My kids are growing up.
Widget is big enough to play board games now, and our afternoons are filled with cute little cries of “Sorry!” and “I’m going to send you home!” He counts the spaces out himself, and he’s learning to weigh which piece to move for the best outcome — a key skill that he’ll need for future decision making.
Little Bear is learning to count. For six months, he’s been avidly “counting” using his favorite two numbers. He points to a series of items and very seriously and solemnly counts, “6, 1, 6, 1, 6, 1.” Now his brain is ready to translate that into real numbers. We’ve been counting along with him, and just two days ago he finally did it. He pointed at a toy with spots on it and counted, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.” Well, there were only 10, but I figure that’s close enough. I mean, he’s been doing “3, 2, 1, blast off!” with his toy rockets for months, but that’s not counting, is it? It’s more of a celebration.
Tonight we’re starting a new book of fairy tales, a book that I loved to pieces when I was a child. (Really to pieces. It’s barely bound anymore.) This will be their first exposure to some of the classics that have been so Disney-fied in our world, but told in the old-fashioned ways. I’ve got Grimm’s book to start as well, and I think we’re ready.
But still, I’m hesitant to start any story that begins “After their mother died….”
I mean, how do I explain that to my kids? I can’t really say, “Oh, but she was very sick,” because I was very sick. I can’t just say, “That will never happen to YOUR mom,” because it might. And that’s not something I want to talk about when I’m well.
And do I really want to talk about wicked stepsisters?
Ugh. I was so looking forward to the book of fairy tales.
We choose not to do any fairy tales with the kids. Someone is always wicked and there aren’t always thoughtful and considerate choices being made.
I’m older than you are *cough* so I had the 3 little pigs where they killed the wolf and cooked him, and the woodsman killed the wolf in little red riding hood – I don’t think it hurts them, as long as they know it’s a story. But yeah, even if you hadn’t been sick – it’s a bit different talking about mommy or daddy dying. My daughter used to cry when she saw Dumbo separated from his mother, or land before time when the mother dino dies at the beginning. She didn’t watch those very often. There are stories that are just that, stories. But some – might still hit to close to home.
We hardly read any of the classic fairy tales. They are just too cruel and/or upsetting. I know a lot of kids don’t “understand” the story nor feel that they are “real.” But that certainly isn’t the case in our house. So follow your gut!
I love how toddlers count! Mine – also born 1-07 – says “two, one, four, three, one,…” but if we count along can usually make it up to ten. It seems he mostly needs help to remember to start with one, then he’s fine. He mostly counts one-to-one, too, so it’s just a case of learning the words in the right order now.
It’s an interesting conundrum. I was also really looking forward to sharing fairy tales with my daughters, but I also really really want to protect them from all that scary stuff.
I know too many moms who, like you, have struggled with terrifying illnesses, one of who didn’t make it, to be able to say “but I’ll be fine.”
But then again, fairy tales are a really important part of our culture and I would hate for Disney to be the only lense they see them through.
If you ever figure out the best way to go about this I’d love to hear it!