She’s face down, duvet kicked off, hair strewn across her face. She smells of yeast. There is a grunt and some repositioning until you open the blinds and put the light on. She rubs her eyes, smiles, gets a hug, and starts to get up ready to dress for nursery. It’s harder to wake her as the week goes on and she’s reassuringly normal as she gets a bit grumpy and tired.


You’re summoned to life slowly, by a small voice calling your name and talking to her friends. You pull on pyjamas and go into her room, climbing into bed beside her for a cuddle. The two of you play ‘circle time’ with the toys, read a couple of books and whisper like conspirators. Eventually she wants to get up, pulls off her pyjamas and gets dressed before breakfast.


You plan to lie in. This is usually futile as your husband lies on his good ear and takes far too long to pull on his clothes and glasses when he finally realises you don’t want to get up, that you may as well have got up yourself. Nevertheless, you plan to lie in. She wakes a little earlier than usual, suddenly, and cries out. She shouts “I want my Mummy and Daddy!” You’re there as she finishes and again you climb in the bed and have a cuddle while she calms. Soft toys fall off the bed onto the floor and there’s a small plastic dinosaur at the foot of the bed ready to bite your toes. A draught goes down your back and you can’t fully relax as she’s lying on your arm, with her face close to yours. She breathes, phlegmy rasps into your face. You think she may have dropped off but she’s awake, eyes open, ready to smile at you and give you a further hug when you check to see if she’s ok.


The lie in would be nice but you’re reconciled to losing it now. You lie and hope for summer to arrive soon so you can encourage her to walk across the landing to your room like she did before it got too dark in the mornings. She wakes, calls out, and your husband gets up to see her but he sees you’re awake. She comes in the bed, he fetches tea and milk. Or, you fetch tea, milk and crumpets. We read books. She plays buses, clipping us into our seat belts and driving to a shop where we buy cakes, flags, and flowers and sing ‘Happy Birthday’.


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