DCF 1.0

A message popped onto the family whatsapp group the other day while I was in the middle of running from one thing to another [this blog is not called mum on the run for nothing]. It was addressed to daughter three from daughter one: “Just to let you know that if you take my mascara again I will cut you into little pieces and scatter them across Essex”. Oh dear. It was not looking as if I would be returning home to a cosy family atmosphere.

The message was followed half an hour later by one from my brother who lives in a house he made of mud and straw at the foot of the Andes in Argentina. “I think that’s illegal. Even in Essex.” Daughter one replied in philosophical form: “Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” My brother is a teacher and an anarchist historian. He responded: “Very true, but only valid if you are trying to rebel against the law.” Daughter one: “Surely by doing something illegal you’re rebelling against the law no matter what your motive is.” Followed 30 seconds later by: “Daughter three, don’t get distracted. I AM NOT HAPPY.”

I made a mental note to myself not to get involved in Mascara-gate. It was clearly above my pay grade [which, for mothering purposes, is zero].

However, when I got home things had been resolved. The mascara had been returned and peace reigned. Not for long. Daughter two likes to wind only son up and she has honed this skill over the years to the point where she just has to look at him in a certain way and he screams and launches himself on her. It escalated fast. Within seconds daughter two was clutching her elbow and crying hysterically. It appeared only son had hit her with a Diary of a Wimpy Kid DVD. It also appeared that daughter two was using the opportunity of injury to practise some drama techniques. “Would you like me to take you to A & E for five hours?” I inquired as the hysterical sobbing reached a crescendo. “Yes, I would,” she said. “My elbow is broken and I may die.” Only son was looking quite guilty at this point. However, as soon as he left the room the hysterics subsided. I examined daughter two’s arm. There was a slight pink patch. The elbow moved with no problem. “I think you’ll live,” I stated. “I have got Shakira disease,” announced daughter two and started rumba-ing manically. GCSE drama has a lot to answer for.

Daughter three loomed. “Daughter one has stolen my lip gloss. I think it is a revenge attack,” she announced. However, it turned out that her lip gloss had last been spotted several weeks before on a ledge on the landing. Daughter one would have had to have anticipated Mascara-gate a long time in advance. I was also aware that the kittens have been showing a huge interest in knocking stuff off ledges of late. Perhaps they had been playing football with the lip gloss during one of their late-night party sessions? I looked around to see where they were. They sloped off as soon as I glanced in their direction, guilt written large across their little furry faces.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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