We’re in Holland and it’s raining. A lot. “I bet it doesn’t rain in heaven,” said only son a propos of nothing. He is prone to taking a sideways view of life, something which entertains his sisters no end. He was quite keen to see some tulips, but has so far been thwarted by the weather. Only son is working his way round the sisters and there is a bidding war going on who wants to share a room with him.
On the first night, daughter two refused to share a room with daughter three on the grounds that “she snores”. Daughter three occasionally breathes heavily due to a cold or hayfever.
Daughter two decamped to the sofa after trying to get only son to swap rooms. Only son refused, righteously, on the grounds that he had spent an inordinate amount of time folding up every single one of his clothes, including knickers, and putting them in the cupboard in his room and had stacked all his books under his side table. He had basically settled in for the duration and he was not being moved. Daughter one, who was sharing with him, put in a strong plea for him to stay in the room too. She and he were bonding over literature. Daughter one is reading a philosophical novel and only son is 126 pages through David Walliams’ Ratburger [“still not funny, mum”].
In bed, I heard daughter three and her duvet moving towards the sofa. She offered to sleep on the sofa instead of daughter two. In the interests of justice [daughter three does not snore and in any event why should she move?], I got daughter three off the sofa and into my side of the bed and went to sleep in daughter two’s room.
“I intend to snore very loudly all night,” I stated. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to sleep even though we had been up since 4.30am to make the trip to Holland. Daughter two locked herself in the toilet to read her book. By around midnight I fell asleep. I awoke at 4am as I thought I heard a muffled “mum, mum, mum” coming from nearby. I decided it must be a dream and drifted off. Then I realised the door to daughter one and only son’s room was shut. He had woken up and couldn’t get out. He came into my bed. Eventually we fell asleep.
When we woke up we discovered there was no milk for breakfast because the two pints I had bought the previous evening were in fact yoghourt. Still, everyone is having a very good, if damp, time and there’s a swimming pool so we go from getting wet outside to getting wet inside. Only son is learning to swim, but takes a kamikaze approach involving regularly putting his head under the water and holding his breath for ages while perching precariously on the steps of the pool. His mother emerges from the pool somewhat more tense than when she entered…
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.