They have to learn everything. We forget that sometimes. Just because we, as parents, know that it’s a bad idea to run the blade of a knife against the meat of our tongue doesn’t mean a 7 year old boy will know that intuitively.
But, I mean, come on. How stupid are they?
Pretty damn stupid.
It was a plastic knife from Ikea, with a blade barely sharp enough to cut butter. It’s not even really a blade. More like a moderately cerated piece of rubber, sharp as a flat tire. Still, when the 7 year old licked the “sharp” edge of his knife barely three seconds after it was handed to him at dinner, the thought occurred to me: Boy, that’s stupid.
And then I thought: Well, we’ve never told him not to.
So, I laid it out to him: It’s a bad idea to run the sharp edge of a knife over your tongue.
Because you might cut off your tongue. And then you’d be screwed for life, just another tongueless freak wandering the streets trying and failing to pronounce “tomato.”
Then it occurred to me there might be a few other things we hadn’t explicitly warned them against. So, after making absolutely certain I had their attention, I laid out a few more:
Don’t put your hand into a burning fire.
Don’t stand in front of a speeding car.
Don’t jump off a tall building.
Don’t try to breathe underwater.
At which point the 4 year old got into the spirit by suggesting a sixth rule:
Don’t jump off a tall building into a burning fire.
I guess they just need to be told these things.
We can’t very well take for granted that they’ll know not to stand in front of an operating jet engine or try to pet a rabid bobcat. We have to tell them these things.
Sometimes they need to be told more than once.
Two seconds after hearing the list of ” do nots,” the 7 year old LICKED THE SHARP EDGE OF HIS PLASTIC KNIFE.
This is a kid who brought home a perfect report card last week. A kid who is reading at a third grade level in the first grade. A kid who can operate the PS3, Netflix, the Blu Ray player and any number of gadgets with no problem. And yet …
I just took the knife away and hoped there weren’t any open fires, tall buildings or speeding cars in the immediate vicinity.