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The Redster: Nearly eight
The Cutester: Four and a half


The Redster has been nervous. Year three is the start of juniors, so no more being top of the food chain in the playground or at lunchtime, and in her one experience of junior school lunch a year four girl stood up to say grace – so she’s been convinced this duty will be forced on her sometime in the first week. I think all sorts of things built up in her mind in anticipation, but on the actual day, all went well. We were so ahead of the ten-minute-earlier start that we practically witnessed the janitor opening the school gates, but not quite, and the Redster was so pleased to see her friends, and they her, that she didn’t seem fazed by her two best girlfriends having matching Hello Kitty pencil cases with three separate compartments stuffed with everything including protractors.

As usual for the beginning of a school year, the parents formed a foolish-looking huddle as the children filed in and sat down, taking turns to crane our necks round the door of the classroom and generally point and titter. Junior school looks different. There is less of the brightly-coloured nursery look you get in infants, the chairs are bigger, the tables are bigger, and that leaves no room for a patch of carpet to sit on. That’s it. No more carpet time. Something gone for ever. I feel very emotional about that carpet.

Well, goodbye carpet, but hello Eljay the Elephant. He came home from school with us yesterday, along with a diary, to record what he gets up to between hometime and 8.50am the following morning. I turned to the previous day’s entry, written by a boy who is notorious in the year for being, shall we say, high-spirited:

‘Me and Eljay watched TV. We watched Horrid Henry. Then we went upstairs we played my gutar. We played a song I made up on the gutar called the Chicken Flushed His self down the Toilet. Then we made up some more songs so there is a whole serees. They are all very rude.’

That boy has now gone way up in my estimation… it was a hard act to follow, but Eljay did not lack stimulation in our home either, especially when he got caught in the crossfire of a ripe tomato fight.