It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a deep hatred for the tobacco industry.
I don’t usually think much about smoking, as our exposure is – thankfully – pretty limited. But when we do see someone smoking, outside a store, for example, I usually proclaim something along the lines of “Hold your breath, girls! Shewey-stinky smoke!”
[I also say the same thing when a smelly truck passes us on a walk, “Shewey-stinky truck!” And we often call poop “shewey-stinky” at our house, too. It’s not a compliment.]
I sometimes elaborate that it’s not good for our bodies when we smell smoke.
[We talk regularly about things that are good for our bodies, like fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and water, playing nicely, and resting well.]
When the girls are older, I will approach the subject more directly, but I feel like I’m establishing that smoking is bad at a very early, very basic level.
Enter the holiday season, 2011.
At almost three years old, the girls are really engaged in holiday stories and songs. It’s been so much fun to have so many “new” books to read and music to enjoy over the past few weeks. While we have a few newer Christmas storybooks, many of the ones we’re reading are from my childhood.
Sounds romantic, right?
Yes, except that I’ve had to have some relatively strange conversations with the girls, ones I didn’t remotely anticipate.
In the classic tale of Frosty the Snowman, “Sally gave him a button nose and a funny corncob pipe.”
And in “The Night Before Christmas”, "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.”
What’s a pipe? Why was there smoke?
I’m not remotely trying to suggest we re-write these classics, but it is really interesting to gauge the cultural differences in just the last 60 years.
I’ll continue to explain things to my girls at an age-appropriate level, to the best of my ability. And I pray that – among many other things – they grow up agreeing with their mama that smoking is really shewey-stinky.
And I guess we’ll sit back and see what another 50 or 60 years brings…who knows what will be considered shewey-stinky then.