has descended on us.
My niece looked hopefully over the heads of her three and I nodded. The activity packs were in the car.
The two families are not staying with us. We cannot accommodate six adults and five children. My brother and his partner are staying with Middle Cat. The rest have moved into the same place they stayed at last time. It is "cabin" accommodation near the beach. There is a swimming pool and a "bouncy pillow" and other attractions for the young.
By the time we reached them however the smallest were in need of a slightly quieter occupation - at least for a short while. I pulled out the packs I had made.
They were labelled with their names. I looked at the oldest in the way which says "don't give the game away" and held up the first one.
That was the only boy and the four year old dealt with. I handed over the other two packs to the older two and looked at the two year old. She was standing there looking at me in a puzzled sort of way, her head on one side and a slightly anxious expression in her eyes.
I held out the last pack and said, "And this one is just for you."
She looked at her mother.
"Yes, it's yours. What do you say?"
It was a positive squeal - unlike the still enthusiastic but more restrained and unprompted thanks from the others. They all headed for the grass.
H... turned his upside down and tipped everything out. The girls looked inside and pulled out things one at a time...even the youngest of them.
It was not quiet...kittens of that age can make a lot of noise. They had a lot to say to one another. They checked very carefully to see that they all had exactly the same. "Except yours is purple and mine is pink and P... has yellow." "You've got jungle animals and me too only they are different." "I've got cats stickers and H...has dogs ones" and "Daddy I've got a sharpen thing in the top for my pencils!" (There was a little pencil sharpener in the top of the pencil pack. That was a great success.)
They ate biscuits. They coloured in for a while. They drew things and told me about them. "This is P...in the water with the floatie" (The flotation device they strap to the back of the youngest who can, at the age of two, just swim a few strokes).
And, "this is you with all the bags". There was the mere suggestion of a face over gigantic bags.
I think they liked them. My niece and nephew and their partners just shrugged over the number of biscuits consumed before the barbecue - which the kittens seemed capable of consuming anyway.
Later they sat there eating ice cream out of the brightly coloured plates - using large straws as spoons.
The second eldest kitten looked up at the evening sky and sighed,
"I want it to be like this for ever and ever."
I wish it could be. I hope she remembers it.