The Rockwood Files: What a fly on the wall hears

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

One of the perks of being a parent is that you’re often part of some interesting conversations. Here are a few excerpts from recent chats at our house. The first took place with 5-year-old Jack while we were loading backpacks to take to school the next morning.

Me: “Jack, what are you going to take to kindergarten Show-And-Tell tomorrow?”

Jack: “I’m going to take my dinosaur. I’m going to tell them that his name is Dino and he’s my favorite.”

Me: “That sounds like a good plan.”

Jack: “Mom, why can’t I see a real dinosaur?”

Me: “Because dinosaurs are extinct.”

Jack: “What does ex-stink mean?”

Me: “Extinct means that they all died and there aren’t any dinosaurs alive anymore.”

Jack: “Why did they die? Were they really, really old?”

Me: “Nobody knows for sure why they died, but they did.”

Jack: “So do you remember when that happened?”

Me (feeling officially ancient): “No, Jack. I don’t remember when the dinosaurs died because that happened a long time before I was born. I’m not that old, you know.”

Jack: “Oh…. Does Dad remember what happened to make the dinosaurs dead?”

Me: “No. Dad isn’t that old, either.”

Jack: (long pause) So did Grandma see what happened to them?”

Me (realizing this could take a while): “Nope. She was taking a nap that day.”


While serving a lunch of chicken nuggets and a fruit cup, I had the following talk with 2-year-old Kate:

Me: “Kate, what do you want to drink with lunch? Juice or milk?”

Kate: “Chocolate milk.”

Me: “What do you say…?”

Kate: “I want chocolate milk.”

Me: “And how do you say that nicely?”

Kate: “Nice-uh-lee.”

Me: “No, I mean that you have to use your manners when you ask for a drink, so how are you supposed to ask?”

Kate: “Drink nice-uh-lee?”

Me: “No, you say ‘May I have some chocolate milk, please’”

Kate: “I’m thirsty. I need a drink.”

Me: “I know you do, and you can have a drink but you have to ask nicely by saying please.”

Kate: “Nice-uh-lee, please.”

Me: (sitting a cup of milk in front of her) “Close enough.”


While riding in the car past a row of restaurants, 7-year-old Adam and I had this little chat:

Adam: “Mom, what are we going to eat for dinner tonight?”

Me: “I don’t know yet, Adam. What do you feel like having for dinner?”

Adam: “I need a little Mexican in my life, Mom.”

Me (laughing): Oh, you do, huh? What kind of Mexican food do you want?

Adam: “Well, I want a cheese quesadilla or maybe two cheese quesadillas.”

Me: “Okay, I can make you a cheese quesadilla when we get home.”

Adam: “But Mom, why are the quesadillas at the Mexican restaurant better than the quesadillas at home?”

Me: “What are you saying? You don’t like my cheese quesadillas?”

Adam (realizing he may have just messed up): “Well, I do like the quesadillas at home but the ones at the Mexican restaurant are my first favorite and the ones at home are just my second favorite.”

Me: “When we get home, you can ask Dad if he wants to take us all to the Mexican restaurant for dinner, but I doubt that he’ll go for it.”

Adam: “But, if he does, then I win.”

Me: “No, trust me. If we go out to dinner, Mom definitely wins.”

Want to read previous installments of The Rockwood Files? Click here.