“Mummy, shut your eyes if it comes on your face”, chirps NG, gently snipping my fringe with a nutcracker.
I sit on the kitchen floor with NC next to me, fighting sleep and his muzzie with little fists and succumb to a pretend haircut from my toddler. It is Christmas Eve, 5.18pm; the dead time that is laden with guilt as the buzz from the 4.30pm glass of wine wears off and yet too early for bath time. I lean over and switch on my SAD light.
“Do we want to keep the dolphins?” says NW, dumping the bag on the table from our day trip to visit NG’s godfather. Two oversized stuffed porpoises peer over the edge.
“My spinner dolphins!” NG, who has been watching David Attenborough all day, squeals and leapfrogs her infant brother. “Mummy, my dolphins is really, really, really, REALLY, really, really, REALLY … Mummy, what is my dolphins really, really ..?”
“Really, really … Mummy, how ‘bout we play catch?”
“OK,” I say weakly.
“Ready, steady … aaahwaaah ..!” she turns into an air raid siren as NL the Labrador stealth bombs the pod and drags both dolphins upstairs. “Where’s he taken them?”
“To see the stockings,” I shout above the wailing.
“Does NL have a stocking now too?” NW sounds confused.
“Everyone will be wearing stockings in this house tomorrow,” I muse, flicking to the page of Hello showing Prince George in little blue knee-highs. Together with the usual Tesco crap, I picked up some long socks for NG and NC, which will make excellent stocking fillers and look superb on Christmas Day.
NW scoops NC up in one arm and the remaining dolphin in the other. “In that case, I look forward to seeing yours later,” he says with a wink.
“Don’t forget – shut your eyes Mummy!” says NG, wielding the corkscrew. So I do.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and a half year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and four month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)