It’s 7.30am, and too early for this.
Elder daughter (through bathroom door): Mummy, when are you coming out?
Me: Soon, why?
Elder daughter (urgently) : I need to tell you something.
Me (thinking, must be something very personal …): Can’t you tell me now?
Elder daughter (pushing lips against crack in bathroom door): You know the big brown paper bags that we pack our lunch in …?
Me: Yes (required response).
Elder daughter: Well (never a good start), [Lola Button] has just packed her jam tart in an enourmous PLASTIC bag and tied a knot in the top …
Elder daughter: Can’t I just swop it over?
Me (thinking of the World War that will break out if she does): No.
Elder daughter: Why not? (Rant about how long the plastic bag will take to decompose on a rubbish tip)
Me (thinking “why can’t I even have a shower in peace?” and “I need to buy some time”): I love you, my Eco Warrior. I’ll sort it out when I get out.
A few moments later, sitting on the floor, deep in thought, drying my hair, a buzzing noise intrudes from behind my head, out of sight.
Lola Button : Mummy …
Me: Yes (required response)
Lola Button: Look!
I turn my head to find Lola Button sitting cross legged in the bedroom chair, triumphantly holding up a jam tart in a very small, very thin plastic bag.
Lola Button (indignantly): See! (Rant) … If I put it in a paper bag, all the jam would slop out. Look, it’s starting to already. Also, I don’t like going into the larder to get the brown paper bags because of the Indian Flour Moths (another story…)
Me: Yes (what else can I say?)
A few moments later …
Lola Button (stomping around on the landing): I’ve lost my jam tart
Lola Button (comes into bedroom, crying): I’ve lost my jam tart!
Me (thinking of the Very Important Meeting that I have to chair in about an hour and a half): Do you want me to help you look for it?
Lola Button: Yes (what else?)
Downstairs, a minute later
Elder daughter: What’s wrong with [Lola Button]?
Me: She’s lost her jam tart …
Elder daughter (also triumphant): I’ll get her another one … in a paper bag
Lola Button: Mind the Indian Flour Moths …
Elder daughter returns even more triumphantly. There is only ONE jam tart left, where yesterday there were six. That means stick thin vegetarian Lola Button has consumed four of them. Elder daughter is, of course, not eating sweet things. The remaining jam tart has YELLOW jam.
Lola Button: I don’t want that one …
Lola Button (skipping around, singing): I’ve lost my jam tart, my poor old jam tart …
[And this is a favourite book that restored peace many, many times]