Lulu came back from dance class last night without her tap shoes. In fact, I discovered she never took her tap shoes with her in the first place. This was despite me calling out before she left, ‘Take your tap shoes, Lu,’ and her replying, ‘Ok, I’ll just pack them.’ But the story doesn’t end there. She did take an empty rucksack to dance class with her. And for some reason, she left it there and came home completely empty-handed.

‘Ok Lu, what made you think your empty rucksack had your tap shoes in it? Since your tap shoes are pretty heavy.’

She shrugged at my question. ‘I was 99% sure that I’d packed them.’

So things happen right? I changed tack. ‘You did take that consent form I asked you to bring though, right? The really important one I told you about. Otherwise your name won’t be on your exam certificate.’

Her shrug froze into a motionless cringe. Then she moved and extracted said form from the bathroom. Turns out she’d left it alongside her make-up bag. This was easy for her to remember, because she’d spent half-an-hour doing her make-up before she left for dance. With an empty bag. Which she forgot and left there. Oh, and this is the second bag she’s left somewhere in two weeks. In fact, the first rucksack remains un-patriated. Tonight she took Delph’s bag. So officially as it stands right now, she’s lost both of them.

Does this make your eyes want to roll to the back of your head? Or would it be normal if she remembered her tap shoes and spent five minutes in front of the mirror instead of thirty? Should I be buying a wardrobe full of spare rucksacks? After all, we have entered the proper knuckle-dragging stage. Hello lovely teenager.

As I lay there and planned the rucksack repatriation, I wondered if I was any different when I was her age? I think I was worse. This was a difficult to thing to roll around in my head as I tried to convince her to be more responsible. Plus she had a dream about me when I was in London this weekend where I was a big, bad ogre. In the end, she had to tie me up in a crucifix position so I’d stop beating her. Nice, no?

We went to her youth theatre awards ceremony on Monday night. By taking Delph to the Candoco workshop, we missed Lulu as Olivia in Twelfth Night. They’d been rehearsing for a couple of months. Jack went on his own. He said she was good. Really good. He said all the actors were, these twelve and thirteen-year olds who probably didn’t completely understand what they were saying. In fact, it reminded him of being at Welsh-speaking secondary school.

On Monday morning, Delph started flicking through her drawer of her sister’s hand-me down dresses. Lu had a new sparkly jumpsuit I’d bought for her a couple of weeks before. I dragged a dress from out of my own dusty closet. It was the beach dress I’d forgotten to take to Quest last time we went. It did the job with a pair of tights and some old leather boots. Well, kinda.

‘There’s something about you that harks back the Bronze Age,’ Jack said as I paraded around the living room, enjoying the clip-clopping of my heels.

I stopped and felt the cotton cloth. ‘Is it because the dress is orange-coloured?’

He frowned thoughtfully. ‘No, it’s more than that.’

Oh, I wish I was a teenager again.





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