At the tail end of a day that had gone on too long, I took the Smalls into a fancy shop in Mornington. The one with all the beautiful stationery, books, soft furnishings, handbags, bits and bobs, rugs and jewellery.
Small DB had hit the end of the line.
“Pick me up! Pick me up! My legs are too tired!”
I picked her up for a little bit, but she is too heavy for me to carry for any length of time. And besides, I needed my hands to stroke All The Things!
I think I got about ten interrupted minutes. Small Z had stuck her head into a book on arrival and it was difficult to extract her. The whole browsing experience was a hideous disaster. We hustled out of there and into a less entertaining nearby op-shop where once upon a time I found the woollen blanket of my dreams.
Small DB showed me something she had in her hand. A rectangular eraser. Pink with white spots.
“DB. Where did you get that from?”
“Well Mama, I saw them in that other shop and they were so beautiful. I got my secret money out of my secret pocket and I paid for it to take it home. Secretly”
“DB, you took that eraser from the shop. You don’t HAVE any money. You don’t have any POCKETS.”
Big eyes look at me. She’s still hoping she’ll swing it.
“DB. Go back to that shop and give it back to them.”
She shakes her head. “No.” She stuffs the eraser into my hand. “No. You do it.”
“OK. I’ll do it. You stay here. And you know – you know, don’t you? You can’t take things from shops, even if they are awesome.”
She looks curiously untroubled.
I duck out of the op-shop and hide around the corner. There is no way I’m taking the eraser back. She shoplifted successfully and what they don’t know won’t hurt them. I stuff the eraser into a pocket in my bag and eventually remember to relocate it to my desk at work where Small DB will never find it.