The Christmas before last has gone down in family history and will always be remembered as the Christmas when my 4 year old daughter, at the end of her tether, yelled ‘It’s an idiot!’ The idiot in question was her new, much-wanted, pink scooter.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to rewind and give the tale some context. Two things happened in the run-up to that Christmas to provoke this unusual emotional outburst.
On 16th December, a Thursday, my daughter woke up poorly. By the end of that day her temperature had hit 40 and it was clear she was quite unwell. I took her to my friend, who is a doctor, the next day. She checked her over and declared her free of infection and managed to get her to take Calprofen, something I can never manage myself.
On Saturday 18th December it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. I have never seen so much snow. It was so cold and the snow got compacted and the road turned into an ice rink.
By day 4 of my daughter’s illness, Sunday 19th December, her temperature was still at 40 degrees. And the GP refused to see her. They had a lot of people ill. So what? She was 4 years old with a temperature of 40 for four days. How can that not be worth seeing a doctor?
Finally on the Tuesday, day 6 of her illness, a doctor agreed to see her. And, what a surprise, she had a chest infection. With much fighting, we managed to get her to take the antibiotics.
By Christmas day the temperature was gone, but the illness had left her weak and tired, and she was still far from herself.
After lunch on Christmas day, we went for a walk in the snow. Me, my kids, my Mum, my brother, my brother’s dog – and my daughter’s new pink scooter. The snow was still thick and icy on the ground. And, would you believe it, the scooter wouldn’t scoot.
My daughter got angrier and angrier. The scooter wouldn’t scoot. She wouldn’t have it that it was due to the snow and ice. It was the scooter’s fault. It wasn’t as good as her old one (a Thomas the Tank Engine scooter my eldest got for his 3rd birthday, very well used by all three of the kids and well past its best).
Half-way down the road, she’d had enough. ‘It’s stupid!’ ‘I hate it!’ ‘I don’t want it!’ ‘I’m leaving it here!’ So she abandoned the scooter, but refused to move herself and just stood there screaming while the scooter sat mournfully in the snow.
I went to pick up the scooter and coax her into moving, but she was having none of it. ‘I’t’s an idiot!’ she screamed in complete exasperation.
And so those words have gone down in history. My brother, who always likes a funny story, reminds her of it every time he sees her. And she hates it. Because it’s not her at all. She is the quiet little angel, the girl who always does as she’s told, and always with a smile on her face. She’s not the girl who stands in the snow screaming at inanimate objects. But in my brother’s head, that’s what she will always be.