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Redster: Five and a quarter
Cutester: Two


Birthdays two days after Christmas are proving good in one way – you’re already surrounded by relatives in a festive present-giving sort of atmosphere, so it’s just a bit more of the same.

On the morning of her birthday the Cutester reveals she has an inkling of what’s in store:

Babymother: Do you want Weetabix or oats?
Cutester: CAKE!

Cake is not offered, so her sister and four-year-old cousin watch her tuck into Weetabix instead.
Parisienne princess cousin: She’s so cute!
Redster: But Parisienne princess cousin, she won’t be cute for much longer.
PPC: Don’t be silly Redster! She’ll always be cute!
Redster: No she won’t. Look at my mummy. She’s not cute.
Ganny intervenes: Your mummy is my baby and I think she’s cute.
Redster: Ganny, were you ever a baby?
Ganny: It may seem hard to believe – but I was somebody’s baby once…
PPC: Ganny is Gandad’s baby.

You see, this is why eventually I have to write a blog, in case I forget the dialogue.

The Cutester is a gorgeous two-year-old. She’s very articulate, in her own way, probably so she can express her opinions as forcefully as possible. She’s as exacting in her bedtime routine as the Redster – nappy, sleeping bag, story, into cot, baby, bear, blanket, and these must all be positioned correctly, or else. In the morning she asks very politely for them to come out with her: ‘Oh baby? Oh bear? Oh banket!’ All very cute, but she has developed a violent streak. One Thursday morning I was chatting away at the women’s group when the door from the creche opened, ten minutes early, and in came a creche helper bearing the Cutester. I assumed it was a nappy change but I was wrong.

‘Sorry,’ said the helper, ‘I just didn’t know what to do with her.’

The fact was – she was being expelled! A fact I have told almost everyone I know with great glee. This is another example of second-child chill-out; when the Redster did some bashing at this stage I phoned one of the church kids workers for advice, in tears, convinced she was heading for an ASBO.

The Cutester likes to bash. She does this mostly without provocation, usually in the face, and if glasses go flying in the process, so much the better. It gets a lot worse when she is teething and she’s currently sprouting some more molars. She’ll say sorry if asked to, but I’m fairly sure it means nothing at all to her and she feels no remorse whatsoever. At Christmas I was standing and holding the Cutester, chatting to the aunt she calls Snally, when the Cutester launched a sudden attack on her aunt’s face. Snally grabbed her fist in time – and then the one which followed – so that the Cutester was completely handcuffed. She looked perplexed for a moment, then put her head on her aunt’s shoulder, looked at me with enormous eyes and said, ‘Oh bash Snally?’

Permission was not granted.