What I mean.

In my parenting experiences to date, I have learned that the primary reason for children to become frustrated and tantrum is to do with understanding. You, I and anyone else not understanding them. Cue ire. Not what I mean Mammy!!

Betsy had squealy beginnings. I now am surprised to watch footage from those early months where she is yelping fussily and now I actually hear through the squeal. I have watched many short clips and just realised she wanted the ball/ the cracker or the song. The muddied perspective of parenting in the early days made me deaf to her wants. The squeal was white noise.

Betsy learned to talk very quickly. She is now more than articulate with a wide ranged vocabulary for a three year old. Injustice causes an occasional piercing ‘barbaric yawp’ but really, that is past.

She has been heard.

My crazier imaginings of the after life always included an early induction programme with a VCR/ DVD/ vlog (depending on the progression of time) that lets you spend the first part of your newly dead downtime watching a replay of your life in Big Brother style. Without the tasks and crazy wannabes of course. It would be handy for solving arguments. Closure on who said what to speak.bitmoji-20190208092303

Now, in a similar way, in the living world, I would love to record every moment of these girls as they talk and question their way through life as three and four year olds. The questions are endless. The curiosity is infinite. The belly laughs held in to avoid hurting their feelings are indigestion inducing. I have taken to scribbling down some of the banter so I can recall it all later for retelling it.

I posted before about this in The Things They Say and Are you Madame Gazelle? I could spend all my time writing about these girls. Today I am ending my post on being heard by giving you a few of their beautiful discussion points.


The way they think and talk…bitmoji-20190208093004.png

Gigi on fires: How do you start a fire without mattresses? (That took me a minute).

Betsy trying to explain she needs a scissors: The cutty thing Mammy. More cutty than this. (Holds up a pencil).

Gigi’s perception of life now that she has regular religion class at school.

Me (helping with homework project on care): Who looks after you Gigi besides Mammy and Daddy ?

Gigi (with a knowing look): Baby Jesus…

Me: OK…but who else? People you know?

(Gigi smiles like this is a trick question)

…God. (I gave up.)

Gigi on sport:

Gigi: Isn’t it not about the winning but the taking part that matters Mammy?

Me (delighted, nodding furiously): Yes, yes! That’s what I have been telling you! Did you learn that at school too?

Gigi: No. On T.V.

Gigi watching Home Alone 2 is mindblown that the little fella let it happen again.

He MISSED the plane! He just missed it! Now he is stuck forever in New Cork.

Gigi on getting new things:

Gigi: Why can’t I have a charm bracelet? A real one.

Me: That is a special present for something like your communion.

Gigi: Awwww. But I want one like Dora’s. With powers.

Me: They are pretty hard to get.

Gigi: I don’t know why I can’t get things when I say I want them. I just say I want a rainbow and nothing happens.

I nod sympathetically as my four year old realises life is not always going to go your way.

Gigi realising you get money for doing things.

Gigi: Mammy will you give me money for jobs I do?

Me: (a little surprised this moment has already arrived): I think we could work something out. Why?

Gigi: I want to go to Africa to see my friends.

Me: (choosing not to question her reasoning just now but wondering where all that came from): Well that would an expensive flight. We might need lots of money. There might not be any money left over for babybels or yoghurt.

Gigi: I know! Let us ask Daddy for all his money and you can ask the ladies at work to give you more money and then we will go to Africa.

Gigi on Antarctica ( they are doing a lot of geography at school these days obviously)

Gigi: Why have you never brought me to the Antarctica? It is my favourite place! 

Me: It would be very cold. You don’t really like the cold. Yesterday when we were outside you thought it was too cold and you wanted to cry.

Gigi: I would wear my Christmas jumper. Then I would be fine. I want to hug the penguins.

Gigi wanting to visit cousins who are going to their Ladybird group and will not be home.

Gigi (indignant): Mammy it’s not on tonight. They can’t go.

Me: How do you know?

Gigi (smiles cheekily): Daddy told me.

Me (knowing he did not): Are you sure that’s true? Not a fib?

Gigi (changes tack as she is being rumbled): My heart told me it wasn’t on tonight. Right here. It knows. (Pounds her chest and eyerolls in a manner that would make Streep envious)

Just so you know- Ladybirds was on. You would nearly doubt yourself.

Until next time, keep those lines of communication open! bitmoji-20190209095241

21 thoughts on “What I mean.

  1. I LOVE this! (We girls also always did charm bracelets for First Communion, too.) I so wish I’d started blogging when my kids were at this fun and curious stage. So glad for you that you’re writing it down, even through the occasional frustrations and occasional sleep deprivation!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Parenting is definitely a challenge!

    Knowing what I do now, I’d learn sign language to communicate in words and sign simultaneously.

    Children understand much more than they are able to express in words. When a child learns sign, she can much more easily ask for what she needs and communicate better in general. This makes for a happier, less frustrated child.


      1. I didn’t learn about baby sign until one of my Child Growth and Development students brought it up in class. By then my children were already in elementary school. Too late for us!

        I’m thinking OB/GYNs and Pediatricians would do well to spread this information. Less trantums would be a good thing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is amazing though. I saw it on Meet the Fockers and thought it was a made up thing but the baby on the show had been selected to play the role as he had been taught baby sign. Amazing concept.
        Poor Betsy could have done with it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are probably not the only one that has thought about a system that could make it possible to see back on what happened to solve a problem, or an argument, or even to understand better what happened… I saw an episode of the series “Black Mirror” on Netflix and they exactly imagined this kind of reality.. so cool!!! And anyway, I totally agree with you: most of the time kids are frustrated and fussy just because we don’t understand them!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I looove the thoughts from Gigi! It really gives an insight into the way her mind works! It’s really good that you are writing these down, they’ll be so hard to remember later!

    For the first part of the post, one of my friends taught her daughter to sign things before she could talk. I think that really made things easier for them as they could communicate important things like “im thirsty” as well as even more important things like “look there is a doggy” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I saw them communicating, it had me totally convinced. If I ever manage to have kidlets, i’d totally give it a try!


  5. I had so much fun reading your conversations.❤️ I love that sweet, innocent talk. I wrote down many funny, sweet, or interesting things the kids in their baby books, but it’s been a couple years now. I miss those young years. Enjoy them while they last. Great post, Orla!


  6. Loved reading this. Kids minds are fantastic. I wish rainbows would just come when I want them too! I have nieces of 6 and 3, i love the conversations and banter we have, it’s like free entertainment. Mostly!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a child my sister wanted the moon. So as soon as it could be seen all the curtains were closed just in case it began. “If you loved me Daddy.” sob sob sob hic hic hic ” You would get a ladder.” The sobs were genuine her heart broke and I, seven years older was on fear of chores … banned from going near the windows. Another great post keep them coming.


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