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I'm sure Gary didn't mean to paint the dog

No wonder new parents are always broke! Since Gary has been able to walk he has broken my kettle, two laptops, a printer, two televisions and a CD player. I am sick to death of replacing gadgets after he steps on them shouting, "mummy, look".

"He's probably just bored," a friend pointed out. "You need to give him things to amuse himself with. Like colouring books and paint."

Great idea, I thought. I went out and bought a bumper colouring book, some paint pots and a brush. He took to his new hobby straight away. Not that I'm surprised, really, as once he drew a few squiggles on my bedroom wall with my lip liner pencil. Hmm. I've a feeling I've a budding artist in the making.

I put some old clothes on him and newspaper on the floor to save the carpet. I was really hoping this would work as I've been at my wits' end recently with all the broken electrical equipment lying around.

Last week, though, was the final straw. When my little boy was watching Spongebob Squarepants on my laptop, in the excitement, he happened to knock it off the bed.

It went crashing to the floor with an unmerciful thud. I nearly cried because I had only just bought it. When the computer repair man said it would take 24 hours to fix it, I honestly thought the world stood still for a minute as I tried to digest this horrifying news. Twenty-four hours without my online life? That couldn't be possible. How could I survive without checking my emails every five minutes? How could I live without knowing who Kim Kardashian was dating or what Gwen Stefani was wearing? How would I know whether it was going to rain that afternoon or be able to check my bank balance?


Worst of all, was I going to miss out on that must-have antique mirror that I had been watching for five days on eBay? I was almost jittery even thinking about it.

But then I came to terms with my temporary loss. I would do non-internet things that day such as phone real people for a chat. I would read a book and go for a walk. I would tidy my home. And I would paint with my little boy.

I got more done in that single day than I had done in the past few weeks. And after the first few hours of no net withdrawal symptoms, I actually began to enjoy not reading useless waffle online.

Gary liked having me back, too. With no internet there was a lot more play time. We painted pictures of the sun, the moon and trees. He really got into the swing of it.

Then the following evening my parents kindly agreed to babysit. I got my computer back and Gary went off with his little overnight bag.

My parents were delighted to see him. Dad was painting the cloakroom in his house and said there would be no problem keeping an eye on Gary. But there was a problem. Because when Dad put down his paintbrush and went out to the hall to take a phone call, Gary continued on where he left off.

He painted my parents' cooker, microwave, dog and their entire kitchen patio door. Oops!