Tasty Quote: Recording Dinner Conversations

This week I began recording our family dinner discussions. I bought a digital audio recorder half for work-related reasons and half to capture my daughter’s voice. The beauty of digital recorders is that you can capture hours and hours of audio without swapping out cassette tapes or changing batteries (not very often, anyhow). So, I decided to set the recorder in the middle of the dinner table and just capture everything. If I waste an hour of recording, I’ll push a button to erase, and try again the next night. Of course, I would be captivated to listen to any one of these dinner sessions a decade from now.

Sunday night a magical never-before never-again simple quote bubbled up from my 2.8-year-old daughter.

Listen to this 9 second MP3.  I’m curious whether anyone other than her parents can decipher the words .

So, my daughter looked at me during dinner and said, "Papa, if you eat the last roll, your tummy will burst open and me and Mama will have to clean it up."

That’s my daughter.

Of course, dinner had just begun and there were no rolls on the table, unless you count salad croûtons.

She hasn’t watched TV or videos yet, so I can rule out a Monty Python connection. (Think the Mr. Creosote skit from the film The Meaning of Life. Check out this 7-minute Not Safe For Work Youtube video clip. You’ll find it either very funny or very offensive. It’s definitely teen material. The tie-in to my daughter’s quote comes at the end.)

My Little Miss may have been recalling a dinner from weeks ago as if it was the night after—she does that often. Or perhaps she was recalling one of her favorite stories, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, which involves a woman who eats a series of increasingly larger food items and inanimate objects during Thanksgiving dinner.

The common refrain in that story goes, "I know an old lady who swallowed a pie, a Thanksgiving pie, which was really too dry, perhaps she’ll die." We change "die" to "cry."

Incidentally, I’m using an Olympus VN-3100PC recorder intended for meeting and interview recordings, and the Audacity audio editor to export to MP3. This is my first time dabbling with audio and the Olympus sound quality seems to be mediocre. If anyone is better versed in audio recording gadgets, I’d appreciate hearing about what you do and the tools you use.

Alternatively, what other methods do you use for making a record of your toddler’s sayings?

See previous: Record your child’s voice


4 Responses to “Tasty Quote: Recording Dinner Conversations”

  1. Too Busy for My Own Good says:

    Maybe this is too nerdy, but I e-mail myself anything I want to remember. Computer storage is so cheap these days, there’s no reason to delete e-mail. So I archive a large variety of reminders, and things happening with my kids are a natural extension of that. If I ever get around to putting this material into a printed “memory book,” I’ll have it handily organized by date and searchable when it comes time to compile.

    March 12th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

  2. Patti says:

    Oh my goodness. I think *I’m* going to cry. That was so dang precious.
    The last time I recorded my kid (which was too long ago), I used my handheld digital camera, which has an audio setting. The audio gets imported into my iTunes whenever I download off the camer, as the video clips I take with it also get imported into my iPhoto or my Picassa. I have grand intentions of setting up the digital video camera in his room and record our goodnight books. He has begun to interact with the story in predictable and amusing and wonderful ways and I NEED to document it. I only hope what I get comes out as memorable as your audio did.

    March 12th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

  3. Uly says:

    I understood it, but I have a rather scary ability to understand children under the age of three.

    March 12th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

  4. Mark says:

    I got the beginning and the end, but I missed out on the “tummy will burst open” part. Quite the macabre imagination she’s got there! ;-)

    March 14th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

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