‘So, Lula, do you know what we’re doing next year?’ (Next year could just as well be in five minutes to her. She thinks her birthday is every single day, that Christmas is next week and that Claude, her favourite person in the whole world is coming to stay in her Pink House at the weekend – when she is eighteen.)
‘We’re going travelling.’
She says ‘travelling’ with the gravitas of Livingstone. Yet I am fairly sure she knows not what this means.
So I attempt to explain several concepts at once in a way that a three year old with a princess obsession can understand. I have to break it to her that:
1) Her world map puzzle (age 3+) is not a direct representation of the globe. Which is in reality neither flat nor made up of interlocking pieces.
2) As such, we won’t therefore be seeing kangaroos half the size of Australia or a Golden Gate Bridge that stretches four hundred miles out to sea.
3) Her Uncle Rich and Auntie Pooja live in the place marked India but not in her puzzle, no matter how close she looks.
4) Travelling means leaving behind most of her toys and books, including Marcel Mouse and her fairy wings BUT there is definitely room for Mamma Mia! and her pink flower princess dress. So she mustn’t panic.
5) Molly the cat won’t fit in her Upsy Daisy backpack.
I wonder at what point when we’re away she’ll turn to us and say ‘Can we go home now?’ In Mexico it took about a week. When we went camping in Somerset in May it took her about an hour. To be fair, it took me fifteen minutes.
At least though she doesn’t understand the concept of time. So when we say ‘not for seven more months darling,’ she’ll probably think that that means on her birthday on Friday, just before Father Christmas arrives with a sack load of presents and the day after Claude moves into her pink house.