“But I miss mummy!” Aaliyah’s bottom lip was trembling and a single solitary tear fell from her eye.

“I know you do honey, but mummy’s not here, is she? You’ll get to speak to her tomorrow morning.”

“But I want to see her. I want to see her now!”

“I know, but mummy’s at home. You don’t want to see her when you stay here at the weekend, so why do you want to see her now? Your sisters and your brother don’t want to see her - they’re all in bed which is where you should be!”

“But I’m different!” Her sentenced stuttered out into silence.

“I know you are - you miss mummy more than the others. But you’ll speak to her tomorrow. Give me a cuddle and a kiss and let’s get you back to bed.”

I was annoyed, yet concerned. It was fast approaching 10pm by now and it was only Monday night. Any more night slike this would ensure tired and ratty kids for the rest of their week with me. Fortunately, after asking if she could sleep on a blanket on the floor, she fell asleep and didn’t wake until the morning.

Things were fine when she got up. In fact, considering there were four of them all getting ready to go to school, we seemed to fly through getting everything prepared for the day. After a small argument where they all wanted to wear raincoats and I insisted that it would be sunny later and they didn’t need coats, we were ready to get on our way. I lost that argument, incidentally, which is just as well thanks to the rain that started pouring as we stepped out of the front door.

We walked to school and stood outside the sweet shop, waiting for Aaliyah and Charisma’s friends to come along. The kids were all playing happily until suddenly Aaliyah came over with her umbrella, which was now in two pieces.

“It’s broken.” She said, showing me the spine of the umbrella which was clearly snapped in two.

I took the handle and tried to see if there was any way of piecing the two parts back together.

“Sorry Lele, there’s no way of fixing that. You need to throw it in the bin.”

Aaliyah’s face fell, her bottom lip wobbled again.

“But I don’t want to…” she said “I can still use it!”

We stood there arguing for a minute or two and eventually Lele changed tack and said that she didn’t want to go to school.

“Charisma’s walking up there now - why don’t you walk with her?” I said, doing my best to encourage her.

“No!” was the reply, “I don’t want to go with her.” She paused again before adding “Can I go through the office?”

The office entrance is strictly forbidden for the kids. I think it’s because it’s the main entrance and there are cars around. Generally kids only go there with adults, and I know from the past that kids going in on their own tend to get told off.

“Fine,” I acquiesced, “but you go in on your own.”

Aaliyah didn’t look too sure, and I figured she’d change her mind and catch up with her sister. Instead she shrugged slightly and meandered off, downtrodden and upset.

I made sure that I watched her go in, broken umbrella still in hand, and I have no doubt that she’ll have a couple of crying sessions at school today which breaks my heart, but I think she needs to learn that there are times when mummy isn’t around.

I’m in town at the moment and am due to pick Aaliyah up at 3.20pm. I’ve just picked her up a new umbrella which I am hoping will put a smile on her face, though I dare say that I’ll get grief from the other three for not getting them something.

Hopefully she’ll be pleased and carry on being in a good mood for me.

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