One, in my opinion, shameful fact about Germany is that when the circus comes to town it still comes with "wild" animals. Giraffes, lions, tigers and elephants are a common sight and the posters around town blatantly advertise using them as kiddy-bait.
Recently I was
accused described as a borderline Earth Mother. I recoiled in shock at the comment! What do
you mean borderline? No seriously, maybe I do buy organic fruit and veggies but I've never dyed my hair with henna, I've never successfully baked a single thing in my life and I still shave my pits and legs. Well, in Summer at least. However, I will make a stand against what I perceive to be the ill-treatment of animals. We don't visit the zoo and we definitely don't go to the circus. It's outrageous animal cruelty and anyway everyone knows that clowns are creepy. Bad mother you say? Bring it on!
The problems come of course when other parents, with differing opinions but good intentions shuffle into your happy-clappy animal loving home. One of Finje's friends had been promised a trip to the zoo and wanted to invite her. I could feel a Mumfail moment coming on. What to do? Do you project your principles on your child? Hell yes! Fortunately this mum mentioned the proposed visit to me whilst Finje was out of earshot.
Or so I thought.
Her genuine bewilderment at my objections were quite disconcerting. Have we not moved on from bear-baiting and cock fighting in civilized society? I said that I didn't want to encourage institutions who keep animals behind bars and that it was important for us that Finje understands that non-domesticated animals belong in their natural habitat. She nodded slowly whilst looking at me with the same expression of perplexity she might save for a three legged chicken.
"Okaaaay, I'll just tell Ida that Finje is away that weekend then."
She left without finishing her Fair Trade coffee and seemed to be in somewhat of a rush as she almost tripped over my Birkenstocks on the way out.
Unbeknown to me Finje had been listening on the stairs. She wore an interesting expression. Something between contemplation and capitulation. As Mumfail began to wash over me in waves I embarked on what I suspected would be a long drawn out explanation about why it's not good to use animals as entertainment in this way. She interrupted as I was getting into full flow,
"It's okay Mama I understand. It's the same reason why we can't eat at McDonald's isn't it, because we don't eat unhappy cows?"
Me? Proud as punch.