Right so, I am going to admit to something. I am quite confident in the knowledge that I am not the only person guilty of this crime. That is no excuse but as I cannot speak for anyone except myself, this is my and my admission alone. I neglect Mister Husband. There! I’ve said it. I am a negligent wife. Sure, he gets his laundry done, his dinner cooked for him every (most) days. But I’m doing laundry anyway so I may as well fill the machine and it’s as easy to cook for three as it is for one so his name goes in the pot too. I couldn’t leave him out, could I? Sometimes I even make him a cup of coffee and when I do the shop I always ask him if there is anything he needs. If I have to make a quick run into the supermarket in the middle of the week for milk or bread, I’ll pick up that little 6 pack of beer he likes. But he is well and truly neglected in the affection department. It’s something that hasn’t escaped my attention but like all the other things I don’t want to face up to, I make like an ostrich and stick my head in the sand. The thing is though, I cannot pass the Screecher Creatures without touching them. If I think I can get away with it without being swiped away in annoyance, I’ll drop a kiss on them. I usually throw in a hair ruffle for good measure. Screecher Creature No. 4 is in serious danger altogether of being squeezed to death but thankfully it’s all a big game to him and he usually responds with a belly laugh. The day will come when my kids will push me away in frustration, embarrassed with all the affection I want to lavish on them. As it is, Screecher Creature No. 1 at only 6 years of age will scoot across the road to embark on the school bus before I kiss him goodbye. I don’t want Mister Husband to do the same. Push me away that is. He doesn’t use a school bus. I can, and do use the excuse, that when I get 10 minutes to myself, I take it literally. I will escape onto the decking with a cup of tea, make that desperate bathroom visit, or just sit at the table by myself, not wanting or needing to talk to anyone. The trouble though is, once you get into the comfortable habit of a routine, it is very hard to break. Very hard indeed. I used to lavish affection and attention on Mister Husband. Fast forward four young lads later and he doesn’t get a look in. The poor Jolly Phonics*. I read some good advice on a parenting website once. It said, one day your kids will up and leave you. On that day do you really want to look at your husband and see a stranger. Someone you have side lined in favour of or in deference to the kids over the years. A true and valid point. So what can be done about it? It’s one of those annoying ones where the answer is in the question. Very simply, start showing affection, become tactile again. It doesn’t cost more than a second to kiss someone, to touch their hand when you’re in conversation with them, go mad every once in a while and hug them. I wouldn’t be known for my touchy feelyness but that shouldn’t even enter the equation when it’s Mister Husband. Once upon a time we used to walk hand in hand down the street, sometimes our arms would even be round each other. Granted, the pub would have been visited and it was necessary for the support, but still. These days, if I’m not pushing a buggy, I’ve got one of the Screecher Creatures by the hand and am running after another one. Ditto Mister Husband. So I decided I was going to start small. I was going to make a conscious effort to touch Mister Husband 5 times during the day, the objective being that after a while, it would become second nature again. I didn’t mention my game plan; I thought it might be a nice surprise. Or a bad shock. So I walked past him and put my hand on the small of his back, let it rest there for a second. I think he jumped a little bit but he definitely asked was I alright. I assured him I was just peachy and continued on. That day, yesterday, Sunday, he got his arse felt, (let’s see how you like it!) there was a random kiss placed on his cheek, he even felt the palm of my hand but as a caress and then I was stuck. What else could I do to make up my one of 5 a day? He, at this stage, kept looking at me. I didn’t ask him what was going through his head, but I’m sure he was wondering what it was I had done as clearly I was in process of trying to break something to him. Curiosity must’ve won, or maybe all of my touchy feelyness during the day, unnerved him so he asked me what was going on. He couldn’t believe his luck when I told him. He thought and still thinks it’s a wonderful idea. Now I catch him with a different look on his face and I nip it in the bud immediately. I tell him, lookit, it’s a quick smooch or nothing, take it or leave it. He reckons I drive a hard bargain. I remind him that he’s got four kids, and he hasn’t done too badly for himself. He’s forced to agree. For a man who doesn’t eat fruit and tends to ignore any veg that is on his plate, he’s awfully keen on his 5 a day all of a sudden.