Stu's Dad Blog
I'll admit it; I'm one of those parents that basically puts my world on hold when my daughter calls or texts
I'm not really ashamed of it, either. That's a priority I choose and until she begins taking it for granted, I'll continue.
So, when my daughter's phone broke, it was a bit of a shock for me.
I had to coordinate a time to talk via email, then talk via Skype when that time came. But, we did talk. She had something going on that her friends didn't quite understand and she wanted to talk to me.
That's pretty cool, right? We still communicate when she needs something “big.”
For the week she was without a phone, though,
Amy's Dog Blog
When you have kids, things you would never previously have entertained as being something that a decent human being should have to tolerate on a daily basis become par for the course, endlessly repeated until you are a shred of your former self.
These are the undignified things that should be left behind closed doors, and definitely never performed in public, but you often have no choice. With small babies and toddlers, you find yourself subjected to the most vile duties, that your younger self would have sneered at before running a mile from.
I'm talking about picking your baby’s nose; the embarrassment as you realise that the bad smell is coming from your kid, not the one they’re playing with; sniffing their bum to confirm; sucking a dummy that has fallen on a dusty floor; changing a stinking nappy on a narrow counter/toilet floor because there’s no baby-changing facilities; wiping dinner from the walls; absently eating leftover purees/fishfingers/smiley faces; washing mashed banana/bogeys/sick from your hair under the cold tap; getting up six times in the night; staying up until midnight making a Harry Potter /sheep/wise men costume, then them refusing to wear the costume and turning up to school/the play in their school uniform. It was endless.
Now I have two older children I don’t have to do those things; on the whole they are delightful, although their rooms still stink and there’s dirty washing everywhere and food still stuck to the walls, but that’s probably due more to my sluttish housekeeping than anything else. I’m a busy woman. Don’t judge me.
So once the more onerously visceral duties of small-child care were mercifully left behind, and they could clean up after themselves and no longer needed spoon-feeding, what did I do? Get a puppy. Then it all started again, but weirdly, on a grander and more repulsive scale. If I thought having a baby or small child was revolting and undignified enough, I had no idea what a puppy had in store for me.
Who but a dog owner or parent of a mini human would go out for a walk armed with poo bags/nappy bags, ready to scoop up whatever falls from their charge’s bum? At least with babies and toddlers it’s conveniently contained in a nappy; a dog just squats there (usually in front of the most manicured house as the owner is out trimming their topiary in the spring sunshine) and takes a dump. “Don’t mind me,” he’d cheerfully shout at them if he could speak, “She’ll get this.” And I do, of course, smiling all the while, me a mere portable pooper-scooper with the added bonus for the dog of also being a convenient food dispenser and expedient thrower of balls.
From the moment the eight-week old golden ball of fluff arrived at our house, I’ve spent hours sticking my fingers in his mouth to retrieve foreign objects, cleaned up his sick when the foreign objects I can’t get to quick enough get to his stomach, picked up endless poo, had my clothes ripped to shreds as he enthusiastically welcomed me home with his needle-sharp teeth and claws, regularly tramp back from a walk covered head to foot in mud, when I’d left the house looking like a normal human being, and spend my life apologising to people and their dogs as he tries to love them to death.
And where are my older, responsible children? My teenager and tweenager, who promised to walk the dog, feed him, pick up after him, so I wouldn’t have to? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where. They're not silly.
Vicki's Food Blog
Shock on the scales! I have lost three pounds without dieting. Let me tell you how, as this is miraculous for me and might work for you if you need it to. Fat clings to me like cladding to an old boiler. For years, it hasn't mattered what I've done, given up crisps, wine, sawn my arm off. I've stayed stubbornly at 11 stone. And just lately my chin looks as if a chicken has laid an egg in a skin-coloured sock and someone has tied it under my face.
Three friends arrived for a girly night in with M&S bucks fizz (4% by volume and cheap), we all had places to go early the next morning - and one friend in her 40s had the glow of a women in her 30s, pre-motherhood. Light bounced off her skin like an angel's face in an old master painting as we ate and talked by the candlelight round my kitchen table. And, she was thinner. Much thinner.
Her secret? A hot man? Facials? It turned out that she's doing more exercise and eating raw vegetables. Nope I thought, impossible for me. I'm too lazy. Then she mentioned that she'd shed her first stone by drinking 2 litres of water per day. OK, I had nothing to lose. The next day I added four pints of water to my regime. Given that I have the bladder of a mouse at the best of times, this wasn't a good idea - but I persisted. Absenting myself to visit the restroom eight or ten times an hour.
By Monday my bladder was adjusting and I could finish a two minute conversation and catch a train with no potty stops. Alas I had no pint glass at work so I bought a liter bottle of water from the canteen. The water drinking habit became enjoyable, so much so that I attended a meeting with a senior director who eyed me incredulously as I continued our discussions while glugging from an enormous plastic bottle like a hamster with dropsy.
But I have kept going, and finally, after five days, I am three pounds lighter. It could be that I'm eating less because I'm raising a bottle to my lips every thirty seconds - in the style of a chain smoker. Who knows, but I'm going to keep hitting the bottle - and not just the cheap bucks fizz!