“I’m sorry, what did you say Missy? You’re confused? How could that be?”
This is “how that could be”.
So, here we go. It’s playtime, and out come the plastic and wooden fruits, vegetables and assorted meat delicacies. Time to play.
“Missy, don’t eat them please. Hey! Get that hardwood carrot out of your mouth this instant!”
Eventually, playtime comes to an end. It’s getting late, and Missy needs to be fed and put to bed.
“Missy! It’s time for dinner”. Dutifully she comes up to the table and stares at a plate, part of which, may be carrots. “Please stop playing with your food, and just eat it!”
The next day, it’s morning teatime, and Missy is ready with her little tea set.
“Cup of tea Daddy?” “Why, yes please, that would be lovely darling.” And off we go, pouring imaginary tea, and adding pretend sugar. Even a little hypothetical milk is available should I need it.
But playing with kids can be exhausting – don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it can tire me out. Sometimes I just need a nice cup of tea to relax.
“Missy! Stay away from that tea! It’s HOT”. “No, you can’t add the sugar, and leave that milk alone!”
Now, seriously, how could that be confusing? (Insert irony here).
As an adult, it’s easy for me to forget that a child is learning new things every day. I see a spider, insect or snake and know to stay clear, especially as an Australian, where a healthy range of animals can kill, or seriously maim you. Missy has the opposite reaction. For her, every crawly or slithery thing must be investigated touched and sometimes, tasted.
Words are another. Children’s vocabularies increase at an alarming rate. New words and concepts are added faster than I can eat M&M’s. Which brings another issue:
The scenario: In the kitchen and Missy is happily playing with the pots and wooden spoons. Sure it’s not exactly Ringo, but her drumming is coming along. A tea towel over the pots makes the banging bearable. But then, as I am engaged in tea making, I drop the tag of the teabag into the cup of boiling water. Before my brain has had any chance to engage properly, “bugger it” slides easily out of my mouth.
I glance at Missy like a shoplifter who has just noticed the CCTV. She seems unconcerned and continues banging on the pots, unaware. Phew! Got away with it.
But then, as I relax, and right on cue, her drumming improves – because now she has a song to add:
“Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger” she sings happily.
Unhappily, I stand like a deer on a highway.
“Missy! Don’t say that!”
“Bugger, bugger, bugger.”
“No, seriously, stop it”
“Bugger, bugger, bugger”
The next stage in the process is to convince her you said something else: “Darling, I said chugger, you know, “c h u g g e r”: a man who drinks beer extremely fast at a party.”
Oh dear, that’s so clutching at straws. I had now taught my daughter to swear, and binge drink, in the space of 10 minutes.