It is close to axiomatic in the Darwin household that it is possible to do things with children. And given that one of the main things we do is talk, we certainly tend to maintain that it is possible to have good conversation even while the brood is milling about and brooding. Yet lately, with the girls currently aged 5, 4, and nearly 2, even we have been forced to admit that adult conversation is difficult at times.
The oldest two are certainly up to narrating their days, talking about the books they've read/heard or spinning loud and somewhat confused yarns from sheer imagination -- but their attention spans are short and they tend to try to vear any adult conversation off in a direction they can understand. Though we occasionally put in the work to make them keep silent during dinner while we talk, meals are generally given over to kid-level conversation and the two of us talk over dishes or after they've gone to bed.
Talking with guests can work well when they are other families with children. Then the whole pack of young ones can be chased upstairs or outside while the adults talk. But recent times when we've had single visitors (especially people who aren't used to children, like our priests) have been less successful. Perhaps it takes a certain talent or experience to successfully maintain conversation while children run in and out and interject their own questions.
We remain convinced that parenthood does not mean the end of long adult conversations, but for the first time recently we've found ourselves occasionally arranging for one or the other of us to meet with others outside the house if serious talking needs to be had. I'm hoping this is a fairly brief, awkward stage the children are in: not yet old enough to be counted on to stay off playing on their own for protracted periods (or join in at a semi-intelligent level) nor young enough to be placed in a swing or carseat and allowed to drowse off. In the meantime, though, people occasionally remark in shocked tones: Wow, your girls have a lot of energy.
Yes. They do...
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