Dog walking always sounded like such a chore to me before we actually got a dog of our own. And some days it does require grit-your-teeth-and-just-do-it effort (particularly when it’s pouring rain or I have a cantankerous toddler in tow). But with all the kids packed off to school and nursery this morning, I enjoyed some alone time (and today’s happy moment) with my scruffy, puddle loving, dirt magnet pup Beano.
I’m still surprised by how relaxing and rewarding it is to walk the dog. Taking him out at least once a day is a small goal that I can quite easily achieve. I get a sense of satisfaction from doing it and a 45 minute walk adds balance to the day. When I’m later sat flopped in front of the TV or I find myself fretting about all of the outstanding things on my To Do list, I can console myself with the reminder that ‘at least I walked the dog’.
It’s also lovely to see how much Beano loves his walks. He jumps a good three feet off the ground whenever he spots me holding his lead and always leaps into the car boot with flare and delight. Apparently a car journey seems to suggest a more interesting destination for exploration than our less ambitious route through the local playing fields.
The way he bounds and leaps across fields to catch birds always makes me giggle and his downhill bum shuffling manoeuvres to wipe leaves off his arse are laugh out loud hilarious. So although this dog owner/lover business is still quite new to me, I’m beginning to enjoy it, especially since the ‘chew everything & poo anywhere’ phase seems to have finally passed.
Today was a good work day as I got to listen to some fascinating talks at a Perspectives on Breastfeeding conference. My personal fav was an inspiring presentation by an IBCLC who’s work in a disadvantaged Ethiopian hospital has had a hugely positive impact on early neonatal care and feeding. But my actual happy moment came after I finished delivering my own talk on supporting vulnerable women to breastfeed. My preparation and practice paid off as I managed to get through my 30 minute PowerPoint presentation without fluffing my ‘lines’ or saying anything wholly inappropriate (which is a constant fear of mine, both when giving presentations to roomfuls of people and when attending dinner parties). I find public speaking to be numbingly nerve-wracking and adrenaline-inducing addictive. As soon as I finished I actually wanted to do it all over again (which is lucky really, as I’m speaking at another conference on Friday).
Much as I’d like to, I really can’t pretend to be much of a baker. Despite my best efforts (and hours spent watching The Great British Bake Off), I always end up with dry sponges and soggy bottoms. But after spending a rainy Sunday afternoon in the kitchen with a cookbook, my peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies turned out rather well (by my standards at least). So, there may be hope for me yet. I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a Bree Van de Kamp, without the twin sets and pearls.
Staying at my parents’ house always gives me the chance to loot their loft in search of my childhood treasures. And today I struck gold with a box full of my all-time favourite preteen classics. The ‘Library of Francine Pascal’ got me through the hormonal years and to have found my forgotten stash of Sweet Valley High books has made me inordinately happy! I may now need to sideline my Jessica Ennis autobiography in favour of Jessica Wakefield’s Californian exploits. Book Club anyone?
Having four kids means that, invariably, at least one will wake up during the night in urgent need of a wee, some water, a nose blow or reassurance that the bogey man has left the building. And when there’s no quick fix to the twilight trauma, I tend to extend an open invitation to sleep in “mummy & daddy’s bed” because it’s the simplest route to resuming sleep. However the payoff is the same; bony elbows in the back and duvet wars. Three is always a crowd under the covers! So with Dave back home in London, I’ve been far happier to share my bed with my little ones at my mum’s. Last night I snuggled up with Leo-shaped hot water bottle and tonight it’s Reece’s turn for a sleepover.
Ah, just look at him…gently snoring, so peacefully; and not arguing with his brothers, not refusing to eat his dinner, not distracting me whilst I’m driving, not nagging me to use my laptop….etc, etc