IF you have a toddler you can't have secrets. It's as simple as that. Your little ones want the whole world to know all about you. Because you're their mummy they think you're God's greatest gift, so naturally almost every sentence to strangers begins with "My mummy thinks" or "My mummy says".
I don't know how many times I've blushed as my son has pointed me out to strangers in parks and in the play centre. "That's my mummy with the yellow and black hair and her name is Marisa and she likes wine." Of course, this isn't how I would exactly introduce myself, but Gary has a special way with words.
We were on a train recently and a man sat down opposite us. Gary immediately asked him where he was going. The man answered that he was going to Dublin and Gary told him that we were Dublin-bound, too, and also added in the name of our road for good measure.
Our new travelling companion found this highly amusing. If he was hoping for a bit of peace and quiet on the journey he sure wasn't going to get it from my inquisitive son. Gary asked him if he had any children. The man answered that he had a seven-year-old girl.
"When can I play with her?" Gary demanded, suddenly excited at the idea of making a new friend.
The man and I exchanged glances and we both laughed. I went back to reading my book and Gary and the man started drawing pictures together with crayons on an A4 page. Gary was particularly impressed by a car the man drew. "My mummy is getting a new car," he said. "Her old one is broken."
I wondered should I just tell this man all about my life down to the last personal detail to save my son's breath. Not only was this poor chap getting a blow by blow account of my existence, but Gary was talking so loudly that everyone in the carriage was getting an earful, too.
"Yes, Mummy's old one is broken," he continued earnestly, "do you have a car?"
"Yes, I do," the man replied.
"Yay! You can drive us back to our house and then you can collect your little girl and bring her to our house," Gary gushed, barely pausing for breath. "My daddy doesn't live with us so you can live with us and you can drive me to school."
At this stage I wanted to hide under the seat with embarrassment. Before I was a mum, the most interaction I'd ever have had with a fellow passenger might be a brief exchange about the weather. But now my son was organising our living arrangements with a man we had met only 20 minutes beforehand.
"You can meet my minder, Ellen," little Gary continued, "and also my cousin, Rachel."
See? He had it all worked out. He didn't see the point in wasting time. Children are so innocent and don't go looking for problems. Oh, to be a kid again.
Anyway, ladies, here's a tip: instead of trying to meet someone in a pub or a club, or online, take your kid on a train journey. You'll be sorted in no time!
Marisa is the author of The Secret Nanny Club