By now introductions aren't necessary. So I won't introduce K, my twelve year old daughter with a brain as powerful and quick as a formula 1 car.
Picture the situation. It was Sunday afternoon and I called the girls for one of those divorced Dad and not living with your kids chats, the ones we're all so familiar with. K answered the phone and we went through the war dance. It's not so much a divorced Dad war dance, more one that many Dads with teenage girls go through, all about trying to engage them in conversation while they want to watch the Simpsons.
After some quickstepping, foxtrotting and other dance related metaphors, which actually meant me asking things and K answering with that teenage attitude, she suddenly remembered something that made her interested in our conversation.
"Ah Dad, you owe us our pocket money for December."
"Yes, I know K, I'll give it to you on Wednesday when I see you okay?"
"Ok. And can we have some spending money to buy Christmas presents too?"
I knew about this as she has touched on the subject before. No figures had been touted around but I felt, in principle at least, that it was a reasonable request. I knew that, in practice, there'd be haggling involved.
"Well that depends, how much are you after?"
I heard the cogs turning over in K's head. They turned loudly and quickly. Then she shouted to her sister.
"A, how much do we want from Dad for Christmas spending money?"
A thought for a couple of seconds and I heard her answer her younger sister.
"Thirty pounds" she said with slightly tentative tones.
I was pleased with this. I had expected the answer to be higher and some serious haggling to follow. Thirty quid each was a figure I could be happy about. It would have meant that I would have given them fifty pounds each including pocket money. It's a lot in some ways but you know, the whole divorce thing throws many things into confusion and changes things a bit.
I waited for a split second, and it was only that, for K to pass on her elder and wiser sister's figure. It came. Her voice was unwavering and confident.
"A hundred pounds please, plus our pocket money"
"What?" I said. Truly I was stunned.
"A hundred pounds, and our pocket money."
"Whoa, hold on, A just said thirty pounds, I heard her." I said, slightly high pitched.
"No, she said a hundred."
"NO! she said thirty, I heard it, clear as you like."
The conversation proceeded in a predictable manner. K was indignant about A's figure even though I knew she was lying. I didn't even enter into a negotiation and just said that a hundred pounds was way too much. The next time I see them I'll probably be firm and tough, perhaps settling on ninety or ninety five pounds. Plus their pocket money of course.
You've got to get up early to beat me, unless I oversleep of course.