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'.
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'.
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.
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).
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.
Annie (Lady M) x
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