The one about Public Enemy Number One

5 Jul

If I were asked to list, right now, today, some of the worst people of the current moment it would include Bob Diamond and the Barclays 14 (I think that’s the number), George Osborne, the author of 50 Shades of Grey (no, I don’t actually mean that, I’m just jealous, I wish I’d had the idea first), Andrew Lansley and Michael Gove (I know, there’s a theme).

But today as far as both my children were concerned I was not only added to that list but boosted right to the top of it.  The general theme of the day had been ‘fairly rubbish’ and I was looking forward to seeing both of them post gainful employment.  So after running around like a lunatic to collect them back from the various places they’d been, topped off by a classic town centre / M25 traffic calamity, we were at home and sinking into the bedtime routine – the point at which everything just started sinking, frankly.

L2 decided that instead of having his story he wanted to go and feed next door’s fish.  L2 deciding not to have his story and replace it with doing something else is a historical flashpoint and M and I both obtained a commitment from him that it wouldn’t turn out that way this time (you can see what’s coming here, can’t you).

So L1 and I snuggled in bed with Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy (no, I’m not re-writing the Famous Five as 50 Shades of Ginger Beer, they weren’t actually with us) while L2 and M went to make sure the fish had all they required.

Five minutes later, the predictable occurs.  Despite the presence of ‘spook-trains’ and a wooden-legged man to hold his attention in Famous Five, L2 who had just re-entered the room was inconsolable, demanding first Beast Quest and then, with a flourish, slapping his current favourite book ever ‘Fox in Socks’ (Luke Luck likes lakes; Luke Luck licks lakes; Luke’s duck likes lakes; Luke’s duck licks lakes: genius.  Although my favourite is the Goo-Goose, I just can’t entirely remember how that part goes) onto my stomach.

I ignored him; it’s pointless and changes nothing, but it at least buys L1 the end of her story.

I won’t go into details but he confirmed several times that he hated me; that I was very mean; that it was the worst thing anyone had ever done to him; and that he may have said he wanted to feed the fish – and of course actually fed the fish – but he changed his mind and wanted a story instead.  L2 is very good at changing his mind after he has carried out the initial activity.

Finally peace reigned (the above paragraph is a strictly abridged version).  We had a big cuddle and a chat about what had gone wrong; and he went to bed.

Just in time for his sister to start off.

The root cause, as far as she was concerned, of my appalling parenting was my refusal to give her a mobile phone.  When I pointed out she had no-one to call that she couldn’t call on the landline – or one of our mobiles, if push came to shove – she asked me plaintively “but what if I want to call you when you’re at work?”.  It still, frankly, doesn’t wash.  So she threw a plastic folder at me (lightweight, not reinforced) and I rapidly retired to walk the dog, which seemed like the only answer.



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