Redster: Five years and four days
Cutester: 21 months

and the Redster’s getting on alright too. This is the start of her second week, mornings only, and next week she goes full time.

All my worst fears were unfounded. Actually my worst fear, which cost me all but two hours’ sleep the night before she started, was not getting to the school on time. How would it be possible, when I was consistently 3-8 minutes late for nursery every morning? In the event of course, with babyfather pulling out all the stops for a change, we were standing at the door with our coats on about 20 minutes before we needed to be.

As for the Redster’s frame of mind – she has been excited about going to school all summer, all 12 weeks of it. She never once admitted to being nervous. On the big day she wore her Special Occasion knickers that are usually reserved for weddings (unfortunately they were in demand again on Thursday for her birthday and she had to wear her Second Best pair instead because the laundry service I provide is not efficient enough). The absolutely best thing was that we’d had two meetings with a classmate-to-be in September, and on that first morning they flung their arms round each other in the playground and walked into their class hand in hand.

The uniform renders me totally gooey. It’s seeing her little round face and dimpled hands constrained by stiff white collar and cuffs and the ridiculous elasticated tie. She marches on ahead of me and the Cutester with her pony tail and school book bag swinging, completely self-assured, and it causes my eyes to get misty and my throat lumpy and so on and so forth.

And then, as Chilled Mum pointed out, becoming a School Parent is like starting a new job. Not only am I trying to get my head around the fact that I will probably be turning up at this institution every weekday at 9 for the next seven years of my life, or ten, but I’m expected to read mountains of memos and newsletters and fill in forms for the next day and have money ready and know when school events are going to happen and this all on top of turning her out in a clean uniform every morning. If I’d applied for the job I’m not sure I’d have got it.