I have some grave concerns regarding timing and combining when it comes to the lessons of childhood. Mixing fairy tales, body discovery, and the evening news, can actually be quite a lethal combination. I know people often complain about the unrealistic expectations fairy tales dump on our children but mix them with news and body talk, and it is like taking prescription medicine with alcohol. Lethal and confusing. Probably more for the adults than the children. There are no warnings on the labels of fairy tale books to suggest this could be dangerous.
Our grand daughter decided, after a steady diet of the The Littlest Mermaid, to read everything she could about mermaids. She discovered that mermaids, particularly in art, frequently have no clothes on and while their fish tails cover some "bits," the tops are almost always exposed. She became fascinated with her lack of "boozums" and how that might impact her fondest desire to one day be a mermaid. She became so obsessed with the idea that her slightly older brother felt impressed to instruct her that "boozums" was not a polite word and that if she was going to talk about naked parts she should call them "genitals." This led to parents trying to correct him while he corrected his sister. He was insistent that his friends had told him and they knew what they were talking about. Their parents explained that "genitals" referred to the bottom half of the body that one did not share with others but their son was having none of it. Meanwhile, our grand daughter, beyond confused, lost all interest when the evening news came on. A number of dolphins had become beached and people were trying to save them. Some people were pouring buckets of water over them while they waited for more help, in order to keep them moist. This was the circle of life. From mermaids, to "boozums" to genitals and back to the sea. Cue "Under the Sea" and let's get on with saving the
whales, dolphins, mermaids.
Our next visit to the beach involved her scanning the shore line for beached mermaids. She was determined to save one, and had decided if she could not become a mermaid (the whole boozum dilemma) she could at least save them. Her reasoning was, that if dolphins could become beached, so could mermaids. While the other children went searching for buried treasure and sea shells . . . she set off to find a mermaid.
Half way through the day she grabbed my hand and insisted she had found a "flock"of mermaids and that she tried to save one but she was not co-operating with her efforts.. She led me around some rocks to where a number of people were sun tanning and most of the women were topless. I stifled a gasp and she clenched my hand tighter and said. "There are so many. We have to save them."
An older, well endowed woman was sitting toweling off her naked breasts and drenched hair, staring angrily at both of us. I assumed she was the unco-operative mermaid who was not happy about being "saved." Her breasts were hanging like stretched balloons filled with water and swinging back and forth as she toweled off. Any memory that skin had ever had of being "perky" had long since been lost.
I got an ear full regarding keeping control of my grand daughter. It seems she had thrown two buckets of water on the woman, knelt down to pat her and tell her not to worry she would get her back to the sea, and then had started singing "Part of Your World." She had even grabbed the woman's leg and tried to pull her towards the water.
"She is really heavy grandma. I need to get grandpa and dad."
I apologized to the woman and walked my grand daughter back to the others. On the way we discussed how it was probably not a good idea to throw water on strangers like that and I suggested the woman was not actually a mermaid anyway.
"She had boozums."
"Yes but so does grandma and I am not a mermaid."
"But hers were bare 'n naked and falling to the ground."
"They weren't quite on the ground."
"Uh huh, were too. When she was trying to get up she kicked one of 'em and said some bad words."
"Well real mermaids, nice ones, wear shells to cover their bosoms, and they don't swear."
"So she wasn't a nice mermaid?"
"I don't think she was a mermaid at all. She didn't have a tail. She was just a grandma who took her top off to get a sun tan."
"Ewww. Grandma's don't go bare 'n naked."
"I know, they shouldn't. And little girls should probably not be talking about "boozums." Those are things for private conversations we have with family, ok??"
She smiled, which meant she had heard me and was at least open to the idea.
As we got near to the rest of the family, and the bulk of other people on the beach, she was very excitedly telling everyone about her experience with the mermaid from the "herd" of them behind the rocks. Her brother did what all brothers do when their sisters say anything, he rolled his eyes and called her a liar. She tried to convince him they were mermaids but he was not having any of it. Finally in exasperation she yelled out . . . "They were too mermaids. They were REAL mermaids. They had their "gentiles" all over the place, without bathing suits OR clam shells."
I am thinking it might be a good idea to skip church for a few Sundays, at least until we can get her focused on some other Disney Movie.
SKIN: ^^Swallow^^ Sarah 03 Gatcha