I hover outside the sitting room door catching the tail-end of marque 4 instructing marque 5 on how he came to be.
‘Mum had an egg inside her and it cracked and you grew’.
‘No she DIDN’T’.
‘She did, in fact Mum had too many eggs inside her. That’s her disability’, and he cackles.
Cheers mate. I hadn’t quite looked at it like that.
‘NO SHE DIDN’T. GOD put me in mummy’s tummy. AND THEN I GREW’. I enter the room as marque 5 seems on the verge of thwacking marque 4 for suggesting he came from an egg. He doesn’t like eggs unless heavily disguised in a cake.
‘I think you might have a few eggs left in you Mum’, marque 4 continues.
Cheers again mate.
We haven’t mentioned God or eggs or anything at all to them. They’re creating their own stories, cherry picking their way into being from whatever they absorb around them. They don’t look for validation from us. Long may it continue.

Overhearing their fresh snippets as they navigate and make sense of the world has been a source of laughter and inspiration over the years. Some of them stick and float in my mind. Like when a much smaller marque 2 observed: ‘You have 5 sons shining down on you – but you’ll get too hot’. Indeed I will. Or when marque 3 told marque 4 that he would find the ball on the beach because he was very good at finding things: ‘I can even find God and He is VERY hard to find’. He was four at the time. The younger the snippets are caught the better – before too many influences creep in. We swore we’d write them down, each little interesting one, to show them when they’re older. Must jot that down later, I say in the muddle and the mayhem of the day. Then later, if I remember at all, I reach for the quotes in my frazzled head, grasping and grappling but they’re gone. I tell myself that next time I’ll stop what I’m doing and jot on the spot. If I did as I said we’d have tomes of them. Oh well.

They seem to arrive on this planet with a clear philosophical mind and a fresh moral compass which if left alone – without the cloudy ‘guidance’ of the elders – would probably do just fine. ‘Let the children show you’ is a line I heard once that stuck with me. The context was a bereft, struggling grandmother seeking counsel on how she was to be with her young grandsons after their mother’s death. ‘Let the children show you’ was the simple response. I thought then, as I do now that this could be a guiding principle. If we can remember to do that instead of imparting too much of ourselves everyone might be a little better for it. We might just learn something along the way too.

So one day, when I must’ve forgotten that mantra, I was busily tidying for guests coming and giving out to marque 3 – age 5 – for making a mess and wasting good art paper, scrunching it up instead of drawing something nice.
‘But look Mum, it’s a crab’ he said, indignantly, holding up the screwed up ball of yellow paper. I stared at it waiting for the crab to emerge – much like staring at a cloud that a child says is a giraffe, wait, wait, ah yes now I see it – and the body revealed itself but I had to stop myself from asking which bit of crumple was the claws. Perhaps I looked a little confused as he looked up at me waiting for the ‘ah yes, now I see it’ moment.
‘Maybe you just don’t understand our world Mum’ he said, eyes glistening.
Maybe indeed.

So now whatever it is they say they see in the clouds, I see it too, fingers crossed, wishing it was that clear to me. And I’ve bought a little notebook for the snippets. Now I just have to find a pen.


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