Today has been awful. Terrible. My dog bit someone. A child. Totally unprovoked.
It wasn’t a savage attack, it was a snap, which caught her. We’d been for a walk, the children throwing the ball for him. He’d been happy, showing no signs of any stress. Then suddenly, he snapped at her. For nothing.
Thankfully, the child’s mum was fabulous. I felt awful taking her home and telling her my much loved dog had bit her. She could tell I was distraught. She told me not worry. But I am worried.
My dog has always been around children. I am shell-shocked. I am GUTTED. I’ve put him out in the garden and don’t know what to do now. Although I know what I need to do.
My children are 1 and 4.
I can’t have a dog who will snap at children in my home.
It’s that simple.
And that makes me sad beyond belief.
I have been researching.
Trying to justify it.
My dog is well exercised and social. Our dog walker takes him three times a week in addition to the walks we give him just so he gets to be social with a group of dogs. There’s never been a problem. He’s well fed. He’s well loved. We have never hit or been abusive to him. When he was a puppy I took him to classes. I rarely need walk him on lead. He’ll stop at every road and wait for me to tell him to cross. He recalls perfectly. He responds to the heal command and walks just behind me. If I do tell him I need to put a lead on him, he comes and sits ready for it. We make him work his mind as much as his legs. Our kennels tell us how brilliant he is. We are responsible dog owners.
He’s getting on a bit. He’s grumpy. He’s achey.
Reasons perhaps. But not an excuse.
And if it is a reason, it’s only going to get worse.
His back leg arthritis is particularly bad in the winter.
My dog bit someone. A child.
The trust has gone.
And it’s with a heavy heart we know we need to re-home him.
I am gutted.
At the beginning of summer Little Legs got a new bike. She’s four. The intention was that we would get her off her stabilisers and riding on two wheels by the end of summer. We tried but failed miserably. She had fear and we had the wrong approach. The stabilisers came off and went back on a few times.
Last Sunday, she wanted to go out on her bike. I decided it was the day she would be riding without stabilisers. So off they came, and down the park we went. I knew Little Legs could ride her bike. I knew it. She’s always zipped about on her scooter, one legged, she does tricks and is confident on it. I also knew when I was taught to ride a bike, we didn’t spend all summer trying, we went out and did it in one afternoon. So I changed my approach.
How to teach a child to ride a bike
Before you start, drop that saddle as far as it goes. They need to feel secure.
Secondly, make them ride their bike without using the pedals. Take them off if you can, so you have a balance bike. We didn’t take ours off, but made Little Legs sit on her bike and push herself along to the park. A few minutes journey. Push, push weeeeee. The weeeee being feet in the air. Just for confidence.
Now for the important bit. Practise falling off. I know. Right. But bear with me. The fear is about falling. That needs to be overcome. So I got her on the bike and told her we were going to fall off. Controlled falling. I tipped the bike to the side, she ended up on her arse. LAUGHING. We did this a few times, and then she was like, hell no mama, and put her feet down to stop the falls. I made this a joke, mock telling her off, while Phil jumped up and down and praised her for putting her feet down. This went on for about 5 or 6 minutes. The fear of falling had gone.
Next we decided that it was time to just do it. We got her on. Promised we were gonna hold her until she was ready, gave her a good push and made her pedal pedal pedal. And she did. She decked it a few times. But because she knew falling off was okay, she jumped straight back on. Within 20 minutes of us getting to the park she was riding her bike.
We didn’t worry about steering. She just rode. She loved it. By the time an hour was up, she was riding her bike brilliantly. We were no longer pushing her, just helping her balance as she started.
Next comes starting off. I have to give Phil praise for this. I was trying to instruct her but Phil decided to show her. They sat on their bikes together and Phil demonstrated what to do. Five minutes later she had nailed it. This meant we didn’t have to keep running the lengths of football pitches to help her back on.
We went home. Little Legs with bruises on her legs but happy and so very proud. She called both sets of grandparents and her Aunty to let them know. She went to bed thrilled. She wanted to ride her bike to school the next morning, but I said no. I didn’t want to rush the whole pavement and road cycling, so instead we went back to the park and rode the paths after school. Me on my bike, her on hers. I said she can go wherever she wants and I would be right behind her. We rode around that park a lot. She now had the confidence to ride on concrete.
Today, this morning. Phil and i decided to ramp it up a level and go for our first family bike ride. We rode down to our normal coffee shop on the beach for milkshakes. Little Legs had a few fears as the pavements were narrower than the paths on the park, but she nailed it. After our drink we carried on riding. We rode round our local ‘lake’, and then all the way back home. She was buzzing. She complained a little her legs were hurting from the cycling, but the promise of a Moshi monster ice-lolly when we got home gave her the final kick she needed. She made it home.
Little Legs rode about two miles today. No falls. No fear. She was thrilled. I was thrilled. I have said we can now ride our bikes to school on Monday.
I showed a friend a video of Little Legs riding her bike during the week, and we decided to try the same approach with her little girl. Also four. I taught her how to fall off and then did everything else I have said here. On Tuesday afternoon, both four-year-olds were bombing about on their bikes on the green. Thrilled. Seriously. T H R I L L E D. And so very proud.
It doesn’t seem more than a week or two since I wrote about Little Legs finishing pre-school. Now she’s started reception and is loving it. Last week she did half days, from tomorrow she’s full time all week. My only concern is lunchtime, her only concern is whether she will get to sit next to her best pal. She’s a confident little thing, the change has been no drama at all. I’m thrilled about this but my heart aches a little too. I just hope she enjoys school as much as I did.
Linking up with The Gallery.
It’s been a busy but fun summer this year although the rain the last week or so has put a dampener on it – in every sense of the word. it’s an important one too as it’s the lead up to Little Legs starting ‘big’ school. It’s all been about her really – almost everything we have done and everywhere we have visited has focussed on what she would like to do.
One of our highlights was Camp Bestival and Little Legs playing with her pals, falling over guy ropes, building dens, balancing on wood, falling asleep in wagons, sitting up late, rolling down hills, exploring, making, doing. I didn’t take many photographs but I do love this one. Little Legs and her camping buddies busy in the dingly dell.
Linking up with The Gallery.
Currently I am: Spending a few quiet moments on the computer while Little Legs chills on the sofa and The Boy has a nap. We were so busy at the beginning of the summer holidays we almost have the end of holiday blues. The weather isn’t helping. I think Little Legs needs a few really early nights and we need to start getting out routine back in place before school starts up.
Reading: I have just finished JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. It’s good. It made me cry. I’ve just picked up The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma. The jury is currently out but I have only read the first chapter or so.
Listening to: After seeing Ocean Colour Scene this weekend, I have dug out Moseley Shoals and that’s on repeat! I bought Definitely Maybe for the car. I guess you can tell where my head is musically at the moment! I’m not sure why I still buy CDs for the car. I could just bluetooth them in. Hey ho.
Laughing at: My daughters obsession with skin colour. I think she wants to be black.
Swooning over: Nothing. Truth. There’s lots I like but there’s nothing of swoon-appeal right now.
Planning: World domination with BG School. We really have some great courses available so do head over and have a read.
Eating lots of: Veg. I am on a bread free diet at the moment and trying to eat clean.
Feeling: Exhausted. Long weekend of drinking, dancing and general festival frolicks plus two little legged ones means I don’t get to sleep as much as I should.
Discovering: That school holidays really drag when it’s raining! And when I am not being so negative, we are loving the NCT’s 50 things to do list.
Wearing: Right now I am in an oversized jumper, skinny grey pants and brown Uggs. I have a huge blister on the sole of my feat (from the messy weekend) and the Uggs are the only thing not rubbing it. Winter is coming.
Cooking: Not much. I am no master-chef and Phil does most the cooking in these parts but the slow cooker has been out as it’s the best way to slow roast a chicken.
Planning: We have been having a huge declutter and clear out (read this) so the plans are all about ‘a place for everything’ at the moment. It’s been good for the soul.
Making: Little Legs and I are always crafting so although no big project on the horizon we have been doing lots of mini art projects.
So that’s me this month. How’s yours been?
Linking up with: Bug Bird Bee
When I was thinking about a photo to celebrate World Photo Day, I was going to go with this one from Barbados.
A photo I love. A photo I am proud of. But when I think about what photos and photography mean to me, this shot isn’t the reason I like to have some sort of camera close by. It’s these type of photos that get me clicking….
Moments. Captured moments. Personal moments. I love to take photos of the ordinary. The every day. The moments that happen for a few seconds and are then gone. My photos are often grainy and in poor light. Taken with my cracked screen iPhone.I don’t mind a squint or that yellow tinge all my photos have that are taken in my bedroom. It’s okay. It’s real life. That is what photography means to me.
Linking up with The Gallery.
Four years ago today I married Phil. We eloped (with 50 friends!) to Gretna Green and had a beautiful little wedding. It was simple but gorgeous. It ended up pretty messy! A great day.
Four years down, forever to go. Love you grey head xx
Over the past seven years, Bambino Goodies, one of my other sites I write with Lu and Nat, has helped hundreds of stores and labels come to life and sell lots of lovely goodies for design-conscious families. After fielding many questions and helping where we could, we’re bringing all our knowledge and experience across retail, product design, project management, publishing, social media and branding together in one place.
That place is BG School: http://www.bg-school.co.uk
Our first course starts on September 15th. It’s called So, You Want To Open An Online Shop? If you’ve just started selling online or you’re a wannabe store owner, this is the course for you. We currently have some super early bird places on the course available. They wont be around for long though – places are getting snapped up!
We also have courses on blogger outreach and making your email newsletters work for you.
It’s all very exciting! Click on over and sign up now!
ps. Are you struggling with Blogger’s Block? We’ve all been there, right? If you need some inspiration with examples of others doing it well, head over and grab a copy of our first eBook. It’s a steal at just £1.50!
We don’t have many pictures of the four of us but we do have this one. It’s from last week. Our home was our bell tent. We were in Cornwall. It was wet and windy. Pretty miserable. Phil and I had to entertain Little Legs and The Boy in a small space. We had a great night. Phil decided to bundle me as I was chilling on the most uncomfortable blow up bed ever, much to the kids’ delight. Little Legs then jumped on top of him and The Boy wanted in on the action too. A perfect selfie moment. Camping in bad weather isn’t good. Camping in bad weather with two little ones is even worse. But for that night, it was okay. We’re all tired. We’re all a mess. But we are all happy.
Linking up with The Gallery.
Linking up with Silent Sunday.