Many days during my college decade were spent studying the Beat Poets and experimenting with stream of consciousness prose. We turned words cut from the newspapers into dialog and had nonsense talks over wine. We verbally riffed and let our talks ebb and flow on a course of their own often ending where they began… with a twist.
Talking to a four year old takes me back to that time. Those late night jams wired my brain to help me navigate most of my dialogs now. At least the ones I have with him. The child.
With him, I know where our conversations start and how I want them to end… my job is to orchestrate the words to reach that desired crescendo. I take his words… cut them up and use them against him. All the while letting him think he has a say in things. He’s just providing the tempo.
For me, it’s lots of verbal bait and switch. Subtle misdirection.
Our breakfast conversation may start with him telling me how much he “Doesn’t like bagels! I will never eat them again!” With my conductors baton in hand the talk will end with him devouring a bagel telling me “This is my favorite food ever!”
But between those two points… is magic.
“I don’t like bagels! I will never eat them again!” He says pushing his plate away.
“I know you don’t like them. The cream cheese is horrible anyways.” I add.
“I don’t like cream cheese!”
“Cream cheese… string fleas… pink bees… crinkly knees.” I rhyme.
“Trees! Trees rhymes with bees!” He sings.
“Sneeze and breeze and flying trapeze. Let’s not forget the peas.” I say.
“I like peas.” He says smiling.
“I like peas too. And bagels.” I strike.
“You don’t like bagels. I like bagels. I love bagels. This is my favorite food!” He says as he pulls his plate closer.