I was talking of a children’s party in the moaning blog. Whilst there I was chatting with another mum about children, what they say and how careful you have be about what you say in front of them. She recounted the tale of a child she knew would go home with the party bag and dad would look into it and say: “Oh, look, the usual rubbish”. At the next party, on receiving its party bag the child said (right in front of the hostess): “Oh look, the usual rubbish”! One very red-faced mother who couldn’t wait to get home and throttle her husband!
You do have to be so careful what you say in front of the children.
A colleague of mine used to live in a big house divided into three flats. She lived on the bottom floor with her daughter, then about six, and there were tenants on the two floors above. J always referred to the top floor tenant as being “not quite the full shilling”. So, one day there’s a knock on the door and J’s daughter runs to answer it. “Mum,” she yells from the doorway with the tenant. “It’s the one who’s not quite the full shilling!”
I don’t recall anything too embarrassing that my own children have said yet, save for the ritual humiliation of the public loo. Rosie, three, is quite fond of the embarrassingly intimate question in such a situation. I’ll spare you the details, those with young children already know what it is they say! If she has failed to embarrass me that way, she will fling open the door just as I’m pulling up my pants.
You learn, after a while, to attempt wild distraction when there’s a pause and small child looks up at you and says: “Mummy…” in a certain tone of voice. You shriek (frantically and maniacally): “Look Rosie! Look! Giraffe!” Rosie, then all grown up and sensible will say: “Don’t be silly mummy,” in a voice that could wither bamboo.
A couple of gems Rosie has come up with lately have included (on the swing): “Mummy, my tummy’s smiling,” and (in the car having just driven over a hump back bridge): “Mummy, my tummy’s laughing.”
Then there are the questions. How is pasta made, how is tomato sauce made, how are tomatoes made, how is cheese made, how are forks made, how are plates made? And that is just a simple spaghetti tea! Roast dinners are fraught with danger, lamb especially.
Hannah, now five, tends to get hold of a subject, like a terrier with a slipper, and worry it for days. Currently we’re on the subject of floods. Can you get flooded on a hill? Why does the water flood? Where does it go? When will it stop raining? (I wish I flamin’ knew!) Last week there was a flood in the village (about six inches deep and a few feet wide). Did people have to get air-lifted from that flood? Er, no, I replied, (inwardly vowing never to let the child watch Newsround again.)
Another time it was the hot water system. Hannah wanted to know where the hot water came from (easy to show her the tank in the cupboard upstairs). How did it get to the bathroom downstairs (it’s an odd, old house). Easy. See the pipes. How does the water get upstairs? Easy. See the pump by the boiler which heats the water.
Hannah thinks for a nanosecond: “So, the water comes in here in the bathroom, gets pumped upstairs to the cold water tank, back downstairs to the boiler to be heated, back upstairs to the hot water tank, then back downstairs again to the bathroom.”
I have no berludy idea.
Hannah is queen of the alarming (to parents) statement. For example, one day after school she announced: “Daddy, boys are scared of being kissed on the lips by girls.” How did she find that out? Don’t ask!