Walking with Heulwen and Ella (and Bridget, in the stroller, obviously) yesterday. Somehow we got onto how to say stuff in French, just individual words. In the process I discovered that Heulwen can do a perfect French throaty 'rrrrr' -- that was cool -- and was really into repeating what I said. So then I started feeding her longer phrases and trying to think of sentences (my French n'est pas merveilleux). She asked what 'fox' was, so I taught her to say "J'aime les renards". So she was waking down the street, repeating "J'aime -- les -- renards. J'aime -- les -- renards. J'aime -- les -- renards", like a hundred times. Then she started freaking out because we walked to Gabriela's house to show her how Heulwen could say this and do the great 'rrr' and stuff, and Gabriela was out. Heulwen was worried that she would never be able to remember her little sentence. Poor wee scone. So I said "Don't worry Heulwen, even if you forget it, I won't -- I can just tell it to you again -- or I can write it down for you ".
"But I can't read!"
"You can read a bit, honey -- "
"No! I want to read but I can't read anything!"
"Come on, sure you can. Listen: p-o-t. What does that say? Sound it out, Heulwen."
"ELEPHANT!!!! -- SEE?!"
Then there was the time she was looking for something. I asked what she wanted. A shovel, she says. Why do you want a shovel, I say. So I can take my raspberry plant for a walk.
No, honey, you can't take a plant for a walk. They don't like it, they like staying in the ground where they are.
For those who don't know Heulwen very well, these were real, heartfelt, bitter tears of sadness. She doesn't do manipulation. Not that helped me at the time. All I could do was shake my head in disbelief.
One more, this time about Ella. This is vintage from four years ago, when Heulwen was a baby and Ella was three. Heulwen's full name is Heulwen Theresa Catherine May.
"Ella", I remarked one day, "Heulwen's name is longer than she is".
Ella: "And thinner!"