Why Mummy can’t have nice things

For my birthday this year, my best friend gave me an adorable handmade soap shaped like a cupcake and smelling like the ethereal laugh of a woodland fairy (that is, indescribably lovely). I already had a boring old bar of plain soap on the go, so I stashed the Fancy Soap (yes, it deserves capital letters) in my bedside drawer with the intention of breaking it out just as soon as the other soap was used up.

Fast-forward to this morning, when I unwrapped the Fancy Soap, inhaled its enchanting aroma, popped it into my shower tray, and immediately started fantasising about the hour-long shower I’d take tonight, just me and the entire hot water heater and that Fancy Soap making me smell like a goddess.

I got home from work, survived the Witching Hour with two children and a deaf elderly beagle who barks nonstop from 4.55pm until his dinner appears in front of him, made it through dinner and homework and permission slips and “No, you can’t wear those underwear again tomorrow”, tucked everyone into bed, and then, FINALLY, it was just me and the entire hot water heater and… Wait a minute. Where is my Fancy Soap? I’ll tell you where my Fancy Soap was. It was in the kids’ bathroom, in their bathtub, half-stuck to a squirty fish. Because one of my kids saw that soap, MY FANCY SOAP, and decided they needed it for THEIR bathtime, and then the other one undoubtedly got in on the act, and while I was putting away the dinner and sticking a load of laundry on, they were in the bathtub using up my Fancy Soap, washing their squirty fish and their plastic Spongebob Squarepants.

As I rescued my Fancy Soap from the Glastonbury of bath toy festivals taking place in their tub, I reflected on the theme of Why Mummy Can’t Have Nice Things. It’s not strictly true, because I can have nice things – I just need to be prepared for my kids to want to have them first. It’s inevitable: I get something nice, and two minutes later my daughter has confiscated my new purple sparkly pen and started drawing magical creatures, or my son is sitting inside the Lego container wrapped in my new scarf “because I cold”, or suddenly only the Turkish Delights are left in my chocolate box (I think my husband might be the guilty party there). The only thing that’s safe is new underwear, really.

What I’m reading this week: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

Fourteen-year-old Faith and her family have just arrived on the island of Vane, where her father has been invited to consult on an archaeological dig – at least that’s the story Faith and her brother have been told. But then her father dies under mysterious circumstances, and Faith believes he’s been murdered, so goes searching through his papers and possessions for clues. She comes across a strange and fantastical tree which her father has hidden on the island, and which thrives on the lies its owner shares with it. It’s such an original premise and the setting is so atmospheric – if you like mysteries with a touch of the supernatural, this is one you won’t be able to put down.

Enjoy your week.
Katherine Granich

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