Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: 'We are settled in the cinema, the toddler dismantling and licking the ashtray'

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

6.22pm: propped outside my daughter's room, while she regales me with her analysis of our trip to the cinema. "It's very loud, isn't it? It's louder than a computer, isn't it? Even louder than Sebastian at nursery..."

I respond in the only way I know how: "Wow, nine o'clock? Time for bed, night night." We've spent the day at the cinema, you gather – the four of us. A surprise family outing arranged by my husband for Mother's Day, which was quite the surprise when it transpired that we would be watching The Sound of Music. Together. In public. A film which, aside from being a musical retelling of the rise of the Third Reich, is three hours long.

"Three hours?" my husband responds, shell-shocked, as I unveil the news (by which point we are already settled in the theatre, while the toddler dismantles and licks the ashtray). "But you used to watch it all the time when you were little..." He looks disheartened. "I did," I say, without the heart to explain that this was while penned up on a coach amid a crush of very old people, somewhere in the middle of Switzerland, on one of the many tours my grandparents seconded me to on summer holidays.

Seven minutes in, and my husband has disappeared with our youngest, and the M&Ms. They don't resurface until 18 minutes before the film ends, by which point the four-year-old is lying belly-up on the floor, quietly groaning for more popcorn. "How was it?" my husband asks. Our daughter shrugs: "Like mummy – too much singing".

motherland.net

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