Are modern kids born with knowledge about adult matters?

On the Wings of Life

Looking for inspiration on the world-wide web, I landed on a page listing funny things kids say. It made me realize that modern kids know so much more about life than those born in the 1980’s. Is it simply because they are exposed to so much more, and information is more available and open now?

For a short while, I was far away in thought as I remembered things my children, and those of family and friends said. I remember my mother telling me to write it down and keep a record. I also remember thinking: “Why? I could never forget that!”

“What are you doing with Granny’s teeth?”

Guess what, I have forgotten most of it. However, a few snippets remained immersed in this granny’s memory. When my niece was about 3-years-old, she was standing in the bathroom with my dad, who was busy cleaning his dentures. She had seen my mom do that once before, and gave her granddad an indignant slap on the bum, saying: “what are you doing with Granny’s teeth?”

Erection was a strange, new word

Then there was the time when my two boys, aged about 3 and 4 then, were in the TV-room when the movie See no Evil, Hear no Evil, with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, was on the TV. The scene where one of them said: “I held up a woman with my erection today”, had my husband and me exchanging nervous glances.

Remember, this was like 30 years ago, and the kids were not born equipped with knowledge about such things then. We were each mentally preparing for the answer to the question about this strange new word – erection. Now, I must just mention that English is not our mother tongue and the only English our children were exposed to at that stage, were what they heard on TV.

Well, when the question came, it was not quite what we expected. After a short pause, the question was asked: “Mommy, what is a whooman?” Well, we just cracked up laughing, and he had no idea why.

A question for Daddy in the tight jeans..

Those were the times when men wore very tight-fitting jeans. We took the two boys to a steakhouse one evening. My husband hated kids running around in a restaurant and insisted we go earlier than most, to avoid disturbing other diners. There were a few groups seated around, but the restaurant was not as noisy as it was when packed with diners.

As kids do, while waiting for their food to be served, they were playing around. At one stage, when everything seemed oddly quiet around us, our oldest son came out from under the table and asked, in his loudest voice: “Daddy, why is your pee-pee so BIIIIG?” The laughter that followed almost had my husband hiding under the table. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that my husband did not take part in our steakhouse outings for some time after that.

“Why? I could never forget that!” 

As time passed, the same little guy who had all the “why?” and “what?” questions at that time, found out about erections, and is now the father of the sweetest little 2-year-old boy. He is just beginning to talk, and when I tell my daughter-in-law to record things, I see that same look in her eyes. “Why? I could never forget that!”

Young mothers, listen to your mothers! You forget these things after a while. Scrapbooking is a fantastic way of preserving all the crazy things your kids say and do. Even if times change, and what we found funny 30 odd years ago may not be funny to the new generations, do it for yourself. Just imagine paging through that scrapbook 30 years from now, reminiscing about it all.

We live about a thousand miles away from our children, and although Skype is wonderful, we only hear the bits they remember to tell us.

Mari Serfontein – On the Wings of Life
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