Almost from Betty's first day of starting school (six weeks ago) she has been nagging us to let her go on the school bus.
I had reservations, mainly because I thought she was too young. I felt that she needed her mum or dad to walk her up the playground to her classroom, hang her coat up, put her book bag in the right place, and make her squirm by trying to sort her hair out, wipe the porridge off her face, and kiss her goodbye in front of her teacher.
To make myself feel better, I reasoned that Betty taking the school bus would mean I would avoid having to awkwardly manoeuvre my people carrier in amongst the Range Rovers and BMWs in the miniscule school carpark. I also wouldn't have to face thin and glamorous mums every single morning and afternoon, who all stare at my greasy hair and protruding stomach and probably wonder whether or not it is safe to congratulate me on my impending birth (it's not).
This school bus is pretty tame - it's a little minibus, and the journey from our house to the school is about two minutes, along a country road, including a Postman Pat-style railway bridge. So after a lot more nagging from Betty, and Tom telling me she would be absolutely fine, I finally agreed.
Betty has been going to and from school on the school bus since Monday - my innocent sweet little girl got on the bus at the end of our driveway at 8.33am, and then got off the bus again at 3.33pm about ten years older.
I have been finding cryptic notes written by older kids, in Betty's book bag, which mainly consist of random letters or pictures. When I ask Betty what they are or who wrote them, she tells me she is in a secret club with five other children, and I am not allowed to know what they say. Aside from the secret club, one note was clearly meant for me and said: 'Can S come to my house for tea?' When I asked Betty who 'S' was, she told me that she is her new best friend, but is NOT a member of the secret club.
Using my best detective skills I have worked out a couple of their rules; whenever Dolly tries to enter a room, Betty barricades the door and says: 'You can only come in if you call me Princess'. Trousers are also a big no-no - Tom, Dolly and I all got chastised for this.
Tomorrow the whole school are going to Cardiff to visit a Hindu temple. Betty has been worried because a member of the secret club has told the other members that, inside the temple, they will have to walk barefoot across fire and do yoga in front of everyone. It broke my heart a bit that this evening Betty was frantically searching for my yoga dvd so that she could practice.
Sadly, Betty is no longer a member of my secret club - the club where its members would make play dough, play with Megabloks, paint pictures of rainbows, and watch Peppa Pig - instead she has been poached by some six year olds.