‘She loves animals. Loves them. LOVES THEM,’ emphasised Mother, animated.
I don’t know where she and Father have got this impression from. I don’t believe I have shown any great interest in animals; to be honest, I’ve never come across a great many. Where we live hardly provides an oasis for beasts and mammals; aside from cats, dogs and a few birds, our street is distinctly populated by two-legged beings. The Serengeti it is not. No, aside from the animals on my playmat – which I am very aware are not real. I’m not a moron like Father. He recently got confused between his slippers and his work shoes with extremely embarrassing results – I have encountered very few animals.
The only reason for this misconception can be, I believe, that I once showed enthusiasm for Mother singing ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm.’ This in itself was unusual; generally, when Mother is caterwauling a nursery rhyme I express my distaste noisily and firmly until the woman stops. But on this occasion, instead of my normal ‘bloodcurdling scream’ (Mother’s words) I emitted a laugh that went on for some time. The cause of my amusement was the, quite frankly, ridiculous face Mother was pulling as she snorted her way through the song. ‘Honk, honk here and a honk, honk there,’ she offered enthusiastically, her face red and screwed up. She looked like Father does when he is struggling with a bout of wind. Well, I must admit, I had to chuckle ou trouver du viagra en france. But the chuckling soon stopped and turned to tears after about the tenth rendition wailed by an over-excited mother.
Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Mother had completely over-emphasised a fleeting interest in a song about a pig to a full-blown obsession. She’s the same about my attire which, for some reason, seems to be predominantly adorned with cats. ‘Soooooooo cute,’ she cooed in one of our early days when a ‘friend’ (I use the term loosely because they’re no friend of mine) bought me a Babygro decorated in a kitten pattern. It was nice enough but ever since then nearly every outfit I wear has some feline connection. Where will it end? I fear that I will be thirty years old, still wearing kitty-inspired fashions and surrounded by hundreds of the little blighters if I don’t stop the woman and her relentless feline fashion crusade soon…
‘Are you kidding me? You’re not wearing them, are you?’ asked Father appalled. As well he might.
‘Why, what’s wrong with them,’ demanded Mother, jutting her chin out defiantly. ‘You said ‘boots’.’
‘Wellie boots,’ sighed Father.
‘Well,’ shrugged Mother. ‘I don’t get out much. I just wanted to dress up nicely. For once,’ she added, full of self-pity.
Father pretended not to hear. I didn’t blame him. Because this was a bare faced lie. Just the other week she’d woken me up on her return from an evening out, bragging loudly: ‘…couldn’t believe I’d not long had a baby. Thought I was in my twenties. Honestly,’ she added smugly. I didn’t need to be in the room to know that Father was rolling his eyes.
After a brief argument between the pair of them about Mother’s footwear – ’I’m not carrying you when you start complaining that your feet hurt.’ ‘I won’t. And besides, my wellies are gross. Last time I wore them I stood in a pile of manure.’ ‘That must have been almost two years ago. You haven’t cleaned them since?’ ‘To be honest, I daren’t open the bag’ – we were on our way…
‘I told you,’ laughed Father. ‘You’re stuck. Even that chap on the tractor gave you a funny look.’
‘I am not stuck,’ retorted Mother, angrily, even though her energetic efforts to lift her leg up from its stranglehold in the mud belied her words. ‘And for your information, I think the farmer was eyeing up my boots. He looked rather admiring if you ask me,’ she added, still rolling on a continued and deluded high, built solely upon the inebriated compliment she’d received on her night out.
Once Father had stopped chuckling, he came to Mother’s aid and with a firm yank, she was free. Not that she was grateful. ‘C’mon,’ she berated, annoyed. ‘Stop messing about. We’re here for the baby. So she can see her beloved animals. Are you having a nice time darling, seeing all the lovely animals?’
Well, no, not really. Mainly because I hadn’t had the pleasure of making my acquaintance with any of the creatures living here so far. The rabbits had been hidden away sleeping, the guinea pigs cages had been positioned too far away from my eyeline, and the chipmunks were running around their cage at such speed that I couldn’t catch sight of them.
The only part of the day I had enjoyed so far had been when Mother had been accosted by what appeared to be several hundred ducks. It was her own fault. She’d been showing off, throwing bird feed into the air like a magnanimous philanthropist and of course, all the feathered friends had made a huge beeline for her. Her self-satisfied grin quickly slipped away to be replaced by a look of terror, especially when one of her heels got wedged under a rock.
‘Stupid bloody day,’ she’d complained. ‘Whose idea was it to come anyway?’ she added, shooing an accusatory glance in Father’s direction. Which took some nerve considering it had clearly been Mother’s idea; she’d been talking about this trip out for days.
Father was non-plussed though. ‘And it looks like rain.’
Mother nodded. ‘C’mon, let’s just forget about it. The baby looks tired anyway.’
As ever, this was wishful thinking on Mother’s part. I am rarely tired and more often than not I am ‘tricked’ to sleep with a drink of milk or a warming cuddle or a lie-down on my mat. Regardless though, I wasn’t sorry when we started to head for the exit; there’s only so much I can take of Mother and Father on a one-to-one basis. I’d be pleased to get back to my good friend and teddy bear RoRo.
We were almost out of the gate when I spotted a face. It was a long, fluffy white face, leaning on the fence. It looked at me with its beady eyes but I wasn’t scared because it seemed to be wearing a huge grin. And any concerns I might have had were allayed by the friendly greeting it gave me: ‘Baaaaaaaa.’ It was a familiar noise and then I remembered; it sounded a little like the voice Father adopts when he is pretending to speak for my other good friend Baa Baa (I might be young but I’m not stupid. It is completely obvious Father is speaking for Baa Baa. He doesn’t even try and stop his mouth moving).
Well, I was absolutely taken by this fella and I was very pleased when Mother wheeled me over to speak to him. We had a good chat; I told him all about Baa Baa and RoRo too, and he told me what it was like to live in a field with lots of others like him. At least, that’s what I imagined he was saying to me but I couldn’t be sure as all he said was ‘Baaaaaaaa.’ Unfortunately, our chat was cut short as he needed to go for a poo. I waved at him goodbye.
‘Ahhh, I think she likes the farm,’ said Father. And for once he was right. I suspected Mother didn’t share my sentiment as her heel finally gave way and she fell over into a pile of wet mud.