Thursday, 21 May 2015

Even Witches Like to Go Out Dancing

As the minions age they get more focused on the content in storybooks, movies and television rather than just the images.  Some nights after story time I feel like I'm in book club or back in English Lit class analyzing similarities between Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Silence of the Lambs or how the movie Clueless is a wonderful adaptation of literary classic Emma.    It's exciting to see Molly and Jack paying attention and asking meaningful questions.  Okay...we aren't exactly getting quite this level of complexity in our story analysis, but things are getting more interesting.

One of the lesser known things about my husband is his ability to mimic and put on voices.  This is something that he rarely does for what I can only assume is because of the stigma attached to having "talents" akin to David Coulier or Bill Hader or to be annoyed at the thought of performing voice acting on demand (he does an amazing Christopher Walken).  That being said, Chris will bring out voices from all sorts of random places during bed time stories and sometimes he goes a little bit overboard.

Currently the kids are both obsessed with this Disney 5 Minute Fairy Tales book that their aunt S bought them for their birthdays last year.  The book is essentially shortened, Mickey Mouse infused versions of fairy tales that have been sliced to eliminate almost anything that could be considered scary, instead focusing on the happy ending.  The concept of the book reminds me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe discovers that her mother had been creatively editing the sad parts out of movies for her (to watch the Old Yeller scene click here).

dragon costumer, halloween
Storybook Dragon Molly - Halloween 2014

Somehow Chris managed to negate the purpose of the Disneyfied version of Rapunzel, particularly directly before bed, by giving the old witch the voice of The Emperor (from Star Wars).  As he was reading I could tell that Molly was getting scared.  Shortly after we were asked a series of questions about what happened to the witch who was left in the tower and what happened after the giant fell off the beanstalk.  Suddenly the benign by design stories were a source of major stress to the little ones, particularly the witch.  We found ourselves in a big debate about good people versus bad people, eye for an eye and trying to explain why the witch kinda deserves to stay in the tower forevermore (I left the whole starve to death concept out of our conversation).

We had a lively conversation about how some mothers are bad (particularly Stepmothers who get the short end of the stick in fairy land) whereas others are good.  This was followed up with the question, "Witches are bad, right?"  My answer, well not necessarily....sure Sleeping Beauty Maleficent and Ursula the Sea Witch are bad, but witches (who are often coined fairies) like The Blue Fairy, The Fairy Godmother or even King Triton who has mystical powers are good.  We talked about using your power for helping people instead of for selfish reasons.  Chris then went off on a tangent about how Gargamel is really more of a bumbling alchemist than a wizard, which I am fairly certain was above the comprehension level of three year olds even though I think he's right.  I wasn't sure our lesson permeated.  Then last night, during dinner, Molly turned to me and said, "Mommy, Elsa is a good witch right?" I couldn't stop smiling.

little red riding hood, children fairy tale halloween costumes
Little Red Riding Hood (Halloween 2013)

The next time someone complains about how their English Literature degree didn't get them anywhere as an adult, invite them to my fairy tale book club, they're bound to learn something at pre-school lit 101!

To read about 8 life lessons I learned from Walt Disney click here.

To read my post about how cats are villanized in cartoons click here.

To read about the black and white nature of kids and what that means for cartoons click here.

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