What to do then, when a tired toddler refuses to release her grip and insists her sense of smell is less acute than mine?
You go undercover.
For fear of screams and tantrums raising the roof by shoe-horning the rabbit away from Grace's steely grip, I decide to go in under the cover of darkness. Tiptoeing across the landing, I pause at the door, quietly listening for regular breathing, the sign of a sleeping child on the other side.
I spit on my hand, the sign of someone about to undertake serious work, and slowly lever the door open. I'm on the back foot, wretched wood-boring Insects chomping away at the floorboards underfoot, conspiring to creak even the most carefully placed foot on floor.
The breathing falters. She sucks hard on the dummy, nom nom, and the breathing regulates again. I carry on.
Now most nights when I creep in to kiss her goodnight, Mr Rabbit is draped casually across her face. Easy pickings for a light-fingered Mummy. Not so today.
As if subconscious from the heated discussions before bed involving washing machines and Mr Rabbit and words including no, never and no way Jose, I find on this night, Mr Rabbit stuffed under her chest, gripped tighter than a beggar with a fifty pound note.
She. Will. Not. Let. Go.
She breathes heavily, lighter. She senses me peeling her fingers open, one at a time, my heart rapid with fear, the thrill! I've done it!! He's in my hand! She's still asleep.
I grab it, jubilant, triumphant, it stinks but I have it. My mission to run the Mr Bun through the wash at 90c is almost complete. I am a winner!
And just as I'm patting myself on the back for being so god damn smart, I stub my toe on the corner of the book shelf, tread on a squeaky toy left idling on the floor and say words I usually save for special occasions. She's stirring.
Cursing, I retreat. Listening at the door for the little girl who realises ever so suddenly that her favourite possession in the world has gone AWOL. It doesn't come. I'm safe. We've made it.
I wash him, dry him and slip him back into her arms so she wakes up to a miracle the next morning. All part of being a Mum.