Entering the dark sitting room I shuffle to the mantelpiece to switch on the lamp that lives there (top parenting tip: keep your house half-lit at all times so light doesn’t reach the corners and the piles of things that lurk there). I reach up for the switch. It’s gone.
“Where’s my lamp?” I bellow.
“Oh. That lamp. I’ve borrowed it,” calls Middle Child.
“Bring it back.”
He appears, with lamp.
“I need a lamp,” he says.
“Ok, we’ll go to Ikea and choose you one.”
What? That went badly. I hate Ikea.
“Or, you can have that one in the corner,” I say, nodding at the tall paper column that requires a bungee jump to switch on as it lives behind our so-old-it’s-the-size-of-a-people-carrier-TV.
We exchange lamps. I put mine back on the mantelpiece, twisting it round so the new squiggle of graffiti on the faux suede shade is to the back. Actually, it’s a nice touch, urban, edgy and they did use toning paint. I turn it back to the front.
He disappears, there’s thudding from upstairs for some time, then he’s back.
“Eldest and I have rearranged my room. Looks really good.”
“Excellent. I’ll pop up and see it.”
“Well no. We’ve rearranged it. Not tidied. I’ll do that later.”
“I’m coming up now.”
“Ok. One minute, I’ll just turn off the light and switch on my lamp.”