My daughter is staging a show in the sitting room. Usually she swirls one of my winceyette nighties to the Hits of the Monkees. Today, though, she is wearing a black mini skirt (bought by her grandmother), a black crop top (bought by her grandmother), strappy black high heels (ditto) and a black leather, metal- studded waist clincher (ditto ditto).
'I am a hard girl,' she sings, 'and I need a man who likes it rough.' On the sitting room stereo, Lady Gaga decides that she can't sleep with a man who dims her shine. My nine-year old sings gustily along with her.
I am in a dilemma. She hasn't a clue what she's singing about. If I snap it off she'll suspect adult mystery. She'll interrogate me for enlightenment or, worse, interrogate her street-savvy class-mates. And so I sit tight and watch her gyrate and I reflect on the snares of motherhood.
She'd spent her savings on the CD with my reluctant sanction. 'Explicit lyrics' warned the label of the Jesse J album she'd coveted and so I'd deflected her to this one. I am an unqualified arbiter for a modern pre-teen. The complete works of Doris Day devoured my own youthful pocket money and it's never crossed my mind that I should Google each song title before braving HMV.
Later I hide Lady Gaga under the laundry basket and put my edgiest Doris Day on for tea time. 'Tenderly,' Doris sings, 'and breathlessly, make love to me, my darling. Possess me!' My daughter's stops chewing. 'Why,' she asks, 'would loving someone make you breathless?'
I tell her to eat up her boiled eggs and I stalk to the stereo and rip out Doris and put on 100 Best Hymns.