“When mummy gets married, I’m going to wear an extremely pretty princess dress,” Tadpole has been telling everyone who will listen. “And a tiara. And when mummy gets little bit busy, I’m going to help with carrying the flowers…”
Tadpole’s Disney Princess phase has lasted upwards of a year now, and shows no sign of abating. Given every self-respecting princess story culminates with a sumptuous ceremony, my daughter seems to have all sorts of preconceived notions of what my wedding day should be like. I do hope my strenuously low-key nuptials will not be a disappointment to her, when the time comes, but there’s no way I can stomach the idea of wearing a frothy white meringue, not even for my daughter’s sake.
A few days after my botched proposal, Tadpole returned from her New Year’s holiday with mamie and papy. I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to speak to Mr Frog, so sharing the news with my motormouthed daughter was a risky business. But one morning, when I crawled into her bed for our morning cuddle, I just couldn’t help myself.
“If I tell you something really, really exciting, can you keep it a secret?” I ask. There is a silence, and for a moment I wonder if she’s sleeping. I seem to have a knack for broaching important subjects when my listener is only semi-conscious. But Tadpole isn’t asleep. She turns to face me, her eyes serious.
“If it’s a secret, you have to whisper it in my ear,” she says. “Because otherwise somebody else might hear.” The only somebody else in the flat is snoring gently in the next room, fully aware of his impending marital predicament, but I humour Tadpole and snuggle closer to her ear.
“In a few months, I’m going to get married to …. ,” I whisper.
“Just like Ariel, in the Little Mermaid?” Tadpole cries, her eyes widening to the size of dinner plates, the need for whispering apparently forgotten.
“Kind of like Ariel, yes…” I reply. “Although probably not with the same colour dress. Or on a boat.”
“I’m going to marry myself as well,” Tadpole says matter of factly.
“Well, yes, one day you will,” I say. “When you’re just a little bit older.”
“NO, NOT when I’m older, mummy! I’m going to marry myself with my daddy, on the SAME DAY as you.”
My daughter speaks with such fierce certainty that I decide not to contradict her, for now, and make a mental note to add Freud to the guest list.