There are many fun ages to be. 18 is pretty good (both school and puberty are over and done with but the world of work is either a few years off or is still a novelty). 65 must be quite nice, too: freedom from the daily commute at last and the chance to spend all afternoon in the pub or the bowls club, just because you can. But to be honest, when it comes to the ideal age, I think four takes an awful lot of beating.
This was brought home to me this weekend, chatting to my four-year-old son. His innocent contentment with life was best summed up by his attitude to Christmas. Firstly, the whole idea that Christmas is just a few weeks away seemed too much for his little mind to cope with. He’s evidently already decided what he’s going to buy for his little sister (a Hello Kitty pillowcase and duvet cover, since you asked) and he seems to have got Christmas Eve completely sorted when it comes to knowing what we need to leave for the big man. He’s ridiculously excited about going to Granny and Grandpa’s on Christmas Day, and he can’t quite believe I’m not going to be going to work at all that week. But of all the comments he made today, it was his request for a specific present that was so endearing.
In years to come, we’ll no doubt be bombarded with demands for hideously expensive electrical gadgets – but for the time being, everything is wonderfully simple. When we asked our son what he’d like, he promptly told us that wanted one of these:
For the avoidance of doubt, this is indeed a wooden door sill. Let me explain. The one by our front door is cracked. We’re now all used to stepping over it – but for my little lad, Christmas will evidently be complete only when we give him a new piece of wood. “I really, REALLY want one, Dad,” he exclaimed, with genuine enthusiasm.
Which just goes to show: when it comes to Christmas presents, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Needless to say, there’s only a very short period of time when this kind of random gift will be tolerated (my dad learned this the hard way when at the age of 53, his only Christmas gift to my mum was a jumbo roll of cling film). But this Christmas, I’m going to enjoy the fact that my kids only want the simple pleasures in life. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge to fit a new door sill, but it’ll be a darn sign cheaper than having to fork out for an iPad 4.