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We are just about to set off out for a picnic, an impromptu plan suggested by yours truly, on what is a gloriously sunny day. One of the added benefits of living where we do in France, is that we are a stone’s throw away from some truly lovely parks, and a short five-minute drive from my partner’s work; meaning we can pick her up on the way.


Everything’s ready to go, sandwiches are made and packed; drinks are ready; desserts are also in the bag for the kids (not for myself and my partner though as I  think – incorrectly as the black looks I later receive attest – we don’t need them).


Yes everything’s ready to go, the kids don’t even need to go to the toilet – I know this as I have asked them the requisite 58 times. Only ask 57 times and you are treading on thin ice*.


So, I think to myself, as I don my footwear, if everything’s ready to go why is my daughter crying?


My son is running around her in a circle, so I assume this is what’s making her cry. I tell him to stop, but she keeps crying and makes a grab for his shoes. Has he stolen something from her and hidden it in his shoes?


You might laugh at that, but these two would give airport-security a run for their money when it comes to finding new and interesting places to hide things. I know what that implies, and I stand by it. You DO NOT want to know where I’ve found marbles…and then promptly thrown said marble away.


I had to, it was a health and safety issue.


Anyway, back to my teary-eyed daughter and I finally, somewhat disbelievingly, discover what she’s crying about. One of the velcro grips on my son’s shoes is not lined up correctly.


Just re-read that sentence to yourself.


They aren’t her shoes, they are someones else’s. They are on the correct feet, but one, ONE of the velcro straps is slightly, SLIGHTLY ‘askew’.


She often mothers him, I’ve mentioned this in the past, so that’s not much of a surprise. This however, is a new level of fastidiousness.


She loves everything in her life to be ‘just so’, her hair has to be a certain way, the clothes have to match up, things in her room have to be lined up correctly. I tidied the books on her floor up the other week while I was mopping, as they seemed to be messy, this led to a three-hour interrogation on why I had done it, and why I shouldn’t do it again.


Did I mention she’s only three?


I tentatively reach over to my son’s shoe and correctly line-up the velcro grip. He couldn’t care less; if I took them off and replaced them with odd shoes – odd girl’s shoes – he’d quite happily carry on regardless. I think I could offer him hollowed-out racoons and he’s shove them on each foot. He’s a free spirit.


The effect on my daughter, however, is immediate and obvious. The tears stop rolling down her face, as if someone’s turned off a tap, her attitude changes completely and we head out the door.


She’s three.




What is going to happen at puberty????




*As it turns out 58 times IS NOT the charm. Not only did my son need a wee at the park he also had to go ‘number two’, which I, in a very civic-minded-manner, had to scoop up and carry. I used baby-wipes and held it like the world’s smelliest, warmest bomb. I do not wish to repeat that experience.