Conversations with Flea

I’m starting to get the feeling it won’t be long before I’m outsmarted at every step by my seven-year-old.

Yesterday evening, we went out for our Friday night dinner, and we were chatting about a questionnaire that Flea had done at school that day.

Apparently, there were some questions about what sort of reading the children enjoyed, and Flea told me she had answered ‘yes’ to all of them, apart from one.

“I said yes I liked books, and comics, and reading at school, and reading at home…” she said.

“What did you say no to?” 

“There was a question, Do you learn new words easily? and I said no,” replied Flea.

At the risk of sounding like a bragging Mother, this is a surprising thing for my daughter to say. Flea will never use a five-letter word if there’s a ten-letter alternative. She adores words. She loves to make drama out of the everyday.

More than anything, she loves learning new words and trying them out.

Take last weekend. I was making a video of our day at LEGOLAND, and I asked Flea would she like to come back again. Most kids would say “yes” or “definitely”.

Not my child.

What she said was: “Would I like to come back? Let me answer that question by asking everyone raise your hands if you feel forlorn! I don’t see any hands!” 

So you can see why I was surprised at her questionnaire answer.

Not wanting to knock her confidence (Hey, I read those books about Positive Parenting) I certainly didn’t want to dismiss her difficulty or belittle her feelings – so I asked her, in my best supportive tones, what she found difficult about learning new words.

“The question was DO YOU FIND LEARNING NEW WORDS EASY!” she said, in tones that clearly suggested I was a moron for even discussing this.

“I know what the question was. I wondered why you said no,” I tried.

“Because the question was DO YOU FIND LEARNING NEW WORDS EASY” 

“But why is it difficult?” 

We were trapped in a loop that went on for several minutes. By the end of it we were both giggling helplessly in that way you do when you’re beyond frustrated with the other person.

Flea made a little gargling noise of rage. “BECAUSE,” she said, clutching her hair for emphasis. “IT WAS ASKING IF I FIND IT EASY – AARGH!”

“Okay,” I said, taking charge. “Let’s assume that because I’m 38, I do actually know what the question means.”

Flea looked doubtful but I ploughed on.

“I DO know what it means. In fact, if I’m wrong, I’ll give you this ten pound note from my purse,” I added.

“Well, obviously I don’t find it easy to learn new words because there aren’t many new words for me to discover at school,” said Flea.

I gave her the tenner.




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