The Wolverine's lair can mess with your mind
IT'S the sight of her freshly shampooed head upon the bare, un-dressed pillow that finally does you in. For months you've simply closed that bedroom door, ignored her failure to make her bed, refused to consider the sheer unmitigated squalor of her personal space, but somehow the simple lack of a pillow-case brings all your bourgeois middle-class values screaming to the fore.
Get-up-outa-dat-bed-and-make-it-properly-this-instant, you shriek, repressing the urge to slap the slim shoulder peeping out from beneath the (cover-less) duvet.
The Wolverine opens a single, resentful eye.
It's her bed, she yelps, her sheets, and her life; if she doesn't need a posh pillow case it's her business.
Plus it's late and a school night and she's just had a long, relaxing shower and needs her rest.
Arms akimbo, you continue to stand alongside the grey, pestilential nest, until she grumpily dis-entangles herself.
Other mothers don't. . . she begins.
Just shut it, you yell.
Get this place cleaned up; it's disgusting.
You don't care if it's a school night. You want this bed changed and re-made -- properly -- with clean sheets, fresh pillow-cases and a duvet that's in a cover. Instantly.
And pick up this dirty underwear. And throw that uneaten school lunch into the bin. And bring down those sheets and that duvet cover so you can put them through at least two extra-hot machine washes. This minute.
As you stamp furiously down the stairs you think of a friend, a caring foster mother, who once told you about one of her heart-breaking arrivals.
The child, your friend discovered, hadn't known how to make his bed because he had never actually had a bed with proper sheets and pillows. This boy only had to be shown once how to make up a bed with clean, fresh bed-linen and duvets, she said. He was so thrilled by the sheer luxury of it, she never had to ask again.
The Wolverine, you rant to your husband, needs to be plucked from her comfortable existence and dumped into the care of the kind of parents who once left 10 children in a New Jersey crack-house to fend for themselves without electricity or running water. It sounds like the perfect environment for your daughter.
They probably heard you all the way down to the village, your husband observes infuriatingly. You point out that, though it might come as news to him, there was more than one goddamn parent in this house.
He points towards your latest parenting manual. Accentuate the positive, he advises, smirking. You pick it up and, howling, throw it -- hard -- at his head just as the Wolverine pads into the kitchen buried beneath a load of filthy laundry.
She pauses to raise a manicured eyebrow.
Is it any wonder she has problems?