Flea’s growing up. It’s rather inconvenient, not least because we had to trawl into the school uniform shop today when I realised she couldn’t bend over in her school pinafore without showing the world her Buzz Lightyear underpants.
On weekdays, the school uniform shop always has a queue of parents who seem to need to spend 20 minutes evaluating different gum shields. Then there’s Dragon Lady, so-called because when I was buying Flea’s pre-school uniform she almost made me cry by shouting, “What do you mean you don’t know how to hem it, lady?”
Anyway, we were queuing up with two brand new school pinafores when Flea tugged on my sleeve and asked, “Mummy, can we have a baby?”
All heads in the shop immediately rotate, Exorcist-style, until they’re facing me. Brilliant.
“No, we can’t. I thought you wanted a dog, anyway?”
“But you said I can’t have a dog until I’m seven.”
“Well, we’re not having a baby, sorry.”
“Please?” she wheedles.
"Flea, at what point do you think this is going to become a yes? No."
The other parents smile indulgently, while one or two do that thing of surreptitiously looking at my stomach to see if I’m pregnant, or just fat (it’s just fat, I assure you).
Just as I think we're done, it happens.
“How do babies get into Mummies’ tummies?”
Obviously, being a bona fide parenting genius, I had an answer TOTALLY prepared out for this situation, designed to provide reassuring information while protecting Flea’s childhood innocence.
Or possibly, I just froze while everyone in the shop stared at me, waiting to see what I’d say.
And I came up with this gem:
“Erm, it’s pretty complicated. Shall we go and get ice cream now?”
I'm presuming there's a better way to respond to the baby question when posed by a five year old. Give me a clue, won't you?