Eldest Child is sitting in the kitchen, staring at two boiled eggs his wee sister was too busy with her pre-school routine to eat. Black jeans, white shirt, black trainers, school tie, don’t ask me what takes her so long.
“Eat them,” I say. “She just didn’t have time.”
“Nah. They’re probably booby trapped.”
“She wouldn’t do that.”
He fires me a look.
“OK. How?” I ask, taking a closer look at the eggs. Growing up the youngest of three has shaped her, honed a ruthless, cunning streak. Especially when it comes to food, and food she regards as hers.
I have tried to shield her from the worst excesses of having mean older brothers who’ve rubbished everything from boy bands to Disney (oh wait, that was me) but there are times when I’ve been remiss. Like when I discovered they let her drive the car in Grand Theft Auto.
“She’s not allowed out of the car,” said Eldest. So no drug dealing, firearms or mob activity for her then?
“No, she just likes taking the car to the beach.”
The boys are over 18 so if they want to play Grand Theft Auto, I can’t stop them. Tellingly Middle doesn’t play it in front of his girlfriend. “That would be disrespectful,” he says. “But the men in it aren’t cool either.” True.
Anyway, back in the real world Eldest and I eyeball the eggs.
“Oh, you mean empty shells turned upside down?” I suggest.
“Nah. Something more...” he pauses, eyes narrowed, sniffing for something to back up his hunch. Then gives up.
“It’s not worth it. I don’t have time to change my clothes. Toast’s fine,” he says, disappointed.
So the eggs stay where they are, in their hippo and pig holders, awaiting the return of Youngest Child.
“Good. Still here,” she says later when she comes in from school.
Yep, the virtual world might belong to the boys, but in the real world Youngest Child is in the driving seat.