Family: Mum's the Word

No mime required in the battle of the beret


“Where’s that beret?” says Youngest, making me jump by appearing silently behind me as I stand at the stove, all white face, black eyeliner teardrop eyes and black and white striped top.

“The beret?” I hadn’t realised anyone else had noticed it apart from me. Don’t know where it came from and no-one’s ever worn it, but it’s been a fixture around the homestead for a couple of years now, appearing in the piles of paper in the kitchen, graduating to the back of the car on its way to the recycling, yet somehow edging its way back into the house and reappearing among the towels. I let it stay, because well… someone might want a beret one day.

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“Yes, I’m going trick or treating.”

“I hate that Americanisation. We called it guising when…”

“Mum! Where is it?”

Delighted to appear like an efficient mother who can locate obscure items at a moment’s notice and avoid the wrath/disappointment of their child, I fish it out from the towels and hand it over.


“Why a mime artist?” I ask, but it falls on deaf ears. She’s disappeared.

Cue Eldest who appears in the kitchen wearing a stripey top and eyeliner tears.

“Where’s the beret?” So he knows about it too. Suddenly it’s the family beret.

“Your sister’s wearing it. Oh, are you a mime artist as well?”

“It was my idea!” he says.

“I didn’t know you wanted to dress up,” I say.

“I don’t! I’m working and I’ve been told to! This seemed easy ‘cos we’ve got a beret, but I told her about my idea.”

Big mistake.

He FaceTimes her, bickering ensues, none of it silent.

Meanwhile in the corner of the kitchen, Middle Child, who has been mute throughout, places palms flat in front of him and mimes climbing a wall. Once at the top, he peers over, waves at his siblings, flicks them the finger and disappears.