'Mummy, why does everybody hate me?'
‘Why does everybody hate me?’
‘Nobody hates you, poppet. What makes you think that?’
‘Well, Jimmy Spendlove says I’s horrible and I’s smelly, and everybody hates me.’ Her chin crinkles and her lower lip trembles; tears well up in her sad little eyes.
‘That’s a horrible thing to say. I’ll speak to his mother in the morning.’ She drops the dishcloth, and bends to smother her in kisses.
‘You’re the most precious little girl in the whole wide world. Your daddy loves you and your brothers all love you, and, most of all, I love you too.’
‘I know you do mummy, but Jimmy says I’s nasty and everyone hates me and will leave me and I’s'll be left all on my own.’ A full-blow sob is followed by flooding tears.
‘That’s not true darling. Jimmy Spendlove’s the nasty one for saying such hurtful things. Just you wait until I see his mother. I’ll give her a piece of my mind.’
‘Jimmy’s right,’ wails the little one. ‘Nana and Gran’pa left me. Did they hate me?’
It’s Mummy’s turn to cry. She lifts the girl up and hugs her tight. ‘No darling, they went to see the baby Jesus. They didn’t want to leave you. They loved you so much.'
The girl is inconsolable. The sobs are interspersed with great gulps of air. It takes time to calm her down.
‘Just you wait ‘til I talk to Jimmy’s mummy. In fact I’ll call her right now. He is a very naughty boy.’
Mummy leaves the girl, calmer, but still sniffling, in front of CBeebies. A glass of milk and a plate of chocolate-chip cookies keep her company. Mummy picks up the phone in the hallway and dials.
The little girl’s eyes dry and the sobs stop. A satisfied smile forms on her cherubic face. ---That’ll teach Jimmy Spendlove to like Becky Johnson better’n me.’