The conversations are imaginary, but the situations are real.
Me: I need to get started on dinner, Hatta, so I trust you’ll be able to entertain yourself in your playpen?
Me: Here you go. Hope those toys are enough for you. I’ll be in the kitchen. Stay here, where I can see you, ok?
H: Hmmph. Yeah.
Five minutes later…
H: Hello there Mummy! Do you need any help at all?
Me: Hatta! What on earth… WHY are you here in the kitchen?!? Step away from the stove!!!
H: I thought you might need help.
Me: How did you…
H: I pushed the playpen. See? It’s easy. It isn’t very heavy.
Me: You’re not supposed to move around!
H: Why not? I need the exercise. I’m still in my playpen. You told me to entertain myself in my playpen. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Me: I told you to stay in the dining room, where I can see you!
H: Well, this way you get a clearer view of me. I’m right next to you.
Me: It’s dangerous! Now march yourself right back to the dining room, young man.
H: Mummy, what are you doing? Stop pushing the playpen! You’re making me walk backwards! It’s unnatural.
Me: I’m teaching you physical dexterity. Come on then, back to the dining room. Chop chop! There you go. Now stay here, please.
H: Pfffftt. That was just a waste of time, Mummy. I can simply push my way back into the kitchen, my playpen and I.
Me: No you won’t.
H: Wait, why are you putting all those chairs everywhere? Hey, how am I supposed to go anywhere now? You’ve blocked my path! Mummy, this isn’t funny! You’ve practically immobilised me! Get rid of these chairs!
Me: It’s called a barricade. Consider it your word of the day.
H: I’m going to push these chairs, Mummy.
Me: You’re not strong enough.
H: I will be. Just you wait, Mummy. Just you wait. I’m perfecting my walk and it won’t be long before I can climb over these dastardly prison bars you call a “play”pen. Freedom will then be mine!
Me: Yeah… nope. I’m getting one of those backpack leash things. You can have your freedom within a two-metre radius of my grip.
H: You laugh now, Mummy. We’ll see how things are in a few months’ time. I bet you won’t be laughing so loudly then.