Tag Archives: Love

Are You Afraid?

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

The last two weeks have seen multiple terrorist attacks across Britain.  The national narrative is that of sorrow but also defiance and strength.  We are not afraid.

But I am.  I’m confessing something we should not be admitting to.  I am afraid.

When I woke up this morning, at an unfathomably early hour because of my delightful daughters, the first notifications on my phone were friends in London checking in as safe.  Seeing that made my heart sink.  If they were checking in as safe that means other people weren’t.  It had happened again.

I burst into tears.

I am afraid.  For my country folk I am defiant.  For my friends I am defiant.  For my daughters I am scared.  And that fear is why I pity those men.  Those terrorists who have made me feel this way.

I am afraid for my daughters because I love them with a ferocity that matters more than an illusion of strength.  I love them with an intensity that those men must never have known.  If they had known this love, this unconditional and desperately pure love, they couldn’t do the things they do.  They couldn’t do to Saffie Roussos’ mother what they did when they took her daughter.

Nobody who has bathed in such security and safety could do those things.  Nobody who has been held and kissed when they’re sad, comforted and reassured when they’re scared, celebrated and cuddled when they’ve accomplished things could enact such vile hatred on innocent people.

I pity those men.  Whatever misery they’ve unleashed they must have lived in more.  Whatever fear they’re unleashing they must have experienced more.  Bullies don’t come from nowhere.  Bullies are made by existing in pain and processing it with hate.

They have made me afraid.  But that is not all they have done.  They have reminded me just how much I love my little girls and how secure I am in the knowledge that they will never grow up to be so evil.

I am sorry for weakening the national story of Britain staying solid in the face of terror.  I am not solid.  I am not strong.  But I am loved and so are my children, and that is something they can never touch.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Raising Children With A Sex Not A Gender

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I’m raising my children to know their sex, not their gender.

To explain I’ll describe what I mean by each.  Their sex is what they are.  The girls have vaginas and XX chromosomes, the boy has a penis and XY chromosomes.  Obviously there are other physiological differences but that’s the basics.

Gender is something else.  Gender is what each sex is “supposed” to be interested in, “supposed” to like, think and feel.  It’s the boys like pirates, girls like princesses, and boys like football, girls like ballet, school of thought.

So, how do I raise them with one not the other?  And why?

They need to know their sex.  There are medical issues that could come into play for one thing; they need to know their body parts in order to describe any pain or discomfort.  They need to understand the changes that they’re going to experience on their bodies, things that will happen to them because of their sex.

Whilst I definitely believe we all need to know the physiology of the opposite sex, when it’s going to happen to your own body what you learn needs to be more intense.  I’ll be teaching the girls about periods; how to use tampons or pads, what pain relief works best.  I’ll be teaching the girls about yeast infections and what to look out for, what treatment to use.  The boy needs to learn about erections and testicular pain, about his voice dropping.  These are basic simple biological differences that will manifest as they grow and experience life.

But gender is unnecessary.  And in some cases it is harmful.

There’s a flow chart floating around social media that is spectacular at explaining why children do not need gender.

IS IT OPERATED WITH GENITALS?

/                                   \

YES                                             NO

/                                                              \

THIS ISN’T FOR CHILDREN                      YOUR CHILD CAN PLAY WITH IT

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series. Rose And Mum And More Blog, Parenting Blog, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Cheryl Holt

Nothing that children play with, watch or wear is restricted to their sex.  Absolutely nothing.  There is absolutely no reason boys can’t play with My Little Ponies, Barbies or hair dressing sets.  There is absolutely no reason girls can’t play with dinosaurs, trucks and footballs.  And when we teach them that it’s not the case problems happen.

I recently had a conversation with someone one Twitter who’s raising her little boy as female now.  I assume that doesn’t include learning about the medical reasons he needs to know about his body, I don’t suppose she’ll be teaching him about period cramps and how to get blood stains out of knickers.  She’s raising him as socially female.

She tweeted that every birthday and Christmas he asked for dolls, and every year he cried when he was bought trucks.  I asked why she couldn’t just let him play with dolls?  Why not let the kid have what he wanted?  She said because he was teased for it, made fun of, laughed at for liking girl’s toys.

She taught him that the bullies were right.  She taught him that the bullies were right and he was wrong.  That something is wrong with him.  She changed him, not the bullies.

He is now on a path.  He’s being raised as a girl now.  He’s on a path that leads children into puberty blockers, a life time of medication, hormone therapy and, if he chooses to go down that path, surgery.  Or if he’s like high profile trans child Jazz Jennings who went on puberty blockers, he’ll find that his development is so damaged that not only is he unsuitable for surgery, but he’ll also not develop fully and he’ll grow older with an infant’s penis on an adult body, with nothing anybody can do to help.

Because he wanted a Barbie.

With other parents that could be my children.  Miss Rose is not a traditionally feminine girl in a lot of ways.  She likes her hair short, she loves football.  She plays with bricks and cars and super heroes.  With different parents she could easily have been taught that they are boys toys, that there’s something wrong with her wanting those things.  The more traditionally “girly” things she enjoys could have been hyped up, she could have been forced to grow her hair long and wear frilly pink dresses.  She’d be uncomfortable, she’d feel she was wrong.  She’d be told that only girls like these, only boys like those.  But she likes those.  You can see how their little brains make that leap without any slight concept of what they’re getting into.

Gender stereotypes being imposed on children starts them on their journey to adulthood in a way that is just not healthy.  Fifty years ago that meant little girls grew up to be housewives.  They were forced to play with make up sets, ironing boards, and dolls being groomed for a life of servitude, beauty and motherhood.  Little boys were forced to play with weapons, cars and blocks, preparing them for a life of adventure, money making and dominance.

Photo credit KlimKin

We started to leave that behind.  Movements like Let Toys Be Toys highlighted that any child can play with any toy.  We’re becoming accepting of little girls who like adventure and little boys who like domesticity.  We’re moving towards embracing both facets of our personalities, little girls like Miss Rose loving toy cars and My Little Ponies without any concept that she could be wrong in doing so.

But the more tolerant we become of celebrating differences, the more intolerant we become of those who are different.

Now it’s more tolerant to believe a little boy who likes Barbie is really a girl.  It’s more tolerant to think a little girl who likes her hair short and doesn’t wear pink is really a boy.

Gender stereotyping is getting a resurgence in popularity but under a new name, and instead of those who are against gender stereotyping being the progressives, it’s those who will strictly conform to it to the point of medicating their children who are applauded.

My children will be raised to know their sex.  To know their bodies, to understand what they do and how they work, how they’ll change and what to do to be healthy.  They’ll be taught to love their bodies, respect their bodies, nurture their bodies.

My children will not be taught their gender.  They’ll never hear from us “that’s a girl’s toy” or “only boy’s wear that”, and if they hear it from others they’ll swiftly be reassured that it’s nonsense, that they’re perfect they way they are.  If they’re teased for their differences I’ll never side with their bullies.  Ever.

Femininity and masculinity are both fine.  Women and men are both fine.  Girls and boys are both fine.  It’s okay to be anywhere on the feminine to masculine scale regardless of what sex you were born.

I’m raising my children to know their sex, but not give a flying f*ck about their gender.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Don’t Believe Me Just Watch

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Everyone comments on the similarities my daughters share with other blood relatives (and in some cases none blood relatives).  My youngest daughter looks just like her father, and smiles like her uncle Chris.  My oldest daughter looks a lot like my brother and has a generosity of spirit like my mum.  They have attributes like lots of people around them, but the one thing they both share with me is a pig headed, dogged, stubborn determination.  If they want to do something they will do it.

This morning Miss Rose wanted to write Grandma.  She has been practicing her writing, her pen grip, forming her letters, and because her Grandma was coming to visit she wanted to write it perfectly as a gift.  So we started.

The first effort her G went a little bit loopy.  The second she got the D the wrong way around.  A few had the A go a bit wiggly and sometimes it simply was too long for the page.  She wouldn’t stop.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More Blog, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo credit Greyer Baby

“Again” she’d say.

Time and time again she wrote it out.  Page after page of practice letters, errors, mistakes.  She wrote it and wrote it and wrote it until finally she had written grandma in her very best letters and she was thrilled.  She had done it and she had done it to the best of her ability and she had worked tirelessly until she achieved it.  Failing didn’t put her off.  Mistakes didn’t stop her.

At the same time, Baby Boo was forcing herself to climb a chair over and over again.  She wanted to stand and she was grabbing the chair, dragging herself to her feet, then letting go and tumbling backwards.  She landed on her bottom repeatedly; she landed heavily and cried, then she got back up.  She landed with a roll, flipped herself back over and headed straight for the chair.

Miss Rose walked and talked early because the dogged determination she shows with her writing is what she showed for her baby skills.  “You can’t understand me?  I’m going to make new noises until I learn which ones communicate.”  She wanted to walk because she knew she’d reach things and places more successfully if she wasn’t on her knees, so she did it time and time again until she got there.

I had this theory that because younger siblings get their older siblings to do everything for them that they don’t need to push themselves.  Certainly I’ve seen this a lot, they get there but don’t push because they don’t need to.  Baby Boo is bucking that trend hard.  Hold her hands and she walks, let her go and she’ll stand for as long as she can then falls then tries again.  She is nine months and she’s well on her way.

This pig headed stubbornness is what lead me to work so hard on Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit.   I wrote it, it was wrong.  I wrote it again, it was still wrong.  I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what I wanted to achieve, and when I didn’t manage it I just did it again.  I kept standing up every time I landed with a bump.  I kept writing it every time a letter went a bit too loopy.  Write, edit, write, edit, rewrite, re-edit.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, Lilly Prospero

Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit by J.J. Barne

That said, if it’s something I’m not interested in I don’t.  I wouldn’t have pushed and pushed myself to become a physicist or mathematician, I wouldn’t have worked so tirelessly to be a doctor or nurse or artist or dancer.  I will give up if it’s something I don’t believe in, something I don’t want.

Being a novelist is what I wanted.  Standing and walking is what Boo wants.  Writing is what Rose wants.  And tells us we can’t do it?  Sorry, but no.

Writing a book is a long shot.  Most people want to, few manage.  Those who do manage rarely manage to be read and their books sit on their laptops being ignored by the world.  Don’t bother working for that when it’s not going to achieve anything was the recommendation of many.  You won’t get there.  It won’t be you.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch.

Boo will be walking.  Rose will be writing.  I recognise that grit in their teeth, that look in their eyes.

My girls are stubborn like me, and it’s a trait that can make us hard to live with and impossible to argue with.  But dammit it makes us tireless in our pursuits.  We can’t be convinced not to do something we believe we can do.  We fail time and time again and we keep going.  All three of us have goals and that stubbornness is coming into it’s own.

We will achieve it.  We will get there.  We’ll be walking, writing and succeeding before you know it.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

I Believe In The Sisterhood

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When a woman says she doesn’t think anyone will believe her, it is almost always when she’s speaking out against a man.  And pretty much always against a man with power and influence.

For some reason, the mass opinion of society is that a man with power and influence is far more likely to be the innocent victim of slander, than a woman he has power and influence over is to be the victim of abuse.  There’s the fear that a man’s reputation will be so damaged by the woman’s accusations that his life will be ruined whereas she will continue unscathed.

When men can be accused to some of the most heinous crimes; rape, murder, child abuse, and continue to have successful careers in film, television and, say, presidency, I think we can safely assume that this is bullshit.  And when women who have made accusations have been verbally and physically abused so much they’ve had to change their names and move house, or have been fallen into depressions so badly they’ve committed suicide, it is clear that women don’t get as much out of accusations as people seem to think.

So why do we continue not to believe women?

Why do we enable men to gaslight women into believing they have done something wrong, or invited their abuse?

Why do we enable this pathetic belief that women owe something to men?  That if they want us we are some how duty bound to protect their feelings, even if it sacrifices our own personal comfort or safety?  That rejecting them is an act of cruelty not self preservation?

I believe in the Sisterhood.  I believe that women should be a network of strength for one another.  I believe that when one of your fellow women comes to you and tells you of pain in her life that it is your duty as to hear her.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminist Blogger

Photo credit Unsplash

I believe that if you flirt with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if you go on a date with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if a man is in love with you you owe him nothing.

I believe that “consent” obtained through coercion, manipulation, pressure, bullying, gas lighting or guilt tripping is not consent at all.  It is rape.

I believe that anyone, male or female, who would try to convince a woman that she is in the wrong because a man cannot control himself needs to take a long hard look at themselves and then fuck off as far as they can go.

I believe that any woman who would immediately take the stance that the woman in pain is lying and sides with the man accused of causing the pain is seriously and incredibly wrong.

None of this means I hate men, none of this means I support abuse of men, something people often seem to assume.  It means that I believe women.  I support women.

I am here for the Sisterhood.  And God help the mister who comes between me and my sister.  Because I will fight for my sisters.  I will fight for women.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Baby’s C.V

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

NAME

Baby Boo

DOB

July 2016

ADDRESS

Wherever Mummy’s Boobs Are

EDUCATION

I have studied under the masters; my big sister and big brother.  Under their tutorage I have mastered the arts of fake crying when I want something, and throwing things when I don’t.

SPECIAL SKILLS

Clapping

Raspberry Blowing

Roaring

Growling

Falling off things

Crawling into things

Grabbing things

Biting

SPECIAL INTERESTS

I am passionately interested in remote controls and mobile phones, and I have developed, through an intense period of training, the impressive ability to retrieve them from even the most discreet locations.

Baby wipes hold a certain appeal to me.  I find pulling them all from the package and tasting each one individually to be incredible rewarding.  Indeed, I believe I am now something of a connoisseur.

I am very musically minded.  I have a piano which plays a tune that appeals to me greatly and I like to play it on repeat.  My mummy’s reaction is particularly entertaining to me; her face contorts into hilarious expressions after the seventh time through.  I am also developing skills in percussion.  I have several rattling devices which can be smacked against a variety of surfaces to create different sounds, such as tables, chairs, walls and heads.

WORK GOALS

I believe I am most suited to shift work.  I am very comfortable working late nights and early morning.  Indeed I often insist everyone gets up at 1AM just for the pleasure of experiencing such rarely appreciated hours.

I would do well in a creative role.  When presented with a bowl of pasta or soup I am able to, with minimal effort create works of art so incredible that my Mummy takes photographs whilst crying out “Oh my God” and “Look at you” and “Nobody step in it!” due to her desire to preserve my creations for the maximum time possible.

I have excellent leadership skills and would suit a role in management.  I am able to elicit the desired responses from my family with ease, indeed their entire structure has been reshaped simply to accommodate my arrival into the workplace.  If I am able to achieve that within days of my birth, imagine what I’ll do over the following years.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH COLLEAGUES

I have excellent interpersonal skills.

My Mummy seems extremely willing to cater to my needs and willingly involves me in all her daily activities.  I am privy to such things as toilet use, showering, cooking, cleaning, wine drinking and crying.  I am allowed unfettered access to her breasts, indeed on occasion I have demanded access simply because I haven’t seen them in some time.  On being presented I am satisfied and refuse them, just to make sure she knows I am boss.

My Daddy clearly worships the ground I crawl on, and even though he regularly fails me by not offering me his own breasts, he seems most determined to achieve my happiness despite a substandard body.

My brother and sister seem very taken with me and allow me to take their toys without complaint.  When they do attempt complaint they are reminded that I am indeed only a baby and therefore their job is to accommodate my needs.  This is one of my favourite aspects of my currant position and I intend to make use of this for at least the next fifteen years.  Possibly more.

The Grandparents are particularly superb at catering to my needs.  A simple smile or fart elicits celebration of my skill and wonder beyond anything the ordinary family members have achieved in months.  I am certain that should our business relationship continue I will be able to engage in many hours of unprecedented chocolate eating, that which the Mummy and Daddy would no doubt attempt to complain about should they be privy.  I, however, know how to keep the workplace running smoothly and operate a policy of don’t ask, don’t tell.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I, Baby Boo, believe no finer baby exists.  I am marvellous.  I am incredible.  Admire my toes, there are ten of them.  Ten!  And have you seen my thighs?  I am regularly reminded that they are fantastic and “squishable”.  I will fill any home with laughter.  I will fill any heart with love.  I am, quite simply, a wonder of the modern age.

 

 

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Mummy’s Only Human

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

As a mother I feel I should be impenetrable.  I should be strong as a rock.  I should take anything my children throw at me and handle it without a flinch, because I am a mother.

But I’m not a rock.  I’m not impenetrable.  I flinch.

Sometimes I flinch more than I do at other times.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by life right now.  I have enough work to do to work solidly for 27 hours a day.  I start as soon as I wake, be that midnight or 5AM.  Today it was 3AM.  I stop when I physically cannot go on anymore.  I usually work on my phone in bed before I finally pass out.

As well as my work I have children to raise, animals to care for, a house to clean, food to cook, and relationships to maintain.  I look around my house, that I know is a big joke to most on account of the sheer levels of chaos, and I know I need to sort it.  I need to do more to keep it nice.  Instead I do the bare minimum, and sometimes not even that because compared to my work and my children it just sinks on my priority list.

The problem is the result is that because nothing gets as much attention as it deserves, my children, my work, my diet (which is mainly cup-a-noodles and the occasional bag of mini eggs), all end up neglected and everything piles up in my mind until it’s a swirling ball of chaos with every voice shouting at me that I’m not doing enough, that nothing is good enough.

And I’m overwhelmed.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, Lilly Prospero, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Counselling

When I’m overwhelmed I feel constantly on the brink of mental turmoil and my ability to handle what my children sometimes throw at me drops.

This morning I was trying to edit an article, promote a newspaper piece we appeared in, engage in social media promotion, breast feed my baby, look after my daughter, and drink a coffee.  When my big girl decided to suddenly launch at me for a hug that involved standing over the top of me on the sofa and wrapping her arms around my throat.

I panicked.

My sense of personal space being intruded upon is one of the first things to go when I start to crack.  I need physical distance.  I feel oppressed when people crowd in on me.  I feel frightened when people move suddenly.  I panic when I am grabbed.  My daughter only wanted to love me, she only wanted to hug me, but the force of the grab around the neck, the looming presence that appeared over the top of me, the pressure down.  It was too much and I snapped.

“GET OFF ME!” I screeched at her, flapping my arms to get her away from me.

She broke her heart.  She had only wanted to love me.  To hold me.

I forced myself to calm down then pulled her in for a cuddle.  I apologised and explained that I need a bit of space sometimes.  She apologised too and we had a hug.

I hated myself for reacting to her like that.  It’s not her fault I carry scars that make bodily contact occasionally traumatic.  It’s not her fault that breastfeeding my baby takes that last bit of coping with human contact ability I have.  It’s not her fault I struggle to handle pressure.  It’s not her fault I’m so busy.  None of it is her fault.

But, equally so, she needs to learn that people are human and carry bruises around with them that you can’t see.  Bruises that, even with good intentions and seemingly innocuous behaviour, can be prodded causing pain.  She needs to learn that anyone has the right to reject physical intimacy, and doing so doesn’t mean they don’t love you.  She needs to learn that people have their own needs.  And that includes Mummy.

I wish I was a rock.  I wish they could count on me to handle everything they throw at me with calm strength, to teach them lessons about respecting people’s needs without cracking.  But I’m not.  I’m only human and human’s are not perfect.  Humans are damaged.

I’m doing my best but I’m only human.  And sometimes I crack.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

The Girl Next Door

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I was a romantic child.  Before I understood the concept of romantic love I was busy falling into it constantly.  I loved my best friend’s big brother, I loved the boy next door, I loved the chubby boy in my class who was nice to me.  I fell in love and I longed for love.

On first glance, if one of my children was to be this way inclined, you’d assume it would be Miss Rose.  Miss Rose is full of love.  She is all about cuddles and affection, tells everyone how much she loves them, and is emotionally vulnerable.  Z, on the other hand, is tough, strong, hates displays of anything he considers weakness.  And, despite this, it is Z who is the romantic one.

Whilst Rose is full of love for family and friends, and regularly talks about getting married and having a baby (not because we’ve taught her that is the thing she has to do, I hasten to add), she is not yet romantic.  I’m sure it’ll come, but her love right now is not for romance.  Her desire to get married is because she’s seen weddings and they look like fun, she asks to marry her daddy, her sister and brother, and her friends.  The stories she loves have no romance.  They’re girls on adventures with their friends, getting into scrapes and singing songs.

Z, on the other hand, is a romantic soul.  Despite his tough exterior, he is a sucker for a love story.  He loves Batman, wants to see Batman fighting bad guys and wielding weapons, but is completely smitten with the concept of Batman falling in love with Catwoman, and asks to watch scenes where they’re kissing.  He loves The Nightmare Before Christmas, not just for the creepy animation and funny monsters, but for the way Sally pines for Jack, and Jack’s final revelation that what is missing from his life is loving Sally.  And Z is in love.  Z is in love with The Girl Next Door.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blog, Parenting Blog

Photo credit S Ferrario1968

If a little boy is going to fall in love then The Girl Next Door is exactly who he would fall in love with.  The Girl Next Door is ten years old.  She is tall, with long brown hair and a big smile.  She is sweet and kind, plays with the children and welcomes them into her games.  She holds his hand when they’re walking and never laughs at his childish ways.

When we took birthday presents round last week, Z paused at the door and announced he had to tell her something.  “I love you,” he said.  And he meant it.

We often talk about what we think they will be like when they’re grown.

We imagine Miss Rose flitting between boyfriends or girlfriends, breaking hearts as often as hers is broken.  She is in life for the experience, and when the desire for romantic love does come to her, as it likely will, she’ll retain the same passion and drive for constant adventure that she has now.  We assume that it will take her a long time and a lot of mistakes before she finally finds the one she wants to be with.

We imagine Z falling in love and falling hard, and staying with her for as long as he is able.  Not with The Girl Next Door, but with a girl just like her.  He is not drawn to experiences and thrills, he doesn’t get excited and passionate about anything and everything in the way Rose does, but when he finds something he connects with he is all in.  I imagine him falling in love at seventeen, being married at twenty, and never craving anything or anyone else, because his desire has been sated.

Of course, this is all imagination and they are constantly growing and changing.  But, for now, these images suit them well

The Girl Next Door will grow into a woman well before Z grows into a man and when she brings home her beloved that will present Z with his first, perhaps only, taste of a broken heart.  And that will be a painful day.  I just hope he heals well.  I never truly got over Prince Jareth falling in love with Sarah instead of me.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!