‘You know,’ I said thoughtfully to my next-door neighbours, aged 7 years old and 9 years old respectively. ‘The best thing about being a grown-up is that no-one tells you off any more.’ They nodded sagely. We had met outside our houses, because I was going to my friend’s leaving dinner, and they were showing me how if you take a thorn off a rose and put it on your nose, it looks like a rhinoceros.
Their Mum came outside at precisely the moment my flatmate arrived home from work. ‘What are you doing?’ Both women asked simultaneously. We tried to explain about the rhinoceros discovery, but they didn’t seem particularly interested. ‘I’m very sorry,’ I said to the girls before I left for my dinner. ‘I can’t come over tomorrow-I’m temping for my Mother’s law firm. But I’ll come over on Thursday and show you how to do somersaults on the trampoline.’
I could tell from her expression that their Mother was as thrilled as the girls were at this prospect.
I am equally excited. There is nothing better than the adulation of small children. (Except possibly when they can’t finish their chips, and they let you eat them). I have been surreptitiously practicing headstands and forward rolls on my bed, in a hastily-devised training programme. I had to hastily dismount yesterday when my flatmate came into my bedroom.
‘You know you’re going to bounce those kids right off the trampoline?’ She asked me. ‘As in, if you bounce with them on it, they’re unlikely to survive.’
‘Nonsense,’ I replied robustly. ‘Just wait til I show them how to use a skateboard while they bounce.’ My flatmate sighed and left my bedroom. ‘Just remember you’re the grown-up,’ She told me. ‘I know!’ I replied delightedly. ‘And so their mum won’t tell me off!’