With a room to myself, I was able to plot my strategy for the next day. Honestly, it’s a military operation but if there’s anything experience has taught me when dealing with Sophie, it’s to be prepared!

I laid out all her clothes for the following day, with nappies, medication and water cup readily available, just in case. The monitor was propped up opposite the bed (silence so far!) and I settled down to sleep, nervously anticipating the night ahead.

With Sophie’s new pattern to be wide awake around 6am, I was prepared to dive up and rescue my friends from two hours of a noisy child by spiriting her away downstairs should the need arise.

Imagine my surprise then therefore when the clock ticked past 7am and there was still no sign nor sound of my baby girl.

Granted it was pouring down outside so the rooms were still really dark but I had not heard a peep. Maybe all this 6 o’clock waking was catching up with her! I was able to have a leisurely shower and get myself sorted for the day – I even saw other leaders up and about before I went in to retrieve a slowly stirring Sophie.

Breakfast time was really fun. She gobbled up her Weetabix, chirpily flicking bits of lumpy cereal at smiling observers who were amazed by her spoon abilities. To be fair, she is pretty good now! I fed her up royally, cereal, toast, fruit…she was a very happy girl.

The first session began at 9 and we positioned ourselves at the back of the room. It was quite a quiet teaching session though so my giddy daughter was struggling to control her enthusiasm. Without thinking, we’d packed noisy toys and there were at least two moments when people participating in the session looked over in alarm as she pressed the emergency services noise on her keys! Whirr whirr can be quite troubling when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The sound of an ambulance during a sermon is a little off-putting!

The sound of an ambulance during a sermon is a little off-putting!

Sensing tiredness I bundled her back into her cot at 10am and crash off she went to sleep again. For an hour and a half! Wow. It meant I was able to take part fully and she woke up just in time for coffee break. By this time she was far too alert and hyper so we patrolled the corridors using her walker, gallivanted up and down the staircase (it did look fun! One of those double staircases with a break in the middle) and went in search of a bath for later. No such luck.

I tried to sit her on my knee at the table for the final session before lunch but once again she was having none of it. I needed her to be rescued by a helpful leader – thanks Nicole!

At lunchtime, I again took the tactic of feeding her up (carrot muffin, bread, soup, sweetcorn rings, tomatoes, bits of ham and cheese as well as fruit) and this entertained her for some time. It probably tired her out again as well as by two o’clock she was back tucked up and fast asleep! It was amazing.

When she got up at half three, there wasn’t long for her to hold out. She learned to whack her blocks on the window of the session room (nooo, Sophie stop!) and to clamber along people’s legs. She even managed to accuse me of being Mafia during a circle game and she took half an hour to consume half of an apple. All these strategies come in handy!

By the time dinner rolled around, she’d investigated the activity centre grounds, hung out with some chickens and almost steam-rollered ten leaders out of the way as she careered through the dining room on her walker. What a day!

We found no bath so it was a scrub-down and milk before placing her back into the car and setting off for home. Tom, Ellen and Ellie amongst others all helped this dad-in-need to make sure we got away safely! Thanks!

A two hour journey later and we were home and she was safely snuggled up in her own cot for yet more sleeping. Night away by myself? Easy!