It's not going well

"He's obviously in one of his moods, so adapt!" said Accountant, shutting the door as he went off to work.

I wanted to snarl at him in much the same fashion as Chickie had been snarling at me lately. I turned around to find him watching me. Feeling much like the pork chop that got shoved through the feeding hatch at the lion enclosure, I wondered how I was going to get out of this one without a tranquiliser gun.

It had been two weeks and there were no signs of any uplift in Chickie's mood. Relations were strained. I was being bullied by a three-year-old.

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"Oh, my niece was like that," soothed my friend as I described his behaviour. "And she was fine by the time she got to eleven."

"ELEVEN!" I yelped. I hung my head in despair, wondering if she might let me spend the next eight years at her house.

"How's he been?" enquired Accountant on his return home.

"Swell" I mumbled, picturing his devilish grins as he'd tormented me for hours.

"Where is he?" Accountant asked.

"On the naughty step" I replied.

"Why?"

"He won't come off"

"Why?"

"I don't know" I cried.

Why did everyone expect me to know how he worked? Supernanny never mentioned what to do when poppet pants wouldn't come off the step. It wasn't like he'd come with an owner's manual. My mobile phone had come with more instructions and you could restore the default factory settings if you made a programming error!

I needed a psychology degree and a Martini.

The next day I ate a whole packet of Party Rings for lunch whilst I retraced my parenting footsteps. I'd obviously gone hideously wrong somewhere.

Then I collected my son, with trepidation, from nursery. "He's so lovely isn't he?" one of the ladies said to me.

"Sorry?"

"So sweet natured!"

I got her to point out the child she was talking about, to clear up the confusion. She identified Chick from the line up.

He bared his teeth when he caught me watching him but she wasn't looking.

I felt like tugging on her sleeve and telling her he'd just been horrible to me before remembering I was 32 and no one could help me. It was just him, me and seven hours until bedtime. Or was it?

"I know" I said to Chickie, who ignored me, "let's go and visit Nanna and Grandad!"

He almost smiled.

When Nanna produced ginger biscuits, he became polite and loving. Until they ran out. Nanna was packed off to the kitchen and told not to return until she'd baked a week's supply.

"I'll be back on Wednesday for more," I instructed as we left. "And don't even think about changing the locks," I added.

Mum and dad exchanged glances, no doubt wondering when their daughter was ever going to grow out of her 'difficult' phase.

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