I am sat here in the living room waiting for my 5 year old to go to sleep.
I have a film to watch; a film not fit for a 5 year old’s eyes (or ears) and I’m sat here on the sofa with the DVD on pause, waiting for her to go to sleep.
I have a date with Hugh Jackman and I’m getting impatient.
She’s already been up there for an hour.
Her brother fell asleep ages ago.
Mia is wide awake.
She’s lined her teddies up and told them how naughty they are in a very stern, school head’s voice.
She’s listened to Abba, a bit of Eta James and some talking book called QUIET (I add the bold capitals as that is how the narrator says it every few seconds).
She’s put make up on herself and the white polar bear she takes to bed every night.
She’s emptied the contents of her photo albums all over her bed. And I can see scissors in their vicinity.
I have remained calm.
Oh god, why won’t you go to sleep Mia?
I’ve just poked my head around her bedroom door and there is devastation. I mean, I cannot see carpet. I CAN see husband’s industrial tape measure poking out from under her pillow and my eyelash curlers stashed in her draw in the vain hope I won’t spot them.
But I ignore it. Best not to start a row at this time of night.
I just want to sit down and watch my movie.
Mia, just go to goddam sleep will you?
I can hear footsteps across the landing now. She has no idea how to be light on her feet so it sounds like a baby elephant is up there.
She’s in the bathroom and I can hear the first aid draw being opened. Bugger.
I run upstairs to find her putting plasters on her leg. There are no cuts there, other than the red felt tip she’s drawn on herself to double as injuries.
Still I remain calm.
Mia, my love, it’s time to go to sleep. Really this time.
As I put her to bed, again, she starts tapping out a tune on the wooden headboard. This is her way of telling me she’s bored. Not tired, bored.
And now she wants to sleep with her head at the foot of the bed.
So I leave her reorganising her bed; shifting pillows, the 18 cuddly toys and the duvet. And the tin of Polly Pockets she’s instead on leaving at the end of the bed ‘for the morning’. The Polly Pockets have spilled out all over the floor. Or at least, all over the toys that are covering the floor.
This time Mia, THIS time. Please go to sleep.
There is an almighty crash. Bloody hell, she must have dropped off and fallen out of bed!
I’m up there in seconds only to find her looking very sheepish and her rather large Sylvanian Family canal boat in pieces on the floor. Strangely there is a screwdriver sticking out one end of it.
I say nothing. I give A Look. I leave.
For. The. Love. Of. God. Mia. GO TO SLEEP.
It’s been two hours now. I’m not actually in the mood for watching the damn film any more.
I switch everything off downstairs and haul myself off to bed.
Mia’s door is wide open. Her light is still on. It looks like she fell asleep in the middle of a primary-coloured toy explosion.
And she looks utterly adorable. Sit-down-on-the-end-of-her-bed-and-watch-her-for-10-minutes adorable.
So I do.
My busy, infuriating, imaginative little girl.
Hugh Jackman can wait.