This Christmas I changed into a monstrous bug...

Sometimes you don’t realise how badly you needed something until you have it. Then you can’t imagine life without it. This is how it was with my onesie.

I scoffed, dear reader, yes, I was one of those unbelievers who scoffed at the thought of an adult-sized babygro but now I have one – thanks to my friend Jane – I never want to be without it. It is a fleecy, all in one ladybird. Red with black spots, it has a little face and antennae on each foot. It zips at the front from the little place at the bottom to the neck and it is the warmest thing you can get in a home with the exception of a sauna. And I don’t like saunas. I once tried one but as I said to the woman on the top shelf: “If it gets any hotter in here, I shall have to take my coat off.”

My husband was also the grateful recipient of a onesie. His has a hood and an appliqu� Christmas tree on the front. He looks like one of Santa’s elves (when he’s wearing it, not all the time). It has, quite unfairly, caused hilarity. Those who laugh clearly don’t have one. They do not know the sublime comfort it offers and, as long as you don’t need the loo too urgently, the oneness of the onesie is not an insurmountable obstacle.

Our three-month old grandson, Bud, who visited us over Christmas seemed impressed that his paternal grandparents had taken the trouble to dress the same way he does.

Too small to unwrap his own presents, we sat in a row, like kindred Teletubbies and watched his mum and dad reveal toys and clothes and teething rings; picture books and things.

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We had bought a travel cot for him and we were a little anxious in case he didn’t take to it. His mum Caitlin reassured us. “He’ll be fine.” She was right. He went off to bed at 7.30pm and we heard nothing through the baby intercom until there was some heavy breathing.

I was instantly concerned but it was ok. It turned out that Bud’s dad (son, Mark) had sneaked upstairs and was doing his Darth Vader impression through the mic. Apparently it’s one of his favourite wheezes.

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When we got to bed after the compulsory Boxing Day board games (Sort it Out and Best of British) Bud still hadn’t stirred.

“He’ll probably wake up at about 4am,” said Mark.

Bud didn’t but I did. I checked the alarm clock, 4.20pm. I listened hard, I couldn’t hear a sound from the next bedroom... was Bud all right? He usually wakes up at this time.

I lay awake, waiting for that telltale grizzle. Nothing.

How could I find out if he was OK? I had no idea, so I did what any sensible woman does in this situation, I woke up my husband.

“Are you awake?” I asked, prodding him gently, well gently-ish.

“No,” he lied.

“I haven’t heard Bud at all.”

“Nor have I... but then I was asleep.”

“I hope he’s all right...”

“I’m sure he is. Go back to sleep.”

Five minutes passes. My husband is a bit rattled too.

“Do you think he’s okay?” he says.

“I don’t know. Perhaps I’d better check...”

And so it was that at 4.45am, a middle-aged woman dressed as a ladybird, sneaked along the landing trying not to stand on the squeaky bits in order to peer in through her son’s bedroom door, which stood ajar.

By craning my neck, I could just see son Mark asleep in bed and Caitlin curled up beside him. I couldn’t quite get a view of the cot; I needed to open the door a bit more. Up till now, I had been silent; stealthy even. I had glided like a shadow through the night; not a sound. But, as I pressed my hand to the door, I realised why 3 in 1 oil is so valuable for people who go sneaking about in the night. The door let out a mighty, prolonged squeak. I froze, ladybird arm half in the bedroom; Mark opened his eyes, closed them and then opened them again and I did the only sensible thing in the circumstances, I legged it back along the landing and hurled myself into bed.

My husband was anxious for news: “Well?”

“Mark woke up but I don’t think he saw me.” I said and snuggled under the duvet.

Day dawned in the way wet December days do – hardly at all – and Mark arrived in the kitchen looking troubled after his Kafkaesque nightmare. “Someone was creeping about in the night. Was it you?” He looked at me, all knowing.

“But I was so quiet.”

“No you weren’t... we heard you walk along the landing.”

My fond hope that I had moved about like a will o’ the wisp was dashed. But the good news was that our grandson had slept soundly for nearly 12 hours... even though the rest of us barely slept at all.

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