Everyone should have a friend like Jonathan, whose hobby is throwing ever-more-astonishing parties. Husband, baby and I spent the weekend on a mountaintop in the Ventana wilderness, drinking cocktails.

Preschooler stayed home and had a sleepover with all her friends. By all accounts, she enjoyed herself enormously, yet when we got home she sat on my lap stiff as an ironing board, and sulked.

“Don’t talk to me.”

“Can I read?”


“Can I give you a kiss?”


“Are you mad because we went away?”


I left my phone on the charger all day yesterday and forgot to check my messages until about five. There was one from Salvatore saying that Claire had had a fall in the playground and was limping. I was with my mother that afternoon thirty years ago when a stranger came to tell us that Alain had been hit by a car and broken his leg. I’ll always remember the look on her face when she picked up her handbag and left: pure unadulterated mama bear. I think that look was on my face as I took the train home last night.

Claire’s foot was still swollen and couldn’t take her weight. We bundled her off to St Luke’s, where her leg and foot were thoroughly X-rayed and where a lovely pediatrician asked whether maybe an elephant had stepped on it? As far as anyone can tell, it’s just a bad sprain. Claire is resplendant in an Ace bandage. It’s still pretty painful, and she had a bad night.

All the same, we’re the only parents I know who made it to age three-and-a-half before their first trip to the ER. I offer yet more thanks to the unseen for our undeserved good luck.

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