I think it may now be time for gin.
An hour turned into two and a quarter hours.
As forecast, I'd had a Bloody Awful day at work, and I hadn't even closed the front door on arriving home when Friend and Children arrived. But that was because I'm unable to get anywhere or do anything on time, let alone early, so it was a miracle I was home before they got here.
The surprising part about the following two and a quarter hours was that everything was fine. Boy did, indeed, sob as though the world was ending when his mother left, but once I'd balanced a wooden ice-cream on my head and pretended to be a chocolate ice-cream, he was giggling, and we were firm friends after that. In fact, I had to cuddle or carry or be sat upon by Boy for large chunks of the time.
Friend had brought some cereal for her two to have as their supper. They apparently are two of those longed-for children who eat everything at nursery and are therefore not starving when they get home. Mine meanwhile had eaten potatoes, green beans and bananas for lunch, and tomatoes and cake for tea at nursery, so I then stoked him up on cheese sandwiches, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and yoghurt (there was no way on earth I was going to attempt actually cooking anything with an extra two toddlers in the house). Girl ate a modest quantity of her cereal. Boy rejected his, climbed onto my lap and then ate LittleBear's leftover sandwiches, his sister's leftover cereal, some extra sandwiches I made for him and a chunk of cucumber. I call that a result.
Boy then followed me everywhere and wanted to show me everything in a very sweet manner while Girl and LittleBear ran up and down like whirling dervishes until hysteria threatened to win the day. Finally I managed to get all three snuggled up on the sofa with me reading stories and to my great surprise, four books later, BigBear came home. No, he wasn't early. It was 7:40 already.
When Friend attempted to take her children home, Boy rather ungratefully clung to me and sobbed when removed to the car. Being his mother is clearly a tough gig.