It's 9pm on a school night and Sam has been in bed for half an hour or so. He's fighting sleep so that in the morning he can claim that we put him to bed too early and that he didn't get to sleep for 'Aaaaages'. He's just about to be overcome by sleep when Nicki appears in his bedroom doorway, supposedly on her way to bed, clipboard and pen in hand.
"Name" she demands.
"Errr, Sam" he answers, sitting up on his top bunk and rubbing his eyes.
Nicki's pen stops dead on her makeshift clipboard and she rolls her eyes.
"FULL name" demands an exasperated Nicki, she's clearly dealing with the biggest imbecile she's ever come across.
"Samuel Hayes" He answers, rather pleased with himself.
"Uuh?" the self-satisfaction is replaced with confusion in an instant.
"Boy or girl?"
"Siblings... Brothers and sisters?"
"Yes" he replies....
There procceeded a full inventory of the Hayes family members until we intervened and sent them both packing back to bed.
I wouldn't know about exchanges such as these if it wasn't for my secret weapon. Not a baby monitor or security camera, but a Doof. What is a Doof you may ask? Well I think every household should have one. Doof, aka Sophie, is Stig's eldest daughter who has lived with us for just over two years now. She's become 'Doof' because when Sam was little he couldn't say Sophie and he used to call her Doofie. It stuck in the way things like that do, the majority of Hayes House don't get to be called by their real names, that would be far too easy.
Anyway, our house is somewhat tiny, and Stig and I reside in the small 'granny flat' extension on the side of our house, which means our bedroom is downstairs. So Doof is my eye-in-the-sky when it comes to overhearing random conversations that the kids have freely, safe in the knowledge that there are no parents in the vicinity. They kind of think she's one of them, which is great for us.
Nicki and Jamie cannot tidy their room together without all out war. It's the only thing that is absolutely guaranteed to cause a major falling out between them.
Nicki - "Your so lazy and selfish! I'm telling Mum and Dad!"
Jamie - *Sigh... "Whatever..." She's not remotely arsed by this prospect.
Nicki - "FINE!" (it clearly isn't fine because by now she's catatonic and screaming at Jamie)
"I'm calling the cops and 30 men will be here in 10 minutes!"
Jamie - (Bored with Nicki's outburst but slightly concerned about the prospect of half the local constabulary arriving at our door en mass)
"Can't you just tell Mum and Dad?"