I offered to help out one of the mums at school over the weekend. She’s just met a new chap and wanted to spend a few days away with him.

She asked if her daughter could come for or a sleepover on Friday and Saturday night. Knowing how difficult it is for her – she’s a working single mum with no family living nearby to help out – I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Over the last year, Master A has had quite a few of his friends stay over for the odd night so I wasn’t overly concerned at the prospect.

What I didn’t factor was that she’s a girl. A calculating, manipulative one at that.

The headache started when I picked them both up from school on Friday. Master A came out like a pack horse, his arms piled high carrying her various bags, and apparel.

I was impressed – and somewhat surprised – by his gentlemanly behaviour that is until said bags and items of clothing, along with his own, were ceremoniously dumped on me. The Little Madam didn’t bat an eyelash, choosing instead to skip along beside me all the while reminding me to be careful that nothing fell out of her overnight holdall.

On the ride home, snuggling up to Master A on the back seat, she started to whisper – which just happens to be one of my pet hates

Looking in my rear-view mirror, I glared at Master A, and with my I’m-standing-for-no-nonsense tone politely requested he stop. Knowing what both that look and tone means he sheepishly zipped it at once.

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She, however, coolly held my gaze in the mirror and smiling “sweetly” came back at me with: “We’re just sharing a little secret. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what we always do.” Before resuming her whispering in my son’s ear.

The tone for the weekend was set. A battle of wills, hers against mine, with my son caught in the middle. Every time I asked him to do something, she would quickly sidetrack him with her own requests. She had him running around after her like a little lap dog. My normally non-compliant offspring only too happy to fill the role.

Master A was transfixed by this little vixen, falling for every feminine trick in the book. We had well-rehearsed simpering and whimpering when he asked if he could watch one of his programmes on the TV (she’d picked all of the viewing most of the weekend); staged tears when she wanted his bedtime teddy; and a posed pout when he wanted to play football instead of watching her cartwheel.

The frightening thing was that every little wile worked.

Needless to say, I was relieved when Sunday morning came…

Heaven only knows how I am going to cope when Master A starts to date.