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Making my life more awesome

Feel free to tell me if I’m being over-sensitive. No, wait, don’t.

on May 5, 2013

I bought ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the creators of ‘The Gruffalo’, on Friday. Big Girl loves it – it has a lovely rhythm and lots of rhyming and repetition. Oh, and Father Christmas. And it’s got a dog in it, so Small Girl is happy. Really, what’s not to like?

Well, let me tell you… And here’s a warning. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re planning to, read no further. I am about to give away most of the plot.


So, there’s this stick man. He’s a stick who lives with his family in a tree, until one day a dog picks him up and runs away with him. Stick Man is not happy about this. His unhappiness is further compounded by being thrown in a river, built into a swan’s nest, used as a mast in a sandcastle, made into a prosthetic arm for a snowman and finally picked up and put into a grate, ready to be burnt in a fire. And then Santa turns up and rescues him (I did say there were spoilers…).

So we cut back to Stick Lady’s wife and three children, at home on Christmas Eve and looking very sad: “Stick Lady’s lonely. The children are sad. It won’t feel like Christmas without their Stick Dad”.

And here we are. Apparently my family is inadequate and my children are going to have a quite frankly shit Christmas because they won’t see their dad (although perhaps this is made up for by the fact that their dad isn’t a stick. Maybe it’s better to have a dad who you don’t see on Christmas Day but who is at least human and doesn’t get run off with by a dog).

And yes, I know, it’s just a story. But approximately 25% of families are single-parent families (according to Wikipedia, anyway). I don’t really believe that what my children have now is the best they could have had, and I wish they weren’t in a single parent family. I see the effects the separation has had on them, and how much they miss their dad, and the damage caused by going back and forwards, and I just wish they didn’t have to deal with it. Still, I try not to let them think there is anything wrong with their situation, or feel that it is anything other than normal.

So let me introduce you to Alex.


Sometimes Alex lives with his dad. Sometimes Alex lives with his mum. He has two bedrooms, two kitchens, two special chairs, two phone numbers: two different but happy lives. And I doubt I’m giving much away if I tell you that Alex loves his mum and his dad, and that they both love him, wherever he is. For separated parents whose children see both parents, ‘Two Homes’, by Claire Masurel, is probably more use than Stick Man. And it even has a dog.


One response to “Feel free to tell me if I’m being over-sensitive. No, wait, don’t.

  1. Celeste says:

    I can see where your coming from… the difference is Stick man disappears from the Stick families lives suddenly and they don’t know where he is or what’s happened to him.
    The girls do know where their Dad is and they get to see him lots.

    But yes, Alex does sound like a much more positive book.

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