Daughter number two has reached that age where she has discovered the appeal of standing around in parks with her mates.
She is keen to spend her Sunday afternoon doing just that. Her older sister has yet to reach this stage. She'd rather be at home comandeering the telly for Grand Theft Auto V. Which means I am sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper, listening to the football (1).
Daughter number two is the social one in the family.
Her mother is not keen on the idea this particular Sunday. "You can come to the pictures with us."
"I don't want to."
"Well you're not hanging around in the park. You'll end up learning how to rob banks or something."
This, I feel, is escalating the argument too quickly. It's a bit like Barack Obama threatening nuclear war because he's been made to sit beside Vladimir Putin at the latest G8 conference and Vlad's showing him his bareback hunting photographs. Again.
I'm staying quiet. I'm not endorsing J's line of attack. Frankly I think it might qualify as a strategic error.
"She could always stay at home and learn how to rob a bank from Grand Theft Auto," chips in daughter number one, which is a very good line but doesn't exactly help the situation (2).
On the radio there's been a goal. Spurs didn't score it. That's my weekend ruined (3). The argument goes on. In the end J wins. She usually does. We go to the movies. On the way back we pass the park. No one is hanging about in it anyway. Maybe all her friends went to the movies too.
I try to think back to when I was daughter number two's age. As far as I recall I didn't hang around in parks. But then I had no one to hang around with at the time. Not after I stopped playing football. When I wasn't going to the movies - I started going on my own when I was about 10 - I spent my pre-teen years, and most of my teen years too now that I come to think about it, in my bedroom being slightly swotty, very spotty and cataloguing my Spider-Man comics (the highlight of my week, that).
I remember, too, being miserable most of the time. They say misery loves company. I was quite happy being miserable on my own as I recall. Not that I had a lot of choice in the matter.
So in a way I'm rather encouraged by daughter number two's burgeoning park life. It's a sign of her innate sociability.
I think it is showing encouraging signs of her already being a proper person. Something I didn't manage until I was about 25.
At the earliest.
 Radio Five Live. I can't be doing with TalkSport.
 I blame the parents.
 My teams are Spurs, Northern Ireland, Stirling Albion and Coleraine (in order).
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