– Let’s have a sleepover!
– We want a sleepover!
– Okay, you can have a sleepover, since it’s Saturday. But Dash has to do his reading first.
– I’ll read to her!
– He’ll read to me!
– Okay, up you go, then.
– First I‘ll read to you. I know all the words in this one.
She starts to read Red Hat Green Hat.
– I’ll go up and see what they’re doing.
Dash is trying to thread a giant IKEA fake flower through his sister’s hair.
– That’s not reading. But your hair is lovely.
– I’m styling her for the doggy show.
– Woof woof.
– Right. So you’re not reading to her, then? You can play for ten minutes and then you have to come and do your reading. I’m setting the timer, okay?
I go up again. They’re tying their legs together with a piece of ribbon.
– This is for the three-legged race. We have to have a three-legged race.
– Okay, race to downstairs, and then Mabel has to come back up while Dash does his reading.
Long pause at the top of the stairs as the ribbon comes untied and must be tied again. I help, eventually. Then I go down and designate the finish line.
– Yay! You won the race. Right, upstairs with you, Mabel, I’ll give you a piggyback. There’s your book, Dash.
Mabel insists on tying her legs together so she can have a two-legged race back upstairs. I help her hobble thus up the stairs, bring her to bed, read two chapters of her book. Dash comes up, having read his chapter.
– What about our sleepover? We’re still having a sleepover.
– But I want to have it in my bed.
– Your bed’s too small. You have to come into my room. [Dash has a small loft bed with a spare mattress on the bottom, so it’s like a set of low bunk beds.]
– But I’m scared on the bottom of your bed. It’s dark and strange.
– But I don’t fit in your bed. I know, you can be in the top of my bed and I’ll be in the bottom.
Mabel goes into his room, with duvet and stuffed toy and doll, and installs herself in the top bunk. Dash brushes his teeth and puts on pyjamas.
– But I want to cuddle with you.
– Okay, you can cuddle with me.
Dash gets into the top bunk with her, which is exactly the same size as Mabel’s bed that he wouldn’t sleep in because it was too narrow for two. But never mind that. Daddy reads them a chapter of Dash’s bedtime book.
Not thirty seconds after Daddy leaves the room with the two of them snuggled up in Dash’s top bunk, Mabel follows him downstairs at speed.
– Mummy, I need to go to the bathroom.
– Okay. Come on.
– And then I want to go to sleep in my bed.
Poor Dash. Another foiled sleepover. Maybe next weekend.