Friends have a five-year-old son with waaaaay too much energy. He makes Sprog 2 look listless. I had dinner at their place the other night and chuckled at their utensils drawer: tongs, mixing spoons, knives … and a wide selection of handballs. Because you never want to find yourself handball-less with that little tornado. His need to be in constant motion can make him a handful sometimes. But my friends have learned not to fight every battle. Sometimes it’s better to agree to his action-boy demands, even when every fibre of their being resists. And they’ve found that going with the flow can be fun. So I took their advice and applied it to my Husband-free Sunday with the Sprogs. But it ended in total, unmitigated disaster. Let me start at the beginning … My quest to be more relaxed, fun mummy began at breakfast, when I agreed to make evil bacon sandwiches for the Sprogs. Then I took them to the library. They didn’t ask to play tip in the park – Husband’s usual trick – as Sprog 2 was worried about slipping on the rain-sodden grass and getting her party dress dirty (Sprog 2 prefers to over-dress for every occasion). At the library, I offered to read to them. They used to beg me to do it, but I could never be shagged. I got turned down – they just wanted to get their books and go. Right, well, missed my window on that touching stage of parenthood. After lunch (and a Diet Coke pep-up) I took them to the pool. I wore my swimmers, which is highly out of character for me. I hate water. Drinking it, swimming in it … An old boyfriend sent me flowers once, with a card that read: For a Pisces who doesn’t like water, some flowers to put in it. (Feeling a bit deja vu, have I told you that one before?) The water at our local pool tends to be on the chilly side – well, not soupy – so full immersion was a big step for me. I suggested playing tip in the water, which was a huge hit, until I half-drowned Sprog 1 and made her cry. When we got home, I bunged them in front of a David Attenborough DVD. Educational, right? And I did some frenzied week-ahead cooking: chicken mole, curried sausages plus miso salmon for dinner that night. Totally knackered afterwards. Fortunately it was beer o’clock by then – well, nearly – and a glass of Peterson’s rose got me through a game of Jenga. So far, so good. But, after dinner, everything fell apart. The neighbours knocked on the front door. They’d been away for a few days and wanted the mail I’d been collecting for them. Couldn’t find the effing mail anywhere. Last place I remembered seeing it was on the roof of my car, where I put it while I took the hula hoops out of the boot, before driving Husband to work … I turned the house upside down in the vain hope it was there. Finally, I went next door and confessed to having misplaced the mail, but promised to find it. Went home, summoned the energy to read a Dirty Berty book to the Sprogs. Previously had plans for jolly hijinks like tickling etc in bed. No longer had it in me. Relaxed, fun mummy gone. Replaced by frenzied, panicked mummy, wandering the streets, scrabbling through bins, lying on the road holding a torch under parked cars. I will have to confess this morning. Or maybe I could just let them read about it on the blog? Dear Diane, I am sooooo sooooo sooooooooooo sorry, but I’ve accidentally scattered your mail to the four winds … No, that would be cowardly. I’ll take them a bottle of champagne and the one soggy letter I recovered. I will express deep remorse. They might forgive me, one day.