Early morning lessons in culture

October 4, 2011

Conversation with Kadie (3.75 years old)this morning…


Kadie: chatter chatter chatter… the cat makes flowers. And mum, you love flowers!

Me: Yes I do

Kadie: So you can get married!

Me: Can I?

Kadie: Yes, you can, Dad’s going to marry you

Me: Is he?

Kadie: Dad’s going to marry you because you’re my friend (You’re my friend also means I like/love you)

Me: I don’t want to get married Kadie

Kadie: (I could see the cogs turning) But Poppop married his mom (mom/wife/girl are all interchangeable)

Me: Yes. But I’m happy not being married. Will it make me a better mum?

Kadie: Yes! It will make you a princess!

Me: I’m already a princess

Kadie: No you’re not! (laughs) you don’t have a dress

Me: This is so disturbing…


To make this easier let me illustrate the chain of thought there:

Flowers -> Wedding -> parents married -> because their parents are married -> being married is important -> because it makes you a princess -> who have dresses.


I love the way the mind of a 3.75 year old works! I’m just vaguely disturbed by the correlation of some of items in this conversation….


8 Responses to “Early morning lessons in culture”

  1. Brie said

    I love your blog đŸ™‚

  2. Wendy said

    Agreeing first with how disturbing the conversation is, and because the connections made.
    Agreeing second with Brie.

  3. Lisa said

    I am intrigued… Do you measure everything in your life by whether it will make you a better mum? Or just interactions with your children?

  4. Not to nail a soft spot, but you don’t htink being married is important?

    • I fully acknowledge that It is to some. Like people who already are (my married friends) and people who may want to be but legally aren’t allowed (like my gay and lesbian friends) and that it might be to Kadie one day, but it’s not important to me personally* and in this case she was talking about me being married**. I was challenging her assumption that that’s what I want or that it’s important to all people or indeed even necessary for all people.

      Because most of society and media will be teaching my daughters that they ‘should’ get married to a man, I like to remind them that alternative models of relationships exist and are also valid and valuable. To put it in tagible terms, just because Steve and I aren’t married doesn’t mean our relationship is any less valuable or valid than those of our married friends.

      * reasons why might be the topic of another blog post one day.

      ** If she had told me that she wants to get married the conversation would probably have been different.

      • megan said

        Marriage used to mean something when it was a contract that transferred possession of a female chattel from her father to another man – a contract validated by GOD.

        These days, it’s just a meaningless sham.

  5. I personally don’t feel it’s always a meaningless sham*. It’s up to the people getting married to make sure it isn’t meaningless. I do agree that some marriages are meaningless shams though, such as when the actions of a couple are completely hypocritical in comparison to the vows they agreed. (I’m thinking of domestic violence as an example of that)

    I suppose to sum up my thoughts I would say that I personally disagree with the ‘institution’ of marriage, also because of the historical origins that you described. I.e. I disagree that everyone ‘should’ get married, that weddings have to be done in a particular way (father giving away the bride, specific vows, etc) and that as a model of relationship its more legitimate than other forms of relationship.

    If people want to have a commitment ceremony of sorts, a public declaration of (whatever they want to declare) then that’s great. I think that’s romantic. And if that couple (or triple/whatever) want to use a traditional marriage ceremony as their chosen declaration/ritual I think that’s fine too. Although again, because not all humans have the right to get legally married yet, it’s still an exclusive privilege.

    Also I think if this discussion progresses we might need distinguish between weddings, relationships and marriages, as, at least in my mind, they are different things.

    *Some of the best people I know are married and I would never declare their relationships or marriages as ‘meaningless shams’.

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