This week has been rather eventful. There has been a lot going on, from strikes to sick babies to St Nicholas.
On Wednesday I joined the local rally protesting about the quite frankly horrendous proposals the government are making regarding public sector pensions. It was small in comparison to many other rallies, but it was still amazing to see people turn up and make themselves heard, particularly when there is so much at stake. It is very easy to complain from the comfort of your own sofa about the state of the government/economy/job market/pensions proposals, something which I am particularly good at, but actually joining in and being counted and making your point known is so important. I have read and heard several opinions of people opposed to the strikes and opposed to the sentiment behind the strikes. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I believe very strongly that the public sector should not be made to pay for the current economic deficit, ostensibly caused by the banks and the government themselves. I don’t have experience of working in any other area of the public sector except as an NHS worker, but based on my experience as a radiographer, I believe that the salaries we (and I mean NHS workers as a whole, not just radiographers) receive do not fairly reflect the work we do. Under Agenda for Change, we already work longer hours for less pay. We are under constant pressure to deliver better, faster, more efficient services, to cut waiting lists, to reduce scan times, to increase daily productivity, to deal with sometimes aggressive and abusive patients, whilst simultaneously having budgets cut, staff taken from us, resources reduced, all with a huge smile plastered on our faces and an impeccably polite manner. And now, despite the constant threat of redundancy, the threat of being down-graded, the threat of trust mergers, and the fact that our pay has been frozen, we are expected to increase our pension payments by a huge amount and to work at least three years longer, yet this payment increase won’t go towards our pension, it will actually go straight back to the government to help them pay off the current debt.
I know many private sector workers believe that the public sector should stop whinging because we have had it too good for too long when it comes to pensions, but to be honest, the good pension has been the only reason to opt to work in the public sector, or at least the NHS, for the many years. We work in crappy conditions with very little support, the only feedback we ever have is negative, we rarely get praised or thanked for a job well done, or for the extra hours worked that go unpaid, and delivering a decent service that patients’ deserve is becoming increasingly more and more impossible. Why would anyone choose to work in these conditions unless there was some small incentive? The decent pension was ours, and I stand by everyone who chose to strike, who rallied, who marched on Wednesday 30th November, in order to try to protect this small incentive. If the proposed changes come in, it could easily mark the end of the NHS.
But this was not the highlight of my week.
Nor was the small miracle which was The Baby not only passively accepting the role of hat-wearer, but actually refusing to step down from this role. It may not sound surprising that this was not the highlight of my week, but honestly it came close. The Baby hates hats. She hates anything on her head, she really doesn’t much care for getting dressed, despite the fact that clothes are becoming a bit of an obsession with her (she would happily spend several long minutes standing in front of her wardrobe admiring her array of outfits, if I let her). But she has decided that this particular hat is actually OK. So much so, she generally opts to keep it on even in the house. I think this was partly due to The Boyfriend exclaiming “Wit-Woo!!” several times at her once it had initially been placed on her not-yet-sure-if-I’m-a-hat-wearer head. She likes the attention, see.
But no, this was not the highlight of my week.
The day The Baby refused to stand or walk and was obviously in pain and quite distressed by the whole thing and I took her to the nearest walk-in centre, was also definitely not the highlight of my week. It still remains a mystery how The Baby’s leg suddenly stopped working, when three adults had been watching her all morning with no sightings of a fall or bump or scrape. She is back to her normal running chaotic Tasmanian Devil-like self again, but it was rather upsetting to see her in visible pain whilst trying to stand and failing, and having no clue as to what was happening.
Definitely NOT the highlight of my week.
The highlight of my week wasn’t even putting up the Christmas tree, even though this seemingly small task actually involved a Proper Clean of the entire downstairs of the house, plus considerable rearranging of furniture. And I’m quite pleased with how it looks and I now feel all Christmassy and excited and everything.
But this was not the highlight of my week.
Even my extremely Proud Mummy moment when I said to The Baby “Count to five?” and she nonchalantly responded with “Onetwooooo, wee, pour, PIE!” (that honestly translates as one-two-three-four-five, trust me) wasn’t the highlight of my week. Although my chest nearly burst with pride as she then joined me in counting to “TEEEEEEN!” I don’t mean to brag (much), but she is sixteen months old and she can count to ten! I think The Boyfriend and I may be in all kinds of intellectual trouble come school-time.
This could very well have been the highlight of my week, but it wasn’t.
Because this happened.
I finished the Advent calendar.
Yep, that easy-peasy bit of sewing that I envisioned would take three or four nights at the most (which it did in total, to be fair, I just managed to drag it out over an entire month) was finally finished…..this morning. Now The Baby may be bright, but at least she has no concept of time or calendars or Christmas or that Advent is already four days old.
Why did I even bother doing this??