Just when I was starting to wonder where on earth they had got to, I heard a persistent tapping at the front door, at toddler level. I dabbed frantically at my eyes and checked my face in the mirror, not wanting to alarm Tadpole with my blotchy, puffy face.
As the door swung open, I was overwhelmed to see that my daughter was triumphantly brandishing a small bunch of tulips, my favourite flower. For the first time that day, I shed happy tears, deeply touched by Mr Frog’s thoughtful gesture.
He brought my Tadpole back to me early, because he knows, from experience, that she is the best medicine.
“What’s matter mummy?” asked Tadpole, anxiously, when I released her from a long clingy embrace and she noticed my damp cheeks.
“Mummy’s crying because she’s very happy to see you,” I replied, managing a wobbly smile.
“I go get a mouchoir,” she said, maternally, heading for the tissue box in the bedroom and returning with a handful. “Look, I make it better!”
Later, I explained that mummy was feeling “a bit sad”, because her friend Jim had gone home, and we wouldn’t be seeing him, or his daughters, again. She may not have understood, but I wanted her to know that there was a real reason for my behaviour; that she was not the cause.
She listened, solemnly, and then picked up her pencil and continued her colouring, tongue stuck out in apparent fierce concentration. But as I left the room, she looked over her shoulder, said:
“Never mind mummy.”