Having sleepless nights again

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Mums and dads with very young children, you really have no idea how good you’ve got it.

Being woken for the day, hours before dawn, by a shrieking 2ft tall drill sergeant might feel like an ordeal, especially when you’re so exhausted there are moments during the day when you aren’t sure if you’re awake or asleep.

It might not feel like it now, in fact, after years of getting by on three hours’ sleep a night while at the same time running a house and holding down a job, it definitely won’t feel like it now, but believe me when I tell you that these are the golden years.

Yeah, sorry to break that to you. This is as good as it gets.

Didn’t tell you that in antenatal classes, did they?

When it’s 5.30 on an October morning and little Bamm-Bamm is running riot on your wooden floors that seemed like a good idea pre-kids but sounds like Animal from the Muppets during a drum solo as they hurl their toys on it, at least you know where they are and who they’re with.

Our daughters are 18 and 16 now and are basically working their notice at the home we built for them. Yep, you can cut as many crusts off their packed lunch sandwiches as you like, but when they leave, it’ll be without a backwards glance.

We had a particularly fraught time of it at an open day at one of the finest universities in the country recently.

We were left in no doubt as to how amazing it is because the course leader wouldn’t stop banging on about just how marvellous it was during his 45-minute lecture.

Honestly, I’ve met less pushy ‘chuggers’ on Penny Street, Lancaster.

And after the hard-sell, there was a bus ride to the student halls. Situated in one of the city’s more, er, vibrant areas. Three miles from campus. That looked and felt like Yarl’s Wood detention centre. If Yarl’s Wood detention centre was in a country that had just fought and lost a long, bloody and expensive war. And the rent’s £140 a week. Payable 41 weeks a year.

And it was grotty. Like really grotty. And the student loan doesn’t cover it.

Not even close.