06 July 2009

Stop The Car!

And there they were. Eight little words that every mother longs to hear. I hit play again on the answering machine, enjoying it for a second time.

My mother’s recording, cautious but still loud enough to be legally binding, asked the question. “Would Chickie like to come for a sleepover?”

“Why yes, yes he would”, I answered aloud, as I skipped off to find the stick that opened the loft hatch.

Climbing the ladder, I made a mental shortlist of restaurants for that evening and began imagining me at 9am the following morning, stretching, yawning and then pulling the duvet back over my head because I’d no need to get up. Not for hours.

I was in the process of unwedging the suitcase from the hatch when another question was presented from below.
“What you doing mummy?”
“Getting your suitcase sweetie!” I chirped.
“We going on holiday?” Chickie sounded excited. “On a boat?”
“You’re going in a car!” I informed him with my most enthusiastic expression.

Making my descent towards Chickie’s happy little face, I beamed at him, basking in all the joy.
“Nanna’s having you for a sleepover!”

The joy suddenly stopped, his smile flipping itself over on his face to convey deep dissatisfaction.
“I don’t want to...” he began.

Feeling the dream was now in mortal jeopardy, I frantically interjected. “You can jump on all the beds, play with grandad’s golf clubs and go to bed really late.”
He mulled this over for a moment before continuing, “no.....”
“I think Nanna’s made some ginger biscuits” I cut in again, lifting my eyebrows as far as they’d go.
He was waivering, I could feel it. “You could squirt Grandad with the hose!”
His lips curled devilishly. I began packing.

Hours later, I bundled him into the car before Nanna and Grandad had brought it to a stop. “Too-da-loo” I began waving, wishing old people didn’t take so long to drive away.
“I want to sleep at mummy’s house.”
I quickened my pace towards the front door.
I broke into a light jog. Mum and Dad still hadn’t pulled away and, with all their windows open, it was hard to pretend I couldn’t hear but I kept trying.
As my foot crossed the threshold of my now quiet house, I heard the worst word of all, “Elizabeth!”
I considered making a run for it and hiding behind the front door but then dad had a key.
“Yes” I smiled sweetly, pivoting round to see three unimpressed faces looking back.

Waving Nanna and Grandad off, I looked down at my son, who smiled back.
“Mum” he said
“I want to sleep at Nanna’s house.”

Nanna finally sped up as I began chasing after her car.

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