Mum's the Word

Youngest's approval is top priority


I put my head round Youngest Child’s bedroom door. “Tomorrow, would you like to come and…”


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“You’ll like …”

“No thanks.”

It must be a body language fail on my part. How did she know I was going to suggest a musical and not a trip to Topshop to buy her jeans?

“It’s a child-free musical,” I say.

“Definitely not.”

(I thought Annie was good, but Youngest had some unkind words about children in musicals – and their parents. She’s equally harsh on opera “where they sing the plot but you can’t really tell what they’re saying,” oh and authors making appearances because she’d rather just read their book and doesn’t need to see them in the flesh – “who cares?”

A hard audience indeed, but at least she knows her own mind, unlike her mother who is more wishee washee than Aladdin’s pals – and you don’t want to hear her views on panto. Oh no you don’t.

At least she gives honest feedback. So I brace myself and canvass opinion on my new red top. I might wear it to the musical, but I’m not sure. I only bought it because it was in the sale and not black, like my other clothes.

“This top. What do you think?”

“Well, it’s a bit…”

“What? Nice?”

“No. A bit…”

“What? Big? Small?”


“Would it be better in black?”

“Definitely not.”


“I think if you want to, you should go ahead and wear it.”

And so the seed of doubt is planted. I wear something else. Something black.

Next day I’m going out again (get me, two nights in a row, it’s like Studio 54, the Bianca years, not). I will wear that red top. How bad can it be?

But what’s this? An empty hanger where my new top should be. So! When she said it was “a bit… a bit...”

It was a bit like something Youngest Child might go out in. n