Well, that and the announcement that happy hour has now commenced. "Dad," the boy bellowed. "Do you want to play football with me?" This was a big moment in his development, another milestone about to be chalked up. He had turned five recently and also started school. This much we know because we take him there in the morning and he is still there when we collect him six hours later.
Whether he actually goes into class or what happens when he gets there remains a mystery because when it comes to giving up information under questioning, he is as tight-lipped as a Trappist monk who has taken a vow of omerta. There is more chance of getting conversation out of a teenage footballer after a 10-0 defeat than from the boy upon his return from a day at school.
This sudden interest in football, after years of ignoring its existence, was a definite breakthrough, however. And something of a surprise. Only the previous weekend he spotted a ball in the park, ran towards it, and then jumped right over the top.
His two-year-old sister then showed him how it should be done by running up and giving the ball a right good welly, much to the surprise of its owners who then had to fetch said ball from a rather muddy and deep puddle.
Still, better late than never, I thought as I extricated myself from my body-shaped ridge in the couch and went to put on my trainers.
The weather wasn't ideal, and the garden wasn't in the best of nick, but we'd go and have a kickabout anyway. Best not let the moment pass.
I wandered through to get him, carrying his jacket and shoes and wondering where we had left the ball. It was then that I realised I had somewhat misread the situation. "Here you go, dad," he said, offering me a controller and joystick for his Nintendo Wii. "I'm playing Mario and Sonic football. You can be Player 2."
It wasn't quite what I'd envisaged. It seems the boy had decided playing sport on video games was a lot easier than working up a sweat himself. Not that playing the Wii doesn't count as exercise in his case given he can't stand still for more than two seconds as he shakes the remote up and down to make Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog or Donkey Kong run faster, jump higher or, somewhat peculiarly, perform synchronised swimming moves while fully dressed.
I put my disappointment to one side and agreed to a quick game, deciding in advance it would be better to let the boy win to boost his confidence. I needn't have worried. By half-time he was 3-0 up and I had been trying my damndest to beat him. "You're not very good at this, dad," he shrewdly declared, as I gritted my teeth in a smile so enforced that bits of enamel started to fall off.
As his obsession with Super Mario and co grew, his mother decided an intervention would be required. Access to video games would be restricted to certain hours, while the boy would be required to get some proper exercise, too. A few of his new school pals had started going to football training and it was decided he should go along to see if he liked it and take it from there. Walking towards the hall the other night he spotted his mates and charged away to join them.
An hour later a verdict emerged: he liked it. Naturally, details of what had taken place were thin on the ground as we trudged home in the rain. "There was a bit of dribbling, some running about and we played some football," was about the extent of his post-match analysis, although it was still more than can usually be dragged out of him after a day at school.
The boy still had enough breath to admonish us for not giving him a water bottle and to point out he was the only one not wearing a proper football strip. This was, of course, down to a matter of principle and not in any way because his dad is a Paisley tightwad who baulked at paying 30-odd quid for a football strip for a five-year-old.
Sensing an opportunity, I chanced my arm upon our return home. "Fancy watching some football on TV now to see if you can learn some new skills?" I asked. It was the most optimistic proposal since Quasimodo asked Esmeralda out on a date. "No thanks, I think I'm just going to play my video games for a bit," came the anticipated reply. Still, it was a start. Small steps and all that.