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Penguin poo and a girl called Fred

Meet Eric. He’s a penguin…in case it’s not obvious. And the result of our Sunday morning “craft in pyjamas”. I don’t have much input to be honest as H likes to do it her way…but I’m there to open, try to stop a spill and inevitably be on hand to quickly wipe up the glue. Or paint. Or glitter. Mr Maker has a lot to answer to!

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He may look like a decorated loo roll to some of you…but Eric is no ordinary penguin. As H explained to me…he has his own glacier, splash pool with little blue fish and some greens “in case he gets fed up eating fish”. Snack today was an apple each (free food on the clean 9!) and we sat together on the kitchen sofa munching. H swinging her legs like we were on a wall…thinking. “I’m going to keep these pips Mummy” she said, picking at the core with her little finger nails. “Are you going to plant them and grow an apple tree?” A look of disdain told me I’d got it very wrong indeed. “They might be just pips to you Mummy but these are for my play set. These pips…these are penguin poo!”

Eric tagged along to Nanna Doris’s to enjoy the weekly family gathering and sing Happy Birthday to my “little” brother Adam…who despite my Nans 30th birthday card faux pas…is actually 31. He (eric, not my brother) was carefully positioned on his iceberg in the middle of the busy living room, three times avoiding near devastation…feet faltering a step to miss him…tea slopping precariously…but no one hurt. I was glad to get him back to the safety of the playroom. With the snail house (aargh!!)…and the third “girl snail called Fred” in a week that will mysteriously escape all by herself out the back door after bedtime.

My Nan likes Eric better than Fred…but she loves H best of all. She has been through some terrible ordeals with her health in recent years but H has given her a reason to dig deep. And Sunday is H’s favourite day because “everyone goes to Nanna Doris’s” Four generations squashed up against each other in a maisonette living room. On the sofa, on the spare chair…spilling onto the floor. It’s a time bound opportunity we choose to take and we all religiously attend. It’s not exciting or adventurous, it’s the same formula every week. But being together…just for an hour or two…it’s the bread and butter of family life…something H will remember forever.

H and I also like it because we have tea and cake. But today, it’s chocolate and H is dairy intolerant and thus we resist together. Im not actually feeling that hungry after my delicious lunch of salmon, noodles and greens. After two days with food of very little substance it tasted like the best meal ever. And H had the same. “I don’t like this” she said clearing her plate, looking for a response. As I opened my mouth to reply she threw back her head laughing “I don’t like it…I love it!”. Never too young to eat well. Although she also gets pudding!

All is quiet by 8pm and I’m picking up tiny gems and googley eyes that stick on the kitchen floor like superglue. I give up my efforts to scrub away the “washable” ink, picking off feathers and crepe paper that have stuck to my trousers. I’m going to sit in front of the TV and enjoy my protein shake. Clean 9 day 3 and 4inches have disappeared. I’ve shifted the muffin top that had been stubbornly hanging in (or should that be over) there. And it’s really not been too bad…in fact a sigh of relief after day 2! I head to bed stumbling on the landing over another empty toilet roll. “Next week I’m making a rocket”.

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