Once Upon a Time...
By dvorakoelling on November 04, 2013
I'm so excited. Emmy LOVES fairy tales. She loves reading fairy tales, watching fairy tales, and pretending to be characters out of fairy tales (like, 24 hours a day). This is a stage I can TOTALLY relate to. Fairy tales were a HUGE part of my childhood, and now discovering the stories again with Emmy is like reuniting with long lost best friends.
We've only introduced Em to a handful of tales: Cinderella, Bambi, The Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Little Mermaid. Em ADORES fairy tales. Actually, she is more than slightly OBSESSED with them.
The Princess and the Pea was the first fairy tale I read to Emmy, where she actually sat through the entire story and seemed to understand it. It's a pretty silly story, in my opinion, and isn't exactly “relatable”. But because it is such a basic, short story, it is a great “gateway drug” to more complex fairy tale plots and themes.
Ember asks me to tell her the Goldilocks story at least three times a day. I have taken creative license and changed the end of the story in my retelling of the tale. In MY version, Goldilocks doesn't get off so easy after basically ruining the home of the three bears. Rather than just screaming and escaping through the bedroom window after being woken up by the bears, Goldilocks is told by Papa and Mama Bear that she needs to stay and help fix all of the things in their house that she has destroyed. First she must help cook up a fresh pot of porridge for the bear family to eat and enjoy, then she has to help repair the chair that she so carelessly broke, and finally she must APOLOGIZE for messing around with objects that didn't belong to her. Once Goldilocks has done all of these things, the bears let her leave their house.
Em and I watched Bambi just the other day, when she was getting over a bout of the croup. Watching Bambi made me REALLY miss the simplicity of old animated films – it was so QUIET and SUBTLE compared to animated films today. Of course, I was not excited about having to explain the shooting of Bambi's mother to Emmy, and was worried Em might be scared by the forest fire scenes, but the viewing (and explaining) went much better than I had anticipated. Em seemed genuinely concerned about these scenes, but she was not at all traumatized by them.
As for Cinderella and The Little Mermaid? Em spends most of the day pretending to be either Cinderella or Ariel, or as I like to call it, Arirella. She gets the plots of the two fairy tales confused, so she will often pretend to be a mermaid who has lost her glass slipper, or a poor humble housemaid who has given away her voice. Lovingly, she always asks her father to play the part of the prince. And then she asks me to play the part of the “mean mama”. Sometimes, if I am really lucky, she lets me play the part of the fairy godmother. Oren gets to play the part of Gus Gus the fat mouse, or Flounder, Ariel's fishy sidekick. He doesn't seem to mind as long as we feed him pretzels.
So just please don't be surprised if you stop by our house, and you see Ember dressed in an ad hoc mermaid costume, and you hear me ordering her to sweep the floor and wash the windows and vacuum the rugs. Also please don't be surprised if you see Ember and Oren and I dancing around our living room, with magic wands in our hands, singing Bibbity Bobbity Boo at the top of our lungs.
At the moment, we're all just a little fairy-tale obsessed.
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.
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