What to say about Hugh at six? He delights me and drives me bonkers in equal measure. He can be staggeringly unco-operative – we’ve just given up on his after-school music class because he refused to join in and spent each session with a book in the corner – and tremendously sweet. He is moved by the lives of cartoon animals. He loves books but hasn’t really learnt to read yet, though he’s getting there. He climbed Great Sugarloaf with enthusiasm. He asks me to tell him stories but always takes over and ends up telling them himself. He loves monsters, knights and dragons, but the monsters are always the heroes and the knights are the villains. He is less interested in dinosaurs than he was though still quite knowledgeable. At Boys’ Brigade – the activity he chose himself, and in which he does join in – he did a show-and-tell about dinosaurs and impressed the leader by his ability to talk about the Compsognathus. He seems to have a reasonably settled group of friends at school now, after an initial period when one week’s best pal seemed to be the following week’s worst enemy. He remembers our last trip to New Zealand and wants to go there to see his Uncle Mat.
I asked him whether he was going to do anything new now he was six. “Always flush the toilet,” he replied, which seems like a pretty achievable ambition. I also asked him if there were anything he’d like me to put in this post. “To all the other people who have birthdays,” he said, “wishing them a good life.”
Happy birthday darling Hugh.