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I held Alexis' wrist tightly as we went through town, not risking her running into the road or towards other people. It was a bad habit she had, and I was too tired for it today.

In the end, I carried her, which was wasn't happy about.

"Put me down," she said, kicking her legs.

"No, because you have to behave Alexis,"

She whined and hit her head on my chest, wriggling as we entered a clothes shop.

"If I put you down, you have to promise to listen to me,"

"I promise!"

"Right," I sighed, holding her hand, "dad needs to get some new trousers,"


"Because I've lost some weight,"

"Are you sick?"

"No, don't worry,"

She nodded and tugged my hands, seeing the little girls section.

"Not yet,"

I picked out some jeans and a few tops, deciding to treat myself. It was rare that I did that, and it was nice to care for myself.

At one point, Alexis let go of my hand and ran in the opposite direction, thankfully another family stopping her.

"Alexis, you can't keep running around. You have to be patient and stay with me," I said, crouching in front of her.


"What are you going to do?"

"Stay with you,"

"Good girl,"

I held her hand again and we went to the little girls section, her attention drawn by a pair of jeans with flowers sewed on. Then, as if they didn't exist, she pulled me towards the dresses.

"Yellow! Look dad,"

"I see,"

"Please can I have that one?"

I lifted her back up as it was at my height, and looked at her.

"Will you behave in the restaurant?"


"And at all your birthday things?"


"Alright, we can get this dress,"

I got her size and we went to the check out, where I decided where to eat. Sometimes she could get overloaded in a large restaurant, so I decided on a smaller cafe.

"Now, are we going to walk sensibly?"


"And listen to my instructions so we are safe?"

She nodded and I put her down, exhausted already. I held her hand again and we stepped into the busy street, heading to a crossing. As she went to walk onto the road, I pulled her back, taking a deep breath.

"Alexis, that's not what we do. What did I teach you?

"Look left and right for any cars, or wait for the green man,"

"So why didn't you do that?"

"I wanted to cross,"

"You have to do it everytime,"

Once the man was green, we walked across, her small legs trying to keep up. We walked down a more empty street, then into the cafe.

"Hi, table for,"- "Dad, I need a wee," Alexis said, interrupting the waitress.

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