My teenage daughter arrives home for her university reading week laden with history books, files, an enormous bundle of washing and these sky-high Topshop shoes.
“Try them – they’re really comfy,” she says. So I do, and amazingly they are. Well, until you wobble and fall off, when you’re liable to be carted off to hospital with a broken ankle. And as for hobbling round London on the tube or walking into Oxford, forget it.
But the main reason she’s back home for a few days (well, apart from seeing us lot) is to catch up on her sleep. A full-time student, she spends her spare time working three nights a week in a chic Shoreditch bar, running the university art society and partying with her friends. Wow – I’m not surprised she’s tired.
It’s ironic that she’ll happily doze till lunchtime these days, considering she was a very wide-awake baby who slept for five hours at night if I was lucky – and never in the daytime at all. Her sleeping was so dire that my South London GP referred us to a sleep clinic but that didn’t do any good either. It was years and years before she changed her mind and decided she liked sleeping after all.
But despite the solitude and profound lack of sleep I wouldn’t swap those days for anything. She laughs when I tell her about the endless nights of playing soporific Enya tracks to her and about the way I used to climb into her cot and lie beside her in a desperate attempt to get her to nod off. At least I don’t have to do that now.
PS: A new Good Food magazine survey says that in these dire economic times one in three of us are planning to “make or bake” our Christmas presents. Not for the first time in my life, I feel completely inadequate. I can’t think of anything I can “make or bake” that anyone would actually want. Suggestions gratefully received…