“Mummy, I play hide and seek?”
“Ok”, I smile, amused. I think hide and seek is more fun with toddlers than it is with kids who are old enough to grasp the concept of the game.
“Mummy, you hide in my bed,” says Big Toddler, tucking me in. “I go count.”
I’m not sure if I’m still meant to make the effort to remain motionless under the covers, considering she already knows where I am. I lie still and in silence anyway; maybe she’ll forget.
She runs to the other room and I hear her shouting “One, two, ten! Ready or not, here I come.”
In the meantime, Wee Toddler, who currently refuses to ever leave my side, unless there are biscuits involved, has climbed under the duvet alongside me. “One, two, ten!” she loudly shouts, over and over, until her sister has found us. She’s only one, but she’s already figured out what inconspicuous means. She climbs all over me, ignoring me as I try to explain you’re meant to stay still.
Big Toddler comes into the room. You can hear her slowly sneaking up on the bed. I prepare myself to feign surprise. I can’t help audibly sniggering as I hear the mattress creaking when she edges her way towards me.
Wee Toddler suddenly bursts through the sheet. “Boo!” her voice booms. They laugh in unison, genuinely surprised.
“Mummy, I hide my bed?” Big Toddler pleads.
I reluctantly pull myself from the bed. That’s one thing I love about hide and seek: you get to lie down, uninterrupted, for several moments, in a row. That is almost unheard of in parenting, in case you were wondering.
I count exaggeratedly, letting her know I’m coming, allowing her enough time to properly hide under the duvet I already know she’s under. It takes me about five minutes to reach her anyway, since I’m walking with a limp thanks to wee toddler clinging to my leg.
I finally enter the room. She’s lying on the bed in plain sight, looking straight at me. I avoid eye contact, pretending I didn’t see her. I look in silly places: in drawers, the toilet, the fridge. She laughs at me like I’m a complete idiot.
“Oh, I can’t see her anywhere, where is she?” I ask Wee Toddler.
“There she is!” she declares, pointing at her and also looking at me like I’m a complete idiot.
“Your turn, Mummy!”
I wait until she leaves the room and change my hiding place, trying to add a bit of variety to the game.
She comes into the room. I can instantly see in her face that I’ve committed a terrible error.
“Mummy back in bed. I go count,” she instructs, bossily, disappointed in my deviation from the rules.
I guess if you want to be included in toddler games you have to stick to toddler rules. It might be repetitive as hell, but at least you get to pretend to sleep for a while. It’s almost like a glimpse of what real sleep must be like.