After the photo shoot Frances, Mia and I go back up to her flat. Mia needs her bottle and I’ve been offered a cuppa. While her mum is brewing up, Mia sits on the floor sucking at the plastic teat. Her eyelids flicker and then close and she slowly keels over, her head touching the floor. “Ah Mia, you sleepy?” exclaims Frances, picking her up and whisking her off to the bedroom.
With Mia in her cot I can sit and talk to Frances without any interruptions.
“How do you feel about the responsibility? A 17-year-old with a young daughter. You make it look easy.”
“Do I? That’s not good. It is how it is. You get your good days and your bad days. The good days are twice as good as the bad days so you don’t worry. You know they will be a good day along soon.
“But, you know, I shouldn’t have done it too soon. I should have waited a bit. But I didn’t want to wait. If I waited I would’ve been more grown-up and able to do more stuff without thinking too much about it.”
I remind Frances that had she not got pregnant she might still have been living with her mother.
“And I might have not grown up as quickly as I have. I’ve matured, and yeah it’s Mia who’s matured me. I used to think I knew everything. Don’t worry about me I’ll be fine, I used to say. Looking back I didn’t know what I was talking about. I didn’t know anything. There were that many people who were saying don’t do this, don’t do that, wait until you get older. There were that many people, I should have just listened. But I did it anyway. I like to do the opposite of what people say. I like to prove people wrong.”
“But that’s just about being young.”
“But,” she says, laughing, “if Mia tries to prove me wrong there’ll be big trouble.”
Frances has got plans to keep Mia on a short rein so she doesn’t turn out ‘bad’.
“How do you think you have turned out?”
“I’ve turned out all right,” she says, “compared to the way I thought I might turn out.”