If I have grown 20 years older in the space of the last fortnight then I can attribute it to only one thing: potty training.
My desire to outsource this rite of passage was thwarted by the fact my husband is snowed under at work. So I am left with no option but to get on with it myself.
The child is enthusiastic, delighted by her big-girl knickers - although rather less so at having to remove them to perform. The washing machine is pressed into overtime. At least I finally manage to coax her into sitting on the loo - trouble is, once she's there, she's happy to stay and chat for hours while her mother becomes crippled by cramp from squatting on a cold floor for so long. And there's still not a drop to show for our trouble.
It's Friday morning and we're at the shul playgroup and headed for the ladies. She sits. I stoop. Nothing happens.
A fellow congregant has the misfortune to select the stall alongside us.
"What's that noise mummy? What is the lady doing? Can I watch?"
Little wonder our neighbour's ablutions are completed in record time. Unlike ours.
So still no result. Though no accidents either - at least during waking hours. As soon as the child's asleep it's another matter altogether.
Despite the fact she's still in nappies at night, they prove wholly inadequate under such duress and the washing machine suffers a nervous breakdown.
By the weekend I have abandoned all my principles and resorted to good old-fashioned bribery. Having hitherto been horrified by friends who had encouraged their small fry with sweets, I am now offering chocolate coins with gay abandon. The child wavers briefly, but stays strong in the face of temptation, and nothing changes.
It is now five o' clock on a Tuesday morning. I should be slumbering under a duvet dreaming of cheesecake. I am, in fact, sitting on the freezing bathroom floor and coaxing a sleepy two-year-old into getting a move on. She has insisted that she must sit on the toilet "right this minute" – but 32 (interminable) minutes later there is still no joy and I am cold, tired and grumpy.
It is becoming increasingly clear that toilet training may not be my forte. Pass me the Yellow Pages if you would - I'll just check under 'S" to see if Supernanny might be free.