So I was flicking through my Twitter feed at breakfast this morning when DD loomed behind me (see what I did there?). Someone had re-Tweeted a pic of some Autumn-Winter ‘14 looks from a shop I never set foot in: H&M. (The fact that I don’t ever set foot in H&M is probably the reason why I spend way too long each morning wondering if I’ve started to look too ‘mumsy’ instead of, well, how are you supposed to look when you’re a 40-something work-from-home mum, anyway?).
“Nice,” I said, quite liking one of the looks in particular, and definitely liking the new season’s colour palette.
DD peered at the pictures on my phone. ‘Which one?’ she asked, in the type of voice she might use if I said she was getting boiled duck poo on toast for supper.
“That one.” I pointed to my favourite look: a sleeveless top with ballooning silk pants tucked into knee-high boots. Although undeniably fashion-victimy, there was something elegant about it; a hint of the equestrian and it was – to be honest – the closest I’m likely to get to a horse these days.
“Mummeee!” said DD, sounding as if she’d actually tasted the boiled duck poo. “Promise me one thing: If you buy it, just please don’t pick me up from school wearing it. There’s nothing worse than Fashion Mum!”
Before the summer is but a dim and distant memory, here’s one last, retrospective post. Things I learned this summer:
- Children on a plane will always ask you how long till lunch.
- Children on a plane will always ask you what’s for lunch.
- When travelling with more than one suitcase, divide everyone’s belongings between each of the bags (thanks, Emirates, for prompting that one).
- When travelling somewhere hot, carry your swimwear in your hand luggage. And a change of underwear. And your contact lenses. I could go on.
- Pack a spare padlock for when your bag’s lock gets broken.
- Think twice before sending whites to a hotel laundry.
- If you choose a hotel based on its “award-winning” kids’ club, check first that said kids’ club is not closed for refurbishment.
- However good a kids’ club is, your children will always prefer hanging out with you, especially after lunch when you’ve just finished a bottle of Chablis.
- If leaving a hotel at ridiculous o’clock in the morning, pack a couple of Ziploc bags so you can snaffle croissants from your room service breakfast to eat on the journey.
- And, finally, if you have to turn sideways to pass down the aisle of the A380, you really did overdo the pub lunches.
‘Why do you make me go swimming if you don’t like it yourself?’ DD asked me this morning.
‘I love swimming!’ I said.
‘No you don’t. You never swim properly,’ she said. ‘You just float about on my noodle trying not to get your hair wet.’
‘Ah,’ I said. ‘Good point. I do these days – but when I was your age I loved swimming. I was under the water all the time, doing handstands and roly-polys and leaping off the diving boards. I was the house swimming captain! Bet you didn’t know that?’
‘Wow,’ she breathed. ‘So what happened?’
‘Well,’ I said, thinking she’s old enough for a bit of honesty. ‘I started dying my hair and the chemicals in the pool will wreck the chemicals in my hair so I just find it easier not to get it wet.’
‘Have you heard of swimming caps?’ she asked. Cheeky monkey.
‘Another good point,’ I said. ‘But unless I had wet hair that was full of conditioner, the sticky rubber of the cap would break my hair. I have very fine hair, you know.’
At this, DD almost fell off her chair laughing. ‘Mummy!’ she snorted. ‘It’s so rude to boast! Did no-one tell you that?’ She did an impression of me, swaggering about the room: ‘Oh hello! I’m mummy. I’ve got very fine hair!’
I let her laugh a bit more – before I told her she’d got fine hair, too.
“Which side does the zip go on?”
“Will I need my geometry set today?”
“Do I have to do up my top button?”
“Can you do me a plait?”
“What have I got for snack?”
“Where are my new shoes?”
“Can I have an omelette?”
“Who’s picking me up today?”
“What are we doing after school?”
Until this summer, ‘looming’ was something that, in my vocabulary at least, was done only on dark streets, distant horizons or foggy oceans by ghosts, shadows, ships and baddies.
But, since June, I’ve had to accept and embrace a new definition of the verb because my daughter has taken to ‘looming’ in her room.
And, oh, how it makes me laugh when I call up to DD, because she’s been silent in her room for three hours, and the reply comes back, ‘Yes I’m fine! I’m looming!’ Or I get asked, ‘Do you mind if I loom for a bit?’ [‘Over what?’ I always want to ask.]
You’d think I’d have got used to the new vernacular by now but I still imagine my daughter dressed up as a headless ghost, peering over the shoulder of some unsuspecting victim; or looming out of the mist over our pool in her M&S swimsuit and scaring the dragonflies.
But, to be fair, looming’s a craze that served us well. It kept DD quiet through the boring bits of the summer and has, to date, yielded 268 bracelets, a pair of foot thongs, a belt, a necklace, a headband, two watch straps, two pencil grips, a glasses string, an entire class of little rubbery figures with backpacks, an owl, a Minion, Ana from Frozen, a panda and a life-sized version of a Range Rover Sport (not really on the last one).
But I think it’s a craze on borrowed time – at least in our house. Give it a month or two and I’d bet my bottom dollar the only ‘looming’ being done around here will be me in a ghost costume out trick-or-treating.