I was in the kitchen when I heard Nathan shouting at the puppy.

“Come back here, drop it! Shit.”

The door flew open and Heidi skittered in on the lino, followed closely by Nathan, swearing. Heidi dropped something and darted back outside, Nathan hot on her tail, kicking whatever it was she dropped outside on his way.

It was about here that I realised things were going to be terrible.

“What is it?” I shouted after them, heading to the bathroom window – which incidentally is not frosted glass, which is why I have to check for stray farm workers before I strip naked and shower – to see what was up.

From there I could see Heidi licking the inside of an old, very very old, duck egg shell.

“She’s found a rotten egg, fucking hell.”

That’s when the smell hit me. As I started to retch, Nathan grabbed the hose, which I suppose we should be grateful was switched on at the time, and headed towards the egg shell. Heidi spotted the hose and tried to run inside.

“No you don’t!”

I got to the door faster than she did, attempting to slam it shut before she could bring her rotten egg covered face and paws back inside. It didn’t latch – an extension cord was running from the bathroom power point, out through the kitchen door, stopping me closing it properly.

Still retching, I held the door shut with my body as Heidi scrabbled against it.

Evelyn stood in front of me, seemingly unconcerned about the fog of stench surrounding us both as I retched into the rubbish bin. I held the door shut with one hand against Heidi’s increasingly frantic efforts to evade Nathan who wanted to hose her feet.

“Mummy, you ‘kay? You ‘kay Mummy?” Evelyn clasped her hands and looked worried about the noises coming out of my face. She patted me gently. “Dere dere. You be ‘kay now Mummy.”

This was when the smell hit Evelyn, who has a weak stomach and retches easily.

“NO! Don’t you vomit! Go into the lounge room. Go away from the smell.”

Retch. “Smells bad, Mummy. Smells AWFUL.” Retch. Retch.

I pushed her away, still holding the door shut.

Amy wandered in.

“Ugh, god. What’s that smell? Did Heidi vomit in the bathroom?”

I retched some more. The smell was getting worse. “No, she…” retch “… go and get me the eucalyptus spray, Amy. Right now.”

Amy shook her head. “I’m not going into the bathroom if Heidi vomited in there. Ugh, it smells rotten.”

Heidi stopped throwing herself at the door, deciding that running to try and lick the last remnants of egg out of the concrete was a good idea.

“Amy, DON’T let the dog in.” I left Amy to hold the door shut, heading for the bathroom and the safety of the eucalyptus room spray. Five seconds later, we could breathe again as I sprayed the kitchen with deodoriser.

“What was that?” Isaac asked, looking worried. “It smelled so bad Mummy.”

“Heidi broke a rotten egg, and ate it.”

“YUCK.”

Yuck indeed.

Gingerly I opened the door and a wave of stench rolled back in. I’d been busy all day and I was too exhausted to even contemplate bathing the dog – not after the last time I bathed a dog (Maisy) who had rolled in rotten egg and left me retching as the dog shampoo mixed with the smell of rotten egg marinating in warm water.

Heidi was sitting in the doorway, watching Nathan hose off the concrete, tongue lolling out, looking increasingly pleased with herself.

The situation was dire. Everytime she breathed the smell got worse, and from what I could see, her water bowl was empty. Making her drink water to wash away all the egg was a good idea, right?

The problem with making her drink water was that I needed to actually move into the smell funk to grab her bowl. So I did what all parents have done when faced with a rotten smell: I tried to make a child do it for me.

Nope. No luck. Evelyn had stopped retching and was watching me warily from the edge of the living room. Amy and Isaac would need more money than I was worth to do it. I was on my own.

A quick dart and I had her food and water bowl in hand, and thankfully, once I put down water she dipped her entire face in it, because Heidi is an idiot who likes to paddle in her water, unless it’s a bath and then why do we hate her so much, don’t we know water is evil?

I fed her to clean her mouth out even more, and then I locked her outside, because seriously, who finds a rotten egg and then tries to bring it inside to share. A loyal German Shepherd, that’s who.

Thank god for Nilodor, as I ran around dripping it everywhere, including on the middle of Heidi’s forehead, because seriously, why not.

The good news is, Nathan cleaned up the rest of the egg. The bad news is: the duck has an entire nest of rotten eggs somewhere and I don’t know where it is.

Heidi does though.

German Shepherd Pup, Four Months Old

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On the pains of making food for children

by Veronica on February 3, 2015

in Headfuck

One of the hardest things about being a mother, I think, is feeding children. Other mothers may disagree with me – but clearly you’re the lucky ones. Your children eat everything you put in front of them, or you love preparing fifteen different meals a day. Either way, take your smug away from me you lucky bastard.

I hate feeding my children because they always want exactly what I’m having. Only, not exactly what I’m having. They’d like ham instead of chicken, and cheese instead of mustard and tomato instead of lettuce and hey, maybe they’d like it in a bowl, not in a sandwich, and could I possibly cook some pasta to go with it?

Right up until there are so many tweaks to what I’m having that I end up making three different meals using all the plates and utensils available.

And I’m happy to tweak things, up to a point. But when it gets ridiculous (oh, you’re making a tuna salad in a bowl? Can I have that, but only ham, and no lettuce, and the other cheese, no not that one, the other one, and can you grate me a carrot as well and do we have any tomatoes or cucumber and why can’t I have …)

No.

NO.

No you may not. I can make a large version of this thing I am eating, or you can all make your own and god help you, please put everything away when you’re done.

It’s killing me, to the point that yesterday, I realised at 3pm I hadn’t actually eaten anything because I was avoiding having to play the substitutions game with the children.

Sure, they’d all fed themselves (and I fed Evelyn, god, I’m not neglectful), but they’d had things like weetbix and cheese slices and apples and carrots and some more cereal and a sweet biscuit and another piece of fruit.

But I hadn’t eaten anything because preparing food for myself just seems to invite a nightmare.

I find myself dreading mealtimes, dreading cooking, dreading the inevitable cries of “we’re hungry, what can we eat?” because I just don’t enjoy feeding anyone anymore. Everyone has an opinion they’re more than happy to shout at me.

Maybe, it would all be easier if I was a bit less busy, and a bit less tired, but seriously. The fussiness is killing me.

And no, I don’t want your solutions. I don’t need to know how to hide vegies in muffins or spaghetti sauce, because no one is eating muffins with things in it, or spaghetti sauce anyway. And no, I don’t want to hear about your miracle child who eats everything you set in front of them and maybe if I’d never even allowed sweets in the house we wouldn’t have this problem anyway.

Go bother someone else.

But if your kids are like mine, speak up? I’d just like to know I’m not alone.

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2015, the year of CHICKENS. (Also, whoops)

by Veronica on January 1, 2015

in Animals

“NO MORE CHICKENS” was the catch cry of 2014. Early on, Nathan put his foot down and demanded I disallow any chicken reproduction. I did what all responsible chicken owners do at that point and I culled my roosters.

Only there were a few six week old chickens who weren’t really showing their sex definably yet, so they stayed, and three of them turned into roosters.

“I must catch those roosters.” I thought over and over again, as spring came and the chickens clucked about the paddock, frantically trying to avoid the ever-growing horniness of their rooster overlords. “I really must…”

Nah. It’ll be fine.

Carefully I checked for new nests every few days. There’s only so many places to lay and quietly I followed the chickens around, rooting out their nests, stealing their eggs, limiting their chances at spawning.

Then came the end of school year chaos, and exhaustion, and Christmas, and oh wow, Internet, did you know 21 days can really fly?

I was laying in bed today with a grumpy sick toddler when Nathan stormed into the bedroom. Pointing at me, he glared. “This is your fault!”

I sat up. “What is?”

“TINY FLUFFY BALLS OF USELESSNESS!”

I wasn’t with the program. Chickens had not been at the forefront of my mind for um, about a month now. Whoops.

“CHICKENS! BABY ONES!” He wasn’t doing a very good job of glaring anymore.

The older children skipped in behind him, gleeful.

“MUMMY! We’ve got baby chickens and they are SO CUTE.”

And so we did. A nest I hadn’t known about until a few days ago, all the while thinking “I must take her eggs” has magically, through the power of incubation, spawned three tiny fluffy balls of uselessness.

They’re adorable.

But we didn’t want any more chickens, and three days ago I found two broody hens sharing a nest in the blackberries.

Today, knowing we’d already had one set of oh fuck babies, I steeled myself to the task. I found a bucket and headed off to the blackberries to steal eggs from two angry broody chickens.

I knelt down, carefully pulling one hen off the nest, when the other hen flew at my face.

SQUAWK FLAP BLATHER FLAP SCREECH, I fended her off with my hand, pushing her down and coming away with peck marks all over.

I sat back, thinking, before deftly putting the bucket over the top of the angry hens, trapping them underneath. Perfect. Now I could slide my hand under both chickens and nick their eggs.

Only ….

peep

peeeeep

peeep

The second egg I pulled out had a chicken partially hatched and looking at me.

I put the eggs back, apologised to the chickens and walked back to my husband, egg collecting bucket empty.

I stopped next to him as he looked at me.

“So, hey. Maybe we can do no baby chicks from now onwards?”

I guess we’re beginning the year with another rooster cull.

(Not the current chicks. I haven’t photographed them yet.)

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German Shepherds are sensitive sensitive snowflakes

by Veronica on December 31, 2014

in Animals

Heidi has been with us for over a week now and I’ve come to the conclusion: German Shepherds are sensitive sensitive snowflakes.

Hyper-intelligence seems to come paired with hyper-sensitivity and oh, it’s hilarious to watch.

The cat swiped at her and missed? Yelping.

I trod on her and we both ended up falling over, tangled? At least a minute of yelping, plus “YOU HURT ME!” looks, and exaggerated limping while glaring at me. (She was fine.)

Runs head first into the cupboards because it was dinnertime? Yelping, sulking, and glaring at the cupboards like they purposefully put themselves in her way.

Trips over her own feet while running and somersaults across the room. Tries to bite her own feet for tripping her and then yelps when she succeeds.

I grab her collar so she can’t leap on the kid who just fell over. Yelps. (Possibly real – I don’t know how long it takes for their microchipping to feel better.)

Runs into the door after asking me to open it for her. Bumps her nose. Yelps. A lot.

Not to mention the freakout she had when I sneezed unexpectedly, making her leap into the air and yelp. Luckily with that one I sneezed another ten times or so, so by the end of it she was okay.

We’re working on desensitising her to new noises, new smells, things that move, our feet, and everything else, but in the meantime, we *might* spend a little bit of time laughing at her antics.

Also, she howls when she thinks she’s alone. Or when she wants to fall asleep and there is no one there to gently stroke her ears to sleep. (We’re ignoring both of these things.)

Heidi German Shepherd 9 weeks old

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We totally lucked out

by Veronica on December 28, 2014

in Animals

When we got a puppy recently, I thought about how we portray our lives on the Internet. We oftentimes just share the good bits and leave out the times we’re stuck shovelling crap uphill, presenting a glossy front to the Internet.

Stopping mummyblogging was for me, the beginning of glossifying things. Not being able to write about the times my children have been a teensy bit annoying for fear of their school friends reading, is what I call glossifying. Of course, I do mention funny snippets, and bits and pieces, but on the whole, their lives are no longer mine to put on the Internet.

There’s none of that consideration with a new puppy. I don’t need to worry about her puppy friends laughing at her in the playground and I am more than able to detail the antics of a naughty naughty puppy.

Awesome, I thought. I’ll start blogging more again, sharing stories of Heidi the German Shepherd.

What I hadn’t quite counted on was just how good this puppy was going to be.

It’s eerie. And weird. Like, really weird. As the children run around the house in a tornado of mess and chaos, the puppy just sort of trots around watching everything, flopping at their feet when they stop playing, waiting for the inevitable pats.

And sure, she gets nippy sometimes, but when you remind her that toddler legs are not tasty tasty chew toys, she remembers for at least an hour before I need to remind her to not chew on Evelyn again.

At eight weeks old, and with three days of training, she will sit consistently, drop most of the time, and did an entire 5 seconds of staying yesterday.

IT’S WEIRD.

I think we lucked out, Internet.

Of course writing this about Heidi is going to jinx us all to hell and she’s going to be the naughtiest pup ever.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses – this morning Evelyn and the puppy tag teamed in order to wake me up at 4.30am and keep me awake. The morning was a little hellish as the energy I expended over Christmas caught up with me and nausea played havoc with my gut while my joints slid around like collagen is just not a thing they understand.

However Evelyn and the pup both crashed out asleep at midday and I was able to grab a nap, so yay for not dying of sleep deprivation.

It was a near thing for a while. I was half way through my third cup of tea, idly wondering why it tasted a little weird, when I realised I’d entirely forgotten to put milk in the cup. Whoops.

I did end up making soap however, relying on my usual note taking to make sure today’s soap didn’t go awry.

All in all, it’s been a good Christmas, but I’m glad to see the back of it. Ehlers Danlos makes everything that little bit harder. The beauty of having my own business of course is being able to nap in the middle of days and bring home a puppy who requires a lot of attention without feeling guilty about it.

ANYWAY.

As soon as the puppy does anything naughtier than weeing on the carpet because we didn’t take her outside fast enough after a nap, or funnier than trying to bite the cat on the tail, I will be here, immediately, sharing.

Until then, you’ll just have to envy the softest puppy snuggles ever.

Sable German Shepherd Puppy

German Shepherd Puppy Yawning

——

Wait, nevermind, she just bit me on the leg and drew blood. Go about your business people, it’s all okay. This puppy is not weird.

——

Boxing Day Sale runs until the 31st of December. You should check out the shop and buy stuff.

 

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