Big eyes. Mysterious smirk. ‘I’ll check my schedule,’ Polly Pocket said when I asked if she wanted to go to Blue Lagoon this weekend. Blue Lagoon is a waterpark a couple of hours away.
Pocket’s not much of a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ person. That bit gets to Jack a bit and I totally get it, but I’m generally cool. If I need to tell her about manners then I do. It’s obvious to me she has other things on her mind. And she’s not my kid. Definitely the second one.
Still, it hasn’t escaped my attention that Polly Pocket always seems to be around when shit hits the fan in our house. Like if we’re going to have an argument, we’re like, ‘Hold on, we have to wait for Polly Pocket.’ Either that or there’s something about Pocket being here that starts it. Not that she’s involved – no, she tends to go very quiet. Takes the whole thing in with a look of detached disinterest.
Wait till you see her afterwards though. That kid knows exactly what’s going on. Not only she knows, but she sees stuff you don’t even see.
‘Does Lulu have to have an opinion about everything?’ she asked. And, ‘Why does Jack always think he’s right?’
I catch myself in these moments. Lulu does have an opinion about everything! And Jack does think he’s always right! Goddammit. How does this pint-sized eleven year old nail it on the nose?
The other day she said, ‘How come when you try and be serious, Jack always jokes back at you?’
I was like, I know! To top it off, she was here last week when Lulu revealed the joke Jack told on the plane to Egypt. The cabin crew had just told the passengers they couldn’t exit by the back doors because the cleaners were using them.
Yep, you guessed it. ‘Shame my wife isn’t here then,’ my husband said. To the whole plane. Of strangers.
I get it. It was funny. But I’d just finished washing up when I heard it. After cooking and cleaning. While everyone was sitting on the sofa.
The next day Pocket said, ‘I was going to call my mum to pick me up. I’ve never been so scared in your house before. And I see it as my third home after my mum’s and then my dad’s house.’
I wasn’t sure whether to be apologetic or grateful. Then I shrugged. With Polly Pocket, it probably isn’t necessary to be either. Eleven or not, she’s in it for the long run.
Plus there are the Barbies. It’s true our house has upped stakes. Owing to the fact the dream-house – yes the dream-house – was on sale in Argos a couple of weeks ago. It was still only in my basket when the website said it was sold out. And I got it! Woo-hoo!
I know. It’s plastic. Expensive. Everything many decent-minded feminists object to. But man. The toilet flushes. The oven pings. The kettle boils. In order to get Delphine to write, the only thing inspiring enough to battle through her literary pain barrier? You guessed it. How cool her dream-house is.
Polly Pocket knows too. Four days straight they played with it. It sometimes blows me over how much those two will role-play. I was driving to Aber to drop Pocket off. My mum called. We were all talking on speakerphone when I mentioned Polly Pocket’s insightful style. At the very same time, my mum and Polly P decided she should become a therapist. It was an amazing moment of simultaneous thought. A synchronous eureka moment.
Working through problems while Delph boils the Barbie kettle. Driving to the beach in the Barbie jeep. Attending the wedding of a long-lost cousin and discovering your ex-boyfriend is attending with his new girlfriend. Ok, the last one was me. But still. No wonder she has to check her schedule.