Two things happened this week to give me a wake-up call as to the complex workings of my Darling Little Boy's mind as he struggles to make sense of the world. I know all you parentals out there will recognise the hilarity, wonder and awe you feel when you hear them make a dead-pan pronouncement about something they have taken in its literal sense.
Firstly, DLB started a conversation about ‘who we know in Birmingham’. This in broad terms includes my dad and step-mum, and my sister Rosie, who lives with them when she's not at university in Brighton. So he went through the list....Grandpa, Granny, Auntie Rosie.....then he came to Chris, Rosie’s one-time boyfriend with whom relations have recently become strained.
I never thought to explain Chris’s presence and then absence to Darling Little Boy until a thought occurred to him and he looked me straight in the eye and asked: “Is Chris dead?”
Following the death of his paternal grandmother’s dog, Ellie, who of course used to always be there when we visited, and now isn’t, I could see exactly how he had reached this conclusion.
So we had a ‘sometimes people fall out’ talk, which I hope made things more, rather than less clear, but there’s a nagging doubt there...
The second thing was when he was eating lunch and chatting away to me about a planned trip to Center Parcs with friends.
“Will Alice be there?” he asked.
“I’m afraid not,” I replied.
“But she came last time.”
“I know darling but her mummy will have a little baby to look after by then.”
“Doesn’t the baby like Center Parcs?”
(realising he thinks I mean Alice’s two-year-old brother, George). No darling, I don’t mean George, Alice’s mummy is having a new baby.”
“Oh. (thoughtful silence). What happened with George?”
Through silent tears of laughter I explained that Alice and George were getting a new baby brother. Quick thinking, however, might have made me answer in a casual tone:
“Oh it just didn’t work out. He wouldn’t give up his dummy or eat vegetables!”