“Must wake up, must wake up,” thinks the Mother. “Come on, seize the day or at least make a half-arsed attempt to.” The Mother is not a morning person. She always finds it a struggle to get out of bed first thing, particularly when it is cold and dark outside which it isn’t. But well going back to my first point she’s not a morning person, “Must open my eyes. Come on, you can do it,” she thinks, but she can’t.
The Mother is teaching at a nursery today. The nursery is 10 minutes from her home, and the children are lovely, but her bed is lovely too. It’s warm and soft and one of her favourite places in the whole wide world.
She forces herself to open her eyes and is greeted by a stream of sunlight. The bright rays pour into the room, and by default her face too. “Fuck, daylight. What time is it? Have I overslept?”
Her eyes gradually adjust to the light, and it is then she notices something strange. There is a little girl, perhaps three or four, fast asleep next to her. “That’s not my daughter,” thinks the Mother, but that isn’t the only thing that’s odd. The Mother is sitting on a giant purple beanbag and is not, as she first thought, tucked up in her queen-sized bed. “Curiouser and curiouser,” thinks the Mother, “have I fallen down a rabbit hole and drunk the potion marked ‘Drink me’?” No, she hasn’t; she has fallen asleep in the book corner, again.
Realising she is not at home but actually at work brings her to her senses immediately. “Shit,” thinks the Mother, “how long have I been asleep? Has anyone noticed?” She scans the room. One of the nursery nurses is busy writing observations, and the other is by the sink, trying to get red paint out of her trousers – good luck with that.
The Mother looks down and sees that she is still clutching the book she was reading. She remembers now – Hariatu had asked her to read We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. They’d got about halfway through, and then both fallen asleep during the snowstorm –she seems to remember “Hooo woooo, hooo wooo”.
Going On A Bear Hunt is a fantastic book but one which the Mother has read 15,000 times. There are days when she wonders if there is a single child in Southwark who has not heard her read this story. “Better get up,” thinks the Mother. “It might be time for the children to get their coats and go home, or it could be time for their lunch. Who knows?”