Do I have to (talk to Daddy)?

With L and the kids away with her parents in Scotland, I get to speak to each of the kids for about five minutes a day on the phone.


Robin is the most volatile: sometimes telling me he loves me so much and sometimes refusing to speak, even heard saying ” do I have to..”


Gabe can be matter-of-fact: it’s no big deal to be speaking to his Dad on the phone. His answers to my questions about what he has been doing are precise and he does nothing to prolong the conversation, drawn back to the game he’s playing or programme he’s watching.


Eliza makes the most sincere effort to answer my questions: listing the sequence of activities or places that have featured in her day; enumerating who of Mummy’s family is there; describing what lunch or tea comprised. This can take her an effort that surprises me and sometimes she struggles, but persists in trying to remember or to relate what has happened. She most reliably complains of missing me.

As the phone is passed between the kids, I find it unexpectedly difficult to work out who I’m talking to from the first exchanges. Until Gabe’s voice breaks, the voice tones are similar and with Robin’s improved language their levels of articulacy are converging.


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