Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bedtime stories

A while back, my husband bought a copy of The Wizard of Oz and wanted to read it to the kids as a bedtime story strung out over a couple of weeks.  The oldest was just about four, then two, and the baby, who went to bed before the other girls and missed the story (not like she really MISSED the story, she's a baby, come on).  The blonde, although wiggly throughout, semmed to really enjoy it, and understood what was going on, remembered the character's names, and even when we watched the movie after the book was finished, she noticed many of the differences between the two.  The brunette was also wiggly throughout, and that's about it.  She was mostly quiet, though, so I think she liked that we were all in their room together listening to a story.  All in all it was a nice thing - we all participated in listening, it was something we could all talk about together, and it was just fun, even though the kids are still little.  Well, I decided we should do it again, so at the library as I perused the short novels, I found a classic - Black Beauty.  I had read it when I was a kid and remembered I had enjoyed it, so I thought, well lets give it a try.  Ok, now I know those of you who have read the book and remember not just that you enjoyed (if you did), but also what it was actually about, are probably saying "Really?  Black Beauty?  Isn't there some pretty heavy content in it for a four and two year old?"  The answer is yes.  There is.  A lot.  Right away.  Mother of the year over here neglected to read the back and just thought "Oooh, horsies!".  The book made it home, I got the girls all pumped up for our new book to read together about a girl and her special horse, they looked at the cover, were so excited, and come bedtime, everyone was ready.  The first chapter was ok - the blonde was listening attentively, the brunette squirmed on her bed, but asked the occasional question about what the horse was doing, the baby played quietly, and then...chapter two.  In three pages, a rabbit got torn apart by hunting dogs, a horse got shot and boy broke his neck and died.  You would think I would have been able to read ahead a bit and filter some of this, but I am a terrible reader and was shocked to hear these terrible things streaming out of my mouth and into the girls' little brains, and you can bet the brunette had stopped wiggling and was suddenly focused right on that poor dead imaginary rabbit.  I tried to stop myself, but I had to know what happened next, and we all know if you start reading aloud, it's hard to stop reading aloud, so the whole family got to hear all about young Gordon's funeral.  Fortunately, my husband shut me down before any one started crying, myself included.  I sat for minute, waiting for uncomfortable questions about hunting, shooting horses, or dying of a broken neck, and then..."Thanks mom, I really like that book, I can't wait to read it again tomorrow!" says the blonde.  "Um, yes, I'm glad you liked it."  Was she paying attention?  Did she hear what just happened?  And then I think, this is the girl who carries dead lizards around and judging by the way she cleans and examines a chicken bone will never be a vegetarian, so yes, she probably did hear, and probably does really like it.  Not in a morbid way, but in an interested in the ways of the the mortal world and totally not grossed out kind of way.  But what about the brunette?  Maybe she didn't really pay attention...I don't know, she didn't really say anything.  Now, I am wondering if I should continue to read it with everyone, or just magically replace it with My Little Ponies.  I guess we'll find out when I hear in the morning what everyone dreamed about.

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