Suffocating temperatures showed us mercy today, allowing some breathing room and glorious fresh air. Zachary’s cement block of a cast causes itchy discomfort at the slightest drop of perspiration so we have been held captive in our home as July’s hostages.
But at last, a perfect 82 degree day offered endless possibilities for curing a stifling cabin fever. A full day of Zoo-ing, strolling, outdoor reading and crafting made for a guilt-free post-bath Netflix cartoon viewing. I scrolled through the kids section on my TV screen and got excited to see Babar on the list. We have a 1970’s hand-me-down Babar book to which Zachary took a special liking at age one.
“Look, Zachary! They have a Babar movie! What about that one?”
Happily agreeing with my suggestion, he lay on his tummy, pillows positioned just so, in his current couch station, (one of three current spica cast stations in our home) while Isabelle and I cozied ourselves into the glider next to him.
My daughter and I were busy giggling over sloppy zerberts and weren’t really paying attention to the movie. Ten minutes in, my son was silent. Transfixed. I looked up at the screen to see the barrel of a gun pointing at a herd of baby elephants frolicking gaily in a pool of water.
I will give you a play-by-play of what followed, knowing full well that it’s more than slightly odd that I didn’t jump up and turn it off immediately. Bear with me, if you can. But I have yet to come up with a defense that even I can buy.
“What’s that, Mommy?”
“Um….its a hunter.”
“What’s a hunter?”
“I….Uh….I’m not sure this is the best movie”
(But not yet making a move for the remote)
“Why’s not the best movie?”
The Mama elephant shouts,
“Save the herd!” as she charges at the gun, allowing for her family to escape unharmed. The gun goes off into an explosion of smoke and her baby starts screaming “Mama? Mama!”
The next thing we see is a herd of elephants circling their fallen member and a baby climbing on top of his unconscious heap of a mother, sobbing,
No! Mamaaaaaaaaa! Noooooo!”
I sat there waiting, thinking surely Mama Elephant would open her eyes and allow the herd’s doctor to bandage her superficial flesh would. This is a children’s movie for heaven’s sake!
Zachary stared at the screen, equally confused.
“Why’s his Mama not waking up?”
“I don’t know…..”
In my head, I finished with,
“….how to explain this or at what age I should introduce the death topic. Surely not at just shy of three?”
As I finally came to my senses and reached for the remote, he slowly whispered,
“I watch another movie”
“Yes. I think that’s a good idea.”
Settling on the old, familiar stand-by, Blues Clues, I quickly checked the episode synopsis to make sure this was not the one where Steve, (the host) holds a rifle to blue’s head, violently threatening for a clue. Once fully convinced, I slipped away to put Isabelle to bed.
Twenty minutes later, Zachary and I were choosing his bedtime story from a new stack of golden books I bought at a garage sale.
Not well-versed in Disney movies that came out later than 1990, I was unaware of the content of this “children’s” tale.
By page three, I had introduced my toddler to the concepts of Hades, the underworld, demons, baby-napping and poisoning. Announcing before page four that I did not like this book and we were to choose another triggered a blazing siren of fits, and one that could NOT be waited out due to:
A.) a sleeping 18 month old sharing his bedroom wall
B.)A lack of energy and desire at this point in the day to commit to a fierce and stubborn teaching moment.
Retrieving the book from the floor (and solidifying my son’s understanding that throwing a screaming tantrum gets him his way) I continued to read in the most monotone, flat, uninspired voice I could muster, leaving out words like “monster with many heads” and “giant cyclops”. Of course however, I was unable to turn the pages quickly enough for him to miss the detailed drawings of these lovely creatures.
Off to bed now, shall we?
“Nighty Night! Sweet dreams!”
Surprisingly, he did go right to sleep with little fuss about an hour ago, but forgive me for any errors in this post. I can no longer dissect it for editing purposes. His baby monitor, sitting next to my laptop is now glowing red and screeching,
I must run off to assure my son I have not been shot and then catch some Z’s myself. Tomorrow we are rushing to Target bright and early to fetch Bambi and Finding Nemo. While I’m there, I may as well grab a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Let’s see how far I can take this, shall we?