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

The overnight work trip to Dresden could have gone better. Perhaps if I hadn't sauntered into the sauna within minutes of arrival, only to be met by a sea of naked Germans. Or if my instinctive reaction had not been: walk in, shriek, run out.

Indeed, the break might still have been saved if I hadn't then had to endure an entire meal in the hotel dining-room surrounded by the same Germans, now fully-clothed, in a room so quiet I could hear my heart scrape along the floor.

Nevertheless I would soon be home, safe in the bosom of my family. Right after the five-hour stopover in Leipzig, a city which I've read much about of late as 'the new Berlin'. Though I couldn't attest to that, having failed to leave the vicinity of the airport concourse. Though I did happily manage to find among the €10 magnets and cut-price bottles of Jägermeister, a packet of pirate-themed plasters, which would surely please the four-year-old.

Fast-forward to the following morning and I watch the glee spread across my daughter's face as she unwraps her present. "Did you know in Germany they call daddies 'farters'?" I say as we fall about laughing. Farters! Oh it's good to be home, I sigh, momentarily caught up in the moment.

"Hey," I add with a conspiratorial wink, "AND did you know in Germany they call plasters 'tampons'? Ha!" The four-year-old stares back at me: "What's a tampon?" Erm, I say, suddenly propelled back to reality. What? "A TAMPON," she says. "What is that?" Oh look, I say, pinching the baby under the table: "Your brother's crying!"