I'm not really in the habit of cross posting here from my other blog, but I'm really needing some assistance.
We had a shocking night here last night after Amy got to thinking too much about the day when I will die. It's not the first time we've played out this scenario, but after a good four plus hours of mid night sleeplessness for us all I had ample opportunity to think through where all this comes from.
I know there's a lot of background stuff - new baby, holiday loss of routine, my pregnancy induced lack of energy and involvement for starters - but I suspect there's also a component that comes from the current reading craze for fairy tales.
A friend of mine, whose mother died young, once remarked to me how appalled she was by the way fairy stories are so heavily oriented towards tales of lost mothers and failed fathers. And the more I have thought about this, the more I have come to see her point. From Cinderella to Hansel and Gretel, the little mermaid to rumplestiltskin and beauty and the beast and a whole raft of stories in between focus on the travails of poor children who cannot rely on parents to keep them safe in a hostile world.
Of course, the other problem is how frequently the solution to this whole problem is finding a decent bloke to ride in, marry and save said damsel, fighting off other female contenders and accepting the required personal losses and compromises to secure married life. Last time Amy had a meltdown about losing me she was also terrified about not finding a husband - quite a bizarre fear, given D and I aren't married, and neither are many of our friends. But that's a whole other story.
So I find these stories pretty disturbing on an ideological level, and increasingly I think they aren't doing Amy any good either. I don't believe in wrapping my girl in cotton wool - I think if anything I might be criticised for failing to provide her with sufficient protection from life's realities - but it seems pretty much every substantial story book she owns takes for granted that a four year old should be able to take death and misery in her stride.
So I'm casting around for some good books for a four and a half year old. Books with substance, where something happens, books that provide food for thought as well as holding attention through the reading. The 10 to 15 mintues of reading before bed kind of books. Some pictures are nice, but not as important as the story. Books that teach a girl (or boy) that the world is an interesting and exciting place, not one to be overly frightened of, and where the path to success and happiness is not proscribed. Books that are not branded or merchandised or pitched by marketing experts looking to on sell.
Am I asking too much? Surely they are out there, just waiting for you to tell me about them. Surely?