The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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Bob’s gone to the big tank…

…in the sky. Yep, we’ve managed to kill off another one.

I noticed that Bob was moving rather strangely in his tank when I got home from work yesterday evening and Dh put some of his medicine in the water. It was all a bit ER for 30 seconds – I practically got the defib equipment out whilst shouting ‘FULL BLOOD COUNT, CT SCAN AND CONTACT NEXT OF KIN GODDAMMIT!’  The jump juice seemed to perk him up a bit. Bob, not Dh. I announced his departure on Facebook (again, Bob. Not Dh), and five minutes later had to issue a retraction as Bob seemed to undergo an Easter miracle and rise from the depths…of his tank…and start swimming again.

Dh checked on the Bobster before he went to work at the ungodly hour of 5.30am this morning and he was a deceased fish. He had fallen off his Spongebob house. He was now sleeping with…well, Maisy and Eddie.

I HATE fantail goldfish. We know the water is good as we’ve been so careful with it. The filter works. He was fed appropriately. He had medicine when he was looking a bit droopy. What else could we have done?

R noticed the empty tank this morning after breakfast and I briefly explained that Bob had been very sick and had to go away, like Maisy and Eddie before him. She looked sad for about 10 seconds until G piped up: ‘Can we get Miffy now?’

Anyway, Dh and I have discussed it and we’re going to get to normal bog-standard cheap as (fish n) chips goldfish. You know, the yellowy-orange sort that we all had as kids. Maybe not just yet though.

FYI, Charlie and Lola the guinea pigs are thriving* and now eat from our hands. They are infinitely easier to look after than the infernal fantail goldfish

*Have I doomed them by writing that?

RIP Maisy

I hate goldfish. They are the WORST pets.

We discovered that Maisy was sleeping with the…well….Bob on Friday morning. We don’t know whether she was sick or if the shock of Bob arriving finished her off but she’s gone.

G took the news remarkably well. She wants to get a replacement. Dh and I can’t face the rigmarole and trauma now associated with the purchase and upkeep of goldfish. If Bob goes (fingers crossed her doesn’t) I think we’ll quietly consign the Spongebob Squarepants tank to the junk cupboard.

Bob

Meet Bob. He’s R’s new fish.

He’s another fantail and seems a lot feistier than poor old Eddie. He’s settled in really well, although Maisy is sulking a bit because he’s got a more wafty tail than she has. We selected him because he looked perky and because he looked roughly the same size as Maisy. Eddie always looked a bit….runty compared to his tank-mate.

Hopefully Bob (name chosen by R) will last a lot longer than his predecessor.

Bookworms

I picked the girls up from nursery tonight and when I arrived R was nowhere to be seen (busy putting a princess dress on) whilst G was curled up on a beanbag reading a Charlie and Lola book, utterly oblivious to the chaos unfolding around her.

I immediately identified with G. I have always loved books and can think of nothing better than ploughing through a stack of brand-new paperbacks. As a child, I visited our local public library every week, always taking out the maximum number of books allowed on my ticket and working my way through the pile. I still devour books like a crazed Ms Pacman.

It probably sounds a bit bonkers but we’ve always read to R and G. I did try reading aloud to them when I was pregnant but I felt a bit silly reading to myself. Dh and I started reading to the girls as part of their bedtime routine when they were tiny. After their bedtime feed we would prop them up on cushions and read them picture books. We were aware that we were only really entertaining each other but it’s something that we’ve continued throughout the girls’ lives.

As R and G have got older their participation in bedtime stories has increased. We read them two stories every night and they get to choose one each. They are read to throughout the day as well and they now make up stories to read to each other: “Everybody SIT DOWN! Can you see Ruth? Ok. Can you see the pictures? ONCEUPONATIME there was a little rabbit called Miffy….PUT YOUR LISTENING EARS ON RUTH!” We’ve accumulated quite a stack of children’s books over the years and we take them to the library every fortnight to get more picture books. They know certain books by heart and have favourites that have to be read every night for a week or two, before they move on to the next one.

We had a playdate with some friends a few weeks ago and the girls spotted The Gruffalo among the books. R and G picked it up and started reciting the words, to the astonishment of the host. “Are they actually reading that?” she asked? I grinned and said the girls just had really good memories. If I didn’t like her quite as much I might have told a teeny tiny white lie…

There are certain books that we all love:

  • The tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr
  • Room on the broom by Julia Donaldson (we love all of her books and own most of them)
  • The Wibbly Pig books by Mick Inkpen
  • The Kipper books by Mick Inkpen
  • The pigeon books by Mo Willems (if the girls get invited to a birthday party they invariably take pigeon books as presents)
  • The Miffy books by Dick Bruna
  • What does Daddy do? By Rachel Bright
  • The Maisy books by Lucy Cousins
  • The Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child
  • The Hairy Mclairy books by Lynley Dodd
  • The Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems
  • Wild about books by Judy Sierra

I’ve already started collecting books ready for when the girls are actually able to read: Roald Dahl, Mallory Towers, St Clare’s, Dick King-Smith, Winnie the Pooh, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Tom’s Midnight Garden… I loved these and many, many more as a child and I hope that R and G love them as much as I did (I still remember my shock at finding out the protagonist in the Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler was actually a girl) and I’m sure that they’ll introduce me to authors that weren’t around when I was growing up. I was already an adult when Harry Potter and the Georgia Nicolson (Louise Rennison) series were published but I connected with them as I imagine I would have done as a child and young teenager.

R and G aren’t old enough to learn to read yet but they already seem to be developing a love of books and we’ll do everything we can to encourage that.

Guinea pig manor

After a week in their warm, cosy indoor cage Charlie and Lola have been turfed out into their Spring/Summer quarters  – the rather grandly named guinea pig manor. It’s been lovely to have them inside with us as it’s given us all time to get used to each other. On a practical level it makes sense for them to be outdoors most of the time though. Plus if they’d lived in the house for very much longer the dining room would have started to get a bit smelly.

Dh and I have been sharing feeding and cleaning out duties and the girls have been getting involved as well. They love stroking the piggies and have been helping to change Charlie and Lola’s bedding, straw and food. C & L love broccoli, celery and cucumber so the girls help to wash the veg and put it into the cage. G would dearly love to hold and cuddle C & L but they are extremely wriggly so we’ve reached a compromise where one of us holds them and G snuggles into us. R loves observing their behaviour and keeps up a running commentary on C and L’s movements. She frets that they’re not using their salt lick and playing with their toys but finds their (massive) straw consumption fascinating.

Aside from being totally different cosmetically, C and L have very different personalities. Lola is extremely feisty and doesn’t really fear anything or anyone. She spends much of her time gambolling around the hutch like a newborn lamb. Charlie is much quieter and more timid but loves cuddles – when you can get hold of her! She’s a bit of a speedy Gonzales.

Just a quick note on the goldfish. Maisy and Eddie are doing really well and Dh actually allows R and G to give them fish flakes every other day. I think they felt a bit upstaged by the piggies and Maisy seems to be shimmying around the tank more enthusiastically now that C and L have moved outdoors.

I keep thinking about one of the animals in the adoption section of the pet shop. Hobo was a lop-eared rabbit that appeared to have alopecia. He had bald patches on his head but the information sheet next to his cage said that the hair should grow back in time. G was quite fascinated by him and insisted on going to visit him on the numerous occasions we went to the pet shop. Normally the turnover of animals in the adoption bit is quite high but Hobo had been there for a few weeks. Last week R and G sat next to his cage for ages and chatted to him. If he hasn’t already, I hope he finds a suitable owner soon. I was half tempted to suggest to dh that we adopt him but guinea pigs and rabbits don’t really mix…

The new tank-mate

Ladies and Gentlemen….

After six weeks of fish-based agony, Eddie has FINALLY arrived. Dh took a water sample for testing yesterday and the pet shop finally deemed it suitable for a second fish. FYI, the fish are better looked after than I am – Dh puts bottled water into their tank because apparently ‘London water isn’t very nice for them’. <insert LOLs here>

This morning, Dh took the girls back to the pet shop so that R could select Eddie. Here he is (bottom) with his lady-friend Maisy  (top):

Eddie looks tiddly compared to Maisy. She’s managed to grow considerably since she arrived in January, despite being on reduced rations for most of that time. He’s also a fantail goldfish, but his tail is fused and he doesn’t have the double tail ‘wafty’ effect that Maisy has.

Dh is rather happy because they are likely to outgrow their tank in the next year or two and he’ll just have to buy the larger, hexagonal tank that he originally wanted.

I’m happy that R finally has her own fish. She’s been very grown-up and patient about it through the saga of the multiple trips to the pet shop and endless chatter from G about Maisy.

Now that the fifth and sixth members of the HoT are here, my thoughts are turning to the extension of our pet menagerie. Watch this space…