1. To stir up a whirlpool in a pan of boiling water and watch our breakfast eggs turning to a swirl of ragged lace (I can't make one without thinking of Miss Haversham).
2. "Not on the Eiffel Tower," she says as I hand Alec over to her at nursery. "There was a thunderstorm. There's this bridge called Lover's Bridge -- have you heard of it?" The ring is only a practice ring -- he very sensibly thought he'd let her pick out the one she wanted.
3b. She says: "Come on Alec, show Mummy where we change your nappy." He runs away giggling. Instead of picking him up as I would, she says: "Come along Alec, show Mummy where we change your nappy." And then he comes, he really comes and leads me there. He is so happy during the change that I watch her carefully for toddler wrangling tips: she keeps eye contact with him; gives him things to hold; and focuses the whole task on him, as if it was solely for his amusement.
4. We went, all together as a family, to the launch of Ellen Montellius' Being. It's an exhibition of portaits of writers from Tunbridge Wells, and the reason we took Alec (are you wondering what sort of dreadful people we are to take a toddler to a gallery launch?) is because he is in my portrait. We kept him in the backpack so he could join in the conversation, fed him handfuls of crisps and didn't stay too long. I read recently that having beautiful portraits made of oneself is addictive and once I'd seen Ellen's picture full size for the first time, I understood. Alec's response was a very gratifying: "Mummy!" We heard Anna's girls saying the same thing about her picture.
Here's Anke's account and Sarah Salway's.