Diary of a demented mum: No rows, no rants -- so this is what remission feels like
Your daughter is having a sleepover. This momentous event is much anticipated by the Wolverine who warns you not to expect anything chores-wise over the next 48 hours.
Just because she's the eldest doesn't mean she has to be your blooming house serf, she hisses as the doorbell rings.
Wreathed in smiles she hurries to greet the friend, who is armed to the teeth with an outsize bag of chilli crisps, scary movies, some blackcurrant Miwadi and a large packet of toffees.
Following a short, whispered conference at the front door, the friend is whisked upstairs to the seething midden your daughter calls a bedroom.
If the ensuing scattershot of shrieks and giggles upstairs is anything to go by, your Wolverine is transformed by this girl's cheerful presence.
Or maybe not, you are forced to concede somewhat grimly. As the howls of hilarity reach a crescendo you recognise that this is probably normal behaviour for your daughter when she's in the presence of the lucky sods who are not related to her or don't live with her.
Later as they saunter, still giggling, in for dinner -- chicken fajitas, chilli potato wedges and cheesy nachos, all, incredibly, prepared that very morning by an effervescent Wolverine -- you realise what that light, relieved, feeling is. You're in remission.
For the next 48 hours or so, there will be no rows, acerbic remarks, sullen glances, mutterings, complaints, stampings or furious tears. There will be no 'I hate you's', no declarations of independence, no self-righteous rants about injustice and discrimination.
Well, not for a while, anyway.
It's all smiles until a small and innocent sibling reaches out to pour himself a drink of blackcurrant cordial.
Crack! His fat little paw is sharply slapped down and the bottle snatched from his hand. With a big smile, the Wolverine pats him on the head and coos in sugar-coated tones:
"That's Michelle's Miwadi. It's only for Michelle and me, isn't it, Michelle?"
As the friend stutters that of course little Jack can have some Miwadi, as little Jack becomes increasingly tearful, and as the rest of the family all gaze dumbly at her, the Wolverine generously tops up her drink and that of her friend and firmly empties the last of the nachos into a bowl.
The she ushers the friend out of the kitchen.
"Let's get your laptop and go on Facebook, Michelle. When the washing-up is done, we can come down and watch 'Paranormal Activity 2'. Get a move on, you lot," she instructs her shell-shocked family and disappears. With the Miwadi.
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