"Mummy, I want to live at my friend Dulcie's house please." Says the four-year-old.
"Why?" I ask
"Her mum is more fun than you.(Stops to kiss me)
"That's all. But I do still love you mummy. Even though you are not fun and don't let me play with moonsand."
After coaxing, the four-year-old gives more reasons why this other mum is so much fun. There is talk of mud pies, finger painting, stripping the beds to make a "pillow mountain."
Fun? Sounds lawless to me.
I AM fun anyway. I dance to Beyonce in traffic jams with her. I put on silly voices when reading books to her at night. I often pretend to forget her name and call her Dave, just for fun.
That's not being fun though she says. She says that's being SILLY MUMMY.
I have tried her "fun" though, honestly.
I've set up paint pots and brushes and water at a little table for her, and then I've watched her take off all her clothes, paint herself blue and roll round on the floor... Then I've taken the paints, pots, brushes, water and put them away, then I've run the bath,cleaned her,the floor, and the walls, and then I've thought "Sod this for a game of soldiers."
Ditto with playdo. I've set her up with pots of various colours, plus implements to cut it/mould it with/push it though, and then I've watched her mix it all together to make a ball of brown poo which she eats instead of any dinner.
Suddenly, a memory... My mum saying we would make fairy butterfly cakes together. Sparkling fandango sounds to my four-year-old ears. I remember watching her weighing out sugar, flour, butter ("You will be too messy"), waiting patiently while she sifted, stirred, whipped, folded, filled, and ultimatly went on to ice "our" fairy cakes. I sat on the side next to her. As a"treat" she passed me the wooden spoon to lick ("Quick I want to wash it.")
I wonder now, what good it did - saving me from making all those messes?
It seems to have made me a bit of a freak. A "Ooh, is that a biscuit you are eating? I'll just stand close to you while you enjoy it with my hands cupped under your chin" control-freak
A "Oh dear, you've been playing in the sandpit. Right, I'll take all your clothes off before we get in the car and shake you and your shoes out in the road and you can go home naked and get straight in the bath" punisher-of-fun.
A "Oh look, you've taken all the pillows off the sofa. Rather than make a den with you, I'll give the base a hoover - no you can't help. Hoovers are not toys - even if they do have smiley faces on them and a nose like an elephant" mess-obssessed-meanie.
Oh bugger. I'm going to have to get the paint pots back out the loft aren't I? And all those bloody beads too.
She can still forget the moonsand though