Dialogues With My Daughter Vol. 2
For various reasons, I’ve written nothing in the past year, but I can always rely on my daughter to provide new material. She’s 6 years old now, and I can confirm that the effort of parenting is in many ways already paying for itself (except financially). The transition from toddler tentatively figuring out their surroundings to teenager stomping down the hallway and slamming doors has come sooner than expected, so I’m unsure as to where we’re headed next, but I’ll soon find out, seeing as I have no choice.
Following on from Vol. 1, here are a few more of the things we’ve said to each other, in chronological order.
[Listening to All You Need Is Love]
Marilyn: Daddy? Love isn’t all you need.
Me: No? What else do you need?
Marilyn: You also need money.
Me: Yes. And what else?
Me: Anything else?
Marilyn: Bags. Towels.
Me: You definitely need towels.
Marilyn: And happiness.
Marilyn: Trousers. Dresses. You can’t only have love and nothing else. You need clothes, mirrors, glasses. And lots of cream. Medicine. Hairbands. You need to go shopping and eat food. Love isn’t all you need. That’s not how it is. You need lots of things. Not just love. Isn’t it daddy? Isn’t it? Let’s go now. We’ve got things to do. Let’s go.
Marilyn: Can we watch a film?
Me: Sure. Let’s watch ‘Up’. It’s great, really funny.
*10 mins in*
Marilyn: What’s happening?
Me: (crying) She’s dead.
Me: It gets funnier. There’s a talking dog.
Marilyn: I love talking dogs.
Me: DO I REALLY HAVE TO SAY “WHAT” FOR YOU TO ASK YOUR QUESTION? I’M RIGHT HERE AND I’M LOOKING AT YOU, CAN’T YOU JUST ASK YOUR DAMN QUESTION WITHOUT ME SAYING “WHAT”?
Me: WELL? WHAT?
Marilyn: I love you.
Me: I love you too.
[Putting Marilyn to bed]
Me: You see, inside your duvet cover is the duvet itself. I’ve taken out the thick winter duvet, the 9 tog duvet, and I’ve given you a thinner duvet, for the summer, so that you don’t sweat at night. It’s 4.5 tog, so it’s half the thickness of the other one. It’s thinner, so you’ll be less warm. You’ll sleep better.
Marilyn: Yeah. Wait… why did you give me a thinner duvet?
Me: I’ve literally just explained it to you. What did I just say?
Marilyn: All I heard was blah blah blah blah.
Marilyn: It’s ok, daddy, just tell me again.
Me: Ask your mum.
Marilyn: Daddy, I need to talk to you.
Me: Ok. What about?
Marilyn: The spaceship.
Marilyn: When I’m older I’m going to do science, but I’m also going to be an inventor.
Me: I know.
Marilyn: I’m going to build a spaceship.
Me: Ah, yes. You mentioned that before.
Marilyn: The spaceship is going to have a sandpit. And also — are you listening daddy? Because this is going to amaze you. It’s going to have a swimming pool.
Me: Oh my god. Wow.
Marilyn: And a tap, by the sandpit, to wet the sand, to build sandcastles.
Me: That’s amazing.
Marilyn: It’s going to have buttons. A stop button. A go button. And — listen to this — a booster button.
Me: That’s a lot of buttons.
Marilyn: I hope you’re not going to be too lazy to help me build it.
Marilyn: Because you work hard. But also you’re a bit lazy sometimes.
Me: Fair enough.
Marilyn: And you look at your phone too much. Like, right now.
Me: Sorry, I need to write something down before I forget it.
Marilyn: Because you’re old?
Me: That’s right.
Marilyn: But not too old to build a spaceship?
Me: Never too old to build a spaceship.
Marilyn: I remember being in mummy’s tummy.
Me: That’s impossible. What do you remember about it?
Marilyn: Just, like, yucky slime everywhere.
[2 months into lockdown]
Marilyn: Daddy, why are you working! I’m bored.
Me: Sorry, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Marilyn: Can’t you just stop working?
Me: If I don’t work, I don’t get the money.
Marilyn: So fucking what?
Me: If I don’t get the money, we don’t get the house, and if we don’t get the house, we sleep on the street. You fucking get it now?
Marilyn: I’m fucking tired of this. I want to see my friends!
Me: You can’t, we’re under lockdown. Let me work.
Marilyn: I want my fucking iPad.
Me: You can’t have your fucking iPad. You watched Netflix on your iPad for 5 hours today already. You need to do something else. Go read a book or something.
Marilyn: I don’t know how to fucking read!
Me: Teach yourself. I’m busy.
Marilyn: For fuck’s sake. I’m going to see mummy.
Me: Leave mummy alone, she’s in a video meeting. She also has work to do.
Marilyn: Fuck your fucking work. I want to play! Right the fuck now!
Me: For the last fucking time, go and do some fucking colouring, I don’t give a fuck. Just let me fucking work.
Marilyn: This is fucking bullshit.
***expletives added to better convey the emotional state of both parties***
Me: *shouts at Marilyn*
[5 minutes later]
Marilyn: Daddy, look at this picture.
Me: It’s…nice …yeah …what is it?
Marilyn: It’s a broken heart.
Marilyn: MY broken heart.
[The day after I finish reading Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban to Marilyn]
Marilyn: … and that’s why I want to see the movie when I’m older, because of the end, when Harry says to his Uncle Vernon that he should treat him properly otherwise Sirius Black will get him!
Marilyn: Daddy, I really want to see Harry Potter 3. Because at the end, Harry Potter tells his uncle that Sirius Black will come for him if he treats him badly.
Marilyn: You know daddy, the reason why I want to see Harry Potter 3 is because of what Harry says to his uncle at the end.
Marilyn: I love the bit at the end when Harry tells his Uncle Vernon that he should be nice to him otherwise Sirius Black will get him. You know?
Me: I know, you’ve said it many ti-
Marilyn: I really want to see Harry Potter 3, b —
Me: You’ve already told me!
Marilyn: YOU NEVER LET ME FINISH, DADDY! YOU NEVER LET ME SPEAK!
Me: YOU ALWAYS SPEAK! OVER AND OVER, YOU SPEAK AND I SWEAR TO GOD I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE.
Marilyn: YOU LIE! I NEVER SPEAK!
Me: Fine. Go on. Finish your sentence.
Marilyn: I really want to see Harry Potter 3, because of that.
Me: “because of that”?
Marilyn: Yes. Because of that.
Me: That’s what you wanted to say? “Because of that” ?! You wanted to reiterate your point for the tenth time without adding new information? “Because of that”?
Marilyn: Are you going to start reading Harry Potter 4 to me tonight?
Me: You bet.
Marilyn: I can’t wait.