As it was half-term, we decided that the whole family should go and visit my parents “for a break”. Mr and Mrs Nunn are very good at taking the children when they wake early, and entertaining them for an hour, before TheBloke (TM) and I crawl out of bed. I suspect they use this time to force-feed them junk food and let them watch too much TV, prior to tutting disapprovingly if we ever allow our children to watch any TV and/or give them snacks. That is the prerogative of grandparents.
Mr and Mrs Nunn held up their end of the bargain to give everyone a break. YoungestGirl, sadly, did not get the memo.
She has been operating at what we call Demon Level 12. This is where she takes you right to the edge of human endurance, before pulling it all back and being delightful again.
This was the two-hour car journey to my parents. It started approximately thirty seconds after pulling off our driveway.
YoungestGirl: My book! Who dat?
Me: (turning round from the passenger seat to see) That’s a camel.
YoungestGirl: Mamel. Who dat?
YoungestGirl: Wala. Who dat?
Me: That’s a lobster.
YoungestGirl: Obster. Who dat?
Me: That’s a budgie.
YoungestGirl: No it not. It NOT. It bird.
Me: A budgie is a type of bird.
YoungestGirl: IT BIRD IT BIRD IT BIRD. (Throws book into footwell.) My BOOOOOOK! MY BOOOOOOOK!
Me: We don’t throw books. You can’t have it back.
YoungestGirl: NOOOOOOOOOOOO! (hysterical crying)
Me: (two minutes later, out of sympathy for TheBloke who is driving, retrieves book) Here you go.
YoungestGirl: (throws book again) NO BOOK. NO. I NO WANT BOOOOOOOK.
Five minutes later
YoungestGirl: (throws hat) MY HAAAAAT!
EldestGirl: I am trying to read my book and you are being TOO LOUD.
Repeat for two hours. We have 24 hours of travelling coming up soon. You can imagine how much I’m looking forward to that. At least TheBloke (TM) won’t be driving the plane, unless we end up in some sort of disaster movie.
We had hoped she would sleep on the journey up to Mr and Mrs Nunn’s, but she is at that awkward stage at the moment where she sometimes takes a lunchtime nap, and sometimes doesn’t. We hoped she would sleep well that night. She didn’t.
At 11 p.m., just as we were getting off to sleep, this is what we heard.
YoungestGirl: I wake. I wa-ake!
We ignored her, in the hope she would roll over and go back to sleep. Seven minutes passed. TheBloke (TM) and I just started to drift off to sleep.
YoungestGirl: Peppa Pig. Where Peppa Pig? I wa-aa-aake. Play me.
Seven more minutes passed. She was silent. I started drifting to sleep again.
YoungestGirl: Gand-ma. Dan-Dad. I wa-ake. I waked up!
Eventually, for fear of disturbing my parents, I went into her room and took her into the spare bed with me.
Me: Be quiet, YoungestGirl, or I will put you back in your cot.
YoungestGirl: No cot. No. (silence for five minutes. I think she has gone to sleep. I plan on silently transferring her back to her cot. I sit up in the bed, ready to pick her up) Breakfast now?
Me: No breakfast. It is midnight. Go to sleep.
YoungestGirl: Get UP. Get UP.
Me: Be quiet or back in your cot.
YoungestGirl: (silence for almost exactly seven minutes – her carefully calculated interval to allow me to start to gain unconsciousness, and then…) Mummy, I wake! Get porridge now? I wuv oo. (kisses me several times.)
Children. Dicks. But also, very cute. But mostly dicks.