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Archive for November, 2008

First a little bit of preamble: When it came to writing this guide, I had to turn to my learned-in-these-matters friend Madame Lush, who is married to a lovely fellow who happens to be in the US Foreign Service (I shall call him “The Quiet American”). Over the years, Madame Lush and The Quiet American have lived in a number of extremely exotic places: Vietnam, India, Sydney and, of course, that most exotic place of all: Washington DC. And during that time, Madame Lush has calculated that her older child (now 8 years old) has been on 93 separate flights – only two of them without Madame Lush in tow. Their younger child (now 6) has been on 58 flights and again, only two of them without Madame Lush. So I think anyone who has ever traveled on a plane trip of any duration with a small child will totally understand that I have decided to instantly upgrade Madame Lush’s “nom de guerre” to Saint Lush before I’ve even finished the first paragraph of this post. 

So here are a few pointers, with a little help from Saint Lush, on the art of air travel with “little ones”.

Boarding the plane
If the flight has pre-assigned seating, do not under any circumstances go on the plane any earlier than you absolutely have to. I once made the mistake of boarding early with a very young Mister Justice and found that all Good Will (both his and mine and the people sitting within a five row radius) had evaporated long before we’d even left the runway. My eardrums still bear the scars from that flight. The screams… the screams…

If it’s one of those flights with bitch-fighting over seats, by all means take full advantage of the early boarding offered to people traveling with small children. If you’re traveling with a child under two who has no paid-for seat other than your lap (and even then you’re waiting for the cheque in the mail) – make sure you pinch them really really hard just as everyone else starts boarding. Unless the flight is full, the ensuing wailing will absolutely guarantee the seat next to you will remain unoccupied and upon which you may offload that under-2 child at your earliest convenience.

During the journey
For the parent traveling with under twos, prepare to work that aisle like it was a catwalk at Fashion Week, complete with the little swivel at the end. You will be going up and down and up down and up and down. For hours. Sometimes in a new outfit if someone has vomited or thrown orange juice on your crotch. And either with the ultimate fashion accessory: a babe in arms (my advice: bring a sling) or perpetually hunched over, holding a small hand. Just work it, baby. Work it. 

For those traveling with older children: the great thing about being in the air on a long-haul flight is that you’re crossing so many different time zones that those two precious hours of “permissable” screen time per day get stretched into 14, just like that! So you can let them rack up as many hours of TV as their little square eyes can handle, and it’s all guilt-free. 

Saint Lush says those buttons on the arm-rests also provide good value entertainment to small children – although Saint Lush is quick to add that she always stresses that the “Lady Button” is strictly off limits. With the number of times The Pixie has had her hand down her undies recently (see “The Dangers of Taking the Piss“), I’m thinking of making that a permanent rule for any public place, whether in the air or on the ground. In any case, the pushing of the call button is purely left to people like my husband, who can work an inflight service like no other man I know. Which is why it is terribly good practice for children to amuse themselves with the Emergency Procedures card for as long as possible, as they are 100% guaranteed to be far sober than you in the case of an actual emergency.

Do not, under any circumstances, rely on any help or support from any other passengers. As Saint Lush says, it doesn’t matter how well-behaved your children are, other people will look at you with distaste, as if you are bringing small children on board purely for your own amusement, or expressly for their discomfort. Having then failed to meet your eye for the duration of the flight, the minute the plane starts its descent, those same people will suddenly feel a wave of magnanimousness and exclaim thing like “Oh, your children were sooooooooo good” or “I didn’t even know there was a baby on board” because they can afford to with disembarkment only minutes away.

There are, however, ways to rort the system. My friend RW and her husband Mr S recently moved their young family to Switzerland. At their leaving party, a rumour was flying around that Mr S had booked one seat in Business Class for his wife and three seats in economy for him and his kids with no intention of swapping half-way. This had completely divided the party: one half (the women) thought this was the Best Thing they had ever heard and the other half (the men) considered Mr S to be a total traitor to the brotherhood. There was indisputable logic behind Mr S’s decision: the kids behaved better with him (we all know how children enjoy mother-baiting) and he had a far better chance of getting some sympathy and help from the crew and passengers if he was on his own with the kids. I know a few happily-married men who work the Weekend-Access Dad angle to their advantage when out with their children in public. Good luck to them, I say. When I personally see a man alone with the kids, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy because I like to think the mother is off drinking champagne and eating chocolate somewhere. Preferably in business class on board a  flight to the Seychelles. 

After the journey
After a long haul flight with children, health-care professionals recommend that you avoid any further air travel until the children are old enough to no longer be your legal responsibility.  Too bad if you’ve just flown somewhere exotic (like Washington DC)  for a two-week holiday as, let’s face it: once you’ve disembarked, it feels far easier to organise all your belongings to be packed up and transported to the other side of the globe, sort out working visas, find gainful employment and a new place to live (etc etc etc) than it is face another long haul flight with your small children. And that’s a fact. 

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Cold sores are Mother Nature’s way of kicking a girl when she’s already down. Here I am, run down, exhausted, having eaten nothing but tinned food that really hasn’t been classifiable as “fresh” for well over a year and I’m not exactly feeling or looking my best any which way you look at it. And then Mother Nature comes along and really gets the boot in by giving me a big fat cold sore.  

In some ways, getting a cold sore is like getting a new hobby. Suddenly I’ve got Things To Do. I’ve got to look in the mirror. A lot. I’ve got to buy and use lotions and vitamins. I’ve got to spend time googling which foods I’m supposed to eat and which ones I’m supposed to avoid (such as chocolate, coffee and champagne? Yeah, right. Like that’s ever going to happen). And then I’ve got to cancel all non-essential social contact with the world. And if I do have to interact with anyone, I’ve got to employ the standing-at-a-particular-angle strategy so as not to alarm anyone unnecessarily. It’s a complicated business. 

I talked with my friend KT, a fellow HSV-1 sufferer, about whether or not it’s best to blurt out “I’ve got a cold sore!!!” the moment I see someone rather than try to chat normally, all the time with the other person staring at it like it’s about to explode (likely) or even burst into song (unlikely). Her advice was to think up some funny line like “I ran into a door and got this cold sore!” to use at the outset and kind of disarm them. I like her approach: get everyone relaxed and laughing and thinking “Hey, this girl is really a bit of okay… even though she looks like a freak

And I really do look like a freak. I love it that the advertisers of Cold Sore Solutions think that, when I have a cold sore, I look a little like this:

If I place my finger casually to my lips and look a little glum...

If I place my finger casually to my lips and look a little glum...

Whereas I actually look a lot like this:

Lovely!

Lovely!

As I write this post, I’m currently at the worst stage of the cold sore: the Crusty Stage (having already gone through the “rapid expansion” phase, where it’s spread faster than Starbucks outlets through the Westfield empire and the “throbbing/sobbing/weeping” stage where the cold sore throbs, I sob and we both start to weep openly). The great thing about the crusty stage is that this is when the cold sore is actually on the mend (rather than on the rampage) but the downside is that this is when it looks its very worst. I want to wear a little sign saying “It is getting better, actually” except then people will be wondering “Why is [NDM] wearing a sign” and be rushing up to read it. Stupid people. Can’t they just leave me and my cold sore alone? 

There’s still more cold sore fun to be had for me: the itching, the cracking, the bleeding and then, if I’m really lucky, the red afterglow for weeks and weeks to come. Luckily my children and husband still love me, if from a slight distance. Actually the kids didn’t seem to notice it much at all until yesterday afternoon when Tiddles suddenly pointed at it and said “Ah-dun!”. Whatever that means. 

Oh, that’s just Mummy’s little “ouchie”, I explained. It will go away soon enough (actually not soon enough) but in the meantime, Mummy’s still pretty, isn’t she?

Tiddles shook his little head vehemently and said firmly “No way!”. Ouchie, indeed.

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I caught up with some friends the other day and one friend – Mzzzzz E (she of “Fi-DIE-lity” notoriety) – began showing off how she had just been to the Friendliest Street in Blahblah-shire. How did she know? Because there was a big bloody sign saying “Friendliest Street in Blahblah-shire 2007”. And, as if to prove a point, as she arrived there was a burst of friendly activity between neighbours all calling out to each other and wishing each other well and handing each other macrobiotic tartlets, fresh out of the oven and probably served in a little hand-woven wicker basket covered with a freshly laundered gingham tea-towel. How perfectly Stepford of them.

This then led to a general discussion about what “macrobiotic” actually meant – another friend at the gathering (the one who actually lives on the Friendliest Street in Blahblahshire) did her street proud by cheerfully educating us. Her explanation went something like “macrobiotic means whole foods, pulses, fermented soy, and possibly gluten-free shit and that”. Actually, she didn’t use the words “shit and that”, it’s just that I sort of glazed over after the mention of “whole foods” and so have had to make up what she said. But she definitely used the word “gluten-free” because it got another friend, Mr MacDonald, all fired up. Mr MacDonald proclaimed: “I don’t know what gluten is but I must really really like it because, quite frankly, food tastes crap without it.” I think he might have even pounded his fist on the table to punctuate his point.

Which must make life pretty grim for the poor souls with coeliac disease, who can’t even say the word “Gluten” out loud without instantly getting the blurts. Their lives are possibly only matched in grimness by my little friends Master L and Master D, who, because of their allergies, live without butter, which as we know from previous posts such as “More than a Matter of Taste“, is the definition of life as I know it. (Although, if you ask Mr Justice, the true meaning of life is apparently in the dictionary – something he has told me with no trace of irony whatsoever). And their lives must also be pretty grim without peanuts, although arguably their life would be considerably grimmer *with* peanuts, because anaphlyaxis ain’t no damn picnic, sister-girlfriend-whatever.

Let me just say now that the whole peanuts-in-school thing gets me riled. Some people get very emotional about potentially being deprived of their Natural Born Right to put peanut butter in their child’s lunchbox. One could argue that they would be a little more emotional should their child’s peanut butter sandwich deprive another child of the right to live. Last year, when all I could get The Pixie to eat was peanut butter, we went away with KC, MM and Master D, as we do every year. As I was packing to go, KC rang to ask us if we wouldn’t mind not packing the peanut butter because they didn’t have an epi-pen for Master D and we were going to be in the middle of f’ing nowhere without mobile reception. My answer? You bet! Of course! I mean, what was the worse thing that would have happened if we didn’t bring her beloved peanut butter? She’d go a little hungry. And the worse thing to happen if we *did* bring the peanut butter? I personally don’t want to go there.

There seems to be some people out there who regard the whole peanut allergy thing as the delusions of middle-class drama queens. Recently Master D touched some minute traces of a cashew-spread which one of his little friends had micro-smeared around the house, and then Master D must have rubbed his eyes because within an instant, he looked like Sly Stallone after having taken a whuppin’ from our man Mr T. Actually let’s upgrade that metaphor and make him more like Sly Stallone just after he’s had work done by his mother’s plastic surgeon.

A combination of this story and the look on KC’s face when she saw the nut-related items on our canteen list, plus some other “shit and that”, has galvanised me into action to get our school canteen nut-free (though by “galvanised me into action” means I’ve written this blog entry and had passing conversations with other mothers in the playground – but watch this space, peoples! I’m a steam train comin’!). I’m not gunning for a total school ban – not yet at least, as I’m sure that might make parents like Mother of Master L and KC sleep better at night. And we don’t have to go as far as giving everyone allergy-free macrobiotic lunches (did someone say…*yawn*…) but we could take two items off the canteen list: Peanut Butter and Nutella.

Two little items. Out of a hundred items. That’s not too high a price to pay for a bit of piece of mind, is it? After all, it really is more than just a matter of taste for these kids. They’re not being fussy or precious or over-indulged by their parents. They’re just trying to stay alive and the Friendliest thing we could do is to let them.

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Mr Justice came home from school the other day very excited: his teacher has hair that is dead!

“Really?” I said.

You bet! Apparently there is a bit which is yellow and that’s where the hair “was died”. But the rest of the hair is not dead, otherwise it would all be yellow. Obviously. 

I started to explain to him that by “dying” her hair she actually meant “dyeing” and how that little “e” made all the difference, but he stood by his version of events. A bit of her hair was dead. FULL STOP. Sheesh, mum. But hey, who could blame him? Death is a far more fascinating topic to a little boy than vanity, after all.

I remember when I had all my hair cut off for the first time since he was born and he said to me: “You look lovely, mummy!” And then he added: “Just like a poodle.”

And he was right. It was a stupid haircut. A stupid poodle haircut. You see, I have what is known in the business as “totally stupid schizoid hair” where the front grows perfectly straight but the back is curly. After years of having my mother murmuring menacingly under her breath about my lack of a hairbrush, it turns out it’s Not My Fault. It just grows that way. But it does get some hairdressers all over-excited and start releasing the curl-factor in the way one might “release the hounds” – although, it’s more like “release the spoilt over-pampered primped-up puff-balls” in my case. 

My facebook friends probably still remember that particular Poodle Head episode in my life because, for a while there, my status updates were AAtH (All About the Haircut). If I remember correctly (unlikely), they roughly went like this:

[NDM] is getting her hair cut at a salon that was mentioned in Vogue on Tuesday.

[NDM] is having her hair cut tomorrow. At a salon mentioned in Vogue. Did she mention that it was mentioned in Vogue?

[NDM] is not sure she likes her new haircut. And the hairdresser didn’t seem to know or care that the salon was mentioned in Vogue.

[NDM] is having a bad hair day. Stick *that* in Vogue. 

My husband was very nice about the haircut at the time, because he’s a nice man. It wasn’t until I finally got my hair cut properly that he said – and here I quote: “I didn’t realise how much your old haircut was ruining my life until I saw your new one.” See? Nice nice man. 

I have the fabulous Bec to thank for my recent run of good luck with haircuts. As mentioned in a previous post (see “Mumsy’s the Word“), she comes to my house to cut my hair, which apparently sounds really cool to my busy DINK and SINK friends. However the reality is that I invariably end up holding a wriggling child or two while she tries to work around me (and by “me”, I mean “us”). I’m sure the experience will come in handy for her should she ever have to cut Hydra’s hair. 

When it comes to the question of how to cut my hair, I give Bec one instruction and one instruction only: if I leave the house without once looking at a mirror or even muttering the word “hairbrush” (let alone finding one and using it), I want to be free to walk the streets without frightening small children or driving elderly ladies to write angry letters to the council about declining standards in the community.

It’s a tall order, but somehow she makes it happen and even when I wear my trousers inside out on the school run, it doesn’t matter because I’ve got great hair, especially when I get around to washing it. Thank you, Saint Bec! Thank you for keeping the poodles at bay, giving my children one less reason to be embarrassed about me  and for making the streets of my neighbourhood just that little bit safer to walk in. All of us here at NDM HQ salute you!

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The other day, a couple of friends paid a visit to Not Drowning HQ for a long overdue chinwag. In the course of the conversation, one of the friends – whom I shall refer to as Al – told me about her relatively recent career change and how dismal her new working conditions were. If she hadn’t sat at my kitchen table and told me all about it in person, I like to think she might have penned me a little letter instead and that the letter might have read a little like this:

Dear NDM,

Love your work (etc). I’m writing this (fictitious) letter to you because I hope you can help me sort out my workplace. I work for a software company where nobody smiles or is willing to meet your eyes. There is no polite chit-chat let alone playful banter. I can go all day without exchanging more than five words with anyone, and at least three of those words will be “Excuse me, please” when I need to squeeze past someone in the kitchen. I can’t even ring my husband to have a good bitch about them all being such drop-kicks because I’m sitting in the middle of this huge open-plan office where even the sound of a person’s spirit breaking can be heard, and regularly is.  I quite like the job itself but the vibe of the place is getting me down, man. Can you help?

Yours sincerely,

Al

PS. Enclosed is a sizeable cheque for your consulting services on this matter. 

Oh dear, poor you, Al. My initial thought is that they might all be happy chatting away in some kind of special computer language barely audible to the human ear – you know, all whirring and high-pitched humming like hard-drives or even sort of like dolphins but without anyone particularly wanting to save you. But still, there must be some way of getting them to communicate like Normal People, so I’ve come up with a few strategies you might like to employ. 

Bring in baked goods. My experiences with feeding children has shown me how the shyest little person can be brought completely out of their shells with a sizeable sugar hit. Or perhaps that should read “completely out of their skulls”. On second thoughts, strike that idea. 

Spike the water cooler with Absinthe. Let’s face it: alcohol is a great social lubricant. But this could so easily backfire. And I’m not sure of the legalities behind it so it could land you in a world of trouble. However, arguably a conversation conducted through lawyers is a conversation nonetheless. And it doesn’t sound like you’re in a position to be choosy, Al.  

Invest in a whoopie cushion. Always a guaranteed ice-breaker, but all it takes is one colleague suffering from a condition that causes severe flatulence and you’re back having a heart-to-heart with your legal team about pending bullying-in-the-workplace charges.

Bring in outside help. Of course the CoP (see “The Chicken of Persuasion“) immediately springs to mind as someone you could bring in on a consultancy basis, if only because it gives me a chance to cross-promote another of my posts plus I get a percentage of his hefty fee.  A cheaper option might be for you to invest in your own “Pirate Pete™” hand-puppet so you’d always have someone literally “on hand” to chat to (get it?). And it would certainly get your colleagues talking, even if they were just aligning themselves against you. I guess it depends on whether you want to be an active part of the conversation or just the topic. I’ll leave that one with you, Al. 

Log onto facebook instead. Find camaraderie online and spend your day throwing sheep at people you went to primary school with and joining groups like the “Joining Groups is for Losers” group and “Ban the group ‘Joining Groups is for Losers'” and even “The ‘let’s ban the group that wants to ban all groups that ban groups’ group”. But then, I kinda recall you mentioned some kind of universal block on facebook in your workplace where even typing the URL into your computer automatically issues you with an official warning from the HR department and a second transgression gets you escorted from the premises. Of course, you mentioned this in our actual conversation and not in the (fictitious) letter that I wrote on your behalf, so I could just pretend that I don’t know about the block and offer this advice in seemingly good faith. Whoops, too late. 

Er, that’s it.

Okay, okay! So I’m not about to leave my day job to become an Agony Aunt any time soon but what do you want from me here, Al? You should have thought of a more suitable person for me to write that fictitious letter to on your behalf, eh? I mean, I’ve only been out of the professional workforce for six and a half years, sweetheart. There must be *some* kind of “Work Colleagues Whisperer” out there – god knows there are enough Other Whisperers wandering about talking sotto voce to babies, horses, cats, dogs, ghosts… why, there’s even a “Pants Whisperer“, brought to us by Durex to help menfolk sort out relationship problems with their Little Friend. But I digress. 

So, just for you, Al, I’m going to throw your (fictitious) letter to my commenting wolves. Anyone out there got some advice they’d like to offer? There’s a (fictitious) sizeable cheque in it for you…

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For a long time now, I’ve been increasingly suspicious that there is someone high up in the ranks of Fisher Price who is deliberately fucking with a whole generation of parents. Don’t get me wrong: my kids love their Fisher Price toys and I love that my kids love these toys because that gets them (literally) off my back for a few minutes. But there’s something else there, something underlying all this Toy Joy, something sinister. For the past six years, I’ve been collating an extensive dossier on Fisher Price which I’m hoping to present to the team of 60 Minutes for a big prime time humdinger of an exposé. And when that exposé happens, it will shake the very foundations of the world we live in, such as when we found out that the man who brought the world Bambi was a nazi-sympathising fascist pig or that Jennifer Beals didn’t actually do the dance sequences in “Flashdance” (although she did do her own welding which has got to count for something, right?).

For one thing, there is all that packaging. Is it just me or does the amount of wiring and sticky tape and plastic casing seem just a touch excessive? It’s the kind of security one might employ in an inter-prison transfer for Hannibal Lecter rather than in the delivery of a plastic home and contents to a small child. Even an adult armed with the Jaws of Life can’t free those plastic toys from captivity in less than an hour – which, let’s face it, is one hour too many in the eyes of an impatient child on Christmas morning. 

And then we have the music. The music! Last Christmas, Tiddles got given an FP fire engine which he loves. Loves! But let’s consider, for a moment, the lyrics of the charming little song that fire engine plays:

Up and down, down and up…
Watch my ladder lift up pup…
With a beep, beep, honk, honk, all around the town…
Up and down and round and round.

Harmless enough, you say? Now put it to the tune of “This Old Man”, have a choir of ultra-cutesy American kids sing it and punctuate each phrase with the sound of dog yapping. Are you still feeling okay? You’re obviously made of strong stuff. Now, indulge me if you will, and play it again. And again. And then again. And then once more for good measure. How are you feeling now? Yep, I thought so. Look, do yourself and everyone around you a favour and just take the toy outside and give it a good kicking, will you? Please? 

The rather large omission of an ON/OFF switch on a large percentage of the Fisher Price range arguably lends a song like “You Can’t Stop The Music” a much more threatening tone. There are always one or two musical toys which lie on the bottom of our toy boxes and get set off by the slightest of tremors, such as the ones created by Tiddles after the excessive consumption of baked beans. And of course the battery hatch on these toys requires the ever-elusive Phillips head screwdriver to get it open and thus gives safe harbour to seemingly self-renewing batteries that leave that Duracel Bunny gasping for breath in the dust, big puff that he is.

But in our household, nothing quite matches the diva-esque tenacity of the musical teapot my sister sent The Pixie for her birthday, which needs to be on a completely level surface for it to stop tinkling menancingly in the background like the theme music for “Rosemary’s Baby”. Stranger yet, is that the accompanying cups in the tea set have two holes drilled in the side of the cup, so that if you drink from them holding the handle with your right hand, they leak their contents all down your front. Which means any time The Pixie and Tiddles have a tea-party, they end up looking like they’re contestants in the toddler division of a wet t-shirt competition. I mean why would you do that to cups in a children’s tea-set unless you deliberately wanted to push an already floundering parent completely over the edge? So I’m saying “Screw you and your evidently Evil Agenda, Fisher Price” and I’m teaching my children to drink left-handed. Ha! And when I’ve managed to finish my dossier, I’m going to hand it to 60 Minutes and I’m going to do that left-handed as well. That’ll show them. That’ll show them all. But, as I said, I’ve got to finish collating that dossier and before I can do that, I’ve got to get that damn “Up and Down” song out of my brain and… what was I saying again? Never mind, I’m off to the Target sale to get Tiddles a Little People Crack Den to add to his ever-expanding Little People empire. Toodle pip!

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A lot of people say to me “Why do you start a lot of your posts with the words ‘A lot of people say to me’ when clearly a lot of people don’t say much to you except things like ‘Are you planning to wipe your child’s nose any time soon’ and ‘I’ll see you in court'”. To these people, I say – nay, shout – “It’s called a device! A device!!” Sheesh. If those people had to pull six blog posts a week out of their own proverbial, they might think again before giving me a hard time. 

So this week the Desk of the NDM presents a simple Ten Step Guide to blogging, just to show those naysayers exactly how complicated the blog-writing process is. “What’s that, NDM?” the naysayers will say. “Simple and complicated? This is more confusing than the first ten minutes of an episode of The West Wing.” And you know what? Those naysayers would be right for once, except blogging thankfully doesn’t require you to walk’n’talk through the corridors of power while you do it.  But I digress. 

Here goes…

STEP ONE: Choose a topic, any topic – preferably one you know something about, but not knowing a thing about something shouldn’t stop you from writing about it by any means. Just ask Lord Archer. 

STEP TWO: Take the topic and write, goddamit. Write as if your life depended on it. Or, alternatively, write in fits and starts throughout the day with small children dangling off you like christmas decorations.  

STEP THREE: Publish that sucker in the hope that someone might read it.

STEP FOUR: Notice, via the magic of the Blog Stats link, that someone has read it but they haven’t left a comment. Feel terribly insecure. And while you’re noticing things, also notice that there are two Step Threes and feel even more insecure about making such an obvious mistake. Go on. Wallow in it. Nobody likes you. You’re shit. 

STEP FIVE: Also notice there was no Step Four. 

STEP SIX (Part One): See that someone has commented and get very excited, especially if it is a comment from someone who you’ve never met and is commenting of their own free will and not because you know where they live and they feel frightened.

STEP SIX (Part Two): Realise that the comment is way funnier than your original post and feel a bit put-out. After all, you’re the one who does the funnies around here. Heal that hurt by immediately sending the commenter a message along the lines of “If you’re so witty, start your own blog.” And then worry that they really will start their own blog and won’t have time to read yours. Which will pretty much halve your readership in one foul blow. 

STEP SEVEN: Discover that someone else (your other reader) has left a comment saying how hil-ar-ious the post was and how much they look forward to reading future posts. To a blogger of your calibre, there’s only one thing worse than silence and that is praise: now there are expectations to be met. 

STEP EIGHT: Return to step one, choosing a topic, but with the weight of all that expectation, along with that snotty two year old, on your shoulders. Consider joining a cult, homeschooling your children or maybe doing some housework for a change just so you have something to write about. But then realise doing any of those things will mean you won’t have any time for blogging (particularly the housework). Ah the irony, the irony… 

STEP NINE: Give up on the idea of finding fresh material and go all post-modern and meta-textual by writing a post about writing a post. That way no-one will know you couldn’t think of anything better to write about. 

STEP TEN: Has been removed for legal reasons. 

And that swiftly brings us to the end of this week’s NDM Guide. Yes, blogging really is that simple. And that complicated. Look, whatever you do, just don’t try it at home, okay?

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