My Mother, never one to miss an opportunity to rub her hands together in glee, must be seriously in need of some new skin on her palms these days.
I, you see, was a rubbish sleeper as a child. Up all night if I could manage it. Certainly, the moment I could read I was being busted for reading under the covers after lights out; something I gather my mother was busted for when SHE was young, hence her preternatural ability to detect my own nefarious bookishness. In she would come quiet as a mouse, sneaking over to my bed and ripping off the covers leaving me completely exposed, Doctor Doolittle clutched in one hand, torch in the other.
My solution from a fairly early age was to wait until everyone was quiet and then get dressed - knickers, vest, school uniform, socks the works. Extra 10 minutes in the morning you see. And then I would read under the covers some more.
Now, Charlie is only two and a half and therefore I have laboured under the impression that I have a few more years left before I in my turn am creeping into his room to the vision of torchlight leaking out from under the bedclothes. Wrong.
Two nights ago, nearly two hours after the spud had kissed me goodnight and lain peacefully down on his sofa, we heard a soft cry from his room, followed by a little bump. Fell out of bed? Bad dream? The frog went opened the door expecting a little sleepy pile of toddler tangled up in a blanket... wrong.
The noise we had heard was the spud dropping a pile of books and then, I expect, swearing. The lights were on and a puzzle book was in pieces all over the floor, amidst various scattered toys. He himself was crouched guiltily over said books and the moment he saw his Father he started chanting 'no no no no no!'. He zoomed back onto the sofa and tried to wriggle under the knotted blankets; all the while one could see his panic levels rising.
We nearly wet ourselves; it still makes me cry laughing just thinking about him in there for two hours being ferociously quiet with the lights on. He must have thought he was getting away with the moon and the stars at the same time. I mean, a two year old playing quietly for two hours - how badly must he have wanted to stay up?
Poor little bear, he really thought he was for the high-jump. He was so upset when I made him get into bed that he bawled his eyes out but I suspect it was more about his first ever bust than anything else. I kissed him, cuddled him, told him I loved him despite him being a bit naughty and closed the door. A minute later I checked back and he was already sleeping the sleep of the wicked.
Better just go and check on him now...