“Are you ready for a story?” I enquire, walking into the kids’ bedroom to see figures balancing precariously on their beds still in their day clothes, flying a small toy figure around in the pull cord of the electric ceiling fan.
“Yes!” they chorus.
I point out the lack of pyjamas.
"You can read to us while we get into pjs," they say, continuing to play.
I decline to start down that slippery slope of insubordination and shake my head in a stern motherly manner.
“I command you,” declaims Youngest, dramatically throwing out an arm in a grand gesture.
“I’m the queen around here,” I reply and exit strategically before we get into an argument that will go nowhere.
From my computer next door I hear fierce whispers, as they exhort each other to get undressed.
“SHE won’t read to us unless we do,” Youngest hisses across the room at her older siblings.
In a matter of minutes I am recalled.
“We’re ready!” and I return to see Youngest just pulling her pyjama top over her head and slipping into bed.
Long may the pull of a good story work as a failsafe bedtime carrot.