My rock-chick 9-year-old is embarrassed to have a mother who looks like this:
Instead she would prefer a mother who looks like this:
But, despite the shedding of my winter tweed and the purchasing of designer wellies, my efforts do not satisfy her and so she presents me with this:
If I achieve all six targets she will buy me soap.
I have spent the last ten years anticipating my Second Flowering, but the mirror merely shows an autumnal withering. So when one of the school-gate throng suggests that I take her at her word, I decide that I shall give natural processes a prod and dazzle my daughter at school pick-up. I consult some of the mothers whom she has wished me to resemble and they are thrilled at the prospect of helping new life emerge from my Boden corduroy.
The evening before my transformation, Facebook is abuzz with strategies for shoring up my face with cosmetic adhesives. Since my wardrobe is irredeemable, a call goes out and carrier bags are proffered surreptitiously at morning drop-off.
I shave my chin in preparation and, after I have baked the cakes for the parish tea and set the church tea urn simmering, I am ready to be cool.
The process takes 50 minutes and involves a rucksack full of paint and powder and the painstaking ingenuity of two mothers:
Eventually I emerge as a rock chick:
There are difficulties. I have forgotten to shave my armpits and so an emergency replacement must be found for the transparent, sleeveless top that was to reinvent me. The boots are two sizes too large, so I retain my hiking socks as wadding. And I cannot stand upright on stiletos, so someone lends me a pushchair with a baby in it and I clutch it like a zimmer as I teeter to school.
At the school gate I am a sensation
I stand as my daughter has trained me to do, with my right hip cocked and a car key dangling from my forefinger, only I haven't brought the car so I borrow the keys to the church vestry.
BUT - my son brushes straight past and does not recognise me. And my daughter? Her gaze flicks over my Jimmy Choo sunglasses and she asks my neighbour where her mummy is.
She is horrified when she registers me, and then she is thrilled. She tries on the stilleto boots and the leggings and she protests when I reclaim my corduroy smock.
I am worried about the Vicar. He is frightened by the diagonal seams on my skirt from M&S so he might not have the stamina for leopard print. But when he arrives for the church tea he is overcome with awe at my transfiguration.
I am triumphant. I tell my daughter that I have achieved my six targets in one go and that she owes me soap. She regards me with kindly patience.
'That was just once,' she says. 'I meant you have to do it every day.'
Very many thanks to anyone who voted for me in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. Thanks to you, I have made it as far as the Lit category shortlist. Any further prods to win me cyber-stardom would be hugely appreciated. Just click on the badge thingy above and then, I assume, the process becomes obvious. Oh, and if you have the energy to add to my nominations for the MADS awards by clicking the other icon I'll let you try on the leopard print!