As soon as we arrive at the home of my Little Welsh Boys we kind of surge into the back garden on a wave of hugs and kisses. Sam, in particular, is desperate to show off his magician’s act which he is practising
ready for the next day’s Birthday Party. My Middle-Sized Boy, James, has something completely different to show us.
“It’s my pet,”
he tells us, tipping something small and green out of a tiny conical box. It is at this point that I become aware that the small green thing has legs which are waving frantically in the air. Sam (who knows about these things) looks up from his
box of magic tricks to inform us that the small, green thing is, in fact, a shield bug. We are far too impressed by his intimate knowledge of the insect world to query this – besides, now I can take a closer look (James having tipped the creature into
the palm of my shrinking hand) the insect’s green back does, indeed, look shield-shaped.
James’s Mum and Dad have been trying unsuccessfully
to persuade their son that his pet would fare better out in the garden, rather than in his present “home”. James, however, believes that Love Conquers All and is equally sure that the shield bug is perfectly happy to be singled out for special
attention. He carefully takes his pet back from me and I pretend to be sorry to give it up.
“I am now going to shrink this rabbit!” The
Magician thinks we have spent too long admiring the shield bug and is claiming our attention. “Shut your eyes!” he commands. We dutifully close our eyes (we are very obedient grandparents, Mr B and I.) “Abrakazam!” pronounces
the Magician with theatrical flair. We open our eyes to see that the large sponge rabbit with one ear which our Magic Man had been holding is now a small sponge rabbit with two ears. We clap enthusiastically. I ask if I could be the Magician’s
Assistant tomorrow. “You could make Nanna disappear!” Mr B suggests. The Magician gives me a long, speculative look before giving his verdict: “We haven’t got a box big enough,” he tells us reluctantly (but firmly.)
We are, of course, here for Young Morgan’s first birthday and it is fun all the way. There’s a party tea for family and friends in the garden on Sunday, while
today (Monday) which is the actual birthday, we are going swimming. The Birthday Boy is a little bemused by all the goings-on, especially when he is required to wear a hat with a figure “1” on it while eating his breakfast. He is not one
to stay sitting around for long but is constantly off in search of mischief. Every so often he stops to pick something up off the ground and put it in his mouth. His mother tells me if I hold out my hand and say “Ta!” he will usually give
up whatever he has put in his mouth – unless it happens to be chocolate. I try it out and it works like magic. Abrakazam! you might say.
James is in
despair. His pet has disappeared. We tell him that it has doubtless made its way back into the garden where it will live happily ever after. James is not convinced.
I say to Young Morgan, who has picked something up off the stair and put it immediately in his mouth. He gives me an angelic grin, removes the object from his mouth and carefully places it in my outstretched hand. It is the shield bug. I think I shriek and
drop the bug but, to be honest, it’s all a bit of a blur...
Morgan takes his very first step today, in the swimming pool car park. I miss the Historic Moment
because I am attacking James’s dirty hands with a wet wipe. We all give him a clap because, like all one year olds, he likes applause.
to you, my bonny boy. May you live long and prosper.
Which is more than can be said for the shield bug...