When the last story book has been read and the lights are off, Bean-girl will often ask my husband or I for a story told “out of your head.” I sometimes re-tell her stories about how her father and I met, or of our wedding (she loves these), or of the day she was born or the day that Baby Legume was born. Sometimes I make up a story about Moon the white unicorn, a chapter in our private serial involving unicorns and the Bean-girl. She’s got a unicorn obsession these days, along with her dinosaur obsession. Moon the silver-white unicorn usually takes Bean-girl on a flight somewhere, or sometimes goes to Bean-girl’s school for show-and-tell. I have a poor imagination, so the other day I threw in some Tolkien, and had Moon and Bean-girl taking tea with Bilbo Baggins in the forest. But after I had explained what a hobbit was, Bean-girl insisted that the hobbit be female, so the story morphed into one of Moon and Bean-girl taking tea with Rose the hobbit (I told you, I have a poor imagination).
What stories does the Bean-dad tell his four-year old at night? He tells her the saga of Anakin Skywalker and the Skywalker twins.
Not long ago, I overhead him telling Bean-girl about how Anakin gets his hand cut off by Obi-wan Kenobe. “Is that really an appropriate story for her at this age?” I thought, but did not voice. Then over the past two weeks, both trilogies of the Star Wars series were shown on cable TV. Last weekend I saw Bean-girl and her father cuddled on the couch, watching the climactic battle scene between Anakin and Obi-wan, fought above rivers of flowing lava (shades of Mount Doom…). “Do you really think this is appropriate for Bean-girl,” I said aloud this time. Husband waved me off, and Bean-girl watched as Anakin first got his hand sliced off, then burst into flame and was abandoned to die by his mentor. She appeared fascinated.
This morning the kids invaded our bed as usual. Bean-girl demanded to watch cartoons, and Husband sleepily reached for the remote. “Empire Strikes Back” was playing. In a scene that I had completely forgotten, Luke Skywalker was captured by what appeared to be the Abominable Snowman. To escape, Luke sliced off the Abominable Snowman’s hand. “There is a LOT of slicing off of hands in this series!” I announced.
Thankfully, we had places to be and things to do, and the Star Wars marathon was temporarily halted. But tonight, as I went to collect Bean-girl for bed, I found her sitting with her father, watching the end of “Empire Strikes Back”, nearing the climactic scene where Luke get his hand sliced off.
“I DON’T think Bean-girl should be watching this,” I said, and swept Bean-girl away just before Luke followed family tradition and got his hand severed.
“But Mom,” Bean-girl wailed. “I LOVE Star Wars! I really do! And I’m not scared at all, not at all, and I don’t know why you won’t let me watch it and I LOVE it!”
Uh, right. Can a four-year old really love this stuff?
She’s such a little chicken, scared of the playground slide and going too fast on a swing, stopping me when a bedtime story gets too scary for her, bursting into tears the time we took her to a movie theatre to see “Horton Hears a Who.” Shouldn’t watching dismemberment be at least as disturbing?
Then again, one of the last times her grandfather was here, Bean-girl joined him in watching “Dr. Who” and the scary Daleks and whatever ugly monster race was featured that week. I dragged her away to bed, and she spent the next two days proclaiming that she loved Dr. Who and had to find out what happened at the end of that episode…
Between a mama who tell crazy unicorn/hobbit stories and a dad who lets her watch Star Wars, Bean-girl is going to grow up to be a helpless geek, isn’t she?
Hopefully she won't be traumatized as well.
*By the way, though I count myself as a sci-fi geek, I never ever could get into the Star Wars saga. Not even during college, when I was subjected to multiple marathon viewing sessions in the dorms. It has always just seemed rather cheesy to me. And don’t get me started on the wretched “Phantom Menace”, the only one of the “new” trilogy that I’ve seen all the way through. *