Tomorrow, Charlotte has a piano exam. Of course, today she has a cold. It always seems to happen that way.
Winter is a terrible season for taking piano exams. Colds. Cold fingers. Cold mothers waiting outside the examination room in a cold wind.
Colds: We've been dosing Charlotte up with tea and medications, and making sure she gets plenty of rest.
Cold fingers: A hotwater bottle tucked into a coat will help.
Cold mothers: I shan't be a cold mother this year. Charlotte's piano teacher is taking her to the exam. All I have to do is pick her up after it's all over.
"Shall we have lunch together after the exam?" I ask, and Charlotte says, "Yes, please!"
It's always a lovely feeling when exams are over. Usually, we head to the shopping centre for a small celebration. I buy hot chocolate or coffee to turn cold into warm. We eat a sweet treat. Then I buy flowers and a box of chocolates for each examination girl: "You worked hard. You did your best. You should be proud of that." It's a tradition.
I've never taken a music exam. I can't sing or play an instrument. And even if I did, I don't think I'd like the idea of being examined. I wouldn't choose to put myself in this position.
"You don't have to do an exam," I say to my girls.
"We want to," they reply.
So every winter, they face the cold, colds, and cold fingers to be examined after a year of intense work.
Tomorrow, it's Charlotte's turn. In 24 hours' time she'll be in the examination room. Will she have warm piano fingers? Will they be dancing over the keys?
Do your children choose to take music exams?