My name is Elijah. I am 3 years and 7 twelfths of a year old. I will be 4 years old very soon. You can come to my party if you like. There will be crisps. But I might get to eat them all myself. And all the biscuits. And cake. If you're not allowed to come it'll be coz there might be another lockdown for COVID. So, I'll get all the food for me if there is another lockdown. And the pizza. That's good but it's bad as well. I'll have no one to play with. Again. And I've started school I have.

I'm a bit annoyed you know, in my life I've missed approximately 28 birthday parties, 75 park visits, 36 playdays and a holiday to Mallorca. And I'm only 3 years and 7 twelfths of a year old. That COVID. What a pain. Nearly half my life has been, "can't go out, won't be meeting up, shouldn't visit them". I mean how am I supposed to work out how other people tick when I don't get to see them?

And, I'm also supposed to be all ready for school but I'm not. Even though I've already started. By now I think I should be getting over myself, just a little bit, by my age. You know, beginning to realise there's other people in the world too, apart from me?, and that they maybe deserve a turn on the iPad too? Or with the Lego.

I wanted to have a go at sharing or turn-taking ready for school but I didn't really have the opportunity to practise. I really wanted to nail that. Mummy and Karl have been very busy on their laptops so they're no help. Sometimes when they finish a Zoom call I hear a swear come out. Although my vocabulary is not as developed as I'd want it to be by my age, I do have a reasonable command of workplace banter, and corporate profanity. That might come in handy.

And fights. And arguments. I really really wanted to have a go at those before school, so I'd be top of my game in the playground and at my social skills. But there simply hasn't been the opportunity due to pandemic restrictions on travel and socialisation.

What I really wanted to do was that thing where you have a tantrum but you moderate it a bit so it's not full on. Not full on like if you're in public, say in Sainsburys where you go all red-faced shouty and stiff and then maybe roll about in the cheese aisle while mummy tries to get you to stop, without drawing attention to herself and having to use firm if acceptable force on you.

And I only wanted a Lego dragon. And some Haribo.

That kind of tantrum, but, but in a more refined way now I'm nearly 4 and practising for school. I wanted to try that with a friend, to get ready for the proper real disagreements in school. I wanted my friend to take my toy - then I go all 'that's mine I'm having it back' Sainsburys style but toned down coz I'm nearly 4, but still impressive. And I wanted to see what happened next and how we'd work it out and both of us get a mini Magnum from mummy at the end for calming down and not putting her in an awkward situation. In the cheese aisle. But I didn't have a chance to do that before I went to school.

And talking. Oh my word. I'd expect to be much further on by now. You see my problem is this: I've not had much talk to listen to (see above) and anyway the adults have had their mouths covered since April 2020. How on earth am I supposed to get my mouth doing all those sounds if I can't see what it looks like. I've got good at reading eyes and eyebrows though. I know what 'really?' looks like and also I know 'I'm rather annoyed with you for embarrassing me in Sainsburys no you're not having a dragon. or Haribo.' and 'I hate Zoom as much as I hate my boss'. I know what eyes and eyebrows do for those things. I just wish I'd been able to see the mouth shapes that go with them.

And now I'm at nursery school. My teacher is doing a right grand job but some of the other kids here are giving her the runaround they really are. I mean I'm a bit behind I know but I can't imagine what it's been like for Kyra or Ollie. I swear they've not said a single word since they started with me a few weeks ago. And they get really arsy in the morning when their daddies try to leave for work. They cling on and do that 'poor me how dare you do this to me call yourself my parent' routine.

Miss tries hard. I'm only guessing at this (she being an experienced nursery practitioner and me just a nearly 4 year old) but I think she's prioritising our well-being which is exactly how I'd approach things. She's gone and baselined us all and I think I did alright. I suppose I'll be able to revisit her targets for me at my next appraisal. Kyra and Ollie ran off when she tried to talk to them.

But even though she's jolly she is a bit jumpy. Like someone's watching over her shoulder whispering that she should be moving us on faster when all she wants to do is give us a good start at a speed that doesn't turn us off learning. Or make us go all Sainsburys.

I think I saw her crying in her car in the car park yesterday and talking on her phone. I hope she's alright. She is very nice but she was very sad. I knew she was sad. I could see it in her eyes and her eyebrows but I really wanted to know what words the shapes in her mouth were making...