Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

My Baby Girl – #gargleblaster174

with 36 comments


‘She’s bright, isn’t she?’

I nod.

‘Very inquisitive.’

‘Don’t be scared to say precocious.’

‘Oh no. She’s lovely.’

Everyone adores my daughter, despite the incessant questioning. I spend hours seeking answers.

One day I will fail.

Her disdainful look will shatter me.








36 Responses

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  1. I wanted this to be a tale of a delightful little girl, instead it became one of worry and potential woe for her mother. I must try harder to connect with my inner-child.

    Sarah Ann

    August 12, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  2. I certainly did not expect to read what I read. The surprise, though, made it all the more impacting.

    Renada Styles

    August 13, 2014 at 1:25 am

    • Thank you, that’s good to hear. But what were you expecting to read?

      Sarah Ann

      August 13, 2014 at 9:26 pm

  3. Your final line is very intriguing — I want to know more. A great piece about the turmoil of parenthood is how I read this. Maybe I’m wrong, but great gargleblaster! TiV

    Thain in Vain

    August 13, 2014 at 3:30 am

    • I was trying to tap into the worry about the day your child realises you don’t know everything and don’t have all the answers. It might just be a shock for them. In this case, the narrator worries her daughter will think so much less of her.

      Sarah Ann

      August 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

  4. They can bring on those disdainful looks very easily. Smiles.


    August 13, 2014 at 3:44 am

  5. This is such a clean, effective 42 words. I can just imagine a sweet little girl with an inquisitive look, looking up for guidance from her mother, who has a knitted brow. I’ve stopped trying to find all the answers for my son – too many questions! Now I say “let’s look it up.”


    August 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    • Thank you for the comment – I like clean and effective 🙂 I’m glad you got the sweet little girl too – it’s so hard with only 42 words to know I’ve portrayed everything I want to. I think, ‘Let’s look it up’ is a good option – finding and leaning things together will make them stick.

      Sarah Ann

      August 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

  6. Lovely. Hopefully that look will not shatter you… they are bound to give it at some point. Must prepare your mommy armor!


    August 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    • Thank you Jen. I don’t have my own kids, but my nephews have given me plenty of ‘looks’ in the past that I’ve had to interpret. Thankfully no shattering ones. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      • Well that’s good! They certainly have a way to tug at the ‘ol heart strings


        August 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm

  7. You’ve nailed this with the dialogue. I have a complete picture in my mind. I love how you touch on the two sides of the “brilliant child” coin.

    Jennifer G. Knoblock

    August 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

    • That’s good to hear. With only 42-words I tend to go all dialogue or all description. I felt this one needed the mix so I’m glad it worked.

      Sarah Ann

      August 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm

  8. A masterful look at the emotions of having a genius child.

  9. I worry constantly that there will come a day when I have absolutely no earthly clue how to help my extremely bright and “gifted” “school’s description” children with their school work. It used to terrify me. Now I am learning to adjust, and so far so good. I am still a bit ahead of them. Still my son never ceases the shock the living crap out of me with his perception, insight, and intelligence. Fortunately I am a little more accustomed to his proclamations now, but he still gets me. LOL I am still wondering WHERE he got that from.

    • He got it from you obviously, you just haven’t accepted how bright you are yet. I wonder it adults worry too much about what children will think about them if their knowledge is found wanting. I think Silverleaf has the best idea – let’s look it up and find out together.

      Sarah Ann

      August 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

  10. Great take on the responsibility that parents are bestowed to suddenly become this font of knowledge as soon as their kids are able to ask questions.


    August 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    • I was talking to my other half about this and he said it’s good when kids learn their parents aren’t the font of all knowledge – it prepares them for real life. I can’t help feeling it’s a bit of a cruel lesson for all parties.

      Sarah Ann

      August 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

  11. I hope mum’s fears prove to be unfounded, Maybe when the questions get too hard the child will take the lead with “let’s look it up, Mummy.”


    August 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    • What a precocious child! 🙂 I’m sure they will be looking up things together in the future. Thanks for the read.

      Sarah Ann

      August 14, 2014 at 8:10 pm

  12. Whoa. That last line made me squirm a little. Our own fears are usually the ones that trip us up, I suppose. Well done!


    August 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    • No squirming allowed, but I agree, we fear what we don’t know or can’t control – and with kids that’s a lot of things. Thanks for the read. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 14, 2014 at 8:24 pm

  13. So glad I read the comments. I thought you were describing your own child, and I was worried for you and your sense of failure.


    August 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    • Thank you for the compliment. Knowing this has a feeling of real life is heartening. I suppose I was able to tap into my sense of failure for other things (receiving another rejection this week?) and re-apply it.

      Sarah Ann

      August 15, 2014 at 9:43 am

  14. This is interesting and reminds me of how I felt when I first started teaching and worried I wouldn’t know an answer, but there’s a lot to be said for admitting that we don’t know it all and being able to learn together.


    August 15, 2014 at 2:01 am

    • There is a lot to be said for children seeing their parents and others as fallible. If a parent knows everything all of the time it sets up unrealistic expectations for the child. Still the worry is always there.

      Sarah Ann

      August 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

  15. I know the disdainful look… my almost-twelve-year old gives it t to me all the time, whether I have the answers or not 🙂


    August 15, 2014 at 6:07 am

    • Kids can be so hurtful without meaning to be. How about coming back at them with wide-eyed, open-mouthed incredulity on occasion? 😉

      Sarah Ann

      August 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

  16. In such a short space I think you really succeeded in bringing depth to the character’s situation, without it seeming at all forced. The last line is unexpectedly painful (which is a compliment btw).


    August 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    • Thank you for the fantastic comment. I’m happy to hear it didn’t feel forced – that definitely is a worry with trying to tell a story, or portray an emotion, with so few words. The last line was supposed to be painful, for the mum at any rate, so good to know it worked. Thank you.

      Sarah Ann

      August 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  17. This to me can be a general concern any parents will feel in the presence of a bright girl, but I feel the woes go deeper.. there will come a day when the parents inadequacy will be apparent.. very effective 42 words

    Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    August 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    • I don’t think I could cope with being a parent and all the layers of inadequacy that would expose me to. Having a bright child would be just another pressure.

      Sarah Ann

      August 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

  18. We all want our kids to be bright, but eventually they need to see the human side of their parents too. We are frail and make mistakes. As Mark Twain said, “When I was 14 I thought my Dad was the stupidest man on earth. At 21 I was surprised at how much the old man had learned in just 7 years.” (paraphrased)


    August 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    • Yep, kids need to know no one’s perfect – not even (or is that especially?) them. Thanks for reminding me of the Twain quote.

      Sarah Ann

      August 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm

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