After dinner, the boys went and played in the back yard, and eventually Daniel went home. (He could have stayed over, but his family was attending a baptism in the morning.) Tom3 stayed up a bit later than usual, watching television with Bladefang -- the small tiger-statue balanced on the arm of the couch. I sat on the other side of the room, sketching an outline -- a flowchart, basically -- for my next coding project.
Finally, though, I called it. "Time for bed, me boyo. It's getting late."
Tom3 didn't argue; he just collected Bladefang and went up to his room. I listened until I heard the shower start, then went back to my project.
Later, I heard voices in his room. When I looked inside, it was just Tom3; apparently he'd been speaking for Bladefang, too. "You doing okay?" I asked him.
He nodded. "We're fine," he said, and didn't say anything else.
I took the hint and went away again. There was a time when he would have wanted me to stay in the room with him, but he was eleven years old, now: moving more and more into his own world, leaving his mother and me behind. I remembered the experience well enough that I wanted to give him room to do it.