I love the recent programmes that have taken a wall-fly’s view of small children interacting with each other. Today I was thrilled to stumble across an old journal containing some forgotten gems out of the mouths of my own babes.
Overhearing Michael & his friend Joe at six
Michael: I know what a thousand looks like!
Joe: Which a thousand? A thousand and one? A thousand and two?
Abbie gazing at her poorly knee
Abbie: Every time I fall I get blood.
Michael: No, Abbie, you get blood because your heart takes blood all around your body.
Abbie: Don’t say that. I say that to myself.
Michael being kind to his baby sister
Michael: Abbie, do you want some fresh milk?
Me: She doesn’t like milk, Michael.
Michael: Oh! She must be electric to it.
Me: She must be what?
Michael: Electric to it. Like I’m electric to oranges.
Which he wasn’t.
Abbie at four, the graffiti artist
Me: Why have you written on the wall? Abbie: I didn’t know. Me: You didn’t know what? Abbie: I didn’t know my hand was going to take a pencil and draw on the wall. I just hate it when my hand does that.
Michael at eight, with a fair self-assessment
Michael: I may be naughty sometimes but at least I’ve never killed anybody.
Still true, as far as I know.
Me: I wish I had hair like yours, Abbie.
Abbie: Well you never will.
Me: I could dye it that colour.
Abbie: It would just come out orange.
Me: Do you think Mummy’s pretty?
Abbie: Only with clothes on. Nice ones.
Michael at seven; we gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, until he leaned forward and whispered…
Michael: You’re growing wrinkles.
Michael at nine; at a time when this was not true
Michael: Mum, you’ve got a hairy mouth. You look like an ape. If you get any hairier you’ll be a chimpanzee.
Michael at eight
Me: What do you believe, Michael?
Michael: I believe there are three Gods.
Me: [getting excited] Really?
Michael: Me, who is King of all the world; Abbie, who is King of all poos and farts and wees, and Dad, who is King of all fat people with sticking out bottoms.
Me: When I was young, they used to put our best writing up on the wall. Do they still do that?
Abbie: [sadly shaking her head] No, Mummy, nowadays we have to write on paper.
Abbie: I think I know what I’m made of.
Me: What’s that?
Abbie: A piece of gold, dressed up.