7th June 2016
I have two daughters. And they both like to talk. (Please don’t make some comment like “I wonder where they get that from?” It’s not as funny as you might think. Plus I’ve heard it before.)
My life is in a constant state of conversation and unless you have experienced it, you truly can’t understand completely. Occasionally we have to ‘pause’ conversations so that we can go do the groceries, or go to sleep, or go to a birthday party. The convo resumes after that event. Some of the most savage fights my girls have are over whose turn it is to talk. The people who seem to notice it most are my friends who have only boys in their home. They say my girls are noisy, full on and loud – but they don’t mean it in a wild and busy kind of way, they mean it in a chattery, vocal kind of way.
Here are some snippets:
- The Old Lady
Context: As I was leaving the Woolies car park, I had noticed an old lady walking along. As I shifted my car into reverse, I was conscious of not running over said lady.
“Where’s that old lady?” I mutter as I shift in my seat and reverse out of the car park.
“What old lady?” Sophie asks.
“I don’t know, Soph.” I inch the car back, making owl movements with my head trying to spot the old lady.
“But what’s her name?” Sophie insists.
“I don’t know.” Shift into first gear, nudge forward. “If I knew her name I’d say ‘where’s Margaret?’ But I don’t know her name so I just said ‘where’s that old lady?’ I was just thinking out loud so I didn’t reverse over her.” I flick the indicator on and give way.
“But who is she?” Sophie asks.
I cannot stifle an exasperated sigh. “You don’t need to worry about it Soph. You don’t need to worry about it.”
- The Thai Restaurant
Context: Two seconds after The Old Lady conversation.
“Thai Restaurant.” Olivia announces looking thoughtfully out the car window. “It looks like thigh. Thigh Restaurant.” She giggles. “Imagine that… a thigh restaurant.”
- Pig Catching
Context: I had bought a rolled leg of ham to cut for school sandwiches. The girls were watching me peel away the netting.
“Oh wow,” Sophie drawls. “Look at that. That’s so cool. What is that meat anyway?”
“It’s ham,” I say, slicing into it.
“And it’s in a net because that’s how you catch a pig,” explains Liv.
- Cool numbers
Context: Over breakfast.
“Mum?” Soph asks – possibly as an attempt to avoid her weet-bix.
“How do you write eighteen?”
“It’s a one and then an eight. That’s eighteen.” I write the digits in the air.
“No,” Soph says. “How do you write it with the letters.”
I frown – eight is always tricky to spell – and then begin the spelling out. “E-i-g-h-t-double e- n.”
“Could you write that down for me?” she asks.
“Yes – after your breakfast. Why do you want it written down like that?”
“I just want to know how to write cool numbers like that. You know eighteen, thirteen, ones like that.”
Context: We got a new cat. A kitten. Do I regret it? Yes. Do the kids love it? Yes. Rock, hard place. We’ve all done it.
Me: “Hey Olivia did you tell your friend Lyssa about the kitten? She really likes cats doesn’t she?”
Olivia: “Yeah – she married her cat.”
- Cat Talk
Context: Sophie carries the new kitten around like a clutch bag. The other day I came in to find it wrapped around her neck like those foxes women wore fifty years ago. She had secured the poor thing by holding it’s legs and he was yowling his head off. I am repeatedly telling Sophie “Put him down, he’s trying to tell you no!” This was a similar context – Sophie was holding the cat and the animal was meowing and squirming in no uncertain terms.
“Soph,” I said in my most firm but patient tone. “Put the cat down! He’s telling you NO. Trust me. I can speak cat.”
“Me too,” adds Olivia. “And I can also speak imaginary friend.”
Context: A long car conversation had ensued about God, Heaven, what happens when we die, what happens before we are born, where our spirit goes and what our spirit is. These conversations always involve a fair bit of me trying to wrap things up with “Yep, it’s all a great mystery” and the girls firing questions – each one more existential than the last.
“What I believe,” Olivia says with authority, “what I believe* is that stars in the night are little holes that lead to heaven.”
It is a beautiful thought and for a moment we are all silent. Then she adds…
“And the blue sky is like heaven’s lake. And if you die on a cloudy day like today you need to find a patch of blue to get through to heaven.”
Sophie thinks. Then adds: “And you turn up and God goes ‘You’re all wet!’”
The constant conversation sometimes makes my ears bleed, but if I take the time to listen I’m always guaranteed a laugh or some insight into the amazing ways these little girls are understanding and experiencing their world.
But seriously, when I fall into bed at around 11pm, I can still hear them talking – even in their sleep.
*yes – she repeats things for effect – she should be on Q&A