There we stood, peering over the rim of the bath. The water swaying gently, slowly settling itself until there was no movement, just the crackling sound of bubbles popping into nothing. Then she hesitated, I encouraged 'go on', and she dropped her special toy that smelt of vanilla and honey and faint roses into the water. It hissed and fizzed on the surface like a demon hangover cure, twisting and rolling like an alligator wrapped around it's prey mid kill. She hadn't seen anything like it.
That day we had shopped and shopped and shopped. Summer clothes for the both of us. Pizza and ice cream. A photograph with Tree Fu Tom. Sugar and cinnamon fingers from a warm doughy pretzel.
In the changing room I examined my skin in the full length mirror, pre-menstrual and grey, pores opened. And tired. And spotty. And sagging, deflated cells from lack of glass-in-hand irrigation. No miracle cream could plaster up the cracks of this ageing dermis.
But no matter.
"Mummy you look fabulous," as I tried on the spotty top.
"Mummy you look like a pop star," as I pulled the blue grey t-shirt with silver stars over my head.
Her words were better than any thoughtless reflection the mirror cared to offer - It lied.
When we entered the final shop - an emporium of all things soapy and facial - we were blown away by the stifling pungency of flowers. It wasn't an aroma - that would've been light and heady upon our senses - like we were dancing with butterflies and fairies. This was the thick sickly blanket of a pollen heavy day.
The shop's ware was arranged on tables and towered high on mounted plates. And where to start? I didn't have a clue. The soaps, thick bars of milk and white chocolate, were the stuff of sweet shops. Another trick up Willy Wonka's velvet sleeve perhaps? Or was there a witches furnace, hot and burning and ready, in a secret back room? Would I find Hansel trapped in a cage? Everything looked so enticing, so seductive, so sensual - candy sweet oranges and pinks and blues. Raspberry streaks lighting up cotton coloured fudge treats. Scrubs the thickness of double clotted cream. A green uniformed Oompa Lumpa massaging smooth ointment into a customer's willing hand.
She chose an innocuous small cream bath bomb. One with subtle soft smells.
And not a witch in sight.
In the bath she let the water fall through her fingers, "it's so soft mummy."
But only minutes later, "I want to get out now." Uncharacteristically, she didn't want to play. Now a disintegrated milky film on the water's surface, she was no longer enchanted by her once frothing bomb.
We watched as the water and the day drained from the bath stretching and separating the layer of tiny bubbles into shapes. I thought one looked like the boot of Italy. Another a curvy pepper mill.
"Look mummy there's a crocodile. It's snapping the other bubbles up."
"Look! Look!" Even more excitedly. "There's Captain Barnacles and Peso!"
And we stood in perfect, contented silence as the Octonauts disappeared down the plughole.
If you enjoy reading Older Mum in a Muddle, please spare a thought for me in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards - The BIBS - there are sixteen great categories to chose from but I think I'm best placed in the writers category. You can click on the badge below to take you through to the nomination form on the Britmums page - TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to nominate..... Thank you! X.