"Daddy I cant find my dummy" the sad round face said softly on the verge of tears.
This happens about three times a week, my youngest sleeps with a dummy and when he turns his head in his sleep it falls out. Now you would think that he would turn his head to the left or right wouldn't you? No, not him, after all this is the mind of a genius at work and he is three years old. Instead of this he negotiates the darkened bedroom, avoiding the toys strewn across the floor, like the mini ninja he is not waking the others as he escapes the bedroom.
He then bumps into the door as he makes his was along the landing, the only light the dimly lit bathroom that is now behind him. He eases through my bedroom door and finally meets the first obstacle on his journey to success. The wife. Now my wife could sleep through a bomb going off when she gets going, she can also sleep through the calls of Mummy that the intrepid explorer calls two inches from her face. Two inches.
She lifts an arm and shoves me in the back, waking me up so as I can go and look for the dummy, no not her who is closet to the door, me who is sound asleep dreaming of kissing Rose. When that doesn't work she switches to plan B. The ultimate weapon, the weapon that will make me rise and retrace the steps that the intrepid explorer took just moments ago. Get him to ask me.
Sleepily I stumble out of bed, pick him up and place him in my warm bed, I check the alarm, 3.15am, great I think. I turn and they are beginning to cuddle up together him on my still warm pillow, her pretending she hasn't seen or heard anything. I start to walk around the bed stubbing my toe on the corner, cursing I hear a small voice say:
"Daddy said a bad word"
"I know" the other voice replies "Tell him off"
"Daddy don't say bad words" He says pointing his finger at me
I apologise and exit the bedroom, reaching his room in as few as steps as possible. I take a deep breath knowing deep down that the request to tidy the bedroom earlier that evening wouldn't have been met. I slowly walk into the room and fall flat on my face. I lay there holding my breath hoping I haven't woken up the other three children that are sleeping soundly. I look for the architect of my fall and see a small tennis ball on the floor where my feet had once been.
Deciding to stay on the floor I crawl towards the bottom of the bunk bed where he should be but isn't, he is now occupying my once warm bed and pillow, and lift the Thomas the tank engine duvet. There it lies like the holy grail, green and yellow in colour I grab my prize and head slowly back to the bedroom. I place the dummy in his mouth and get into the bed next to him knowing that he wont go back to bed now. I close my eyes, hoping to lock lips with Rose once again when he touches my face. Thinking he is about to tell me he loves me I smile at the warmth of his tiny fingers.
"Daddy I need a wee" He whispers
Knowing that there is more chance of me winning the Euro Millions Lottery than there is of my wife taking him I rise once again and lift him onto the floor. He runs off into the darkness and I follow him quickly. I remind him to lift his pyjama top and to lower his bottoms properly but am not in time to lift the toilet seat. Never mind I think I will wipe it in a minute.
Sleepily I walk back to the bedroom, the little man in front of me and lay down next to him once again. The wife stirs and gets up, whispering that she needs the toilet now that we have woken her up. Its only as she reaches the toilet that I remember the wee on the seat, I smile to myself and roll over closing my eyes tightly.
That will teach her to wake me up to get his dummy I think as the cry of "Ive just sat in wee" echos loudly from the toilet.