“Mummy, we do live on the Earth planet.”
Thursday morning, -1 degree. It is treacherously icy. My chest is a snuggly advertisement for Baby Gap’s winter range as we toddle to the childminder’s. NC (4 months) is in the sling, NG (2.5yrs) is holding my hand and some toast as she was a bit slow eating breakfast and NL (Bear, the Labrador) is pulling on his lead, nipping leisurely at it as we walk. I am dodging drool, icy patches and hurrying school run parents and daydreaming about going to Waitrose like Kate Middleton did wearing slip-ons, with my hair down.
“That’s right, darling. We live on a planet called Earth. And there are other planets, too. Like Mars.”
“Yes. And is Pluto a moon?”
“It’s a dwarf planet.”
“Who told you it was a moon?”
“Right. Bear Bear, it’s NOT a moon. Pluto is a planet.”
“Um, Mummy? Oh, no, sorry, Bear Bear?”
(Me in NL’s voice): “Yes?”
“Bear Bear, Pluto is a dorf planet. You are not right, Bear Bear. Pluto is not a moon.”
Shark-like, NL looks up and snaps his jaws around his lead.
“NO, Bear Bear,” I sigh, yanking it back.
“Mummy, what you doing?”
“Bear wants to play tug of war. But this is not the time, or the place.”
“Bear Bear, you must play tug of war AT. THE. BEACH.” NG wags a buttery finger at NL’s nose, driving him to dribbling distraction. A car swerves as his hind legs fall into the road.
“Darling, don’t do that. Lick your fingers so Bear can’t do it for you.”
“But I do like Bear Bear licking my fingers.”
“Not in the middle of the road, ok?”
“Bear Bear, you have to wait TIL. WE. GET. TO. THE. PAVEMENT.”
“No …” I start, but just then my friend appears in front of me.
“Need a hand?”
“Could you just wipe her fingers?” I say pathetically. Apart from NG, we are all wearing mittens like boxing gloves. She hesitates.
“Put your hands in mine and I will wipe them,” she says to my daughter. It is then I notice her mittens are UGGs and I know how much they cost because I Go(ogled) them last night.
“Oh, Milly – no – don’t use your gloves – they cost the Earth!” I protest.
NG looks up, puzzled. “But we do live on a planet called Earth,” she says.
“Yes,” says Milly. “A very cold planet called Earth.”
“But not as cold as Pluto,” says NG.
I am not sure if Bear Bear has told her this. Regardless, we will be having words when we get home.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and a half year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and four month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)