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

Monday morning. I can hardly believe it's been a whole year since the last school fair. Specifically, since the time when – armed with the then-three-year-old and a tiny, angry baby – I volunteered to man the bouncy castle. A decision, based on a desire to ingratiate myself into the local parenting community, which backfired rather splendidly when the inflatable palace deflated under my watch – resulting in a pile-up of wailing children.

Twelve months later, enthusiasm has given way to a very powerful sense of apathy. And so it is that the kids and I are slowly weaving our way to nursery. "Look, Mummy, the school fair!" the four-year-old cries out as we pass a brightly coloured banner hanging from the gates, advertising the event which has been the sole source of my daughter's conversation for the past three weeks. "Oh yes," I say, suppressing a shoulder spasm. "Did you know that Lucas said he's going with his mummy and daddy and there's even going to be a BOUNCY CASTLE!" she adds, her eyes suddenly three times their usual size. "AND I'm going to wear my Marvel superhero costume because I didn't get to wear it for World Book Day because you forgot! Why did you forget? And I never even got a red nose on Red Nose Day!"

I nod, acknowledging a series of events which will no doubt be catalogued in my daughter's forthcoming pain memoir. "We'll all go," I say, wrestling something from the toddler's mouth. "When is it?" she asks. "Erm…" I look up at the sign, which reads: 13 June. Last Saturday. "Look," I say, "an aeroplane!"