Youngest has been making books: pop-up books, cookery books, factual books, he likes to write the blurb for the back and pretend to be a famous author.
“Please welcome the world famous author!” He bellows before striding into the room with a big grin on his face. I have to ask for his autograph.
Eldest is mad about skateboarding. He goes every weekend if he can, on Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. This weekend it didn’t work out, it was too wet or something and none of his friends could go.
“Never mind.” He says on Sunday afternoon when it’s clear his plans have fallen through, “I really don’t mind that much.”
“You can stay in with us for a change!” I say.
“Yeah, it’s cool.” He says, “I don’t mind really, I’m going skiing next weekend, so, that’s cool.”
We sit on the sofa all evening and watch The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on DVD, he pauses it for me when I have to go out of the room to start making dinner. Husband listens to music in the kitchen. Middle One is upstairs on the computer.
Come to think of it, Middle One is often upstairs in the office on the computer these days. I resolve to talk to him more.
“How is school?” I say before bedtime, patting the space next to me on the sofa.
“Fine.” He says.
“How was science club?”
“Great! We were throwing eggs out of windows trying not to break them!”
“Mummy, you know trees have bark on them, to protect them?”
“Yes.” I say, my attention drifting back to the television. (Before he came in I was watching The Most Annoying People of 2010.)
“So, how does it actually grow? What’s bark made of exactly?"
“Um, well, I don’t know,” I say, “we should google that.”
“I know Redwoods grow to be the tallest and the widest trees, but what else is special about them?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are they inflammable?”
“Gosh, I don’t think so.”
I’m surreptiously trying to listen to what they’re saying about Katie Price on the telly.
“But isn’t it amazing that Redwoods just start off as tiny seeds and grow so incredibly tall!”
“Yes it is.”
“How big is a Redwood seed exactly?”
“I have no idea. Small I should think.”
“So…I know sap is right in the middle of the tree and Maple Syrup is a kind of sap isn’t it.”
“Yes it is.”
“But what is sap actually for?”
“Well, I’m not sure. We should google it.”
“Are Rowan berries poisonous?”
Now this I know!
“Yes. Yes they are.”
“But in the book I’m reading at the moment the people eat Rowan berries.”
I pause the TV with the remote.
“Oh, well then, um, we should google that, I guess.”
“Can we have a Rowan tree? I love Rowan trees; I love all trees I’d like to have lots and lots of trees in my garden when I grow up. And I love animals especially wolves. Why aren’t there any wolves left? Where are there still some wolves in the wild?”
“Um, I think I read that there are still some in the north of Portugal, in the forests, and maybe in Alaska, places like that. I’m not sure. We should...”
“And when are we actually going to go to Japan? I really want to go to Japan.”
“I know you do, darling, but I’ve told you, it would be too expensive.”
“We should learn Japanese history at school. Why don’t we learn Japanese history at school, Mummy? It’s really fascinating.”
“Well, I don’t know, we have our own history I guess…”
“Mummy? Do you know who killed Charlotte Dymond?”
“Who? No. I have no idea. Who was she?”
“We’re learning about it in English, we’re going to have trial and everyone thinks this guy, Matthew Weekes, did it but I don’t think he did because none of his shoes matched the prints left at the scene of the crime.”
“Really, that’s interesting.”
“Yes. And why is Sherlock Holmes so famous, I mean, really, why is he?”
“You know what,” I say, “it’s really late, I think it’s bedtime now, up you go.”
He goes up to bed and I un-pause the telly.