In preparation for our barbecue yesterday afternoon – ten adults, nine under-threes, you fill in the blanks – I was out early mowing what currently passes for our lawn after all the hot, dry weather we have enjoyed over the past few weeks. (‘Lawn’ really is testing the definition of the word; it’s more like a 10 x 10 metre doormat at the moment).

In the past, I’ve been a bit reluctant to let Isaac run around in the garden at the same time, what with all the machines, wires and garden tools that inevitably end up scattered all over the place. But over the past couple of months he has started to show a real interest in copying whatever Heather and I do, so when he insisted that he wanted to help, who was I to say no?

I’m very glad I did, because he was hilarious. First off, he insisted on helping me mow the lawn with his toy mower. At one point we were pushing our respective mowers in tandem up and down lawn. He doesn’t just blindly push either: first he carefully switches it on, then he pushes the mower from one end of the garden to the other, turns around, and comes back the other way. Then when he has finished, he carefully turns it off again. It’s a bit like gardening with Mini-Me.

Next up was a spot of potting maintenance with his little bag of garden tools (or ‘toolkit’, as he keeps calling it).

And, of course, no gardening session is complete without a spot of wheelbarrow action. (Although the sooner he actually learns to put stuff in it and help me clear away all the cuttings and mess, the better. I give it four weeks.)

It was brilliant, and I really wish I’d let him join in sooner. He’s actually very careful about approaching anything mechanical, and takes in everything I do and imitates it with alarming accuracy. I showed him how to reel up the cable after we had finished, and he soon had that worked out, so I’m looking forward to the day when he is mowing the lawn for me to earn his pocket money. Maybe not this summer, though!

Finally, at the end of a job well done, a quick play on his slide. (And that was just me.)

Next week, car maintenance …