In the mornings, he perches himself on the toilet (its lid is down), and he watches me.

‘I won’t ask you questions while you clean your teeth.’ It’s a lesson he has learned.

I rinse my mouth then turn quickly and flick water at him.

‘Mum!’ He gives the smile which knows much more than it used to know. ‘You can see I’ve already got my school clothes on.’

I pump facecream onto my fingertips, rub it lightly into my nose, my chin, my neck and across my collarbone.

‘Can I have some?’

He closes his eyes and tilts his chin towards me. The skin at the top of his cheeks is not as smooth as it used to be, but still it is smoother than mine.  I brush my finger against his cheek more times than it takes to rub the face cream in.

I go back to the sink and the mirror and brush powder on my cheeks.

‘Why do you wrap your towel around your head?’

‘To help my hair dry.’


He stands on the scales I brought home from my grandfather’s house.

‘Hey! I’m more than I used to be.’

‘That’s good. That must mean you’ve grown.’

‘Do you want to be less?’

‘Less what?’

‘Less than you used to be.’

I begin to unwrap the towel and rub lightly at my hair.

‘Sort of. But that’s not really it…I just wanted to start going to to the gym and doing more exercise because I wanted to make sure I didn’t get too sad…if you don’t do enough exercise it can be hard to stay happy.’

‘But Mum!’ He looks up at me now. His eyes are brown. Why does that still surprise me? ‘You’re already heaps happy!’