14/01/2010 12:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Achtung Baby Or Is She Dry?

Sweetheart, can you tidy your room before bed please?

Tidy your room darling.

Finje, tidy your room.


It drives me insane. Sometimes I have the feeling that to my daughter I'm simply white noise in Birkenstocks. Last night I remained calm by fantasising about doing a Basil Fawlty, yelling, "Right that's it" and lobbing the Lego out of the window and into the snow.

Finje's baby-like whining protests prompted thoughts of an article I recently read in a UK newspaper, criticising parents whose children, on starting primary school, were still in nappies.

I simply can't imagine that happening here and I put that down, as with so many things, to that renowned German efficiency.

A "dry" child is a goal to be reached preferably as swiftly as possible. It's not unknown to see a toddler practicing the art of elimination before he's managed to advance from crawl to totter. And be under no illusion, despite what they say it is a race. Believe you me, German mothers are world leaders in the art of the withering glance and if they deem you to be somewhat flagging in your duties as a parent you will find yourself on the receiving end of one.

Little bottoms (or, enchantingly here "Popo") often find themselves being fondled by complete strangers in the playground, in a way that would no doubt result in a law suit in other countries. What follows is the loathsome but predictable query "Is she dry?" Significantly vexed I often fought the temptation to retort " Oh yes, you know she hasn't touched that Vodka for over a week!" But with sarcastic wit generally being wasted on the Germans I managed to keep it zipped.

We refused to sign up to the race mentality and waited until Finje showed signs of readiness. As it happened, there were very few hiccups and at two and a half (so late!) we were able to enjoy the numerous advantages of a nappy free daughter.

So why the rush? On the other hand sending your kids off to school, a major turning point in their development, still wearing nappies seems extreme even to me.

Personally I was happy to let Finje lead the way, developing at her own rate and as far as I'm concerned those pushy mothers can frankly push off!

What do you think?