If you are the parent of a chatty child you might have experienced certain moments when you just switch off. On the hurried walk to school in the morning while slurping from your thermo mug of coffee. When you’re busy chopping food for a meal. Whilst trying to quickly reply to an email. Or lying in the bath just when you thought you had five minutes to yourself but then a little visitor declared they were bursting for the loo and came to join you.
The twittery wittering goes on and on and I zone out, scrolling through my mental list of things to do list whilst simultaneously making ‘hmm’ and ‘wow!’ noises at intervals. And chipping in with an ‘Oh, yes’ here and there.
And then much later. After I have dropped her at the school gate and am back at my desk, or folding laundry, or lying in my bed late at night trying to fall asleep, I am suddenly gripped by the terrifying question, “What was it that I actually agreed to?”
Sometimes I’ve said yes to as many as six impossible things before breakfast – because I wasn’t actually listening.
Here are a just some of the things my daughter has asked me lately that I may have accidentally agreed to:
1. Can I stay up as late as you and Daddy tonight?
2. Do you think the tooth fairy will give me £10 for my front tooth?
3. For my birthday present this year can I have a puppy?
4. Is farting a polite way to show you’ve enjoyed your food?
5. Can I have everyone in my class home for a playdate after school?
6. Shall we pack up all our suitcases and go and live in the woods?
7. If drinking so much coffee is bad for you, why don’t you just give it up?
8. Why don’t you quit your job so you don’t have to work during the holidays?
9. Please can I just not wear any pants today because the labels are itchy?
10. Can I have chocolate spread sandwiches with squirty cream and sprinkles for breakfast?
I probably have said yes to all of these things and far worse besides. And then had to deal with the fallout when I realised what I had unknowingly agreed to.
[“Yes darling, I’m just writing something on my computer and then we can do that. Hang on, What did you say….?”]