Make what you will of the following snatches of conversations between my eight-year-old daughter and myself. I couldn’t make much of them, so your help will be much appreciated.
Oishi: I want to save tigers. Only 1,411 are left.
Me: When did you see that on TV? Did it come on during the football? Or were you watching something else?
Oishi: Never mind. I want to save tigers.
Me: Certainly. But why?
Oishi: They are cute.
Oishi: At least the one in the ad is cute.
Me: Yes, perhaps, it is. That’s what ads do. As a rule, grown tigers aren’t cute.
Oishi: What do ads do?
Me: Mislead people. Mostly. As a rule, grown tigers aren’t cute.
Me: You’ve seen grown tigers in zoos. Did you find them cute?
Oishi: Can’t remember. I saw them before I saw the ad.
Me: I am positive if you see grown tigers in the wild, you wouldn’t find them cute.
Oishi: But I have never seen them in the wild.
Me: Why don’t we enlist on the Save the Tigers website, then?
Oishi: No, no.
Me: But then you’d be able to do your bit to save tigers.
More on cuteness
Oishi: I was so cute when I was small, wasn’t I?
Me: Yes, adorable. But you still are. In a different way. Not in a baby way, I mean.
Oishi: That’s not true. You are saying that to make me feel good.
Me: It is true. I promise. I am your biggest fan. I always was, and still am.
Oishi: Baba… Come on… Okay, tell me why did Mamma only cuddle me in those days?
Me: She still does. And those are DVDs. We don’t want DVDs in which she is scolding you. If you look at the recent DVDs, you will still only see her being nice to you.
Oishi: But did she scold in those days?
Me: It was rather long ago. I can’t remember exactly how it went.
Oishi: Is it good to stay a baby, or to grow older, and then old?
Me: I don’t see that one has a choice in the matter.
Oishi: That’s not a proper answer.
Me: Why do you want to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again?
Oishi: I like it very much.
Me: But you saw it last Sunday too. You must have seen it dozens of times.
Oishi: But every time I see it, it seems like a new film to me.
Me: But don’t you want to watch something actually new?
Oishi: Why are you reading that Updike book again?
Me: But that’s not the same.
Oishi: It is. But never mind…
I always wanted to have a daughter to see how women think. Eight years on, I am no closer to finding out.