A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

"My hair keeps touching my bum," the four-year-old announces 3mm from my face, at 6am on Sunday. In a tone which suggests that her long, blonde tresses are a cunning disguise for some terrible pervert.

And so it is that we find ourselves, several hours later, in our kitchen preparing for the ritualistic First Hair Cut. Our daughter swathed in tea-towels and crowbarred into a highchair which is two years' too small. "This is a seminal moment – TAKE A BLOODY PHOTO," I shout at my husband while spraying our first-born's head with water from an old kitchen cleaner spray. A container which, it transpires, is still very much tainted with detergent. "What are you doing?" the child cries as soap bubbles pour down her cheeks. I turn to glare at my husband: "Stop taking bloody photos and help!"

Half an hour later, me and the four-year-old are both in tears. Me, because I've just realised that someone has overzealously scooped the precious First Lock of Hair into the bin, amid the used nappies and wizened pasta entrails.

"It's OK," I console my daughter, while wiping my own tears. "We all have to have our hair cut. In fact, mummy is having her hair dyed next week!" I say. She looks up at me, in horror: "Died?" Not like that, I say, it's to make it blonde again. Blonder. "Blonde like mine?" she asks. Yes, I say. She sniffs: "Is that because when you were little you had blonde hair but now you're old you don't have blonde hair?" Something like that, I concede. She nods. "It's OK, but you're still a person."