I spend a lot of time thinking about The Lovely Daughter. What shocks me is that I cannot remember how it felt not to have her in our lives. I mean, I can remember what it felt like not having my two front teeth wholly attached to my jawbone (painful after the fact but just really, really surprising in the immediate moment), I can remember what it felt like not to have our dog (the postman – not sexist language; he happens to actually be a man – could come to the front door without the walls in the hallway rattling from the reverberations of the barking insanity) and I can remember what it felt like not to live next door to the three man-teen Hoxton beardos – a DJ, a golf pro and a kite-surfing champion – (we could watch Breaking Bad without questioning whether we actually lived in the same house as Jesse), but I cannot remember what it felt like not to have The Lovely Daughter running around with her FIVE (count them!) Peppa Pigs , bouncing off the walls and leaving a trail of strawberry yoghurt, a stunned, lightly salted dog, and two weary but happy parents. And that’s a good thing. Or early-onset dementia. She managed to blow up our TV a few weeks ago. I could have sworn that she was listening intently to my home-school physics lesson – you know the one, where I explained that two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen and integrated electronic circuitry don’t good bed-fellows make – but now that I think about it, I didn’t see her taking notes at the time and she did leave my laminated handouts in her potty, so perhaps she didn’t really take it all in. Still, our fault for leaving the dog’s water bowl on the floor in the kitchen, only fifty feet and a flight of stairs away from the television, I suppose. The other day she regressed for fun and went back to bottom-shuffling down the garden path. She turned to look at me with this beaming smile on her face and my heart exploded with love. Not literally – that would have made writing this slightly more tricky – but at that point I do remember thinking that she could water all our electrical appliances every day and still have an infinite number of brownie points in the bank. The Lovely Daughter is a great negotiator; I do that for a living and used to think I was pretty good at it, but it seems she has been secretly watching the CASS Business School “Principles and Tactics for Negotiating for Value” tutorials on You Tube (via the new TV we had to buy which has built-in internet access – every cloud…) while clearly I’ve not updated my strategy skillbase for a while, as she seems to confuse me into agreeing to pretty much anything she wants. Read six more stories before bedtime? I know you are tired, Daddy, and you’ve read to me for an hour already, but if I don’t remind myself what happens to Sam and his green eggs once more, I don’t think I will be able to sleep past 5.30 tomorrow morning. Or yes I know I haven’t eaten my raw carrots and hummus, Daddy, but if I don’t have that Peppa Pig ice-cream now, it’s unlikely that I will be able to get into my pyjamas for at least another four hours, you know, in time for you to play in that online poker tournament you haven’t told Mummy about. Pretty refined strategies for a two-year old. The Lovely Daughter – I hope I never forget the way she is now.