Maisy has an assertiveness problem. She’s not been defending her turf with quite as much success as we were hoping that she would. Instead of claiming this garden as her own, it feels like every time she goes out to use the facilities, she’s paying the neighbour’s cat 20p for the privilege.

The other night, I was sat on the sofa with Maisy on my lap. In the conservatory, I heard the sound of some foreign animal attempting to enter through the cat flap. Maisy launched herself off of my lap and ran to the top of the stairs, where she nervously sat down. This location was clearly chosen because it is as far away from the conservatory door as possible, while still maintaining line-of-sight.

A few weeks ago, she left a dead mouse on the patio. At the time we assumed that she had killed it and brought it back as a gift, but I’m wondering now if our initial assessment was incorrect. It seems likely that the mouse was actually chasing Maisy back into the house, and then slipped on the edge of a paving slap and broke its neck.

Maisy’s problem, if you wish to call it a problem, is that she likes to sleep. Any time not spent curled up on the Poang, or under Bernard’s bed, or on a chair in the conservatory, is time wasted. She has no work ethic whatsoever.

Gaming Parenting


Bernard has now spent the past six nights in a bed. Well, with the exception of the time that he’s spent on the floor next to his bed, or on one occasion, underneath his bed.

He seems to be much happier without bars. When he wakes in the morning, he doesn’t have to wail at ever-increasing volume until someone comes to rescue him. Instead, he can just slide out of bed and waddle around upstairs to his heart’s content.

A consequence of this change is that the POÄNG has been returned to the sitting room, and a bean bag moved upstairs to replace it. The POÄNG is a most adequate gaming chair, and certainly beats sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television. Ironically, on Sunday I completed Tomb Raider Anniversary ((which I’ve been playing since mid-January)) and so now I have a lovely gaming chair, but no games to play while sitting in it.

On an unrelated note, you see that “YOU ARE HERE” thing at the top-left of the page? What are your thoughts on the usefulness of that? Many thanks.


The Bathtime Routine Revisited

About a year ago, I wrote about Bernard’s bathtime routine. I stumbled across the entry just now, while looking for something else, and marvelled at how things have changed, and how glad I am that I wrote it down for posterity.

These days the routine goes something like this…

Shortly after 6:30pm, I pull up to the front door and fumble about in my bag for my keys. Bernard waddles towards the front door in a futile attempt at escape, and Karen holds him back while I park my bike in the garage and take off my cycle helmet. I am not allowed to sit my sweaty ass down on the sofa until I have had a quick shower, so I usually do this.

We read books until about 6:55pm, at which point we announce “tidy up time!” and all the toys and books go back into the appropriate boxes. We open the stairgate, and lure Bernard towards the stairs. One of us goes ahead, to start the bath running, while the other follows Bernard, just in case he slips (which never happens, but you can’t be too sure). Once upstairs, we close the top stairgate. Whoever went up ahead closes all the doors on the landing except for the doors to Bernard’s bedroom and the bathroom, to prevent him from going off and finding lots more interesting things to do. The landing light and bathroom light are switched on, Bernard’s bedroom light is left switched off.

Bernard is usually either on the landing at this point, or stood by the bath throwing toys into it. He is undressed, his nappy is removed, and by now the bath is ready, so he is lowered into it.

He may or may not sit down in the bath. We generally take turns to give him his bath, though if the other person is nearby, they may help with the rinsing of the hair. When he is clean, he is hoisted out, wrapped in a towel, and I brush his teeth.

He is then released back onto the landing, and encouraged through to his bedroom, where his new nappy is put on. We then sit him up to put his arms into his pyjamas, lie him back down to tuck his legs in, sit him back up to put his arms into his grobag, stand him up to tuck his legs in, sit him back down to zip it up.

He then climbs onto my lap and selects a book for his bedtime story. Karen goes to change into her pyjamas, and then comes back through and sits down on the POÄNG. When Bernard decides that he has read enough for this evening, he leans towards her and emits a little whine. We put the book away, he is hoisted up on to Karen’s lap, I kiss him on the head and wish him goodnight, and head off to do the washing up. Karen feeds him, and he goes to sleep. For a while.