For awhile now Youngest has been calling random people she sees Humans. It is her way of differentiating people from animals. I didn't think anything of it until she began doing it loudly in public. Only then did I realize how funny and potentially offensive, it sounds. For example, the other day at my local supermarket, the high school students at a nearby high school came in a huge swarm. Youngest watched the mass exodus and announced in her loud child's voice, "Mommy the HUMANS are coming!!!"
No matter how many times I tell her to say people, person, man, woman, boy or girl, she prefers to use the term Human. She might tack on boy or girl to differentiate what kind of human, but that is as far as she goes. For example:
Mommy that human boy waved at me!
Look at that funny human.
The human has a dog!
Is she a bad Human or a good Human?
That Human picked his nose.
Is that a Human out there in front of our car?
Why did that Human cross the road?
What's the matter with that Human?
So I took Youngest to Target, my favorite store in the whole world, and we were being rung up by the cashier who was the most tatooed, pierced, dyed person I've seen since leaving NYU behind. Her head was half shaved/half dyed with bits of purple, magenta, aquamarine and black with about ten piercings in one eyebrow, both ears and a big stud in her nose. Her makeup was Marilyn Manson style goth black. Needless to say, Youngest was scared. She was sitting in the child seat of the shopping cart and she kept hiding her face in my coat while the cashier was ringing us up. At one point, Youngest peered out to look just as the cashier looked straight at her. This so surprised Youngest that instead of hiding her face in my coat she just screwed her eyes shut tight and asked me in a loud whisper, "Mommy, stop that Human from looking at me!"
"Shhhhh!" I said, embarrassed. "Don't be rude."
Youngest refused to open her eyes.
"Are we done yet?" she asked, eyes still tightly shut.
Cashier smiled sardonically at my apologetic smile.
"Whatever," Goth girl said, "I like when kids are scared of me. Then they leave me alone."
I mumbled an apology, took my receipt and started pushing the cart out. Youngest finally opened her eyes and peered carefully around me to take a final look at the Goth girl. When we were finally safely out of the store she announced, "Mommy, that was Noooo Human."
"You might be right," I said.