There is nothing so precious as the dawn of first memories, snatches of time from when you were a small child where you can recall having the time of your life. It was probably a simple pleasure, something experienced for the first time that provoked a sense of wonder that is hard to re-capture.
Alex went to his first proper night-time party last night. When I say 'proper', it finished at 8pm, but he was specifically invited to it and he stayed for the duration. In fact, we had to virtually drag him out of there. If this is a sign of things to come, he'll be the last one standing, with a 'work it till you can work it no more' philosophy.
Personally, these days I love a party that ends at 8pm. Very civilised indeed. It was the end of year day care party, complete with sausage sizzle, BYO salad, and a jumping castle. Those folks know what kids want - fake tattoos, singalongs - Alex was dazzled and didn't know where to start. Except, of course he did. On to the jumping castle he went, and there he stayed for close to 2 hours, forsaking food and drink in order to keep jumping higher, higher.
I had given the kids a bath before we left, partly so that we at least arrived at the party clean, and partly because I knew it would be late when we got home and no way would I be attempting it then. When we got in the car AFTER bathtime, Alex knew this was a pretty special event. "We're not ready to go to bed!" he cheered in the back seat, "We're going to WORK OUR ENERGY instead!"
At the party he only got off the jumping castle to give interim reports about the state of his relationship with a 7 year old boy who had become his nemesis during the jumping festivities. It started with a bit of biff, before they grudgingly called a truce and spent the remainder of the evening following/bossing each other around. "He's pushing me now!" Alex would jump off to announce, returning to the jumping castle before waiting for a response.
In the car on the way home, tired and exhilirated, Alex's final words before dropping off to sleep were, "I want to do that again some time." Don't we all, son, don't we all!