We are in a bit of a rush to get home and let in the Carpet Man. Speed is of the essence.
As always on these occasions, the 5 Year Old is therefore on a bit of a go-slow. As well as walking quite slowly, she has been rubbing her throat with her forefinger, and has discovered her trachea.
“There’s something in my neck!” she protests.
“That’s your windpipe,” I nod, in a tone that I hope promotes hurrying up a bit.
“No it’s not,” she assures me.
“What is it then?” I enquire.
“Actually, it is a pile of silver buttons.”
“Silver buttons?” I ask, attempting to model walking briskly whilst still keeping pace with her.
“Yes, feel, it’s all bumpy like a pile of buttons!”
She has a point.
“How do you know that they are silver?” I ask.
“I pulled on the magic wires attached to them,” she says. Obviously! “When I press the silver buttons, I turn into a robot.”
With that, she gives a mischievous grin, and then pretends to turn into a robot who initially walks in circles on the spot. This robot is not one designed for speed. It was not created by people concerning themselves with aerodynamics or efficiency. In fact, if words were used in its planning stages, they were more like “retro”, “lumbering”, and “must have arms and legs that are as stiffly un-jointed and sticky-outy as possible.”
She starts walking forward, but not, it must be said, briskly.
“That’s a very good robot,” I say, with a laugh in my voice that definitely doesn’t denote hysteria. “We’d better stop doing it now and hurry home, though.”
“Can’t,” says the robot, "you have to turn the robot off first.”
“And how do I do that?”
“You have to press the right silver button!” the robot informs me.
Well, that sounds quite straight-forward. Except that every time I prod her gently in the throat, she takes several hurried steps backwards and erupts in a fit of giggles at the tickles. So we are now effectively taking one step forward and two steps back.
I am on the brink of giving up all hope of getting home in time for the Carpet Man when 5 Year Old’s Mummy drives up, heading out on a different mission, and impresses upon the robot the need to make faster progress.
I am about to point out that I have, in fact, mentioned this myself once or twice, but upon hearing it from Mummy, the 5 Year Old turns into a smaller, more animated Usain Bolt, and now sprints home with me barely able to keep up.
The Carpet Man isn’t there yet, of course. But the exercise probably does me good…