One of my favourite things to do is eavesdrop on my kids. At three and four years old, their conversations are surprising, unique and thoroughly entertaining. Adult conversations pale in comparison. While we tend to be restricted by facts and etiquette, our little ones are wildly creative and often hilariously inappropriate. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from listening to little people chat.
Lesson #1: Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
Kids don’t get bogged down by the truth. They let their imaginations lead the way and go with whatever makes for a compelling narrative. The other day I was getting ready for work while my kids were sitting outside the bathroom with our dog, Wilbur. Their conversation went like this:
3yo: Why does Wilbur have black eyes?
4.5yo: Because he’s a midnight dog from space.
3yo: Where are his mum and dad?
4.5yo: They were eaten by hyenas in the jungle so they’re dead.
3yo: Aw, poor little doggy.
4.5yo: He’s OK. We adopted him from Africa.
Our dog is a West Highland White Terrier and we got him from a registered breeder in regional Victoria. His parents are very much alive and he’s never travelled outside of Australia let alone indulged in space travel or African safaris. Truth is so overrated.
Lesson #2: Impart your infinite knowledge to all and sundry.
Kids are a fountain of knowledge and they take the responsibility of sharing that knowledge very seriously. My friend Rebecca’s son has just turned five and he was very keen to tell their new puppy all about the ‘house rules’.
5yo (talking to dog): Mum knows everything. Like everything. She gets angry but only if you hurt someone or are rude. So don’t say anything rude or push anyone over. If you’re good, she’ll feed you and cuddle you and read stories to you and stuff. Always be good around Mum. You can do anything around Dad.
The legend of “Good Time Daddy” and “Fun Police Mum” continues. Thanks Mr Five for making sure everyone knows the lay of the land.
Lesson #3: Don’t be afraid of oversharing.
Kids are mad for an overshare. While adults don’t generally talk about bowel movements, genitals and who does/doesn’t smell, kids are happy to share inappropriate details with anyone who will listen. When I host a playdate at our house I often overhear conversations that go something like this:
My 3yo: My mum doesn’t have a doodle because she’s a girl. But she has a bum.
Other 3yo: My dad has a bum too and he does smelly farts.
Everyone: Ha! Ha! Farts!
My 4.5yo: The other day I did a spew poo.
Other 4.5yo: What’s a spew poo?
My 4.5yo: It’s when you spew but it comes out your bum.
Yep, playdates are super entertaining at our house. Unfortunately, my kids don’t just share this information with their friends. The neighbours and any stranger we meet at the supermarket, servo or café is treated to the same delightful stories about anatomy and diarrhoea.
Lesson #4: There is an answer for everything.
Like most kids, mine have an aversion to certain (OK, all) vegetables. My three-year-old absolutely refuses to let a carrot pass his lips. I’ve tried everything to change his mind including telling him that superheroes eat carrots (refer lesson #1). My older child recently tried to back me up but it seems his little bro has an answer for everything.
4.5yo: You have to eat your carrots or Mum won’t give us dessert.
3yo: I don’t like carrots.
4.5yo: But mum says superheroes eat carrots.
4.5yo: So you won’t be able to fly if you don’t eat your carrots.
3.yo. OK. I’ll just walk then. I’ll be a walking superhero.
I reckon that level of quick-wittedness deserves a lifetime of cape-wearing and carrot-hating.
Lesson #5: Effective negotiation is life’s most important skill.
My kids are mad for those squeezy yoghurt pouches. While my youngest was napping, I gave my older son his yoghurt snack. When the little one woke up, I gave him his. Two minutes later, I hear big bro trying to convince little bro to hand it over.
4.5yo: Can I have your yoghurt?
3yo: No, you already had yours.
4.5yo: I’ll let you sleep in my big bed tonight.
4.5yo: Don’t you want to be a big boy?
3yo: Um…*hands over yoghurt*
I wondered why my little one was always starving when it got to dinner-time, now I know.
When I think of my kids getting older and becoming more factual and appropriate, it makes me a little sad. Until then, I’ll be hanging outside of the bedroom/playroom/bathroom door, having a good laugh.
What have you overheard your kids talking about that has given you a giggle?
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