I was reading the boys a bedtime story and my six-year-old starts combing through my hair with his fingers. It reminds me that I haven't checked for nits for a while and I really should. Check the children that is, not me. If I get nits, I am shooting myself. He says: "Mummy, you have blonde bits in your hair like I do." I think this unlikely. I am the dullest and most resolute of brunettes. He pulls my hair closer to his eyes as if he was thinking of buying it. "A sort of grey blonde." I know my hair is now threaded with grey. I just pretend not to.
There is an advantage in having children late in life aside from an impressive number of City Breaks in your thirties; people presume you are younger than you are. I have a baby. That means I could be anything between a clueless 13 and an ambitious 47ish.(Older, if I was desperate or deluded.) Ofcourse, I do not have spots and I do have grey hair, apparent even to juveniles. That rules me out as a teenage mother then. According to a photo, a friend sent me this week, when I smile I also have score marks down from my eyes, stretching diagonally across my cheeks out to my ears. I was not impressed. Who sends their friend a photo of herself looking like her granny? I had noticed the lines criss-crossing my face when I got up in the morning but I hoped they shook themselves out after a few hours. They do not shake themselves out.
I can no longer fool myself. Nobody in their right minds would think I was in my twenties. I am clinging onto the semblance of thirty-something looks and rapidly losing my grip. The last time I went to London, the only men to eye me up were in their sixties. When did that happen? When did I turn into eye-candy for granddads? I am old. My children have started to notice. That is how old I am.