‘Are you hearing this boys? Now always wear a condom.’

The boys laugh but I see their fear. I see it hovering at the back of their eyes like kids who don’t want to be chosen for PE.  The fear – it is being generated by none other than my 3 almost 4 year old daughter. Who should know by now that  3 follows 2 follows 1 follows ‘You have three seconds to stop screaming and apologise before I take away your Barbie.’ She should know the outcome to this conundrum is always the same.

We had been on the beach until twenty seconds ago, now I am dragging her back to the car past scared/ bemused / horrified people because her howls were disturbing the beach, and the dolphins and migratory whales. John offered to take her for a walk to calm her down but the beach was crowded and I had the thought he might get lynched by people thinking he was abducting a child.

I drag the still screaming Lula past two teenage boys who stare at me and her (I imagine them thinking – but she’s so young how does she have a child? But probably they’re thinking God stop her making that noise. what kind of a mother are you?’). I give them a free family planning lecture.

So now I’m stuck with a child screaming for her barbies. I can keep the barbies and turn up the radio or I can give her the barbies and forever be the mother that gives in. I turn up the radio. I hope the boys are listening.

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