There are few things in life more delightful than observing the progress of your young child's development as he grows from a baby to a toddler, and becomes a little personality in his own right who can communicate his feelings and thoughts.
The development of speech and language is particularly enchanting. There is enormous pleasure in watching your child delight himself with his shrewd observations of everyday life around him, and in listening to a small child's untainted and uninhibited take on the world.
Such beautiful moments of parenthood were illustrated to me today by a trip to the local supermarket.
As we wandered up and down the aisles, my toddler proudly sat in his little trolley seat and pointed out items he recognised, and helped me place them (albeit rather roughly) into the trolley when we came across something we needed.
Then we meandered into the clothing section and chose a new sun-hat for him, and I had a quick look at the ladies' lingerie section.
My clever little boy was quick to demonstrate that I had inadvertently failed to remember the golden supermarket rule; the trolley distance from merchandise/arm's reach ratio must to taken into consideration at all times. I realised I had been remiss in this department when my toddler energetically waved several pairs of ladies' undergarments around his head and shouted, at the top of his shrill little voice, with the pride of someone who has a new word to add to their burgeoning vocabulary, "PANTS!!! PANTS!!! MUMMY!! PANTS!"
Naturally, everyone within hearing distance - so most people in the store - turned to observe and admire this wondrous feat of early development, and were most interested in the implication that these size extra extra large enormous cotton pants were in some way connected to me. As I am not a pushy parent, I attempted to quieten the excited rendition of "THESE pants, Mummy? Mummy pants?" and return the articles to their hangers. It's amazing how strong a grip a toddler can have when he's holding something he doesn't want to surrender. And apparently Tesco have a method of putting women's knickers on hangers that is the equivalent of a Masonic handshake. Not just anyone can do it.
So if anyone reading this has the job of keeping underwear shelves tidy in a supermarket in Cheshire, I apologise for the several pairs of very big cotton pants strewn along the shelves in a haphazard fashion today.
They were the unfortunate casualties of an exquisite parenting moment.
And whatever my son said, they weren't my size.