Child: My day is totally spoiled now.
Mum: What do you mean? What happened? Did the school burn down with all the children in it? Did you get boiled rat and egg salad for lunch? Did you fall down the stairs and break all your bones?
Child: No, because they would all be good, apart from the boiled rats, which would be interesting and funny anyway, like a picture in my Ripleys book. There wouldn’t be any need to go to school if it burned down… I wonder if it hurts to break all your bones. I wouldn’t need to go to school if I broke even one or two or three small bones. That would be really good.
Mum: What happened at school then?
Child: You know in Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii? I have just bought Blackbeard and I have just bought Davy Jones, but he doesn’t act the same as he used to when I didn’t buy him. It’s all a bit strange. His hair and his hat have disappeared and he just looks like a lego man now.
Mum: Is that what happened at school?
Mum: You say pardon, not what. I was asking what happened at school to spoil your day.
Child: I don’t think Davy Jones’s hair is actually, actually lost. I think its just something you need to find to get you to another level. Mummy… I wish I could get onto freeplay level on ALL the games in the whole world. But some are a bit babyish. But some are a bit hard. I think I will need to follow all the instructions and maybe have a dictionary and a thesaurus so I can get it right and not get confused. When I get home I am going to play on the Wii. Can I?
Mum: Yes, but tell me about what happened at school.
Child: Everybody hates me.
Mum: Why? That’s not something that happened, that’s the way you see the situation. Tell me what actually happened, in real life.
Child: Celia told me off.
Mum: Celia? Again? Ok. Well, is Celia one person or many billions of people?
Mum: Pardon. How many people is Celia?
Child: Pardon… One person.
Mum: Well, first… Celia is just one person amongst billions. It is only Celia who has told you off. One person. And second, telling someone off doesn’t mean you hate them. Does it? I tell you off because I want you to grow to be the best person you can possibly be. Good manners, happy, treating other people well… Grown ups tell children off to make them understand what people should do. If I tell you off, I still completely adore every inch of you, don’t I?
Child: That’s not real mummy. Inches aren’t real anymore. We have to measure things in kilometres and metres and centimetres and millimetres and micromillimetres. Very big and very small…
Mum: That’s not the point I was trying to make. I was saying that if one person tells you off it doesn’t mean that you are hated by everyone.
Child: Do you hate every centimetre of me?
Child: Do you hate every millimetre of me?
Child: If I was ten kilometres high you would hate me wouldn’t you?
Mum: No, I wouldn’t.
Child: What if I fit inside a matchbox? You would hate me.
Mum: I don’t hate you and could never hate you. I feel a bit exasperated at times, but that’s normal when you’re a parent.
Child: Where is the dictionary?
Mum: There it is. Are you looking up exasperated?
Child: No. I want to know about the equator.
Mum: I think it might be a better idea to look in an encyclopaedia or the atlas over there. You will get more details.
Child: No. I am looking in the dictionary.
Mum: OK. What happened at school, then? Why did Celia tell you off?
Child: She hates me.
Mum: I doubt that. You are very likeable. What happened?
Child: I don’t want to tell you. You will hate me.
Mum: I could never hate you. Listen, I’m going to sit here at the kitchen table until the timer goes off. See, I am setting the timer for 30 minutes now. If you feel like you need to tell me what happened, come and tell me before the timer goes off. If you don’t, then just do something else. OK?
Mum: What do you mean by saying no?
Child: No, I am not OK. Everybody hates me.
Mum: Right, listen. I’m drinking my tea at the table. The timer will go off in thirty minutes. You can take it with you into the other room if you want, and watch the time tick away. I want to know what happened, if you can tell me, before the timer goes off. Otherwise it needs to be forgotten and we need to move on. Understand?
Child: Blackbeard is funny, mummy. His beard isn’t really very black. Not like the pictures I have seen. I think Lego put the wrong beard on him in the kit.
Mum: Who does he look like? Perhaps you’ve got the characters in the kits mixed up.
Child: No, I haven’t. I wouldn’t mix them up. But he looks like Obi-Wan Kenobi. When he is young in The Phantom Menace. I think my favourite Star Wars is Return of the Jedi, but I think the new favourite will be the new film if George Lucas does a good job. I think he will do a good job. When I grow up I will make aliens like he does. Maybe big ones that look like my two favourite dogs that can talk and fight and maybe even drive planes. Fly planes. Fly podracers. Race podracers…
Mum: Are you going to tell me about why your day is all spoilt?
Child: Yes. Everybody hates me.
Mum: Go and play honey, and know that nobody hates you. There’s nothing to hate. You’re awesome.
Child: My brother hates me.
Mum: He doesn’t. Anyway, here’s the timer. Come and talk if you want to before it rings. Focus on what you need to say. What really happened. Otherwise we just need to move on, OK?
Child: No, I am not OK.
Mum: I know… Byebye sweetypie.
Child: Bye mummy. Love you. I am thirsty.