Pets at Home?

I guess I knew the day would come. It was always going to come at some point after all, but now we’re going to have to think about it and work out a carefully calculated response… My daughter came home from pre school today and asked if she could have her own bunny rabbit. I’m lucky that at this point, upon a little bit of probing, it’s not a fully thought out request. The conversation went a little bit like this:

Evie: “Mummy, Daddy, I’m nearly a big girl now aren’t I? I’m nearly four! (No pause for an answer) I’m nearly four, and you said when I was a big girl I could have a real rabbit (little recollection of this on my part) (still no pause for breath). I know we’ll have to keep it in a house in the garden and when it poos I’ll have to take it out, but I know I’ll have to wear gloves to do that, and bunnies like carrots, don’t they Mummy? Mummy are you listening to me?”

At this point, my husband intervened, and my mind was set at ease temporarily as it emerged she felt the best name for her real pet rabbit would be ‘Boingy’ and she would wait until we could get her a pink one.

The conversation did however fill me with dread. I don’t hate animals at all, completely the contrary. Having grown up in a tiny hamlet, with three working farms around me I am quite used to being around animals. My parents also had at one point during my chilhood, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 12 rabbits (they were told they had 2 females, but were incorrectly informed!) and 30 chickens so I’ve had my fair share of pets too. I’ve been vegetarian since I left home too as I hated it when the cows or pigs suddenly weren’t in the fields any more because they’d gone away to meet their fate. It upset me so much and I still hate to think about it even now.

Despite my love of animals however, I was rubbish at looking after them, in fact my beloved rabbit ‘Beatrice’ (not sure how or why I came up with that name) had in fact been dead for a good six months before I realised. I was about 13 at this point too, so really should have had some sense of responsibility. I must add that my parents did care for this rabbit and they were fully aware she had gone to pet heaven, they just didn’t tell me because they were waiting for me to realise and then acknowledge that perhaps I hadn’t been the most diligent pet owner, although I think I even shocked them with how long it took for this revelation!

My husband is even worse. He definitely not an animal lover, and has no problem eating them whatsoever. His sister’s rabbit got attacked by a fox when he was younger and he has regaled the story on more than one occasion of how he actually slipped over on said rabbit, almost ‘wearing’ it like a slipper on his way to get his bike to ride to school.

I know that now I am a responsible parent, I wouldn’t forget to feed a pet, and after seeing and dealing with pretty much every variety of poo that exists in the human form, I think I’ll be fine cleaning out the pets as well. The trouble is, I personally don’t really want to have a pet. We’re out at work a lot of the time, they take up a lot of time and money, and I get so attached, that although I know they bring you a lot of pleasure, the sadness I’ve felt when they have died has always been far more overwhelming.

At what point is the right time to introduce your children to this? I know that aged four, my daughter won’t understand the full extent of the responsibility that having a pet entails, but does this mean it’s wrong to not give her the opportunity to begin to understand this responsibility? This really is an issue where my husband and I as parents, have to be completely selfless, but also sensible. Is it right to bring a living creature in to the house on the potential whim of a four year old? Or is it more selfish to not bring something into the house that can be a rewarding life experience for our children just because we are not too keen?

I’d love to hear your opinions, especially if you’ve dealt with this situation. I always knew it would happen. I starved myself for three hours aged 8 in the hope it would get me a hamster, then ran away to my garden packing only my teddy and a spare pair of pants in my bag in protest, but judging by my poor Beatrice’s fate 5 years later, I’m confident that my parents did indeed make the correct decision when they said no!

Fitness Friday: Week 3

I can’t believe how good I’ve been on this diet! With any other diet I’ve done before I’ve just lived for my Friday or Saturday night treat, but I can honestly say I’ve not had a single ‘naughty’ thing to eat since I started my diet on New Year’s Day, and given that I’m vegetarian and that meat is about the only thing you can eat on it, this makes me even more proud!

I did my third weigh in this morning, have now lost 10lb in total, and people at work today started saying my tummy looked smaller which is always a bonus!

I’ve also managed to keep up the exercise. Although I have only been managing to get to the gym twice a week instead of the three times I was hoping for, I have at least been consistent, and got up to 3.7km on my 25 minute run yesterday. When I first started I was running for 1 minute then walking 1 1/2 minutes, but now I can run the majority of the time. I also now just feel unfit when I run as opposed to feeling like there was no doubt I would keel over any second.

I never realised that eating carbs had such an effect on the way you feel. Cutting them out was a horrendous experience and although the plan claimed you’d feel terrible for the first three days, it took my body this long to wade through the excess Quality Street in my system and it wasn’t until 11 days in that the yuckiness stopped. I felt rubbish for the first 11 days: tired, headache, out of breath. I considered stopping but being stubborn and having a fridge full of especially prepared food, I decided to give it one more week. Then one morning, I just woke up and felt fine. It’s only occured to me in the last week or so that I haven’t been waking up feeling tired, I’m no longer irritable and have so much more patience with the children, both at home and at work, I’ve been sleeping better, and most crucially, I’ve not had a single carb craving, and haven’t even felt jealous when I’ve seen hubby tucking into pizzas or ice cream (my favourite treat dinner)! I only feel hungry when I am hungry.

So all in all I’m feeling very proud of myself, the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as it has on some diets I have done, but the inches are, and I’ve never felt so energised on a diet before. I’m nearly halfway through the first part of the diet and then I will start introducing some carbs back in, I just hope I don’t start cheating once I get the taste for them!

Hop on over to the Monkeying Around blog and find out how everyone else is doing on the Fitness Friday quest, and well done to all those New Year’s Resolution dieters out there!

See You Tomorrow…

Christmas was fab for us as a family this year, and already seems like ages ago, even tho it was only 3 1/2 weeks.

It was great for all the obvious reasons, but something else happened on Christmas Day – my daughter had her first sleepover away from Mummy and Daddy. Yes, it was with her cousin who is still family, but it was the first time in her life that she woke up without either of us there to greet her. I’ve had nights away and so has my husband but never both of us together.

The question is, why hasn’t this happened before? When is the right time? Have I been a ridiculously overprotective, control freak parent? I’m not sure exactly, but I think I’m probably to blame. For the first couple of years of her life I definitely wasn’t ready to be apart from her overnight, the whole idea just scared me so much, despite the fact that a few of her friends had begun to do this, I knew I couldn’t. I now wonder whether this was quite selfish, but I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t really that bothered and neither did the need arise.

Peppa Pig however has turned sleepovers into the ‘Holy Grail’ of treats, and now she longs for them. On Christmas Day, she and her cousin who is 9, begged us to let her sleep over. With quite a bit of wine in my system and the prospect of a lie in, my anxiety and maternal attachment seemed to fly out of the window and she did it. As soon as I woke up, my husband phoned to see how she was, to which the reply came “Oh, they’re still asleep!” She didn’t actually wake up until 9:30am. Why does this never happen at home?! When she eventually did get up, she was so full of the excitement she didn’t even mention us or miss us, and when we turned up later she barely acknowledged us! Did this tug at my heart strings? No it didn’t at all. What I’ve learnt from this is that I needed to let go a bit, and realise that even at 3, I’ve made a little person with her own thoughts and opinions (and boy are they strong ones!) so this is all just another part of her growing up and the learning curve that is being a parent. She’s already got 2 more sleepovers booked in over the next few weeks, has practise packed her Trunki on a daily basis and is looking for us to buy a second one for her beloved ‘Bunny.’ Her poor brother also gets laid in her bed so they can play sleepovers too!

I’m not sure that I’m ready to go off on some Caribbean holiday without the children, I don’t think I ever will be until they’ve left home themselves, that’s not why we had children, but I do feel like I’ve gone through a rite of passage now, getting the first sleepover out of the way! And if they really are that much fun perhaps I should be indulging in them myself now I know the kids’ll be ok, where’s that five star hotel brochure?!

The Perfect Housewife?

I’m a working mum. I’ve accepted that this is the way things have to be, and am lucky that I actually enjoy the job I do which makes things a whole lot easier emotionally when what I’d really like to be able to do is stay at home all the time with my children. Often on a day off I don’t feel like this as I’m being trampled upon, badgered to go to the park in the pouring rain or finding myself engaging in a conversation with my 3 year old as to why getting the paints out in the middle of the night is not a good idea, but ultimately I love this part of my life.

The bit I find the most difficult is juggling to the two. Working three long days, and being home four, I feel that I still need to be the perfect housewife, that on my days off, my husband should get in to a house of calm, that has been cleaned and smells of fresh bouquets, while the children have played happily, followed by a delightful home cooked meal which we sit at the table and eat, with perhaps some cookies that the children have baked as a special treat before bed. That’s how it happens in the movies isn’t it?

Instead, my poor husband generally arrives home to a house where it looks like a tornado has gone right the way through the lounge, that smells of poo because I’ve forgotten to take out my 1 year old’s nappy, and we can’t sit at the table to eat our dinner because it’s covered in the painting that the children have done, and the dried on porridge that I haven’t noticed from breakfast. At this point, the children are usually watching tv while I run around trying to cover up my hopelessness as a housewife!

Obviously the children play a large part in why I don’t get the house spick and span (does anybody actually use that phrase any more?!) along with work. Just this morning I got an email detailing several hours worth of work that I will need to do, and I have to fight the temptation to sit down and do this work, but it’s my day off, and I neither went part time in order to work for free at home, nor did I do it to clean the house. I went part time so I could enjoy the precious few years I have with my children before they start school. It felt like this would be a very long time, but having submitted my daughter’s school application last week, I don’t know where the time has gone at all.

Sometimes people do come to my house and tell me I’m doing a great job. I smile graciously, but don’t tell them:

  • I iron by hanging the clothes up when wet, then sitting on them and patting them down when they’re dry
  • Baby wipes are my multipurpose cleaner – I don’t know how I ever survived without them!
  • The beautiful ‘art wall’ is only there to cover up the children’s literal understanding of when I said ‘Wouldn’t it be good to have our very own wall with all your drawing on it?’
  • Most of my polishing is done by blowing the dust away
  • My daughter gets more use out of her play cleaning set than I do out of my real one
  • Those randomly placed stickers that I blame my children for, were actually put there by me to cover up a multitude of sins

So I’m not the perfect housewife, it’s always one step forwards, two steps back, and I’d love to know how people do manage to achieve this domestic bliss. Answers on a postcard please! I’ll leave you with this photo. The room was immaculate. I went for a wee, then came down to this – I don’t stand a chance!

Fitness Friday – Week One

I’ve been a very poor blogger this week, actually, scrap that as I’ve not been a blogger at all! My intentions of having lots to say went out of the window the day I returned to school and realised how much work I should have done during my time off. Despite only having worked two days last week, I so needed the weekend to arrive!

However, I decided to be part of Fitness Friday, so don’t want to get left out before the end of the first week! You can read in my initial post my reasons for wanting to lose weight, my targets and how I was hoping to achieve them. I have to say this is the toughest eating plan I’ve ever done in my life, and I certainly didn’t feel ‘great with a newfound sense of energy and wellbeing’ as the plan promised! It warned me that the first three days would be ‘tough’ but if I stuck with it, by day 4 I would be able to feel big improvements. Well…

Determined as I am, I made sure that I had all of the right ‘healthy’ ingredients ready to begin on New Year’s Day. After being a gluttonous pig over Christmas, I was more than ready to start eating healthily. I got up and prepared my oatbran for breakfast, and all was fine. Essentially, this diet cuts out carbs for six weeks, then begins to reintroduce them slowly so you don’t balloon again. Being vegetarian, I’ve always relied on carbs to help me through when dieting, so I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, so post breakfast, I was literally waiting for the ‘toughness of the first 3 days’ to kick in, but all seemed ok, right the way through the first three days. This is when I started to get smug, and consequently where it all started to go downhill!

Day 4 was my first day back at work, and also the day that the plan seemed to hate my body! I think I’d spent the first three days living off the excess Quality Street that were living in my system, and those supplies had relinquished by day 4. Consequently, I was tired from a 6am get up and going back to work, and irritable from sugar deprivation and PMT, I had a headache, was out of breath after walking up the stairs, and hubby quite rightly described me as a ‘moody cow!’ I think I escaped pretty lightly, I was evil!

I survived that day at work, and because I’m so determined, I didn’t give in, but by day 5, none of these feelings had gone, so I caved in, and ate a slice of toast and a banana! Within about 20 minutes I felt fine again, and I didn’t put on 3 stone as a result either!

As for exercise, well I went back to the gym. I hate exercise, but I know that I need to do it, and we feel it’s important that our children grow up to think of being fit and active as a normal part of life, so I decided I’d try running. I’ve always wanted to be able to run, but my ample chest and lack of a good fitting sports bra have always put me off a bit, but I got a beginner’s running plan and onto the treadmill went I! I managed just over 3km on my first run (well most of it was huffy puffy walking but we won’t split hairs!) and I ached for days. I also got a few strange looks as I couldn’t find my water bottle, so ended up having to use my son’s Tommy Tippee beaker to keep me hydrated! The second run was much better though, so hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be running a marathon!

I guess really, I need to decide whether all that was worth it. I’m sure the saying goes ‘everything comes at a price’, so if I want to lose weight, I’m going to have to be disciplined. I decided not to weigh myself every day, so I had to do it about seven times when I actually had my official weigh in, because I couldn’t believe my eyes – 7lb in 7 days! Yes I know I won’t maintain this (though wouldn’t it be great if I did?!), I know most of that was water (and Quality Street) and that it’ll slow down. It was a challenge but 1) It worked, and 2) I’m still alive, so was it worth it? Hell yeah! Here’s to next week, fellow Fitness Fridayers!

Good luck! x