"You should sleep in your room." I said, "Patrick might keep you awake."
She dropped her toys and climbed onto the bed and said, "What's wrong with my baby boy?"
Patrick looked at her and she took his hand and said, "Hello. Are you having a grumbly time?"
He let out a little moan and she copied it and then said, "It's not easy, being little."
He stared at her, listening intently.
"I was little once." she said.
"You're not exactly a giant now." said Rory.
She gave him one of her looks and said, "Daddy, don't talk when I'm interrupting."
"I think you mean that the other way around." he said.
She kissed Patrick and said, "Poor Patrick! It's sad when you're all grumbly inside and nothing makes you smile. And you're so little you can't even have cake!"
Patrick sighed, as if realising that someone actually understood him for the first time.
"What you need," said Bryony, "Is the most cuddliest thing in the world. Now, you must promise not ever to hurt it. This is my most precious thing and you must give it back tomorrow." Gently, she put her kiwi beside him. His hand fell on it and he gripped it tightly.
"There." she said, "All the grumbly has gone."
Rory picked her up and said, "Well done, Bryony. You're so clever. Now, time you got ready for bed."
"I have to wear my blue 'jamas." she said.
"Why?" said Rory.
"Because they were sad yesterday because I wore the pink ones."
Rory helped her change and then took her to the bathroom to clean her teeth. I heard snatches of their conversation. "But that one isn't dirty. I never used it all day." "The babies don't have to clean their teeth." "The babies don't have any teeth."
I looked at Frances, sleeping peacefully and at Patrick, who was calmly cuddled up to the kiwi and I said to him, "Your big sister loves you."
When Rory and Bryony came back, Bryony jumped onto the bed, waking Frances and said, "Bedtime! Everyone in bed! Time to sleep!"
"Bryony," I said, "We need quiet so we can all sleep."
"Be quiet!" she yelled, "Shhhhh! Everyone be quiet!"
Eventually, we were all in bed and the three youngest members of the family fell asleep, all snuggled up together. I slipped into Rory's arms and whispered, "Hard work, this parent stuff."
"Delegate." he said, "Bryony loves doing it."
"I'm tired." I said.
He stroked my hair and said, "You're off duty. Get some sleep and I'll deal with any infant emergencies."
I rested my head on his chest and said, "I love you."
He laughed softly and said, "You're getting better at saying that."
I fell asleep with his hand still gently stroking my hair.