25 January 1999
Sandwiches aren't food," Subjudice announced at the breakfast table this morning, which is a bit of a blow for her, because she'll be lunching off a bag of crisps and an apple until Easter, and I will get black looks at the school gate for bringing an anorexic child with a bad complexion into the world.
This has been going on since last year's "Take Your Daughter to Work Day", which saw the Lawyer taking her mostly, as far as I could tell, into the All Expenses Paid wine bar across the road.
The sandwiches there are served completely scalped of the dull bread bits and display their naughty pink salmon to the world, surrounded by curly fries which, as any parent knows, are the height of sophistication to your average eight-year-old.
Luckily, the two younger ones (and don't worry, you'll meet them in due course), think it is far more sophisticated to wear them dangling from their ears, which is rather sweet - even if damaging to white collars.
The upshot is that Subjudice now wants to be her father, or at least work alongside him (you haven't tried putting curtain rails up together, then, have you? I asked her) and, while at eight-years-old the only thing that she hangs her tongue out for is the perpetual ice-cream machine they have at Pizza Hut, she does have the Ally McBeal-style skirt honed down to a fine art. They roll the waistbands over and over as soon as they've got away from the house, you see, which is why all schoolgirls have legs like colts and waists like the Michelin man.
So, in anticipation of the day when they run a primary vacation placement scheme, Subjudice spends the weekends cutting legal stories out of the paper that she thinks might impress her father.
Given the skills shortage in today's workplace, you might think cutting and sticking would put her in with a chance, except that she will go for the "divorce-lawyer-three-times-over-the-limit-in-golf-cart-and-banana-box-fracas" and "solicitors-five-times-more-likely-than-accountants-to-defraud-clie-nts" sort of stories, which, frankly, fill her father with gloom when he reads how much more the defendants are earning than him.
Her next move, she has decided, is a charm offensive on her father's boss, but as she can't work out how many he has (I've given up trying, personally), she's considering sending a form letter - with a personal drawing - to all the equity partners at the firm.
I explained the concept of equity partners to her and told her that her hand would drop off if she had to do that many drawings, but it was a useful way of getting across the idea of infinity.
At this point her father became interested, and was toying with the idea of commissioning Subjudice to send special drawings to selected partners (Mummy, Daddy, House, Big Storm, Roofers' van pulling up in driveway, Daddy smashing open weeping children's piggy banks).
I told him that he must cut down on the level of excitement, or Subbie would be taking herself to work with him every day of the holidays, so he's given her the weekend's two-foot pile of documents to correct and has zoomed off to look at cars.
Still, could she possibly do worse than the other side's team?