It's just as well that I help at the library twice a week - that's when I catch up on a bit of female interaction, otherwise, apart from family, I am in danger of becoming a bit of a recluse. I mentioned this morning, while shelving books, that I had taken my No.2 granddaughter - 18 months - for her first swimming lesson. You have to get into the water with these tots, and most of the lesson takes place with the small person either perched on your knee, or in your arms. As it was her first time, she got rather tired after 20 mins and began her latest thing of pinching me, or the teacher or anyone else in the vicinity. I reflected that these touches from tiny fingers are actually quite painful and (if my daughter is not looking), I pinch fairly firmly back so that she at least knows that it hurts. My daughter is inclined merely to administer a gentle tap on the nappy which has no effect whatsoever. I further noted that in contrast to her gentle 3-year-old cousin, who as yet has no other sibling, this feisty little one has quickly learned ways to stand up to her older brother, who takes no nonsense from her when she wants to grab his current favorite toy. This reminded my library colleague of an anecdote of when her own daughter was three and being terrorised at her day-care by a little boy who went around biting all the children when the teacher wasn't looking. Most didn't retaliate. When her father heard of this, he took her aside one bedtime and explained how she should react and told his wife that the problem would now be sorted. The next day, when she arrived at school, this little girl when straight up to the boy in question and, unprovoked, gave him a hefty punch in the stomach. Of course, the teacher happened to see this and the parents were contacted. My colleague was very cross with her husband, who defended himself indignantly saying, "But I told her only to do it if he bit her again!" Needless to say, there was no more biting in the class and one can't really blame the little girl. She was only 3 - and certainly remembered the important part.