It’s the same every night. With three children to bath and put to bed, usually before WW gets home, there’s always someone who gets left out. Either BUB.2 conks out before he’s had his story, or BUB.1 gets left on the top bunk reading his fossil books alone, or BUB.3 gets very short changed on the bedtime story and I skip half the pages hoping she won’t notice or I end up whispering the end in the hope she’ll fall asleep quicker.
Last night I remembered what we used to do. We used to make the most of BUB.3’s double bed and all get in and read the bedtime stories together. It was always my favourite part of the day (mostly because I was lying down and by now, invariably, also in my pyjamas). So we did that. I don’t know why we ever stopped.
Then a while later the other thing that sometimes happens happened. With BUB.3 whispered off to sleep and BUB.2 asleep on the bottom bunk, I looked at BUB.1 on the top, my seven-year-old baby with his heart-stopping brown eyes. I am always torn between climbing that bunk bed ladder and getting in for what I know is another half an hour of talking, or telling him firmly that I have things to do (cook dinner, work, tidy, have a glass of wine, just be). But last night, as happens about 50 per cent of the time, his brown eyes won and up I went.
We played our favourite game of drawing what we want from Father Christmas on each other’s backs. He drew a Lego Indominus Rex (HOW MUCH? JUST for the dinosaur part?) and a Papo Kaprosuchus, as he always does. When it was my turn he rolled his little body over and I thought about all the things I’d like.
He guessed that I wanted a cloud with eyes and a smiley face, a man with a mane, a present with hair, a guitar with three eyes and a hot dog with legs. What I had asked for was a bath on my own, a jacket, a big bar of chocolate to myself, some perfume and a new bag. But his guesses had us in such fits of laughter that I would have swapped all of them for that half an hour with my eldest child.
Climbing the bunk bed ladder feels like such a climb after a long day, when you know you only have an hour or two of wakefulness left (at best). Sometimes the wine and the sofa win. Sometimes the eyes have it. Sometimes you’ve just got to make that final climb and sometimes you just can’t.