Every morning, Master Five wakes me up by climbing quietly into bed with me and putting his cold feet and hands on me. "Mummy, I'm cold!" he stage-whispers as I resist the urge to shriek from the shock of being abruptly wakened by a pair of cold hands on the back of my neck.
This past weekend, I finally succumbed to the inevitable and got out the featherdowns and heaters. I put away the fans and started wearing socks all the time. Our very old, very loved beagle is too lame to be able to leap nimbly on to the furniture, so I lift him up into the bed at night so I can rest my feet on his warm, curled-up body. I am pretty sure it's win-win, as he loves sleeping in the big bed, and I love having warm feet.
What I do not love, however, is cold children. Especially cold children who have no excuse for being cold, given that their rooms are adequately insulated and heated, their beds are covered in featherdowns, they possess more than one pair of long-sleeved pyjamas, and they each sleep with so many stuffed toys it's sometimes hard to see them when I go in to check on them in the night. Yet every morning without fail, Master Five comes into my room at the buttcrack of dawn to put his cold hands and feet on me and complain that *he* is the one hard done by.
The other day I thought I'd be smart and lock my bedroom door before I went to bed. If Master Five couldn't get in, I reasoned, then I might get the chance to be awakened by the "Zen Bells" of my phone alarm instead of the not-at-all-Zen cold hands and feet of a wiry five-year-old.
Of course it didn't work. Master Five simply stage-whispered even more loudly, "Mummy, let me in! I'm cold!" and then, when I pretended not to hear him, sat outside the door crying that he was cold and no one would snuggle him.
After a few minutes, I relented, as his pathetic sobbing couldn't help but thaw my ice-cold heart. I got out of bed, unlocked the door, and looked down at him, curled up in his duvet on the floor, gazing at me bleakly.
"Mummy, I'm cold," he shivered. "Can I have a hot water bottle?"
"I've got something better," I replied. "Get back to your bed where it's warm, and I'll bring you the dog."
Editor, Tots to Teens