Taking Stock - October 5, 2015

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Everybody’s had that moment – the one when you’re just ready to pack up the basics and head off to pastures new.

Even so, it was something of a surprise when the eldest child turned up in the lounge having made the decision to up sticks.

“I’m going Daddy,” she exclaimed with the kind of certainty only a seven-year-old can generate.

“I’ll got to Nanna’s, she lets me do what I want...”

I’m not even sure what sparked the row, it may well have been a stand-off over toast, but by golly was she determined.

After all, any child who appears at the bottom of the stairs in her favourite Minny Mouse hoodie – two Jaffa Cakes, a teddy bear, a breakfast-stained dressing gown and a Vietnamese Sampan hat wrapped all in a blanket – means business.

Not that this parent was for turning.

“You can give the Jaffa Cakes back,” I pointed out, doing my best to maintain a deadpan demeanour as she headed for the door. “You’ve not paid for them...”

Not a chuckle as she searched desperately for the keys I’d moved well away from tiny hands.

“Say hello to the postbox,” I added – knowing no matter how defiant she might be feeling there was no way the eldest would be crossing any roads.

Of course she came back (indeed, she never got beyond the porch), we made up, I ate the Jaffa Cakes... but it’s a sign she’s growing up, gathering an attitude along the way.

It’s one of the downsides of seeing your children get older – alongside, in my case at least, realising they are going to be taller than you and continually being beaten on video games.

But dealing with such little hiccoughs helps you feel you’re on the right track as a parent – juggling the skills of hostage negotiator, nurse, chef and (occasionally) journalist.

There’s a cosy feeling from getting it right which you rarely get as a parent, and which never lasts long.

But for all the stress, the tantrums, fighting and general chaos, watching them grow up is magical.

They might want to pack their bags, but I’m afraid they’re stuck with me for life.