Spring must be arriving soon, there is an awful lot of courtship going on out there.

Squirrels should be on Ritalin

Why have playpens gone out of fashion?

When I was a kid we were left to our own devices, I babysat my siblings when I was just seven years old. Was that right? Probably not. Feeding them cornflake sandwiches was possibly not the best idea but I was seven. It seemed OK to me and anyway, was all I could find at the time. In the days of my childhood from the age of 5 or so I could leave the house in the morning and not come home until evening and it was pretty much considered normal. Maybe not for all of my friends but I was by no means the only one.

Fast forward fifty years and parenting is so restrained, constrained and legislated that children are wrapped in cotton wool and never spend a second unmonitored or free. Is that right either? I doubt it. These days if you pay attention to all the warnings about how to parent it’s downright freaky. It’s a miracle any of us made it past toddlerhood.

Somewhere in between when I was a young mother there was a kind of balance. We let our kids play but maybe with a little less freedom that we had enjoyed. And we had playpens. For the uninitiated these came in various forms. Basically they were cages. Some were made of wooden doweling, some were formed with a nylon mesh. Some had cushioned floors. Some not. But the point of them was this – you could put the kid in them and know that they were safe while you got on with doing other things. I’m not talking about leaving them alone for hours. I’m just saying that the kid was OK, could play, or fall asleep, or even cry and they were SAFE. Meanwhile you could go and make the beds, hang washing on the line, make dinner, even go to the loo in peace. I know that playpens are still around because you can buy them. But I have not met a parent who actually admits to using a playpen for at least 20 years.

I know, some of you will laugh and comment that I am only saying this because I believe that ‘in my day’ it was the best. You are, no doubt. right. Hindsight and rosy glasses and all that. But some of ‘my day’ was good. Especially playpens.

Another one……… saw a a newspaper article about some daft thing called a ‘mixologist’ and they even have some college qualification. When I was a lass I was a barmaid. I bet I could ‘mix’ the drinks just as well then as they can now, not to mention pull the perfect pint. I enjoyed the badge of honour of being a barmaid.
Me as a barmaid.

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