Of course, sleep generally, and certainly lie-ins, have been somewhat absent from my life for the last three-and-a-half years, ever since Ruby's big sister, Ava, burst into our world.
But on embarking on this mummy life, I made up a rule, which goes sort of like this:
I'll get up in the night and feed you; I'll get up throughout the night to comfort you if you need me; but when it comes to actually rising from my bed, just because you and that chirpy bloody blackbird think it is getting-up time, that will happen some time after 5.30am.
In my book, 5.30am is okay, it's doable... just.
Ruby is currently ignoring the rule. In fact she is blatantly flouting it, on a daily basis. Even with a blackout blind, Ru seems to sense that the sky has opened its eyes and, with the first light of dawn comes a level of wide-awakeness that should, in my opinion, only occur at around noon.
Because Ruby and Ava are in the same room, and because Ava (very sensibly) likes to sleep until around 7am these days, I feel compelled to remove the noisy one from Ava's vicinity – I tell Ru it is VERY early, and ask her to lie down with me for a while.
Dan, doing his best to stay asleep by keeping his eyes closed, inevitably removes himself and tries to stay hidden until an o'clock most people would consider sane.
Then, the coast is clear for Ruby to do her stuff.
Now, before I illustrate quite how annoying Ruby can be at 4.45am, I will tell you that I love her very much indeed. I really do. But Oh. My. God.
Take yesterday morning's conversation:
"Ruby, can you lie down here with mummy and try to sleep again?"
"Yes!" and then: "Mummy?"
I let her snuggle and enjoyed the feeling of her cheek on mine for about a second... until she poked me in the eye.
"Ow! Ru, that hurt mummy!"
"You got EYES!"
"Really? Eyes plural? Are you sure? It felt like one of them just got removed. I think I only have one left."
"No, Ru, don't..."
"One, two..." She should have stopped there, obviously, but no. "Frree, four, fiye, six, seben, eight..."
She got to 16. Each number was accompanied by a little (somewhat gentler) prod on the eyelid.
"Ru, please stop counting my eyes!" She stopped.
Keeping my eyes closed, I made a kiss shape with my mouth – which Ru then (very wetly) licked.
"Blurgh! Ruby! Don't lick me!"
"Calm down, Ru. Shall we try to sleep a little longer?"
"Yes, sshh" she said very quietly, before going silent for about 15 seconds – long enough to lull me into a false sense of peace.
Then: "TWINKOR, TWINKOR LITTOR STAAAAR, HOWEE WUNDAR WHAT YEE AAAARE!"
So she whispered, in very bad tune: "Twinkor, twinkor littor..."
"No, Ru! I mean stop singing!"
"Yes. Stop on sing on da quiet," she said (?). Then: "Mummy?"
"I think it's you, Ruby."
"That's what I said."
"See bird?" She went to get out of bed and open the curtains.
"No! Lie down for a bit. Ru, please. It's not even 5 o'clock! You'll be so tired later. Come on."
She threw herself backwards again on to the pillow and closed her eyes really, really tightly. I sighed and closed mine. And then... fake snoring.
I ignored it, so she did it a bit louder and I think I stifled a little scream.
"No darling, you're not. You are talking and fake snoring."
"Yes! Snaw-wing iss sleeping...Mummy?"
"Do you really want a cuddle, Ru? A sleepy cuddle?"
"Yes! Cuddle, mummy?"
I put my arm beneath Ruby again and pulled her in close. She snuggled into my chest and took a deep breath in, a deep breath which sounded very much like the start of a great big yawn. 'Yes!' I thought to myself, 'I think she might JUST go back to slee..."
And Ruby blew a massive raspberry on me.
"Shall we go downstairs?"
Tell us, what time do you get up?