If my daughter had lived in fairytale times, she would definitely have got her man and lived happily ever after. Because living with her is like living with the Princess and the Pea.
And, just like the Princess and the Pea, the first problem is with her bed. It is a beautiful bed and very comfortable. But her pillowcase has a single row of soft sequins on it. Not proper sequins, not hard, sharp sequins. Soft sequins. But she can’t have them near her. The pillowcase is turned over.
Then there’s a whole series of Princess-like clothing traumas. Take socks and tights, for example. Every autumn she helps me choose a range of tights in gorgeous colours and patterns to see her through the winter. And every spring, we give them away, almost unworn, to a smaller, less-fussy friend.
There’s always something wrong with them. They don’t pull up far enough, they are itchy or the toes aren’t right. If the seams don’t lie precisely flat along her toes, forget it. She ain’t wearing those tights. So she spends the weekends and school holidays wearing beautiful dresses with her red or grey school tights – the only ones that tick all the boxes in the comfort stakes.
And then there’s socks. I could live and die watching her minutely adjusting the seams of her socks, getting them in the precise right position on her toes. The clock is ticking and her brothers are already halfway to school and she is sat there tweaking them at the speed of a snail.
Any labels on clothes which are going to touch her skin are straight out. And she can’t wear the gorgeous Cath Kidston vest I rather extravagantly bought her for her birthday last year. The problem with that runs deeper than merely the label. It’s ‘the sewing’ apparently. Somehow I don’t think I can cut that out. So I get the offending vest out for her to wear in the morning and at the end of the day I notice she is wearing a scraggy, too small, faded, should-have-gone-to-the-clothes-recycling-a-year-ago Peppa Pig vest.
In a way, the vest thing bothers me more than the socks and tights, because it is something I personally chose for her and bought it at ridiculous expense for her birthday. Being a proper Princess, she is sensitive to my feelings, so she has come up with a compromise. ‘We can keep it, I just won’t wear it.’
Oh well, she will have grown out of it soon, anyway.