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The older Alfie gets, the more I feel like I am seeing the world through brand new eyes. He amazes me constantly with his skills and his language but more recently with his emotions.

After I read this article on Friday I really started to think about toddler emotions, and whether empathy in particular was something that would have to wait a few years. I think about these things because in a few weeks Alfie will need to practice a whole new set of skills in his relations to his little sister and I'm not overly convinced that he will have the capacity to treat her generously. Or at least I wasn't until the weekend.

Keith had gone on a bike ride and called me to say he had seen a cat the worse for wear at the side of the road and could I run up there with Alfie to see if there was a collar with a number.

Well he wasn't lying, the cat was in fact an ex-cat and had clearly been hit by a car because while its limbs were still in the standard configuration, there was a little blood here and there and a glazed open eyed stare.

Alfie has never witnessed death before, certainly not first hand, and yet he surprised me utterly by his reaction. As soon as he saw the cat (which I would like to stress didn't look traumatic or gory) he instantly quietened down, frowned deeply and in a quiet voice said "oh no". Not in his usual melodramatic clownish way, but in a careful and considered way that made me realise he not only knew there was something profoundly wrong with the cat, but that the wrong was something to be sad about.

The whole time I was looking for a collar (sadly there was none) he continued to stare at the cat, frowning and deep in thought and it wasn't until a while later that he slowly came out of his pensive state.

I'm so proud of my little man and his capacity to pick up so quickly and intuitively on the things around him. He acts the clown so often and is such a complete rhinostrich that it is sometimes easy to forget to look deep into those eyes and see the quiet sensitivity that lives there.

I was also given a chance to witness this article in glorious techinicolour when our friend Matty came up to see us. He spent some time reading a counting book to Alfie and every time they got to this page, Alfie would take the book and turn it around.

It took me a while to work it out, but when I did I was blown away by the logic of the kid: He was turning the bicycle the right way up. And just to confirm my suspicions and I asked him what he was doing he looked at me like I was a complete dumbass and pointed to the bicycle. 

I don't feel bad about being constantly behind the game where Alfie is concerned, I think the only way I could be ahead is if I woke up every morning assuming he was going to demand a volume of Keats to enjoy with his morning porridge.

In other news I have unpacked, sorted and started to wash the stash of newborn clothes. I had to share this photo because for the first time there is a pile of washing for Alfie, and a whole other pile for his little sister.

Call me slow but it's moments like that which make me realise that family life really is about to change.  

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