Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

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Youngest’s cast-offs suit me just fine

Youngest Child appears next to me as I‘m getting ready for work.

“Oooh,” she says.


“That dress. Why are you wearing that?”

I tense. “Oh. Em. Well…”

“It’s new. It’s nice,” she says, unexpectedly.


“Yes. Trendy,” she says.

This could be ironic, I’m still tensed, but she continues.

“Good colour. Good blue.”

“Well, not black. I do listen,” I say.

“Yes. I might borrow that,” she says.

This is unprecedented. Sartorial approval from Youngest is rare. I’m still not over “Mum’s new Prison Dress” as she described it, putting me right off and back to the shop it went. This was way before her Orange is the New Black viewing habit. Maybe I should try orange scrubs and a neck tatt.

Grudging approval is more likely nowadays, however, with our new system whereby she gifts me clothing that no longer pleases. So far I’ve bagged a pair of skinny jeans (“they’re the wrong blue”), a white leather biker jacket (“prefer the khaki after all”) and a new pair of platform trainers (“a bit platformy”). It’s all slightly Atomic Mutton, but a change from old boys’ hoodies.

Speaking of which, I catch Youngest taking a large pair of scissors to one of Middle’s cast-off vastly over-priced numbers. Whacked in half, it’s a crop top.

“Lovely,” I say, remembering exactly how much it cost.

I bought one for Eldest too but he gave it to a homeless man in town (plus the tenner I’d given him). When he returned in just a T-shirt I duly praised him, then had to spend a good hour with my Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom until I could truly find joy in this situation.

Well, it’s easy for the Dalai Lama isn’t it? No kids. He’s never had to stand on the threshold, benign smile playing on his lips, about to step forth and seize the day, when a voice pipes up behind him,

“That robe – is that what you’re wearing to go out in today?” n