There’s a lot of noise in our home. From the waking sounds of the human alarm clock (a.k.a Noé calling out “Mummy! Daddy!” over the monitor), to the soft humming of the air purifier that helps lull her to sleep, it’s nonstop. Nursery rhymes, toddler tunes, reading out loud, banging musical instruments, moo, baa, la-la-la.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the racket per se, in fact I enjoy the entire buzz. But to tell the truth, for me it’s often easier to break into song than to attempt a conversation with a tiny person with limited ((though ever-increasing) verbal communication.
It is my hope that through every stage of their lives, having conversations with their dad and me will be second nature to my children. More specifically I hope that we will always represent a safe, nurturing place for them, where everything, no matter how trivial, embarrassing or weighty can be expressed.
I also know that it won’t happen overnight, rather to achieve said result, we have to start now to cultivate a culture of open dialogue in our home.
With that in mind, we exiled Barney and the Wiggles from potty time (heart-to-hearts aren’t restricted to the dinner table). Instead, I took a seat on the bathroom rug, placing myself at eye-level with my girl, and we chatted. Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
ME: So Noé, what would you like to talk about?
ME: Mm, how about something else?
ME: Socks are great! They keep your feet warm.
ME: That’s right, your socks have stripes, and mine have a waterfall.
ME: (after a moment of confusion) You mean, Stillwater!
NOE: (squeals in delight) See-lalo!!!)
ME: The panda from the story we read yesterday. My, you’re clever!
ME: That’s right, you’re clever and brilliant, and don’t you forget it. Now what else would you like to talk about?
NOE: (jumps to her feet and points to the potty) POOP!
ME: (sigh) Fine, poop it is.
I’ll stop there to save you the gory details. Today it’s poop, and goodness knows what it’ll be tomorrow, but the point is, we’ll be talking.