Sunday, 31 March 2013

Week 82- dog poo, chocolate eggs and keeping your mouth shut

Having a child involves a constant process of self editing from the moment they seem to understand what you’re saying.

Which is often long before you realise they know what’s going on.
You’re lured into a false sense of security, thinking that you can continue to talk frankly in front of them, and then suddenly they start parroting you, or asking for something you didn’t realise they knew the word for.

I was a bit perturbed when pushing Nancy in her pram round to the childminders the other day.
One of the wheels went over a dog turd, and without thinking, I  muttered, ‘shit’, only to be met with a little voice singing back, ‘shit, shit, shit,’ at me for the rest of the 10-minute journey.
I think I just about got away with it, talking about her ‘seat’ a lot, but still. No swearing now. Even if it is under my breath.
But Nancy is now picking up words when she’s not with us. Or remembering things we’ve mentioned once and possibly forgotten about.

She was looking at a picture of a rabbit the other day, and said ‘banana’, to which I corrected her, only for her to insist, ‘no, banana’, and then I looked again, and she was right. The rabbit was carrying a banana.
As she pushed her bowl away half way through her breakfast the other morning, Ben asked, ‘finished?’

‘Finished,’ she replied.
‘All done?’ he asked.

‘All done,’ Nancy answered.
And as Ben faltered, Nancy said, ‘bye bye porridge,’ in case there was any doubt as to whether she wanted any more.

So, when we took Nancy to a friend’s Easter egg hunt the other morning, we were aware that she hasn’t really had much opportunity to eat chocolate.

And given that she sucks her mouth in when you try and brush her teeth so you end up brushing her lips, we’d prefer it to stay that way for the time being.
The hunt began and she trundled off with the sea of other screaming, excited children, clutching a little plastic bowl to fill with any sparkly objects she found.

‘Chicken!’ she joyfully shouted when finding a hen shaped chocolate.
‘Egg!’

‘Bunny!’

And they all went into the bowl.

As we regrouped with the other parents, all the other children were eating their findings, so we unwrapped a little egg.
Nancy’s eyes nearly popped out of her head as she gnawed at it.

You could see her wondering why hadn’t she had anything like this before.
Where had, in a short life of porridge, rice cakes and raisins, we been hiding this brilliant tasting thing.
With it wedged in her cheeks, Nancy urgently smacked the back of her hand, shouting, ‘more, more, more!’

And we realised. She doesn’t know the word for it. She doesn’t know what she’s just eaten.
And we haven’t told her.

Nancy has had a taste of heaven. But has no idea how to ask for it again.

And, until she opens her mouth and let's us brush her teeth, that’s the way it’s going to stay.

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