"Can you wake me tomorrow, Mum?" says student son.
I'm puzzled. No teenager in our house ever surfaces before 10 in the holidays. Usually it's around 11.
Son no. 2 holds the record. Once, when he was about 15, he didn't wake up until two in the afternoon.
This made life confusing as he was constantly one whole meal behind everyone else. I think we only got back on track on day three when he ate breakfast and lunch in one sitting.
"I've got an essay to write," says student son.
"Oh," I say, pleased that he's taking studying seriously. "So what time shall I wake you?"
"Eight?" he says.
As I walk out of the room, he says, "And Mum?"
"Don't go until I'm sitting up and saying, yes, yes, I'm definitely awake."
"But you're not always very nice first thing in the morning. You might shout at me."
He looks pained as if I am making wild and unfounded accusations. "I won't. I promise."
So the next morning, after the usual hour spent moving objects in and out of machines or back to their rightful places, I knock on his door.
"It's eight o'clock!" I say in a bright and breezy voice.
"OK," he says.
"You said I had to stand here until you sat up and said, yes, yes, I'm definitely awake."
With much groaning, he drags himself up into a sitting position against the pillows.
"OK," he says. "OK, I'm awake."
"Are you sure?"
So I go back downstairs, tripping over the cat who is hiding next to the banister so that she can ambush innocent passers-by.
I go up again to wake my son at 8.15 am. Also at 8.30am. Once more at 8.45am. Each time, he obediently sits bolt upright and tells me he is definitely awake.
At 9am, I have to leave the house. I go into his room. I look at him sleeping. I go out again.
Later, when I come home, I find him in the kitchen making a cup of tea.
"Got up early to work, did you?" I say, with heavy sarcasm.
"But you didn't wake me," he says.
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