Obviously I knew it would happen one day, maybe when Flea’s a strapping teenager obsessed with looking cool and ‘grown up’.
But not when she’s five years old. Not before she’s learned how to tie her own shoe-laces.
Sadly, the truth is – my daughter is embarrassed to be seen with me.
This isn’t universally the case, but over the past six months, we have worked out a complex, strictly non-negotiable set of rules regarding my conduct on school grounds.
I drive Flea to school (obviously, her school’s 7 miles away, which is a bit of a hike when you’re four feet tall). We are allowed to talk in the car if Flea isn’t reading. Sometimes Flea likes to hold my hand while we drive. Cute, right?
Once we arrive at school, I am required to carry Flea’s things into the school building. I must not talk or in any way indicate I am ‘with’ Flea. However, any suggestion that Flea walks into school alone is met with moist eyes and a trembling lower lip.
Inside school, I must silently accompany Flea to the cloakroom (10 feet from the front door) and wait outside while Flea hangs up her coat. Then I accompany Flea the 6 feet to her classroom door. My presence for these two seconds are vital – any suggestion of my leaving her at the cloakroom door results in the aforementioned trembling lip.
At the classroom door, Flea ditches me like a bad date, and goes to hang out with her friends. I muster a cheery “Bye Flea, have a good day,” which is always completely ignored by my daughter. Sometimes the teacher replies for her, out of pity for me, probably.
Part of me thinks this stage – the mixture of stubborn independence combined with little girl neediness – is completely cute. The other part of me is considering running into her classroom and shouting, “MUMMY NEEDS HER SPECIAL KISSES” at my daughter tomorrow morning.
Also, in later years, when Flea is all about the black outfits and moody make-up and doesn't want to hug me in public, I have the photo above in my arsenal. Last winter? This was Flea's favourite ensemble.
I feel pretty good about my chances, frankly.