We are standing frozen with a box that is roughly the size of a small dining table held between us. The box is also roughly the size of a Winnie the Pooh aeroplane that makes taking off sounds and engine in trouble sounds (that’s the jingle actually) and lets you store your hairclips and teddies and mummy’s keys and money in it. We have been caught like thieves by Lula. She is standing between us and we are poised for the outburst because in moving the box we have inadvertently started it jingling.
Lula’s look of horror is replaced by an ear piercing scream, ‘Why are you putting my plane in a box?’
We stand there looking at each other waiting for the other to go first with the explanations. John just looks at me and says,
‘Why didn’t you take the batteries out?’
‘Because you need a screwdriver and that was like too much effort.’
He shakes his head at me whilst Lula attempts to launch herself on top of the box like a climate change protester onto the head of a riot policeman.
‘Sweetheart, darling, it’s just going on a little trip. To the garage.’
‘But I want my plane.’ there are tears by now, ‘why is it in a box?’
‘Because remember what we’re doing next year?’
She sobs, ‘We’re going travelling.’
‘That’s right. So the plane has to go into the box and then into the garage.’
‘Because we’re renting the house.’
I’m starting to wish the why questions were about babies and sex.
‘Because we need someone else to pay the bills and mortgage when we’re away.’
‘So that we can afford to buy you hairclips and food and clothes – and stickers!’ I say inspired, thinking that is a winning argument.
She considers it for a moment, ‘But I want my plane!’ she yells.
By now the box is in the hallway and John dumps it there. Lula starts tugging frantically at the brown parcel tape trying to break into it to rescue her plane. She is wearing her ballet outfit at the time so it looks quite comical. I have to bodily remove her with promises that by the time we get back from ballet daddy will have taken the plane out of the box.
I shove her towards the car and hiss up the stairs to John to move the box into the garage before we get back. Out of sight, out of mind.
When we get back an hour later, we haven’t even swung into the drive and Lula is wondering out loud whether daddy has gotten her plane out of the box.
Damn, I think, well at least he’ll have moved the box so I can just say he can get it later. Later being a point in time that will forever be two minutes away.
We come into the hallway. Has he moved the box? What do you reckon?