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Byline: Ceri Gould

YOU know when you're dying to boast but you decide you can't, you simply mustn't? The news sits there, doesn't it, fizzing at the tip of your tongue like one of those terrible 1970s sherbet sweets.

Steve Dube in Carmarthen Hang on, there's the phone. It was a friend. Turns out his daughter is going to be in the Newport pantomime. She auditioned and beat hundreds of talented singing and dancing others to get picked.

Not only that but, come first night, she'll be one of the children chosen to open the show.

Oh yes she is. Quite rightly my friend is chuffed to bits. He played it cool for about, ooh, a couple of minutes, before blurting it out. Guess he had sherbet tingles on his tongue too.

And now, you see, I'm glad I kept my boasting to myself because if I'd blurted out: "My son's going to be Joseph in his first nativity play in nursery," in the manically-excited way of an embarrassing mother, which is what I wanted to do, then I'd have been upstaged. Gazumped by Friend's Daughter's way superior efforts.

I'm chuffed all the same. Because while Friend's Daughter is obviously talented in the vocal department, Four-Year-Old, on balance, probably is not.

His voice is deep and loud and he gives it a lot of welly but it's not especially tuneful. Yet he loves singing.

He shouts, barks and bellows his way through the nativity songs and John Travoltas his way through the accompanying dancing in the delicious way that only a completely unselfconscious tot can do.

Some time soon, someone, most likely a (false) friend when he starts school will reveal to him the awful news that, in line with the received wisdom about singing, he really can't. I want to put off that point for as long as possible.

I don't want him ever to stop bellowing and jigging because someone says he can't do it.

It may be the voice only a mother (and father and grandparents and aunties and uncles and sister) can love but he's obviously won over the teachers too with his unbridled enthusiasm.

So I will be the proudest mother of a Joseph that's ever sat in front of a nativity play. And if there's any quibbling among the parents about the star part (okay, so Mary's probably got the edge, but only just) then I shall give them the sharp end of my Maesteg tongue.

There may, I fear, be no panto parts in our future. We may never tread the Newport boards and hear the applause of those from Gwent and beyond.

No matter. Until then we will follow our star and boast about it. Did I tell you my son's Joseph in the nursery nativity? Oh yes I did. [bar] Follow Ceri on Twitter: @gouldthomas
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 18, 2011
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