When the Little Darlings emerge from school today, they are all dressed as people from faraway lands. I ask the Eldest if they have been doing model United Nations. He looks at me as if I’ve just loudly asked him in front of his friends to do the Can-Can with me to Boyzone. Horror. Embarrassment. Irritation. I try the Middle One.
‘World Cup,’ she says, indulgently, a fond look of disbelief on her face. The Small One appears and tries to bite my forearm.
‘I’m Sharez’ he says, looking up at me innocently, some of my denim jacket sleeve still in his teeth.
World Cup fever, as well as condoning rabies amongst 5 year olds, has encouraged the Brats to discuss all the countries in the world that they haven’t yet visited on one of their family holidays. I’ve been to more countries as their nanny than I have in the whole of the rest of my life (even including my country-hopping gap year when I did seven South-East Asian nations in as many days). Despite this, the Little Darlings still feel short-changed. I ask them which countries are at the top of their lists to visit.
‘Dubai!’ says the Middle One emphatically. ‘Araminta goes to Dubai every month!’ she says, with a mixture of awe and jealousy.
‘Brazil, obviously,’ says the Eldest, doing keepy-uppies with his prep book. I turn to the Small One for his response.
‘Wales,’ he says. ‘I’ve never seen a whale in the sea. Seaworld doesn’t count. It wasn’t real.’ I’m momentarily taken aback by the Small One’s developed animal rights manifesto. It distracts me from the fact that he thinks that Wales is a country full of whales. I decide not to correct him yet.
Luckily, the attractive tutor is waiting when we arrive at home to take the Eldest off to play football with a ball as opposed to a book. The Small One sits down to draw pictures of whales and the Middle One drags me upstairs to see the new swimming costume American Mom bought her for the next little jaunt as a family. They are popping over to Sri Lanka for a week before their official family holiday in the South of France.
I’ve managed to sidestep the family holiday this year by claiming that I’m going away with my own family. American Mom does not need to know that I haven’t been on a family holiday since that scarring trip to the Lake District ten years ago. Even if I’m lacking in tan when the fortnight is up, at least I’ll also be lacking in bite marks.