Take H6, for example, on Friday, when I was the Mummy Who Forgot (sausage rolls for party) then the Mummy Who Threw Things Away. H6 said the sausage rolls didn't matter (someone else remembered, didn't matter who, wasn't important) then went into raptures of delight over her tidy bedroom. So I'm not Really Horrid Mummy, I turned out to be Very Nice Mummy after all and quite by accident.
It seems that, despite my fears that I am a completely hopeless parent, I've actually got a couple of adorable little children.
They do nice, thoughtful things too, like H6, this afternoon, guiding rain-splattered me into the house, as a tug would guide in an aircraft carrier, as I struggled under an Everest of damp washing. I went blindly into the house whinging and wailing and instructing small people to "MOVE OR YOU'LL GET SQUISHED"! Next there were gentle, soft hands, kindly guiding me in. Adorable.
Then this weekend grown-up also adorable children arrived from Down Under. They were the third in a series of four heading off on post graduate round the world tickets courtesy of their granddad. All three so far have been absolutely delightful, good-looking and sporty, full of humour and good cheer, totally uncomplaining, and absolute paragons.
They are the offspring of my cousin StB, who lives in Melbourne, and we used to hear all about them in the annual Christmas letter. We used to snigger into our beards a bit (all right, a lot) at this annual list of their good deeds and incredible academic, sporting and musical accomplishments. But, having met three-quarters of them (and I'm sure the fourth will be the same) we have to admit that their fond mother, ShB, was speaking nothing but the truth and perhaps even playing it down a little.
Take this weekend's pair, for example. My second cousin, AB, is a recently qualified midwife who put herself through college by working as a nanny. My children immediately fell totally in love with the Minogue-soundalike. AB is also very attractive (slim and blonde) with a 1,000 watt smile and a very tall, equally handsome, affable triathlon-fit boyfriend. Being such sporty types they were delighted with the heaps of fresh veggies I cooked for dinner and that there was wholemeal toast at breakfast. They were polite, well mannered and, like their older brother and sister who have already visited, totally adorable.
Back to my own adorable little ones, though. We've just survived the annual torment that is School Sports Day. Mine dressed head to toe in red to support their house, Cerwyn, and bounced excitedly off to school clutching red coated bears as mascots. They ran their races, with varying degrees of success (H6 third in her run, last in the egg and spoon; R4s last in her run, second in the egg and spoon) and cheered madly for their team mates.
Then came the dreaded mothers' race. I had to have a go, H6 and R4 were screaming for me to take part. Such a shame I missed the 'ready, steady, go' bit and was left standing, surprised at the start. I had a lovely view of the mums fighting it out at the front of the race, but I did manage to pass a few others on the way to the finish, so I didn't totally disgrace myself. Rumour has it that the winner, by the way, is a former elite athlete who has represented her country at the Commonwealth or Olympic Games. Which explains why she left the start at 'steady' instead of 'go' I suppose.
Brian, meanwhile, enjoyed a moment of glory leading the Dads' race until being pipped by two slightly more youthful dads who realised, towards the end of the sprint, that someone ten years their senior was in front of them and they'd better look sharp. H6 and R4 said that Daddy was third and Mummy was tenth. Neither of us have any idea who came where, we were too busy restarting our hearts and learning to breathe again.
* The photograph shows the adorable pair in their adorable Hunter wellies. They wanted proof that the bits at the back were reflective. Adorable.