Do you hate other people's children as much as I do?

Posted Saturday 7th September 2013   By Ericka Waller

So, we were on a ferry on the way to Spain. It was mayhem. The girls were high on sea-air and the free chocolate which got handed out each time we hit a rough patch.

I was just about to lock them in the cabin when there was an announcement: “Card making, followed by balloon animals will be held in the sea-spray bar in five minutes.”

Thank god, I think, I’ve been saved.

There were not many children at card making. A couple of Spanish kids, some older English boys, and… her. She wore a white cropped top displaying a podgy belly. She had long scraggly hair and her front teeth were missing. I guessed her to be about seven or eight.

She was alone.

“Um, I think my daughter was going to use that” I say in my best sing-song voice, the first time she snatched the feather Thing-three was gluing.

She did it again with the fuzzy felt flower. I said the same thing, minus the sing-song-ing.

She feigned deafness. I know she was not deaf, because she shrieked “ME ME ME!” when the free chocolate came out during the Bay of Biscay.

Determined to be the bigger person/adult, I moved us to another table and knocked her card on the floor as we left.

Then we went on to balloon making.

All the children lined up while a friendly Steward made flowers, dogs on leads or elephants. My girls were about sixth back in the queue, waiting patiently, holding hands.

Guess who rocked up, pushed in front of them, HELPED HERSELF to a balloon and demanded “Blow this up” to the spineless Steward ? When he asked her what animal she wanted she said “I can make my own” in a know-all voice. I thought to myself “Oh this will be good” …

And it was.

My girls were still waiting. They waited while she went to show the Steward her (surprisingly impressive) poodle. They waited while she demanded another balloon, and another. In the end, I could take it no more. I pushed my girls in front of the stupid Steward and said “Three dogs on leads please, if you can manage it.”

“Bit pushy” The husband said afterwards as we walked back to the top deck.

“ME pushy? What about HER?” I said, pointing at my nemesis, who was happily skipping along playing with her poodle, looking like butter would not melt.

“That little girl? What on earth has she done?”

I tried to explain but he was having none of it.

I saw the look she gave me before she turned the corner though… She knew exactly what she was doing.