Wrapping up the week…

I thought I would do an overview of my first couple of weeks as a blogger.

One of my New Years resolutions was to attempt to write a daily blog…and I did not realise at that time just how hard it would be!  To commit to writing a daily blog demands a focus and determination and imagination that perhaps I just do not have.

Don’t get me wrong but I don’t think I did to bad, but did not manage to blog everyday and  it is one of my resolutions that I now formally amend to:  I will write a blog frequently!

Now in my blog on the 4th January I told you about our  lovely German Shepherd Mara, who had been very ill. After trying to force feed her, medicate her and mop up after her, I decided that what she deserved more than ever was a weekend where she was not forced to do anything, and during which we would shower her with as much love and affection as possible. This we did and to my amazement she actually ate food on the Friday and Saturday night. Our hopes were lifted momentarily but unfortunately on Sunday she deteriorated quickly and was euthanised on Monday evening. We were all heartbroken but knew it was for the best as she had been obviously suffering.

The subject of my My Get real peeps blog still divides the nation. Honestly, I do not have a problem with the Eastenders cot death storyline as I see it as just that. I know that some of my family and friends do have stronger issues with it and some perceive the problem being more to do with the subject matter than the actual portrayal of such. Others see the subject matter as a valid one that needs to be publicized but then have a problem with the way it was portrayed.  One thing I know for sure though is it is something that will trundle on and be discussed at work, in get togethers, on forums and in blogs…that is until the next big storyline comes along to upset a minority somewhere.

My next blog did something that I have never done before, and still feel a creeping anxiety for doing so… Chimera was a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago, but is the first time I have shared my poetry in such a public domain. Will I choose to share more…maybe!

Blogging does make you think about what you are writing and is not as easy as you might think it is. My blog about how Twitter  can hone your writing skills tried to demonstrate how wrtiting on such social networks can help you to attain better writing skills. One of my resolutions should have been “I will update my Twitter status at least daily”… it may have proved possibly a little more achievable!

The serious condition associated with anorexia and other eating disorders was one that I touched upon. I was truly horrified to discover the existence of pro-ana sites. Reading some of the posts written by pro-ana followers is disturbing to say the least but I am unsure as to what can be done if anything apart from ensuring that young people are educated about such disorders and are given positive body image reinforcement no matter what size or shape they may be.

Finally, A rose by any other name took a sneak look into the world of choosing baby names.

In a speech, Pope Benedict XVI urged parents to name their offspring in the Christian tradition, and bequeath “an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit will allow the person to blossom in the bosom of the Church”. In doing so, he has also  tapped into a growing public backlash against celebrities burdening their children with names such as Brooklyn, Peaches, Heavenly Hiraani and Princess Tiaamii. Parents must choose wisely and sensibly, as the resulting name can have far reaching and long lasting consequences for their child.

I finish this round up by offering 10 tips on this subject…

1. Whatever name you choose, it should have a positive connotation for you and its definition should be meaningful. A name is a strong first impression.

2. The first name’s rhythm should complement the last name. Remember to think about a middle name in the same way. Say the first, middle and last name several times to test the rhythm. Say the first name and last name together, too.

3. The initials should not spell anything undesirable. This goes for the two main initials, as well as all three initials. Winston Churchill (say no more!)

4. Check the pronunciation and spelling of the name. If you use an unusual pronunciation, your child will need to continually correct it. If the spelling is unusual, your child will have to correct that as well.

5. Be conscious of nicknames and variations. You may want to choose a name that can have nicknames and variations. This will enable the child to have more control of his/her name when older. The disadvantage is that childhood nicknames can linger on into adulthood and be embarrassing.

6. Think about what the name might be shortened to or what it might rhyme with.  A name that is easy to rhyme can make your child the target of playground jokes and ridicule. Bartholomew, for instance, one that the Pope may like. Very difficult to rhyme with anything but shorten it to Bart and … !

7. Practice the name and see how it sounds and feels. Try out the full name on family and friends. Check it out to make sure there is no history attached.

8.  The middle name provides an opportunity to use a family member’s name when it is not desirable as a first name but the same rules apply.

9. If you already have other children, think about all names as a collective.  Having a child called Thomas and then naming a second child Trixiebelle may be perceived as a bit odd.

10. Finally, don’t fall into the trap of calling your children little versions of yourself. Little David Jnr not only sounds very dated but also displays a complete lack of imagination.

Get real peeps…

The story of Ronnie Branning swapping her dead child for another baby has not only drawn criticism from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids) awareness campaigners but has also resulted in the BBC receiving more than 8,400 complaints.

The Beeb have now decided to end the story (which is the most complained about in the show’s 25-year history) earlier than first planned and it will end in the spring after baby Tommy is reunited with his mother, Kat Slater.

Samantha Womack, who plays Ronnie in the show, has endured verbal attacks by the public due to the current storyline, and it has been announced today that she will be leaving the show.

So what is all the fuss about?

The parenting website Mumsnet was flooded with complaints over the current storyline, prompting it to write a letter to the BBC suggesting that “as is all too common, a bereaved mother has been portrayed as deranged and unhinged”.

Ann Diamond, long time Sids awareness campaigner argues that the baby swap storyline was a “crass twist to an otherwise credible storyline” that had not done “one iota of good in educating a young audience about cot death”

For me, I totally agree that the whole issue of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a very important one that needs handling sensitively and one that requires continuing education.

I have also learnt to accept that the Beeb is about making a programme that has attracted high viewing figures over its 25 year reign and needs to continue to do so.

Storylines over the past years have always touched on areas that will affect some more than others and that will be percieved as being far more controversial for a minority and big stories such as Stacey’s bi-polar mental illness, Syed being a gay Muslim, Phil’s crack cocaine addiction, Lucas murdering Owen, Whitney’s relationship with Tony the paedophile all being covered over the last couple of years. Previous to that we have had domestic violence, murder, adultery, Aids, incest …. the list is endless.

So for me personally, I do not have a massive problem with the current storyline. There is a choice, watch it, or don’t. I actually chose not to watch it over New Year…not because I found the whole concept of a soap covering the death of a baby and the breakdown and anguish of the mothers involved, but because I have a life and had far more positive and entertaining ways of spending the New Year.

The controversial cot death/baby swap storyline may have drawn 8,400 complaints but ratings are the highest the soap’s had in a year with 11.1 million tuned in to watch the episode aired on the Tuesday directly after the new years episodes. Average EastEnders ratings have risen to 10.7million too, 300,000 more than usual, since the gruesome storyline began on New Year’s Eve.

So yes, the Beeb may have gone a step to far for a minority, with the whole baby swap thing but hey it is only a made up story…it is not real people. My thoughts are with Womack who has to put up with the abuse shown by the shallow thinking and pure ignorance of those who have lost their grip on reality.