"I am wide awake"
It's 1 am. Mark and the kids are in bed. I'm doing the last round of chores - folding the stuff from the dryer, putting another load in the washer, feeding the pets, loading the dishwasher, locking the doors. You know, the usual night time stuff.
I'd made fish cakes for the kids today. I bought lots of coley and a small piece of smoked haddock, poached them in milk while I peeled, cut and boiled spuds. I mashed the fish and spuds together with an egg to bind it, formed it into patties and dipped them in flour, whisked egg white and matzo meal before frying them. I'd made Grandma Curl's potato salad, complete with finely diced boiled egg, green pepper and onion. Mark and I were having fresh mackerel fillets but, knowing the kids didn't like them, I bought ingredients and made a replacement.
This lead to a total hissy fit from two of my kids. OK, they didn't like the fishcakes, fair enough. I won't make them for them again. But today it is the dinner. Today it's what they need to eat, even if it's just a very small portion. Because this isn't a restaurant and you can't order a different meal if you don't like the first one. That's it until breakfast.
(If they have a good go and eat a fair bit, we do offer a piece of toast to fill them up a bit more, but not if they've just had a tantrum. You can judge my parenting if you like.)
Miss B tried to negotiate for a good hour - "I've had a mouthful and that's enough." In the end she was sent to bed after scraping her dinner into the bin. She'd been really rude to us and we decided it was better she not be with other people for a bit.
This was not the punishment it might otherwise have been. For a week-long trial our guinea pigs, Snowy and Pippin, are moving inside to B's room. The cage is clean, I sewed fleece pads to line it and B tidied her room ready. I bathed the guinea pigs and treated them for fleas just in case, and filled their dangling feeder ball with fresh veg and fruit. The guinea pigs were running around exploring their new environment. B would have gone up to her room anyway rather than join the rest of us laughing at The Apprentice on iPlayer.
As usual, I popped in to check on her in the evening. She was fast asleep, but as I leant over to turn off her light she muttered "I'm not asleep at all," before drifting back to light snores.
So, at 1 a.m. when I'm finally going to bed I opened her door. It's a bit stiff and made a noise as it opened. (We have to keep it firmly shut or Isaac the cat barges it open, wakes B and generally is disruptive.)
At the sound, Miss B called out "I am wide awake," in the voice of someone very asleep. I put my hand on her hair, which usually settles her right back again.
"I am wide awake," she murmured again. "It's ok, go to sleep, sweetheart." "Oh, are you wide awake, Mummy?" she asked, rolling further under the duvet, "that's OK then."
And back to sleep.
I have no idea why it was so important B claimed to be awake. Maybe the ignominy of being sent to her room 45 minutes before her actual bedtime made her think she was determined not to go to sleep. Maybe the novelty of guinea pigs in her room made her want to stay up.
Whatever it was, the fact that I was "wide awake" meant she didn't have to be.
Sweet dreams, my stubborn girl.