1. Towards the end of my phone conversation with the Mother, I become aware that Alec is very quiet. Silence is rarely a good sign with a toddler. It means washing powder on the floor, and scribbling up the curtains, and loo rolls bouncing down the stairs. "Alec?" I call in a stern voice. "What are you doing?"
There's a nervous giggle from the kitchen. I fear the worst -- floury footprints on the kitchen table? The bin contents going round in the washing machine?
When I go through, he is sitting on his little chair reading a board book. It made me feel really gooey, and I felt mean for suspecting an epic tinks when he really was being a very good, patient little boy.*
2. To see Alec practising over and over again, trying to draw an "A for Alec Law". His fine motor skills aren't quite up to it yet, but he is quietly determined, and seems to enjoy the feel of a pencil and paper. "Alec Law" is the thing he asks us most often to draw. It took us a while to understand that he didn't mean a picture of a little boy; he means us to write his name.
3. "One more chapter," I tell Nick, "And I'll come down and sit with you." But I get into the work, and suddenly it's an hour later. I start going downstairs, but meet Nick coming back up. "I've brought you a cup of tea," he says.
* At the back of my mind, I'm still expecting to find a poo in one of his stacking cups.