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Wednesday, 21 March 2018
“YOU’RE not wearing those socks, are you?” The Eleventeen-Year-Old’s mouth turns down in disgust.
“Well, I was going to,” I reply. “What gave it away — the fact I’m putting them on?”
“Don’t get sarky with me,” she snarks.
“Why does it bother you, anyway? Because they’re yours?”
It’s true – I’ve been wearing her socks for yonks now. Sometimes I even don the cool Adidas Superstar trainers she demanded with menaces for her birthday but don’t tell her, she’d have a fit.
“No,” she scoffs. “Because you look like an 85-year-old tramp in leg-warmers. I wouldn’t be seen dead in them.”
Her whole body shudders, repulsed by the very sight.
“But no one’ll see them — they’re under my trainers.”
“Whose trainers?” She fixes me with her steely gaze, narrowing her eyes.
Which always makes me nervous. It’s like she knows all my dirty little secrets (about socks, mainly, or unprecedented chocolate binges. Well, have you tried those sour cherry chocolate biscuits from the Co-op, yet? Don’t. Not if you want to keep your figure, or your sanity).
It’s like the cat’s out of the bag and now she’s just waiting for me to confess, to sing like a canary.
As the overhead pendant light starts mysteriously swinging, plunging me into its hot spotlight, I break.
“Okay, okay.” I mop the sweat from my brow with the closest thing to hand, which just happens to be a just-washed training bra.
“I admit it, sometimes I’ve worn your Adidas trainers but only to nip out quickly to the shops — I’d never wear them out out. And I’ll never do it again, promise. You have my word.”
“I knew it!” She leaps off the bed, punching the air as she makes her way to our shared en-suite. “You’re so transparent, Mum.”
“What’th tranthparent mean?” The Sunshiney Seven-Year-Old staggers in, rubbing his eyes and speaking with his adorable lisp, thanks to four missing teeth on his top gum.
“It means GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” Not completely in line with the OED, but a clear definition nonetheless.
“Let’s go downstairs for breakfast.” I turn him around and gently point him in the direction of the stairs while girding my loins for once again force-feeding him porridge.
But I can’t get what my daughter said out of my head. And it sends me reeling — all the way back to 1980-something, to the similarly-wise words of Adam Ant: “The way you look you’re qualified for this year’s old age pension!”
As I start to sing Stand and Deliver, scrabbling over the keys of the laptop to get on to YouTube so I can show my son the film clip, his hands fly up to his ears and he glares at me.
“Thut up, Mummy! You’re making my earth thad!”
“Thorry.” I can’t help myself.
“And Cookie thinkth you’re really bad at thinging, too — jutht look at him!”
Poor old Cooks has, indeed, scampered into his den, hit the plastic bottom with a thud and is pawing at his own ears in protest.
“I’m not that bad,” I say to both of them.
“Yes you are,” the Eleventeen-Year-Old announces as she throws her stuffed-to-capacity backpack on to the kitchen table.
“Argh! Not porridge again, please! Totally looks like vomit.”
So not only do I have a voice like a goat urinating in a tin, it would appear I also have the culinary skills of an amoeba. These morning pep talks are really working wonders for the old confidence.
“But I looked it up on The Google and this is how kids love porr...”
“The Google?” She giggles. “Did you check out The Instant Gram, too?”
“At least I know what’s on the fleek,” I say, raising one patchy, pale eyebrow. Both kids think this is hilarious.
“Is it on the fleek? On fleek? Just fleek? Oh, what is it, then?”
“Embarrathing!” My boy literally spits all over the place. My girl shrieks with laughter and approval, nodding and patting my son on the back as if he’s passed some initiation and is now welcome in the narky fold.
And even though it’s heart-warming to see the kids bonding rather than bickering, I can’t help but wonder why it always has to be at my expense.
But that’s another story…
25 September 2017
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