My day, according to Radio 4

Woman’s hour today had a discussion on children’s lies. Rose has been lying almost as long as she has been talking. Having a baby sister has forced her to upgrade from denying blatant crimes to blaming the baby. On holiday we found Sylvia in her high chair, struggling under a baby sleeping bag, which Rose said Sylvia put on herself. Oh really, did she get out of her high chair, climb back up pulling a gro bag behind her, strap herself in and throw the bag over her own head? THINK Rose, THINK! And today, according to Rose, Sylvia coloured in the soles of her own feet with green felt tip. Felt tips are at the root of 90% of all crimes and should be banned.

The good news is, apparently under fives don’t have the mental equipment to actually lie, they are merely denying the truth in order to get out of trouble. Which to me sounds like a definition of lying, but maybe I am missing something. The thing is that when Rose comes up with such massively crap fibs our natural reaction is to laugh and then tell her what a terrible lie, here’s what you should have said in order to properly deceive us. By the time she’s five she will have her GCSE in falsehood, showing the benefits of home education.

Deep in the early part of the show, that only those with small children are likely to be awake for, the Today programme had an interview with some bloke who had carried out research showing that working families with small children are being buggered from before and behind by the coalitions cost cutting. (In particular cutting funding to childcare and cutting tax credits to parents so the longer you work to pay higher childcare fees, the more your credits are cut. There is no escape.) Of course the reason the article was squeezed in so early when most people are still under the covers is that it’s not news, we all know. It’s just that people who don’t have children don’t care, and those of us who do, are too tired to do anything about it. It would be great to organise a march of parents to protest the cuts. Imagine the low turnout of bedraggled individuals covered in food stains, pushing buggies with limp legs dangling out of them and the screaming toddlers dragging mums to the ground by their sleeves. The police wouldn’t dare kettle the crowd for fear of the pre-schoolers getting totally out of control and busting the riot line with bubble mixture and felt tips. The chants: What do we want? A lie down, and maybe a chance to read the paper. When do we want it? Sunday would be nice, but the Saturday Guardian is quite good too. After walking a few hundred yards the march would grind to a halt for a break to have juice and biscuits and then it would be time to go, before everyone gets overtired and fractious. Just thinking about it makes me feel exhausted, perhaps we can hold the march in Beckenham Spa softplay, the parents can get on with marching round the pool while the children are kettled in the softplay area.


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