It comes sooner than you think.
Aged only just seven, his mornings are taken up with learning spellings and arguing about teeth cleaning, and before you know it he's disappeared through the school gates without looking back.
On the way home from school he's miles ahead, racing his friends on their scooters. At the doorstep he doesn't even stop for a snack before saying, "Can I call for so-and-so?" and dashing to knock on a friend's door a couple of houses away.
Reluctantly he comes home to be fed, then plays a while before bed.
Is it any wonder I cherish bedtime, with its ritual story reading and snuggling? Long may it last.