talking to children
I need to get more photos with the kids / I could create an entire photo series of Che reading…the sunset was pink, hence the rosy linen.
I received some clothes in the mail last week and I decided then and there to try a few pieces on. I slipped into a dress and started looking at myself in the mirror. I stood front-on and then turned to the side (and instinctively rose onto the balls of my feet to give myself a little height). I looked down to see Poet replicating my movements – the twirl from side-to-side, the glance up-and-down. She was revelling in the opportunity to play dress-ups with me and she made a point of commenting: “Lovely dresses, Mum. You look bootiful.” “Oh gosh,” I thought. “She really is watching my every move and listening to every single thing I say.”
Perhaps it was that one incident or perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m solo-parenting but I can’t stop thinking about the words I’m using with the children – how meaningful a single sentence is. This morning the lovely Emma (soon-to-be mama!) linked me to a fabulous post on A Cup of Jo. I first read it one night whilst breastfeeding Poet (she was only two-weeks old when it was published) and, at the time, I made a mental note of remembering its profound message. But you know what, I’m guilty of complimenting Poet on her clothes and her hair and her shoes; I do it a lot and hence she is forever asking to wear a “pretty dress”. Does her extreme love of fairy wings and flower crowns come from within or have I prompted it? Am I balancing out the emphasis on clothes and accessories by reading Milly Molly Mandy* to her?
Since Che returned to school I’ve made a point of never asking him: “What did you do at school today?” because I know all too well that I’ll receive “…not much” in return. Instead I ask him about his feelings. “What feelings did you have in class this morning?” “Well, I felt a little bit sad when I said goodbye to you but then we went into the classroom and I sat next to my new friend and I felt happy. And then I felt excited because we got to play some cool games.” His response often gives me a beautiful insight to his morning; his experiences and emotions.
There’s a lot to be said for mindful conversations with children. Tell me, do you find it all to easy to compliment girls on their looks and their clothes? What conversations do you have around the dinner table (we always talk about the best and worst parts of our day)?
*when I was young I borrowed (and renewed) a Milly Molly Mandy audio book from the library. I had a cassette player in my room and I listened to the tales of her days over and over and over again. I was so inspired by her passion for adventure and her mischievous ways.