Dot writes: the thing about having a dad in charge of day-to-day childcare is that dads don’t get excited about stuff the way mums do. If I were at home and Ken were at work, and something astounding happened such as Hugh voluntarily tidying his lego away, I would be on the phone to him like a shot (or at least, it would be the first topic I mentioned when next we spoke). There wouldn’t be much scope for a scene such as the one we had earlier this evening. The setting: the living-room. The time: just after dinner. I pulled up the nursing cushion (which is no longer used for nursing) and put Frank inside its curve in a sitting position. And…he stayed there. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “He’s sitting unsupported!” “Oh yeah,” said Ken, unimpressed, “I’ve seen him do that before.” Pause while Dot resisted thumping Ken. Then he added: “But I’ve never seen him do it for that long.” And indeed he stayed there for perhaps five to ten minutes while I excitedly took pictures, before leaning to the side and flipping neatly onto his tummy.
Meanwhile Hugh, after having first a horrible cough, and then a fever, and then being vilely whingy and clingy and difficult and generally awful, has in the last day and a half become much nicer and also taken a perceptible jump closer to talking in real sentences. Convalescence made him cross, and I think my going back to work has been quite hard for him; but children often seem to be especially fretful just before they make some developmental advance. This morning Hugh and I were watching the Walking With Beasts episode about mammoths. “Elunt going a walk”, he said, as the digital mammoths migrated through snowy Belgium. Then he pointed to the mammoth calf and his mother. “Baby,” he said for the calf. And for the bigger animal: “Dad.”