“Eww, Mommy I smell something!”
“I know sweetie, that’s manure. Its animal poo-poo that farmers use to make their crops grow.”
This is how our trip to the beach started as we headed out of the city, into the country. It is interesting that after only a few short months as city slickers the country experience has become so very foreign. In all honesty, this conversation would likely have taken place had we not moved from the suburbs. There is a thick line between the city, suburbs and the country. This week I want to devote my post to the comparison of the city and the country as little S experienced many new sights, sounds and smells on our rural expedition.
How do you explain to a small child that “poo-poo”, we have so carefully taught her not to touch, to stay away from and to view as dirty, is actually used to grow the foods we serve up each day on our kitchen table? Should one so small associate vegetables with “number two”? Let’s face it; every parent knows we already have a hard enough time getting kids to eat these things. And mushrooms? I’m not even going to go there.
Little S has become very comfortable with the different vehicles we are surrounded by in the city. She can pick out a Smart Car, a Vespa, a city bus and cars that are the same as ours but I don’t think anything could have prepared her for the gigantic monster we encountered on Highway 4 on our way out of the city. Imagine it from a child’s perspective; driving along at a decent pace when all of a sudden the vehicle slows to a crawl. She looks up from her ‘app’ (yes I admit it, my child is obsessed with my iPhone and I do use it as an electronic parent to entertain her on longer trips) to be confronted by a monstrous machine that is bigger than ten cars, with wheels taller than Daddy. If you too are frightened, you can rest assured that this ‘monster’ was nothing more than a farmer’s tractor, but to a child, the world could have been coming to an end like we were being invaded by aliens.
Have you noticed as a parent, aunt or uncle, that your knowledge of the world is constantly being tested? There is always that one out of every ten ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘who’ questions that you don’t know the answer to? Sometimes the “Why don’t you ask Daddy” response just isn’t fair and at this age, she is far too young for us to suggest researching the answer herself on the Internet. So when faced with the question, “What are those?” on our adventure I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. I was able to articulate that ‘those’ animals were goats and sheep but the other things I wasn’t actually sure of. An easy answer would have been donkeys, but I want to give my child the best and most accurate answers to her questions; to not lead her astray. So I was left wondering what the difference is between donkeys, mules and asses. Obviously, I wasn’t about to say “It’s an ass sweetie.” We all know how that could end up biting us in the ass (no pun intended). But I wasn’t sure if all the words are interchangeable or is there a clear difference? I decided to give her two answers…”they are donkeys or mules.”, and the research on the Net is now left to me.
As we continued our drive, with hay showering our car from the bed of the pick-up truck in front of us, I realized that this little outing was far more than that for little S. The huge round bales of hay (straw?) littering the fields, the smell of burning leaves and the wide, wide open spaces were all providing a brand new experience for her and one I think was far more appreciated by leaving the cozy concrete jungle she has become accustomed to, rather than just seeing it in books or on TV.
So the moral of this story is to take time out every so often to view the world from the eyes of a child. Allow this experience to help you understand them better and you may even find that you get to experience so many things that you take for granted, all over again!