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December 22, 2011

Smoking is Bad, and Other Holiday Lessons

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.


Marcia (123 blog) said...

What is it like where you live?

smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants, etc?

Same here but when we travel I see different cultural smoking norms.

I have a pic on the travel blog. - look for abu dhabi - there were these booths inside the airport and to see everyone CHARGING for those booths was funny then, but quite sad now.

Julia said...

If the price of tobacco continues to go up, your girlies, nor anyone else for that matter, are going to able to afford to buy tobacco. And that is totally fine with me!

It's illegal to smoke inside anywhere in the state of Illinois (public places), but they can smoke inside in Missouri. Since we live 10 miles from St. Louis, Missouri, so if we are out "on the other side of the river", I become hyper-aware of the smell of smoke, and then have to remember that, unfortunately, it's allowed over there. Icks!

RoryBore said...

It's funny what kids pick up on. we were given a recordable storybook of T'was the Night Before Christmas, and my 7 year old son asked right away about Santa smoking. He thought that should mean Santa was on the naughty list!

Eric, Marilyn, and Elliott said...

Funny, I had the SAME problem with The Night Before Christmas this year. I haven't even talked to him about smoking so he asked "What's in his mouth?" I pulled the old distraction trick ("Hey, look at this!!") and turned the page. :) Really mature, I know.

Barbara Manatee said...

Interesting observation!!

I grew up with a Dad and 2 brothers that smoked. My mom never did nor do my sister or I (but our SIL's both do). My inlaws used to smoke like chimneys but my MIL stopped after my FIL died of cancer and she fought cancer herself. I hate the smell of it and always hated when I'd return to college after a weekend at home and my clothes (despite being washed at home) would still smell of smoke. ick!

Here in MI, you cannot smoke in a restaurant, bar or anywhere other than a Casino I think. The service industry says they're not happy with the new law (been in effect about a year) but I sure appreciate it!!

Helene said...

Both my mom and my MIL smoke and I'm constantly telling the kids how unhealthy it is.

Bella once asked my mom, "Aren't you afraid you'll die because you smoke?"

You think that would stop her? Nope.

Makes me kind of sad but at least my kids know that smoking is not good for the body.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I hate smoking, but I miss the smell of a good pipe. My PopPop smoked a pipe and it's still one of the most comforting smells in the world to me.

championm2000 said...

I never thought of that before...but then again, that Mother Goose book disturbs my sensibilities sometimes, too...

Brad Jenkins said...

This is a lesser known Mother Goose rhyme.

Barber, barber, shave a pig!
How many hairs to make a wig?
Four and twenty, that's enough!
Give the barber a pinch of snuff.

I agree with Melissa, some of these are disturbing, yet we chant right through them without considering what we're saying...or at least we used to. Mama has taken to using a permanent marker in the books to amend a few not-so-nice phrases.

reanbean said...

MA is smoke free in all stores and restaurants, and since we don't have any smokers in the family, T&R don't have much exposure to smoking either. But within the last 6 months or so, they've started noticing people who are smoking in their cars and have noticed cigarette butts on the ground in parking lots. So, we too have had lots of talk about smoking- that it's really bad for your body, that it puts black yuckies in your lungs and can make you really, really sick so you can't run and jump and play anymore. They seem to get in on this level, and yes, the talks about smoking being bad for you will continue. In this day and age, with all the information out there, there's just no reason why anyone should choose to be a smoker.