May 3, 1979 Sense and Nonsense

Art Linkletter once wrote a book entitled “‘Kids Say The Darndest Things”. I am sure most parents and other observers of small children will agree with the title – kids do say the darndest things!

The other day our four-year-old daughter asked me to help catch flies for her “pet spider”. My lecture on the friendliness of spiders had worked too well! One night she was scared stiff because she had discovered a spider on her bed. I flicked him onto the floor, telling her “spiders are nice”, “spiders do not bite” etc. The next day I caught her sprinkling oatmeal on her rug for “Peter” the spider. Possibly all this concern for the illusive (haven’t seen him since) spiders’ appetite is governed more by fear than love for her latest “pet”!

Small children pick up expressions which are sometimes irritating. My neighbors’ three –year-old had a habit of saying “big deal” in a derisive tone of voice. When chastised about it, she burst into tears, then plaintively asked, “Can I say, ‘little deal’, Mommy?”

Last summer I was saved in the nick of time from the formidable task of having to explain the facts of life to my daughter. I believe children’s questions should be answered honestly and intelligently when they reach the age of understanding (approximately 18-2 1 years). However the mare next door had just given birth to a foal and I had to answer the inevitable question, “Where did it come from?”

“Uh, er … well, from Sparkle’s tummy,” I mumbled honestly and intelligently. The ringing of the telephone saved me from having to answer her next question, “Did she swallow it?”

Television provides a wealth of information to to-day’s children. I am sure most of them know far more about almost everything than we did at the same age. However there are sometimes some surprising gaps in their education. A friends’ seven-year-old accompanied her into a building where a portrait of the Queen, wearing her ceremonial crown and sash was displayed predominately on one wall.

“Do you know what that lady is?” my friend inquired of her daughter. The little girl hesistated. She remembered watching a bathing beauty pageant on T.V. the night before. “I think she is Miss Canada,” she decided happily.

Our small daughter has a dreadful time accepting the word “no” for an answer. Consequently, I sometimes find myself using the word “maybe” a lot. A short time ago I realized my mistake in constantly utilizing that word. I had repeated it for the umpteenth time that day in answer to her requests.

“Mommy,” she cajoled, You can say ‘yes’ better than that!”

Yes, kids do say the darndest things!

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