Charlotte Philby's parental leave: 'Who will die?' my daughter asks. 'Maybe it will be you?'

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

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Indy Lifestyle Online

"When people die, they move to a new house and then they don't die anymore," the four-year-old announces at the top of her lungs, while launching herself off the top of the slide.

It is a blustery January afternoon and a group of boys quietly smoking a spliff on the swings of our local playground look up, clearly struck by the profundity of the words of this very short prophet, swathed in a fluorescent, Michelin Man-style boiler suit.

"Really?" I say, feeling the pressure of six pairs of bloodshot eyes upon me, and the don't-challenge-me smile fixed to my daughter's face. "That is interesting. Who told you?" I ask, still determining my next move. After all, denial will only lead to further uncomfortable questions undoubtedly rooted in her favourite subject – the absence of Grandpa John, whom she appears to believe is currently holed-up in a two-bed in Northolt, never to fall off this mortal coil ever again.

"Grandma," she says. "Of course," I say. "Didn't you know it?" my daughter continues with genuine pity, throwing a look to the baby to make sure he, too, is aware of my theological shortcomings. "When people die," she repeats for good measure, "they go to a new house and then they NEVER die again." She pauses. "Well," I say, "that is a relief." It would, after all, be a terrible bore to keep on dying. Attention-seeking, even.

"So when we move to our new house," she continues in a measured voice, "I will have my own room, and the baby will have his own room. And my room will be red because that is my favourite colour, and we will never move again. But who will die? I don't think it will be daddy. Maybe it will be you?"

motherland.net

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