Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: Due in 2 weeks

Bedtimes can be a bit emotionally fraught. For me, I mean.

It’s been a long day, I want my supper and a child-free evening, and any stalling on the babe’s part does not get a good response. I can hear myself talking to her with a mixture of sarcasm, frostiness and irritation, and somewhere at the back of my mind I’m thinking what a horrible way to talk to your child like you do when you witness an ugly scene at the supermarket. However, somewhere closer to the front of my mind I’m thinking but I’m entitled to be grumpy and I seem to be getting away with it so I’ll carry on…

One night, after much irritable parenting, I was barking at her about hurrying up on the toilet and she said:

‘Mummy I HAPE YOU!’

I was horrified.

‘Why did you say that?’ I whimpered with my eyes filling up.

‘I needed to say it! Because you hape me!’

I was utterly chastened, and said sorry for being cross, and tried to explain why I was cross, and we had a cuddle, and I let her run rings around me for the rest of the bedtime routine. Then I went downstairs and cried all over babyfather.

No-one has ever said they hape me before. When she’s a teenager and can say it right I’m sure it will hurt even more.