"Oh, they're all so lovely," I said happily to partner on Sunday night once the kids were in bed. I was still suffused with been-away-from-home-for-two-nights happiness and everything about them seemed wonderful. Why had I ever wanted to get away in the first place?
SCREEEEEECH! went the music as the needle was knocked across the record at 3.30am Monday morning. "Mummy! Mummy!" from youngest's room.
I stumble blearily in there, tripping over small toys, stubbing my toe on the washing basket. "What? What's wrong?"
"Sing my a song!" she says cheerfully.
I slump against the wall. "Sing you a song? It's the middle of the night! Go back to sleep."
"Sing my a SONG!" she shouts. "Sing Goldilocks!"
I heave a sigh. My feet are getting cold. I give her one round of Goldilocks.
When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears, oh what did her blue eyes see?
A bowl that was huge, a bowl that was small
And a bowl that was tiny and that was all
She counted them one...two...three...
"There, I've sung Goldilocks, now let's both go back to sleep. Good night."
I climb back into bed, trying not to let the They're-all-so-lovely feelings seep away. Hopefully I'll be able to get straight back to sleep, job done. Five minutes later, though...
Cursing and muttering, I'm back in there. "What now? What do you want?" I ask, hearing the irritation in my voice.
"Mummy, I done a poo."
I can't smell anything and she's got a Pull-up on anyway. "It's probably just a little wee wee," I tell her, desperate to get back into bed.
"Mummy, you change my little wee wee," she says.
I really don't want to have the light on, changing a nappy right now. I really really don't. We'll both be wide awake, it's cold, I'll probably never get back to sleep. She probably won't either and I'll be singing bloody Goldilocks all night.
"I'll sort it out in the morning," I say. "Now no more shouting. Mummy is very tired. Go back to sleep."
Five minutes later, she's off again. "Mummy! Mummy!"
WELCOME BACK TO YOUR REAL LIFE, a sign flashes in my head.
A Country Escape by Katie Fforde
5 hours ago