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Cuckoo in the Nest – Part 2

Small grumbling noises from upstairs announced that Claire was now awake and would be calling for her soon. Grinning happily she cast around for a hair-band to keep her long, wispy hair out of reach from tiny fingers, before climbing the stairs to her daughter’s room. Claire was wide awake, grinning toothlessly and waving chubby arms and legs to herald her Mother’s approach.
“Good morning sweetheart, did you sleep well?” This was Angela’s favourite part of the day, when it was just the two of them and Claire was still happy and well rested from a good night’s sleep. It was odd that she was still fully clothed. Her night time routine always included a bath with Ben, their special father and daughter bonding time, and he always put her into her sleepsuit afterwards. Sighing, Angela checked the chunky watch on her slim wrist. She longed for the time when she would be able to return to her tasteful, delicate jewellery but it just wasn’t practical. Concentrate, Angela told herself, looking at the face of the watch rather than just the way it sat upon her arm.
She frowned. That couldn’t be right, surely? Her watch showed midday, but she had been certain it was only seven o’clock. Where had the morning gone? It was a common refrain and one that she heard often at the mother and toddler groups. Smiling to herself, she gloated a little that at least she would be able to catch up her lost time later, when the other mothers would be sound asleep.
“Would you like to go into town, little one?” It was a rhetorical question; she would have been truly shocked if Claire actually answered her. She giggled to herself, causing Claire to clap her little fat hands in an attempt to join the joke. Perhaps she would concede that Ben had a point about the tablets if she started to think that her daughter could hold a conversation already. She was a delightful baby, and very bright and alert, but she was still just eight months old.
Angela nuzzled at Claire’s soft cheek as they entered the living and then stopped short. Where had the little, blonde girl with the striking violet eyes come from? She knew that she had been absent minded recently, but this was ridiculous. Confused, she held Claire away from the other child for a brief moment before putting her on the floor so that they could play together. It was good for Claire to have babies her own age to play with. Leaving the living-room door open so that she could hear Claire babbling to her new friend who, Angela suddenly realised, was unusually silent, she went to make a cup of tea and think this through. She was fairly sure that she hadn’t taken on any young babies. She wasn’t allowed to when Claire was still so young. Surely she would remember in any case?

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