshit, which I’m sure he’d notice if he’d thought of it before sharing with everyone. Uh, the way I put it on here sounds kinda jerky I guess, but my message really did not, I’m just a bad translator, even of my own writing, lol.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

My answer:

Well, it depends on so many things, in my opinion. It depends on whether we are talking objectively what is the worst (most harmful) way of naming a baby, or rather the worst way of choosing a name for your baby, or subjectively which name I dislike the most. If we’re talking about the latter, just as I know lots of beautiful names that I love and could give my children, I’ve also learnt about lots of names from all sorts of cultures that I intensely dislike and it’s hard to pick just one that I would dislike the most and think that it’s the absolute worst. If we’re talking about the former, I think there are lots of ways to do it wrong, but then even when we’d try to look at it objectively everyone has so different values and opinions when it comes to ochoosing a name. And there are so many names out there that I’ve heard about over the years and would have never thought in the past that anyone coould ever use, yet people do use them. Shooter, Lucifer, Legia (as in Polish football team Legia-Warsaw, or at least I’ve heard about a daddy wanting to call her daughter this, but I don’t know if he succeeded with our back then quite strict naming laws), Google, Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 pronounced as Albin, or A, also pronounced as Albin (an “artistic” creation of Swedish parents Lasse Diding and Elisabeth Hallin, though the boy didn’t get named either in the end, but was nameless for some six years instead), or some eccentric Puritan names like Silence, which are all quite extreme examples of really bad ways of naming your child. But it’s hard to pick the worst, really. Then there are people like my Mum who flinch at every normal name they’d never heard onn a real person when they first hear of it being used on a baby. Recently our distant relatives called their baby boy Noe (Noah in English) and while Noah is very popular in the US, Noe is not so much in Poland, even though the N as a first letter is quite a trendy theme at the moment in my view, although a bit more for the girls, and Biblical boy names have been ruling for a while, and short names have been getting a lot of attention as well. The reason for Noe not being in favour is probably that it ends in -e, while it’s rather uncommon (and may feel unnatural for many people) for a masculine Polish name to end with a vowel other than -i or -y. I don’t know any guys called Noe personally. Anyways, my Mum told me that in a very horrified, indignant voice, and when I said “So what? Noe isn’t a usual name, but I don’t see anything wrong with it if they like it so much”, she was even more horrified and like: “But how will they call him, in normal life, every day?! Ark? There’s no nickname for Noe!”. Oh yes, that’s such a dilemma! But Poles like their nicknames. My Mum’s name is Anna, short enough, right? But no one calls her Anna, just as hardly any other Annas are just Annas. A Polish Anna usually automatically goes by Ania, unless she’s prepared for a life-long battle of correcting everyone. I love the name Anna so much but Ania is so superficial and bland. So I said that nicknames are only a matter of creativity, at least in our language, you have pretty much endless possibilities, and after all there are no rules that one nickname works with only one name, no one said at all that your nickname has to be related to your birth name. So if he likes to go by Ark indeed, why the heck can’t he? I’m sure it’s better to be the only Noe in school than the 30th Jakub, especially that the name is – like most Polish names – very straightforward in spelling, declination and what not, so should not be overly stigmatising or burdening unless he keeps bumping into such strange judgy people like my Mum. 😀 Or yesterday Sofi told us that there’s a boy called Michael in her school. The Polish version of Michael is Michał, and Michael on a Polish person certainly would feel a tad pretentious to most Polish people (including myself) because the spelling is not in-line with our phonetics, because we have our own native form of the name and despite it’s now legal to use names from foreign cultures with non-phonetical spellings, it’s still a new thing and generally it tends to be a bit of an informal naming rule for most people still not to use names from different cultures if we have a native equivalent or if that foreign name doesn’t adapt well to the language. And the boy doesn’t seem to have foreign roots or anything. So my Mum rolled her eyes and was like: “Really…? He’s Michael! I thought they were such normal people!”. 😀 So, as you see, it often doesn’t take much to shock people, even though I personally think that, while I would never call my child Michael in Poland and while it is a bit pretentious, it’s not harmful or somehow really stigmatising in a major way.

So, let’s just talk about what I would try to do or avoid doing when naming my potential baby, some rules that I would stick to, not necessarily about my personal style as such but more like to simply make sure that my child’s name will be at least bearable to them to live with for their entire life.

I would avoid names that feel dated and not ready for a comeback yet, so names that are typical for either my generation or the generation of my parents, because by the time my child would go to school or something, it’s likely that the name would feel cringey to their peers if it was massively popular in, say, the 90’s and then has become much less popular so that it’s associated with the 90’s very strongly and is more common among the mums or dads. I’d also try to avoid names that would seem “seasonal” to me. Ones that get a lot of usage in a short while and then quickly fall downwards in popularity to never come back again.

Unless the child would have some foreign heritage in close family, I would not use a name that could be difficult to spell here, because Polish is a phonetic language and almost everything is spelled as it’s said. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a known Polish name though, for example my long-time favourite for a potential baby girl is Saskia. And I’ve just looked through the popularity list for the whole Polish population and couldn’t find the name Saskia there at all, so if there are any Saskias here there is less than 100 of them. yet still it ends with an -a, as a proper, traditional Polish feminine noun should, and poses no pronunciation or spelling dilemmas. I think, like most people, I’d be in that category of parents who want something unique but not too qree8tyv.

I have nothing against people using unisex names, but it’s not a thing here, and that’s probably part of why I am not a big enthusiast of them myself, with some exceptions. But I would definitely try to avoid unisex names, or at least those that are rather similarly often used for both genders, I would mind much less names like Evelyn (which is an adorable name) which use on males is pretty much historical from what i know. If I’d want to use a word name, in Polish I’d probably never do it at all because there are only few traditionally used word names and the idea is still very new. If I were to use an English word name, I’d likely use it for a middle, especially if it’s a frequently used word, or has some very specific associations. Though the word names category is very broad, I guess even Jack could count, and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using names like that as they’re well known as names and very normal. My long-time word name favourite is Hyacinth, and I’d be also happy to use that, and surprisingly, on either gender. But that would only be if I lived in an English-speaking country.

Because I believe in that name & personality thing as you probably know, and I would really hate to give my child a name that wouldn’t miss their personality, I would be careful with using family/honour names. Of course honouring someone is a great thing, but I want my child to have an identity of his own, so I would never give him a first and middle name of his grandad, rather, I’d use first name of his one grandad and second of the other. And I’d never do things like promising someone ahead of time, before seeing my baby, that I’ll name my baby after them for sure. Generally I think I would want to have some names prepared before the child’s arrival but I would not make a definite decision before seeing the child and spending some time with them, I must get a feel of them, I don’t want them to be conflicted internally. If there was a tradition in my family of using family names from generation to generation (which there sort of is because me and my siblings, my Dad and all his siblings all have middle names after our parents), I’d break this tradition if I thought that the name would clash with my kid.

What would be the worst name/way of naming for you? 🙂

Question of the day.

If you had to name your child after a city, what would you name them? Boy AND girl.

My answer:

Well. I guess that depends… because in Poland we don’t really have the tradition of using geographic names as human first names, and for a long time, when we had official naming rules, it was actually not allowed, or at least somehow not correct from the linguistic point of view. We do have some names that are well-known as names and at the same time happen to be names of cities, but it’s not a thing really to name babies after places, even now when we no longer have that rule. I can’t really think of many Polish given names that would coincide with city names except for some very old Slavic names (like there’s a Polish town or city, I’m not sure what it qualifies as, anyway it’s called Wrocław, and there used to be an old Slavic name Wrocław as well) but those don’t really appeal to me. There also are names of foreign cities like Wiktoria, Adelajda, Konstancja and Florencja (though I’ve never seen Florencja in actual use, it’s rather Flora or Florentyna), or even Emilia as there’s Reggio Emilia in Italy, and I do like them though I’m not sure I like Konstancja and Adelajda enough to use them, and I think Wiktoria is too popular for me, and I wouldn’t call my child Emilia, first because it is my name and second because it’s popular for babies right now. So, if we are talking about Polish, I’m a bit clueless. Oh, I could use Filadelfia for a girl and call her Fila, but that would be really extravagant! 😀 Other than that I really can’t think of many city and people names in Polish.

I have more ideas if we’re talking about English names, assuming I lived in the English-speaking world or wanted to give my child a foreign name for some reason. For a boy, I think I’d go with Milan, just because I like this name and quite a lot. I also like Hamilton because I have nice associations with it, though the name itself is not very much my style and if I had any more children I’d probably have a hard time finding names that would fit with Hamilton and that I would like. But oh… wait, I’ve just got an idea! Isn’t there a city somewhere in the US that’s called Jackson? So yeah, I could happily go with that! I could have either two sons Hamilton and Jackson because I happen to like them both even though they aren’t exactly the kind of names I normally tend to like, or I could have one boy called Milan Jackson, but going by Jack, yay! I just feel like Milan Jackson goes better than Jackson Milan, what do you think? For girls, I could make whole city combos! I could happily use Sofia, Florence, Adelaide (which I like more than Adelajda), Victoria, Chelsea (though I’d rather use Chelsea as a middle), Laris(s)a. So, those are my ideas.

How about you? 🙂 It doesn’t have to be a lot of ideas, of course, can be just for one girl and one boy.

Song of the day (25th January) – Monica Törnell – “Faster Fantasis Visa” (Aunt Fantasy’s Song”.

Hey guys! 🙂

I’d like to introduce you to a singer that I know quite well pretty much since I’ve become familiar with Cornelis Vreeswijk. Some of her music I like, some not so much, but for sure, her career and Cornelis’ were closely related, because Cornelis Vreeswijk was the one who discovered her in the 1970’s.

Monica Törnell is from Hälsingland, and enjoyed singing since an early age. As a young girl, she was singing at the opening of a restaurant of her father, and Cornelis was passing by and heard her. He liked her voice and somehow from there it has started, he helped Monica to develop her career and she also toured with him for a bit and featured on one of his albums. She was very popular in Sweden in the following years, until at some point, about 20 years after the beginning of her singing career, she started having serious health issues like myasthenia gravis so had to step away from singing. However she did release her newest album some… 2 years ago, I believe. Her voice is very characteristic, right now as she is older she doesn’t sound as good in my opinion, but there are people who like her nowadays voice even more. When she was younger, she had really wide vocal range, and her vocal abilities as well as the sound of her voice and also her style a little bit, remind me very strongly of Janis Joplin, though maybe it’s just me. Her music is a sort of blending of folk, pop and rock and sounds quite characteristically of 70’s-80’s. Monica has also been very good at drawing and painting since childhood, and she does paint still.

I was wondering for a long time which song of her I wanted to share with you because I have quite a few favourites, but I didn’t want the language to be too big a bareer – as most of her songs are in Swedish. – The one I chose finally is also in Swedish, but I think it shouldn’t be difficult for me to describe to you what it is about so you can have a clear idea.

The song is called “Faster Fantasis Visa” and I’ve always thought that it sounds like from some sort of an old children’s programme, and it seems like I had a surprisingly good hunch because, well, yes, it is! I couldn’t find much info on it other than the programme was one of the first children’s programmes in the Swedish television and started out in the 50’s, and was called “Humle och Dumle”, and I believe Faster Fantasi (Aunt Fantasy) must just be one of the characters, but, apart from what’s in the song, I didn’t find any info about her.

I like her because she’s kinda like me. 😀 From the song we know that her full name is Eva Britta Karin Katarina. She sounds like an extremely refined and experienced person. She’s been to India, China, Sahara, Italy (twice actually), London, Vienna, Argentina, Yugoslavia, England, Netherlands, Pakistan, New Zealand, Göteborg, Moscow, Copenhagen, Berlin… all around the world virtually as you can see… but – she adds – “I’ve never been outside my door, because I travel in fantasy”. Ain’t that so very cool?! 🙂

The Human Life of Misha Hhrrru? ep. 6.

Hhrrru? 😻
This is Misha. How are you pets and peeps doing? Any yummy things you’ve eaten this week? Any adventures? Me, I almost choked with a bracelet yesterday. Mum hung it on my neck, when Mila wasn’t around. Mila never lets people decorate me like a Christmas tree because it has happened a few times that it hooked on to something and I couldn’t free myself, and it almost choked me. That was a loose bracelet with a cat on it and Mum thought nothing would happen to me but I didn’t like the idea, and neither did Mila. It started to irritate me last evening and I wanted to do something with it and was yanking on it with my teeth, and then I couldn’t free my teeth from it and was choking with it again. Mila was soooo mad at Mum, and I was too, sort of.
Oh but I promised you to share my what-if human lifestory. So, here is episode 6. There won’t be episodes 1-5 because those are reserved just for Zofijka according to her request. So we’re starting at the time when I’m six years old. Here we go: *****
The Human Life of Misha Hhrrru? Ep. 6.
January 30.
It’s my 6th birthday today, yay! SO I have a lot to talk about. It was a fantastic day! I’m so happy, I couldn’t sleep last night, wondering what will happen today and what presents I will get. So I’m a bit sleepy now. I got up almost as soon as the sun was out and got dressed super quickly, like I never do, and was downstairs in 5 minutes.
“Oh, Misha, you’re up already?” – Mum was in the kitchen, stirring something, and looked very surprised. “What happened, you’re never out of bed that early on Saturdays? Did you forget it’s weekend?”
“Did you forget that it’s my birthday, mum?” – I chirped and felt so happy that I couldn’t resist and jumped up high in the air. I’m very good at jumping.
“Oh, really?! I completely forgot!” – I felt very hurt. How could she forget about my birthday? And yesterday she remembered, so why not now? “Mum, how can you not remember?” – I said with a very sad face.
“Oh Misha, you little silly sausage, how could I forget about your birthday? Of course I didn’t! I was just joking.” – I breathed a sigh of relief and laughed, at that “sausage”, I love sausages. She quickly came over to me and scooped me in her arms, and started spinning around the kitchen with me, as she used to when I was younger, singing Happy Birthday, and planting kisses all over my face in the meantime. “Happy birthday, my little, sweet, precious boy”.
“Mum, I am six… I’m not little” – I said, starting to feel a bit dizzy and embarrassed.
“Okay, okay, giant Misha. You must be patient and understanding with your old mother. For me, you will always be my tiny little Misha who is 3 and a half. My memory isn’t that good to always catch up with your age. Now, sit down and have a mug of hot chocolate. I’ve just made it for you.”
“Yeah, that’s what I love most about having a birthday. I always get a big mug of steaming hot chocolate. Not a cup, a mug. And there was a little cupcake with a decorative lettering on it saying “Happy birthday, Misha”. I knew it wasn’t my mum who made it, my mum is rubbish at baking, everyone knows it, but it felt so cool that I had my own special cupcake with Misha written on it. It felt a little odd to eat it. Most happily I would just keep it until monday and show off with it at the nursery, but… it was too yummy. So I sat at the table and ate my food. Mum didn’t even force me to eat sandwiches, as she always does. I hate bread. But I do like cupcakes. As I was eating, I could hear dad waking up and yawning, and pottering around the room. I was still enjoying my meal and just finished to eat the word “happy” off the cupcake when he came into the kitchen, still yawning and stretching and rubbing his eyes.
“Ah, Misha, you here already?” – he said, and I could hear he was still half asleep. Dad’s a heavy sleeper, just like me. I wonder why then did he find himself such a job that he has to wake up so early for it, and even on Saturdays. When I will be his age, I will be the boss, so I’ll never have to wake up early. I’ll sleep to 12 PM. Everyone will work for me, and I’ll only pop in there in the afternoon to see if they did everything well and give them their cellery. Loooots of cellery, and for their children too, even if they don’t like it. If they will work well I will give them loads of cellery but if not I will only give them carrots. I’ll be very fair with cellery, not like my Dad’s boss. I don’t know why people want cellery from their boss but my dad constantly complains about his, and that it’s too low and not as much as it should be. Indeed, I’ve never saw him coming back from work with cellery, but I’m quite happy about it, I hate it. And I hate all vegetables. Mum says I’m very picky and would only eat meat and junk food.
Dad was drinking his coffee and reading a newspaper, but I could see he wasn’t paying attention to it.
“Dad, do you remember?”. – He jumped in his chair as if I woke him up from a nap. “Yes, yes, I remember about your swing, I’ll repair it tomorrow”.
“I’m not talking about the swing, dad!” – yeah, that’s always the case with my dad, he never remembers the most important things. – “Do you remember what’s the day today?” “Ah, yeah, Saturday.”
“But it’s a very special Saturday.”
Finally Mum had to chime in.
“Filip, your son is desperately trying to get your attention. It’s his birthday today. Misha is six years old!”.
“Oh my God, the time is flying so fast!” – Dad said, suddenly looking much more brisk. – “So, how many bumps should I give you, son?” “Seven!” – I yelled with a thrill of happiness.
“Not now, he’s just eaten.” – said Mum.
“Okay, so maybe we’ll do it after I come back from work?”
“No, no, dad, please no! I’ve only eaten a bit.”
He glanced uncertainly at mum and I prayed that she would agree. I loved getting birthday bumps! “Okay, but be careful. I’m not sure it’s a good idea.”
I clapped my hands excitedly. “Yaay!”.
He bumped me up in the air and I gasped and laughed happily, with my eyes wide from both joy and a bit of fear.
“You’re too light, your mother has to give you more chocolate to drink!” – said dad, finally putting me down on to the floor. “More! More! Please, dad, I want more!” – I screamed and laughed.
“No, it’s forbidden. If you get more bumps than how old you are plus one, it will make you very unlucky this year. You don’t want it, do you?”. –
“You’re lying! I want 10, no… 20… 25 bumps, so I’ll be lucky for many, many years. I’ll be too heavy to be bumped up when I’ll be an adult, so I want enough of them now. Maybe even 50”. “Okay, 25.” – agreed dad after a while.
“Filip, don’t be crazy!…” – mum tried to intervene, but I was already in the air again, squealing with joy.
In the end, no one counted how many bumps I received. Soon even mum joined in, and we started playing that they were sending me high up into space. Mum took out a big blanket and wrapped me up in it, and they were both holding it and lifting me very high up into the air. Until finally I hit the chandelier with my foot, not strongly, but mum was afraid we will break it, and said that we’re all insane and need to stop.
My chocolate was already cold, but mum just sighed and made me another one, but without as much foam, it was still good.
Just as I finished my breakfast, I noticed that mum went into the living room and was now carrying a few packets in her arms.
“Wow, presents for me!” – I screamed, and started tearing the paper on all of them at once. “Easy, Misha, your presents won’t run away.” – dad said cool-headedly.
I didn’t care. But I had to decide which box to open first, after all. I decided on the biggest one. It took me some time and effort to open it, but when I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes… I stared at my present with open mouth… A big, beautiful painting set. Just for me.
“Do you like it?” – mum asked tentatively after a while. “Dad said it’s too much and too fancy for a child your age, but at least you won’t have to paint on my easel anymore. And we do think you are a very talented lit… big boy. Incredibly talented. And you need to develop this talent.” – mum was speaking to me so calmly and seriously, and as if I was a really very big boy, and it made me feel so proud of myself. When my first shock passed, I quickly stood and ran up to her, hugging and kissing her. “Thank you, mummy! You’re fantastic. It’s so great!”.
“You need to thank dad most importantly.” – she said when I finally freed her from a very strong hug. So I ran up to dad and thanked him as well. I was so happy I could have cried.
My mum is an artist and paints a lot, and I’ve always loved painting too, but I’ve never had my own things to do that with. And now I had my own little easel, my own paintbrushes, beautiful watercolours, and even a box of new crayons, and some other artsy things. I couldn’t wait to try them out.
I could see my parents were also moved with my joy, but now dad really had to go to work. He kissed both of us and left.
I left my painting set on the table and went to see what other presents I got from my parents. There was a little lockable diary, with a cat and my name written on the front cover. My parents always say that I resemble a cat very much, and that I must have been a cat in my previous life, if there are previous lives. And I really like cats and things with cats on them. They really like me, too. I also got very warm and cosy slippers with cats on them. “It’s still winter, Mishka, and you didn’t have any good slippers” – Mum said.
I liked them a lot as well. I like smooth and warm things. There was also a pair of brand new football boots for me, which made me euphoric. I love football!
“Oh, and this is a present from your grandma” – mum said, producing another box. –
There was a small picture book – “Adventures of a Cat Called Misha”. “Yay! That sounds like the right book for me! And this cat is grey! My favourite colour!”
“This is just the first book in the series. We can read all of them sometime if you like it. I told grandma that there’s no way you wouldn’t like this book.”
It was a very pleasant day. I spent it just as I liked. I didn’t have to go to the nursery, and mum didn’t have to go anywhere either. I had the time to try out my new painting set, and I painted a little scene that my mum liked very much.
I painted a big, green grassland, with lots of different animals in the background, and some pretty flowers. In the middle, there was a big blanket, and my parents and me were sitting on it, and there was a big basket full of food. We were having a picnic. After a while I also painted my new football boots on my feet, and a football lying close to me, so that someone could think that Misha in the painting has just been playing football.
Mum said it was “breathtakingly skillful and detailed for a 6-year-old boy” and for a little while she indeed looked as if she couldn’t breathe.
Later that day, we had pizza and my family came. Grandma, aunt and uncle, and their son – my cousin Sasha. – His real name is Aleksander, but no one calls him that. They all were stunned by my painting too, and spoiled me with compliments. Sasha wanted to paint something too, but he is only three and doesn’t really know how to do it. He only wanted because I did. I let him use my crayons. I don’t want anyone to paint with my watercolours. Not such babies like Sasha for sure.
I also played a bit of football, but there’s no one living near us with whom I could play, I can only do that with my friend Feluś from school so that was a bit dull to play on my own.
After they left, mum told me that she had some spare clay and I could play around with it if I wanted. I love clay! And in the end we both ended up playing around with it, making lots of animals out of it. My mum is really good at that. I hope one day I will be as good as her.
Dad came back in the evening, a bit earlier than usual, and mum made a huge bowl of popcorn, we and watched cartoons for a few hours. That was so cool! My parents don’t usually do that with me. Dad just takes a shower and goes to bed because he is so tired, and mum always has tons of other things to do, even if she is home all day. So I was really really happy. And now I’m really really sleepy. Mishpurrs. 😴
Misha 💜 💚 💙

What’s up pets and peeps it’s MISHA!!!

Hhrrru?! 😻

How are you pets and peeps doing? It’s Misha and I just woke up from a long, long nap and am full of beans and very energetic. I probably won’t write much ’cause there are so many other things to do and my paws itch for a good run but just wanted to tell you that I am very happy because Zofijka’s just come back from her holidays! She went away for a week, and today she came back and at least something is going on in this house, it was like a graveyard without her and I was just sleeping and sleeping. The sad thing is that she doesn’t seem to be very interested in me. Mila says that she just has a lot of things to do and a lot of things to catch up on but I am worried that now she likes that other cat – Flocky – more than me. Flocky is their aunt’s cat and he’s also a Russian blue and apparently he’s my relative or something, but I’ve never met him. And Zofijka has been talking about him a lot. It drives me crazy. I just hope she’ll soon forget about him. And I am also a bit sad because she says she’ll be going away in two weeks again. But she’s very happy about it so maybe I should be happy too. After all, it can be really good too when Zofijka is not around. You can relax properly. Sleep more. Be less paranoid that someone’s lurking there waiting for you to come closer just to scoop you up and get into her noisy room and squeal “Miiiisha cuuute Miiisha!” in your ears. Oh yeah and there’s much less noise which is good, but, like I said, not for too long, as it starts feeling odd. I guess the peeps felt a bit odd too.

Has something nice happened to you this week? Any plans for the weekend? Are you gonna do something interesting with your peep(s), or with your pet(s) if you’re a peep? 🙂

Off to have a race with Zofijka.

Mishpurrs.

Misha 💜 💙 💚

Question of the day.

Hi guys. 🙂

Here’s my question for you today.

Do you silently judge someone if they had a kid very young (teenager) or very old (mid to late 40’s)?

My answer:

I usually don’t think much about these things because I am not a parent myself, although it does happen that I easily judge very young parents, because I just think it’s a pity to become a parent as early as in your teens, there is still going to be plenty of time for that, and teenagers aren’t usually mature enough for that, it’s a huge responsibility, while teenage years should ideally be a time of only preparing for such responsibilities, in my opinion, and not jumping into deep waters straight away. I also think it’s so often a result of thoughtlessness and lack of knowledge in sexual matters so that’s sad. And other than that being a Christian, from the religious point of view I think it’s wrong. Although I try not to let my first judgments influence my relation to people, because everyone’s situation is obviously very different, sexual assaults and such happen and it would be cruel to judge someone without knowing the background, and also even if such a teenage pregnancy is a result of some wrong decisions, no one of us is perfect and one wrong thing they did doesn’t define them as people, that would be crazy, and they may still be awesome and loving parents anyway. With older parents, well I might be just very surprised hearing about people having a child so late, I honestly don’t know many such people in person, can only think of one couple for whom it was very difficult because they already had many children and that late one was very unexpected, and they were struggling financially very much. I also might be a bit worried as such pregnancies are often more complicated and risky, but I don’t see anything else wrong with it, if you feel OK with it yourself and feel happy to be a late parent then why not, I think it also must have its upsides, despite many people seem to think otherwise.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

Today the question I have for you is about your childhood:

Was there anything you were allowed to do as a kid that most kids weren’t allowed to do?

My answer:

Well I guess that in a way, in our family, I was always the more privileged child in some respect. That was because of multiple things, I think. First of all, I was disabled and I think that in some regards it did impact my parents attitudes towards me. I was also their first child, the first one who was actually born and survived that is, as well as I was my maternal grandparents first grandchild, so that was a big thing, and had both good and bad consequences for me. Another thing was that when Olek was born, he was healthy and able-bodied, and there has strangely been a consistent generational pattern on both sides of my family that fathers are in a constant conflict with their sons, and so is with my Dad and Olek, even though things have eased over the years, but because of that, Dad was always more naturally inclined to me. According to my Dad I learnt to speak very quickly and apparently I was able to speak in sentences before I was a year old, while my younger siblings would learn to speak much later on and I know that my Dad really liked that about me ’cause he could actually get along with me as he says himself, he also always liked to show off with me. 😀 From all the recordings and stuff that they have of me from that time, I don’t think I was particularly special in this regard, and so does my Mum, but my Dad claims I was really different from all the children he’s ever met and more communicative. I don’t think he has more experience with children though, so from his perspective that may be true indeed. 😀 Then when I went to school at the age of 5 so I was about 400 km away from home and when I would come home it was more like I was a guest than anything and it was like a holiday for us and I was treated like a VIP which on one hand was cool because, well, who wouldn’t like to be treated like a VIP, but on the other hand was damn confusing and mesed up a lot of things for me, particularly my sense of belonging and stability ’cause that wasn’t really normal, even though I liked it. My Mum always thought I am so very mature, which she probably confused with me being intelligent, so she would always be much less strict with me than with Olek, who wasn’t much less bright but much more hyperactive and impulsive and that was what people had seen first about him.

It was particularly my Dad who was making a very visible difference between me and Olek. As a little child, I was happy about it, especially seeing how awfully and often irrationally stern he is with Olek, and I thought that I am just so lucky to be Daddy’s little girl and we’ve always got along well, despite there isn’t anything like some deeper understanding between us, we’re in a close but rather superficial relationship, not a very serious one, it’s quite immature.

Daddy woould be real nasty to Olek about something we did together while I wouldn’t suffer any consequences at all, or just a bit of telling off or some grumpiness until he forgets about the whole thing. He always liked to cuddle with me and although he was never the spoiling, doting kind of Daddy, he was close to that with me. I’ve also always had a bit of understanding of people so I knew how to not irritate him and how to convince him to something I wanted, and I guess I still have quite a strong influence onhim if I’ll try. He would buy me lots of yummy stuff just for myself, or take me to the beach and we’d go there just on our own, he would even sometimes play with me, while he never did that with Olek or even Zofijka as far as I am aware, or take me for quite long road trips or I remember that he took me from school in his tanker a couple times and that was always very adventurous and those tanker trips were always very exciting for me and one of my best childhood memories. Only that things have kind of broken a bit at some point, at least from my perspective, because we were once talking with Mum about Dad and Olek having another major crisis, Mum mentioned rather lightly, and probably not realising what kind of impact it was going to have on me, or rather how it’s going to sound, that Dad has always felt more fond of me because I am disabled so he was able to feel like more sympathetic towards me and have a better relationship with me than with Olek or Zofijka, and because I was away from home most of the time. I didn’t react to that, but it really got me ragin’. Maybe I should be a bit more understanding or something, like see the full picture and how it really is from his perspective, (though I’m not sure he’d be able and/or willing to tell me anything constructive) or just let go of that, but to me it sounded really awful and I am definitely not as genuine anymore in relation to him, anymore because knowing him it actually looks very likely. I suppose in some circumstances even feelings such as sympathy can with time grow into something more but then he wouldn’t treat us so unevenly.

I’ve always had a very strong relationship with my Mum, not always that very good, but dynamic and deep and pretty intense, and while she wasn’t as obviously favourising anyone as my Dad did, and has always loved all of us, she has always been very protective of me, don’t know if over- but very protective, and she would often let me do things that she wouldn’t let Olek do. I now know she has a lot of guilt feelings about that I had to be so far away from home, as if she could change much about it, and I think she wanted to compensate that for me in different ways, as well as that I said she just thought that I am so very mature.

Some of the things that I can remember were that Mum let me drink coffee from a relatively young age (guess I was like 8 or 9 years old and I really loved that and it made me feel so grown-up, I didn’t like to think about being a grown-up, but I did like the coffee drinking aspect 😀 hence probably my current coffee troubles hahaha). Now Zofijka is older than me then and would also like to drink coffee, but Mum tells her “No! It’s not for children!”. So I once asked her why Zofijka can’t, but I could, just of plain curiosity, and Mum argument was that “She’s too silly”. Can’t quite make the connection between those things, I know quite a few adult people who are silly and I would even say that’s too light a word and they still drink coffee but OK… Zofijka now is also spoiled by everyone, but in a completely different way as she’s just the youngest and the only child in the family at this point.

A funny thing, that I still consider funny, and a little bit confusing at times, is that my Mum have always asked me about lots of things, that she didn’t know but assumed that I might know. It looked particularly funny when we were somewhere with other people, ’cause which parent would ask the child about things. 😀 Parents always like to be right, and especially don’t like to admit that they don’t know something their child knows, like which spelling of the word repeatedly is correct (in Polish of course). 😀 When I was in my teens, she started to ask me for advice on lots of things, like what she should do in some situation or what she should choose. No, my Mum is not an indecisive person, I guess she just values my opinion or something, and I know she thinks I am a good listener. Now it’s not as weird as when I was a child, but when I was a child it felt kind of not typical in comparison to other families I knew that Mum would ask me what to do. It’s still confusing at times because you actually never know what her reaction might be like when you say something, even if in the end after a few months she’s going to say that I was right. 😀 Somehow though, maybe a little strangely, I’ve never had a problem with acknowledging her authority, it’s with Dad that I’ve always had this problem, and I don’t really consider him an authoritative figure or someone that I’d obey nowadays, for reasons other than to have a peace of mind.

What had been a bit of a problem for Olek when we were kids was that I got a phone when I was 12. It was a spontaneous decision and not really because I wanted it so much. Generally my Mum is against introducing technologies to children too early, and she used to say that she’ll buy us cell phones when we’ll be maybe like 15-16 or maybe even older. But when I was 12, I had to leave the integration school – closer to home – where I was for two years, and there didn’t seem to be much other choice than to go back to my old school. But Mum felt that now I’d need a phone, not only because I was older than when I was going there before, but also because I really didn’t want to go there so she hoped that if I would be able to be in some control of when we are in touch rather than have to wait for her to call the boarding school phone and possibly miss it, I might be more at ease with going back there, and that would just be more practical for me to have a phone. There was no such need for Olek though, so he had to wait some more, despite that he actually wanted a phone much more than I did.

Zofijka was much luckier, because although Mum also threatened her that she won’t have her own phone until almost adulthood, Zofijka was much more persevering, and also the times have obviously changed so it’s harder to stick to such a resolution. So about two years ago, when Zofijka was only 9, and had her leg in plaster, was terribly bored and really making a pain in the but of herself for all of us, Mum one day suddenly bought her a smartphone. She doesn’t have the Internet connection, but even without it, it still continues to make a lot of havoc in poor Zofijka’s mind.

I was also frequently allowed to stay up late, sometimes really late at night. It was well motivated though because my sleep cycle was messed up anyway so after some trials and errors Mum has rightly decided that no point for me going to bed at say 9 PM and waking me up at 7 AM for example if I’m not going to sleep either and am going to be drowsy the next day or be up and about at 3 AM. And it was often a lot of fun for me. I’d watch movies with parents, eat crisps withh Dad, or just listen to music and play or something – the best ideas for plays come to mind at night, just as now I still have the best and most creative ideas at night as well. – 😀

So those are the examples that I can remember now. It was kind of two-sided as you can see, both cool, and quite a bit confusing. And often made me feel not right in relation to my siblings. Like when I was going to the integration school and was thus living at home for two years and still having such a special treatment all the time, I felt pretty much like an intruder or something like this because my siblings weren’t treated like that, and I was afraid they might hold grudges against me because of that, especially Olek. But overall, I don’t consider my childhood particularly happy, – not somehow incredibly bad, but definitely not happy – so in a way I was glad of all that because it kinda made me feel special, in a weird way, but still.

OK so now you let me know how about you? And what was your point of view about that you were allowed those things? 🙂

Question of the day (5th May).

Would you ever consider naming your child after yourself, so she/he would be a “junior”? What would you think if this custom came back?

My answer:

Back when I was still using my birth name, and didn’t really think seriously about changing it, despite I did already think about myself as Emilia and loved this name, I thought that maybe if I had a daughter, I could call her Emilia instead. But now, even if I wouldn’t change my name to Emilia, it doesn’t seem a good idea for me. I think I would feel like something is not right if I did that. I could give my potential daughter my name as a middle, but probably wouldn’t, despite it is a kind of custom in our family and our region. I find it nice but boring.

Emilia is also a really hot name at the moment, I guess quite a bit more popular than among girls my age, not far below the top 10 and rising, and with Amelia being #9 and other -lia names in close proximity, and that’s off-putting for me for a baby name. As for this custom in general, of naming children after parents, like using a parent’s first name as a child’s first name, it’s not really common in Poland. I remember when I was a child, Olek told me about his class teacher “You know, you would get along with my class teacher, she likes the name Jacek, just as you, her husband is Jacek, and her son is Jacek too!”. 😀 And we were both like WOW! That’s crazy! How does she tell them apart? She really must love that name. So, I’d say it’s not really normal here. If you want to name your child after yourself or your spouse, use your name as their middle name. OK, my Dad wanted to call me Anna, after my Mum, but that’s probably why he didn’t in the end, because it’s her name already and because it’s not normal. But since I am now pretty familiar with lots of weird naming customs all around the world and especially in the English-speaking countries, it doesn’t really impress me and I don’t mind it, if someone wants it, it’s not my business. I just think it’s a little bit boring because there are so many beautiful names out there. Why limiting ourselves to just a handful?! Because I can see that if a parent names their child after themself, and a lot of people start to follow that trend, their children will likely do the same, and then naturally people’s names might suddenly become really boring and repetitive. I even have a problem with this middle names tradition over here, that everyone needs to have their parent’s name as a middle almost obligatorily, even though I do love my middle name after my Mum, I feel like it doesn’t allow creativity, especially that you can have only one middle in Poland if you’re a Polish citizen, not counting confirmation or a few traditional/obsolete hyphenated exceptions. Also, I can’t ignore the baby namer in me shouting “NO!” because as a firm believer in that a name carries a personality, or at least a strong potential influence on a person with itself, I just can’t help but feel that if you call your child after yourself, he or she may feel kind of unconsciously forced to be like you! To fulfill your expectations, follow your footsteps, won’t feel their own sense of identity, or at least that their name doesn’t belong fully to them. I was named after a close family member and my Mum’s best friend at the same time (they both shared a name), and still felt that way, like they want me to be someone I’m not, so how must a person named after their parent feel? That’s how I see it, you don’t have to agree with me and I’m pretty sure many people wouldn’t. So if someone would ask me for an advice regarding this, I’d say yes, you can, but if your name is easily nicknamed, try to find a different nickname for him, even if it’s just one letter or syllable more/less or a slightly altered spelling or let him have a nickname unrelated to the nickname that he likes and can go by daily, you’ll have to try to show your child that you embrace who he comes to be, that you accept him as he is and you’ll have to really stress that in his upbringing and make sure his personality develops harmoniously. I feel though like there really is a risk of some kind of disharmony between your own individuality and the way your family influences you. On a little different note, it’s just a little thought and it doesn’t mean that I have a problem with people naming their kids after themselves or am prejudiced but in a way it kinda feels a bit selfish to me. ‘Cause generally if we name our children after someone, we admire that person, or want to honour them because of something. So it feels slightly as if someone had a bit too large an ego. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Laura Gibson – “All THe Pretty Horses”.

Hi guys. 🙂

Have I ever told you before that I love lullabies, and so much so that I have a whole collection of them and love discovering new ones all the time, from all around the world? I really really love lullabies. Particularly very sad ones, or very sleepy ones (if there can be a not sleepy lullaby and can still be called a lullaby 😀 ). This one is special to me for one reason. It has horses in it. ANd I love horses as you know! So, well, I love the lyrics of it. I’d love to wake up one day and have “all the pretty little horses”, wouldn’t that be SO cool? But I only like this version of the song. Laura Gibson made it so, so sad. I feel tempted to say too sad, because actually the first time I heard it I couldn’t help but cry, and I’m normally that easily moved by any tear-jerkers, but it just touched something in my brain. But if I could change, I wouldn’t make it any less sad, I love it the way it is. No other version other than this acoustic one of Laura Gibson’s really speaks to me. And the story behind it is very moving, even if not fully credible. It is said to be of Afroamerican origin, and that it was first sung by an Afroamerican slave, who wasn’t able to take care of her own child because she had to take care of her master’s child, and she sang it to her master’s child. I know a fair bit about children being separated from their parents, though not in such a harsh context, so I find all such stories really sad. I think it is such a beautiful lullaby and so cute and sad!

Question of the day (25th March).

If you could disinvent one thing, what would it be?

My answer:

School. I’d disinvent it, and then invent it again so that it would have a completely different structure and would stop being brainwashing, as well as, among other things, it would also be optional for parents to send their children to school, home/flexi schooling would be highly encouraged, school would be more of an alternative for those children whose parents can’t or really don’t want to homeschool them, or to gain some additional skills that parents can teach their children but would like them to know, like some stuff that is of a special interest for the child or that they would like to base their career on in future. Schools would also be more of a place where the children could meet and play so that people wouldn’t complain that they don’t grow up together with their peers, and parents would be taught there on how to homeschool their children and just learn about parenting. But in fact I’d rather have someone else do that than do it myself, I don’t fancy dealing with this rotten system. 😀

How about you? 🙂