Sunday, 27 March 2011

It's like a horror movie round at my house.....

I felt like Jack Nicholson from 'The Shining' this weekend (except that I haven't got a beard... well not much of one anyway).

'What are you banging on about?' I hear you cry.

Well, it's like this; for some reason my daughter Izzy had taken a shine to a tricycle she found in the garage. Not only that, despite it being way too small for her, she had been manically riding it around in the garden just like the weird kid from 'The Shining'.  

Pic.No.1 See what I mean? Izzy on her tricycle

Pic.No.2 The weird kid from The Shining on his tricycle doing the same kind of thing

Crikey, all I needed was to find a dead bird in the bath and the scene would be complete. Not that I wanted to find a dead bird in the bath mind you. I bet that rotting flesh is a bugger to clean off, even with Mr Muscle Bathroom Spray.

Luckily, before Izzy freaked me out too much, I had arranged a Saturday afternoon outing for us both....... we were going to the Theatre.

The time came for us to leave, so I went into the garden to get Izzy off her tricycle.

"Come on Iz!" I hollered, "it's time for us to go."

"Don't want to," she shouted back, still pedalling tight circles.

"Good job that it isn't negotiable then," I yelled back.

"But why do I have to go to the theatre?" she asked.

"Because you are going to be bloody cultured when you grow up, and you have to start practising now." I shouted.

My answer (bizarrely) seemed to satisfy her, and for the first time in hours, she detached herself from her bike and followed me to the car, albeit 'speaking in tongues' under her breath. 

The play was being shown at the 'Oxford Playhouse' in the city, and it was called 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier'.

Pic.No.3 The Oxford Playhouse. Izzy took this picture

I was concerned that it was going to be a bit of gamble because it was an improvised and abstract version of the fairytale, rather than a normal show acted out by actors.

We entered the theatre, took our seats, and before long the lights went down and the show started. And even though it was weird, Izzy bloody loved it. And despite the fact it was aimed at kids, I must admit that the production of the story was flippin innovative and gripping.

But that didn't stop me from having a few beefs with the storyline itself.

Let me give you a brief outline: A tin soldier is given to a small boy as a present. Then when the small boy is asleep in bed, the soldier wakes up and falls in love with a paper ballerina in the nursery. The jack-in-a-box gets jealous because he also loves the ballerina, so he flings the tin soldier out the window.

The tin soldier is found in the street by some passing children who make a boat and float the tin soldier downstream. Eventually, the soldier's boat ends up in the sea, where it sinks. The soldier ends up on the seabed, where he is eaten by a fish.

Pic.No.4 A picture of the tin soldier's boat sinking in the sea (I nicked it off the internet, from a blog called The Clever Pup)

Now this is where the story got bloody daft. A fisherman caught the fish that had eaten the tin soldier, and then sold it at market....... to (get this) the original small boy's mother! So yep, the soldier inadvertently ended up back in the nursery with his ballerina.

That's just bloody ridiculous. What was the probability of that chain of events happening? I estimate it to be 4,274,338 to 1 (and that's based on the small boy living in a very small community that likes fishing a lot). 

Not only that, but after the joyous reunion of the tin soldier and paper ballerina, the small boy decided that he didn't like them any more and flung them into the fireplace where they both horrifically died. The End.

Jeez, I didn't expect that. 

I turned to look at Izzy and she was distraught; "they're both dead!" she exclaimed.

I must admit that I panicked a bit, but still managed to pull something out of the bag, "They have just gone up to heaven together," I whispered in her ear before giving her a calm and saintly look.

Izzy's demeanour immediately changed from distraught to inquisitive, "where's heaven?" she asked.

Awww shit. I quickly realised that if I didn't head it off at the impasse, it would end up being one of 'those' question and answer sessions ..................

You know the ones that I mean: You tell your kid that heaven is in the sky. Kid then asks if they can get there in an aeroplane? You say 'no', so your kid asks you, 'how do dead people get there'? You say that 'God takes their souls there'. So your kid asks 'how does God take their souls there'? And then they top it off by asking, 'what is a soul Mama'? AAAAAGH!

So head it off at the impasse I did..... "Izzy," I said, "do you want to go home and play on your tricycle?"

Her face lit up and she shouted, "YAY!"

Oh yeh, no flies on me (although you can see where they've been).

Pic.No.5 I tell you now that having a child that comes straight from 'The Shining', is far preferable to one that wants to know how Souls go to heaven

Thinking about it, children in this day and age are totally mollycoddled with a vast array of politically-correct stories, each of which always culminates in a happy ending.

It's not like the olden days when I was a kid, where fairytales could be quite horrific; like Red Riding Hood being eaten by a wolf. And Snow White being poisoned by a witch. And Rapunzel being imprisoned in a tower. 

So, let me know what you think? Should children be allowed to watch horrific fairytales, or should they be spared from unhappy endings? *wink*

P.S. UPDATE! Just in case you were wondering whether Izzy was mentally scarred by the Steadfast Tin Soldier, she wasn't. After the initial shock, she went on to say that it was her favourite part of the weekend and she wants to go back to the theatre. See, I was unwittingly a good mum. 


  1. I think any child whose mother compares it to one in 'The Shining' can cope with horrific fairy tales, surely? This post made me smile a lot. You are a lot of bloggy fun.

  2. Anne, you've just reminded me why your blog is my favourite - you are hilarious! As for your question, I think you acted superbly! I, myself would have got caught in the never-ending circle of questions to which I would bluff my way through with ridiculous answers that my children later use against me. (Trust me, my kids are 21 & 19, and they love to find holes in my reasoning)

  3. That's quite a brutal ending there...I prefer happy endings and so do my girls. We tend to get angry when a story surprises us with the main character dying or not getting the girl or whatever in the end. We realize that's not the way it always ends up in real life and I think that's why we prefer it to be happy in the movies. And, the happy endings don't lead to those conversations you referred to...thank goodness those days are over for me! LOL

  4. Wowza, that's a heavy one.

    I too prefer happy endings, though I think all happy endings is not realistic, and tends to feel Hollywood fake. Maybe you could have google the play beforehand? I do that with operas, but mostly because I don't want to look like an idiot when I dont understand. And you know in opera everyone is gonna die a slow dramatic death.

    Interesting post!

  5. As a mom with a son that sought out the good, the bad, and the evil...I went with the flow, being somewhat reality based. (Let's just say the acorn does not fall far from the tree.)

    My son, at an early age, loved drawing war scenes, including: guns, tanks, jet name it. So I supplied him with lots of drawing paper. He had a few like-minded friends. And they did lots of graphic illustrations. It was a stage.

    Some of these kids had parents that were not thrilled with this interest but they did not ban it entirely. Not everyone is totally PC. Thank goodness for that. Susan

  6. I don't think kiddos should be wrapped in bubble wrap and protected from everything in life. On the other hand I knew one mom who let her elementary aged kids sit next to her while she watched soft porn. That didn't sit well with me eithe.

    I think the best place is somewhere in the middle. As far as Heaven goes, I'm just glad our kids never asked me.

  7. Shit! This is a topic that totally gets under my skin.

    Do I think that kids today are molly-coddled? Abso-fucking-lutely...

    Do I think that they should be exposed to some of the same stories and fairy tales that we grew up with? Why the hell not? I grew up with them...and guess what? Bambi didn't turn me into Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Wile E Coyote and the Roadrunner didn't turn me into a serial killer. Arrrrghh...I so could go on and on about this. The damned stories, music, celebritards, etc can't be made the the single solitary scapegoats to explain senseless, lazy, messed up children. It's the parents that can't be arsed (to use one of your words) to stand up and be PARENTS to their kids instead of friends.

    Shit...I need a drink! This is one of those topics that I could go on and on and on about at length! I'd probably end up punching someone while I was at it. Pass me the wine! Muwah! xo

  8. I certainly would have been surprised by that ending. Amelie on the other hand would have had a million questions would end up with me saying,"just because, OK Geez!"

    Thanks for the tale and happing biking to yours.


  9. One of my daughters favourite films is American Psycho - my sons fave band is Rammstein. As for me I was brought up on a virtually undiluted diet of Enid Blyton. As the Americans would say 'Go figure'

  10. Oh ! That ending has traumatised me! Was he chucked in the fire cos he smelled of fish ?
    Filling in the Census form, hubby asked son what his religion was. He answered " None, you know that Dad " No happy ending in Heaven for him then.

  11. My eldest loved his Roald Dahl books when he was growing up. He's twenty-two now and still has them. I was brought up on a mixture of Enid Blyton and the Brothers Grimm. I suspect this explains a lot! From my experience, the things that go on inside kid's heads would make your hair curl. And, if you really want to terrify them, just sit them down in front of the news.

  12. So let me see if I've got this right.

    You force your charming daughter to ride around the grounds of your house for *hours* on end, on a tricycle that's unbelievably too small for her.

    You force your lovely daughter to go to an avante garde theatrical production, the likes of which would confuse Ibsen and Einstein.

    And then you bully your sweet daughter to peddle around the house, on that way-too-small-for-her tricycle, for hours on end again?

    You should be ashamed.

  13. Aww, you have all made me really laugh... I am such a bad mother. But hell, I felt saintly when BB told me about the mother who lets her kids watch soft porn (thanks BB!).

    That is wrong, wrong, wrong. Actually I am quite a Victorian parent really. Izzy will never be allowed to have a boyfriend, wear short skirts or put on make-up (unless she steals it and does it behind my back which is quite common)

  14. Redrum!

    Thanks for following me. I'll be back.

  15. Absolutely agree 100% with Jewell on this one - kids don't need mollycoddling, just protecting - and there's a difference. It's all down to parenting, in my humble opinion. (Never heard of that book/play Annie - even I as an adult would weep buckets at that sad ending lol.) ;-) xx

  16. Hi Anne! I have been lurking off and on your blog. Found you through BB. This is an excellent post. I really like the analogies and the imagery you used and you connected it all to something that parents always debate--happy endings or realism?

    I have exposed my children to both. I personally hate Disney but I didn't ban my children from it. We have watched many realistic and surprise (hero or heroine dies or loses for nothing) endings. I knew that The Tin Soldier was familiar to me and then it hit me, it's Hans Christian Anderson. I googled to be sure. I would have seen that with my daughters as well even with an ending that would have made us all cry.

    I try to answer all of those difficult questions as they arrive. I handle it by saying, "This is what I believe, others may not" or I will be honest and say "I don't know, what do you think?" Turning it around on them sometimes stops the questions too!

    I could write an essay on this topic as well, but this comment is long enough already.

  17. Hello Darla, glad to hear that you are a lurker, and it's nice that you delurked and commented! Sorry it took me ages to reply - events have been a bit hectic here.

    I totally agree with you, and Gill, and Jewell and BB! Kids are way to molly-coddled. I remember reading Hans Christian Anderson and some of the detail now that you look back is pretty horrific even though they are marvellous stories.

    Anyway, thanks for visiting - do you have a blog?


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