I need to get in the car at 0930, so I do. It is cold (quite), dry and the sun is out, there are gaggles of cyclists everywhere. An idea starts to form… Daughter has a £400 Islabike – a shiny red Luath 24 – sitting a bit idle in the garage. Riding is good. Fresh air is good. Being outside is good.
Alternatively; “awwww, do I have to? It’s cold. I’m tired. I don’t want to”. All delivered in a whine that only a ten-year old girl can manage. “Yes darling, you do, we’ll have fun, you have the right gear and your Mother also thinks it is a good idea”. As only parents in their mid-forties can manage. Case closed. Much faffing and we finally get on the road.
Instantly there is a whine that has a recurring theme of ” I want to go back” that intersperses the “you’re mean” and variations thereof style. I try to distract, divert, engage but she is too damn clever. “You’re trying to distract me Daddy, I want to turn back” is what all attempts are met with. The odd “you’re the meanest Daddy ever blah blah” is thrown in for good measure.
Meanwhile, as I am enduring her slings and arrows the miles are slowly ticking away to the destination. It is also a v. gentle uphill most of the way so I know it’ll be great on the way back. At about 1/3 of the way I nearly crack under the whining and retort with a, “we’re halfway now, turn back if you want. We are closer to warmth etc if we carry on” which is met with sullen acquiescence. My lie is then exposed at 2/3 distance by a road sign. A few quick mental calculation tells H that I was lying. Oh gawd and woe betide me. That’s torn it.
Restart the whinge machine with a general theme of “you’re a liar Daddy”. I can’t disagree. I produce my last ace and offer to let her call her mother from the half way point to see if she’ll collect her. I know this is a fat chance as Mother has subscribed to the general Go Ride Your Bike philosophy.
Ring Ring – “Mummy, Daddy is a liar, mean etc and I’m tired. Please can you collect me from the Hilton’s house?”. “Of course dear, I’ll be passing there in 45 minutes and will bring you a change of clothes.”
Parental solidarity from the hard as nails Mother that cycled the 2009 Etape du Tour? Pah.