One of the things I've enjoyed most about being a mum to small children is the myriad opportunities there are to inject a little magic into their lives.
Perhaps it's partly inspired by sunny afternoons from my own childhood, when my grandfather used to surreptitiously move a crystal dish to make rainbow coloured fairies dance across the walls.
These days, our house is frequented by rainbow fairies too. We also have water fairies (made by drinks, white wine makes the prettiest ones), giants who visit our garden in the autumn nights and slowly munch all the leaves off the trees, and a unicorn who pops by and sprinkles glitter on the carpet.
Some people call it lying to your children, I call it topping up the wonderment coffers.
Anyway, Dan enjoys the toddler trickery too, but his approach has always been a bit more, er, David Blaine (pre-bonkers phase, I mean) – sleight of hand and all that.
One of his more successful attempts at duping the girls involved showing them a small, light object in his palm, rubbing his hands together and then (rather obviously, if you're not two years old) chucking it behind him.
His empty hand was invariably met with gasps and whoops aplenty, and he always managed to quietly retrieve said object while they marvelled at how very clever daddy was.
Well, for a while they both bought it, but even Ruby had got the 'magic' sussed (I think Dan's coin hit a radiator) – until not so long ago, when she decided to try it out on me.
"Now. Look at this, mummy!" she said, and showed me her not-very-well-chosen magical object of choice – a miniature duvet, which belongs to one of her dolls. "Now, watch vay, vay cay-fully..."
Ru gave the cloth a complicated swizzle, no doubt an attempt to throw me off the scent – then she chucked it in the air.
"Ways it GONE?!" she gasped. She threw her hands aloft like question marks and painted an expression of pure amazement on her face.
At least, I think she did, because her face was obscured somewhat... by the piece of fabric which had landed right on top of her head.
I pursed my lips tightly, trying desperately not to laugh. "Ummmmm," I said.
"HA HA! HERE TIS!" she whisked it off, as if I never could have spotted it, and waved it triumphantly. "Now, wotchiss, mummy!"
She swizzled, then launched the fabric into the air again. Certain it was going to go backwards, Ruby's head followed the track the little duvet should have been taking. But actually, she'd let go far too soon, and it silently hit me in the chest.
In the time it took for Ruby's eyes to reach the (empty) space on the floor behind her, I had stuffed the piece of cloth in the back of my jeans and pulled my top over them. She looked curiously at the carpet, then turned to look at me.
Rather more confused, and considerably more genuine, than the first time, she said: "Ways it gone?!"
I gasped, made my eyes pop and squealed. "Oh my GOODNESS, Ruby! You've cracked it! You really are magic!"
Ru looked at me, and then again at the floor. "Oh," she said. "YES!"
"Well, you must be hungry after all that, so I'll make you a sandwich," I smiled and rubbed her tummy.
"Yes," Ru replied with a furrowed brow, her eyes still searching the floor and her mind clearly (for once) not on her lunch.
I left the room, but couldn't resist a sneaky look back to see Ruby bending down to look under the sofa, and then lifting a cushion. As puzzled as anything and wondering how on earth she did it, I grinned all over watching my little girl starting to believe in a rubbish magic trick all over again.