They’re Being Poor Examples Of Mammals

, , , | Friendly | July 12, 2017

(I’m looking at an exhibit with a dolphin. A mother with a stroller and a 4-year-old boy as well as a group of rowdy teenagers are nearby.)

Mom: “Look, sweetie, see the big fishy!”

Teens: *jeering* “It’s a MAMMAL.”

Mom: *ignoring them* “He’s coming closer. Say ‘hi’ to the fishy!”

Teens: *louder* “It’s a MAMMAL, lady! Not a FISH! Gawd, are you really this stupid?!”

(She gave up and led her son away so that they could try to enjoy the aquarium in peace. The teenagers continued to laugh and make fun of the poor mother. I wish I had the guts to remind them that biological classification wasn’t important information when they were that age!)

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  • Dana Corby

    A four year old is plenty old enough to learn the difference between fish and marine mammals. I’m with the teenagers.

    • Katherine Alice Thompson

      I would think you wouldn’t call her stupid to her face, though.

      • Matt Westwood

        I f***ing would.

        • Scott O

          And I would have the best time dressing you down so hard you’d be asked to leave the aquarium, as peeing on the floor while crying isn’t allowed.

          • snowgarden

            Dressing him down? Please. This isn’t the military and there are plenty of stupid folks running around.

            That being said, the teenagers should have minded their own business.

          • Matt Westwood

            I’d be pissing your pants laughing at you, you nasty little fa$cist pr1ck.

          • Max

            Pissing someone else’s pants?? How rude.

          • Matt Westwood

            Not pi$$ing on mine, I’d have to wash them.

          • Rick Ulrich

            Please don’t feed the troll

        • Katherine Alice Thompson

          Well, that’s you, Matt. We at least know you’re a right p***k.

    • Rick Ulrich

      And just as rude and obnoxious. Not your child, not your business.

      • “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.” Substitute stupidity and intelligent (or even average), and it’s still true.

        • Rick Ulrich

          You should try C.S. Lewis. Take careful note of what he said about omnipotent moral busybodies and the lengths that they will go to because their actions get the full approval of their conscience

      • TheWonderRabbit

        Also not your business but here you are commenting anyway.

        • Rick Ulrich

          I see what you did there!

      • Vulpis

        When tht childs grows up and is b*tching that they want Starkist canned dolphin, because it’s just another ‘fish’, yeah, that’s my business.

        • Rick Ulrich

          Wow, you’ve got this kid’s whole life planned out, don’t you? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound

  • Leah

    It’s still stupid to be teaching your 4 year old that dolphins are fish. If the child was 18 months old and only has the vocabulary to deal with ‘fishy’ then I might agree with you. Saying “gawd, are you really this stupid” might have been a bit rude but I’m on their side as far as correcting her goes.

    • Scott O

      Then you’d be wrong.
      Would you like to explore the meaning of words? First, we need to cover use independent of definition, which is basic.
      Fish, for example, is often used to cover all things living in water. Specifics can be added later, but it is often unnecessary to do so unless the context requires it.
      The mother is trying to get her kid excited about it. If the kid wants to know more she would doubtless go into more depth.

      This is very, very, obviously a situation where the brats happened to know one tiny bit of information, and were attempting to show off with it. It’s pathetic, but it’s what the immature (in age or mind) do.

      • sakasiru

        The kid was four. My kids knew about dolphins and whales being mammals by then, it’s nothing that’s beyond grasp at that age. If she really thought it’s too much to process, she could have said “look, a dolphin!” rather than using silly baby speech and wrong information on top of it.

        I absolutely hate it when people tell their kids wrong things because they think “it’s easier for them to understand”. No, you’re just intentionally keeping them dumb.

        • Ross Thompson

          Meh. Almost everything you know has been simplified to make it easier to understand. The exception being if you’re an academic, you probably have an accurate understanding of a very narrow field. Certainly, literally everything you learned in school is a cartoonish abstraction, and that’s not because schools are intentionally keeping their students dumb.

          Should they have pointed out that (depending on your point of view) either there’s no such thing as a fish, or that all mammals are fish? Both are more true than “dolphins are not fish”.

          • sakasiru

            Simplifying things is okay and necessary. It’s also possible to give early on. If you keep things simple, the kid has a chance to expand on that knowledge, either now by asking further questions or later. If you give them wrong information however, the kid needs to amend the knowledge first before they can learn more, or they just keep believing wrong things if never corrected. I hope that schools avoid that.

            If you teach a kid that fish are creatures that breathe through gills, you can still discuss more complex biological classification criteria with them later. Calling a dolphin “fishy” will only make it hard for you to explain why the seal in the next aquarium isn’t a “fishy” too.

          • ” that’s not because schools are intentionally keeping their students dumb” – I guess you haven’t heard of Common Core teaching methods here in the US.

          • Dawn Singleton

            Common Core stinks……How about Common Sense and K.I.S.S………

          • Fyva Prold

            Well, it’s Common Sense that tells you that dolphin is fish

          • Ross Thompson

            Yeah, I’m familiar with Common Core; it’s based on the Singapore curriculum, which is one of the most highly-regarded educational systems in the world.

            The complaints about Common Core are the same ones parents had in the 80’s when “new math” was introduced, or in the 60’s when pupil-driven learning was introduced. “That’s not how I learned it, so it must be bad”.

        • Rick Ulrich

          How about butting out and letting a poor toddler just enjoy themselves.

          • sakasiru

            It wasn’t me (or the teens) who dragged him away …

          • John Grahame

            Nobody dragged the kid away, get some remedial reading comprehension before you continue to make yourself look like an arse. And the OP has no actual idea what age the kid was. You have struck me as ignorant so by your own judgement it is perfectly fine for me to follow you around in public shouting abuse at you.

        • Marianne

          we dont know if the kid has any sort of developmental delays though. And even if the kid doesnt and can grasp the difference between fish and mammal, what makes people think its ok to butt in. Is the kid being abused in any way? No, then mind your own damn business.

      • nope

        ‘Fish, for example, is often used to cover all things living in water’? No. Just no. Someone here is wrong. It’s you.

      • Mimi

        “Fish, for example, is often used to cover all things living in water.”

        Including plants?

      • Courtney Brezinski

        Fish is NOT used to cover “all things living in water” unless you are incredibly lazy and unintelligent.

      • Leah

        I’d be wrong how? Nothing I said was wrong.

        “Fish, for example, is often used to cover all things living in water. ”
        It absolutely is not. Anyone who calls all things living in water a fish is an idiot. Crabs, whales, octopuses, seahorses, squid, turtles – none of these are fish.

        The mother was trying to get her kid excited about it? For sure. Why would calling the dolphin a dolphin make the kid any less excited??

        • Ross Thompson

          Ummm…. Seahorses are fish. They’re closely related to pipefish.

      • Doom Shepherd

        NO, you were just an exceptionally stupid young child, a condition which has obviously persisted.

    • Rick Ulrich

      Oh good Lord. A 4 year old cannot grasp such concepts. The only thing that correcting a mother in front of her toddler would do is upset the poor thing.

      Also, it’s none of your business.

      • Acer Redrum

        If I can explain photosynthesis to a three year old yes a four year old can understand that a dolphin breaths air the same way we do.

        • Kalu-chan

          When I was about four, I pointed out the difference between a cheetah and a leopard to my parents. Kids are smarter than many people give them credit for. And yes, according to them, my parents always gave us the right information, even when we were “too little to understand”. Their reasoning was that it wouldn’t matter to us if they called a bison a “big cow” or “Northamerican wild cattle” – When we were really young, we didn’t understand either, and later, we could somewhat comprehend the longer explanation, too.

          That being said, the teens were still rather rude. Right or not, doesn’t give them the rights to be a**holes.

          • Rick Ulrich

            I can’t believe all the judgmental people here

          • TheWonderRabbit

            Why? You’re being equally judgmental of the teens.

          • Vulpis

            I can’t believe all the people thinking 4yr olds are generally idiots here. Then again, I guess that’s how we get the quality of college students we have where I am…

          • Leah

            Right? They’re acting like 4 year olds are 2 years old. Most 4 year olds are toilet trained and attending kindy or prep/preschool – in Australia prep students start learning to read and write. They are not toddlers.

          • Leah

            I hope you understand the irony considering how judgmental 90% of your comments on here are.

      • Tanja Valjord

        My kids understood the water cycle at that age.
        If your kids didnt understand things at four it was because you never bothered teaching them

        • Rick Ulrich

          Or, they could be special needs. There’s nothing a parent of special needs children enjoys more than people who know nothing about the situation jumping in with judgemental, snarky comments. I just hope it wasn’t the case with the woman described by the op

        • Tim Van Acolyen

          And thankfully, all kids are exactly the same! This is convenient because it means that if your 4 year old kid is able to understand something, then all 4 year old kids must be. It’s a good thing we have people silently judging others from behind their keyboard to point these things out…

      • Mimi

        Yes, actually they can understand it at age four. My so understood that there are different types of animals that got called different names (i.e. mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, etc.) and that not all things that look like fish are actually fish. Moreover he understood that some of the stuff in the tide pool (we lived at the beach) that look like plants are actually animals.

      • Asiyd

        I understood atoms and how they functioned at that age… because my father bothered to take the time and teach me. I was also a special needs child (before anyone gives me the same comments as they gave to the person below.) I understood many things because I was taught them.

      • Leah

        “A 4 year old cannot grasp such concepts”
        Grasp what concept? That the animal in front of him is called a dolphin? That’s not a complicated concept. I’m not saying you teach him the difference between fish and mammals. I’m just saying teach them the right name. In Australia kids start school at 4. They are not toddlers. That is definitely old enough to know what dolphins are called.

        Oh and I never said I would correct a mother in public like that.

    • Kitty

      What does it matter? The kid will learn it properly in school; by watching TV documentaries or reading a book and will either not remember this or will remember this and ask why mom said fish.

      • Leah

        So… it’s ok to teach somebody incorrect information because chances are they’ll learn the correct thing later in life?

        I’d be ok with someone using the word ‘fishy’ for a dolphin if you’re talking with a very small child, like if the kid was 1, who wouldn’t be able to say the word dolphin. But 4 year olds are not toddlers still learning to talk.

        I wouldn’t have *said* anything in this circumstance, because that’s not the kind of thing I do. I’m just saying that teaching a 4 year old that dolphins are fish isn’t really defensible, unless perhaps the child has a significant learning disability.

  • Darth Pseudonym

    At four the kid is old enough to understand “It’s not a fish because it has to breathe air” but seriously, get your nose outta other people’s lives.

  • Matt Westwood

    I’m 100% with the teenagers. H3ll, I’d be jeering that stupid brainless f***wit of a mother myself. Stupid f***ing c**t.

    • Scott O

      It appears to me that you were unaware dolphins were mammals until this story.
      That’s sad.

      • allahboleh

        If dolphins are as smart as people claim, they’d realize they’re mammals and would have come onto land like the rest of us. Stupid lazy fish.

        • Gnomer Denois

          Vestigial pelvic bones indicate that dolphins and whales did exist on land until they saw the people on this site and decided the ocean was a better place to be.

          • Celoptra

            there’s a blue whale exhbuit here in Ontario Canada at the Royal Ontario Museum and it shows the ancestors of whales/dophins

        • Vulpis

          *looks at war, crime, racism*…And you’re saying the dolphins were stupid for *not* coming out on land?

  • allahboleh

    Oh look, a teenager out in the wild! Do we care what it has to say? No!

    • Rick Ulrich


  • Powers

    A four-year-old is old enough to be told the animal is a dolphin. He’s not two.

    • Rick Ulrich

      Missing the part where they were being abusive, eh.

      • Acer Redrum

        That part was already addressed by the op. People are clearly arguing the fact that op said that the child was too young to understand when that isn’t the case.

        It’s easier to teach a child correctly the first time then have to reteach then later.

        • Bonnie Seaberg

          “It’s easier to teach a child correctly the first time then have to reteach then later.”

          OMG so much THIS! We started reading to our son early (around 15mo or so). One of his early favorites was the Very Hungry Caterpillar. At the end of the story, he is big and fat on one page, and the next shows him in his cocoon. Artist drawing makes it look like a giant turd. Hubby thinks it’s funny to tell the story that the caterpillar eats and eats until he’s fat and full…and then p0ops…and then turns into a butterfly. I’m going nuts saying “you shouldn’t do that, he is going to keep calling cocoons p0op”, and he’s telling me, “oh he won’t remember, lighten up”.

          Kid loses interest in the book after a few months, moves onto other stuff. Fast forward a year and some change, boy has started talking, and my mom is visiting the other week. We’re back on the Very Hungry Caterpillar, only now the kid is “reading” his books to us. I get to listen to a 15 minute argument between my 2.5yo son and my mom as he insists the caterpillar po0ped…because he remembered that’s how daddy read the story. Good lord did I catch an earful for that.

          *Sorry if this is a double reply. Discus had issues with my last post and I don’t think it will ever approve it.

          • TheBigBadWolf

            Did disqus really censor the word po0p? Like really? Everyone says po0p. Heck, get a potty-training child that can speak and they constantly go something like “I po0opied in the potty”.

            Apparently it did because I forgot to put a 0 instead of an ‘o’ in the first “po0p”.

          • Crazed Sanity

            Stupid, isn’t it? Cunt goes through, though.

          • TheBigBadWolf

            Wait, cunt gets through but not p0op? What?

            At least I know I can swear “cunt” all the time without being censored. Sometimes I’m just not creative and want to use a “harsh” word.

          • Alyssa Higgins

            TIL disqus is Australian

          • TheBigBadWolf

            It took me forever to realise that “TIL” was short for “Today I learned”.

          • so “TIL what TIL means”?

  • Kitty

    A teenager’s head would be submerged in water if I was there… and I’m not talking about the aquarium water.

    • Rick Ulrich

      You are my new hero

    • Why? For being right for once?

      • Kitty

        No, for being obnoxious and not knowing to keep their f***ing mouth shut. None of their business if the mom is telling the kid ‘wrong information’. And even less reason to call her stupid.

        • No denying the teenagers being obnoxious, but I disagree about “None of their business”. What rule is there that we must make no effort to correct stupidity (or just incorrect information), that we must let it continue untouched?

      • allahboleh

        You can be right and still get punished for being an ass

    • TheWonderRabbit

      Oh wow threats of violence and murder.
      What a mature an valid opinion you have expressed.

      • Kitty

        I never said anything about murder. Just implied that I’d dunk her head into a toilet or fountain.

        • Vulpis

          A mammal in water…must be a fish!

  • Klaus Hellnick

    The mother should not have given the kid stupid misinformation, especially when bystanders were nice enough to correct her.

    • heymoe2001

      That’s your definition of nice?

      • Dixie Landings

        Yeah, call me wacky, but I can’t think offhand of a situation where calling a stranger “stupid” and jeering at them counts as nice.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    Personally, I’d have said “look at the dolphin”, but that’s really neither here nor there; the teenagers were way out of line.

    If one of them had wanted to politely point out to the mother that dolphins aren’t fish, that would have been fine, but the mocking and insults weren’t–and I don’t understand the comments that think the mother’s actions were worse than the teenagers.

    • Removal of stupidity is more important than many people seem to realize. COME ON PEOPLE! Even the troll (sorry Matt) knows this!

      • Jackie Fauxe

        I disagree. Insulting and mocking anyone, especially the parent of a young child right in front of that child is not acceptable simply because it’s being done in the process of correcting someone’s mistake.

      • TheBigBadWolf

        Being [email protected] tend to let people stew in their stupidity. You can spread correct information without being an [email protected] about it.

  • Bonnie Seaberg

    No winners here.

    Mother is a moron for talking to a 4yo like he’s an idiot. 4 is plenty old enough for “real” information. If you don’t know it yourself, all aquariums/zoos have information placards at each exhibit. Ignorance is no excuse.

    Teenagers are @ssh*les for how they handled correcting her. “Hey lady, sorry to interrupt, but it’s actually a mammal because it has a four-chambered heart, mammary glands, and breathes air,” is much better than “GAWD are you really this stupid”.

    • This behavior is not surprising for teenagers, but they still have a chance to mature. That “mom” is hopeless.

    • DB

      The teens are pedantic.

      4 year olds can be surprisingly bright. Hopefully OP was mistaken about the age.

  • Elle Wayne

    While calling her stupid was unnecessary, it’s also unnecessary to introduce misinformation to young children who are more curious and open-minded than at any other time in their lives. Give them facts and encourage them to seek out new knowledge and they’ll have both street and book smarts.

    I don’t see how commenters here are like, “LOL, some vegetarians think fish aren’t animals!” and then say, “Yeah, biological classification isn’t important!” Where do you think people got their wonky ideas about nature?

  • Kira

    So the teens were @ssholes, we may all agree on that and the fact that if they were so desperate to correct the woman, they could have chosen a different approach.
    But why was it so hard for her to call a dolphin a dolphin instead of a fish? At the very least, instead of wrongly lumping together all marine life into “fishy”, she could have called it a dolphin or read whatever placard there was. At the very least to teach the child new vocabulary or start an interest to learn more about all the animals in the ocean instead of just the “fishies”.

    And OP should find the guts to speak up if they cared so much. Seriously, how many stories of people letting others walk all over them or someone else do we need?

    • Cerys Robinson

      I’m imagining a vindicating scenario wherein the mother has talked about dolphins before to the kid, but the kid still refers to them as ‘fishies’ because four-year-olds can be stubborn little oiks. The mother, fed up of correcting her kid, now treats it as an in-joke and is storing it up to use in years to come, when the kid brings a boyfriend/girlfriend.

      I can dream.

      • Kira

        That might also be possible. Kids, regardless of age, as well as adults can be stubborn about calling things a certain name they learned. Or are downright mean and mocking about terminology.

        Reminds me of the girl who was so upset that people called foundation “makeup” and being so adamant that makeup can only be used when referring to the whole shebang and foundation may only be used to refer to what you put on your face. Never mind the fact that in other languages, makeup means foundation. And the Merriam-Webster dictionary actually defines makeup as: cosmetics (such as lipstick, mascara, and eye shadow) used to color and beautify the face.

        Pardon the off-topic makeup rant.

      • Vulpis

        This is how you get a case of PETA.

  • HeadlessGhostOfAbrahamLincoln

    The teen was a complete p*ick. But a 4 year old is old enough to learn the difference. Had the teen not have been rude, could have been a great teaching moment.

  • Alicia

    If you think a 4 year old can’t understand the difference between a fish and a mammal, you’re sadly ignorant of the intelligence of 4 year olds. If you want to keep the kid stupid, fine, but don’t expect other people to keep quiet about it.

  • beacon80

    At four, it’s possible that the child knows that dolphins are mammals, but still lumps them in with the broader term “fish”, or maybe he just doesn’t care enough about marine life to have bothered learning that yet. We can’t really judge based on the OP’s memory of a conversation they overheard about a child they don’t know.

    More importantly, if one of the teens had knelt down and said “Did you know that a dolphin is actually a mammal like you and me?” and actually engaged the kid, he might have learned something. By demeaning the mother, they only made the situation more complicated.

  • Raven Odette

    One of my biggest pet peeves growing up was being talked down to because of my age

    I especially hated the word “grown-up” for some reason and usually would respond “you mean an adult?”

    I remember once at the zoo when I was around 7

    Me: “oh look a flying fox!”

    My mom “it looks like a bat”

    Me: *facepalming* “it IS a bat, flying fox is the name of the species, because its head is sort of fox shaped instead of having those flat bulldog faces other bats have”

  • Vulpis

    …I sorta agree with the teens here. How hard is it to tell a 4yr old ‘Look at the big dolphin’?
    I know that at 4 yrs, *I* probably would be giving her a Look at that statement…

  • Rachel Schmachel

    Perhaps the mother was ignorant in calling a dolphin a fish. But the teenagers were ignorant of the entire situation surrounding that error, and a**holes to boot.

  • Ares Zax

    While I think it IS important to be teaching that kid the correct answer, the teens still didn’t need to be jerks about it.

  • Katie Phillips

    I’m shocked at this comment section. There are actually comments justifying the behaviour of the rude teenagers. It’s pretty black and white here – it is never okay to insult a stranger who is just trying to show their kid an aquarium. I hope OP told them to shut up and get lost. If the thing the mother was doing was dangerous… yeah, intervene. Don’t intervene and insult because you like being mean.

    Oh and I’m not implying all teenagers are rude. These ones were though.

  • Tänya Kirkle

    While there were certainly better ways of phrasing the teens’ intent, the sooner your kid knows it’s a mammal and not a fish, the better. Otherwise we end up with people like this: Man, I thought a dolphin was a fish until I was 25!

  • Huck Perry

    I won’t be yelling and calling her stupid, but I would politely tell her that it’s a mammal, but like some people below said, if the mom don’t want to listen, it’s okay cause I might not know if the kid have learning problem, I will just teach my future kids and nephew/niece about mammals, fish, and other animals and things. I mean, if the kid I saw was taught that, but is loved and not abused, then I will just leave them alone.

  • Christina Macias

    None of us know the mother or the child. The child might be delayed in thier learning abilities, and talking to them about certain things they can’t understand could ruin what is a fun day. Those teenagers had not right to talk to the mother that way.

    • Rattus

      If they are aware enough to learning “fish”, then they are aware enough to learn “dolphin”.

  • Kristen

    Teens honestly need to STFU. I GET that there is a difference between fish and aquatic mammels, but that is up for the mom and the aquatium staff — not a bunch of rude, harassing loudmouths. I would have kicked them out for being obnoxious

  • Roeduh

    I see a lot of arguments about dumbing things down for children on here and honestly, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t use correct terminology and then elaborate in simpler terms so the kid can actually learn. No need to stunt people out of laziness.

  • Alyssa Higgins

    “A stroller with a four year old boy”…

    To all of the people arguing in the thread about whether or not it’s appropriate to tell a four year old that a dolphin is a “fishy”…

    Is it possible OP was EXTREMELY WRONG about the kid’s age?

    My sister took her son to the store one time his diaper was visibly poking up from the top of his pants, a woman got in my sister’s face and gave her a long winded rant about how it’s disgusting and lazy and bad parenting for a four year old to be in diapers etc– and my sister cut her off and told her “he’s 10 months old you moron, %%%% off”.

    I could never see what the confusion is– they look their age to me– but my nephews were tall early and apparently a LOT of people get confused thinking they are much older than they really are and (mis)treat them according to the age they look.

    • Katie Phillips

      Great point! I haven’t used my pram with my daughter since she was about two and a half. A stroller would be unusual with a four year old.. mainly because it is way easier to have them walk while you carry their bag 🙂

      Either way, the teenagers were awful. However they’re probably not the best representatives of their age pool.

    • TheBigBadWolf

      “A stroller and a four-year-old” < from OP's story. That makes it sound like the boy is walking next to his mother and not actually in the stroller.

  • Mark Tfg Lewinton

    Both are in the wrong.

    The teenagers are wrong for being rude morons

    The mother is wrong for feeding her child misinformation, the amount of children told ‘happy’ lies who grow up confused about what is real and isnt is terrible

  • Incognitoburrito

    As a teenager, I’d like to apologize for my fellow miserable excuses for people.

  • S123

    The teens were being obnoxious, but the mother should teaching her daughter the correct name.

  • Katrina O’Shay

    Sure, go ahead. Defend the lady for passing down misinformation to her son.