Friday, 20 March 2009
The Girl and the Welsh
I could write about my daughter almost every day – it’s just a matter of finding the time to write it all down. Tonight she explained that her toys were sliding down a dinosaur to escape. Escape what? I asked.
“They made this slide especially to escape from the naughty, naughty WELSH!” she said. If I’d been drinking something, I would have done a spit-take.
What Welsh, I asked? Who from Wales?
“ALL the Welsh!” she said. “They are the naughtiest of all!”
Why do you think so, I asked in even tones. Was someone on the telly talking about the Welsh? Whether on British or Irish TV, I thought, it’s not like there’s any hateful anti-Welsh rhetoric floating around.
“They just AAAARE,” she said.
We don’t know anyone around here from Wales, and I have no idea why my four-year-old has suddenly developed a prejudice against them. Actually, I told her gently, that’s not true -- most Welsh people are very nice. And there are a few naughty people everywhere -- you know that boy at your school?
“Yes,” she said, looking at me gravely. “He is naughty." She leaned closer. "Like the Welsh.”
Okay, I’m giving up on this tonight, I thought. She has no idea who the Welsh are – she might as well be discussing dragons. I’ll see if this comes up again, and sort it out.
I debated whether to explain the emergency number to The Girl – I didn’t want to scare her, or have her crank-call the police. But I want her to know what to do in an emergency, and she hears it from children’s television anyway. So I explained that, if there is ever a fire or someone is badly hurt, people dial 999 – the British and Irish version of 911 – to call the Gardai (police) or ambulance.
After I had put The Girl to bed, she walked into the living room with her hands covered in blood, and I leapt off the couch – literally – to rush over to her.
Luckily it was just a nosebleed and it quickly stopped, and we wiped her off and changed the sheets.
“You did the right thing coming to us, honey,” I said.
“And I got better right away, and you didn’t have to dial 999 or anything!” she said. Hopefully I never will, I said.
Photo: The Girl near the ruins of Donadea castle.