What is the loveliest thing a child has ever said to you?
My oldest son has just turned 3 years old and he is autistic. I think he's reasonably mild because he's super smart in many ways and it's not immediately obvious to strangers that he's "different" from other children. However, he's developmentally behind with his communication. He can speak, and he can now say any word he wants (after being mute for the first two years of his life) but he doesn't really "get" verbal communication to its full extent yet. For example, he has never told anyone that he loves them and it's impossible to have any form of conversation with him.
One night a few months ago he was in the bath with his little brother and we were all playing as usual. Suddenly a big grin spread across his little face and he looked up at us and said the best phrase I've ever heard in my life.
"Mummy, Daddy, happy."
My youngest, Violet (3), leans in and whispers, "Daddy, I know your nickname." You know, the way kids whisper when they don't need to but how parents should play along.
I'm putting on my make-believe Dad hat and whisper back.
Me: "What's my nickname?"
She looks around like it's a secret password and says, "It's Chris. Your nickname is Chris."
I'm shocked. I had a tough enough time hearing my girls call me "Dad" instead of "Daddy", but calling me by my "Name-name" is on another level.
Me: "Where did you hear that?"
Violet: "At the dancing studio. They all call you Chris Lynam."
Violet: "Yeah. And I have a nickname too. It's Violet Lynam. We have the same nickname Daddy. "
My heart melts.
I was waitressing at a cafe, and a big family sat down to eat.
As is normal with small children, they were all fussing about what they did and did not want to eat, for quite a while.
One little girl badly wanted a chocolate milkshake. Her parents were less enthusiastic.
I quietly suggested to the parents that perhaps they'd like a 'megashake' that could be shared between the whole family, rather than buying many individual, expensive milkshakes.
The little girl was so chuffed with this, she suddenly grabbed my hand, looked up into my face and said "Oh! I love you!"
I had the biggest grin on my face. Kids are so easily pleased.