It’s Dinosaur; not Dine-Saw!

It’s a disappointment bigger than a Brachiosaurus that my boy Pie has not the slightest Iguanodon in dinosaurs. It’s not for lack of Triceratops on my part. Right from an egg I have been talking to him about these amazing creatures, but I may have been speaking in Velociraptor for all the good its done me. He doesn’t even Tyrannosaurus to look interested its like talking to a Diplodocus most days!

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

He would rather talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter! It really gets my Spinosaurus up when I show him a dinosaur and he calls it a dragon. Why can’t we talk about Pachycephalosaurus or Zigongosaurus? They aren’t difficult names for my own Sauropod to get his tongue round! Yet he behaves like a creature from the early Triassic period and calls them all dine-saw…(Damn you George Pig) I know it’s not the be Allosaurus or end all but I always thought having kids would enable me to justify my own geeky love of dinosaurs!

I can still remember that first trip to the Natural History Museum with my own family. The sheer excitement as we walked through the door and came face to face with a colossal skeleton! It was an awe-inspiring moment, even now it still makes me Gallimimus. It cemented a life long passion and a desire to study Paleontology. (Alas this is waiting for my retirement, not many dinosaurs in Birmingham!)

JerzyGorecki / Pixabay

After a relentless first year of forcing dinosaur clothes, books and toys on him, Mr Pud has now banned me from trying to brainwash him into my Cretaceous period. I am not even allowed to show him Jurassic Park until he is older, not even the bit before it gets scary. But how can my Anklyosaurus-biter be such an old Stegosaurus? Maybe I will get lucky in Pudding and she will develop into a Gigantosaurus nerd like her Mother, after all who else is going to run round the Natural History Museum with me?


 

Rhyming with Wine

A Letter to Santa with a little help from Peppa Pig

It is that time of year where all over the country excited children are putting pen to paper, sending letters to a jolly old man dressed in red. Hoping to prove how good they have been all year and asking for their hearts desires. At Pudding HQ we have joined with Ladybird Books and Peppa Pig to send our letter to the North Pole. Lets hope we are on the nice list!

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With Pie starting school this September his writing has really come on and the downloadable Peppa’s Santa Letter was perfect for him to practice. Super easy to print off and really colourful he was very excited to sit down and put pen to paper.

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We had a great time together deciding what nice things he had done this year. As well as what he wanted Santa to bring him. It was a really magical experience for me watching him work so hard. He was so thrilled to write to Santa for the first time.

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Once we had finished we left the letter by the fireplace for the elves to collect and take to the North Pole.

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Ladybird Books have recently published a fantastic book ‘Peppa’s Christmas Post’ filled with Christmas activities and fun Christmas themed baking ideas. All with the story of how Peppa and George are taking Christmas into their own hands this year! We have joined with Ladybird Books to offer the chance to win one of these fabulous books. To enter all you need to do is take a picture of your little ones completing their Peppa’s Santa Letter and tweet it to @petitepudding using the #Ladybirdchristmas. What are you waiting for?!

You can download your copy of the letter here. Be sure to leave it for Santa to find!

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a collaborative post with Ladybird Books. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Misson Cookpossible! 

Are glorious memories of baking of kids. It’s one thing I still remember, licking the spoon, arguing over the bowl! At Pudding HQ cooking and baking only really happens if I am feeling particularly strong. This is for two reasons firstly my kitchen is tiny. Second I am a terrible cook. I mean really awful. So bad that Pie has started to ask me to try really hard not to burn the tea. What we needed was a few pointers for beginners. Enter Mission Cookpossible!


So this is more than just a cool cook book. Personalised with your child’s name and their own character. The whole book is written as a story. With some fab villains and a quirky plot this book can be read without having to do the recipes.
You can pick out the recipes for the book – which is great as you can tailor them to your child’s taste. Personally I chose the recipes that not only Pie would like but that sounded quite simple! There was a great selection to choose from as well so something for everyone.

I am really excited to give this to Pie for Christmas. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen with him and actually produce something edible. Watch out Deliah we are coming to get you!

If you want to get you and the kids one of these great books you can order them here. The ordering process is really simple and you get taken through each step. You can preview the book before you order and there is an option to add in your child’s best friend too.
Please be aware that if you want one of these brill books for Christmas you need to get ordering before the 2nd December.

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DISCALIMER – We received Mission Cookpossible for free in order to complete this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Top Tips for Raising Children with Dogs

We all know that dogs and children can have an amazing bond. Certainly Hollywood loves to depict beautiful relationships between dogs and kids. But we all need to remember that no matter how ‘domesticated’ a dog is they can still react to situations. This is why it is so important to teach children to respect dogs. No dog should be placed in a position where it feels like it needs to protect itself. Equally so no family wants to run the risk of raising children around a snappy unpredictable dog. So what can you do to ensure everyone gets along?

lightstargod / Pixabay

Top Tips for Protecting Dogs and Children

Don’t leave dogs and young children unattended
No matter how much you trust your dog they shouldn’t be left with small children. Small children are unpredictable and they love to grab. How would you feel if you had a small person hanging off of your tail? Exactly it’s going to hurt and you are going to react. A dog is no different. Don’t put them in this position.

Give dogs space to eat in peace.
I know like they leave you alone when you have a biscuit in hand! But dogs can be protective over food. Teach your children to leave them to eat their tea in peace. Its great if they can help out with feeding, but when that bowl goes down it’s time to step back.

Discourage small children from feeding dogs by hand
This is tough when you are weaning. Let’s face it dogs are a fantastic clean up crew. What you don’t want is for them to always associate the kids with food. Feeding dogs from the table is a pretty bad habit anyway. Don’t let them beg and try to ensure they are not stealing food from small hands.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc

Keep them out of rough play.
My big boy Pie loves a bit of wrestling. He gets very over-excited and jumps all over me and the furniture. Great fun for all. The dogs get very excited and start jumping about too. They are playfully snappy and will often claw at us. If things get too loud or frantic they can get quite protective. A dog doesn’t know the difference between play and a real threat. Try not to put them in a position where they think someone needs their protection.

Remember it is their home too
It’s very easy to allow the kids to rule the roost. But you invited this dog into your home and now it’s his home too. Make sure they have somewhere quiet to go. Especially if you have other children around. They need a safe secure space where they can get away from it all. Don’t allow the kids to chase them or aggravate them. Encouraging games of fetch or playing with the dog supervised is great for building trust between kids and dogs. Read the signs though, when the dogs had enough give them some space.

ElvisClooth / Pixabay

Dogs can bring so much to a family. They can be great companions for all of you. If you can encourage children to be respectful of dogs it will make for a fantastic family dynamic. Long summer walks and winter snuggles with a dog can be amongst the best experiences for children. Just a few sensible steps will hopefully mean a long and happy relationship between you and your pet.

How can you tell if your parenting is good enough?

I was laughing with my husband tonight whilst discussing the daily parenting fails. It’s a regular occurrence. We buoy each other up after another less than perfect parenting day. For example today my eldest has gone to bed with a black eye (bouncy castle related injury) and a grazed elbow (he engaged legs before brain…) But both he and Pud’s went to bed smiling. For me as a parent that’s what counts.

The media is packed with unrealistic view of parenting. You know the ones. Beautiful pristine nurseries (always in bloody white, go figure!) Fantastic photos of families enjoying days out (no sign of whinging or ice cream covered clothes, shoes, ears…) Mum’s and Dads dressed in designer gear, no bags under their eyes or worry lines.  Not so the worlds portrayed by parent bloggers who can, in the search of humour, paint parenting in a light so unfavourable that it’s a surprise people pro-create at all. These honest and witty accounts provide a more realistic view of the highs and lows of parenthood. Although nothing can prepare you for the truth of raising a small human into a reasonable balanced adult. But how do you know if you are doing a good job?

johnhain / Pixabay

When professionals talk about ‘good enough parenting’ they mean you have met a child’s basic needs. Physically and emotionally they are cared for and safe. They aren’t insisting you take them to the zoo, chase them round soft play or shower them with presents. Children need to be loved and for you to be emotionally available to them. They need to be fed and watered (bit like a plant really) they need to be excercised, stimulated and put to bed. A child needs to be kept safe, clean and warm.

Clearly everyone has good and bad parenting days. Those times when everything comes together and great memories are made. Your confidence soars. Give yourself a mini fist bump, you have this parenting shizzle down. Next morning though, the clock has reset. What amazing parenting can you pull out of the bag today? Nope you got nothing have you? Because you can’t be A1 parent 24/7. There are too many variables that cannot be controlled. You’re tired, the kids are tired, the weathers bad and the mother of bad parenting days; you just don’t feel like parenting today! What you really want is to sit on the sofa and watch total shit on TV. No interruptions, no questions, just you and that remote. Don’t worry it doesn’t mean you are a crap parent, it just shows that sometimes we all want to get off the world for a while.

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We get so carried away with making everything perfect all the time. Trying to reach that elusive parenting dream, thrust upon us by advertising. We forget that it’s not the big gestures. It’s that cuddle, that story, that time spent together. Think back to your childhood memories. Was the first thing you thought about a material thing or was it time you spent with your parents?

Of course the days out are fun. As are those times when you provide children with new experiences. But what children want more than anything else is to feel loved and safe. To know that they can come to you, that you will be there for them. Not too busy to listen or too stressed to care. You know your parenting is good enough when that little person kisses you goodnight, snuggles down into his bed and whispers I love you, you are my best friend.

The Dad of Design: Children & Chores

Unfortunately, as parents, household chores are unavoidable. Our children are unbelievably messy. It feels as though no matter how hard we try, cleanliness is an impossible thing to achieve. Even after spending hours with a vacuum cleaner attached to the arm, the kids still have the ability to destroy all of the hard work that we’ve done. It doesn’t take them long at all (Sometimes minutes!). It drives me MAD.

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condesign / Pixabay
I have no problem with toys being over the floor during the day. Because after all, ‘A messy home is a happy home’. However, toy mess is one thing. But food mess is a completely different kettle of fish.
No matter what food the kids eat, I can almost guarantee that most of it will end up on the floor. Of course, the toddler is the worst. But to be honest, the twins aren’t much better. I can’t stand food mess. Whether it’s crumbs over the carpet, sweets down the edge of the sofa or banana skins left on the coffee table. It’s gross. The kids however, don’t seem to care! This is what I want to change.
The twins are 8 years old now and I want them to start realising the hard-work that goes into cleaning up after them. My partner and I ensure that they clean their rooms regularly. (Although most of the time they just shove it under their bed). We get the toddler to clean up her toys after she’s finished playing with them. As they get older, I slowly intend to introduce them to new chores. I hope that it will embed a sense of responsibility into the kids and in turn, improve their independence.
At what age do you/did you begin to introduce your children to chores?

 Introducing The Dad of Design

Our guest blogger this week is Nick from The Dad of Design. A father of three, all daughters and a designer on the side! Nick is a really fresh face on the blogging scene. We like his honest writing style about every day things. You can find The Dad of Design on Twitter, pop over and say Hi! Don’t forget to tell him Pudding sent you 🙂

Savvy Mummy: Getting The Most From Maternity Pay

Ah maternity leave, you dreamed about endless coffee and cake with friends; joining baby yoga, massage and swimming. You were going to be a yummy mummy, a social butterfly of the mothering world….

So the reality turned out to be slightly different. 3 months of cracked nipples, night feeds, sweat pants and the compulsory shower in a can (deodorant a new Mum’s best friend!) Super glamorous? No not really. But you have survived those first few months, just. The dust has finally settled. You are ready to venture into the wilderness with your not quite so new bundle of joy. It is then that you realise that all those things you wanted to do cost quite a bit of money. You never really thought about that £3 coffee and £2 slice of cake before. But it is starting  to eat into your savings now! Your maternity pay has dropped, those baby classes cost £6 a session and you like to try to do something everyday… Hmmm it is time to get your Savvy Mummy on!

Here are our Top 10 Savvy Mummy Tips:
1: Visit Your Local Library

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LisetteBrodey / Pixabay
Usually your library will run some kind of activity for under 5’s, this might be a rhyme time or a story-telling session. They usually run at least one session a week during term time and are normally free.

The library itself is a great resource, free to join and they have a fab selection of books for babies and kids as well as loads of parenting books on weaning etc.

2: The Park

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A pretty obvious freebie activity (if you manage to resist the ice cream urge). Why not get a group of you together and settle under some leafy trees in the local park. Lay out a load of blankets and let the little ones roll about and admire the change of scenery. Picnics are optional!

If the park as a pond the kids love to go down and feed the ducks – make use of that stale bread and watch some feathery friends down by the water.

3: Childrens Centres

Savvy Mummy - Children Centres
condesign / Pixabay
Although the government has closed a lot of the Sure Start Centres due to underfunding, there are still quite a few open and they run some really good activities. Most sessions are only a couple of pounds, including Stay and Play, Rhyme Time, Messy Play and Weaning Sessions. Some also offer a Baby Massage course at a really good price. The other things the Children’s Centre offers are breastfeeding drop in’s; a good place to have a natter with some other Mums’ a free cuppa and some helpful advice.

4: City Farms

Savvy Mummy - City Farm
stux / Pixabay
These are fantastic places, free little farms found in the middle of our large cities, London has loads and free stuff in London is pretty rare! Usually they have a handful of animals to see, perfect for under 1s who don’t always get the full experience when you take them places as they are asleep! I can recommend a great one in Mudchute, that has a fab cafe but that’s not helping with saving money!)

5: Local Leisure Centre

Savvy Mummy - Leisure Centre
DavidKeller / Pixabay
Your local council run leisure centre usually offers some fun activities for under 5s, if you are in receipt of benefits these can be free. Most activities are around the £2-4 mark and can include soft play and swimming. Some of the leisure centres even offer a crèche for your little one while you have a swim or take an exercise class (remember it is not always about activities that only focus on baby). We are really lucky in Birmingham to be able to make use of the amazing facilities at GMAC, under 5’s can have free run of all the gym equipment, they run a morning and afternoon session there every day.

6: Class Taster Sessions

Savvy Mummy
Regenwolke0 / Pixabay
Loads of classes offer a free taster session to lure you in to their class – take full advantage of these. They give you a great opportunity to see what the class involves, whether it is suitable for you and your baby, if your baby likes the environment and to size up the other Mum’s (no one wants to attend a class that is already very clicky). There is no obligation to sign up – so go to as many different taster sessions as you like!

7: Weigh-In Clinics

Savvy Mummy - Weigh In
Photo Credit: D-Focused via Compfight cc
Not exactly the most exciting morning out I know – but a great place to meet loads of other Mums. Who knows they might have some ideas that don’t cost the earth or be able to recommend some local classes/playgroups

8: Coffee Mornings at Home

Savvy Mummy - Coffee
stevepb / Pixabay
Once you have that regular group of Mums; take turns to host coffee/lunch. It is a great alternative to keep going out and spending money. Bring out some Mr Kipling slices and a giant teapot, what more do Mum’s need? Plus no one else is going to understand why the walls and the cat are covered in puree when they arrive quite like another Mum!

9: Local Garden Centre/Pet Store

Savvy Mummy - Garden Centre
Stevebidmead / Pixabay
These are fun places to just wander around for 30mins or so. We often go just to have a look at the rabbits and hamsters. The tropical fish areas also provide entertainment, much cheaper than the Sealife Centre! Sometimes they even offer pet care workshops where you can handle the animals. We are lucky that one of the garden centres near us offers all day soft play for £1.70, its like a whole day out!

10: Soft Play for Under 1s

Savvy Mummy - Soft Play
Peggy_Marco / Pixabay
Most of soft play places have a baby/toddler area and entrance to under 1’s is usually free (adults are nearly always free). If your little one is a bit older they usually do a week day term time deal where the kids can play for about £1.50-£2.00. Which is pretty good value. The coffee can be a bit hit and miss for Mum’s but some places are really good!

Have you got any other cheap or free activities that you would like to share with other Mums?

This post was originally posted on Meet Other Mums

The Pramshed

Mum’s I Meet

In my four short years of motherhood I have spent a lot of time attending groups, coffee mornings and soft plays, I have seen all sorts of Mums, each one navigating there own way through the parenting jungle. It would appear that a Mum can fall into 6 categories – which one are you?!

Frazzled Mum

Ah this is the Mum with a slightly harrassed look on her face, usually juggling a small baby on her knee, whilst attempting to stop her threenager from lobbing his lunch all over the floor. She looks down right tired and is clearly in need of a pamper day, a hair brush and some new clothes. This poor lady has probably not looked in the mirror for two days and has no idea that she currently has baby sick down her back. Don’t judge her, we all have days like this, especially when we up the ante from one baby to two!

FreeStyling Natural Mum

 

Now this Mum is the one that you see in all the baby magazines, she has her hair loose and flowing over her shoulders, wearing a beautiful maxi dress. Her ability to calmly control all of her 7 children leaves you staring in wonderment, which turns to amazement when she informs you that she grows all her own vegetables and raises chickens. A firm believer in co-sleeping and breastfeeding she  really is the epitany of the Earth Mother, you kind of want to hate her and her perfectness but then she offers you some homemade pie!

Geek Mum

 

Everyone kind of needs a geeky-mum, you know the ones that have read every article about every baby related thing on the planet. They are a font of knowledge for baby buys, baby wearing, weaning, colic and postnatal blues. These are the mum’s that run groups and know how to get you into the best play group, nursery or school. Sometimes their know-it-allness can really get your back up but you realise that they don’t mean to be so annoying they just want to help!

Fashionista Mum

 

You will never know how these Mum’s do it – they rock up to soft play or playgroup looking like something off of Mum vogue. They are the only Mums’ who can pull off the top knot and joggers without looking like something out of Little Britain, don’t be fooled into emulating them. It’s like trying to copy the flawless model in a magazine. Their kids are always clean and impeccably dressed too, and they don’t carry a mammoth sized changing bag, they have a stylish Michael Kors draped over their arm and Prada sunglasses on their head. You could easily be fooled into thinking that this Mum is the embodiment of the ‘cool’ girls in your secondary school – but actually when you start chatting you realise like the rest of us she is just a Mum (all be it a slightly more refined model).

SuperMum

 

We would all love to be this Mum, she gets to school on time every morning with her child in the correct uniform, home made super healthy lunch and the required art project tucked under her arm. Her children have slept through the night since they were 8 weeks old and eat broccoli willingly. Some how this Mum finds the energy to attend every baby class, hold coffee mornings and help out in the playground at lunchtime – seriously SuperMum we applaud you!

MumBiz

 

You will see this Mum whizzing down the road in her beautiful suit and high heels with her face fully made up, dropping her little darling at nursery before dashing off to the office. She expresses milk in her lunch hour and is always home for bedtime. When she finally gets some time off she is the one crawling through the soft play area or chasing her kids round the farm. Don’t be fooled into thinking this Mum isn’t in need of a friend just because she looks busy, we all need a buddy to help us through!

Mothering is a tough job and we all need a little support from other Mum’s to help us through the highs and lows, a good network of friends can see you through the most difficult times. It’s tough, but get yourself out there and meet your own Mummy Tribe, we recommend one from each category 🙂

Published previously on meetothermums.com

Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear

 

 

Wanted: Granny! – Mum is the Word

Mum & PuddingI love it when Mum comes to stay, even for a couple of days, it lifts the whole mood in the house. I am calm and relaxed, I don’t feel the pressure of trying to get the kids dressed, fed, and washed, because she is beside me. We laugh and joke, and it makes all those daily chores feel less, well chore like. Because she is my Mum she just seems to inherently know what needs to be done or how something needs to be done and she just cracks on with it, no fuss. I enjoy cooking for her while she is here, because after all these years its nice to be able to give something back, I don’t want her to feel like she comes here and is a slave for me! But having her here certainly makes my life a bit easier and just her jolly attitude helps to lift me up and carry me along, when she goes I feel so flat. Tonights’ bath time was lovely with the kids, we sang and splashed, everyone was happy, but I felt a slight ache because I had had to say goodbye to my Mum a few hours earlier and she won’t be back for a few weeks again now.

Mum & Kids

I never considered what it would be like to bring up my children so far from my own Mum, but had I known when we had the made the decision to move across the country, what I know now I think I don’t know if I would do it again. I love my house, my husband and my life in Birmingham but I miss my family who live around 3 hours away (if we get a good run!) I am super lucky to have such supportive and lovely in laws, but even they live over an hour away. I wish we had some one closer, someone who I could pop in to with the kids for a coffee or who I could even leave the kids with just for an hour whilst I run an errand or do the food shop. I miss being able to just drop in some where, almost unannounced and have a pick me up pep talk when being a Mum gets tough. They are all the things my Mum would provide if she wasn’t so far away. I don’t want her to do endless hours of childcare or even to sit in our house whilst my other half and I enjoy a child free meal (although I wouldn’t say no to that occasionally!)

What I really need is an adoptive-grandparent, one who lives near to me, who maybe doesn’t have grandchildren of their own. Maybe they have family that live far away and they also crave the kind of companionship that is so lacking for me! Do you think you can put an advert into the local papers? You know a bit like the lonely hearts column, how would it read?

Wanted Stamp
OpenClipartVectors / Pixabay
Wanted Granny: Young(ish) Mum looking for a friendly adoptive Granny. Not too old, must love cats, biscuits and tea. Needs to enjoy the company of small children. Would prefer if they had a dog and a garden. Quite happy to take them out to places for lunch and coffee every week, in return for a listening ear and a few kind words. If you are interested in this post and live in the West Midlands please contact me…

 

Sounds mad doesn’t it? Obviously you can’t just adopt a Granny, but if we could, I definitely would. We could do with an adoptive Grandad too for that matter, one who could mow the lawn, or do a few odd jobs, nothing fancy just things that most people would ask their Dad to do for them!  Sometimes I need that cup of tea with a side order of wisdom that can only come from the older generation…

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Motherhood: The Never Ending Shift

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Our new arrival is now nearly 3 months, cute little dot she is, very smiley and pretty easy going. Mind you she has to be as our 3 year old (4 next month, where did that time go?) has decided that his only aim in life is to push his mother to the brink of insanity! It’s not that he is a bad kid, he just is struggling to adjust to not always being the number one priority in the house…
Last week really saw the tipping point! My other half hasn’t been working any more shifts than usual, it just feels like he has because he seems to be gone for days at a time. Our sons first question is always ‘where’s daddy? Is he working again?’ I guess it’s pretty hard on him as when either of us go on shift he doesn’t see us from one day to the next, we are up before he wakes and home long after he has gone to bed. Or worst still he has to be quiet round the house because one of us is sleeping for nights…. Any way; I digress back to the story I was telling.
So it’s Tuesday, and we are heading towards bed time, always a time where there is a risk of explosion in our house! It’s even worse this evening because the 3 year old in his infinite wisdom woke the baby from her nap and she is screaming. Unfortunately this happened around 6 hours ago and she has screamed like a banshee since then, my ears are ringing and my son looks like the world has ended! The sausages are cowering on their bed with their paws over their ears…
Dutifully I run my sons bath plonk him in and pick up his squalling sister who redoubles her efforts to sing me the song of her people… As I dance round the bathroom, swaying on the spot with my eyes momentarily closed to attempt to block out the noise my son decides to pick up his dad’s razor that has been left on the side of the bath (I hadn’t even noticed it was there…) he nicks his finger, cue major melt down from him! Without thinking I pick him up with one arm out of the bath, now I am soaking and have screaming in stereo. To add insult to injury the sausages have reached their tolerance limit, Toby turns to look at me and promptly vomits all over his bed, Flick takes flight upstairs to hide under my bed (I later realise her intention was actually to hunt out a forgotten used nappy and rip it up all over my bed, takes dirty protest to a whole new level). It’s at this precise moment my husband rings to see how we are doing and to find out what’s for dinner as he will be finishing on time, he is greeted by what can only be described as manic laughter….
Suffice to say bedtime could not come quick enough and it was with a great sigh I sunk onto the sofa at 7.30 with my ears still ringing. The reality of having two small children certainly hit home and my heart goes out to all those single parents out there or those whose partners work away. I only have 3/4 days a week utterly unsupported fighting the continuous demands of my offspring – believe me that is enough. No matter what my job as a nurse chucks at me least I know the shift will end, being a mum, now that’s a shift that never ends!
The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
Pink Pear Bear