Granted, Angus is only two and very proud of his new-found ability to go the toilet under his own steam and considers jocks or shorts an unnecessary hindrance. Especially on warm sunny days. Plus being naked gives him unlimited access to his own personal plaything, which can be slightly off-putting when trying to meet him at eye level to discuss what drawing you're doing for him in crayon.
Four year old Brianna wasn't far behind him as the door opened but was fully-clothed in a stripey green dress. I complimented her on it, remembering that I also have a t-shirt made from the same material but it didn't come with a fancy sequinned pocket on the front.
"Mine does," she replied proudly, "And I can put things in it too." She reached in and thrust something at me. "Here are some flowers for you." As she had literally picked just the flowers and not bothered with the stems, I had a handful of geranium heads, already wilting from their violent removal. They looked beautiful.
Their mother rushed up, skinny, tired, busy. But beaming and genuinely happy. "Come in, come in! Callum's at school but he insisted on making you this letter:
Not bad for a five year old in reception, is it?
"He wanted to see you, he really did," Sam said, "But he also knew that we were making some carrot cake after we dropped him off, and he's afraid he'll miss out on a slice."
And thus commenced the morning tea I had with my oldest friend, Samantha, a girl I'd met in Reception class at Murray Bridge South Primary School at the start of 1974 when we'd both just turned five. She had white-blonde bobbed hair, tiny glitter framed glasses and a giggle that I'd do anything to hear as often as possible. We ended up holding hands by lunchtime that day and continued to do so until at least year six before kiss chasey with boys and self-consciousness set in. We danced to Abba on her Dad's stereo, watched couples smooching in cars at the lookout next to her house, petted her 60 breeding beagles and drank our first cappuccinos at her parent's takeaway shop 'The Hungry Bunyip.'
Thirty four years later and here she is, in her element with a flour-smudge on her face, three children under the age of six, married to a smart and funny accountant and trying to get her two youngest kids to sit still long enough to put hats and 30+ on. "Shall we go outside too?"
Sam never ever gets to drink a hot cup of coffee from start to finish. There's far too many:
"Mum, I've just done a wee in the garden but my pants are wet."
"Mum can we wash the dollies and the dog?"
"Mum Angus has my green ball and I've got the yellow one but it's his and he won't swap with me."
"Mum how come Kath brought chocolate biscuits in but you're not sharing them?"
"Come and see my dog Snuffles, Kath. But you have to find him first because he fell under my bed."
"Mum Angus has bounced his ball over the fence."
Sam kindly and patiently answers their questions, complaints and observations -
"Wow Angus, this is an incredible poo you've just done in there, well done!", "No Brianna, don't stick your finger - or that dinosaur - up your nose again please," and "Yes, you can set up the water cans outside but I'd like you to put the crayons in the box first."
In between that, we have a conversation over still-warm carrot cake whose lemon butter icing has slid off the top and is pooling around the edges of the plates. In the middle of some no-doubt fascinating anecdote about selling up and moving to Melbourne, turning forty and wondering just why Ryan Shelton has a paid TV gig, I look down and notice Brianna's snot-encrusted pointer finger slyly dipping itself into my icing.
"Er help yourself, sweetie."
I see my friend proudly singing PlaySchool songs to her two children, not caring about doing it in front of me, her kindergarten teacher background coming to the fore. She looks tired but giggles unaffectedly at Angus trying to hitch his chubby white leg over the fit-ball, immediately bouncing backwards and deciding that a taste of backyard dirt was more to his liking.
I hang up their t-shirts, now wet from water play, and Sam goes inside to find them clean and dry outfits. Brianna decides to mimic her brother and go bottomless for the rest of the day.
A couple of hours later, I kissed Sam, Brianna and Angus goodbye and noted that a pair of knickers on the ground after a social event these days is for far different reasons than the parties we suffered through a life time ago. And thank god for that.