Sometimes the drive across town with my three-year-old is pretty quiet; he’s too worn out from play time, I guess. Other days, he’s very chatty. On those days, we play little word games to pass the time. This often involves random lists of silly things. On one particular day last week, my boy was, as he frequently does, talking about ice cream. He is always on the lookout for an ice cream truck, operating under the delusion that I’m going to run said truck off the road and get him a treat.
There was no truck around this day. Woe be to that poor driver if there was. My boy wants some “blue ice cream” dammit. Still, the conversation turned inevitibly to the frozen treat. It went something like this:
ME: I want a milkshake.
THE BOY: Milkshake? You can’t shake your milk.
ME: No. I mean, like ice cream.
THE BOY: There’s not milk in ice cream….
ME: Well, actually, there is. You kind of mix it up, and…
THE BOY: Don’t mix it!
ME: That’s how you make a milkshake. You…
THE BOY: You gonna spill it.
THE BOY: You better put a lid on it so you don’t spill it.
ME: Okay. I’ll put a lid on it. Anyway, a milkshake-
THE BOY: Hey, Dad. We played “Red Light, Green Light” today.
I’m usually pretty mentally fatigued by the time we get home.
But that’s what it’s like talking to a…toddler?…preschooler? Pre-pre-adolescent? (So not ready for that yet.) In fact, on some level, that’s pretty much what it’s like talking to everyone. We try all the time to be heard. At home, at work. Everywhere. Then, once heard, to be understood. We wade through waist-deep chatter, get to the other side of the conversation swamp, but, by then, the leprecaun has moved the damn rainbow and the pot of gold is gone forever.
I mixed a LOT of metaphors there. My kid would totally get it though. He gets me.
And this makes me happy.