Out of the Mouths of Babes
My husband first suggested that I should write down some of the appealing things our children said when our older daughter, Kate, was four and our younger daughter, Sarah, just a baby. He had read of a mother who had done this and for whom the consequent collection had been a continuing source of pleasure. We had already forgotten many of Kate’s remarks but Sarah had yet to begin and four, after all, is not very old, so I bought an exercise book and kept it in a drawer in the kitchen, which was a good central spot.
Over the years, nieces and nephews, who have come to stay, have made their unconscious contributions. All are grown up now but, as my husband predicted, this battered little exercise book never fails to lift my spirits. Reading it again thirty years on, I find that implicit in this precious record is a way of family life which may already have passed, so that, in its way, it is a quaint little chronicle of social change. The last thirty years have seen changes in women’s roles and priorities which mean that fewer mothers are at home to hear what their children say and family meals, where many of these remarks were gathered, are no longer central to family life as they once were.
Our two children grew up on a grazing property in the Upper Hunter Valley of N.S.W. which will explain references to sheep, cattle, horses, creeks, rabbits, snakes, hydatids and so on. Occasionally too, there is a particularly rural slant to what is said. While many city children have read and enjoyed Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, only a country child could tell its mother that it had mustered 350 hobbits that day. Certainly only a country child would suspect its grandmother of having myxomatosis.
Printed books for the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ Series are available at a limited number of outlets or direct with Anne via phone/email.