Monday, November 3, 2008

Chatter Books

I love hearing my children talk. I admit sometimes I need a break from the constant chatter that comes from my three and four year old but for the most part I am fascinated by how they express themselves. In particular how they get around explaining things they don't yet know much about or don't fully understand. The funniest ones I find are the twisted words or names of things which they can't quite remember but they know what it is so they call it something else. For example, with great seriousness our son referred to the film "101 Dalmations" as "ten thousand dogs". It's things like that that make me dive for the wooden draw where I keep their little Chatter Books.

I keep two little books one for each of my children purely to record the wonderful things they say and how they express themselves. The books are nothing fancy, just some paper with a design on the front which has all been handstitched together. They are as small as a regular notebook and I always keep a pen handy. I would encourage ANYONE with kids to keep one. I only ever record one sentence at a time. Sometimes I write nothing in it for a few weeks and sometimes I'll write in it everyday for a week.

When they were learning to talk I recorded what words they knew at what age. Then came the expressions and now the really funny, interesting and profound stuff. I will continue this for as long as I can. You'll be suprised how quickly and easily you end up with a wonderful record of what's been going on in their heads. In the same way as the records I keep for each of them in the Once-A-Year books, the Chatter Books will give them a wonderful insight one day into how they developed their thinking and expression. Perhaps it may help them to know themselves better when they are adults. Isn't that what we're all after? To know ourselves deeply and honestly. Now some may think that the things kids say are mostly trivial or just cute. But I would argue that children can give us an insight into ourselves and can help us see simplicity and truth if we just listen. So I'd like to share with everyone this idea of the little Chatter Books. I've scanned in my two and as you can see they look pretty worn, but it's the content that makes them beautiful. Below are a few of my favourite entries...

"Mummy I was so upset that I lost my memory, and it fell out of my head and into my tummy!" 5 minutes later: "I got my memory back again! I just squeezed my tummy and squeezed it back into my head!".

"I have an eyebrow ache from all that blinking".

"When you're out of breath you should wait for a windy day and open your mouth so that the air goes into your lungs".

"Mummy come and watch me do a poo, in the end it's going to be amazing!".

Stanley insulting his sister:"You compost fairy!!"

"When you die you turn invisible. That's what happens".

1 comment:

MJ said...

Hello :-)
I came across your blog by chance. Love this post, and love the idea. Dont have any children yet. But sure will keep a similar book for my children. I wish I remembered more of my childhood but it is only a blur.