Adult to Small girl aged 6 in bizarre sing song voice: “WOW! Are you colouring in a PICTURE?”
Small girl aged 6 contemplating picture and obviously blind adult: “Yes.”
Adult to Small girl aged 6: “That is AMAZING!!! Are those the POWERPUFF Girls?”
Small girl aged 6 realising adult can actually see, but is a bit slow, “Yes.”
Adult to Small girl aged 6: “AWESOME!!! What are their NAMES?”
Small girl aged 6 losing patience: “If you want to learn about the Powerpuff Girls you really should watch the movie. My Mum can help you if you like.”
Children (like foreigners) are not stupid. Speaking slowly, loudly and in a strange up and down manner with lots and lots of exclamation marks only makes them think you suffer from a mental handicap.
Say, for example, you are standing in Starbucks with a cup of coffee when someone approaches you out of nowhere.
Stranger: “HELLO! WOW! Are you DRINKING a cup of COFFEE?”
You: “Um, hello. Yes.”
You’re thinking: Gee, what tipped you off, the fact I’m standing in a coffee shop holding a cup of coffee?
Stranger: “That is so AMAZING!!! You are SO clever!!! I LOVE coffee!!!”
You: “Um, yes, well that’s nice. Bye then”
You see the point?
If someone spoke to you like that you’d start looking around desperately for a nurse with a strait jacket.
Take Stephen Hawking.
If you spoke to him like that, you might find yourself spiralling through time and space into a quantum universe void.
The point is that you cannot assume because someone is a child, a foreigner, elderly, blind, deaf or in a wheelchair that they are stupid, incapable of understanding you, or have not read Nietzsche in the original.
Do not state the bloody obvious either.
When I am standing in the rain, drenched from head to foot, saying, “Oh look it is raining!” is enough to have me push you in front of an oncoming car.
If you feel the need to make conversation, at least try to pick a topic that can go somewhere.
So, when my daughter is holding a plush bunny rabbit in her hands and you say: “WOW!!! Is that a bunny WABBIT?”
Expect her to sneer at you.
When you follow it up with, “What is your widdle bunny wabbit’s name den?”
Expect her to sigh deeply, roll her eyes and state the obvious, “Bunny. And it’s a Rabbit not a wabbit.”
My children steer clear of strangers not out of fear of kidnapping and poisoned candy, but because they believe strangers are more than likely to have escaped from the loony bin.