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The Secret Language of the Child


War Hero
Book Reviewer

They’re bloody cash-guzzling, shit-squirting, snot-bubbling bother-moneys with worms in their pockets and scabs all over their stupid, fat knees. But, hey! They’re the future. So teach them well and let them lead the way. Or summink.

WHAT IT SAYS: “I love you, Daddy.â€

WHAT IT MEANS: That’s the least you can hope for, because all of your hopes and dreams were snatched from you the moment I was created. You could have been a lover or a fighter or a poet. But you’re not - you’re working 58 hours a week in a DIY superstore just to pay for my colouring books. There is no ‘you’ any more. Everything is ‘me’, and what’s more, I’m going to be sick on your jumper in half an hour.

WHAT IT SAYS: “When I grow up I want to be a princess, Daddy.â€

WHAT IT MEANS: failing that, a lap dancer. It’ a quick way to make big cash and a great way to meet footballers or similar moneyed-up idiots. Then I can settle into a life of grabbing luxury, where I’ll gladly spend 700 quid on a vile marble statue of a sleeping kitten for the garden.

WHAT IT SAYS: “Look at me Daddy, I can skip!â€

WHAT IT MEANS: You’d better keep looking too, because if I grow up feeling neglected and unloved I’ll embark on a string of attention-seeking stunts culminating in self-harming and suicide attempts. You’ll find your unconditional love tested to the very limit, and you’ll most likely end up whiskeying your liver out and battering Mum about with a sockful of coins in the early hours of weekend mornings.

WHAT IT SAYS: “Daddy, can I have an ice cream?â€

WHAT IT MEANS: And after that I’ll have some sweets. And then I’ll have some crisps. And then I’ll have some Ply-Doh. And then I’ll have a Superman costume. And then I’ll have a climbing frame. And then I’ll have a bike. And three football strips a year. And an Xbox. And a skiing holiday with the school. And a horse. And driving lessons in my own car that you can fucking well buy me. And then I’ll go to university, which will cost you about ten grand and I’ll never ring you.

WHAT IT SAYS: “Push me on the swings, Daddy. Push me higher! Higher!â€

WHAT IT MEANS: This is how I get my kicks now, but then again I am two years old. In about ten years time I’ll be flogging your valuables for crystal meth and nicking cars before racing them haphazardly along quiet country roads. They’ll only be able to identify my body through dental records and they’ll have to pull my face out of a tree just to do that. Go on, push me higher, Daddy. Higher! Higher!
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