Just nine years old and she"s perfected a teenage death stare

Just nine years old and she's perfected a teenage death stare

Week three in the Big Brother house and the adults have lost their sense of humour. Their New Year healthy eating regime is making them even less patient than normal, especially since they found out dry roasted peanuts aren’t good for you.

The seven-month-old baby is teething (but only during the night) which is also making the adults less patient than normal.

And in keeping with all the usual Big Brother rules, a series of unachievable challenges has been set for the contestants… I mean family.

Who's the boss Lorraine's daughter has developed a righteous indignation to things her mother has been unable to do (posed by models)

Who's the boss Lorraine's daughter has developed a righteous indignation to things her mother has been unable to do (posed by models)

They’re failing them all on a daily basis, especially the dominant female who’s struggling with the demands of the new 2012 school timetable. Amateur. She’s lost her grip and is probably going to be the first one voted out due to her illogical behaviour.

It’s chaos viewers, chaos. Why don’t you turn over and watch Sherlock

This week life at home has been a disorganised blur. So much so that if we were all wearing gold hot pants, our activities would, indeed, mirror the ridiculous antics of Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother. (Except there’s been more swearing here. And things have happened that Social Services would take a dim view of and TV bosses would never air.)

You can’t blame me, though. I believe my inability to pull the threads of family life together in January is due to my injuries. On Monday baby Mabel and I took a dramatic tumble backwards down the stairs at 6am. You probably heard the thud.

I kept a tight grip on Her Mabelness and my behind absorbed the impact. I now have a purple bruise the size of Wimbledon Common and shaped like Mickey Mouse on my bottom and a golf ball-style lump on the back of my head which I believe has impaired my thinking (probably). That’s why everything is going ever more belly-up by the minute.

Mabel was unharmed. But, of course, when she fails to win Countdown in years to come or cannot tie her shoe laces until she’s 32, then I surely will blame myself for wearing slippery socks on the early shift.

For some reason we hit a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ moment every day: the five-year-old locked in loo five minutes before the school run (and not a screwdriver to be found in any of the messy kitchen drawers); the lost car keys (five minutes before the school run); the mysterious self-folding buggy (‘Christ, where’s the baby gone’), homework that would challenge Professor Brian Cox; the mystery of the shrunken clothing.

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My children seem to have developed at warp speed since Christmas and now nothing fits them. The eldest girls went to school in what looks like The Borrowers’ uniforms. They’ve even outgrown their underwear. We spent Monday morning stretching school socks round the sofa and wondering if any shops were open early enough to buy new pants.

My nine-year-old was furious. ‘How come you didn’t check all this before’ she asked with the righteous indignation that only a young girl can muster. She has also just developed the teenage death stare which she employs every time I say: ‘Can I just talk to you for a minute.’

‘Nope,’ she’ll reply. Death stare. ‘Especially not if it’s about celebrating being a woman again and all the stuff that’s going to happen. You’re embarrassing.’

The middle one, aged seven, continues to make her so-called ‘secret notes’ on all the family shenanigans in her giant Newspaper Of Facts, as she calls it. ‘When were you born 1922’ she asks pencil in hand.

‘No,’ I reply.

‘Before Madonna then’ she asks.

‘After Madonna and before Lady Gaga. Now go away, I’m trying to load the washing machine without upsetting it.’

Even Mabel is changing for the dawn of the new year. The baby that finds everything funny and rarely cries (‘Touched by the tickle stick’ as my gran used to say) has started to develop other character traits.

This week we’ve discovered that if you are foolish enough to take something away from her for whatever reason (she may swallow it and die, for example), you’d best cover your ears and then run for your life.

The rhythm and routine of January is always a shock, so I’m hoping things will soon calm down and return to normal. They’d better. Our new nanny starts full time on Monday as my transition from maternity leave back to work starts and we begin the mother of all new routines. But more of that later.

Gosh, it’s only January and already I’ve mentioned the inflammatory word ‘nanny’. It must have been quite a fall.

Lorraine Candy is editor-in-chief of ELLE magazine