Annabelle informed me yesterday evening that she wants me to put her into care.
She mistook my brief, considering pause for encouragement and before I could stop her had rushed out of the front door to join her little friends, squealing delightedly that Mummy’s putting her in a home.
Several of the grown up neighbours also happened to overhear this news bulletin as they were all in their front gardens doing whatever it is people do with hosepipes and watering cans. Poking my nose out of the door I saw that Mr & Mrs Frightfully-Important (from number three) were rapidly hustling their anaemic offspring into the house and had haphazardly abandoned bikes, skateboards and lawnmowers in their haste to prevent any further cross contamination of the sub-prime-parenting variety.
Mortified, I tried to persuade the Teenager to go out and apprehend her but he said he thought it sounded like a great idea and seemed more interested in whether or not he could have her DVD player when she’d gone.
I finally managed to coax her in by opening the kitchen window and setting the oven timer to go off.
Organising my face into an understanding (yet appropriately concerned) shape, I sat her down and reluctantly prepared to dive into the murky, confusing world that makes up the thought processes of an eight year old. Midway through the, even by my standards, rambling intro, she interrupted and said that no, it was nothing to do with the consistently burned dinners or the odd occasion when she has had to wear the same socks three days running.
Her desire to go into care has been prompted by a CBBC program called Tracey Beaker which has done a bang-up-job of convincing most of her primary school peers that life in a care home resembles some inner city St Trinians. She is reasonably certain that the little scamps and kindly social workers that make up the residential care system in this country are endlessly embroiled in one rib tickling adventure after another.
After a lengthy negotiation she agreed to go and unpack her Fimbles overnight bag and I agreed to buy her a pair of in line skates.
Made mental note to Sky-plus it and watch it after she is in bed. It sounds brilliant.