My little angel has a crush! A proper, full blown, gangly, gauche, blush-inducing crush.
The object of Firstborn's affections is a sweet little thing, let's call him Mr T, in the same class at school. Mr T is French (naturally, Les Anglais being an endangered species in Kensington these days), brown of eye and limb, and really quite charmingly shy.
The romance first blossomed in a leafy Kensington square one sunny Sunday afternoon. I knew something was afoot when Firstborn spotted Mr T on the other side of the garden, immediately becoming skittish and exciteable yet throwing a major tantrum when it was suggested she go over to play with him.
Firstborn then applied herself to the pretence that Mr T didn't exist, contriving to rush past him as often as possible with a tribe of other kids in her wake, laughing merrily and looking as if she didn't have a care in the world. Poor Mr T didn't stand a chance - not being an Experienced Man Of The World with the knowledge that this is the sort of behaviour displayed by wily females in love since the start of time, the little chap merely stood in the middle of the lawn staring at Firstborn's wild capering with a mournful look on his face.
The very next day I was approached by Mr T at the school gates with the polite request that I deliver a beautifully wrapped gift to my naughty daughter. Firstborn kept up the aloof act upon presentation of the gift, airily announcing that I could open it if I wished. As I unwrapped the carefully folded layers of tissue paper I could see Mr T futively peering in our direction, eyes wide and anxious, head bobbing as he strained to see us across the human tide of bodies surging across the playground. As I held up a plastic purse containing a shell and two sparkly hairclips, Firstborn's friends jostled to get prime viewing position, giggling and whispering. Firstborn quickly supressed her delight but I knew she was thrilled - "You can go over to say thank you, Mummy," she announced, cool as a cucumber. Mr T was, by this point, practically puce of cheek and trying to dig up the playground with the toe of his hand-stitched shoe.
Cool as Firstborn may be, that little plastic purse has been carefully put in the pocket of her school blazer every morning and placed under her pillow every night. It can only be a serious case of First Love.
The scary thing is that she is better this sort of thing at five years old than I've ever been. She's going to be trouble, that one. Big heaps of trouble. I had better start looking into high-security convents right now...