I could feel my breathing rate start to increase. Short sharp breaths.
'No, no, no, no, no!', I muttered under my breath.
With the quietest, sternest voice I could muster, you know that discrete angry voice that you develop to try and subdue children in public spaces, I informed Lotty,
'Peanut must never, never, never see this! do you understand?!'
We were in London and I had taken the girls to my office at 5pm. It was empty, with all the sensitive stuff locked away and limited opportunities to get into mischief. They'd never been before and as I pottered on sorting something out Lotty and Peanut were playing offices. It's is remarkable the giddy joy a spinning chair can offer a child.
Lotty got a couple of blank sheets of paper and a clipboard and Peanut was watching mind rot on the iPad. On reflection Lotty's studious attention to whatever she was up to was slightly out of character. But like the mantra of all good fathers 'if they're not bothering me don't interfere' I cracked on and finished whatever I was up to.
I started to pack up and Lotty came over with a smile that would melt icebergs holding the paper for me to look at it.
It was an adoption profile for Peanut.
That day we'd been at a friends who's foster child was being prepared for adoption. The girls were very excited. Every corner of our lives is consumed with adoption. Peanut lives in a world where this is normal and everything else is slightly suspicious. Her five sibling in our house are all a mixture of biology and social engineering, her biography is pretty standard in Coates Towers. We talk about it all the time, our friendship group is foster carers and adopters, it's my work and Flossy shouts on a daily basis 'I wish you'd not adopted me!'.
Peanut wandered over and saw her name on the profile!
I'm not going to take the risk of thinking that I've brought her to work to put her up for adoption. I give my 'Nuclear Look' to Lotty and tell her she's not to explain. She smiled the look of a child who has me where she wants me and I was a man at the mercy of my children.
Fawlty dad surfaced and I ran and rammed it into the shredder. Before I did I looked again, it was actually quite well written, appearance, interests, and biography pretty good a realistic appraisal of her behaviour and all grammar and spelling on point.
I should get her a job.