Unlike my family, I am very restrained when it comes to yummy treats. What I mean is, I have a 'stop' button, whereas Ruby, Ava and their daddy do not. Consequently, I am the treats police. It is my job to carefully manage the purchase and consumption of certain comestibles.
As such, I think it's fair enough that the really good stuff is reserved for moi. Take my box of Charbonnel et Walker pink Champagne truffles. Given to me by my sister at Christmas, I have not shared ANY of them and, as of a couple of days ago, I still had two left.
The other night, having savoured my last but one truffle in front of the TV, I went to bed. But, foolishly, I left the open box on the coffee table. When the girls tumbled into the living room the following morning, Ruby was drawn to it like a bee to a honey pot.
"WhasSIS??" said Ruby. She pointed at the round, pink truffle, and looked at me with a highly expectant look on her little face. Ava, never one to miss out, was at her sister's side in a nanosecond.
"Ooh...!" Ava said. "Is that a sweetie mummy?"
"NO!" I replied as their hands simultaneously powered towards my precious treat. "You MUSTN'T touch it," I said. I realised I was not nearly close enough to whip it away. Only words flavoured with pure genius could save my truffle now.
Hands mid-air, they waited for more information. "It's... medicine," I said.
"Oh." said Ava, looking disappointed.
Ruby said nothing. She looked at me, and then back at the box.
"And you both know you are not ever allowed to touch medicines, don't you? Mummy is in charge of medicine." They both looked extremely suspicious, and then Ava – being careful not to touch the actual truffle – gently ran her finger through the box of discarded brown paper cases.
Ruby, who clearly believes that 'touching' is something that only happens with one's hands, bent her head down and put her nose on the truffle.
"Ruuuby..." I said (stern voice). She looked at me sideways, her eyes rolling a bit, probably from the intoxicatingly, mouth-wateringly wonderful scent. "No touching!"
She didn't move. Instead, her tongue poked out a tiny bit. Ava gasped.
I thought my Champagne truffle was about to be inhaled right before my eyes. "RUBY!"
Ru's tongue retracted and she stood up, frowning. Then, I detected a little light switch on in her head. She coughed. It was a forced cough.
"Mummyyyyy?" she said, whining.
Oh no. "Yes, Ruby?"
Ru coughed again, very loudly and for a long time. She actually made her eyes water. "Mummyyyyy? Some medsiiiiin?"
I was aware of Ava cottoning on to what was happening. She coughed.
I felt a bit scuppered. I couldn't tell them it was really a chocolate, that would have been admitting to fibbing (which we are NEVER supposed to do). I suppose I could have said it was grown-up medicine, but Ruby had already smelled it and, well, she was putting on such a good performance, I decided that I'd do (as per usual) the most mature thing.
"It seems we all have terrible coughs," I said.
Ava and Ruby stopped coughing, nodded and made sad faces. I picked up the truffle and bit half off, then let Ava take a little bite, then popped the rest into Ruby's mouth.
"Does everyone feel a bit better?" I said.
"Mmmmmm!" they replied, nodding vigorously.
Top parenting skills as ever. I'm sure I should probably feel bad about blatantly lying to my children, and I should certainly reprimand myself for allowing them to have chocolate before even setting foot into the kitchen for breakfast. But what worries me most is how in heaven's name I'm ever likely to get them to take their antibiotics the next time they get chest infections.
You can catch up on previous Terrible Twos here.