The (brutal) honesty of children
As a primary teacher and a mum, I get a double whammy of the ruthless honesty of children and so it is not until around 8pm or later in the day that I am fairly safe from harsh realities. This is why I tend to watch comedies in the evening as they are more uplifting. When my son was around three years old, he was leaning on me one day and asked, ‘What’s that?’ I told him it was my leg and he asked, ‘Why is it all lumpy?’ He asked me this more than once but the second time was, ‘Why is it all hairy?’ Well, Mummy just doesn’t have as much time as she used to.
On a school trip to France, one of the pupils asked me if I had been to sleep. I answered yes, thinking we were making small talk but no, she knew I had because my ‘hair was all messy’. I have also been asked if electricity had been invented when I was born and if I knew Shakespeare.
After I finally published my first book, Bubble Burps, I returned home with my son one very rainy day to find six author copies had been delivered. I couldn’t wait to read it to him and we opened the package there and then and I read the dedication page to him. (I actually recently posted the video on my TikTok account.) He listened to the story and then we left the books on the side to show his dad when he arrived home. Following that day, any time we suggested reading it to him we have been met with a polite but very firm ‘No, thank you.’ It was only in the last month that he wanted to hear the story again and then decided to take it in to Show and Tell so I guess it is a hit with him after all! He is now what they call my ‘alpha reader’ meaning he reads all the chapters of my new book before I edit them and gives me his very honest opinion. But then that is the great thing about the honesty of children: if they compliment you they truly mean it so when a pupil tells me they like what I’m wearing or my son writes me a note saying I am a great mummy then I believe them and it feels amazing because if it wasn’t true, let’s face it, they’d tell you.