Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I heard that... pardon?

Is it just me? Or just my little boy? Only, before I've even finished talking to him he says 'pardon'? It's polite, I know. Better than 'you what?' or 'Eh?' but still... after every sentence? I don't mumble; I've had some singing lessons; I can project my voice to fill a reasonably large space; I've used nothing but my own stentorian strength to silence a hall of six hundred schoolboys. What I'm saying is, I can talk - clearly. I'm understood - usually. I'm not in the habit of repeating myself to people generally. Just with Charlie.

I did try an experiment the other day. I ignored his request to repeat what I'd just said and waited. And - sure enough - he responded perfectly well to what he'd heard me say first time of asking. So I asked him why he asks me to repeat myself so often. 'Why do you keep saying 'pardon' if you've heard what I'm saying?' I asked. And I immediately heard my grandma asking me the same thing when I was about the same age. I wish I could remember what I said, because it made her laugh. In fact, she often used to tell the tale of when she asked me why I kept on saying 'pardon?' when I obviously didn't need to. Charlie's answer to me was rather more prosaic, if honest: 'I don't know' was his reply. And in spite of the discussion which ensued, he's still doing it. I can't decide it it's endearing or annoying. All I now know is that it's probably genetic. But is it just a boy thing or are girls the same?

I'm waiting; I'm listening. And in the meantime, in the immortal words of Peter Tinniswood's Uncle Staveley... I heard that. Pardon?

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