Friday, 21 December 2007

Daddy's Girl

Funny what children pick up. Funny as in ha-ha but also "where on earth did that come from?" I have decided to stop talking about La Fille's eye problem in front of her. I had been doing so only when I thought she was not listening. Then I would notice her glance up with a sage face that said "I know, you know". It struck me I could be giving her a complex.

Sometimes she comes out with things that nobody, to my knowledge has said, and certainly not me; things I would not say in deepest sleep during a month of Sundays in a million years or even after several vats of France's finest red wine. Today La Fille wanted to take the lift downstairs. Normally we walk, but having refused point blank to give her a biscuit I thought: "Stop being such a killjoy". In the event, the lift was not working, so we had to walk. As we made our way down the stairs she turned a studious face to me, patted my arm and said: "Don't worry Papa knows how to make the lift work. Papa knows about lifts and lights and about...about all these things." Now this is quite simply not true, literally or metaphorically or even philosophically. In fact, it is so distant from the truth I almost tumbled down the stairs in astonishment. Papa does not know a thing about lifts or lights and even if he were asked his response would almost certainly be "I don't know" because "I don't know" is the Frenchman's default answer to most questions. What really infuriates me is not whether or not he knows, but the impression I have that he might do but cannot be bothered to think about it. In any case Papa has never, to my knowledge, shown any interest in lifts and would be the first to admit: "I don't know" about this one's failure to work. But La Fille will not let it drop. As we walk along the street she continues: "It's OK Mama. Papa knows about London. Papa knows about Paris. Papa knows about lifts. Papa knows about everything." As I am, in truth, the Queen of DIY chez nous (by virtue of Papa knowing nothing about it) I say: "But it's magic Mama that mends broken things at home so perhaps I can mend the lift." "No," she says firmly. "Papa will do it. Papa knows." I want to say: "Well that'll be a first", but I bite my tongue. What is it about girls and their dads?

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