So there I was, outside Tesco, and there was a large toddler lying on the pavement, refusing to get up. The parents had done the "no sweets" thing, and had progressed to "no Christmas presents". The big guns were out.
So I - Mrs.. Busybody, experienced (ha!) motherer of four, grandmother of seven bla blah - step forward with a helpful smile.
Me (to child): Can't you stand up? Oh dear! How sad! I can't believe you don't know how to stand up. A big boy like you!
The toddler lay comfortably on the pavement, a knowing look in his eyes. The parents looked on unsmilingly.
Me (getting desperate): I bet you can't stand on one leg. Look! Like this! Can you do this? I bet you can't!
The toddler regarded me pityingly, and remained firmly where he was. The parents looked on. Passers-by saw a child lying on the pavement, parents standing by, and a woman of a certain age trying valiantly to balance on one leg.
How to get out of this with even a shred of dignity?
I didn't. As for the child, for all I know, he's still lying outside Tesco.