My nephew David is about 2 years old. I love talking to him on the phone.
Sarah (on the phone with her sister, Rivka): So then I . . .
Rivka: David! What are you doing?
David, in background: babble, babble
Rivka: What do you mean, you have yoghurt in your pocket? How did it get there?
David: I don’t know! babble babble
Rivka: Did you put it there on purpose? Did you put yoghurt in the pockets of your shorts?
Rivka: Why would you do that?
David: I don’t know! And babble babble babble
Rivka: What do you mean, you put yoghurt in your diaper? Do I have to change your diaper now?
[Sarah starts to laugh.]
Rivka: I have a sister working in a café like a grownup halfway around the world, and she’s laughing at my life.
Sarah: No, I’m laughing at David.
Rivka: Here, David, tell Doda what you did.
David, getting on phone: Doda!
Sarah: Hi, David!
David: babble babble yoghurt babble pocket babble diapah
Sarah: You put yoghurt in your pocket?
Sarah: And in your diaper?
Sarah: How does that feel?
David: Um . . . um . . . babble babble on poopose
Sarah: Does the yoghurt in your diaper feel good, or bad?
David: Bad! And babble babble Ima change diapah
Sarah: Now your Ima will give you a new diaper?
David: Yeah! Bye!
It occurs to me that cell phones and VOIP have completely changed the nature of knowledge one continues to have about one's family after one moves abroad.