Explaining the world to a four year old

My four year old daughter’s been asking me a lot of questions about politics recently. She knows I’m a journalist — indeed has started saying “Hey! Journalist!” when she wants my attention. And she loves listening to the news with my wife and I. She asks me political questions all the time, so many that I’ve started tape recording many of our conversations.

That’s great on one level. She’s interested in the world and trusts us to be able to explain it to her. But when the news is bad, things get rough pretty quickly. She asked me the other day, I think after the recent bombings in Pakistan, what a suicide bomber was. When I hemmed and hawed, trying to avoid answering, she told me she thought it must be disgusting. Why? I asked, though I guess I think much the same thing. Ugly, messy, disgusting… the awful tagline of a brutal age. Because she said, all seriousness, it’s a person on the edge of a sewer. What? I responded, utterly perplexed … and then thought about it, and realized she had heard the words “sewer side.”

Well, it makes about as much sense as anything else these days.

3 Comment(s)

  1. out of the mouths of babes huh? pretty awesome 4 year old. i love the idea of recording your conversations. i read your article on california’s prison Solano and i cant agree with you more on number of fronts.

    nedra | Oct 22, 2007 | Reply

  2. You’re a professional writer, you grew up in the UK and went to Oxford. Why, therefore, do you make such an awful grammatical error as “she loves listening to the news with my wife and I”? It’s my “wife and me.” You wouldn’t write “she loves listening to the news with I”, would you? Then again, you might…

    Despo | Nov 12, 2007 | Reply

  3. very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

    music | Jan 9, 2008 | Reply

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