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Redster: Five and a quarter
Cutester: Two

Nursery for the Cutester is approaching fast. One of the casualties will be our two favourite toddler groups on Wednesday and Friday mornings. At the Wednesday one I get to lead the singing every other week, a heady and glamourous occasion which strangely has not resulted in me being head-hunted by Cbeebies, but there’s still one more week, so watch this space. (The chap who led the toddler singing at the library with a ukelele disappeared suddenly one Tuesday and we all reckon he got signed by a major studio.)

My set generally comprises ‘Wheels on the Bus’, ‘Old Macdonald’ ‘Big Red Bus’ (toddlers can’t get enough of public transport), ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’, ‘The Dingle-Dangle Scarecrow’, ‘Zoom Zoom zoom’ and leads inexorably to ‘Sleepy Bunnies,’ which no self-respecting toddler sing-along can do without. For the verse the children lie on the floor (the Cutester loves this song so much that last week she was lying on the floor for the two preceding songs, in anticipation) until the cue ‘Wake up Bunnies!’ and then while the adults clap and sing ‘Hop little bunnies, hop hop hop’ the centre of the circle turns into a sort of infant mosh pit while they all go beserk, leaping up and down and laughing and shaking their shakers. I have to admit that that moment is my favourite moment of the whole week. There is something about a dozen toddlers all being overjoyed at once that sends my seretonin levels, or endorphin levels, or whatever it is that makes you feel blissed out, through the ceiling. I’m going to miss it.

Redster: Five and a quarter
Cutester: Two

for two minutes of unbearable cuteness as the Redster teaches her little sister to count to twenty. You’ll also notice that the whole gig is just a distraction from the pain inflicted on the Cutester by her big sister dumping her on her bottom, after attempting to lift her up (it’s the climax to the song ‘Zoom zoom zoom / we’re going to the moon’ but you really have to be a older than five to do the zooming part).

N.B. the small table they are sitting at is not a sort of quarantine zone for children to keep them out of the adults’ hair while they eat supper. They elected to sit there of their own free will, really they did.

Redster: Five and a quarter
Cutester: Two

Not only am I the mother of a five-year-old who finally learnt to ride her bike unaided (without stabilisers. I was her stabiliser. The last time she nearly hit the pavement I grabbed her and accidentally punched her in the eye. I am a rubbish stabiliser. She’s been managing on her own since.)

Not only am I the mother of a five-year-old who has lost her first tooth (and plays the Tooth Fairy game in the full knowledge that it’s mum and dad who leave the money, as I overheard her tell the lodger, so my fears of deception are allayed.)

Yes, I am also the mother of an only-just-two-year-old who is.. wait for it… dry!

This is a specialist parental term not related to alcohol but to the wearing of Big Girl Pants and not getting them wet, or not very often. I’m sorry to say I’ve been talking about not much else for over a week now. I can’t believe she’s done it. I stayed in for a whole weekend with her, alternately bursting into applause and mopping up wee, and it wasn’t looking good. By the middle of the following week she was so competent that she was getting through entire days without an accident. OK, there was one during Obama’s inauguration speech, but heck, I thought that was fair enough, plus it gives me excellent material for the wedding (I’m starting to collect anecdotes now. Maybe that should be money…).

So – being dry paves the way to nursery, as the one I like doesn’t do nappies. After half-term she’ll be doing three mornings a week. Then she’ll go to school, around the world, university, around the world, and get married, so really, my work is done.