It’s probably fair to say that, if natural selection had been allowed to run its course, I would most likely fall into the box marked ‘casualty’ than ‘survivor’. Put me in a pack and I’m clearly not the alpha male, either in terms of physical prowess or overall health. In the animal kingdom I would long since have succumbed to ‘survival of the fittest’. In fact, it would not be unreasonable to say that my continued existence owes itself to a process of unnatural selection.

From a personal perspective, the magic of Christmas wore off several years ago. As a moderately affluent adult with a penchant for retail therapy – I like to think I am helping the country spend its way out of its economic slump – Christmas is a time when I have to restrain myself and allow other people to buy me presents which I would otherwise have bought for myself several weeks earlier. And it’s also that horrible period where normal, civilised people turn into frenzied idiots, fighting over car parking spaces and wielding supermarket trolleys like weapons in the fight to procure the last pack of bite-size party snacks in Waitrose.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the festive season – turkey, mince pies, the Christmas edition of Radio Times, all that stuff – it’s just that it’s not the big deal it was when I was a kid.

Until this year, that is.

I want my little boy back. It’s not that I’ve lost Isaac as such. But there is no escaping the fact that he is no longer the innocent little toddler which, in some way, he will always be in my mind’s eye. In his place is an increasingly aware boy who is fast discovering the reality of the world he lives in, with all that is good and bad about it. It is a double-edged sword, a bitter-sweet moment, and although I know I have to let go of his hand at some point, I am finding it one of the hardest things I have had to do as a parent so far.

Once a child starts to lose his innocence, you cannot put the genie back into the lamp. I know it has to happen eventually – but did it have to be so soon?