Is it because I see my child less these days that I revel in her even more?
She is three-and-three-quarters, but if you asked her she'd say three-and-a-half because she likes the sound of it better. 'Three-and-a-half' is bragged about with pride; 'three-and-three-quarters' dismissed with scorn.
She likes to dance (Let's do a welaxing dance to the bathroom, Mummy). She'll rip off a sock and dance barefoot in fruit puree at the drop of a hat.
Magazines are still mazagines, croissants are crustles: I hold on tight to these anomalies, like I hold on to her when she lets me. I don't correct her because I know that her fierce articulacy won't keep her ignorant of them for much longer.
She has a host of imaginary friends, the most vivid of whom is her Uncle Norgat, who has been there, done that - whatever it is, Uncle Norgat's got there first. I am deeply, irrationally fond of Uncle Norgat.
Occasionally, like tonight, when I'm singing the goodnight songs by her tiny bed, she sticks out a hand, asking for mine, and there we are in the dark, hand-holding, sleep-falling, until her breathing stills to a steady rise and fall, and I make myself let go.
I love three-and-three-quarters.