Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: I've specifically asked to be called mummy

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

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The Independent Online

She has taken to calling me Lottie. As in, "Lottie, can I have a glass of water?". For reasons I'm struggling to comprehend, it makes me want to weep. It's not that I find people calling their parents by their real names, rather than 'mum' or 'dad', pretentious (it's definitely not that, I explain to my husband, who has always called his parents by their names).

"But Lottie is your name," he replies, helpfully. "Yes, Lottie is your name, isn't it Lottie?" the three-year-old confirms, nodding earnestly as she picks out any trace of George from her Peppa Pig-themed Spaghetti Hoops.

"Actually, my name is Charlotte, Lottie is an abbreviation – and that is not the point, thank you daddy. The point is that I've specifically asked to be called mummy and I would appreciate some support." He gives me a look, that withering why-are-you-making-such-potentially-damaging-remarks-to-our-first-born-child? look that I know so well.

"Is this about the new neighbour asking if you were available to babysit?" he presses. No, it's not that, I say. "Because, you know, a lot of people would love to be mistaken for a teenager." Thanks, I nod. "Especially at your age." THANK YOU, I say, can we talk about something else? "Hmmmm. OK, Lottie, what shall we talk about?" I know, I say, how about we just enjoy the silence for a bit. "What is silence?" It's nothing. "Answer me!" I have answered you, SILENCE IS NOTHING. "Nothing? What's nothing?" Nothing is the absence of something. "Absinthe? What's absinthe?!"

ABSINTHE! Excellent idea, I'll get some glasses.

@philbycharlotte

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