Tonight, putting my children to bed, all three of us over tired, grumpy and cold, I tried the usual routine of stories, cuddles, singing, kisses, tucking in and putting on music.
Somehow I seemed to get it all wrong.
Jellybean wanted a different CD - but he's broken or scratched all of the others so only one will play.
He wanted a specific toy which I couldn't find.
Midget Gem wanted to be on the top bunk, which he can't get to.
Jellybean wanted to steal Midget Gem's favourite toy.
The music started to skip, because the one remaining CD is scratched now too.
The little lights that give them comfort won't turn on.
They were both screaming, I was trying to stay calm, I was trying to tuck them both in because neither will settle if their blankets aren't right - but as soon as I had one tucked in and went to do the other the first kicked themselves free, and I was up and down like a Jack in the box.
I left the room, shut the door and left them to it. They screamed. Three times they came out of their room and ran in separate directions and I quietly herded them back.
Jellybean shouted "I don't love you any more" and then "I want my REAL Mummy, I want my PROPER Mummy". I went to give him a hug and he pushed me away. Midget Gem tried to kiss him, and he hit him. I told him off, and he hit me. Midget Gem hit me and told me to go away.
I went away.
I heard a smashing noise and ran back in - one of them had thrown a toy and knocked a picture from the wall, smashing the glass in the frame. It was one I made myself to decorate the nursery when I was expecting Jellybean. It's been precious to me for four years.
To more echoes of "Go away" and "I don't love you" I had two options.
Cry. Or cuddle.
I cuddled. I picked them both up, sat on the floor, pinned them to me, started humming and kissed them both over and over and over and over again.
Gradually the fight went out of them, and they stopped hitting me and screaming. With just little hiccups they agreed to go to bed if I sang to them.
I sang, I tucked them in and I hoped that this time, an hour after starting, they would stay.
This time they stayed.
This time when I was shutting the door I saw Midget Gem blow me a kiss, and Jellybean said "I love you Mummy".
It was worth it.
Now I'm having some wine.