“Mummy?” says Tadpole, seconds after the front door closes behind “mummy’s friend”.
“Yes?” I say, hand poised to squirt ketchup onto a slice of baguette, in readiness for a much needed fish finger sandwich.
“Have you got a baby in your tummy yet?”
I flinch, and the ketchup misfires, liberally coating the worktop.
“No sweetie, I don’t have a baby in my tummy…” I say slowly, once I’ve recovered my composure, setting down the ketchup and crossing my fingers. “Why are you asking me that today?”
“Because mummy, when I said that I wanted a sister or a brother, like Anna at school, you said ‘maybe when you’re six years old’. And I’m already four years old. And after twenteen more sleeps I will be five, and then six…”
I sigh, and resolve never again to bow to Tadpole’s pressure to put a time limit on everything. Future events are always measured in sleeps in our household. And she has an alarming habit of remembering throwaway comments made six months or more ago, deliberately glossing over the word “maybe” and then repeating them to me with a “but you said as though I’d made some sort of legally binding promise.
“You know,” I say suddenly, with a sly smile, “daddy could make you a brother or sister. Maybe you should talk to daddy about this, too.”
A problem shared, I think to myself, picturing Mr Frog’s face, is a problem halved.