1. We play the standing up game. I lie Alec on the bed and help him to his feet. He holds my two thumbs, one in each hand and wobbles this way, and that way before getting his balance. He looks very pleased with himself. "Don't let go," I tell him. "Don't let go." But as always when he's pleased with himself, he puts one hand in his mouth, and then the fingers of the other uncurl. He falls - bomp - on his bottom, bounces on to his back, laughs and reaches up for another go.
3. Shortly after Alec's birth, James and Kim invited us to see curmudgeonly Irish comic Dylan Moran about six months down the line. At the time, we booked my mother's grandmothering services, and wondered if we would ever summon the strength to leave our baby for an evening. But as the day drew near, we planned and anticipated. It was a wise present -- not just because we had an excellent night (I do like to hear Nick laughing out loud at a sweary Irishman) and because we looked forward to it; but because it was a gift that acknowledged and celebrated the married couple in this family.
3. My mother says she really didn't mind that Alec was furious with her for most of the two hours. "I'm a battered grandmother," she says. "It was odd, he kept looking round, in the corners of the room, and he kept trying to see round into the kitchen." He wakes up when I look into the cot and cries his angry food NOW wh-her, so I put him on, and he promptly falls asleep again. I'm sorry he was upset, but at least he was angry and not sad. He'll get the hang of evenings out.