I learned about euphemisms for death today.
Every Christmas the local nursery hosts a couple of Santa’s reindeer, a camel, and a donkey. Dasher and Blitzen hang out in their make shift barn staring at the rows of herbs and winter annuals, eating hay, and looking nonplussed. Kids gape at them and ask the nursery staff questions about reindeer while parents buy poinsettias and debate the merits of dwarf mondo grass. It’s a good scene.
|M viewing a donkey with an exotic best friend who was almost certainly not Moe in Hawaii.|
Next to the reindeer is usually Curly the camel and Moe the donkey (presumably descendants of the Wise Men’s original modes of transport?). Kids gape at them too and the nursery staff says, “Don’t stick your fingers through that fence, they bite” a lot. It’s also a good scene.
Only this year Moe isn’t there because Moe was “offered a Hawaiian vacation so he made other plans.” Moe’s Hawaiian vacation spot is right next to that farm upstate where your childhood dog went to live after he was hit by that car.
The nursery staff leaves it up to the adult accompanying the child who asks after Moe to explain what “in Hawaii” means.
My kid didn’t seem to care very much about the reindeer, the camel, or the missing donkey. For some reason she thought free candy would be involved in the reindeer viewing so she was focused on complaining about the lack of candy. She didn’t even ask about Moe or Hawaii. So I side stepped the donkey death issue entirely and let her hang around with the other kids and stare at the reindeer while I debated the merits of primroses.
Then I overheard this:
Kid: Moe the donkey is in Hawaii. I feel sad.
M: Oh. Don’t be sad. My Gran and Gramps are in Hawaii too. It’s great!
Kid: ::: lower lip quivers ::: Oh no! ::: runs over to his mother ::: Mommy! Is Grandma gonna go to Hawaii soon?! I don’t want Grandma to go to Hawaii! ::: bursts into tears :::
(M’s grandparents are actually spending the holidays on the Big Island of Hawaii. They’re not “in Hawaii” with Moe and your childhood dog.)
So what I learned about parenting today is: if there is a new euphemism for death circulating around a pack of kids, you probably shouldn’t ignore it or your child will unwittingly freak out her new friends by callously extolling the virtues of having “Hawaiian” grandparents.
::: star wipe ::: The more you know.