Friday, January 16, 2009

A strange little world

This morning ThingOne asked me when I'd got home the previous night. I'd been working late and had got back past midnight. I told her I'd got back very late. She asked why (or course she did - she always does).
I said, "Because it's very busy at work at the moment".
ThingOne looked confused, and then asked, "Couldn't you get through the door?"

This confused me. I realised that in her mind, when I'd said it was busy, she'd thought that there were so many people in my office that I'd been physically unable to leave until late. The image of me fighting past people to get out of the office made me laugh. It might also have been less depressing working past midnight if there had been a few more people there.

We frequently find that ThingOne gets a wrong, though often understandable, idea from what we tell her, and we've learned to phrase things quite carefully to give her a good chance of understanding. I love the little world she lives in where almost anything can happen and she'll take what we say at face value.

I sometimes use this to amuse myself. One day, I'd got home from work while Anne was giving ThingOne and ThingTwo their bath. I stood outside the bathroom and took my trousers off, and walked into the bathroom with my shirt and boxer shorts on. "Where are your trousers Daddy?", ThingOne asked (well, you would wouldn't you). I feigned surprise and told her I must have left them at work. ThingOne found this funny, but didn't seem to think there was anything ridiculous about it. Well why should she?

On Sunday I was able to avoid a potential tantrum by misleading her. We were at Nandos for her birthday tea, and I'd ordered our food at the counter (it's not a proper restaurant, despite what ThingOne thinks). While waiting for our food it became clear that ThingOne thought that because she had a menu to read she wanted to order her food with the waitress. We tried to explain that the waitress didn't come in this restaurant. She wasn't having any of it. Thinking on my feet I took her to the counter. There were no staff nearby, and that suited me.

"Right ThingOne", I said, pointing to the unattended till, "what we need to do is to say what you would like to eat into the magic till. So we say 'Chicken and chips for table 34'. Shall we do that?"

A nod.

"Chicken and chips for table 34", we shouted in unison into the till. We didn't feel ridiculous at all.

That seemed to satisfy her. We got back to the table and seconds later our food was brought to the table. ThingOne must have thought that was very good service.

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