A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

We're standing in line at an over-lit Sainsbury's discussing the virtues of my daughter's marital predicament, which has been the source of great focus ever since I revealed she couldn't marry her father. "I wanted to marry Harry but Harry is marrying Isobel, she told me, so I'm going to marry Sebastian Jones because sometimes he hurts me but he's a nice boy really. But if Sebastian Jones marries Isla then I'll just marry Maximus," she explains, her oval cockney vowels punctuated by the bleeping of the till.

Distracting myself by squeezing my eyelids slowly open and closed, I become aware of the lady behind us haphazardly unloading her trolley onto the conveyor belt: "Bloody jars of baby food bloody everywhere," she grumbles to no one in particular. "Should see our house!" I turn, catching her eye. "Bloody highchairs bloody everywhere, two of them! Two buggies, two bloody everything..." She's talking to me now. I roll my eyes in consolation, trying not to focus on the cluster of hairs sprouting from her chin.

"How old are yours?" I ask. "They're not mine," she barks, causing her husband to leap forwards. "Not bloody mine! The girl she's seven, and the boy he's 16 months. Still, I love kids, I do. Better than adults." I smile in half-hearted agreement. "Bloody adults, always bloody moaning," she adds with a conspiratorial elbow. "No, I wouldn't have it any other way... Look at her," she adds, nodding at my daughter. "Good as gold!" I load my bags into the trolley, and smile farewell, just as the four-year-old re-embraces her soliloquy at 300,000 decibels: "Some ladies do have beards and some ladies don't have beards, and that's just how it does."

motherland.net

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