The Boy and Tadpole return from their pilgrimage to McDonalds. The Boy is looking disproportionately pleased with himself, far more so than the feat of having hunted and gathered a happy meal and a couple of burgers would usually warrant.
“What have you two been up to?” I ask, suspiciously, as I unpack Tadpole’s chicken nuggets and arrange them on a proper plate – which increases the nutritional value of the food tenfold, because it is no longer takeaway – and set the Asterix toy aside for later.
“We had a very important conversation, she and I, while we were queuing up to be served,” says The Boy, unwrapping his own dinner. “N’est-ce pas biquette?”
Tadpole nods, her mouth full of nugget. We’ve both grown used to being referred to as a “small female goat”, The Boy’s favoured term of endearment.
“Go on…” I say, wondering what on earth the terrible two have been plotting behind my back.
“Well,” says The Boy, pausing to bite, chew and swallow, enjoying keeping me on tenterhooks, “I asked your daughter if it was okay for me to marry you… It’s the done thing, you know, when someone already has children, to ask their permission.” I feel rather emotional all of a sudden, tears prickling the back of my eyes. What a lovely thing to do. Even if McDonalds wasn’t the venue I would have chosen for such a conversation.
“And what did she say?” I ask, wiping some ketchup from Tadpole’s chin with a serviette. I don’t think she has even heard our exchange. She’s selectively deaf at the best of times, but especially so when focused on food.
“She said that she thought it was a very good idea for us to marry ourselves,” the Boy replies. “And then we got talking about princess dresses and flowers, as you do… But when I said ‘you’re going to look just like a princess’, she said the loveliest thing…” He takes another bite, spinning out his story for as long as possible.
“I did say that it’s not me who will be the princess on that day,” pipes up Tadpole suddenly. Apparently she has been listening in, all along. “Because it’s mummy who will be the princess, not me. I’ll just be a little princess. Or a middle-sized. But you will be the real one, that day.”
I smile, under cover of my Royal Cheese, my eyes moist. “What a double act you are, you two,” I say, when I’ve recovered my composure. Then, turning to The Boy: “And what would you have done if she had said ‘no’?”