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Flea: a scam artist in the making

Photo by Zaxl4/FlikrDon’t make me go to nursery, Mummy. I will just play on my own quietly while you work.

This is what Flea said to me at 8.52am this morning as we prepared to get into the car with the cereal in a cup (today: Weetabix and raisins).

We arrived at nursery and Flea trudged in next to me, looking for all the world like I was about to pack her off to a Soviet labour camp. When the staff asked about her birthday and what presents she’d got, Flea just shrugged, in a world-weary way, and began to cry.

One of the nursery staff swept Flea into her arms for a cuddle and I backed out of the room as Flea reached over the woman’s shoulders,  sobbing, “Mummy, please don’t leave meeeeee….


I’ve got loads of work on at the moment, and I know logically that Flea has to be in nursery so I can get it done but, oh, that face. She does crying really well – no snot or unattractive scrunching up – she just lets tears roll down her perfect little cheeks while looking unbelievably sad. It breaks my heart just to look at her.

As I was going out of the front door of the nursery I saw my friend Ann with her little girl. “Hello Anya,” I said. “I think Flea is feeling a little sad, perhaps you could go and play with her to cheer her up?

Two minutes later, I got a text from Ann:  Couldn’t find Flea at first. She was outside on top of the slide shouting: “I am Captain Hook and you are all the crew of my pirate ship Ya-HAAARRRR!” Think she’s ok.

She’s either a future Meryl Streep or Frank Abagnale.



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

About The Author


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.


  1. Lynn @ More 4 Mums

    They are such drama queens at that age! She obviously knows that turning on the tears makes you guilty but Sounds like she still loves her nursery.

  2. Sarah Wolf

    I had the exact same thing today! She knows it is the summer holidays, all of her friends have been ‘at Spain’ or ‘at Turkey’ and this morning she said she would help me write the proposal I had to get out this morning and then we could go ‘at abroad’. However, school beckons and it’s only two more weeks of labour camp (otherwise known as the best nursery in the South West – painting, cuddles, cartoons, making cakes, more cuddles, learning about caterpillars etc).

  3. Victoria

    My four year old is similarly cunning. He’s a real mummy’s boy and every morning tells me that he hates nursery school, has no friends etc. When I mentioned this to his teacher, saying I was worried and could she help she was utterly perplexed. She said he’s as settled as anything, plenty of friends, never gets upset, enjoys activities etc etc. I think he’s having me on…

  4. Lindsey Collumbell

    Sounds very very familiar. DS used to do the exact same thing to me when he was at nursery. Mind you, he’s nearly 9 now and still does … just a variation of. As my mum says: “It’s still the same as they get older, just different”!!!

  5. whistlejacket

    They learn these tricks so scarily early! My 3 year old also pleads with me not to take him to pre-school as he has ‘no friends there’ and he ‘doesn’t play with anyone’. Whenever I chat to the staff about this, they’re baffled and say they can never stop him talking! Yet another thing to add to mother’s guilt.

  6. Sally

    I sort of admire her cunning. And even though I know it’s a big, fat fake, it gets me every single time. Wretched maternal instincts…grrr.

  7. cecilia

    She is really an actress!Can’t blame her for trying…

  8. zooarchaeologist

    They can be so manipulative cant they, I fall for it everytime…

  9. Insomniac Mummy

    LOL..Frank Abagnale :).
    These little people certainly know how to turn it on and off!

  10. Sally

    Well, it’s the last time I buy the nursery drop-off routine, let me tell you!

  11. Happy Mum

    I know so well what you are talking about… Elliott does the same to me all the time, but when I leave him with my mum! It is a double bill breaking heart! I know he doesn’t see my mum that much and speaks a funny language, although the same funny language mummy speaks (?).
    Anyway I should be getting ready to fetch her at St Pancras now, so I am off. Great post and thanks for the comment on my latest one 😉

  12. Maternal Tales

    Oh I know those faces so well – the ‘Mummy, how could you?’ face. Doe sit to me every time. And it’s always when you’re in a hurry and have ten million things to do as well. But 99% of the time they’re fine after 30 seconds…It’s almost annoying!! Love the text from your friend…and bless the little pirate!

  13. Mwa

    My daughter asked to go to the creche all the time during our holiday. Today, I left her and she cried in a heartbreaking way … until I closed the door of the room she was in. So for all of two seconds. Little cunning bastards.

  14. Cjwarnock

    Offspring Uno often pulls the same trick but a recent trip has shed a little light on a lifeline. The trip was with the Ladywife’s Friend and two other little people to London for two nights to spend a day at London Zoo. Dropping her off at the Friends place we had visions of tears as we left. No chance. Far too busy playing with the other two little people. Practically kicked us out.
    Hence, Daddy here learnt the following.
    1) Time the arrival at nursery to coincide with others. Best friends are optimal.
    2) Upon arrival, quickly get offspring into day slippers and make a real point of saying something like “make sure you play nice with so and so here..”
    3) Hope the little one picks up on the timing, opportunity and hint
    4) Get the hell out of Dodge
    Yes I know this sounds a tad over the top and even devious but I remind you all that you are dealing with four year olds that could take on the world if given half an inch…

  15. SandyCalico

    Bless her! My nearly two year old is already king of crocodile tears!

  16. Sally

    @HappyMum – you’re welcome, it was a great post, I thought.
    @Maternal Tales – I swear Flea has a radar for when I’m on deadline. All her traumas seem to happen while I’m supposed to be filing copy!
    @Mwa – arf. Cunning little bastards indeed.
    @Brit – I *so* want to do the opening the door thing, now. Genius.
    @CJ – Oh, you don’t need to convince me. They’re born military tacticians, I reckon. Flawless execution of the campaign.
    @Sandy – I know, I know they all do it, don’t they? And yet, my little heartstrings cannot help but be plucked…


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