I'm a specialist children's nurse and when I working with parents/carers or delivering training to other professsionals I generally get asked "Have you got children?"
I always say "Yes" and tell people that I have two kids, one boy, one girl. I also tell them that they are both very hairy, have four legs and a tail that wags.
(Only very rarely have people then asked how I can work with children when I don't have any of my own? I generally point out that I am also a qualified general nurse, but I don't have to personally have any particular illness in order to be able to care for those that have. I also wouldn't need to own a bus in order to be qualified to drive one).
So, my own family currently consists of two dogs (both very different to each other but completely in love), one cat (since her brother was shot by some local moron), two chickens with a plan to increase to three and one husband: possibly the only man on the planet who can put up with me!
I also take care of a garden full of wild birds of a huge variety and a pond which has suffered a population explosion amongst the newts. Not necessarily a good thing, 'cos now I have to figure out a way to keep the frogspawn and then the tadpoles safe this year.
My tiny wildlife pond was created in August 2008, by January 2009 I spotted my first dollop of frogspawn. At first I was excited and made my hubby get out of his nice warm Saturday morning bed to come look. Then came panic....
It's only January! What if there's a sudden freezing cold period? My fogspawn would turn into a lump of ice and all the eggs would die. A rescue plan was needed.
My baffled husband was despatched to the loft to bring down a small all in one fish tank that for some reason was still up there. Off outside I went with my pink kid's fishing net and into the tank plopped the frogspawn. In answer to my husband's curious, "So now you've done that, where do you plan to keep it?" the coffee maker was re-located to accommodate the tank's appearance on a kitchen work surface.
I need to explain something here - only my hubby thinks the kitchen is for cooking in, silly boy!
"It's just until the weather warms up a bit, it's too early in the year for frogspawn to survive" said I wisely.
The following morning though the spawn just didn't look right. I guess in must have been the warmth of the kitchen that conned it, but the whole bloody thing had hatched!
My husband is really good at those kinds of looks that say "You've done it again haven't you?" Of course I went from the oh no moment to laughter to ahh look at the babies and on to trying to count them and then wondering if I could name them all.
Anyway, I was right, a period of big freeze came. The tadpoles lived with us until the end of February then were returned healthy and happy to the pond where, at a later date, I came across the problem of how I could help as many little froglets to migrate as safely as possible: especially when my hubby thought mowing the lawn regularly was important!