I thought it would be many years hence that the roles between my children and I would reverse, as described so powerfully by poets such as Seamus Heaney in Follower, or Owen Sheers in Farther; though I know that we move inexorably towards the 'tipping in the scales of us,/the intersection of our ages'.
But no. It seems that not only is my nine-year-old daughter now able to keep pace with me length for length whilst swimming, she is also emotionally astute and already prepared to take charge in a social situation.
Circumstances arose over the weekend which meant that, contrary to all principles, (and wishes) I found myself inside the doors of a well known purveyor of fried chicken. Somehow I had drawn the short straw: it transpires that at the same moment Hearth-Father was enjoying a complimentary beer as he waited for our takeaway curry.
Meanwhile, back in chicken-hell, the menu was a minefield to this vegetarian: uninitiated in the language of such an establishment. What, for example, was 'Popcorn' chicken? Why on earth would one order a ghastly-sounding 'bucket' of it?
I ordered three children's meals glumly and stood back to wait for them. Fast food could not come fast enough on this occasion.
Gertie noticed my distress and tucked a comforting arm through mine. "Poor Mummy," she whispered. "You don't look very comfortable in here. Don't worry, it will all be over soon."
Currently reading: Number 11 by Jonathan Coe