PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or Naughty People

11/08/2011 15:27 | Updated 22 May 2015
Achtung Baby or Naughty peopleGlued

Glued to my computer screen, flicking between news websites and Twitter, I sat, head in hands, watching the wanton annihilation of UK cities and towns by the feral contingent of society. Almost hypnotised by the horror of what I was seeing, the tiny, shaky voice that came from behind me, made me jump,

'Oh mama, what are those people doing? That's fire! They are really naughty!'

I hadn't known Finje was even in the room. My reaction to her innocent words and wide-eyed distress was to burst into tears, which surprised me as much as her! Her reaction to my sudden and unexpected outburst, was to burst into her own, surprised and confused tears.

So there we were, both blubbering uncontrollably, one of us perfectly aware as to why, the other simply sensitive to her mother's mood.

I remember when Finje was only a few days old, I, inexplicably, refused to even leave the house with her. I was loath to expose her to 'The Big Bad World'. Laughable really.

We lived in Kiel, a quiet, relaxed university town in Northern Germany, not quite Gangland LA. But I wanted to protect her from 'naughty people'. The naughtiest thing I had witnessed in Kiel until that point was a drunken teenager knocking over bicycles in the street.

The discongruity between Finje's five year old, bewildered face and the angry, violent things on the screen filled me with a combination of deep sadness for the state of the country and profound fear of the future.

How does one explain this level of brutality and savagery to a child devoid of an ounce of malice or ill will? A child who has a trauma every time I mow the lawn because I'm 'killing daisies'.

I had avoided dashing her world image for so long and now my daughter was demanding answers to a question I felt unqualified to answer.

Stalling and spluttering, I was so anxious about filling her head with premature concerns. If anything, her worries should be nothing more vexing than whether to take Penguin or Bear on our trip to the pool. Molotov cocktail wielding vacuous morons have no place even registering on her radar.

As usual, Finje had already sized up the situation and no sooner had my tears dried than she had me off again:

'I think the naughty people need a mama like you and a papa like papa.'

Out of the mouths of babes.

More:

Achtung Baby
Suggest a correction