It is 6.45am and I should be getting up and getting things ready for school and work. Little Boy B creeps into my dark bedroom, lifts the duvet and curls up on Daddy's pillow, sniffing and groaning. My heart sinks - another sick day?
I lean up on my elbow and peer at him through my contact lens-less fuzz, as he closes his eyes and hides his face. We talk quietly about what hurts and where, and the fact that he seemed perfectly okay last night so is he really ill or just tired? Is he worried about something? Does he just not want to go to school?
Sick days are the down side of parenting, especially at this time of year when so many people are coughing and sniffing and puking. Some parents physically can't stay home when a child is sick - they have to open a shop, or make a presentation, or defend somebody in court - and some parents have no family nearby, no partner to share the load with, no money to pay for help.
I am relatively lucky. My work is part-time and I usually have some flexibility in the days I work ... but I still can't help feeling irritated that my carefully planned week has been all messed up again by some dastardly winter virus. Bleurgh.