She watched and was beguiled by the look of complete concentration. A small pink tongue was held captive by a set of perfectly formed teeth and the brow was wrinkled as though a tractor had ploughed its way across, albeit a very small tractor. Fair hair stood in spikes making it look as though his head was encompassed by a halo. 'What a little angel,' she thought and smiled, an indulgent smile.
Glue, paper, card, scissors, cotton wool and a large glass of coke were all swept to the floor in one fell swoop (or was it one swell foop she wondered) as a small hand wreaked havoc.
An angel had become a devil.
'George! That is not nice.'
'Please don't do that. And that is not a nice thing to say.'
I wonder is it the coke, she thought.
George had come back from school full of the Easter story. Of course he'd got it all a bit garbled.
'Yes my sweet.'
He pulled a face, he hated it when she said that. He was now a big boy and should only be called George. He waited, looking expectantly at her. She loved to gently tease him and see that look on his face.
She smiled, 'Yes, my...George. What is it?'
'Mrs Jones told us this story today all about Jesus. He was trapped in a cave and there was a rock made of chocolate that looked just like an egg. Some Easter bunnies helped him get out of the cave and when he got out there were some baby chicks for him to play with. Mrs Jones showed us how to make chicks just like the ones Jesus played with. Can we make some?'
She knew that it would be a waste of time to correct his version of the story. Mrs Jones 'she who must be obeyed' was the font of all knowledge and so could not put a foot wrong.
'OK George, what do we need?'
'Some of that fluffy stuff, you know you use it to clean Sylvie's bum.'
'It's got to be clean though,' he added quickly
That's it. Just what Mrs Jones said. Have we got any yellow cotton wool?'
He paused for a moment remembering what its main use was.
'It's got to be clean for Jesus's chicks.'
Kate smiled knowing exactly what her son was thinking.
'I think we might have some cotton wool that is yellow so there's that problem solved. Now what's next.'
'Some card to make beaks. I might need some help with that. Mrs Jones says that they're a bit fiddly for little fingers.' He looked at is fingers and then compared their size to those of his mother's. He nodded.
''I'm not sure what she called the things we used for feet. I think it was something about pipes.' The tracks appeared across his forehead as he tried to remember.
'Never mind we'll find something.'
'Glue is very important. Have we got the right kind?'
'And last of all some teeny, tiny, weeny buttons for eyes.'
'Sorry George no buttons, but we'll find something.'
A look of disappointment crossed his face. Mrs Jones would have had the right things.
Together Kate and George collected what was needed. A plastic sheet was laid on the table and they were ready to begin.
'This will need a lot of care George, do you want a drink to help you concentrate?'
For a moment his attention was taken away from the project and he gave his mother his most winning smile.
'Please,' he hesitated, 'could I have some coke, it will really help?'
He knew that coke was reserved for special occasions.
She smiled at her little angel, he was being so good.
'Just this once then.'
So the table was laid out with all the things needed to make Jesus's chicks. George took a long drink of his coke, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and set to work.
'I can remember exactly what Mrs Jones told us to do. In fact,' he said very proudly, 'she said that mine was the best and that Jesus would have loved it.' A great smile suffused his face and Jackie was very tempted to give him a big hug but knew that at such a delicate time this would not be allowed.
'What do you want me to do?'
'Could you please make the beaks?'
Whilst the beaks were being made George began to pull the cotton wool into chick shapes. It was much more difficult than he remembered. He dragged the glue towards him and began to liberally coat the chick with it. His idea being that it would keep all the fluffy bits in one place. Unfortunately his fingers became coated with glue and then the glue with whispy bits of cotton wool and then the devil inside George emerged and everything was swept from the table.
'It's a good job Mrs Jones is not here, I'm sure she would not like to hear you use such naughty words.'