I’m listening earnestly to Little Friend and Little One these days.
“Mama, I have a new friend, but he’s invisible. His name is Margaret.”
I force myself to answer with a straight face, “Oh, really?”
“Yes. He’s in the bathroom right now, so I’ll have to wait until he’s done to go.”
She dances a little gotta-go jig.
“Do you want to check to see if Margaret’s done yet?” I offer.
She checks. “No. He’s not done yet. But he says your ears look funny.”
Listen earnestly to what your children want to tell you…
Drawing a picture for her cousins. First comes two downward strokes for legs. Then a slap dash circle of a body. Two jaunty dots for eyes. A scimitar slash of a mouth.
Then one stick figure gets a squiggly something at the top of the legs. The second stick figure gets a third leg in between the original two.
“Who did you draw?” I wonder aloud.
“This is Lydia. See? She has a girl bottom.” She points to the squiggly something.
In a flash, I see where we’re headed next. I don’t want to go there. Please no.
“And this is Waylon. He has a boy bottom. Does it point down like this, Mama?”
I snort out a yes and manage to escape to another room before spilling the rest of my laughter.
Listen earnestly to what your children want to tell you, no matter what…
Listening to a baby is a bit different than attending to a vocal preschooler. Listening to a baby has something to do with hair gripped in a fist. A smile that spreads with warmth like a pool of hot chocolate. Two hands that reach for my cheeks and pull my face into hers. A head that likes to nuzzle into my shoulder as she sighs. I make time for conversations like these because now I know that chats about invisible Margarets and boy bottoms come next, and after that…well…I’m eager to find out.
Listen earnestly to what your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them it has always been big stuff. ~ Catherine M. Wallace