Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Looking after Izzy Is Good for Weight Loss but Isn't Child's Play; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Looking after Izzy Is Good for Weight Loss but Isn't Child's Play; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Gutteridge

I'M really sorry I missed you last week. Every Sunday I've tried to write something vaguely amusing to greet your Monday morning porridge, but last week I simply didn't have the time.

Not one free minute in the entire day. Or in any of the following five days either. Last week I was out of this world, spirited into a parallel universe.

Emails lay unanswered, post unopened, no time to watch the news or go down the pub. I've been living in the world of Three.

"Izzy and I will be absolutely fine on our own," I'd said, as I gave Jo her birthday present: a week in a health spa down south.

It was an opportunity for me to spend quality time with our daughter.

While Jo was being pampered with Shiatsu and lymphatic stimulation, I'd have a week off work, relaxing. She could detox with treadmills, healing mud and carrot juice; I would sit in the sun with a good book, listening to Izzy's laughter as she bounced on her trampoline or picked daisies on the lawn.

Er, excuse me. Have you ever spent an entire day with a three-year-old? It started at 6am on the first morning, just as the taxi had picked up Jo for the airport.

"Daaddeeeee!" "Izzy, it's the middle of the night, go back to sleep."

"Daddy, I just want to ask you three questions."

"Try me," I said, determined to sound enthusiastic.

"One, shall we play hide and seek? Two, shall we play tag? Three, shall we play on the trampoline?" "It's six in the morning, Iz." "Hide and seek, then. You hide first and I'll count."

That's how it started, and it didn't let up for five whole days. "Why don't you play with your dollies?" I'd suggest, after she used the same tree to hide behind for the fortieth time. I thought I might escape to the unopened Sunday newspapers. "Good idea, Daddy," she'd reply, holding out her tiny hand. "Come on, they're up in my playroom."

Izzy has 12 Barbie dolls. She's created a fantasy universe where Beauty and the Beast, surfers, fairies, Cinderella and Rapunzel all take part in the same, convoluted soap opera. …

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