I throw myself on the floor, hurriedly shoving things underneath the duvet, away from prying eyes. I smooth down my hair and put on my very best innocent face.
“What are you doing Mummy?”
Keeping my voice breezy and casual, I say: “Oh, just making the bed, darling.”
“Can I help?”
Bugger. Think fast, woman. She must not touch the duvet under any circumstances. We need a distraction. “Erm, okay, why don’t you go down and see if there are any clean pillowcases on top of the washing machine?”
I wait until I can hear she’s turned the corner to go downstairs, and I make a run for it, grabbing everything I’ve just hidden in the bed, and transferring it to my weekend bag, which is on the bedroom floor. I manage to sit on the bag and get the zip closed, only breaking one nail in my haste.
“I can’t see any pillowcases Mummy,” says a voice at the door, making me jump a mile. Jesus. How does she do that so quietly? Is she half-ninja?
So now I’ve just got to get the bag downstairs without arousing any suspicion. Dirty tactics are justified in these circumstances. “Hey, Flea, in the lounge, in the sideboard, I think there are some Maltesers left. Why don’t you go and see if you can find them?”
There are no Maltesers.
But all my computer cables are in that drawer and it's such a tangle that it's going to take her at least two minutes to find that out for herself. Of course, nothing moves faster than a four-year-old on a promise of chocolate, and by the time I look up, she's already gone.
As I hear her start rummaging in the drawer, I seize the opportunity to slip downstairs, past the lounge door and into the kitchen, avoiding the squeaky tile. Get the keys from the cupboard, then slip out through the back door to the garage.
I can hear a voice “Mummeee…..where are you? I can't see the Maltesers, Mummy. Mummy?”
She knows something’s going on, but she’s too late. Ha! Mission:Impossible has been achieved. Another bag filled with soft toys, too-small slippers and baby toys has been safely extricated from the house. Phew.
I think being a parent and trying to clear a space in the toy cupboard might actually be the perfect training for becoming a cat burglar.