Now that my son is five and in kindergarten, he’s learning a lot of truths about the world. Some of them are exciting and inspiring, like how to spell and read his storybooks. Other truths? Not so joyous.
As wonderful as it is that my child is learning to read, it poses a little bit of a problem for us. Like many parents of young children, my husband and I have developed a relatively simple but special code for discussing hot topics in front of our children.
N-U-G-Gs for dinner? (I only say “yes” when I’m really tired.)
Are they taking N-A-P today?
Is it too late for the P-A-R-K?
Thanks to Mr. B’s fabulous kindergarten teacher, Mr. B is now in love with letters and sounding everything out. So our secret code is going right out the window, only to be replaced with Spanish, but S-H-I-T, he knows that, too.
No one tells you that when you have kids, you’ll be forced to face all of life’s greatest questions, like life, death, and vegetarianism.
In the car on the way home from school the other day, Mr. B told me he knew all about the first Thanksgiving, how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians sat down together. Then he got to the big question: “On Thanksgiving, are we really going to eat the blood of a turkey?”
Um…. Kind of?
“Did the turkey used to run around and be alive?”
Jeesh, these times we live in. My children may have no idea what it’s like to watch, hunt, and kill your food. If he were a little older, I’d hand him The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Until then, I figure, I should answer his questions.
Yes. Any meat used to be alive. Chicken used to be real live chickens. Hamburgers used to be cows.
Then he sighed. “Can we stop talking about all this disgusting food? I’m not eating any turkey.”
His last discovery this week was the marketing capitalist frenzy of American society.
On Wednesday, in the kitchen, he noticed that the box of graham crackers had a picture of Spiderman. “Can I see that?” he yelled. “That has a toy!” I looked at it. There was a picture of Spiderman on it, but it was some stupid send-away coupon thing for some stupid 3D picture thing. It was early, I hadn’t had coffee, and my kitchen was cold.
“Look,” I said. “The stores put pictures of characters you like on the cracker box so that when you’re in the store with me, you’ll see it and say, Hey, that’s Spiderman. Can we get those? They know that you’ll want it if it has a picture of Spiderman on it. But there’s no toy. It’s just this thing they do to mess with kids’ heads and make the parents buy crackers.”
He processed that for a minute. “That is so annoying!” he shouted, and left the room, never to ask for a cracker again.
There ended his belief in the free-market economy.
Next up? My answers to life’s other biggest queries: heaven, hell, the three months of Christmas “joy” in American society, and people who pull guns in retail establishments in an effort to get discounted flat-screen TVs the midnight after Thanksgiving.
Why can’t my children stay young forever? Pretty please?