Amanda Hopper Writes

A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Conversations with a Four-Year-Old

No one will ever tell new parents the truth.
The sticky, messy truth that kids make you (and others) question your sanity.
A perfect example is the times when your young child says something painfully honest or just plain weird and everyone looks to you for translation. You have absolutely no idea what the kid is talking about, but people think you’re a bad parent if you can’t understand the erratic musings of a midget who will eat cold macaroni and cheese for breakfast. You frantically ask questions of the half-pint trying to decipher something you can give the curious onlookers, then usually have to make something up.
Sadly it gets worse.
The true questioning of one’s sanity really comes when you begin to actually understand the strange conversations from the perspective of the mini-you.
Here are some examples of recent conversations with Ian.
Example number one:
Sam is unloading the dishwasher while I am helping Grant with a math question and the front door slams. A huffing and puffing Ian yells, “The swamps are trying to kill me!”
Grant and Sam both look at me and say, “what?”
Without looking up from Grant’s homework, I reply, “Wasps are trying to sting him.”
Example number two:
“How was your field trip today”? I ask Ian.
“What did you see at the Youth Fair?” I prompt.
“Woosters, horses, stinkers, cows like ours, and goats.” He replies.
“What is a stinker?”
I can see him looking bored in the rear view mirror as he answers, “Pigs, but they stink.”
“What were the horses doing?” I ask
“Standing.” He sighs.
“What were the roosters doing?”
“Screaming.” He offers.
“What were the pigs doing?” I really should know better than to ask.
“Stinkin’.” He says with an implied duh in the tone.
Yet another conversation:
As I am finishing up my shower, I hear Ian on the other side of the door.
“Look at my fingers momma.” he says.
I immediately look at the floor where it meets the door and see little fingers poking under.
He asks how many fingers I see until I finally see all ten. Next comes the toes, where I have to keep saying that I see five or ten toes.
Suddenly a wail comes from the other side of the door as he laments, “Oh no! God forgot to unstick my toes!”
This makes perfect sense to me. He can’t put only one toe under the door like he can with his fingers.
Then it hits me.
I can sing the intro song to Dinosaur Train. I have several Franklin books memorized. I instantly understand that Ian is referring to Cat in the Hat when he quotes “cat”. I know almost all the names of the Justice League action figures, I quote Yoda when offering life advice, and I am the standing champion of Battleship in our house.
I have become a part of it.
The club that you swear you will be too cool to be invited to join.
The minivan majority.
Those poor souls who live out of their vehicles, carry the big bag filled with wipes and extra band-aids, and who can speak gibberish.
None of us dreamed of having calendars filled with color-explosions of activities, or to spend our evenings studying 5th grade math. To walk, drive, and cook while spontaneously shouting out this week’s spelling test words to kids who shout back the answers while walking away.
We did not ask for it!
But we certainly wouldn’t trade it.

Ian falls asleep in the strangest places…


  1. Is that pic from the old house?

  2. Wow that is funny. I'm tearing up. I cant stop laughing!

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