We moved just before Christmas. I may have said this before. Anyway, we are in temporary digs while we look for somewhere else to live and this is proving tricky. Firstly, half the things I need are in storage; secondly, the place is somewhat, shall we say, 'dignified'. Meaning, because it might need spelling out, that it is beautiful but decrepit - and utterly impractical. It needs wiring, plumbing, insulating, flooring, heating, plastering, damp-proofing and, er, modernising.
That said, it turns out that we are brilliantly happy here, all except for the Frog who is finding the volume of doors that need closing, drafts that need excluding and lights that need turning out to be vaguely overwhelming, particularly given that I am not very good at most of the above and Charlie is rubbish at all of them.
I am used to a small kitchen - our last flat was bijou all round - however the kitchen here contracts the meaning of 'small' to the point where one might logically ask 'what kitchen?'; however it has one unexpected joy: the stove and all 2 feet of counterspace face a small breakfast bar with two stools. Every evening Charlie sits at it, at eye-level with me, doing his homework while I cook his dinner.
Turns out that this arrangement is brilliant, I am surprisingly even hoping to be able to mimic something like it, (yet magically larger), when we move. Charlie and I spend this hour laughing and talking and fooling around together and he talks to me - properly talks to me - about his day, his friends and sometimes about the things that frighten him.
One of the most heart-breaking things that he says to me is that he doesn't want to grow up. I mean, he wants to be in Year One at school, but he doesn't want to be six, he doesn't want to learn to read or to get taller or to to go school. This doesn't stand up to much scrutiny as he wants to marry his girlfriend and have babies and live in a castle, but he really, really, really right now, doesn't want to grow up.
Who knows what this is about. I suspect it's because in the last four months he's started school, buried his cat, left his house and put half his toys in storage... I guess growing up hasn't been much cop recently. He also talks about his dreams; they are often bad, filled with fire and loss; or sometimes good, filled, surprisingly, with cats - the same dreams I had when I was little and had just moved house and started school and left my cat in another country.
Mainly though we make stupid jokes and invent rhymes and laugh. It's good. It's good that we can talk about things with more depth than wondering where Dalek poo comes out; I really do think there's something in being able to talk to one's child at eye level that makes conversation really flow.
We may not live here for long; Charlie will continue to grow up, Daleks will continue to have secretive poos and things will carry on changing but perhaps this is something that can stay the same, this conversation.
At least, until he becomes a teenager and stops acknowledging my existence completely....