There's a school trip coming up, and it's not cheap. The Wolverine tosses her head impatiently as we reel at the costs outlined in the headmistress's letter.
Everyone was going! God almighty why all the grief just because something good was happening in her life for once?
Grief? we ask, bewildered. What grief are we possibly giving her?
We were only suggesting that she put some of her left-over Christmas gift money aside as pocket money for the holiday.
There was, we pointed out, still a sizeable sum left after her January sales shopping trip.
The Wolverine is outraged. But this was not a holiday! This was an educational trip! It was a serious activity for transition year students! She and her friends deserved a break ahead of the whole fifth year and Leaving Cert thing, which is absolutely horrendous, everyone knew that!
Her father muffles a snort. The Wolverine turns on him with a glare.
This was no laughing matter! This is a school thing; she shouldn't have to pay anything towards it.
Now if, however, it was a real, genuine holiday, like, for instance, the family trip to Kerry last summer, she probably wouldn't mind saving up and providing her own pocket money.
But it wasn't. It was a bona fide school trip and the way the Wolverine saw it, it was the job of the parents or the government or the school or someone like that to look after everything, pocket money included.
The Wolverine was, however, willing to invest the considerable remnants of her Christmas presents in new clothes and other crucial things for the trip.
She tosses her head.
We look at each other, dumbfounded. How could we have raised such an airhead?
"OK," I say calmly, in the firm but non-confrontational manner as advised by the new teen parenting manual.
"Put it this way. We will pay your travel and accommodation costs. You will provide your own pocket money.
"If that doesn't satisfy you, then don't go. You can have a little holiday at home and do a bit of housework while you're at it."
The Wolverine starts to cry. Tears clot her carefully applied mascara, which then trickles down her deluxe mousse honey foundation.
"None of the other girls were expected to p-p-p-rovide their own pocket money!"
We remain, shoulder to shoulder, impervious.
The phone rings. She rushes to answer it. It is her best friend.
Dabbing her eyes and throwing a filthy look at the monsters who ruin her every waking moment, she settles down for a lengthy session on the whine line.
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