Don’t expect your toddler to master the art of segues anytime soon. Here’s a brief transcript from a discussion Ben and I had in the car while driving home from school:
BEN: I like kitty-kats. I don’t really like dogs that much.
DAD: Since when don’t you like dogs? I thought you loved dogs.
BEN: No, their woofs hurt my ears and they scratch me a lot.
DAD: Cats can scratch pretty badly too. One time, I had a cat get really mad at me and–
BEN: Do they have flowers in Huuu-waii?
DAD: Oh, yeah! They have lots of flowers in Hawaii! Really cool ones.
BEN: If we ever go there, can we bring one home?
DAD: Sure! But I don’t think it would do too well on the airplane. Maybe we can buy the seeds there and plant the flower at home.
BEN: Yeah, it would probably close up on the airplane. Or a bee would get to it or something.
DAD: Yeah, it wouldn’t be very happy.
BEN: You know what!?!?
BEN: I bet if mom’s boobs exploded, the milk would go all the way to the moon!!!
This is pretty much every conversation with Ben; hilariously entertaining and always unpredictable. Whenever he’s in a loquacious mood, I put away the cell phone and turn down the stereo. I switch to “all ears” mode because I don’t want to miss any of his gems. The one thing I try very hard not to do is be one of those “uh-huh” parents. One day awhile back when I missed my morning coffee and was somewhere a million miles away in my mind, I made the mistake of saying “uh-huh” to him a couple times and I could literally see his motivation deflate in the rear-view mirror. The conversation dwindled in a matter of seconds and he eventually turned his gaze to the passing cars. I felt like a total asshole. No Father-of-the-Year Award anytime soon for me! From that day forward, I made it a point to never cheat him on the chit-chat. Now when I stay engaged and give him actual dialogue, his eyes light up and his voice dances with passion. And as Harry Wayne Casey (aka KC of KC & The Sunshine Band) once said – that’s the way uh-huh-uh-huh I like it!