4 is a wonderful age for a bright child. They can observe, reason and talk -- and they do. But given their still limited range of experience, the conclusions they come to can be hilarious. They get things wrong but you can see their reasoning. A quarter of a century ago, both Timmy and Joe were great examples of that and I remember that time with great fondness.
But a new generation has now arisen and the latest to turn 4 is Dusty. Suz and Russ put on his birthday party on Saturday. It was a lunch and whenever I have been invited to a lunch in the past, it has been my practice to skip breakfast -- so that I would have the capacity to try a few things on offer at the lunch.
That tends to make me seem more gluttonous than I am, however, so this time Anne and I decided that we would have a light breakfast beforehand. And we decided to have jam sandwiches. So I had some of that wonderful Chinese bread I get locally and at around 9am I put various jams on the dining table. I also put the big Vegemite jar on the table. And that was too much. Vegemite goes wonderfully well with well-buttered fresh bread so the jam was ignored. I had two slices of bread with Vege on them only. Plenty of butter and plenty of Vege on fresh bread is one of life's great pleasures IMHO. Anne just had honey on her bread as she usually does.
There's a story in that. Anne is very cautious about what she eats so when I bought Leatherwood honey she assured me that she didn't like it. I just raised an eyebrow at that. It steadily went down however so under pressure she completely revised her opinion. I now have Yellow Box honey and that is going down steadily too.
Americans will never understand Vegemite, our iconic Australian sandwich spread, but the Brits do. Their Marmite is quite similar. And then there is Kiwi Marmite ....
So back to Dusty. He was already showing signs of his new age of responsibility. Up until now on any family occasion Dusty has given an exhibition of perpetual motion -- running everywhere. But on Sunday he actually walked quite a lot! Growing up is an amazing thing.
Dusty was however consistent in that he again got a lot of his birthday cake smeared across his face. He is an enthusiastic eater. I can't imagine where he got that from.
Russ fired up his big BBQ as usual and cooked some excellent sausages, among other things. Being something of a sausage freak, I had three!
I talked a bit to Ken, fresh back from visiting Paul in Edinburgh. As was to be expected, Ken gave a view of the situation in Edinburgh that differed considerably from what Paul reports in his emails. Those two disagree about almost everything. My relationship with my son is a great contrast. We mostly see eye to eye but where we don't the view of the other is respected. We laugh a lot. And Joe is no pushover. He's got a lot of quiet confidence.
And it's the same with Paul and me. I have his complete respect and I have always supported him and helped him in any way I can. Paul is not normally antagonistic, though he is very exuberant and assertive. He is a lot of fun and we miss his lively presence now he is away.
Opening the presents was a lot of fun. In the usual modern way, Dusty got heaps of them. And he gave good cuddles of thanks to his donors. Some sort of water-bomb gadget seemed to be the biggest hit. Via Jenny, I gave him a track set for his toy cars. Joe gave him a plastic gun. All little boys like guns and Dusty's parents allow such things.
Everybody was pleased to see Joe, as they usually are, and I saw him get big cuddles from both his mother and his sister. He brought Kate along and I think she is now getting used to the family and all our little idiosyncrasies. She spent a lot of time speaking to Anne, who no doubt had wisdom to offer.