Last night when I got home from work you were ready and waiting in your 'smart clothes' and excited beyond all reason. I was going to drive you to school where they were hosting a Valentine's Disco for you and all the other 4-6 year olds. I had been forewarned by your Daddy, who had made a similar trek with you to the 'Halloween Disco' in October, that this was pretty much an hour of complete and utter insanity. Good lord, was he right. When we got to school we couldn't get in right away, so you went careening around outside the doors aping at the other children and admiring the boys in their Cyberman shirts.
It doesn't matter if you know a kid, if they are impressive to you, then you'll head right up to them and say 'Nice shirt!' I don't know if it's their englishness or the fact that you can perhaps stun people into silence, but they normally don't react very openly, but when you turn away from them I see a slight smile of pride as they look down at themselves.
Meanwhile, you have your own little cohort of friends, and once we got inside the building you all had a marvelous time 'dancing' (and I use that term loosely) and piling onto one another in great heaps. Before I had boys I was very much on the 'nurture' side of the debate, but watching you and your pals say hello by wrestling one another to the floor makes me seriously wonder, and this creeping realization is only heightened by the fact that as you writhe on the floor all around you are pretty little girls in red and pink valentine's dresses, dancing much more skillfully to the beat.
For you the disco is about hurtling around the room with your friends but mainly it's about the Sweeties. Over to the side of the hall was a little shop selling packets of chews and gummies -- you are drawn to this place irresistibly over the course of the hour. Spinning off to tumble and then every few moments returning to beg for more sweets, more 10 pence pieces to buy them. "But puh-leeeeease, Mummy."
After about 4 packets, I had to put my foot down.
All that sugar and running around, and you got completely overheated. You were begging me to let you take your clothes off, which was something new and also somewhat alarming. Rather than draw such unwanted and dodgy attention on ourselves (I imagined you chasing around the hall in your spongebob undies) we opted to roll up your sleeves and trouser legs, and you reared off again with your pale legs poking out like sticks.
Finally you returned back to my side, and asked to go home. You happily place your hand in mine as we work our way out. That simple hand-holding. I wonder how long I have left of that.
I'm not being maudlin or anything, because I know that it's only natural that one day soon you'll be less likely to hug me on a whim or plant a wet kiss on my cheek, but it's also good for me to remember that one day I'll be looking at this time and wondering where it went.
I love you, sweet boy.