Time marches on, and I've suddenly started to notice how Boy #1 is growing up. Walking along the street as he scooted along in front of me this week, I can see how he's become taller, stronger and more confident in the last few months.
Our conversations have developed, too. Of course we still talk about favourite animals (his; a puma, mine; a cheetah), what dinosaurs ate (small boys of course), and who's turn it is to play with the hobby horse (never mine), but yesterday evening he asked me what my favourite book was when I was a child and then sat wide-eyed whilst I ran briefly through the plot of 'The Hobbit'. The story of Bilbo's forced exit from The Shire, his incredible journey with Gandalf and the Dwarves, his encounter with Gollum in the caves and his subsequent theft of the Ring took on a new excitement as I went through it with him. When I went on to describe the battle with Smaug the dragon I realised that I can hardly wait to re-read the book - with him - myself.
At school he's started being given spelling tests, something I've got mixed feelings about. I'm not proud of it, but I have to admit that my Mrs Competitive pops up and thrills to the news that he got 5 out of 5. Of course I do my best to push her firmly to one side, but she's annoyingly resiliant at times like this. Then I console myself with the thought that most schools do it, the tests are not complicated - consisting of only 4 words like 'look', 'is', 'at' and 'come' - and finally that he seems to enjoy practicing once in a while at the weekend.
Who am I kidding? Certainly not my Husband who, being Dutch, sniffs dismissively about what he sees as 'hot-housing', believing that there is plenty of time in the future for tests. And bearing in mind that my beloved - who didn't start school until nearly six - speaks 5 languages well, and can grasp the fundamentals of many more due to his classical training in Latin and Greek, perhaps they do know what they're doing in Holland on this front. Although having said that, I remember that tests formed a big part of my education, and it certainly never did me any harm. I do speak...1 language fluently (and 2 sketchily), after all.
Let's see. 5 languages vs 1. Perhaps he has a point.