Your children sense change.
They sniff it out with the accuracy of a detection dog at Bangkok airport.
And, once they’ve firmly established that something is going on, they react.
Almost always in the exact opposite way you’d like them to.
On the eve of the eve of my return to work my son decided to stop sleeping with the commitment of a raver at a free-party.
We’d given him a bath. He’d had a feed. He’d lured me into the false sense of security by having a quick yawn.
I lowered him into his cot, which in itself is a bit of an impossible task as you have to stand on tip toes to grow about three inches, then fold yourself double to put him in.
I rested my hand on his chest and felt his gentle inhale/exhale and turned to leave.
Then had one more quick peek.
He looked so peaceful.
I started thinking about how much I’d miss hanging out with him everyday.
And in a moment of reflection/ stupidity I affectionately stroked his baby soft hair.
And then it happened.
He blinked his eyes wide open.
And I held my breath.
Maybe if he couldn’t hear me breathing he wouldn’t realise I was there like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
He grinned at me.
Did a kind of B-Boy flip in his sleeping bag and stood up, clutching the side of the cot.
How could I have been so fucking stupid?
I tried to swiftly exit the room; thinking if I disappeared, the situation would somehow correct itself.
Then came the cry. It started as a lip wobble but crescendoed into wall-shaking sobs within seconds.
Fast forward six hours and I am lying in bed with him next to me.
He’s no longer feeding but using me as some kind of human dummy. Which would be fine if it meant he actually went to sleep.
But every time I unlatched him, he sprang upright to a sitting position, and launched himself back at me like a manic apple-bobber.
The following day, with a total of about 37 minutes sleep under my belt, I took my daughter swimming.
And as we got undressed in the tiniest of changing rooms, my daughter said, ‘mummy, you’re leaking.’
After months of weaning my son, of giving him bottles during the day, of encouraging him to try solids instead of breast milk, we regressed in one night by having the mother of all feeding marathons.
And my body has gone into milk-producing overdrive.
And I am about to leave him with a child-minder for four consecutive days and am producing more milk than your average dairy.
On the plus side, apparently babies can smell their mothers milk from up to 20 feet away, so at least this way he will definitely know when I am coming to pick him up at the end of the day.