Storm Dennis is coming and my husband calls from work to check we are OK.
‘Any news?’ He asks as if I work for the Met Office.
‘It’s raining.’ I say.
‘That’s not news.’
‘Actually, there is news.’ I say picking porridge out of Midnight’s hair as he wipes his nose on my knee.
‘We have a mouse living in our car.’
‘A mouse!’ squeals Mayhem. ‘Milk we have a mouse living in our car!’
My husband lowers his voice. ‘What are you talking about? Have you seen it? How do you know?’
I explain that I found mouse poo in Midnight’s car seat.
‘That is disgusting! I can’t believe it!’
‘It’s quite common apparently.’ I say defensively.
My husband laughs but it’s the sort of wild laugh the baddie does in the movie before they push the red button.
I don’t know why he is so shocked. He has been an integral and enthusiastic guest at our ‘car picnics’. Long ago we realised eating in the car before or after a walk is better than spending £60 on a pub lunch while chasing small children round the table.
I try and diffuse the situation. ‘I’ll clean it out. No more car picnics.’ I tell the boys who look like I’ve told them they won’t eat again.
My husband is placated but the next morning he picks up the car keys.
‘Are you checking on my cleaning?’
‘We need loo roll,’ my husband says.
‘But there’s a storm!’ I say dramatically.
‘I know but we need loo roll. I don’t know how we can run out of loo roll.’
I stare at him as he pulls on his coat, and I’m a little surprised his head hasn’t caught fire with my laser-eye beam burning into his skull.
‘What?’ he looks up a little unnerved.
‘You don’t know how we can run out of loo roll?’
‘I do!’ Shouts Milk from the bathroom. ‘Because Mayhem wees on the floor and we put all the toilet roll on top of it.’
‘And…’ I call back.
‘Because Milk uses it as a blanket for his dog.’ shouts Mayhem.
‘And…’ I start but my husband waves his hands in the air. ‘OK I get it. So, no one uses it to wipe their bum?’
‘Bum!’ Screeches Mayhem. ‘Daddy said BUM!’
‘Well I use it for that.’ I say sheepishly ‘Don’t you?’
‘Of course. That’s why I’m going to get toilet roll.’
Midnight is pulling at my leg. ‘Eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh.’
Midnight spends his days wandering from room to room, looking for cars or biscuits and climbing into the Tupperware cupboard. When he has exhausted these means of entertainment he says ‘eh eh eh eh eh’ until someone gives in and picks him up.
‘Do you want to take the baby?’ I say trying to hand him over to my husband.
‘I’m not taking a baby out in a storm just because you don’t want to play cars.’
I have to agree it is a little extreme.
When he returns with the toilet roll, he says ‘I didn’t see any mouse poo.’
‘Maybe it’s gone.’ I say relieved that picking up bits of old sandwich and a black ball that was once a tangerine was successful.
‘The car mouse has gone!’ Says my husband happily.
Milk starts crying. ‘But I loved the car mouse. I want another car mouse.’
Mayhem joins in. ‘I love the car mouse too. I want the car mouse.’
Midnight senses the mood and throws himself on the floor rolling his head from side-to-side leaving bits of biscuit and slimy snot trails on the carpet.
‘It’s OK. It will come back,’ says my husband tramping upstairs to the loo.
He’s right. It will be back.
As sure as the rain falls, so the crumbs collect, wherever we go.