Is it happening already? Was that 'part one' of THE chat...?

OK, so this is extremely coincidental that this happened today; only a few days after I wrote about Etienne's fathers disappearance and the inevitable 'chat' I will one day have with Etienne.

But I promise you, this really happened.

Today, an elderly lady in the Post Office stopped us. She told Etienne that he was very handsome and that she loved his hat (standard- he gets it all the time, his ego is growing by the minute!)

She carried on chatting to him about how he looked like a real gentleman; "like the gents from back in my day..very smart indeed."

But then....then...she said it.

She got right up in his face (I'm assuming this was either because she wanted to speak to him personally, or because her eyesight was failing her- not sure which) and she said, lovingly:

"Your dad must be very proud of you!"


Why did she have to say the ONE thing that could've made the conversation uncomfortable?!

It's just typical, isn't it? I only popped in to post a sodding letter, it was supposed to be a super quick visit in order to tick one of my "to do's" off of the never-ending list.

I wasn't prepared for this. I wasn't even prepared for the massive queue in the Post Office with a tired toddler, let alone this!

I wanted the ground to swallow me up but instead, I panicked. No words came out so I just stared blankly. I couldn't even fake a "thank you" or a "yes, he is very proud."

And I certainly couldn't bring myself to correct her and have to explain, in front of the long line of people, that actually, Etienne's father hasn't met him. So, no I'm not sure that he is proud actually, lady.

Etienne looked completely bewildered and I could tell, by the way he went to open his mouth, that he so very nearly responded to what she had said (probably with something totally off topic like: "I've got a letter for the postman") but still...his confusion urged him to stay silent.

So, we were both silent and, though perhaps I was overly sensitive and all too aware, suddenly everything felt very awkward. And with that, the lady scurried off (probably wondering what on earth she had said wrong.)

I suppose, she hadn't really said anything wrong, as such.

She wasn't to know, and what she had said about Etienne was actually very sweet.

But, I knew what was coming next.

We posted our letter and we headed off to get an ice cream (my attempt to both make myself feel better and to distract Etienne from what had just happened.)


You see, the lady had now planted a little seed in Etienne's ever-so-highly-functioning brain.
He's always questioning things, he's forever curious and he constantly wants to learn about new things. He absorbs new information and new words almost straight away now (hence why at the age of 2.5 he can tell me which letters are in his name. That boy does not forget a thing!)

So, whilst enjoying his mini milk and succeeding in covering his face with sticky ice cream on the one time mummy forgot to pack the baby wipes- I could tell he was pondering what the lady had just said to him. He had pretty much been silent ever since (and in Etienne's case; silence is extremely rare.) I knew he was thinking about something.

I knew he was thinking about that. And of course, he came out with it.

The conversation went a little like this:

Etienne: "My daddy, he drives a van mummy.Is that my daddy's van?" *points to a parked vehicle*

Me: "No, Eti - that's the builders van"

Etienne: "My daddy.My daddy. My daddy."

Me: "Well, it's just Eti and mummy in our home isn't it? Oh and Panda- stinky Panda!"

Etienne:  "Yeah!"  *laughs excitedly*

And that was it.

The conversation was over in less than 30 seconds and he proceeded to chat about something unrelated (if I remember rightly, it was "look at that naughty pigeon mummy!" Sounds about right but I can't be sure. My head was chaos by this point.)

It was a short, simple conversation, with very little detail to it, yet it felt like one of the most important conversations I'd ever had with Etienne. It was the first time I had ever even attempted to explain to him that it's just the two of us. To me, it felt like a really big deal.

I was half expecting more questions, until I remembered that he is not even three yet and that he probably didn't take as much from that conversation as I thought he might have.

In his little world, he probably only heard the words "builders van" and "stinky panda" before becoming distracted by the "naughty pigeon" - as he put it. (Not entirely sure what was so "naughty" about this pigeon; looked pretty innocent to me!)

I wonder, though, is this the start of things to come? Have we entered into the territory of the dreaded 'chat'?

It made me realize how unprepared I am. I don't have a drafted answer for his inevitable "where's my daddy?"

In fact, up until I started sharing these blog posts with you lovely people, I had pretty much shoved that whole topic to the back of my mind. I think, only now, am I starting to think about anything outside of the "Mummy & Etienne bubble."

But since the "it's my dad at the door" comment the other day (click here if you missed it) and the constant use of the "D word" it's occurred to me that I really should start thinking about it.

I know that when the time comes (and I fear it's not far off, since he's an incredibly bright and knowing child,) I have a lot to explain to him, and more importantly, I have a responsibility to explain it carefully, honestly and in such a way as to cause as little heartache as possible.

(Carrying the Grump-A-Saurus- Rex all the way home.)
Not an easy task, right?

(Any advice would be most welcome.)

Anyway, on a separate note, after that interesting trip to the Post Office, our afternoon panned out to be fairly normal; we stopped by the supermarket where Etienne threw an almighty tantrum over a Teletubby cuddly toy he so desperately needed me to buy.

I said no. He threw himself on the floor. Everyone stared and I carried his sulky-self all the way home.

Nothing too unusual there, really!

Now, he's gone to bed and I'm sat here running over a few things in my mind and simply awaiting the next time he mentions his "dad" -
or, of course, the next time a random pensioner catches us off guard with that subject matter in the local Post Office!


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