Can I use that, Daddy? What? Them! A little finger points at the secateurs poking out my jacket pocket. Go on, Mummy isn't looking. Oh, the bribery of a small child. Not seen = not caught, and being caught = chucking them in the hedge. We have always been open to Little D using tools, we stop short of giving him a machete or even a butter knife. Yet, to deny at such moments can cause a lot of damage. No, you can't use the secateurs, bugger off. Wow! That'd be a killer. He'd never ask to do anything again. So, yes, I give him my secateurs and I watch him. For goodness sake, the boy uses scissors at school on a daily basis and the glue he uses puts the fear of god into our carpets.
So, we work together and for half an hour, man and boy, Daddy and son chat about how to cut string and how to stack canes. Some get broken. They're old bean sticks I tell him, they're kindling now, he sees this as a green light to make more kindling until I point out that we want some bean sticks for this spring. He nods, sagely, and states that he might help Mummy now with the chickens. He comes back ten minutes later, Mummy told me to go away because the chickens jumped at me, she called me soft. Well, you are, son, your cheeks are round and soft. They're just chickens. They flap fast. Flap back then. For a minute he flaps past me, a flurry of arms that stop by the raspberry canes. Daddy, these need pruning too.
We prune the raspberry canes, I show him good canes, poor canes and canes he shouldn't have really chopped out in his excitement to prune something, anything with my secateurs. He understands that pruning all the canes away = no raspberries which means if Mummy comes up the garden he'll blame me as he flaps away like a chicken.