This morning we had one of those early starts, the ones you get so used to in the first years of having babies. As my children move out of the toddler years, I'm pleased to say these unhappy, uncivilised sessions of parenting are becoming less frequent. However, this does mean that whenever I hear the padding of bare feet into our room at some ungodly hour, it's an almighty struggle not to snap, "It's still night time, go back to bed!" It's also unrealistic now it's getting light before 7 am.
Desperately clinging to the last vestiges of sleep, I usually let them into our bed, cuddle up and pretend to myself they are going to be quiet, peaceful and even still for a while. But of course they squirm and chat at full volume, they unintentionally thrust a car or corner of a book in my eye. Eventually, one or other of us will relent and get up to play downstairs with the wakeful one.
However, I do have a trick up my sleeve which works like magic, quietly occupying my little ones for ages - or at least until it's a more reasonable time to get up. And although I have to join in with this activity eventually, it's a gentle, gradual involvement which actually puts me in a good mood for the day (with the addition of a huge cup of coffee, of course).
To my children, my jewellery boxes are the ultimate treasure trove. I only possess costume jewellery so I have no qualms about allowing my inquisitive pair to rummage through them. They are old enough to know the jewellery is not to be thrown or stretched, but they also know - because they've played this one a few times now - that each piece has a story. And now the museologist in me emerges, as I from sleep, to share their stories upon request.
You've heard of Radio 4's recent series The History of the World in 100 objects? Well, my jewellery collection is a history of mummy in 100 trinkets and baubles!
They are always so interested to hear (again and again) where that ring came from, "An 18th birthday present from my mum and dad, and yes, one of the stones is missing. The 'diamond' choker and bracelet I wore for my wedding - yes, you've seen the photographs, you can see me wearing them. The bracelet of interlocking squares from nana? - that's right, I can't wear it any more - the catch is broken. And that bangle made from cardboard, glitter and glued-on buttons? You made that one for me. On your first day at nursery."
So, although I can't honestly say I wouldn't rather be asleep at 6.00 in the morning, sharing memories about personal and precious objects with my little ones is definitely the next best thing.