Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Three stages

We were driving on a rural highway last week, and passed a fast food outlet with a bright plastic playground. My four year old begged to stop and play there. We explained that we couldn't; it was attached to a restaurant where there's nothing for us to eat. "Why not?" she begged. Because you can't eat anything there that isn't meat, we said. "I want to eat meat," she said. As she has, to date, screamed if anything looking like meat touches her plate, we suggested she'd have to prove it.

Five minutes later, we came up behind a truck full of sheep. "Aargh," screeched my six year old. "don't get too close or we'll be covered in piss!" We parents were amazed. Where did she get it from? School, perhaps? Or could it be... us? And we remembered a time a year ago when we were driving in convoy from Adelaide and the car she was in was, indeed, sprayed with liquid gold sloshing out of a truck full of livestock. And even as we tried not to laugh, even as we wondered how horrified we should be about her language – can a six year old say piss? Or is it too crude? Why is 'wee' okay but not 'piss'? and other pressing questions – my four year old confidently announced where she thought the sheep were going.

"The farmer is taking them to the shops," she said. At which we all exploded. We asked if he was taking them to the shops to be sold – "yeah, to be killed", said the six year old – but no. In fact, the four year old was adamant she didn't want them to be killed. "But that's what meat is, silly," said her older sister. "Now you can't eat at that restaurant."

"I don't care," said the four year old, "They're NOT going to be killed. They will wait in the truck while he buys some things, maybe bread, maybe some nice food for them." "Well," said the six year old, starting to cackle again, "they'd have to wait in the truck or else the shop would be covered in piss!"

"Piss!" echoed the twenty month old.

And there you have it: three stages. The six year old, pushing the boundaries of language and politeness; the four year old, her worldview solidly anchored in the domestic; the toddler, mimicking everything she sees and hears. And five minutes of disgusting hilarity. Want to come for a ride?


  1. Because piss is to do with drink and drinking and alcohol.

    Five minutes of disgusting hilarity.

    (Do you have any vegan restaurants near you? What would a vegan's playground look like?)

  2. A few vego/vegan restaurants near us - but we're vegequarian ie we all eat eggs, dairy, fish and shellfish, and I eat meat occasionally when I go out. Three pregnancies and years of menstruation: now every time I look at a cow I feel hungry...

    A vegan playground??? at CERES, perhaps!

  3. Thank you for the answer about CERES.

    That has been the focus of educational excursions for some time.

    It is a wonderful place!

  4. This was so entertaining to read!
    Have you read www.damomma.com and her post about Ren and her favourite word?

  5. that's almost as funny as this piece, which describes shopping with an expressive four year old: http://www.mamamia.com.au/weblog/2009/12/do-you-have-pet-names-for-your-genitals.html


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