In our house you have to be careful how you refer to Sadie. If I say that she's my baby or she's small I will be swiftly dealt with. Sadie might be roaring after a fall but if she hears any references like the above she'll say, "no, I'm a girl, I'm not a baby." Holly is happy to be called a big girl or a smallie depending on the situation. If Sadie hears me calling Holly a big girl I will be told that Sadie is big and Holly is small with an uncompromising "and that's the end of it." I think Holly mostly prefers being referred to as the little one just because she is. If she's crying because she's had a fall she'll want me to say that she's only small and stuff like that.
There was a documentary on elephants on this evening and Sadie and Holly were glued to it. They ran and got their little toy elephants and then sat transfixed.
As with most programmes of this type the documentary was following a herd in the wild and we were told about how those elephants had suffered during three years of drought and how some had died or been injured, including a sad story about a calf.
I didn't turn it off because the visual didn't betray the tragedies that were outlined by the audio. When there was about ten minutes left in the show Holly climbed up on me sniffling and wiping away tears. She just cuddled and continued to watch the TV. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "I'm sad." When I asked why she said, "cos de trunkies"(=because of the elephants). Since the end of the show brought good news and we saw the rain falling and the elephants eating grass I left it on and we watched the last minutes with Holly sitting there with quivering lips. When it was over I pointed out all the good stuff to Holly but she just bawled and clung to me. I told her that the elephants were happy and that they were lucky to have lovely grass to eat. I said, "and did you see the little baby one too?" She looked up at me, really upset and sobbed, "yeah and he's only small."
How well she understood what had been said and then the two of us were bawling.