WARNING - this daylog contains no angst or sadness. In fact, it may even be a little soppy and gushing. If this will offend, then move on, there's nothing to see here. Thankyou, come again!

Well, last night was my brother's birthday. So it was out to mum and dad's place near Yass, about 45 minutes drive from Canberra, Australia. A chance to sit down with my dad, sample some of his latest home brew, and watch a bit of cricket. My dad brews a pretty damn good beer, I must say.

After a little while, my sister arrived, then soon after my brother, his fiance, and my nephew, Thomas.

This is about where the gushing's gonna start - don't say I didn't warn you!

It only seems like yesterday when I was visiting the hospital, soon after Thomas' birth. I'd never really held a really, really new-born baby before then. He was so tiny, and seemed so very fragile. Listening to his breathing, as he grew used to his new lungs. He's a little under 2 1/2 now, and he's an absolute joy. Totally gorgeous, with the cheekiest smile you've ever seen. It seems like he's constantly running and laughing. I've never been an uncle before, and I've gotta say, it rules!

I'm amazed when I see him now, that he remembers my name. I don't get to see my family all that often - perhaps once a month or so, sometimes longer. But Thomas doesn't forget. Even if he's not quite got his tongue around the pronunciation - I'm 'duert' to him at the moment! His mum has finally realised, after last night, that he's not actually saying 'do it'!!

We had a great time last night. It's probably too early to say, but he could have a future as a drummer. We drummed the table, the esky, the door, the hot water heater, my sister's car bonnet....even the broom handle leaning against the wall. It all got a good bashing. Me, on my knees, playing with my hands. Thomas, who was in charge of the double kick - hands going madly, while he stamped with his feet. I don't know if we were playing jazz, speed metal, funk or punk. Perhaps it was the ultimate fusion piece.

We played with plastic fruit, we played with a washing up glove - which makes quite a nice monster, I'll have you know - we counted beads on the high chair, and I followed him, when he demanded my hand, so he could take me somewhere to show me something of the upmost importance.

When he's being driven through an area that's been touched by the recent bushfires we've had here, he just shakes his head, and says "fire bad". He got to see a lot of the television footage of the worst of the fires, and his biggest concern? The animals. His mum was talking about it last night, and he overheard. In the middle of the conversation, Thomas pipes in - "what about the amals?" And it wasn't just something he'd overheard elsewhere - he really was deeply concerned with how the animals fared. God I love him..

He got upset twice in the entire night. Once, eating corn chips with salsa. He'd been doing a great job, picking out a chip, and ever so carefully dipping it in the jar (naturally, his hand was covered in salsa, but he was trying so hard!). Everything was fine, until he got a slightly spicier bit on his chip. A look of horror quickly crossed his face, as he ran to mum, the tears flowing down his face. Mum got him a drink, and everything was better. Then he trotted back in, got another chip, and began dipping again... Man he loved that salsa!

The only other thing that upset him was blowing out the candles on the cake. Everything was fine, until we started to sing Happy Birthday. He wasn't scared - he just thought it was for him, and got all embarrassed!

One thing I got out of last night was an appreciation of just how tiring it must be, to look after, and raise a child. I was with Thomas for a few hours....not too late, I was fast asleep on the couch, worn out. He wasn't being difficult, he didn't spend the night crying and demanding attention. In fact, he was perfectly adorable for the whole time. And I was exhausted. I don't know how anyone can manage that day in, day out. His parents can't afford to crash out on the couch, while he's running around, into absolutely everything. I'm in awe of the incredible job my brother and his girlfriend have done with him, and just hope that when my time comes, I have the strength that they have.

E2 mums (or moms!) and dads, you're incredible.

Sappiness over - it's now safe to continue.