I was rushing things as I tried to get E2 to cooperate with being put down for her nap. My mother had come round for a couple of hours to keep the girls busy so I could make a start on the taxes, and I’d lost track of time and now they were late going down for their naps. My mother was the other room, wrestling E1 into her bed, and I was sitting on the big bed next to E2’s cot trying to contort her wriggling legs — still clad in her sister’s far-too-big trousers that she had insisted on wearing for the last half an hour — into her sleeping bag.
When she was all zipped in, she lept up and began jumping on the bed, her hyperactivity clearly indicating overtiredness — or so I hoped. I laid back on the bed and adjusted my top, waiting for her to realise that milk was on offer and so to flop herself down beside me (and probably, as she so often does, crack me in the jaw with her skull). But she took no notice and carried on jumping manically, her little eyes wild with the excitement of it.
“Come on! Milk!”
Bounce, bounce, bounce. “No!”
“Come on… Come and have your milk.” I was trying to sound as enticing as I could. It used to be that lying on a bed and sounding enticing meant something else altogether, but those days are long gone — now it’s always about milk and naps. But today there was no interest. “Come on… Don’t you want some of Mummy’s milk?”
“No! Roger!” she yelled, and carried on bouncing.
Roger? Who the heck was Roger? I was torn between laughter and exasperation. “Come and lie down and have you milk!” I commanded.
Bounce bounce bounce. “No! No milk! Roger!”
I looked up at her, both laughing and dumbfounded. I’ve heard a lot of nonsense in the past few years, but this was new to me. She saw that I wasn’t getting it, stopped bouncing at last, and put her face down close to mine.
“No milk. Water!” Ah…! Water, not Roger. Ok. I thought for a moment about walking all the way downstairs and drawing her a glass of water… That’d be another 10 minutes… I decided against it.
“Well,” I said, undoing the bra-clasp, “maybe Mummy’s got water.” She looked at me, dubious but intrigued. “Do you think Mummy has made water for you?” It did the trick — she was lying down now, wiggling herself into position. I waited for her to discover my deception, delatch, and complain… but she didn’t. Milk is sweet and warm, and good enough. She snuggled in and began feeding in earnest — and I relaxed, curled round her and breathed in her wonderful scent. My daughter smells wonderful, especially when she is content and tucked in close.
She was asleep in seven minutes.