Number one granddaughter (Speckly-Woo!) was on good form today. Having had the weekend to sharpen up her act she wasted no time at all before giving me my lines and thrusting the hapless Mary (some of you will remember Mary from a previous post) into my hand. From here on in it all gets pretty surreal. I have to bear in mind that (a) this is a two year old child and (b) Mary can only fly after Tinkerbell (yes, the very same) has sprinkled her with 'pixie-dust'. I also have to anticipate that Mary is likely to want some eggs from a shopkeeper who greets her customers with a rather surly 'what do you want?'
To complicate matters, Mary can only access the shop by using the lift at the end of the sofa, and only then when the shopkeeper presses the button.....and actually utters the word 'press'. She may also need to wear a large hat because she's scared of the dark and doesn't like an owl to see her eyes.
I try to firm up my grip on reality by asking the shopkeeper (through Mary, of course) for some custard to go with my cabbage and some gravy to complement my strawberry jelly. However, the shopkeeper does not suffer fools gladly and after rectifying my culinary mistakes for me, she looks disappointed to think that her grandad doesn't know the basics of good food preparation.
Soon, the diminutive Emily, AKA 'Beady Eyes', is being shoved into a small cupboard. I must pretend I haven't seen anything. More importantly I must look suitably puzzled when our shopkeeper turned school-teacher asks where Emily is. “Can Tinkerbell look for Emily?” comes the inevitable request. But before I can get into my role of tracker/hostage negotiator – you have to understand that sometimes Captain Hook is involved – I'm required to make Tinkerbell chase Mary round and round until I feel queasy.
In the distance I hear my daughter ask if I want tea or coffee. Suddenly I'm filled with bitter regret at having given up caffeine.
Just a few minutes into our visit and I'm wearing an expression uncannily similar to the assembled collection from the soft-toy zoo. The unblinking eyes, the fixed smile and just a small indication of loose stitching.
© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges