Tonight my family and I played a new game. Bored with charades (as we'd run out of shows and books that both my kids and husband and I knew) and not so keen on my 11 year old son's suggestion of a Family Maths Tournament (and no, I'm not joking, though I kind of wish I was), we decided to embark on something a bit different.
Now, putting Toddler into the centre of our games is not a particularly radical concept. She tends to get there of her own volition, anyway. If we're playing Monopoly, she'll steal our money and run away. If we're playing Scrabble, she'll grab our letter tiles and fling them across the room. And if we're playing charades, she'll push us out of the way, and stand before us holding up the five fingers of one hand as her sole clue to the words "Spongebob Squarepants".
So it seemed to make sense just to cut out the middle man and make Toddler the epicentre of our activity.
The game began with Toddler climbing onto the coffee table (except that technically she was already on the coffee table in front of us). The rest of us sat on the couch in front of her, and began to fire questions in turn.
"Is the world going to end in 2012?" my nine year old daughter asked.
"No!" Toddler answered. "That's just on Total Dwama Island!"
"Oh." My daughter looked abashed. "Of course."
"What is the healthiest food in the world?" I asked.
"Apples!" Toddler said. Good! I like apples. I will keep that in mind.
"Who is the prettiest - you, your sister, your brother, Mummy or me?" asked my husband.
"My sister!" Toddler cried. My daughter looked pleased.
"And who is the most handsome?"
"My brudda!" she yelled. My son looked extremely chuffed.
"And who is the smartest?"
"MEEEE!" she practically screamed. We all cheered. She was right, of course.
Then it was my son's turn to ask a question.
"So, what do you prefer," he began...
"Purple things!" Toddler cried. Well, that was as good an answer as any, even if it wasn't to the question he'd been asking.
We took the game up a notch.
"Do you believe that God created the world in seven days," I asked, "or do you subscribe to the Big Bang theory?"
"Big Bang!" Toddler told me. Like, DUH. I swear I could almost see her roll her eyes.
"How many babies am I going to have?" asked my daughter eagerly.
"One!" pronounced Toddler with certainty.
"But someone told me I was going to have twins!" my daughter told her.
Toddler shook her head. "One baby. Just. One."
I decided it was time to ask the most important question of all. Toddler was clearly in Soothsayer mode. I knew that she was up to it.
I took a deep breath. "So... what is the meaning of life?"
Toddler stood on the coffee table, looked at us and raised her arms.
"You all just have to be happy!" she said.
It was an amazing moment. We all fell silent. And then, as one, the four of us burst out cheering. Toddler took a proud bow. It was a scene I will remember forever.
So if you ever need an answer to a question, feel free to ask my Toddler. It may not be the answer you're looking for, but the kid knows a thing or two about life.