Since Al let the shop to Tim last September, he has been a house-husband and, as a result, I have been called on to mind the children much less frequently. We've seen them regularly, of course, but only occasionally looked after them. Today, however, Dilly had a hospital appointment and so I was called upon to pick up Pugsley from nursery school, look after him during the afternoon and then fetch Squiffany from school.
The first surprise was that the school's entrance has completely changed. There is a wall where there used to be a drive. It looks established (it is rendered and painted, to match the wall that was already there), which shows it must have been a few months. Pugsley called "hello Granny" from the other end of the yard, which he wouldn't have done a few months ago, and started chatting immediately, and remembered to say "goodbye" to the teacher, all of which says much for his improved social skills (at one time, he'd have remembered one but not both) and, upon being sat in the car, immediately reached for his book bag and read his book all the way home.
It has always been noticeable in the past that he likes to work and play by himself, he's perfectly happy with his own company, although not unsociable in general. However, I'd bought a new craft activity for him and Squiffany and he was pleased with it, but wanted me to do it with him; not so much for the help as for the companionship. I think that the extra attention from his father has done him a lot of good, but he has also, simply, grown up. When he starts school he will be nearly five years old and will be well ready for it, although he thoroughly enjoys his nursery school. Squiffany has always preferred the more structured school system; the main thing is that they are both very happy and secure and they both look forward to the homecoming of their baby brother.
Tomorrow, Dilly and Al will set off for the hospital at 6 am and, bar other emergency admissions, their baby will be born during the morning. I shall be interviewing teachers at the time. Just as well to have something to do, I suppose. I switch on and off as necessary, usually. I have been known to speak on a subject with great passion and enthusiasm, then have something else to do and, half an hour later, someone mentions what I spoke about and I look at them blankly. It's not that I've forgotten, but that I've put it entirely out of my mind so that I can concentrate on the next thing.