This theory falls at the first hurdle however, during car journeys. Safely buckled into her car seat there is no danger of falling and yet the constant jabber continues. Occasionally, if you listen carefully, snippets of information can be gleaned from the chatter, but for the most part it makes no form of sense to anyone except Finje.
On the whole, accustomed to her chatterings as I am, I can switch off. At times however, it all becomes too much and action is required. I've learned over the years, the most effective form of defence is distraction.
After half an hour of trying to block out the sounds of my daughter quarreling with her imaginary dog "Tina" in the back of the car, I turned down the radio (first tactic) and waited for the human windbag to take a breath.
I barged in with a story hatched by my uncle. For as long as I can remember, my wonderful Auntie and Uncle have had a pet cat. A great story teller, uncle George convinced my cousins that Sooty was an operative of Father Christmas, working as his eyes an ears on the run up to Christmas and reporting back on behaviour.
The suggestion that Ripley the Merciless could be moonlighting as a Santa Spy had the desired effect. Silence descended upon the car for over 20 minutes, a phenomenon only to be encountered when Finje sleeps.
Making a mental note to buy my uncle an extra big gift this Christmas, my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of back seat sniffing.
"What is the matter?" I asked
Finje was obviously torn as to whether she should fess something up or not. The risk of potential Santa wrath urged her on,
"Yesterday you told me to tidy my room properly and put everything back in its place..and...and...I just hid all my Lego under the bed, and Ripley SAW ME"
By now she was wailing so much I had to pull over. Some uncharacteristic quick thinking and I managed to convince her that Father Christmas is not a proponent of the one strike and you're out theory. Eventually she calmed down.
Then she started to tell "Tina" all about it.....
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