I need to leave work early to go and buy birthday presents for the Kinderbeast. So naturally it’s the day that I leave work way later than normal. Luckily it’s late opening night. Less fortunately, I find nothing inspiring in Target. I’ve been charged with finding suitable birthday presents from the Kinderbeast’s grandparents back in England. I want to buy him a building toy that isn’t LEGO (as we are fully overloaded with LEGO), but there’s nothing. I try Big W and eventually settle on a LEGO Creator set (which he can rebuild into three different buildings), the Marshmallow Man figure for LEGO Dimensions, and an awesome question and answer book about space (the answers are all hidden behind flaps). I spot one question–How do astronauts go to the toilet in space?–and know I’ve chosen wisely.

I get home and the Elderbeast manages to bust his designated home time (following post-school playtime with friends) by a whopping forty minutes. He scores a two-day grounding: one day for being late, a second day for playing up when we ask him why he’s late. For literally the rest of the evening we are treated to a spectacular display of pre-pubescent uncontrolled emotional outrage. He’s more angry with himself than he is with us, but he doesn’t yet have the tools to manage it. We get screaming. We get tears. We get pleading. After I’ve finished reading to the Kinderbeast I see that he’s texted me from his room: “Sleeping on the floor xxx”. I go to check on him and he is, indeed, fast asleep on his floor. No pillow, nothing. Just the carpet. A little later he wakes up long enough to grab his pillow and duvet. Later yet he relents and climbs back into bed.

The rest of our evening is consumed by wrapping presents and baking cupcakes. I hunt down some photos from the week of the Kinderbeast’s birth. There may be some parental bias at play, but I’d forgotten how cute he was. And still is. We’re very lucky.