Damian Cullen: My five-year-old daughter is trying to kill me

Step by step: Expect stress, disruption and distractions when you try to get fit with little ones in tow

Eve Cullen: A chatterbox who helps distract from the task at hand.

Eve Cullen: A chatterbox who helps distract from the task at hand.

 

My five-year-old is trying to kill me. Not in a cutesy, ah-she’ll- be-the-death-of-me kind of way. Not like that at all. This article could form part of a future prosecution case.

There’s been the ruthlessly direct approach. When the breakfast cereal one morning tasted strangely of lemons, the dishwasher was singled out as the culprit, until the real felon owned up to “accidentally” filling a two-thirds full bottle of milk back to the brim with . . . floor cleaner.

There’s been the ingeniously planned shock approach. With my other half on the other side of the world last month, myself and the youngest of our three girls spent three traumatic days in hospital, which included enough blood loss for her to be a candidate for a transfusion. Terrifying – but, apparently, not scary enough.

On our first night home, she took some red markers and, just before dozing off peacefully in bed, she coloured herself in. Head to toe. When a still-rattled dad sneaked into the room using the light on his phone 10 minutes later . . . well . . . we’re still not the better for it.

And there’s even been the hire-an-assassin approach.

Outside our local swimming pool last week, she joyfully told a very large, muscular black man that “Daddy and me love being white!” We had spent the previous 20 minutes in a dressingroom cubicle having a very funny discussion about the merits of talcum powder. Context is everything. (Thankfully, the man either didn’t understand what was said, or decided to leave the nutcases to their ignorance.)

Perhaps we finally have a use for the cliche: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Lately, I’ve had to explore the possibilities of exercising while keeping at least one of the children within eyesight/scolding range. It hasn’t been easy. The swimming pool seemed an obvious target, but has proved unworkable as the children are not competent swimmers. An hour in the pool means an hour splashing in the shallow end, keeping a watchful eye, not completing physically beneficial lengths.

The gym is obviously out of the question, as is running outdoors, though a running track seemed plausible – if slightly disruptive. Apparently, children playing in the long-jump sand pit is not encouraged. Who knew?

There was a brief flirtation with martial arts. A karate class promised something for young and old – same time, same location. There’s something strange about being in a crowded room where practically everyone, children included, would fancy their chances of beating you up. The hall was divided by experience and grade – which in reality meant the adults and a few kids at one end, with most of the children and one oversized beginner at the other.

Cycling has been our only major success. The five-year-old is an entertainment system, a no-thought-remains-unsaid chatterbox, which actually helps distract attention from the gruelling nature of carrying extra weight (on top of the extra weight I’m carrying anyway).

And it’s become something of a regular outing, with constant nagging until a favourable outcome is achieved. A guilty conscience would have given up much earlier. And the health benefits are undeniable, so, despite her many attempts on my life, my five-year-old is apparently complicit in prolonging my life.

In fact, we’ve read that men and women who have children live longer than people who don’t.

Though, perhaps it just seems longer. 

Step by step
Intellectual approach to losing weight
Most apps on straps are rubbish
My daughter is trying to kill me
It’s not you, it’s me. Hold on, it’s you
You don’t have to turn into an ass
I met my next child’s godfather at a race
It’s tough when momentum runs out
No sweetness, and lite everything
Stopping the treadmill with your tummy
When it’s my turn to make dinner . . .
The kitchen table looks out for us
- Skinny friend eats like an elephant
Tomorrow we diet
How to get back into exercise
At what age do you fall apart?
I’d jog for wine
I’m a binge drinker
- What if losing weight makes you sad?
- 12 months later, time for health tips
- The ultimate global deception

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