Thursday 5th April 2012
SATS tests loom for my oldest granddaughter during what will be her final term in primary education. They grow up too fast – while still waking up too early.
“Right, girls. What about breakfast?” as I shuffle into the kitchen.
“We had breakfast ages ago! Want to see my drawing?”
After tea and coffee, I catch up. In six weeks, both seem to have grown half a year: friends knock at the door; rubbish goes in the bin; conversation has replaced shouting match. When the older sister and I agree to have an argument, she knows we mean discussion.
“Well, we’ve got to go shopping for your Mum. So, the question is … the corner shop or Costcutter?”
Her sister, now seven, takes over – as compère.
“Hello, everybody, it’s time for, er… Arguing Weekly… and on the show we have two people who are arguing about where to go shopping. Get ready to phone in and vote!”
The debate is conducted in front of an attentive kitchen wall. We only need milk and bread. I make what I think is a strong case for supporting the smaller outlet, but…
“The corner shop doesn’t sell organic milk; there’s more bread to choose from at Costcutter, and it’ll be fresher.”
“It’s a draw!”
She probably rigged the voting, to save her grandfather embarrassment. I toss a coin. The corner shop wins. We go to Costcutter, on our way to the kebab house. I don’t do Easter eggs, but spoil with them a junk lunch.
Later, it’s equations. ‘Three plus x equals eleven’ is far too easy, but even…
“What about… x times x equals sixteen?”
…takes only seconds.
“Ah, but what about… salt times vinegar equals?”
Then the toddler returns home from nursery, with her…
“Twinkle twinkle, eight, nine, ten. Ready or not, Gappadee.”
…both sisters answering immediately the teaser that goes:
“Little sister times piano equals?”
And, crossing the busy main road, one held my hand, while the other took my arm: streetwise youngsters looking after an elderly relative.
Can’t wait for the next chance to appear on Arguing Weekly.