I think that’s all the usual insults out the way. Oh and I have never been a liberal. My politics are considerably more red than that.
The woman’s march in Washington DC attracted several memes on my Facebook page about how it wasn’t a march it was a tantrum. And how it was all anti-Trump. I think it’s more anti-Alt Right, the disease that is spreading across the world.
Anyone who shared one – welcome to the start of fascism. I’m so disgusted that I’m not even going to include one of those neat little propaganda pieces on my opinion piece. Of course the march was anti-Trump as it’s unlikely anyone who voted for him attended. Those that marched care about:
Anyone who really genuinely cares about the rights of of those who are not wealthy, male, Christian, straight – didn’t vote for Trump.
I am absolutely sure Hilary Clinton is everything those that didn’t want to vote for her says she is. I am absolutely sure that world politics is so corrupt that there is no easy fix. I get why people didn’t vote for Hilary. I get why people wanted change. Hell I want change. I didn’t want Hilary Clinton in charge.
What I don’t get is why people voted for Trump instead and that they wanted to change one lot of corruption for another lot of corruption. A corruption that craps on every American who doesn’t fit Trump’s image of an American. He’s not there to drain the swamp he’s there to get rid of the people in his way. Is the media corrupt? Of course it is but Trump doesn’t want a truly free press he’s more than proven that. The swamp will get deeper but with a different kind of shite.
My wife to be is trans. She’s also American. I’m the only member of my family who doesn’t have an American passport. My wife to be has every right to feel rejected by any fellow American who voted for Donald Trump. Anyone I know who went on the marches around the world were part of or supportive of vulnerable groups. They were not having a tantrum. They’re worried and scared and they have every right to be.
Those people who think millennials are snowflakes are absolutely right. My children are three unique individuals who are absolutely precious and beautiful. To the millennials I know uniqueness is something to be celebrated, loved and admired – they are the most tolerant generation.
I’m recovering from a period of fibromyalgia flare, ear infection and a major family crisis.
Over the next few weeks I will be adding to my blog. There will be new stories and old stories will continue. It will take me some time to work out how much work per week I can take on but I hope to have the days each will be published worked out by next Monday.
Life has changed. I can’t for the foreseeable future release a book so I am releasing them chapter by chapter on my blog. For the next few years my focus is sticking to my diet and learning how to be well.
Sam’s* family in Perth and Kinross were put through a similar hell to my own. This story in the Scottish Daily Express shows that Sam’s experience is not an “isolated incident” in Perth and Kinross. Like my own showed that Clare’s story in Moray was not an “isolated incident” there. How many isolated incidents = a problem. These incidents are starting to raise the question: is child protection across Scotland broken?
Following a serious anti-social neighbour problem, Sam and her family moved to Perth and Kinross. There is no harassment legislation in Scotland so getting a satisfactory legal redress when being tortured by the neighbours is not easy. For the families stuck in these situations the emotions involved can be similar to being in a war zone. To recover can take time and many victims of neigbour harassment, understandably, have mental health issues.
At the time Sam was pregnant and she has since given birth to a son. She is dealing with the mental health issues induced by the situation with her neighbour and her husband has ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (another topic very close to my heart). This is the kind of situation where the state should be able to help right? Don’t we expect in Scotland in 2016 to live in a compassionate society? A society that helps out when we don’t have family resources to do so? This particularly important as families shrink and we are more spread out. Modern families don’t have those old fashioned resources to help. When my mother had struggles there was an aunt or cousin or uncle or sister ready to step in.
Instead of the support she needed, Sam found herself battling with a health visitor who had no respect for her family, a health visitor who passed on their number and details to other agencies without permission, despite knowing how vulnerable that would make Sam and her husband feel. In fact health care professionals have accused Sam of “going on” about the neighbour situation she was in. Sam says she did not but even if she had surely she should be allowed to ask for help for her family to get over what happened to them. Instead of condemnation and being told to shut up about it, conversation should be encouraged and help provided to deal with it.
Sam’s son was referred to speech and language therapy and that has resulted in a catalogue of issues that Sam and her husband have to deal with over and above their health problems. Their son has yet to have any diagnosis or assessment and they are still unsure of the exact nature of that referral. Things were mentioned in the doctor’s letter that had never been previously discussed with them. It creates the impression that discussions are happening behind Sam and her husband’s back and they are not being consulted about their son. Parents know their child better than anyone else. Cutting parents out of any process is a huge mistake.
Fighting local authorities and health care professionals is particularly hard in situations when the parents are not at their full health and need support. I would argue it is also dangerous when the family is vulnerable and it creates child protection issues that hadn’t existed previously. Instead of support more obstacles were placed in the way of Sam and her family having a normal family life.
This is not good for them but more importantly this is not GIRFEC. Their son is not benefiting from having his parents ripped apart physically and mentally. How can keeping his main carers in the dark about his needs be good for him in anyway?
Our elected officials appear to have little power over the unelected in these situations and whilst we can turn to them of the stories I’ve heard very few get proper satisfaction. Council complaints are brushed off and buried under buercracy. I spent several months complaining about one issue with Moray Council to be informed that it wasn’t treated as a complaint because I hadn’t started the letters with “I wish to complain about...” In the case of ill parents, dealing with all the layers of government is yet another issue to deal with that takes energy away from them and reduces the quality of care they can give to their children. Instead of being able to deal with concerns they have and caring for their child, politics takes priority over the child. How is putting local authorities and government first – GIRFEC?
Sam has felt like both herself and her husband have been treated as though they are incompetent idiots. At every step of the way instead of engaging and listening to the family their family has been threatened with Social Services whenever they disagreed with the health visitor. This has made them afraid to fight back to complain and ultimately to stick up for their son. As a parent not being able to protect your child is the hardest thing in the world especially when the person you’re protecting them from should also have their best interests at heart.
Are these problems caused by the way professionals are trained? There appears to be a widespread inability to listen to the families and to engage with each one on a personal level. Throughout Named Person and GIRFEC, the Scottish Government have set the example with this. Parental concerns have been brushed aside and met with insults.
Since Named Person and GIRFEC have come on the scene there seems to be a rabid need to fit every family and every person into a box. We have become data for government to collect not individuals to assisted in our lives.
Sam’s family were wounded. They needed help to heal but instead the people they should have been able to turn to in that situation have turned on them. The actions of the state worked to destroy the family. Harming parents does not help children.
Named Person and GIRFEC are sticking plasters going on skin slimy with ointment. Is it time to rip off the plasters and let the damaged social services heal? They need more than stitching and plastic surgery.
Agencies don’t listen and threaten so parents are forced to lie to protect their families, and then agencies get suspicious because the parent lied. Nobody gets helped and everyone is angry. It’s a vicious circle and it’s certainly not GIRFEC or SHAANARI.
I couldn't resist this "Life of Brian" sketch. I feel like Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney proclaim whatever they feel like and want us all to respond with "Yes we are all individuals." Well I'm not.
*Sam's name has been changed to protect her anonymity.
This week the cheating began on Tuesday and there has been something every day. I’ve managed to stay dairy free and meat free but everything else has been broken in some way shape or form. And on Sunday I am suffering for it. I am sore, have a migraine from hell and my eyes are stinging.
It began after a difficult bike ride. I managed the four miles in to town. But then I had a Fanta. I needed something cold, wet and fizzy and full of sugar. In hindsight I should have packed a banana. Later in the evening I had a beer.
Then at my mothers I had forgotten to take my oatcakes so whilst I stuck to the rest of the diet I had Crackerbreads and allowed myself a glass of wine.
It really has just gone downhill. There’s been one thing after another and you know what aside from the glass of wine none of it has been worth the pain.
I’ve learned a lot and hopefully I won’t make the same dumb mistakes again. Because I’d forgotten how much things could hurt.
Today has been good – I’ve had my smoothie, a bowl of soup, loads of water and bean casserole for dinner. I won’t be having anything else.
Zeus the Godcat was in his kitchen making a cup of normal non herbal tea. He was doing that because like all Godcats he was really good at making tea. And Godcats had just discovered the luxury of electric kettles. He made the tea using bags from the Normal Cat Tea Company, he had extorted the tea bags from the Normal Cats.
Neptune the Godcat, Zeus’s friend is sat at the table watching Zeus make tea. He meows with satisfaction. “Those lazy Normal Cats we need to get them producing more tea. If they had less fur then they would need less time off because they wouldn’t then get hairballs.”
“Why do the Normal Cats always leave our stuff in the dust.” Zeus carried the two mugs of tea and put one down in front of Neptune. “They still think we are legends. Instead of delivering the tea direct they leave it at our shrines and expect money to appear in the next days. It’s such pain in the neck.” He sat down on the chair opposite Neptune. “And it’s so annoyingly inefficient.”
“I think we should use our powers. One of us should use the megaphone to speak to them. Shout loudly that if their tea production does not increase then we will shave them all bald in the night.” Neptune blew over the top of his steaming mug.
Zeus. “Sounds like a plan, old cat. Let’s convene the Council of the Godcats and have it decreed.”
The Doubts and Successes
Like all parents I experience doubt.
As a home educator there are moments when I think – what the hell am I doing?
And there are those very odd moments when I want to cry, throw in the towel and hand it all off to the state education system, admittedly those moments are few and far between.
We unschool. In our house that probably means the children do too much art and spend too much time on the computer, playing Five Nights At Freddies or Minecraft or RoadBlocks. However, over the years I've learned to trust them. They do learn and progress. The first time I realised it was when I sat down to "teach" evolution only to have them teach me more than I knew courtesy of Pokemon, Phineas and Ferb, and YouTube. Then there was that moment when my daughter was watching a documentary about James Clerk Maxwell as she'd discovered him through learning about the colour spectrum.
My daughter's time watching TV and playing on the computer is now translating into a talent for art and a desire to make films and animations. She's actually rather good and incredibly knowledgeable.
But… then there are those moments when I want to just have a party, pronounced partae…
Gasbag is nine and he has a variety of issues. If he was at school I would be fighting for a diagnosis. Our only attempts to find out what his issues are have set him back. Instead of trying to help children why do local authorities blame the parents first? Gasbag is constantly moving forward and more importantly he doesn’t know he has an issue.
I was despairing that he would ever learn to read but over the last few weeks I’ve watched him grow physically and mentally.
Do other unschooling parents notice that their children learn much more when they are going through a growth spurt?
Of all my children Gasbag has the most beautiful handwriting. It’s elegant and legible. However, reading has been a fight and a struggle. It has been tiaras, tantrums and destruction at the dining table. As he approaches ten I was beginning to worry would this ever happen? Would I have to give in? We’d tried many methods.
Over the past two weeks he’s gone from not being able to read to sounding out and spelling out words and with help he’s writing well constructed sentences. The first day he wrote a story outline: The Legendary GodCats. With a little help from me he wrote out 964 words (I get into trouble from Gasbag if I say 1000 words) and this week he wrote a prologue.
His extended speech delay has given him an incredible vocabulary because he has had to think like a mini thesaurus to find the word he could say that would fit each situation. And he's become a talented young poet. I now know my gut to stop speech and language therapy was the right decision.
He wrote this about his reading frustration:
The Read Guy by G. Kimlin
Tales from the River Bank
Hide under the blanket
I don't want to
Up the pitch
You know what?
Give me that.
Now I want to.
Teach me the words I want to know
like Fazbear's Family Diner
Purple Guy and Golden Freddie.
Tiaras, tantrums and destruction have become smiles, satisfaction and high-fives.
Party at the Kimlin House right now. Gasbag is doing just grand! And I'm supermum - at least until I finish writing this and one of them brings me crashing down to Earth and takes away my current ability to fly.
Named Person is Not Safe when it comes to LGBTQA (plus anyone else the acronym currently misses out)
The discussion over Named Person has not been a clean reasoned well thought out debate. I’m the first to suspect the SNP of having ulterior motives but a lot of people who are in support of Named Person do so for genuine and often deep seated reasons. It’s hard not to question how many of those in support actually watched the Supreme Court case. Here it is for anyone who didn’t. The Scottish Government struggled to defend this policy at all.
SUPREME COURT - NAMED PERSON
Because the Christian Institute was the group who put up the largest amount of money in the court case, that has been jumped on in some quarters to suggest that those of us against Named Person are homophobic and want to control our children. In my case I object because I don’t want anyone controlling my children. I’m also wondering who thinks Ruth Davidson is homophobic? Although I am straight (I hate the term ciswoman) I am in a relationship with a transwoman.
My daughter is a lesbian. The closest she had to coming out moments were at about six commenting on my cousin’s wedding pictures that it was great two girls could do that because there were two pretty dresses and no yucky boys to kiss; at eight or nine she told me she thought she liked girls as well as boys and over the last four or five years she’s started talking about girls and boys are a thing of the past.
I absolutely agree that a child who is LGBTQA and is growing up in a hostile household needs an independent adult to talk to. There are Christian families that are not a hostile place for an LGBTQA child and there are irreligious SNP supporting families that are.
Closets are dark and they are suffocating. The LGBTQA rates of suicide are disgusting. This needs to change. I am absolutely for any method that helps.
But… I don’t think changing the role of a guidance teacher at school helps, and nor does naming some stranger at the council for home educated children. If the LGBTQA kids are not trusting their guidance teacher now then they won’t if that guidance teacher becomes a named person. There is also absolutely no guarantee that a named person is a safe person for LGBTQA children or that they are equipped to help a child in that position. And if the out pouring of hatred aimed at the Christian Institute by the people in authority and responsible for named person is anything to go by there is no guarantee that a Christian child would be safe with their new Named Person.
Surely some of that £60 million plus that Named Person has cost could have actually gone towards measures that really help LGBTQA children and people.
Encouraging LGBTQA staff members to come out fully in high schools and assuring them of a climate without fear would be a good place to start. Would they not be a good independent adult for a child to go to?
And maybe LGBTQA counsellors in every school and/or youth cafe would be a good idea. How many of them could £60 million have employed?
In terms of trans kids making grants available for the hormones and the other bits and bobs that made puberty less traumatic would go a long way to helping them.
LGBTQA are often badly bullied. Active anti-bullying policies in schools that are really enforced are also required across Scotland. As a home educator I am made aware on a daily basis just how many children in Scotland go to school in fear and are being failed by the person about to be made their named person.
I hope that the SNP consider what they are doing and if they really want to help LGBTQA children then they need to stop wasting money on a scheme that will do very little to help.
Things are still going well on the leaky gut diet. I’ve got more energy and I’ve also managed to shift some weight for the first time in ages.
At the start of this I decided not to weigh myself so I don’t know how much I’ve lost. I do know my PJ trousers fell down this morning and all my clothes are fitting better so I left the house with a swing to my hips today.
Despite many temptations I’ve stuck to the basics with a treat day on Tuesday where I go to the chippy for Egg, chips and a bottle of Lilt (Totally Tropical Man) and then head to the Co-Op for a dark chocolate and marzipan bar. Even then it can take me two weeks to eat the chocolate bar.
Health wise I am doing much better going to bed before midnight most nights and actually sleeping right through until morning. Getting up at 8am-9am is easier every day. Fatigue is still there but the energy is increasing every day. I'm also able to function in the evening, helping to get the kids to bed at night.
Pain is a different issue. I have other issues these days that confuse it like pain in my hands and pain in my hips caused by having children. Also with me doing more my muscles are rebuilding after a long period of inactivity and I know from past experience that that is incredibly painful. However the way I am moving suggests the pain is reducing.
I’ve made some minor changes:
Breakfast smoothie: blueberries, bananas, coconut milk, almond butter, rolled oats and tofu/pea protein. I’ve started adding tumeric and cinnamon to the smoothie. After drinking it every morning I feel massively energised.
Snack: nuts and ginger tea.
Lunch: Vegetable soup at present I’m still keeping the butternut squash this week but I am not sure it’s doing as much as the blueberries at breakfast. However, I may have an allergy to courgettes which have been plentiful in my veg box so have been in every soup recently. With the soup I’m eating pickles and oatcakes with a protein heavy spread (hummus, nut butter, lentil pate etc) After a lot of trial and error with the sauerkraut I’m quite liking it with cider vinegar, hummus and green lentils on oatcakes.
Snack: a pear and a ginger tea.
Dinner: This is more varied. This week I’ve had Tofu kebabs with rice; chilli beans and rice; tofu steaks, homemade oven chips and oven baked butternut squash; a curry and rice to use up the chard (the one vegetable I don’t really like); lasagne made with TVP mince, vegan cheese sauce and courgette lasagne sheets; pasta bake with vegan cheese sauce and gluten free pasta and a vegan cottage pie using the TVP mince. For an occasional dessert I’ve been having fruit and coconut yoghurt, raspberries or a baked banana with nut butter and coconut cream
Supper: This has been a big change. I’ve been making yellow milk with tumeric, coconut sugar, soya spread and coconut milk. I expected it to be yucky but it’s actually quite pleasant. I’m finding I’m not needing the banana and oatcakes as well.
Related Blog Posts
Sun is shining.
Sand is warm.
Water is like a mill pond.
Calm, peaceful and fun.
My favourite day of the year is Not Back to School Day. It’s that time when everyone else’s children are back to school and before my children are back at ballet, art club, martial arts etc
With the introduction of social media, home educating families have taken to adding Not Back to School pictures to their Facebook feeds. They are pictures of happy, smiling, relaxed and incredibly busy children.
For the Kimlin family it has become a tradition to head for the beach if the weather is good or we go to a café for a treat if the weather is bad.
In 2016 the weather was amazing. After a dull and dreary summer the sun beat down and we spent the day covered in suntan lotion at the beach.
For us this is a celebration of the year of freedom ahead. It’s almost like Christmas. The children get presents like new stationery, bags, paints etc, and we eat special food.
I know home education should feel like hard work but for us it’s relaxed and it’s fun. Whilst we were at the beach we built a castle whilst discussing the components of a castle and mediaeval sieges. Although naturally after spending hours building the castle it took moments to jump on and destroy.
Sausage then developed a Discuniverse with sand turtles which had castles on their back. They all had nests which they laid eggs in.
Gasbag spent most of the day improving his swimming and he’s come a long way.
For Banana-Bug this was a challenge. It was her first real trip out since her cast had been removed and she felt self conscious with her poor muscle wasted leg. We also had to be more careful with it as it seemed to be more inclined to burn. She enjoyed sitting back and drawing some of her amazing pictures.
We were picked up by Mr Kimlin at five thirty, tired, weary and ready for bed. All in all it was a great day.
How do the SNP recover from abusing the trust of parents and children? The Supreme Court judgement really is a case of being caught with their knickers down and a spotlight is being thrown on the disgraceful behaviour of councils up and down Scotland.
They are now engaging in contempt of court and continuing with policies that have been ruled illegal.
Similar policies to GIRFEC/Named Person have been abandoned in the Isle of Man, New Zealand and the USA because children do not fit into boxes and trying to squeeze them into those boxes has caused more harm than good. It has also overwhelmed the services.
Is it a coincidence that the majority of the big abuse cases recently in Scotland have been in areas where Named Person is being trialled? Is it actually allowing people to get away with major neglect and abuse because the authorities are so worried about the small things.
When I was a new parent an experienced mother with nine children said to me;
“No parent is perfect. We all either neglect or abuse our children in minor ways and all we can do is pray that we don’t do anything that harms them in a major way.”
She’s right. No parent can do it all. The evidence I am getting it mostly right is in the three happy children I have. When asked how she would rate her childhood my daughter gave it 9 out of 10. She said influences outside of the family and out of our control accounted for the point docked. That to me is all the evidence I need. Unfortunately, social services seem to need more than happy well adjusted children as evidence for a reasonably healthy and happy childhood. When did child protection become about protecting the tick box and not the child?
They’ve taken data and misused it. Some like myself have been stupid enough to tick boxes and let our children sign forms. Some like myself have discovered that was a costly error. And some like myself are a great deal wiser than we were. You might think it could never happen to you, but it can. Being a good parent with well loved, happy children is no protection from the state in Scotland.
Agencies we should be able to trust have become untrustworthy. And that isn’t good for anyone especially those children who are vulnerable and do need people to stick up for them. It’s hard to protect those children in a society which is based on mutual mistrust. There are families who have been affected that don’t come forward and speak up because their time in the so called “care” or “watch” of local councils has rendered them fearful, scared and unable to speak up for themselves.
I’m an articulate woman, middle-aged, with a reasonable level of education. If I can be reduced to a gibbering wreck with no confidence what must this intervention do to someone with less personal resources to be able to deal with them? I’m not alone. I am certainly not an isolated incident. However, the culture of threats in child protection is unhealthy. So is the culture that sees two mouldy courgettes and not a box of vegetables. Searching for harm where there is no harm just creates barriers and abuse by the state in families where there is no other abuse.
My complaint to the council saw no problem in the way my family and myself were treated (although conclusions could be drawn by how quickly we were dropped by social services afterwards). If that is the case and the way my family was treated was within department guidelines, then the council policy is at fault and not the way individual representatives treated us. The responsibility lies with the heads of departments and the head of the council. And the Scottish Government, currently lead by the SNP, which oversees and allows the people of Scotland to be treated that way. Their policies of GIRFEC and Named Person have created this.
Again and gain individual stories are dismissed as “isolated incidents” but how many stories do there need to be before those “isolated incidents” add up to a big problem. Tomorrow I’m going to cover another “isolated incident”. If anyone would like their “isolated incident” to go on the blog please use the contact form. Everyone will be given a false name (I’m a writer I can’t promise it won’t be Blower Crinkletoes), and the only identifier will be the council area. Nothing will be printed without the people concerned agreeing to every word.
The Kimlin Family