Even on those mornings when they could potentially lay in, there's often a mishap. Take this morning - "Mum, it's 7.10 and the clock's up."
It's 6.10 and frankly the clock needs throwing out. Fat lot of good it's ever done. The idea behind it is that when the sun comes up (i.e the smiley face turns from blue to yellow) the children are able to see it's time to wake too. Unfortunately, even on the days the clock hasn't been tampered with, they've always been wide-eyed way before the sunshine ever put in its appearance.
Such a shame I'm not.
"The clock is wrong. Go back to sleep." It's delivered more gruffly than I'd want. Followed by - of all things - a hot flush. This one is slow to pass and lingers around my face and torso, not yet travelling to my toes, it manages to leave a bead of sweat upon my top lip.
"How many more minute's now?" The shadow at the door, one foot in one foot out, enquires hopefully.
"You can look at a book in bed, it's 6.30 Fia."
No clue of time yet my youngest. But she knows 7 is the magic number. She also knows Saturday and Sunday are the magic days. The TV days. Since the summer holidays came to an end, the routine of weekend telly only has hit her hard. Me too. We've lapsed on several occasions.
Pitter patter pitter... "Is it morning yet?"
"No darling it's not. It's twenty to seven. Carry on reading, you're doing a great job." (Said with a much more appropriate - and motherly - tone). She returns to her sister with the news that it is only 6.40, and climbs into bed with her.
Esme appears. "Mum, do we have to read, only Fia has her hand on a toy."
"That's fine, turn the light on in the playroom and you can play."
"No, I'm not, I'm going to read."
"What are you reading at the moment?"
"The World's Worst Children."
I look forward to the years when I'll have to drag them out of bed in the morning. I'll do it with humour hopefully. My parents would slam open the door and on the light: Wakey wakey, rise and shine. Don't think we ever shone.
It's now 6.50. One reads one plays. Before long there will be the trips to the toilet and requests for playing too. And that's fine. I'm awake now.
When the hot flush does advance from top to toe in a matter of moments, it is an odd sensation. Not unpleasant, just bizarre. That movement of heat through the body; as if someone is aiming a blow torch at you which suddenly switched on, skims the length of your entirety, then just as suddenly, switches off again.