“Mummy, I bleeded Chardonnay.” Just like that she said it. Standing in the bright colourful corridor of her nursery, walls decorated with sunshine and rainbows dotted with sweet paintings made by the children and tiny photographs of each of the adorable pre schoolers all in a row showing whose peg was whose, stood my happy little four year old picking up her pink spotty coat owning up to what sounded like a medieval form of misguided medicine. She said it as if she had just told me, “Mummy, I did painting today.” I was a bit confused. I had only just seconds before saw her nursery teacher and had the usual daily response of, “She had a good day. Everything’s fine.” So to hear that apparently her best friend Chardonnay was now quite possibly seriously injured, lying in the playground in a pool of blood thanks to my daughter, left me feeling baffled to say the least.
“What do you mean you bleeded her? Did you make her bleed” I was rooting around under the line of pegs trying to pick out her ‘Frozen’ wellies from the sea of items that littered the floor.
“Yes.” came her non-chalent response.
“How did you make her bleed darling? Did she trip over you and hurt her knee or something like that?” I still couldn’t fathom quite how it had happened or even if it had happened at all! Chardonnay was her best friend, which in itself was surprising. I never pictured my daughter being best friends with Chardonnay Fontana – daughter of Paris: no hair out of place or mere chip in her nail polish, she has the angelic face of a porcelain doll and the mouth of an all round gossipping busy body.
Anyhow, if Sophie had hurt anyone I’m certain her nursery teacher would have said something to me. Finally I’d found her wellies. They weren’t both in the same place obviously. One was hiding under a sopping wet ‘Octonauts’ raincoat on the floor whilst the other was standing proudly on the other side of the corridor on top of the table labelled ‘Blue objects: Place any blue objects you can find on our blue table.’ Just then Oliver started whinging for his lunch. I put the rescued wellies in Sophie’s bag and started jiggling the buggy hoping that would appease him a little longer. Sophie pulled on her coat, the wrong way round at first. Realising the zip was behind her rather than in front, she pulled off the coat and started all over again.
“No. I hit her with the pipe. Outside on the hill.”
“A pipe? Where on earth did you find a pipe?” This story was getting more and more sinister by the minute.
“Outside! On the hill!” She started rolling her eyes at me and huffing and puffing in her new ‘I’m a four year old going on fourteen’ type attitude. Well of course there would be a pipe in a nursery playground, I thought. Pipes are a well known popular pre-schooler toy….. that, and also an effective murder weapon in the popular board game Cluedo.
Ignoring the premature teenage attitude I carried on the conversation,“What did you do with the pipe, then?”
“I hit Chardonnay, but I not do it again.” She smiled having finally zipped up her coat the right way and seemed to assume everything was now okay.
I crouched down to her so we were eye level – I’ve heard this is meant to be a good parenting technique. Apparently they’re more inclined to listen to you when you bring yourself down to their level. “Sweetheart, you can’t hit your friends.” Her eyes looked down to the floor in shame. Wow! That technique was effective and very quickly I realised that Sophie really hadn’t intended on hurting her friend.
A trickle of parents started to arrive making their way down the corridor towards the classroom. I lowered my voice to a whisper. “Where did you hit her?”
“On the head and then she bleeded.” Sophie’s voice wasn’t as quiet as mine and one of the mum’s narrowed her eyes at me as she shuffled past between us and Oliver’s buggy which was partially blocking the way. Now it was my turn to lower my eyes in shame.
“Did you make her bleed?” I calmly asked.
“Yes.” She was close to crying at this point realising the enormity of what she had done.
“Where was she bleeding?”
“Out of her mouth….but I not do it again…!” There it was. A step by step account of the crime in question. I felt like I was in a scene from LA Law, expertly teasing out a confession from the accused.
By this time the trickle of parents had steadily increased to a huge wave. Like a herd of wildebeests they stampeded down the rainbow corridor, desperate to make it to the classroom before a minute past the hour when they would be charged through the nose for ‘wrap around’ care. It occurred to me that we needed to check on Chardonnay to make sure she was okay and insist Sophie said sorry. That would be the respectable parental thing to do in this situation. However, in the corner of my eye I saw leading the stampede of parents was Chardonnay’s mum – immaculate hair billowing like a lion’s mane, symmetrical features adorned with high end makeup and perfectly manicured talon like nails grabbing Chardonnay’s coat and bag on her way towards us.
Paris Fontana or ‘Paz’ to those that know her: Chairman of the Nursery ‘Friend’s’ association, secretary of the local neighbourhood watch and receptionist at the local GP surgery. With these enviable positions of local influence she has friends in high places and is a force not to be reckoned with.
On second thought, it was time to leave. With one quick flick of my wrist Oliver’s buggy was manouvering swiftly round the oncoming parents and with Sophie clinging closely behind me we made a sharp exit.